Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wimbledon 2010 - Preview

Wimbledon - The Grass Slam, is just 2 days away. The draws were out yesterday for the Men's singles. Barring any upsets, the draw for Quarter-final should be Roger Federer-Nikolay Davydenko, Novak Djokovic-Andy Roddick, Andy Murray-Fernando Verdasco,  and Rafael Nadal-Robin Soderling. This Wimbledon is going to be very interesting as Nadal has returned to his best and is a serious contender to challenge defending champion Federer.

Federer is not in any sort of dream run since Australian open in January which has already cost him the No 1 ranking. However, he enters Wimbledon as No 1 seed thanks to his superior performance in grass over the past two years. He suffered a shock defeat to Lleyton Hewitt last week in a match he should have won comfortably. But it is too early to write off Federer as he comes with something special in Wimbledon every year. It was evident in last year's final when he defeated Roddick even when not playing that well. Federer is not 100% certain to win this year, but he will surely try to fight his way towards the glory.

Nadal is on a dream run after returning from his injury. He regained French Open and also the No 1 ranking. The only blip being his loss to Feliciano Lopez last week. I feel that only Federer has the game to consistently challenge Nadal on grass or any surface for that matter. I expect Nadal to cruise in to the semi-finals of Wimbledon without much trouble. He would meet Soderling in Quarter finals if Soderling is able to survive till then. That match would be an interesting one. Nadal would be fully geared up to cement his No 1 ranking by winning Wimbledon this year.

It is a mystery why Murray has not yet won a Grand Slam. He has the game to win a Grand Slam in grass/hard court. Media gives too much hype to Murray whenever he reaches a semi-final and he eventually gets beaten up. I hope Murray comes up with his best and the insane British media keeps quiet this time around. If Murray plays to his potential, I will fancy chances of Murray bumping out Nadal in the semis.

Roddick should have won the Wimbledon crown last year. He really deserved it having played some wonderful tennis. His form has dipped since then and I am not sure how he would fare this year. We need to wait and see his form in the first few matches to check if he can go the distance.

Djokovic is the joker of tennis. After watching his matches of Djokovic for so many years, I am still not sure what his strengths are. He loses to insignificant opponents often from winning positions and rarely ends up troubling the top seeds. If he meets Roddick in Quarters according to the draw, I would give 70-30 chance in favour of Roddick as he is a more complete player in grass than Djokovic.

Soderling is not that effective in grass and Davydenko is pretty inconsistent. Verdasco is a fighting player rather than a dominating player. There is very little chance that these guys would trouble other top seeds. Tsonga, Berdych and Cilic are also good players who can give a fight. However, I expect Lleyton Hewitt to trouble the top seeds this time. He has just beaten Federer on grass. He would certainly believe that he can beat Djokovic in the fourth round.

Wimbledon this year would be a tough fight for the glory among these players. On past history and form, Federer and Nadal should match up in the final. If that happens, we would definitely get an amazing final to watch.

Monday, June 07, 2010

French Open 2010 - Review

As expected, Rafael Nadal has won fifth Roland Garros title by blasting away Robin Soderling in straight sets. By doing so, he has regained the No 1 position in the world. Nadal has stopped Roger Federer at 285 weeks as No 1 just 1 week lesser than Pete Sampras. This French Open had quite a few surprises, however the climax was hardly surprising. Rafa, the king of clay, is again on the top of the world. Though the way he plays tennis does not please many tennis fans, his power-hitting does the job at the end of the day.

Soderling played well throughout the tournament but could not repeat his heroics against Nadal. This kind of inconsistency is what separates great players from the mortal ones. Soderling has some more distance to go before he can consistently challenge the top players. Federer did not have a great title defense. Still, he did not play that badly either. Soderling played exceptionally went exploiting the rainy climate to defeat Federer. Federer would now gear up to defend his title at Wimbledon on his favorite grass court.

The disappointments of the tournament are obviously Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, ranked 3rd and 4th respectively. While Murray went down to Berdych in a spectacular capitulation, Djokovic made himself look stupid when he lost to Melzer after winning first 2 sets and a break up in the third. Djokovic is slowly turning out to be a real joker and  any player would fancy his chance to beat Djokovic. Murray has been relegated to more of a pedestrian player in the clay court and should have been in first round by Richard Gasquet. It would be interesting to see how these two fare in Wimbledon.

Andy Roddick also suffered a surprise loss to an unseeded player which was not an ideal way to exit a Grand Slam. Jurgen Melzer and Tomas Berdych are decent players, but may not reach a Grand Slam semi-final ever. Other clay court specialists like Fernando Gonzalez, David Ferrer, and Juan Carlos Ferrero lost without troubling any top players which was bit of a surprise. Nicolas Almagro played some good tennis and with some more effort could have defeated Nadal.

Wimbledon starts in just 2 weeks from now and in faster courts, one would expect players like Murray, Roddick, Djokovic and Tsonga to play aggressive tennis. The king of grass, Federer, will also try to regain his No 1 ranking in Wimbledon. Nadal will again challenge him. Wimbledon will definitely provide some power-packed tennis and I expect some surprises there as well. I just hope that Federer comes back to his own and treats his fans to some great tennis.