Tenaciously Tennis

ATP Post-Wimbledon Ranking Roundup

Wimbledon ended yesterday with Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams collecting the titles of the particularly historic tournament. Along with taking the trophies, the world number ones are enjoying uncontested positions as the best in the world. Here’s a breakdown of the ATP ranking changes released today.

  • Rafael Nadal surges ahead to a dominant position as world number one with over 10,000 points. His exceptional play at the French Open and Wimbledon after a difficult 2009 makes him poised to hold the spot for the remainder of the year. If so, this will be his second year to end the season as number one.
  • In a severe shake-up of the rankings, Roger Federer fell to number three in the world. This is the first time in seven years he’s been at the position. I don’t see him reclaiming the number two spot from Nadal, although number two is definitely in his sights with a strong US Open Series showing. Novak Djokovic — now number two — leads Federer by only the slimmest of margins. At the US Open, Federer will need to make the finals or win the title to avoid losing any more points and salvage his worst year on tour in quite some time.
  • Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych also moved big in the rankings. The Czech is now inside the top ten for the first time since 2008. With his improved play and the confidence gained from making the semifinals at Roland Garros — going along with his first finals showing at a Grand Slam — I think he’ll continue to ascend. I predict a top five finish the year, especially if he can advance past the fourth round at the US Open for the first time in his career.
  • Americans John Isner and Sam Querrey both posted their best wins at Wimbledon. Isner won the longest match in tennis history to make it to the second round, claiming a well-deserved career-high ranking of 18. Querrey made it to the fourth round to come out just behind Isner at number 19. They meet compatriot Andy Roddick in the top twenty.
  • Yen-Hsun Lu, the man that beat Andy Roddick, raced up the rankings 40 spots after his quarterfinal showing. Let’s see if he can keep the momentum going through the hard court season.
  • Other notables include Daniel Brands, who will enjoy a career-high 66 after gaining 30 spots, while Dudi Sela of Israel — a player that made it to the 4th round of Wimbledon last year — dropped 25 spots after losing to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the first round.

The women’s ranking changes will be highlighted tomorrow.


Berdych Beats Federer; Williams Sisters Lose in Doubles

In two of the biggest upsets at an already extraordinary Wimbledon, Roger Federer lost to Tomas Berdych, while Serena and Venus Williams succumbed in doubles to Vera Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina. The quarterfinals were intense in score and emotion, and the doubles loss was equally dramatic. Here are highlights of day nine at Wimbledon.

1. Roger Federer versus Tomas Berdych

He took Federer to five sets over a year ago at the Australian Open, beat him in Miami, and finally did it. Yes, that’s correct, Berdych of the Czech Republic beat the reigning champion, and six time Wimbledon winner, in four sets to advance to his second straight Grand Slam semifinal. At the French Open, Berdych lost to Rafael Nadal in the semis.

But the question is: what happened to Federer? This is his second straight quarterfinal showing, something unheard of from him in the last five years. In his press conferences, he wasn’t very kind to his opponents skill, citing nagging injuries, and sounding bitter the whole way through. Sure, it’s understandable. But from Federer? I, for one, expect more.

Now, do I think this is the end of Federer, as surely most of the commentators are chattering about? No. In fact, I say he gets to at least the semis of the US Open, unless he meets Berdych on the way there. Credit needs to be given to the Czech giant, he played the match of his life, winning over Federer quite easily, despite a second set blip. In the third set? He won 6-1. That is impressive.

Now, Federer’s rank is another story. Having lost in the quarterfinals in the last two majors, it’s going to take a big hit. Last year, of course, he won both events. I remember hearing he’s slated to drop to number three in the world. Unheard of for the greatest of all time. If he can have a strong US hard court season leading up to the US Open and defend his title, maybe he has a chance to secure the number two spot again. But these are all big ifs. There are just too many variables and players that can take it to Federer that we’ll need to watch out for the results.

With Berdych in the semifinals, let’s look at the man in his way to make it to the finals.

2. Novak Djokovic versus Yen-Hsun Lu:

In a result reversal from the fourth round, Lu of Chinese Taipei succumbed quickly to a strong Djokovic in three sets. Djokovic looked sharp, and Lu was understandably fatigued from his five set battle with Andy Roddick. Judging by the score, he didn’t have much left in the tank. Will we be seeing more of Lu in the future? We’ll need to see just how his new found confidence takes his game to the next level.

In the Djokovic – Berdych match, both are looking incredibly sharp without a doubt. While Djokovic has the experience in the finals of majors, and the one title to his name at the Austrailian Open, Berdycj won the bigger match. His confidence is at an all time high, especially with his result at the French to back his result at Wimbledon. I’m going to say the upset occurs, and Berdych wins in four sets to make it to his first Grand Slam final.

3. Andy Murray versus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:

Continuing to roll through the draw, Murray ousted Tsonga in straight sets to advance to the semifinals of his home Grand Slam event. Under the radar for most of the event, he continues to amaze both for his poise and brilliant shot-making. After a disappointing French Open for both players, it’s nice seeing them make it far into Wimbledon.

Murray has always been a personal favorite with his tactically genius counter-punching style. With his improved physique and added aggressiveness, he’s already made it to two Grand Slam finals. Both times he lost to Federer. Without him in the way, Murray’s chances haven’t looked better. Of course, before looking toward the final, we need to examine one last match.

4. Rafael Nadal versus Robin Soderling:

In the second meeting between Nadal and Soderling — the last at the French Open final — Soderling upped his level to take the first set from the 2008 champion. After that, however, Nadal steamrolled through Soderling to advance to the next round. With each major, I see more things I like about Soderling. Hopefully, he goes into the US Open proud of his accomplishments — not discouraged in the least. I believe he’ll hold up a major title one day, it’s just a matter of when.

The match between Murray and Nadal will be a marquee event. Whoever wins the match — and I can’t definitively predict who — will win the title in my opinion.

5. The Williams Sisters versus Vera Zvonareva and Elena Vesnina:

Going for the calendar year Slam in doubles, the Williams sisters rolled through their first batch of matches, looking poised for another doubles victory. That, however, was not the case. Zvonareva and Vesnina played some fantastic doubles to knock out the number one seeds.

What a tough couple days for Venus. I wish her a great hard court season. With her success so far this year, there’s no reason to be discouraged.

6. Endnote:

So, Wimbledon is winding down. Look for Berdych to beat Djokovic in four sets, while the other semifinal is still up in the air. Whatever the final, it’ll be a great way to end such this historic 2010 tournament.

Mega Monday Brings High Drama to Wimbledon

The best day in tennis didn’t fail to surprise. Big names left stunned, great battles were fought, and Wimbledon remains left with a whittled down number of eight men and women. Let’s look at the fourth round action.

The ATP Tour:

  • Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal look solid with both winning in three relatively easy sets to advance to the quarterfinals. It looks like they’re on course for a collision in the finals. Federer took out French Open semifinalist Jurgen Melzer, while Nadal ousted Paul-Henri Mathieu.
  • Up next for the number one and number two? Nadal plays Robin Soderling in a rematch of the French Open. Soderling, who didn’t lose a set until his match today against David Ferrer, needs to muster all his energy to eliminate a revived Nadal in this second week. He isn’t the same player that lost two sets to relative unknowns. He’s in it to win. Federer will next have his hands full with Tomas Berdych, who’s given him trouble in the past. I don’t see that happening here. He’s just too good.
  • But before the two settle themselves into the final, Andy Murray is poised to stand in the way of Nadal. Murray, who has the crowd distinctly on his side, took control against the American Sam Querrey, and continues to play without dropping a set. He won 7-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will next face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Tsonga beat a fellow Frenchman Julien Benneteau in four sets to continue his run under the radar. I see Murray winning in four.
  • Also looking particularly sharp today was Novak Djokovic. Despite my prediction that he’d lose to Lleyton Hewitt in a major upset, the Serb took the match in four sets, 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. He next takes on Yen-Hsun Lu, which brings me to my next point.
  • Yup, that’s right. Andy Roddick, last year’s finalist, is out. Lu took out the defending finalist in five sets with a 9-7 win in the fifth — the match was the second longest of the season trailing only the John Isner – Nicholas Mahut marathon. It’s a sad result for Roddick, who really looked set for another semifinal showing at Wimbledon at the least. Everyone was hoping for him to face off against Federer. But Lu played better tennis in the end, capturing the only break in the match. He becomes the first Asian man in the quarterfinals of a major in 15 years. Congratulations are certainly due.

I’ll update this post with the women’s results tomorrow.

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