Andy Murray defeated in Washington!

British number one and the top seed in Washington this year lost his second round match to Teymuraz Gabashvili ranked 53 in the world from Russia.

The defeat is a major surprise with the Brit in great form this year with his only loss since February being against a player named either Federer or Djokovic. At a point in the match Murray did lead 6-4 4-6 5-4 and was serving for the match before being broken and going on to lose the match in a tie-breaker 7-4.

Despite defeat Murray was quite upbeat after the match saying:

“It was the first hard-court match for four-and-a-half months with only four or five days of preparation, so I was happy with how I moved and did certain things on court.”

Murray is due to play in Montreal next week at a Masters 1000 event where he is the second seed due to Federer’s withdrawal from the tournament.


Broady wins in three, 500 wins for Stosur & Lisicki loses from 6-1 4-1 up…

Naomi Broady defeats Jarmila Gajdosova 3-6 7-5 7-6!

Noami Broady is through to round two at the Citi Open after an epic win against the Australian Gajdosova. The match did look like getting away from the Brit at 3-2 in the first set when she went on to lose 5 games in a row and found herself 6-3 1-0 down but managed to get back into the rhythm of the match in the second set and broke at the last minute to take it 7-5. The deciding set there was nothing to separate them so it eventually went to a tie-break and at 3-2 to Broady play was suspended for a few minutes due to rain but that didn’t bother Naomi who went on to win 3-6 7-5 7-6 (8-6)

500 wins for Sam Stosur!

One of the underrated players on the tour reached a career landmark last night with her 500th career win coming against Kristina Mladenovic from France. Sam is a very talented player with just 8 career titles to her name one of which the US Open. Sam’s achievements on the singles and doubles tour have been incredible during her career so far and I expect more success for her in the future!

Lisicki loses from 6-1 4-1 up…

It’s a match to forget for Sabine Lisicki as at 6-1 4-1 up in the match you’d expect her to go on to win but qualifier Kimiko Date-Krumm who turns 45 next month had other ideas as she fought back to win 1-6 7-6 6-2 against the German! To lose from that position is shocking and watching highlights of the match she was running the show and then completely let it go and credit to Date-Krumm who never gave up to secure the win!

Citi Open 2015 Preview – Kevin Anderson v Alexander Zverev

After winning his first round match against Nishioka in Washington rising star Alexander Zverev has set up a round two meeting against Kevin Anderson who has had a very good year on the tour so far.

This will be the first time these two have met and it will be interesting to see the match and how Zverev deals with the big serve of Anderson and if he can control rallies.

I watched Zverev recently and I do believe he can be a very good player but I’m not sure whether he has a game right now which can cause trouble for Anderson. Zverev went 4-0 down v Robredo in Hamburg not long ago but did end up winning the set 7-6 after a good comeback but something I noticed was an issue with the backhand especially whilst defending.

zverev 1

Above I have put together Zverev behind the baseline using the two handed backhand and attacking inside the baseline using it and the German definitely has more joy attacking off it than he does defending. Red shows a defending backhand and yellow shows an attacking one. With the red I believe it’s a good defensive weapon but trying to generate depth and power from a metre or two behind the baseline is very difficult however on a more attacking side this shot gives you more options as shown with the yellow lines as the court is open to aim at any spot you’d like. In my opinion especially on a hard court and against the power of Anderson I’d be looking to sit just on or just behind/inside the baseline and not a couple of metres behind.

I believe his best weapon is the one handed forehand. It’s less predictable than the backhand and the pace and depth he gets on the shot at times is incredible!

zvreve 2

I’ve put this graphic together showing the forehand of Zverev in the first set v Robredo at Hamburg. You can see the angles he creates with this shot are incredible and the two red lines show forehand winners both of which were in the tie-break the yellow lines just show great forehands which weren’t winners but a majority went on to set up winners off the backhand.

As well as his own strength’s he is going to have to somehow battle the Anderson serve.

Not only do you have to deal with the speed of the serve over 130mph but the bounce on the serve as well. I watched a clip of him serving against David Ferrer at Indian Wells a couple of years ago and Ferrer is 175cm tall and the ball bounced at least 185cm in air which is incredible so you have to make sure your court position is deep behind the baseline and not trying to take it on or committing to either side too early.

When returning the serve as well you have to make sure you try and get good depth on the ball otherwise Anderson will step inside the baseline and find the gap and produce a winner/force an error.

Who will win this encounter? I’m going with Zverev in three sets but only just…

Citi Open 2015 Preview – Andy Murray v Teymuraz Gabashvili

This year is the first time since 2006 Andy Murray has played the CitiOpen in Washington with his last match there being in the final back in 2006 where he lost to current French Davis Cup captain Arnaud Clement 6-7 2-6. However 9 years later his first round opponent will be Teymuraz Gabashvili who beat Benjamin Becker 4-6 6-1 6-3 to advance to the second round.

I don’t really know too much about Gabashvili but have done some research into the Russian currently ranked at 53 in the world and a few weeks ago hit his career high of 50 and won his first ever doubles title.

Watching some highlights of his matches on YouTube he is a player who likes to go for big shots and to play a game like that you need to settle into the match and get into a rhythm quickly however playing against one of the best rhythm setters on the tour in Andy Murray it will be difficult to control the pace of the match.

Watching his game I would have to say his weakness in my opinion would be his return of serve and net play. Andy has one of the best serves on the tour but what does let him down is the second serve which sometimes is a free hit for the opponent and is something you would expect Gabashvili to try and exploit. However if Murray is on his serving game then it is very tough to stop him. Murray served impressively well throughout the tournaments in Miami and Madrid with very high percentages and even won 100% of points on 2nd serve against Lopez in the first set. We know Murray is one of the best players at producing stunning shots whether it is the lob or drop shot and will definitely cause problems for the Russian with these shots.

With all respect to Gabashvili I expect nothing less than a straight sets win for Murray with the winner of the match playing either Pablo Cuevas or Ricardas Berankis in the third round.

Citi Open 2015 – Andy Murray and Daniel Nestor defeated in the doubles!

In one of the final matches of the day at the Citi Open in Washington Andy Murray and Canada’s Daniel Nestor came up against the third seeds Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea in the first round of the doubles tournament but sadly couldn’t secure the win despite winning the first set.

Nestor and Murray quickly secured the first set taking it 6-2 and looked well in control of the match at this point with just two points dropped on the first serve and the only break point Bopanna and Mergea had was saved. The second set was the complete opposite as Murray and Nestor went on to lose the second set 6-1 in little time at all after only saving 2/4 break points compared to the 4 that the third seeds saved.

The final set went to a tie-break and the third seeds ran away with it winning the match 2-6 6-1 10-3 to knock out Murray and Nestor and advance to the second round.

Citi Open 2015 – Heather Watson defeated 6-3 6-0 by Louisa Chirico

Heather Watson’s first round match at the CitiOpen didn’t really go to plan against American wildcard Louisa Chirico ranked outside the top 100 in the world however beat the Brit 6-3 6-0 in under 70 minutes on her way to the second round.

To lose by that score line is a major shock. I didn’t see the match however I’ve seen highlights but it just didn’t go to plan for the Brit. Because of her performance against Serena at Wimbledon her first match after then there was always going to be pressure to perform to those standards again.

Heather didn’t serve well at all, serving at 49% in the entire match is not good enough you should be hitting high 50’s and 60’s however it wasn’t just the serve I noticed that wasn’t great but also the beginning of the rallies and the third ball. After the returner has hit the return depending on the depth of the shot you can see who is in charge and there were a number of times on the third shot of the rally where Heather had to step a couple of metres behind the baseline just to play the ball and ended up making mistakes or playing it short.

I thought in the longer rallies that Heather didn’t actually do too badly though. The main difference between Heather and Louisa in the longer rallies in my opinion was composure. Louisa was quite happy sat just behind the baseline and was comfortable at the back of the court and didn’t go for anything too spectacular but didn’t need to as Heather made a lot of errors and didn’t get the backhand going at all.

Obviously I’m disappointed with the loss being a fan of Heather however at the same time Louisa Chirico deserves some credit for her performance as well as her game plan was spot and she took her chances however the American faces another tough opponent in Alize Cornet in the second round.

Citi Open 2015 Preview – Naomi Broady v Jarmila Gajdosova

After qualifying for the Citi Open in Washington Naomi Broady has found out who her opponent for the first round of the tournament is against Jarmila Gajdosova from Australia.

The two players have met before on the tour back in 2010 at Eastbourne but in the R32 in qualifying with Jarmila winning the match 3-6 6-3 6-0 five years ago. Jarmila is the obvious favourite for the match being ranked about 130 places higher in the rankings than Broady however a match is never won on paper. For Jarmila it has been a year where she hasn’t be able to get any momentum going over the season with a win/loss record of 19/18 which isn’t very good but is four wins away from 400 career wins on the WTA tour.

Despite being ranked outside the top 70 in the world right now Jarmila’s all round game is very good. I watched her play Caroline Wozniacki in Madrid. Jarmila broke to go 3-2 up but then fell apart and didn’t take her chances going on to lose 10 games in a row and losing the match 6-3 6-0 bizarrely after such a promising start. Jarmila has a good two handed backhand and is strong off the forehand when given the chance to go forward defending that corner is a weakness and sometimes goes for big shots and ends up hitting them long.

I do believe Broady has a good chance of winning the match. She has a very strong serve which is important so hopefully can get some cheap shots off it. She can produce great power off either side and can mix it up with her unusual backhand and the slice shot which sometimes takes the sting out of rallies.

Who will win? Jarmila or Naomi?