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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Samantha Stosur vs Simona Halep (Kremlin Cup Final)

If Samantha Stosur produced a clean performance to down Svetlana Kuznetsova, Simona Halep produced a master-class to crush Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the final of  Kremlin Cup. Halp raced to a 4-0 lead in both sets and while Pavlyuchenkova managed to get one break back in the first set after holding at 4-1, that was all she could do. The second set followed the pattern of the first set with the only difference that Pavlyuchenkova could not break Halep's serve. Halep won the match 62 61.

Samantha Stosur will be bidding to win her 6th career title and 3rd of the year, while Halep will be looking to win her 5th title of the season in as many finals this year. Halep will be going for her 5th career title as well.

Stosur leads the head to head 3-1, however, Halep has won their most recent encounter. The only time the pair met this year was in Cincinnati where Halep won in 3 sets 64 46 62.

Both Halep and Stosur have yet to drop a set. Another interesting fact is that whoever wins the title will be the first woman from her country to win the Kremlin Cup in the 20 years history of the tournament.

Halep will make her top 15 debut courtesy of her final run here and will set a new career high ranking. 

Both players are looking in fine form and this could turn into a mental battle and we all know that that is one department where Stosur is not strong enough.

Both players have their plus, Stosur is on a 9 match winning streak and will be looking to win back to back titles at consecutive tournaments for the first time in her career. She leads Halep 3-1 in the pair's head to head. Halep on the other hand is 4-0 in the finals this year, and has won the pair's only meeting this year on hard courts. She has lost only 7 games on her way to the final.

Who will win the title, Stosur or Halep? The player who keeps her head clean will have an advantage.

Pick: Stosur in 3 sets. (Although my mind is telling me Halep may have something to say in straight sets ;) )

Stosur tops Kuznetsova to reach Moscow finals

Samantha Stosur continued her season ending strong run with a straight sets victory over Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. Stosur defeated Kuznetsova 62 64.

Kuznetsova failed to hold her serve in the first set as the first 6 games saw 5 breaks of serve. Kuznetsova broke Stosur to get the back on serve when Stosur served at 3-1, but that was the last game Kuznetsova won in the first set as Stosur won the next 3 games to win the set.

The second set started with a hold by Stosur followed by first hold of the match for Kuznetsova. Stosur mixed things up and raced to build a 5-1 lead and just when the match seemed over Kuznetsova caught fire and Stosur got tight as Kuznetsova won the next 3 games to bring the set back to serve, but once there Stosur stepped up and Kuznetsova faltered and Stosur broke Kuznetsova to win the match and book a place in the championship match of Kremlin Cup for the second straight year.

It was a poor performance by Kuznetsova, who made a horrible attempt at an easy smash which landed on her side of the court in the final game of the match, and though Kuznetsova saved a match point she hit a forehand long on the second match point to hand Stosur her 3rd win over Kuznetsova in as many matches in this season.

Samantha Stosur will play the winner of Simpna Halep and Anastasia Pavyluchenkova, who are currently playing their match with Halep up a break in the first set.

Kremlin Cup Semi-Finals - 2013

Samantha Stosur and Svetlana Kuznetsova asre set to battle it out in the first semi-final, while Simon Halep and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be fighting for a spot in the championship match in the second semi-final.

Stosur vs Kuznetsova
Stosur and Kuznetsova are tied in their head to head at 3 each, with Stosur winning their last 2 matches played in 2013. Stosur and Kuznetsova have also made it to the doubles semi-finals as a team, both are accomplished doubles payers as well.

Stosur Kuznetsova match will be a battle between former U.S Open champions, Stosur 2011 and Kuznetsova 2004. This is the second semi-final appearance at Kremlin Cup by both players, Stosur finished runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki last year here in 3 sets. Kuznetsova, however has never made it beyond the semi-finals, her only semi-final appearance came in 2007 when she fell at the hands of Serena Williams.

Kuznetsova should be favoured given her form but Stosur is on a 8 match winning streak and would like to build on that. It will all depend on which Kuznetsova shows up in the match. The match will start in about half an hour.


Pick: Kuznetsova in 3 sets.

Halep vs Pavlyuchenkova

Simona Halep and Pavlyuchenkova will meet for the the third time with Halep winning both of their previous encounters. This has been a breakthrough season for Halep, who has won 4 titles this year, second only to Serena Williams.

This is Halep's second appearance at the Kremlin Cup, she fell in the second round here last year. Pavlyuchenkova is making her 6th appearance, and this year marks the first time that she has made it out of the first round here.

Both are talented players and have held the top spot in their juniors days. This should be a good and entertaining match given the shot making abilities of both players.

Both Halep and Pavlyuchenkova have yet to lose a set. I want Pavlyuchenkova to win this one, but I have a feeling Halep will be all over Pavlyuchenkova and will book a spot in the championship match.

Pick: Halep in straight sets.

Who do you think will win?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wozniacki, Kerber, Kvitova and Kuznetsova make the quarter-finals of Tokyo

Caroline Wozniacki is back to her winning ways, as she moved to the quarter-finals of the Tokyo with an impressive win over Magdalena Rybarikova bread-sticking her opponent in both sets. Awaiting Wozniacki in the quarter-finals is Lucie Safarova who defeated Samantha Stosur. Wozniacki won the match 61 61. Wozniacki is also making a late push towards Istanbul and with other hopefuls (Stephens, Jankovic, Vinci, Halep) out, she can make up some ground with some solid results here. Safarova and Wozniacki have split their 4 prior meetings.

Angelique Kerber, like Wozniacki is trying to make a late push towards Istanbul, as she got her first career win over Ana Ivanovic. She beat Ivanovic 64 62. Awaiting Kerber in the quarter-finals is the highest seed standing in the draw, Agnieszka Radwanska who defeated Cibulkova for a spot in quarter-finals. Kerber has a tougher task at hand if she is to make a push towards Istanbul.

Petra Kvitova and Svetlana Kuznetsova's 3rd round matches were postponed owing to rain yesterday, but both players won their matches earlier in the day today to book the only quarter-finals spot left in the draw. Kvitova defeated American youngster Madison Keys 62 62. Kuznetsova was down 4-1 when the play was stopped yesterday, but regrouped when the match was resumed today to win the first set in the tie-break and then breeze through the second set against Sorana Cristea, winning the match 76(3) 61. Kuznetsova and Kvitova are scheduled to play later tomorrow for a spot in the semi-finals.

Bouchard, Venus and Safarova make the Quarter-finals of Tokyo

Eugenie Bouchard continued her impressive run in her Tokyo debut as she took down 6th seed Jelena Jankovic to score her second top 10 win and her first in a completed match. Bouchard's other top 10 win came against Samantha Stosur in Charleston earlier this year, when Stosur retired in the second set.
Bouchard was clearly the more aggressive of the two and went on a spree from 5-4 down in the first set  winning 11 games in a row to beat Jankovic 7-5 6-2. While Bouchard was clearly the more aggressive player, Jankovic was unable to put the ball in court for the last few games that I happened to catch.
However, this is an impressive result for the youngster, who had come back from being 75 53 down in the second round to beat Sloane Stephens. Awaiting Bouchard in the quarter-finals is former world no.1 Venus Williams.

Venus Williams backed up her upset over world no.2 Victoria Azarenka in the second round with a win over Simona Halep. Halep was looking to make up some ground in the race to the championships, but Venus had some other plans. Venus beat Halep 46 75 63. Halep was thrice up a break in the second set, but Venus's fighting spirit and never say die attitude kept her alive in the match and at the end it pulled her across the line for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Agnieszka Radwanska got revenge when she beat Dominika Cibulkova 63 64 to book a quarter-final spot. Cibulkova had beaten Radwanska in the pair's last meeting in the final of Stanford. This was Radwanska's 400th career win.

Lucie Safarova ended Samantha Stosur's Tokyo campaign with a straight sets vicotry over the former U.S Open champion, winning the match 64 64. Safarova was 6-2 when she entered, and has now won previous 4 encounters against Stosur. This is a disappointing result for the Aussie given her potential and her fitness. The problems with her game seem to have something to do with her mind. Stosur is one of the few players who can match Serena Williams on the tour in every department and can give her a run for her money, but the lack of mental toughness has always been a problem for Stosur.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Cibulkova and Jankovic progress to third round in Tokyo

Dominika Cibulkova made it to the third round of Tokyo with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua. This was the pair's first meeting. Cibulkova won a tight first set which saw 3 breaks of serve, once by Dellacqua and twice by Cibulkova.

The players traded breaks of serve in the second set with Cibulkova holding her serve twice while Dellacqua holding her serve just once.

Cibulkova has won back to back matches for the first time since Toronto where she made the quarter-finals.

Cibulkova is making her fall season debut and will look to post strong results.

Cibulkova will play the winner of the match between Agnieszka Radwanska and Aleksandra Wozniack, who play later today.

Jelena Jankovic, who made the top 10, after 4th round showing at U.S Open, made it past home player Ayumi Morita winning the match 6-4 6-1. Jankovic was broken only once throughout the match.

Jankovic will face Eugenie Bouchard, who made it past Sloane Stephens in a battle of promising youngsters.

Ivanovic to meet Kerber in Tokyo third round - Tokyo 2013

Ana Ivanovic breezed through the second round, defeating Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-0 to book a spot in the third round and a meeting with Angelique Kerber.

Interestingly, Ivanovic served at just 43% and despite that lost just 3 games. Ivanovic was broken only once and that came in the first set. She saved all the four break points she faced in the second set. Svitolina's serve completely fell apart in the second set as she won a total of 4 points on her serve. She failed to win a single point on her second serve in the second set.

Ivanovic leads the head to head against Kerber 3-0 with two of those 3 wins coming this year, one in the quarter-finals of Madrid, and the other in the Fed-cup semi-finals.

Ivanovic should be the favourite walking into the match, however, she will have to improve her serve against a player of the Kerber's caliber if she wants to win the match and make the quarter-final of Tokyo.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Bouchard upends Stephens to make third round - Tokyo

Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens match promised to be an entertaining one, it was a clash between nations, Canda, an upstart in tennis, and America, with a proven history of tennis legends. It was a clash between promising and talented youngsters. Stephens was the favourite when she walked onto the courts today, but Bouchard, who made her top 50 debut this week, walked onto the court with something to prove, and prove she did, as she made her way past Stephens in an enthralling three set. Bouchard came back from being a set and a break down to book a place in the third round of Tokyo, with a 5-7 7-6(7) 6-3 win over Stephens.

Bouchard had serious serving trouble in the opening set as she made just 32% of the first serves. Stephens saved 2 of the 4 break points she faced and broke Bouchard on all 3 occasions to seal the first set 7-5.

Bouchard increased her first serve percentage to 68%, winning 59% of those points. Bouchard saved 5 of the 7 break points she faced and converted 2 of the 3 break point chances she created to send the match into the tie break, which she won 9-7.

With the momentum and the confidence on her side, Bouchard served at 81% in the third set and never faced a break point, while converting 2 of 4 break point chances to seal the victory in 2 hours and 19 minutes.

Both Stephens and Bouchard were making Tokyo debut. Bouchard started the year at 147 and now finds herself within top 50, owing to some solid results, and with this win Bouchard will make her top 40 debut.

Bouchard will face former world no.1 Jelena Jankovic in the third round for a place in the quarter-finals.

Madison Keys sets clash with Petra Kvitova - Tokyo 2013

Madison Keys has been impressive so far in Tokyo in making her fall season debut. Keys defeated U.S Open quarter-finalist Carla Saurez Navarro in the first round and followed up that impressive win with a straight sets victory over Chinese Shuai Peng in the second round of Tokyo to set a third round meeting with former Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova.

Keys won the tight first set 7-5 and raced through the second set without facing a break point. Keys won the match 7-5 6-2.

Keys already has a top 10 win to her name, when she defeated former Roland Garros champion, and two time Australian Open runner-up Li Na in Madrid this year.

As for Kvitova, she has had a tough year, and had a tough time in overcoming the Swiss younster Belinda Bencic 7-5 6-4.

This will be the first meeting between the pair, and given Kvitova's recent struggles Keys should fancy her chances of making the quarter-finals here.

Kuznetsova to battle Cristea for Quarter-finals spot in Tokyo - 2013

Svetlana Kuznetsova seems to have put the disappointing U.S Open loss behind her, as she impressed in her straight sets win over world no.6 Sara Errani, the final score of the match being 6-4 6-4. Kuznetsova led the head to head 5-1, when she entered the match, with Errani's only win coming over Kuznetsova in the 4th round of Roland Garros last year, when Errani made her first Grand Slam final.

Kuznetsova blasted 7 aces enroute to victory and will face Sorana Cristea, who defeated home player Misaki Doi at the loss of just 3 games. Kuznetsova has played Tokyo just once before in her career, back in 2002 when it had a 32 player draw. Kuznetsova lost in the second round at the hands of Alicia Molick.

Kuznetsova, two time former Grand Slam champion, should be poised to make a strong run through the fall season, after a disappointing summer, which saw her withdrawing from Wimbledon, a first round loss in Carlsbad, two loses (one in qualifying and one in first round as a lucky loser) at the hands of same player, Lauren Davis, in Toronto, a first round loss in Cincinnati and a third round loss at U.S Open.

Kuznetsova's opponent in the third round for a place in the quarter-finals will be Sorana Cristea, who made huge news when she made the final of Toronto, but failed to capitalise on that momentum in the U.S Open and fell in the second round at the hands of Kurumi Nara in straight sets.

Cristea seems to have found her game again as she blasted her way into the third round with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Misaki Doi.

Kuznetsova leads the head to head 3-0 against Cristea, however, the two have not played since their Roland Garros encounter in 2008, won by Kuznetsova 6-3 6-1.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Carla Saurez Navarro makes it to the 3rd round of U.S Open 2013

Carla Saurez Navarro beat the second American in as many matches at the U.S Open 2013 as she made it past Coco Vadeweghe 6-3 6-4. She may get a chance to complete her hatrick.

Please see the full story here.

Radwanska to face Pavlyuchenkova in U.S Open 2013 third round

Agnieszka Radwanska booked her place in the third round of U.S Open 2013, beating Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor in 6-0 7-5. Awaiting the Pole in the 3rd round will be Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat Aussie youngster Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-0.

For full story, please click here.

Li Na makes it to the third round of U.S Open 2013

Li Na, seeded 5th at the U.S Open made it past Sweden's Sofia Arvidson in the second round, winning the match 6-2 6-2.

For full story, please click here.

Friday, 23 August 2013

U.S Open 2013 Draw Analysis - WTA

U.S Open draw was unveiled yesterday. Serena Williams, the top seed and the defending champion, has Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na drawn in her half. The good thing for Serena is she will have to face one of them, not that it matters to Serena, since both Radwanska and Li have a combined total of 1 win against SerenaWilliams.

Second seed and last year’s finalist Victoria Azarenka has Sara Errani and Petra Kvitova drawn in her half of the draw. In fact, Kvitova is in Azarenka’s quarter. The two have not played since their epic clash in the final of World Tour Finals in 2011, which Kvitova won in 3 sets. Their careers have taken opposite paths since that clash. Azarenka has won 2 majors and made a final since then, whereas Kvitova has failed to make a grand slam final since then.

Let us now break-down each quarter:

First Quarter:
For full first quarter of draw, please click here

Serena Williams is the favourite to make the quarter-final, however, she has a tough opener in the former Roland Garros Champion and former U.S Open quarter-finalist Franchesca Schiavone. Players are prone in their openers, especially the top players. However, given Serena’s form, she should not be troubled.
The spicy thing in this quarter is the potential 4th round meeting between Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens. Sloane Stephens defeated Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of Australian Open this year in 3 sets.
Angelique Kerber is at the bottom of the quarter and has been in a slump. She went 4-3 in the U.S Open series and given her draw I don’t see her making the quarter-final unless she steps it up.

Youngsters under the radar:
- Eugenie Bouchard – She has a potential second round encounter with Kerber
- Lauren Davis – She plays Carla Saurez Navaro in her opener
- Urszula Radwanska – She plays Irina Camelia Begu in her opener, with a potential second round encounter against Sloane Stephens

Americans in the quarter:
- Serena Williams – She has lost only 4 matches this year. However, important to note is that two of those losses were at majors and the other two losses were at the hands of the player she can only face in the final, - Victoria Azarenka. Serena’s conqueror at Australian Open, Sloane Stephens is in for a potential 4th round encounter with the defending champion.
- Jamie Hampton – She pushed Azarenka to three sets in the Australian Open. If she is not feeling the back pain and swinging freely, she can upset anyone on a given day. She has potential 3rd round encounter with Sloane Stepehens.
- Sloane Stephens – She has a good draw and should be favoured to make the 3rd round at the very least. She has been performing well at majors this year and should be motivated enough to making a noise at her home grand slam.
- Venus Williams – The two time former U.S Open champion (2000-01) plays Kristen Flipkens in her opener and is well motivated to go deep in the draw. The biggest question will be if her body holds up and cooperates with her or not.
- Lauren Davis – She plays Spanish crafty player Navaro in the first round
- Vania King – The diminutive American is former doubles U.S Open winner and plays Kanepi in the first round.

Serena d. Kanepi  (I would have picked Kerber, but she is in a slump, Kanpei is a very brave pick, but its just a draw analysis, so....)

Second Quarter
For full second quarter of the draw, please click here.

Agnieszka Radwanska is the top seed in this quarter and opens against Silvia Soler-Espinosa. The first seeded player she could play is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in what could be a tough potential third round for her. Radwanska is the only player to make the quarter-final or better at all the grand slams of the year so far. However, she has never progressed beyond the 4th round of U.S Open. Will this be the year?

Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Liscki is also in this part of the draw and has a potential 4th round encounter against former Wimbledon runner-up, Radwanska. Radwanska will be keen on taking revenge of her loss at the hands of Liscki in the semi-finals of Wimbledon this year, should the two meet in the 4th round.
Li Na, this year’s Australian Open runner-up is sitting at the bottom of the quarter and opens against Olga Govortsova. An interesting potential 3rd round clash awaits Li in the form of Laura Robson. Robson made noise last year when she sent Kim Clijsters into retirement in the second round of U.S Open and then defeated Li Na in the 3rd round to make the second week of a slam for the first time.

Youngsters under the radar:
- Ashleigh Barty – She plays Estrella Cabeza Candela in the first round which is winnable for the youngster. A second round potential meeting with Pavlyuchenkova awaits.
- Monia Puig – She made the 4th round at Roland Garros and the 4th round at Wimbledon this year. She makes her U.S Open debut against the comeback player, Alisa Kleybanova,
- Laura Robson – The British player has been making some noise at the grand slams lately. It will be interesting to see what she has in store for this year’s U.S Open.

Americans in this quarter:
- Bethanie Mattek-Sands : She opens against Mathilde Johansson and has a potential second round encounter against Ekaterina Makarova. She should make the 3rd round.
- Madison Keys – She has a powerful game and she has the potential to beat anyone on a given day. She plays former no. 1 and former U.S Open finalist Jelena Jankovic in the first round.
- Shelby Rogers – She opens against talented French youngster Caroline Garcia.

Also here
- Kimiko Date-Krumm – She is the oldest player in the draw and opens against Paula Ormaechea in what should be a winnable match for the veteran Kimiko.
- Sorana Cristea – Remember Cistea? She made the final of Toronto beating 3 top 10 players and a former world no. 1 starting with Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic,  Petra Kvitova and Li Na. She has a potential 3rd round encounter with Jankovic and a potential 4th round clash against Li Na.
- Jelena Jankovic – The former world no.1 made the semi-finals of Cincinati falling at the hands of eventual champion Victoria Azarenka in three hard fought sets.

Li Na d. Agnieszka Radwanska (The pick is too predictable and given the unpredictable Li, you never know, but I can't help it, I have to give nod to Li)

Third Quarter
For full third quarter, please click here.

This is by far the most open quarter of the draw with Sara Errani sitting at the bottom of the draw as the no. 4 seed and Caroline Wozniacki sitting at the top as the no.6 seed. Wozniacki is finally rounding into form in New Heaven. She is playing semi-finals today. Caroline Wozniacki is one of the two players in the top 8 seeds who is yet to make a grand slam quarter-final this year, the other player being Angelique Kerber. Wozniacki opens against a qualifier.

Sara Errani made the semi-finals last year before bowing out to eventual champion Serena Williams. She opens against Ayumi Mortia in what could be a tricky opener for her. A potential second round meeting with country woman Flavia Pennetta aso sounds scary for the Italian. As if this was not enough, a potential third round encounter against former U.S Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova could also be in store.

Yes, Kuznetsova, anyone remember Kuznetsova? There is a big question mark over Kuznetsova. She has gone 2-3 since her quarter-final run in Roland Garros. However, the good news for Kuznetsova fans is that she has performed well at majors this year making the quarter-finals of both majors she has played and losing to the eventual champion at each (Azarenka at Australian Open and Serena at Roland Garros). If Kuznetsova steps it up this could be the ideal draw for her to make the semi-finals, but if she does not, she might be going home in the first round.

Youngsters under radar:
Annika Beck – She opens against Russian Elena Vesnina.
Dona Vekic – She opens against Mariana Duque Marino, in what should be a winnable match for the teenager.
Heather Watson – She has a tough first round assignment in the form of red hot Simona Halep.

Americans in this quarter:
There are 6 Americans in the first quarter, 3 Americans in the second quarter and only two in the third quarter.
-Malloy Burdette. She opens against Svetlana Kuznetsova in what could be a good or a bad thing for her depending on which Kuznetsova shows up.
- Nicole Gibbs – The teenager opens against former top 10 player Flavia Pennetta.

Svetlana Kuznetsova d. Caroline Wozniacki (Again wishful thinking and brave picks. You have to get used to it. You can replace them with Saran Errani and Roberta Vinci, if you like)

Fourth Quarter
For full fourth quarter, please click here.

Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova round off the fourth quarter of the draw. Kvitova opens against Misaki Doi and has tricky potential second and third round encounters with Andrea Petkovic and Mona Barthel respectively.
Azarenka opens against Dinah Pfizenmaier and has a potential third round encounter against Alize Cornet, the woman who pushed her to three sets in Roland Garros. Azarenka comes on the heels of her win over Serena Williams in the final of Cincinnati. Williams has lost only 4 matches this year, with two of them coming at the hands of Azarenka. Azarenka has won one slam this season and must be motivated to make a statement and win another.

Youngsters under the radar:
- Ana Tatishvili: She made the 4th round here last year, but has been unable to win matches this year. She opens against Ana Ivanovic.
- Elina Svitolina - She opens against Dominika Cibulkova and will attempt to win her first match at U.S Open in her second attempt.

Americans in this quarter:
- Alison Riske - She opens against grass lover Tsetana Pironkova.
- Sachia Vickery – She opens against a qualifier
- Maria Sanchez – She opens against former world no.4 Daniela Hantuchova.
- Varvara Lepchenko – She opens against Alexendra Dulgheru, and has a potential second round meeting with Ana Ivanovic.
- Christina McHale – She has a winnable first round match against slumping Julia Goerges and a tricky second round against the hard hitting diminutive Dominka Cibulkova.

Also here:
- 2011 champion, Samantha Stosur, opens against a qualifier. She has a potential 4th round meeting with Petra Kvitova. An interesting fact to note is that Stosur has not lost before the quarter-finals of U.S Open for the last 3 years.
- Ana Ivanovic – The former world no.1 and former Roland Garros champion has a potential 4th round encounter with Azarenka. She made the quarter-finals here last year in what was her first grand slam quarter-final since her grand slam triumph at Roland Garros in 2008.

Stosur d. Azarenka (I know Stosur has not had success against Kvitova, whom she is seeded to meet in the 4th round, and Azarenka but U.S Open brings out the best in her as we have been seeing in her last 3 appearances here. That said, this again is a very bold and brave pick. What fun would it be guessing Azarenka to make it all the way to the final)

Semi-Finals :
Li d. Serena
Stosur d. Kuznetsova/Errani

Championship

Stosur d. Li (You can replace Serena with Li and Azarenka with Stosur, and reverse the result)

What are your thoughts after the draw?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

U.S Open 2013 Draw - WTA

With the withdrawal of Maria Sharapova, Sara Errani got the 4th seed, the highest she has ever been seeded at a grand slam.

Serena Williams, the top seed and the defending champion has a tough opener in Franchesca Schiavone. However, once through the opener, she should have smooth sailing till the fourth round where she may get a chance to avenge her Australian Open Quater-final loss at the hands of Sloane Stephens. Sister Venus Williams is also in this quarter and may face Serena Williams in the quarter-finals if both make it that far.

Radwanska heads the second quarter, with Li Na being the second seed in the quarter. Li is set for a potential re-match of last year's 3rd round encounter with Laura Robson, where Robson stunned Li in 3 sets.

The 3rd quarter of the draw is the most open of all and many will be willing to take advantage of the draw. Caroline Wozniacki, former world no. 1 and U.S Open finalist finds herself as the second highest seed of the quarter.

Victoria Azarenka, the second seed has Petra Kvitova as the highest seed in her quarter. Ana Ivanovic and 2011 U.S Open winner Samantha Stosur are also lurking in this quarter of the draw.

Potential Quarter-finals are as follows:

Serena - Kerber
Radwanska - Li
Errani - Wozniacki
Azarenka - Kvitova

Two time grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova is seeded 27th and has a potential 3rd round encounter with Sara Errani. Kuznetsova has not been playing well lately but she has been stepping it up in grand slams this year, falling to eventual champion Azarenka in the quarter-finals of Australian Open, and eventual champion Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros.

I will be doing an analysis of the draw. Stay tuned :)

U.S Open 2013 Draw Unveiled - ATP

There are some interesting match-ups as the draw was unveiled for the 2013 U.S Open. The biggest question was who would get Federer and as most of us expected, Federer landed in Nadal's quarter. Murray fell in Djokovic's half while Ferrer filled in the last spot for the top 4 seeds.

Potential Quarter-final match-ups are as follows:

Djokovic - Delpotro (Should be a good one if happens)
Murray - Berdych
Ferrer - Gasquet  (Opportunity for a lot of players to make the quarter-finals and even the semi-finals)
Nadal - Federer

Djokovic and Dimitrov potential third round match promises to be great one, if Dimitrov can play well. Nadal - Isner potential fourth round match also promises to be great.

For complete draw please click here.

I will be doing an analysis of the draw, so stay tuned :)

Friday, 14 June 2013

Wimbledon and the top 4 seeds - ATP

Looking back into the history of Wimbledon, I tried to look into the years when none of the top 4 seeds made it past the quarter-finals of Wimbledon. In other words, the years when all the semi-finalists at Wimbledon were players either seeded outside the top 4 or unseeded. Here goes the link of the article. It happened twice since the dawn of open era. The first time it happened was back in 1992 (Andre Agassi won the Wimbledon title) and the only other time it happened was in 1996 (Richard Krajicek won the title).

I hope you enjoy the article. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Wimbledon 2013

Dear All

I am back form the exams finally :) I am very happy to announce that I have finally purchased a domain :) A domain to my own name, a small place on the web that I can call my own and that I will use to share my thoughts on tennis with you people :) I had purchased the domain longtime ago, in December 2012, but did not post on it until now. A very good friend of mine has been working on it (it is still work in process), but I thought that the grass season is the best time to start posting on it. Here goes the link to the first Wimbledon series article that I have posted on it. It is bacially a small informative article about Wimbledon setting the tone for the upcoming articles that I am hoping to post daily on the blog.

I hope you will continue reading and commenting on the blog and keep me updated with anything you people want to see on the blog.

Happy beginning of the grass season, let us hope to see great matches.

Friday, 12 April 2013

An Apology

Dear All

I just wanted to say sorry to all the readers who visit my blog to find something new, but have not been finding anything new. I have upcoming exams in June and I have been trying to focus on my exams at the moment.

I will start with it in full flow again once I am done with my exams. Keeping my fingers crossed for my exams.

Stay happy, blessed and tuned.

I will try to make posts in between, but in case I am unable to, I hope you will not mind.

Regards
Omair

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Petra Kvitova wins Dubai - Twitter Reacts

Petra Kvitova defeated Sara Errani to lift her first trophy in 6 months. The reaction was evident on twitter. It was not long ago when Kvitova was just 2 matches away from the top spot in the world, but since then she has fallen to world no.8 in the rankings.

Although WTA twitter accounted posted about Kvitova's win late, still let us start with WTA's tweet.


Here is what Matt Cronin had to say about Kvitova's win



 Erik Gurdis was right about the unpredictable nature of Petra Kvitova.


The match was clearly a see saw kind of battle with Petra winning a lop-sided first set, Errani taking a lop-sided second set and Kvitova finding her mojo and range just in time to win another lopsided 3rd set.


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Nonetheless it was an entertaining final.


This clearly caught my attention as one of the witty tweets (witty in a good way) after Kvitova's win.


Petra Kvitova hit 46 winners to 36 unforced errors in her win over Errani.







Rafael Nadal fan congratulating Petra Kvitova after her victory.

Let us now walk through the tweets from the start of the match

Twitter was quick to react just as the match started and Kvitova was in no time up a double break.



This tweet came at the right time to jinx Petra, though not jinx her enough to lose the first set. It was after this tweet that Kvitova lost her serve, although she broke right back to win the first set.



The reaction was evident as Kvitova won the first set 6-2.



The second set started with Kvitova breaking Errani, but that was the only game Kvitova won in the second set as Errani won  6 straight games to win the second set 61. Panic was clearly evident.






Some admired Errani's change in tactics which rattled Kvitova, while others got nervous for Kvitova.



Some interesting tweets came in after the second set. Most of them urging Kvitova to get hold of her game.



Kvitova and Errani held their serves to start the 3rd set, but in the very next service game Kvitova found herself down 0-40 on her serve, had to dig deep to come out of that hole and hold.



As Errani served at 1-2 30-15, a Kvitova forehand went long, there was a mixed call from the line man, which resulted in a little argument between Kvitova, Errani and chair umpire. Chair umpire called the line man to clarify as the drama unfolded.



The line man jogged to the Kader (Chair umpire) and told him he corrected the out call.



Errani challenged the call and won the point, but lost her focus and lost 10 straight points from then on to go down 1-4, was broken again when serving at 1-4, and Kvitova held her serve to win her 10th career title.


The tweet below summed up what the match missed. The match had everything from clean winners by Kvitova to successful serve and volley tactics from Errani, and the drama.


Kvitova's coach was on vacation and she was by herself in Dubai as she won her first title of 2013.


Errani's never give up attitude was highly lauded and her change of tactics was smart tennis that reap benefits for her in the second set.


Finally to end the article, there was some discussion regarding the Kvitova's shriek that she lets out after winning big points. To me it is a good way of showing yur emotions and letting go of your emotions especially when the intensity of the game is high, after all players are humans too, and it shows how much effort they are putting in and how much it means to them.


That is all for today from twitter regarding Kvitova's win. I hope you liked the idea of the article. Stay tuned for more.




Dubai Champion 2013- Petra Kvitova (Kvitova d. Errani)

Petra Kvitova was the favourite as she walked on to the court to face Sara Errani in the Dubai title match.
For the first 5 games of the match it was all about Petra Kvitova as she won four of the first five games. Cracks begin to show as Kvitova served to move ahead 5-1, as she double faulted twice in that game and was broken by Errani, but that was all Errani could do in the first set, as Kvitova broke right away to win the first set 6-2.

Kvitova hit 19 winners in the first set against only one winner from Errani.

Second set started in the similar way with Kvitova breaking Errani to move ahead, but from then on, Kvitova showed why she is so unpredictable as she went from winners hitting machine in the first set to error strewn machine in the second set. However, it was a change of tactics from Errani that caused the panic and made Kvitova miss everything. Errani started rushing to the net and taking the ball very early to take time off from Kvitova, the tactic went well as Errani went on tear and won 6 straight games to win the set 6-1 and level the match at one set a piece.

Kvitova hit 9 winners in the second set against Errani's 8 winners.

It seemed like the momentum will stay Errani's way as Kvitova was unable to answer Errani at net. Kvitova took a break after the second set and returned to start the third set. Both players held serve to start the set. A crucial moment for Kvitova came in the 3rd game as she found herself down 0-40 on her own serve, however, Kvitova petrafied Errani, as she hit a big serve and 2 winners to get to deuce, and then held her serve. Drama unfolded in the very next service game, as Errani was up 30-15 on her serve, Kvitova's forehand went long, a call came from the line-person, Errani and Kvitova argued a little about the call as to what exactly the call was about, chair umpire called the line person who said it was a correction call. Errani challenged and won the challenge and went up 40-15 on her serve, but that was all from her as the she lost her focus completely from there on, losing 10 straight sets to go down 1-4.  Errani was broken again as Kvitova went up 5-1 and held her serve to win the title 62 16 61.

In winning the title, Kvitova becomes the first player from Czech Republic to win Dubai title.

In the final set, Kvitova hit 18 winners against only one winner from Errani.

Petra Kvitova wins her 10th career title and her first title since New Haven last year. Another good news for Kvitova is that she will move switch rankings with Errani and will move a spot up to world no. 7.

The match had everything, excellent clean hitting from Petra Kvitova and some really good serve and volley tactic from Sara Errani and then of-course some drama in the third set. Kvitova in the end proved too good, but all the credit to Errani who never gave up despite losing the first set 6-2.

Kvitova's coach has not been here with her in Dubai and when asked about this in on-court interview Kvitova said, "He is on vacation, I hope he is happy. Sometimes it is good to just go out there by yourself and think about your game plan yourself."

Kvitova credited Errani, "I mean she is very good mover, she can catch a lot of balls. She was going for the net a lot and that was problem for me."

"I thought it was a so tough match. It was up and down. I think I stayed focused and calm and tried my best."

Kvitova seems to be rounding into form at the right time, after a very dis-appointing start to the year. However, whether she has really returned into form will be evident in Indain Wells and Miami where Kvitova has really struggled in the past. A good thing to note is that, before this year Kvitova had not won a match in Dubai, but went all the way to the title this year, this may be a good omen for her for good things to come. Only time can tell us.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Dubai Final (Kvitova vs Errani) - 2013

Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani competed for a spot in the final in an all Italian semi-final. It was Errani who proved strong at the end as she saved 3 of the 7 break points she faced, and broke on 6 of the 13 chances she got on Vinci's serve. Sara Errani moved to the final beating good friend and doubles partner 6-3 6-3.

Sara Errani will play Petra Kvitova, who moved into the final beating former no.1 and former Dubai champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 6-4.

Petra Kvitova broke Wozniacki in the opening game and held that advantage till the very end and broke Wozniacki once again as Wozniacki served to stay in the first set to claim the set. Kvitova hit 20 winners in the first set.

Wozniacki started playing more aggressively in the second set as she broke Kvitova to move ahead 3-2 in the second set, but immediately was broken back as Kvitova brought the set back on serve. Both players held serve from then on, but Kvitova really upped her level when she forced Wozniacki to serve to stay in the match as she broke her to book a place in the final.

Petra Kvitova had never won a match in Dubai before this tournament and now she finds herself in the final of the tournament. She will be facing another defensive player in Sara Errani.

On line in the final will not only be the title and the prize money but the ranking also. The winner of the final will win her first title of 2013, and move to world no.7. Errani currently holds the 7th spot, and if she is to retain that spot, she will have to defeat Kvitova and win the title.

Who do you see winning the title?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Dubai Semi-Finals (Kvitova vs Wozniacki; Errani vs Vinci)

Withdrawal of Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams opened the otherwise jam-packed Dubai draw. The upper half was left more open compared to the lower half where there still is Petra Kvitova, who has been rounding to the form that took her to the Wimbledon title in 2011.

The players taking advantage of the opportunity were Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, the doubles no.1 pair in the world and best friends.

Roberta Vinci was the first to make her move to the semi-finals of Dubai, when she beat Samantha Stosur 62 64. In doing so, Vinci not only made the biggest semi-final of her career, she also beat two top 10 players  for the first time in the same tournament.

Sara Errani followed in the foot-steps of her friend Roberta Vinci, to set up an all Italian semi-final. Vinci moved ahead in the first set 5-1, before Nadia Petrova caught fire and and brought the score to 5-4 but Errani held her serve to win the first set. The second set was all about Petrova who bagled Errani winning the set 6-0, but immediately got broken to start the 3rd set. Errors crept into Errani's game as she could not hold her serve and was broken back to level the set. However, Errani once again broke to move ahead 4-2 in the decider. Petrova had 3 break point chances when Errani served at 4-3, but could not capitalise on them and from then on it was all Errani as she defeated Nadia Petrova 64 06 63 to set up a clash against her friend Roberta Vinci.

Caroline Wozniacki carried 5-2 head to head lead into her match against Marion Bartoli, and won the match in 3 sets 46 61 64. Bartoli was undone by her more than a dozen double faults. The match featured some high quality tennis. Wozniacki and Bartoli both got warnings, Wozniacki got warning for coaching from the stands by her father, while Bartoli got warning for being slow in serving. However, in the end Wozniacki's defensive abilities got the better of Bartoli as she moved to her 3rd Dubai semi-final.

The day was concluded with Petra Kvitova winning in straight sets against the defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska, 62 64. Petra Kvitova has finally found the form that took her to within a striking distance of the world no.1 ranking. Petra Kvitova will face Caroline Wozniacki for a spot in the final.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Vina Del Mar : Starace/Lorenzi d. Nadal/Monaco

Rafael Nadal made it to the finals of both the singles and doubles in his much anticipated come-back that started at Vina Del Mar.

Nadal finished runner-up to Zeballos in singles, losing the gripping finale 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 4-6. The loss seemed to have effect on Nadal  in his doubles match also.

Nadal had paired with his good friend Juan Monaco to play the doubles in Vina Del Mar, and the pair made the finals without dropping a set and were heavily favoured to win the title, till Nadal's loss in his singles final match against Zeballos.

The loss left Nadal with no gas and no energy for the doubles, and it took its tool on the mind as well, as Nadal and compatriot Monaco went down to Italian pairing of Paolo Lorenzi and Potito Starace.

Lorenzi and Starace started strong and did not face a break point in the first set while breaking their opponents twice to clinch the first set 6-2.

The second set went almost the same way with the only difference that Lorenzi and Starace saved 5 of the 6 break points they faced and broke their opponents on both break chances they got to clinch the set 6-4 and hence the match 6-2 6-4.

It was a bad day in office for Nadal who finished on the losing end in the final for the first time in his career in both singles and doubles at the same tournament, but as it goes, there is always a first time for everything.

Here is to the hoping that Rafael Nadal returns stronger and more powerful, for competition and depth in the men's game is not the same without him.

Vina Del Mar : Zeballos d. Nadal

There had been a lot of hype going on during the week surrounding Rafael Nadal's return to the courts after 7 months absence due to injury (or to shake off the Wimbledon loss suffered at the hands of Lukas Rosol???).

Nadal seemed not to have missed a step as he won his matches handily and made the final of Vina Del Mar, the clay event he returned on. Nadal was impressive in not only making the finals of the singles but doubles also, alongside his friend Juan Monaco.

Image via infobae.com
Nadal was aiming foe his 51st career title, while Zeballos was trying to win his first career title. Everything seemed in order for Nadal to complete his come-back with a title and send a message to his top 3 rivals (Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray), since Nadal had never lost to a left-hander on clay. The message was definitely sent, but not what Nadal had wanted or anyone would have expected. Zeballos had the determination and the will of an iron man.

It was a similar day to that fateful day of Wimbledon for Nadal, who won the first set in tie-break, but his opponent, Zeballos (Rosol at Wimbledon), did not give up and remained focused and concentrated and gave Nadal a little more than Nadal could handle. Zeballos won his first career title with style defeating the clay king on his home (CLAY), in a gripping 3 set match 6-7(2) 7-6(6) 6-4.

Nadal was riding a 15-match clay court winning streak and an inhumane 36-4 record in the clay court finals, and had soundly beaten Zaballos in their only prior meeting. The pair met in 2010 Roland Garros when Zeballos could only win 7 games off Nadal who would go on to win the title. However, all of this went down the drain as the match progressed, as Zeballos put up a great fighting show and avenged his Roland Garros loss.

Zeballos opened the match by holding his serve and had a look at two break points in the opening game of Nadal, but they were quickly erased by Nadal. The match went on serve and to the tie-break, once into the tie-break Nadal raced ahead in no time and hit an inside out forehand winner to seal the first set.

It seemed like losing such a tight first set in which he did not even face break point will have an impact on Zeballos and he will fade away in the second set, but like Rosol in Wimbledon, Zeballos brought everything out everything he had in the second set to fend off two break points he faced and send the set into tie-break. Zeballos raced ahead 6-4 in the tie-break only to see Nadal level at 6-all, but even that did not sent him into a nervous frenzy and he held his own and answered Nadal, by winning the second set by ripping a forehand winner of his own and levelling the match at one set a piece.

Nadal opened the third set by breaking Zeballos at love, and just like Wimbledon (when Nadal had won the fourth set), everyone thought the things were in order now. However, as it turned out, things were in order for everyone not named Rafael Nadal, as Zeballos broke right back to bring the set back on serve. The set stayed on serve from then on till 5-4 when Zeballos hit a wonderful running forehand cross-court winner to bring 3 match points, and he needed only one as Nadal sent the ball into the net on the first match point and with that Zeballos had won his first career title and that too over the King of Clay in a hard fought 2 hours and 46 minutes battle. He fell on his back to celebrate the win, and leave Nadal pondering what is next for him. However, Nadal can take out the positives from this match, and build on his match play, one thing that he will need the most during the rest of the year.

Zagreb 2013 - Marin Cilic crushes Jurgen Melzer

Marin Cilic carried a 6-2 head to head record against Jurgen Melzer when he walked on to the court today to fight for third Zagreb title, having already triumphed here in 2009 (d. Ancic) and 2010 (d. Berrer).

Image via atpworldtour.com
Both Cilic and Melzer had set their eyes on their first titles of 2013 campaign, but at the end of the day there had to be one winner.

Cilic started on fire as he lost a total of 5 points on serve and broke Melzer once to claim the opening set 6-3. Cilic did not face a break point in the first set.

If Cilic was on fire in the first set, it seemed like someone added fuel to the Cilic's fire in the second set, as he  served at 88% and lost just 3 points behind his serve. He broke Melzer thrice to claim the second set 6-1 and hence win the match 6-3 6-1 in just over an hour.

With this loss, Melzer fell to 4-8 in the ATP tour level finals. Although Melzer lost, he did achieve a mile-stone during the tournament, he recorded his 300th tour level win in the quarter-finals, his 300th victim was Rafael Nadal slayer, Lukas Rosol.

Melzer was full of praise for Cilic.

"He was the better player today, I felt like I was hitting the ball really well at the beginning, but he hit the ball even better. "

"What made the difference in the first few games is that he had free points on serve, whereas I had to work for them: hit a winner or play well so he missed. He deserved the victory. "

Marin Cilic won his 3rd Zagreb title and 9th overall title.

I will be signing off with these words of Cilic;

"Most of my game was working extremely well. My returns were really good and I had a read on almost all of his serves. I took my chances and defended well. Overall, I played a great match from beginning to the end."

Montpellier - 2013 - Richard Gasquet downs Benoit Paire

Yesterday, Richard Gasquet and Benoit Paire won their matches to set up an all French final.

Gasquet was aiming to become the first man to win 2 titles in 2013 as he walked on the court, while Paire was aiming to win his first ATP tour level title.

Gasquet was the one who started strong, breaking Paire in the first game and then again in the seventh game of the first set to put his one hand on the trophy. Gasquet won the first set 6-2.

Image via sportsillustrated.cnn.com
Paire complained of some sort of smell and claimed that he was unable to concentrate due to that smell, however, as the match went on, it turned out it was Paire's game that was stinky as it was loaded with unforced errors.

Second set was more of the same as first set with the only difference that Gasquet also got broken once in the second set, however, Gasquet broke Paire twice to clinch the second set 6-3 and win the match and hence the title. The final score of the match being 6-2 6-3 in Gasquet's favour.

"I feel very happy and relieved to win here in Montpellier in front of my friends and family. Since the tournament has been here, it’s been an objective to lift the trophy. I was really disappointed last year when I lost in the quarter-finals. Defeating Gael [Monfils] in a difficult match earlier this week put me in the right direction towards the title." said Gasquet.

Paire had also positives to take out from the tournament " It’s a positive week overall for me,” said Paire. “I am a bit disappointed about today’s performance but Richard is a very strong player, with a very unique style, and there was nothing I could do today.  I know I have improved a lot in my attitude and it was important this week to show my parents I am no longer the Benoit who goes crazy and breaks racquets. I really needed them to see how I have changed and I need to keep going. I feel I am on the right track if I stay calm and focused"

Richard Gasquet with his win has become the first man to lift two trophies in 2013, having already triumphed at Qatar earlier this year. Gasquet is now 14-1 since the start of the year. I will be signing off with these words from Gasquet "I realise this is my best season start ever and I just want to keep going and stay healthy. I am leaving tomorrow to Rotterdam, then Marseille, which is also an important tournament in France for me.”

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Zagreb - 2013 Semi-Finals Results

Three of the four seeds made it to the semi-finals. Fourth seeded Jurgen Melzer and unseeded Robin Haase were the first to battle for a spot in the final. The first set was close fought, as Melzer won the set in tie-break 7-6(2). Melzer could have won the set easily, as he did not face break point in the first set but got 4 break chances, however Haase saved all four to force a tie break. However, once into the tie-break it was all Melzer as Haase could win only 2 points.

Image via topnews.in
Things looked good for Melzer as he served for the match at 5-2 in the second set only to be broken by Haase, however, Haase lost his serve right after that to lose the set and hence the match.The final score being, 7-6(2) 6-3. Melzer will be appearing in his first final of 2013 and will be gunning for his 5th title overall.

The other semi-final featured 2 time Zagreb champion and top seed Marin Cilic against defending champion Mikhail Youzhny. Youzhny looked comfortable as he took the first set 6-4, winning 71% points while retuning Cilic's second serve, however, Youzhny could not take advantage of Cilic serving at 39% in the second set. It was surprising to see that despite serving at 39% Cilic did not face a break point in the second set and broke Youzhny on one of the two chance he got to clinch the set and level the match. From then on it was all Cilic as he clinched the third set 6-3. The final score of the match being 4-6 6-4 6-3 in Cilic's faour.

Cilic will be looking to win 3rd Zagreb title, having already triumphed in 2009-10, while Melzer will be gunning for his first Zagreb title.

Montpellier - 2013 Semi-Finals Results

Three Frenchmen reached the semi-finals of Montpellier, which meant that there will be at least one French to fight for the trophy. However, Jarko Niemen's bid to stop an all French final ended with Richard Gasquet winning a hard fought 3 set battle.

Benoit Paire will be aiming for his first ATP tour level title
Image via zimibo.com
The 3rd seed, Gasquet, won 6-3 3-6 6-2 to advance to his second tour level final in 2013, having already triumphed in Qatar at the start of the year. Niemen failed to win a point on his second serve in the first set, and won only 25% points behind his second serve for the match.

In the all French semi-final Benoit Paire came from behind set to win the match in 3 sets against Michael Llorda,  winning the match 4-6 6-3 6-1. Llodra did not face a break point in the first set while converting one of the 3 break point chances he got on Paire's serve. However, those were the only break points Llodra got, since Paire upped his level and did not give Llodra a break chance for the next 2 sets to seal a place in the final.

Gasquet will be attempting to become first man to win 2 titles in 2013 when he faces Paire tomorrow, while Paire will be aiming to win his first ATP tour level title.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Novak Djokovic d. Andy Murray (Australian Open 2013 Final)

History, history, history, everyone was talking about history before the Australian Open men's final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Both players had a chance to write their name in the history books, but at the end of the day it had to be one of them, and as the things unfolded, it turned out to be Novak Djokovic. Novak Djokovic became the first man in the open era to do a three peat at Australian Open, and in doing so joined Andre Agassi and Roger Federer as the holder of most Australian Open titles in the open era.

Image via australianopen.org
The match started in a typical fashion, both players holding their serves and forcing a tie-break. Djokovic started the tie-break with a double fault and never recovered as Murray won the first set in tie break 7-2.

In the second set, Murray had 3 chances to break Djokovic early on but Djokovic saved all of them to keep the set on serve. Both players held serve the rest of the way to force another tie-break, this time it was Andy Murray who faulted in the tie-break as Djokovic ran away to level the match at one set a piece.

Murray took a medical time out after losing the second set to treat blisters on his feet. From then on it was all Djokovic, as Djokovic broke Murray once in the third set and twice in the fourth set to claim his 4th Australian Open title and 6th Grand Slam title, 6-7 (2) 7-6 (3) 6-3 6-2.

Image via Australianopen.org
Djokovic won the match by doing two things, winning 66% points behind his second serve and holding his serve from the very start of the match till the end of the match.

Murray lost the match due to two reasons, winning only 46% points behind his second serve, and wasting all 4 break point chances he created.

By winning the title Djokovic also laid to rest the potential controversies that would have arisen had Murray won the title, challenging the ATP ranking system based on the fact that Murray has won 2 slams, and Olympic gold medal and is yet not ranked world no.1, while Djokovic is not a reigning champion of any grand slam and still no.1.

Just like Azarenka did yesterday, Djokovic proved that he is the one to beat, and it is not easy to go against him. For now on, Murray can go on as he has been having spectacular results in grand slams in that he has made the final of the last 3 grand slams, starting from Wimbledon.


First grand slam of 2013 has ended, with all the titles going to the top seeds, except the mixed doubles titles, making it the first time since Wimbledon 1997.

How do you see Djokovic's win? Do you see Andy Murray bouncing back to challenge Novak Djokovic, or will Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal bounce back to make it more competitive at the top?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray (Australian Open 2013 Final)


History is on line for Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic as they face each other for 18th time in their careers. Djokovic leads Murray 10-7, but it was Murray who won their last encounter in a grand slam, the final of U.S Open.

Image via Optimumtennis.net
Murray has already made history by make it to the final of immediate grand slam post his maiden grand slam title, but will be looking for more to become the one and only player to win his second major in the slam after his maiden slam title. Djokovic will be looking to become the first man in the open era to do a 3 peat at the Australian Open, and in the process joining Andre Agassi and Roger Federer as the holder of 4 Australian Open titles.

Murray will also spark a series of controversial questions in case he wins the title, the queries which will question the legitimacy of the ATP rankings, since Murray will hold 2 grand slam titles, Olympic gold medal and will still be world no.3, while Novak Djokovic will be slam-less for the moment (not a reigning champion of any slam) and will be world no.1. But, let us wait for Murray to win the title to spark such debates.

Novak Djokovic has lost 3 sets so far in the tournament, while Murray has lost 2 sets. Djokovic's clinical performance in the semi-finals was an indication of his peaking at the right time, while Murray's win over Federer showed that he too is ready to claim big prizes.

Let us have a look a the performance of the players so far in the tournament.

Description     Djokovic              Murray        
Aces          8          12
Double Faults          2            0
1st Serve %        66%          65%
1st Serve Points Won        80%          75%
2nd Serve Points Won         66%          53%
1st Return Points Won        34%          36%
2nd Return Points Won        57%          62%
Break Points Converted                   49%          54%
Winners        39          34
Unforced Errors        26          27
Net Points Won        74%          72%


Djokovic has won 80% points behind his first serve, while Murray has won 75% points. Murray's second serve is vulnerable, so he will have to raise his first serve %age just like he didagainst Federer in his semi-final show-down. Djokovic is one of the best returner on the tour and has won 57% return points while returning the second serves of his opponents and if Murray gives Djokovic too many second serves, Murray will be in toruble. Murray has been broken 11 times so far in the tournament, while Djokovic has only been borken 8 times thus far in the tournament.
Image via fr.wikipedia.org

Djokovic played lights out in his semi-final against Ferrer and if that match is any indication, Murray will be in toruble against Djokovic. Murray has also been returning well, and has won 62% points while returning the second serves of his opponents. Djokovic had lazy starts in both his 4th round and quarter-final matches, but will be looking to stay sharp from the very start in the final.

Djokovic has been playing cleaner matches as compared to Murray, and will be hungry for the title, but Murray will also be as hungry as Djokovic. The only question will be who plays better on big points.

It will all come down to Murray's serve and both players nerves. Djokovic is better than Murray in both departments, and will be eager to clinch his 4th Australian Open trophy and 6th Grand Slam title.

Pick : Djokovic in 3 sets