Tenaciously Tennis

Australian Open 2011 Predictions: ATP Tour, Week Two

With the final eight men and women set, it’s time to revise predictions for the 2011 Australian Open tournament’s future path on both the ATP and WTA tours. Here’s a look at the last men standing.

Previously predicting that we’d see Rafael Nadal facing David Ferrer; Robin Soderling against Andy Murray; Nikolai Davydenko against Novak Djokovic; and Roger Federer versus Andy Roddick, I wasn’t too off the mark with five-of-eight advancing. A claim to perfect picking, however, was dismantled early in the tournament with Davydenko’s first round loss to Florian Mayer. Soderling succumbed in the fourth round to Alexandr Dolgopolov, while Roddick got served a straight sets loss by Stanislas Wawrinka.

For the next three rounds, my picks are as follows:

Nadal versus Ferrer:

Despite the recent announcement that he’s still suffering from sickness, no one’s looked better than Nadal in the tournament. The Spaniard looks poised to defeat his compatriot Ferrer in straight sets. Not only did the world’s 7th-ranked player hit a lot of balls against the up-and-coming power-player from Canada, Milos Raonic, in the last round, he also has a losing record to the world number one. Nadal’s won 12-of-15 matches against Federer, including the last six in straight sets. He can’t get much more dominant than that. Expect the same here.

Bottom Line: Nadal advances in three.

Murray versus Dolgopolov:

Last year’s finalist Murray has looked strong, too, in his run to this year’s quarterfinals. Without dropping a set, he now faces the tricky Dolgopolov, the winner over Soderling. The Ukrainian, ranked just inside the top 50, however, has played ten sets in his last two matches. Although he has no pressure versus Murray, look for him to wilt against the fifth seed.

Bottom Line: Murray counterpunches his way to the semifinals in four sets after a strong early push from Dolgopolov to cap the Hungarian’s excellent Australian Open.

Berdych versus Djokovic:

I didn’t see Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych advancing this far in the tournament given his slow end to 2010. He has, however, emerged as a contender for the title with excellent performances in his last four matches, especially against Fernando Verdasco in the fourth round. In that match, everything was working for him in the straight sets victory. He’s dropped only one set so far.

Djokovic, however, looks like just the guy to stop Berdych from making a deeper run into the tournament. With a 4-1 head-to-head, a nine match winning streak, a Davis Cup title, and a need for revenge after losing to Berdych in the Wimbledon semifinals, the Serb wants this badly. He’ll get that victory, provided his fitness holds up against his opponent’s onslaught of power and precision.

Bottom Line: Djokovic edges Berdych in a four-set, grueling test of athleticism.

Federer versus Wawrinka:

In a match-up between the 2008 doubles gold medalists, we should see some good competition for a place in the semifinals. Although Federer leads his head-to-head against Wawrinka, the world number 19 hasn’t lost a match this year. Of course, neither has Federer. The difference: Wawrinka hasn’t lost a set this tournament, even against the higher-ranked Gael Monfils and Roddick. It’ll be a test for Federer, but he’ll overcome it with emotion. He wants to repeat his win Down Under last year, badly. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he leads 8-1 against Wawrinka.

Bottom Line: Federer breaks down the Wawrinka game to make the semifinals.

Road to the Finals:

With Nadal against Murray and Djokovic facing Federer, it’s so tempting to say we’ll see the Nadal-Federer rivalry renewed for the first time in a major since the 2009 Australian Open. I want to see it, and so do many tennis fans around the world.

Bottom Line: Nadal and Federer face-off in the final.


Federer, Soderling Win Australian Open Warm-Ups

Roger Federer and Robin Soderling won their Australian Open warm-up events, beating Nikolai Davydenko and Andy Roddick, respectively, in straight set matches. Federer beat Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 in Qatar to become the first player ever to win the event three times, while Soderling defeated Roddick 6-3, 7-5 at the tournament in Brisbane.

With the Australian Open starting next week, the wins should help boost both players’ confidence. For Soderling, ranked fifth in the world, the added confidence could prove highly beneficial to his play at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament. Until now, he hasn’t advanced past the second round — his worst result by far. Last year, he lost in the first round to the unseeded Marcel Granollers in five sets. With another final at Roland Garros under his belt and quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the US Open, he’s poised to make a move in Australia.

For Federer, however, he’ll need to not only sustain his current level of play, but do even better to match last year’s win over Andy Murray in three sets. I think Federer has an excellent chance to get to the finals again this year. He’s been playing some exceptional tennis these past few months, including his win at the Barclay’s year-ending event. Plus, with two quarterfinals and a semifinal showing at his last three majors, there’s no questioning just how much Federer wants the victory.

Too add to his possible success at the Sunny Slam, Rafael Nadal hasn’t been feeling well recently. The top-ranked Spaniard succumbed to Davydenko in the Qatar semifinals 6-3, 6-2 (although he later won the doubles championship in straight sets with partner Marc Lopez). While Nadal is likely to recover in time for the Open, every detail counts when a rivalry is as intense as his and Federer’s.

In other results, Stanislas Wawrinka and Petra Kvitova won their tournaments, too, to begin the 2011 season with a bang.

US Open Predictions – ATP Tour

The US Open is finally upon us. The stage has been set, the qualifying is over, and the last major of the year is underway. Here’s my review of each section of the draw.

Rafael Nadal’s Quarter:

This section of the draw is owned by one man: Rafael Nadal, the number one player in the world, and the winner of both the French Open and Wimbledon. He’s primed to take home his first US Open title on paper, but his US Open Series has been severely lacking, raising some questions about his most recent form on the hard courts. Regardless, this is a major tournament, and there’s no one that enjoys the grind more than Nadal.

The first real test for the Spaniard seems to be Ivan Ljubicic, but even that’s a stretch. I’m going for Nadal to get through to the quarterfinals in dominating fashion.

Other notables: Ryan Harrison, the young American qualifier, plays Ljubicic in the first round. Can he get the upset? Probably not.

Fernando Verdasco’s Quarter:

Verdasco and David Ferrer, both Spaniards, own this section of the draw. There is, however, a very dangerous 31st seed in the Argentinian David Nalbandian. Something about Ernests Gulbis, the 24th seed, is also enticing. I’ll pick Gulbis to face against Nalbandian for a spot in the quarters. In that match, I’m going with Nalbandian to find himself across the net from Nadal.

Other notables: None. I’ll just stress that Gulbis and Nalbandian are ones to watch.

Andy Murray’s Quarter:

With a strong US Open Series, including his win over both Nadal and Federer in Toronto, I like the looks of Murray going into this event. And his path doesn’t look to difficult until getting to the fourth round. There, I’m going with Sam Querrey to fight for the chance at the second week.

Murray, however, will win in three or four sets. He’s too masterful of a tactician to get shocked by Querrey’s power.

Other notables: Can the 14th seed Nicholas Almagro make any noise by defeating the home favorite Querrey in the third round?

Tomas Berdych’s Quarter:

The tennis world hasn’t heard too much from Berdych since his stunning run to the Wimbledon finals, where he was promptly dominated by Nadal. This section of the draw won’t make a repeat performance any easier. With Mikhail Youzhny, Xavier Malisse, and John Isner looming in the background, Berdych will need to prove he’s ready to continue his success at the majors. He made the semifinals at the French Open, too. Can he keep up the form when the pressure’s really on?

I’m going for the compelling match-up featuring Isner and Berdych. Although Isner’s health looks questionable, get injured in the last tournament he played, I’m looking for a good showing for the American giant. In the fourth round, however, Berdych stops the big guy without a problem.

Other notables: Youzhny could very well break my prediction with some inspired play against Isner in the third round. Watch out.

Nikolai Davydenko’s Quarter:

While this is called Davydenko’s section — he’s the sixth seed?! — it really belongs to Andy Roddick. Davydenko has been suffering recently with injury, and while Roddick isn’t doing too much better health-wise with his mono, he’s proven he’s on the fast track to recovery. I say it’s already a thing of the past.

Roddick shouldn’t have too much trouble making it to the fourth round. Gael Monfil had a lot of trouble in his first round match, barely getting by Robert Kendrick in the first round. I predict Roddick gets into the quarterfinals.

Other notables: The Frenchman Richard Gasquet may very well have the form to take out Davydenko early on. Even so, I’d say Roddick can dispatch Gasquet without too much trouble.

Novak Djokovic’s Quarter:

This section also reads incredibly tough on paper. While Djokovic stands out as the heavy favorite to get through by seeding, one American, Mardy Fish, has been playing some incredible tennis recently. At the top of the quarter, the 16th seed Marcos Baghdatis is more fit than ever before. I call Fish advancing in a tight and dramatic four-setter against the Cypriot. The winner faces Djokovic without a doubt.

Other notables: Wild card James Blake and Robby Ginepri might become inspired by the home crowd. Both made the US Open quarterfinals a few years ago.

Robin Soderling’s Quarter:

Although Soderling, the 5th seed, looked shaky in the opening round, he gains confidence as the tournament progress. He’ll make the fourth round without dropping another set.

Marin Cilic finds good form — he looked good in practice when the qualifying tournament was going on — and doesn’t drop a set on his way to play Soderling. That is, unless one Japanese qualifer doesn’t get in his way (explained below) In the probably match Cilic-Soderling, however, Soderling prevails in five sets.

Other notables: Qualifier Kei Nishikori, who made the fourth round before injury set in, has looked sharp so far in his four matches. With a withdrawal after two sets in the first round, he’ll have the extra rest to do some damage. He may give Cilic a real test in the third round. In fact, I hope he does.

Roger Federer’s Quarter:

This section, of course, belongs to Federer. He’s gunning for his second major in a year and number 17 in total. After losing in two straight Grand Slam quarterfinals, he’s hungry for the win. With Paul Annacone as his full-time coach and his new, aggressive brand of tennis, he’s looking very, very good. Federer cruises into the quarterfinals in straight sets all the way.

Other notables: Jurgen Melzer and Lleyton Hewitt are promising, but there’s no way either can get past Federer in a major tournament.

The Quarters and Semis:

In the top half, Nadal defeats Nalbandian in four, while Andy Murray loses to Berdych in five sets. In the semis — a rematch of Wimbledon — Nadal dispatches Berdych, although this time in four sets.

In the bottom half, Roddick faces Djokovic, a player he’s beaten four times in a row. He continues the streak to make the semis. There, he faces Federer, the winner versus Soderling to avenge his quarterfinal defeat at Roland Garros. Federer beats Roddick in three.

Serena Withdraws from US Open; Nadal and Murray Lose

Serena Williams will not be playing the US Open due to a foot injury after winning Wimbledon earlier this summer. Her absence leaves a good opportunity for a number of other players, including Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova (assuming they’re healthy).

For the men, both Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, who’s coming off a win in Canada, lost their matches. Andy Roddick and Roger Federer advanced to get to the semifinals.

Serena’s not playing and, although I didn’t see her winning the title given her absence on tour, she probably would’ve made a deep run into the second week. On the other hand, it’s refreshing to let another woman besides the 13-time Grand Slam titlist take center stage. I’m watching out for Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s finalist, too.

But for the men, it was an intriguing day. Nadal and Murray looked sluggish, spraying shots to let their lower-ranked opponents, Marcos Baghdatis and Mardy Fish, respectively, take advantage. Baghdatis beat the world number one 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, while the wild card Fish, who surprisingly leads his head-to-head against Murray 4-3, advanced 6-7 (7), 6-1, 7-6 (5). Although Nadal’s loss is surprising, Murray’s been playing a lot of tennis lately. I don’t really count the losses for either as anything to be concerned about going into the US Open. In fact, they’ll have more time to rest and will prove to be just that much more dangerous once the tournament begins.

For Roddick — the recent winner over Robin Soderling in a close three-setter — to then beat Novak Djokovic is impressive, especially with concerns over his health. Roddick announced just a couple weeks ago that he’s overcoming a bout of mono. Well, it seems to have worn off now, and it’s great to see the American notching big wins over the top guys on tour again. He beat Djokovic 6-4, 7-5 for his fourth straight victory over the Serb.

Federer has had an easy time thus far in the tournament after his previous two opponents retired. He won over Nikolai Davydenko with the same score as Roddick — 6-4, 7-5. He next faces Baghdatis, while friends Fish and Roddick will fight for the final.

I predict a Federer – Roddick final.

Top Seeds Roddick, Davydenko, Jankovic and Petkovic Struggle

The top seeds at their respective tournaments, Andy Roddick, Nikolai Davydenko, Jelena Jankovic, and Andrea Petkovic all struggled in early rounds. Three lost their matches, while one survived.

Roddick, the lone top seed to advance of the four, barely got past compatriot Rajeev Ram at the newly revived US Open Series event in Atlanta. Roddick — whose foundation will be building a tennis center in Texas — beat Ram 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-3. After a disappointing Wimbledon, Roddick needs to do well to prove he’s still relevant going into this year’s US Open.

The next disappointing result belongs to Davydenko, whose year so far has been less than stellar due to injury. The Russian lost to the 79th ranked Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-4 at the Hamburg German Open. After making a run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, which ended with a roller-coaster loss to Roger Federer, Davydenko didn’t play at Roland Garros and made it to the second round at Wimbledon. I don’t see this being Davydenko’s summer to shine.

On the WTA tour, Jelena Jankovic pulled out of the Banka Koper Slovenia Open after struggling to a third set against qualifier Anastasiya Yakimova. Jankovic didn’t play the same after leading 6-1, 2-1 and twisting her ankle when attempting to get to a ball. This was her first match since retiring from the fourth round of Wimbledon with a back injury. Something’s going on with Jankovic, and I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s just more of the same old drama she’s been known for, maybe it’s being burnt out from all the play. Whatever the reason, she won’t be winning a Grand Slam title any time soon if she continues to sabotage her own potential.

Finally, Petkovic failed to advance at the Bad Gastein tournament after losing to Alize Cornet 6-2, 7-5. She won the event last year.

Federer Escapes First Round Upset

Roger Federer beat Alejandro Falla, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0, in a surprising uphill battle from the start. The six-time Wimbledon champion looked set for defeat after losing the first two sets. However, he started playing at a new level in the last three sets, deflecting Falla’s impressive shot-making. In the final set, Federer reigned supreme and didn’t lose a game.

The question is: Can Federer overcome this scare and make it to his eighth Wimbledon final in a row? It won’t be an easy route. I see him dropping more sets over the course of the tournament, especially in the projected match against Berdych in the quarterfinals. Being Federer, however, his game will continue to improve as the tournament progresses. Hopefully, there aren’t any more scares of the sort.

By the way, congrats to Federer for earning his 200th win. It was well deserved.

Other notable five set escape artists: Novak Dkokovic (over Olivier Rochus) anad Nikolai Davydenko (against Kevin Anderson).

Noteworthy Winners: Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, Florian Mayer (over Marin Cilic), Lleyton Hewitt, and Tomas Berdych.

In other news, the French Open champion Francesca Schiavone lost in the first round to Vera Douchevine, while Melanie Oudin reclaimed some Grand Slam success by breaking her first round curse at the majors. She beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld, 6-3, 6-0.

Speaking of young Americans, Alison Riske, who made it to the semifinals at her Wimbledon warm-up event lost to Yanina Wickmayer in three sets. I see a big future for her in the coming majors. The US Open perhaps?

Sadly, a personal favorite, Patty Schnyder, faltered against Yung-jan Chan of China in two sets.

Other noteworthy wins: Venus Williams, Marion Bartoli, Shahar Peer (over Ana Ivanovic), Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, and Ekaterina Makarova.

Wimbledon Predictions – The ATP Tour

Roger Federer’s loss to Lleyton Hewitt last week and a tough draw for Rafael Nadal signify a tough time for the two previous champions. Can both overcome the tough challenge that lays ahead of them? I think so. Let’s take a systematic look at the draw and crack this year’s Wimbledon code.

The First Quarter:

Notables – Roger Federer (1), Tommy Robredo (30), Feliciano Lopez (22), Jurgen Melzer (16), Tomas Berdych (12), Stanislas Wawrinka (20), Victor Hanescu (31), Nikolai Davydenko (7)

In this section, the obvious person to pull through is Federer, the five time champion. I see him advancing to the fourth round without much trouble. Once there, however, I see a tough test against Tomas Berdych in the future. Also noteworthy, Lopez of Spain, who beat Nadal a couple weeks ago. While Federer didn’t play too sharply against Hewitt in his pre-Wimbledon warm-up, it’s a different story in a Grand Slam. Watch Davydenko, whose been having a tough year so far, falter before the fourth round.

The Final Four: Federer faces Lopez, and Berdych handily defeats an ailing Davydenko.

The Second Quarter:

NotablesNovak Djokovic (3), Taylor Dent, Albert Montanes (28), Gael Monfils (21), Lleyton Hewitt (15), Marin Cilic (11), Mardy Fish, Ivan Ljubicic (17), Philipp Kohlschreiber (29), Andy Roddick (5)

This is a difficult part of the draw for Roddick, the guy I’m rooting for. He’s had some poor results this past few months, including a basically non-existent clay court season. Yes, he made it to the third round, which is as good as a showing as any for the top male American, but his third showing at Queens Club was his worst ever. Hopefully, this 2009 Wimbledon finalist can recall the drive and belief that took him to a fifth set against Federer last year. That match his to win. I see Roddick making it to the fourth round without losing a set. There’s no one to do any damage to his exceptional serving game and strong baseline rallying capabilities. The rest these past few months might also help. If anything, he’s fresh. It’s all up to the Roddick serve. Once he makes it there, I see a tough match against Marin Cilic in his future. He should, however, pull through.

The Final Four: Hewitt looks to be a difficult opponent with his win against Federer. I say he dismantles Djokovic. In the bottom half, Roddick proves to be too much for Cilic.

The Third Quarter:

Notables – Fernando Verdasco (8), Julien Benneteau (32), Nicholas Almagro (19), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10), Juan Carlos Ferrero (14), Sam Querrey (18), Gilles Simon (26), Andy Murray (4)

Out of this slew of players, the only one that I feel holds a chance at victory is Sam Querrey, which is surprising given his lackluster Grand Slam performances in the past. With his best performance coming in the fourth round of the 2008 US Open, and only making it to the second round at Wimbledon last year, he has a lot to prove. Regardless, his career high ranking and win over compatriot Mardy Fish in the finals of Queens Club shows he’s ready to do well on grass. With three titles to his name already this year, I see at least a quarterfinal run for the giant American. It won’t be easy with Murray as a potential fourth round opponent, but I like his chances. A lot.

The Final Four: Tsonga surprises Verdasco in five close sets in the top half. In the bottom section, Querrey gives everything to take out Britain’s hope Murray in another five set blockbuster to make his first quarterfinal showing in a Grand Slam.

The Fourth Quarter:

Notables – Robin Soderling (7), Robby Ginepri, Thomaz Bellucci (25), Marcos Baghdatis (24), David Ferrer (9), Mikhail Youzhny (13), John Isner (23), Philipp Petzschner (33), James Blake, Rafael Nadal (2)

Notice Nadal’s section as probably one of, if not the, most difficult in all four sections. I think he needs to watch out for John Isner big time. There’s no saying how Isner will play on a given day. But if he’s at his best, and his baseline game mirrors his wicked serve, the American can take out anyone, even Nadal. I’m not saying that’s probable, but it’s a slim possibility. On the top section, Soderling has a difficult match afainst Ginepri to go through. Other than that, it should be an easy time to make it to the fourth round. There, I see him facing Marcos Baghatis.

The Final Four: Soderling defeats Baghdatis in three sets, and Nadal faces a test against Isner in four.

Second Week Predictions:

  • Federer fends off Berdych
  • Roddick stops Hewitt’s string of grass wins in three
  • Querrey, assuming he plays the match of his life against Murray, faces a pumped up Tsonga. Querrey wins in five for a second straight top ten victory.
  • Nadal notches another win against the Swedish Soderling in a three set repeat of the French Open final.

In the semifinals, I don’t see Roddick repeating the excellent play against Federer. I think he’ll bow out in four sets, much to my chagrin. As for Querrey (or Murray with a serious asterisk), Nadal’s too much to handle in a Grand Slam semifinal. Get ready for much-needed Federer – Nadal final. We’ll leave that prediction for another day — it’s just too close to decide in my mind.

For the men’s official draw, look here.

Sharapova Surprised by Zheng; Federer Through in Three

Another blackhorse pick to win Indian Wells is out. This time, the number ten seed, Maria Sharapova, fell in three sets to the number eighteen seed and Australian Open semifinalist, Jie Zheng of China. Although it looked like Sharapova’s confidence would be enough to make a real run for the trophy, Zheng’s powerful groundstrokes proved too much. Sharapova lost 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

With Sharapova gone, Zheng should surely make it to the quarterfinals, where she’ll potentially meet the third seed, Caroline Wozniacki, who will soon meet Maria Kirilenko in the round of 32. Should Wozniacki pull through, and make it to a match with Zheng in the quarters, I pick Wozniacki to win in three.

On the ATP tour, Roger Federer had a scare in his match against Victor Hanescu, needing three sets to advance. Federer won 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1. The win shows that while he’s a little rusty, Federer’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. In fact, playing a three set match is good for Federer in that he got the challenge and game play necessary to succeed as the tournament continues. His next opponents to watch out for? Marcos Baghdatis in a third round re-match of the 2006 Australian Open final and, potentially, Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals. I see both opponents putting up strong fights against the Swiss champion to no avail.

Other develoments of note: American James Blake defeated the thirteenth seed, David Ferrer and Nikolai Davydenko withdrew from the tournament with a broken wrist.

Federer and Nadal Question Marks at Indian Wells, Murray and Djokovic Bring Exclamation

With Roger Federer’s lung infection and Rafael Nadal’s knee problems, the ATP side of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells might be as open to new success as the WTA tour, where champions Serena and Venus Williams continue to abstain from play. Of course, just because injury has hampered both men in the past doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to take the title. In fact, the case can easily be made that since Federer lacks the pressure to win with his Grand Slam success and recent illness, he will continue to keep the tennis world in awe with a win at the fifth “Grand Slam.” In Nadal’s case, the Spaniard probably feels even more fired up than usual to show the tennis world that he truly is physically fit. The decision was difficult for him to retire against Andy Murray at the quarterfinals of Australian Open and to not play the recent Davis Cup tie. Therefore, look to see some aggressive, intelligent play coming from Nadal, who desperately needs a win to re-assert the confidence and at least a little of the dominance he showcased at the beginning of 2009.

However, while both men hold the skill and, obviously, the intensity required to take the title, a slew of other men are raring to show their worth, too. A couple obvious names and probable opponents are Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, the champion in Dubai, and Great Britain’s Andy Murray. While Djokovic appears in Nadal’s bottom half as the number two seed, Murray could meet Federer in the semifinals.

My quick predictions: I see Djokovic taking the bottom half of the draw, while Murray makes good at the top. The final will be a fierce competition between them, with Murray prevailing in three.

Blackhorse picks include: The number eight seed, Marin Cilic, the Australian Open semifinalist who put up a good fight against Murray. He will probably meet Djokovic in the quarterfinals; American Andy Roddick, who needs to prove he continues to have the high level of play that took him to 16-14 in the fifth against Federer at the 2009 Wimbledon. There will be a potential re-match of that epic in the quarters; and the under-achieving fifth seed, Russian Nikolai Davydenko, who finally got a racket endorsement.

Top Men Show Wear and Tear Early in Season

With Roger Federer ill, Rafael Nadal sidelined by injury and both Andy Murray and Nikolay Davydenko succumbing to much lower ranked players early on in Dubai, the men’s game is not looking too healthy at the moment. But then again with the season as long as it is, maybe that’s too be expected.

What’s especially worrisome about this all is Nadal’s own “worry” about his knee injuries, as reported in a recent Associated Press article, “Costa: Nadal ‘worried’ about constant injuries” in which the Spanish Davis Cup Captain Albert Costa relayed the troubling news. Yes, Nadal is hurt, but to actually go so far as to report worry to the media shows a very, un-Nadal-like sign. One that proves that the physical pain is transcending deeply into the emotional. This could be a sign that even Nadal himself doesn’t hold that same belief in his ability to recover, that’s there are some deeper issues beginning to surface than simply those plaguing his knees.

In other news, Murray and Davydenko disappoint in Dubai with the Brit falling to the other male Serbian, Janko Tipsarevic, while the Russian retired due to his nagging wrist injury. While Davydenko’s story is justified, what went wrong with Murray? Losing 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 to Tipsarevic is certainly a shocker. In fact, according to the AP article, Tipsarevic has barely strung together any wins on the ATP level recently, not to mention over a top-ten player in the world, and recent Grand Slam singles finalist. The article reports, “Tipsarevic, who hadn’t won on tour this year until this week, served for the match at 5-3 in the third set but was broken by Murray’s double-fisted backhand passing shot on the run.”

Only Novak Djokovic is continuing his form, securing a well-fought win over another Serb, Viktor Troicki, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

With the way things are going, the ATP tour is looking pretty weak. Maybe it’s time for some up-and-comers to emerge and claim a sport at the top echelon of tennis. If there were ever a time, it’s right now.

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