London line-up all but confirmed!

The World Tour Finals in London don’t kick off for at least another month but barring any miracles over the next few weeks the current leader-up looks like being the line-up.

Only three have officially qualified so far.

First into the hat was Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic followed not long after and just the other day the tower of Tandil added his name to the event.

For Roger Federer and Alex Zverev it is just a matter of time, they could not win again until London and still qualify as the points required total with continue to drop as the season nears it’s conclusion.

The other three looking to keep their names where they are now is Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Kevin Anderson.

Kevin currently occupies the final space by just over 500 points and is still active in Beijing unlike John Isner in 9th position but Kei Nishikori in 10th could still have a say on what happens but even if he wins Beijing he will still be 500 points off the final position.

It was meant to be a race but it hasn’t really had that feeling for the majority of the season as a few good tournaments have basically confirmed places.

Ferrer

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Usual suspects or a new face? 🏆

All expectations are on New York to be a three horse race between Novak, Roger and Rafa but will it be one of these usual suspects or another but who are the other contenders?

Juan Martin Del Potro

Former champion in 2009, career high of world number three and is in the same half as Rafa but opposite to Novak and Roger.

I think that Del Potro has scheduled perfectly, he’s been on site for a while and the concern for him usually is the early rounds but if he can get that momentum he will challenge!

Marin Cilic

The win in 2014 does seem like a lifetime ago. I think it is fair to say he has a been a bit flat of late, I haven’t seen that spark.

He knows what it takes to win here but I can’t help but think that killer instinct is still missing to defeat the best.

He’s recently lost to Rafa and Novak in three sets and I’ve come away thinking missed opportunity and there was moments which he should have capitalised on!

His record against Rafa = 2/5 and 2/14 v Novak

Former champions

There are other former champions playing but will it happen?

For me I believe this is way too early for Andy and Stan, it’s great to have them back but I can’t see anything major happening?

More challengers?

I honestly can’t see it happening… what Grigor, Goffin, Sascha and Thiem have done over the last year is great but haven’t done much consistently and that’s the issue.

I’d like to see Zverev challenge and with Lendl in his corner it brings a new voice, ideas and experience.

Links

Here are just some links talking about Roger, Rafa and Novak ahead of the tournament;

Rafael Nadal – No.1 in the world but No.1 in New York?

Roger Federer – First US Open title in 10 years?

Novak Djokovic – Unconvincing since Wimbledon but you have to fancy him!

ATP Heritage Celebration - Inside

Wimbledon 🎾 Day 4 – De Minaur 💪🏻 last Brit standing 🙏🏻 Cruise Control 😎 Muguruza/Cilic stunned! 😶

De Minaur roars again!

Alex De Minaur is making headlines once again. The Australian who was so impressive at the beginning of the season has now been playing some great tennis in his first appearance at SW19 and will be back in action on Saturday against Rafael Nadal, what a match that could be!

The Australian has been attracting some plaudits on Twitter as well!

Last Brit Standing!

Kyle Edmund is the last British player standing. Following defeats yesterday for Katie Boulter and Johanna Konta’s defeat to Dominika Cibulkova. Kyle Edmund played against Klahn from the USA and in the next round he will be up against Novak Djokovic for a place in round four, a big test for both players.

Cruise Control

Two tournament favourites that are still standing are Juan Martin Del Potro and Simona Halep, both won in straight sets yesterday and are looking untroubled as they both search for their second Grand Slam title. With seeds dropping by the day pressure will grow but these two deal with pressure so well!

Goodbye 😦

Two major contenders are surprisingly out! Garbine Muguruza was a set up at 7-5 against Van Uytvanck however the tide quickly turned with the Spaniard winning just three of the next fifteen games losing the match 7-5 2-6 1-6 against the former Roland Garros semi-finalist.

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Marin Cilic will be very disappointed following his win in Queens. The Croat who was heavily tipped to go far has fallen very soon into the draw. He will be even more frustrated that he led the match 6-3 6-1 and then fell to lose 6-3 6-1 4-6 6-7 5-7 against Guida Pella from Argentina, the rain delay with the match being carried over did not help and you could see the frustration on his face.

Championship Point – Halle, Queens & Birmingham

A new instalment on the site with a weekly round-up of some of the stories from the week of tennis as Wimbledon edges closer!

Coric stuns Federer in Halle

Well, the question mark is now firmly next to Roger Federer’s name as a Wimbledon favourite after a good but difficult week in Halle.

No one has won the tournament more than this man 9 times and coming into Halle the Croat’s career win/loss record on grass was 2/9 now he has just won the biggest title of his career as his year gets better and better!

Petra stars in Birmingham!

I could not be happier for Petra. 12 months ago Petra won the title here, her first after the attack in her home and to come and defend the title was a great achievement.

Watching Petra live in Birmingham was a delight and to win her 25th career title with Eastbourne next week but more importantly Wimbledon shows to me she is ready to shine on the biggest stage again.

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Cilic puts his name into winners circle!

Well Marin Cilic is certainly put his name in Wimbledon’s winners circle hat.

The Croat has had another solid week at Queens to pick up his second title in London winning the longest final in Queens history against Novak Djokovic who once led the head to head at 14-0 but it is now 14-2.

Novak Djokovic however is back in a final… so watch out 😉

 

 

Dissecting the Draw’s – Queens Club & Birmingham

Well, the draw gods have treated us to some stunning round one match ups at the ATP 500 event in Queens Club and the WTA Premier event in Birmingham where I will be next week. So let’s have a look?

Queens Club

Marin Cilic v Fernando Verdasco

Top seed Marin Cilic takes on an unpredictable Fernando Verdasco. Fernando’s game is very much at it’s best when he is able to sit on the baseline with time. He adapts well to all surfaces and recently secured his 500th career win on the tour. Fernando will provide a challenge and I think he could cause an upset here. Marin has been in good form this year with his Roland Garros ending at the quarter finals against Juan Martin Del Potro.

Stan Wawrinka v Cameron Norrie

I suppose the questions will follow for Stan. Stan is set to play here at Queens and then Wimbledon before making the switch to hard court. Stan has just pulled out of some clay events due to take part in July due to quick surface change and if things don’t go to plan here surely Wimbledon becomes a question mark? 

Cam Norrie was good on the clay so it will be good to see him play at this big tournament against Stan who has no match rhythm this year something he is hoping to find as he teams up with Novak Djokovic in the doubles.

David Goffin v Feliciano Lopez

David Goffin never seems to get the luck, The Belgian’s year which has been good has been halted a few times by injury failing to pick up momentum where we expected him to be a major part of the clay court season and a first round match up against Feliciano Lopez who is of course the defending champion after a stunning run to win here last year having come here throughout his career.

Nick Kyrgios v Andy Murray

Stay tuned 😉

Other matches

Jack Sock is in action against a tricky Daniil Medvedev who always provides a tricky test on grass. Milos Raonic is back in action after making the final in Stuttgart against Bhambri and could play Goffin/Lopez in R2.

Novak Djokovic is also at Queens Club and will open up against John Millman in R1 and round two match with second seed Grigor Dimitrov is possible!

Birmingham

Elina Svitolina v Donna Vekic

Well, I am hoping that this one doesn’t take to court until Wednesday but that’s unlikely! I’m so pleased Elina is here in Birmingham and I do hope to see her this week, likewise for Donna Vekic who is another player who becomes so dangerous on the grass courts.

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Petra Kvitova v Johanna Konta

After an explosive end for Johanna Konta in her final loss against Ashleigh Barty in Nottingham and it won’t get any easier against the defending champion Petra Kvitova who has been quite sensational this year. Despite being in front of a home crowd I do expect a 50/50 atmosphere as Petra’s story and win here last year really connected with the crowd.

Daria Gavrilova v Dominika Cibulkova

Two players I love watching. On their day they are unstoppable but unfortunately for Dominika more her day hasn’t come too often. It’s easy to forget she is a former Grand Slam finalist and under two years ago was stunning at the WTA Finals in Singapore, I would love to see her reach those heights again.

Daria is good to watch. She’s lively from the baseline and when it all comes together she does perform well however when she doesn’t perform the wheels come off, frustration is visible and it becomes a bit of a circus.

Other matches

Garbine Muguruza is the top seed and will open her week up against Pavlyuchenkova. British pair Heather Watson and Katie Boulter are also here and will open up against Tsurenko and Osaka respectively.

Pliskova, Mladenovic, Kasatkina and Nottingham champion Barty are also in action in Birmingham.

 

Roland Garros Day 12 – Halep & Stephens to meet, Men’s semi-finals now set!

It’s been a day full of emotion. We now know who will contest the ladies final on Saturday and who will be in the men’s semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Simona Halep 6-1 6-4 Garbine Muguruza

The big battle has been won by the Romanian. She has looked so locked in and deserves soo much credit for the way she is playing right now. Forget the tag of being world number one as she had to recover mentally from that dramatic loss here last year in the final and to get back here in the fashion she has is magnificent for the Romanian who is in her third final here.

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The match quickly went the way of Halep going 3-0 up against the Spaniard and was covering the court incredibly well and despite some good work on the backhand from the Spaniard she still nailed it and deserves a lot of credit for that.

Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-4 Madison Keys

I hope Madison goes away from this one with a smile on her face! She’s had an excellent fortnight and has done very well on a surface you wouldn’t say is her strongest however she fell again to her good friend Sloane Stephens.

Sloane is unpredictable. 12 months ago she was injured and now she has a US Open title, Miami title and a Roland Garros final to contest… no one saw this coming!

She took control quite quickly in the match and despite the close scoreline she never really looked in danger and that is something that will probably bother Madison is that she couldn’t find the gears to turn the momentum.

Rafael Nadal 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 Diego Schwartzman

Rafa’s rain dance helped. Down a set and a break the heavens opened up yesterday and play was suspended. This afternoon they returned at 3-3 in the second set with Rafa reeling off 5 games in a row from 1-3 down originally to claim the set and at this point there was no looking back for the world number one taking 12 of the next 16 games to progress to another Roland Garros semi-final.

Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6 5-7 6-3 7-5 Marin Cilic

The tower of Tandil is back in a Roland Garros semi-final. Out of the three surfaces this is his least favourite I’d imagine but he has pulled everything together to become effective on the clay.

Del Potro isn’t a natural clay court mover. His bread and butter tennis is that inside out forehand which can on this surface if it’s heavy in the air opens up the backhand defence and not being a natural slider makes things difficult but he’s done really well.

His backhand has stood up and importantly he’s utilised the slice a lot and this helps because it stops too much traffic coming to the backhand corner with pace and if it does he has time.

 

Roland Garros Day 9 – Injuries, Marathons and Normal Service!

The draw is getting smaller. The quarter final line-ups are set. A day which was tipped to be a big one didn’t really deliver but what did happen on the second Monday?

Serena withdrew!

The news did slowly start to break and in hindsight I am slightly surprised no one picked up on anything before then following her performance and walk-off after the final set of her doubles match with Venus the night before. The big hope now is Serena is fit for Wimbledon!

SW

Serena Williams withdraws from Roland Garros

Kevin choked!

Kevin Anderson took about an hour as he found himself 6-1 6-2 up against Diego Schwartzmann and it looked like it would be plain sailing for the South African however Diego had different ideas and turned it around from two sets down to set up a quarter final with Rafael Nadal!

Kasatkina through!

Daria Kasatkina came back yesterday and took around 20 minutes to see of Caroline Wozniacki to advance to her first Grand Slam quarter final and with her section of the draw she has a good chance to reach the final here!

Daria Kasatkina 7-6 6-3 Caroline Wozniacki – Russian shows patience and aggression as she defeats the Dane

Rafa,Marin and Del Potro win!

Rafael Nadal had a meeting against Maximilian Marterer in R4. The German had made the headlines with his run here and he gave his all throughout the three sets against Nadal!

Marin Cilic on the other hand had to go the long way around. He led Fabio Fognini by two sets and the Italian looked injured but Cilic did come through in 5.

Juan Martin Del Potro is also through to the quarter finals after a pretty comprehensive 6-4 6-4 6-4 win against John Isner.

Cruising Halep!

Simona Halep is looking better and better as the tournament progresses. The world number one wasted no time at all as she cruised into the quarter finals with just three games dropped against a difficult opponent in Elise Mertens.

Simona Halep 6-2 6-1 Elise Mertens – Ruthless Halep cruises in less than an hour!