Match Tip – 11/08 – Haas to beat Karlovic

 Tommy Haas vs Ivo Karlovic – Montreal Masters

Haas has had a brilliant summer and he is back in the world’s top 20 for the first time since January 2008.

The 31-year-old has clearly put his injury problems behind him now and his semi-final showing at Wimbledon proves this.

Straight sets loses to Querrey and Gonzalez in recent weeks may be a sign of tiredness however I feel he will have enough to get past big serving Karlovic.

The Croatian, like Haas, was at the top of his game at Wimbledon before being cast aside by Roger Federer.

However I wasn’t as impressed with ‘Big Ivo’ in a match against Andy Roddick at Washington last week.

He was a break up in both sets but was broken back and ended up losing 7-6 7-6.

If Karlovic was bang on form he would not be losing his serve as we saw for 14 sets in a row at SW19.

Haas has lost to the 6′10 giant on the last three occasions but the last time they played was in 2007.

The German is a brilliant returner and seeing as he is playing his best tennis in a long while, he should be able to pick off a few of the massive serves coming at him and advance to the second round.

This tip was provided by Pinewood, a writer for our new sister site The Betting Battle – click here to find out more.

Serena not as dominant as she thinks she is?

After winning Wimbledon Serena Williams made some sarcastic comments when asked if she was disappointed not to be number one in the world.

She has won two grand slams this year and many regard her as the best female player on the tour but last weeks quarter final exit to little known Australian Samantha Stosur suggests otherwise.

It has been well documented that the Williams sisters only play the ‘big’ tournaments these days but I didn’t see the family name being engraved on the Bank of the West Classic trophy in Stanford, Califonia – not a massive event but the $700,000 prize fund was enough to attract the multiple time grand slam champions. 

It was the world number 12 and former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli who took the spoils beating Venus in the final in three sets to claim her fifth WTA title.

While it’s clear they both bring their best form to grand slams I feel that if Serena wants to be number one, which she clearly thinks she should be, then maybe she should start bringing this type of form to all the other tournaments.

Dinara Safina currently occupies the number one spot and although she was dominated by Venus in the Wimbledon semi final I think she deserves to be there.

She has worked the hardest out of all the female players in recent times and has got the most rankings points as a result.

During the post Wimbledon press conference on July 4th Serena said: “I see myself as number two.

“I think Dinara did a great job getting to number one – she won Rome and Madrid,” which caused the room to erupt with laughter.

This is a funny comment but lets see what happened to Serena in the two tournaments she mentioned.

In Madrid Serena retired in the first round after losing the first set and in Rome she lost in the second round to Patty Schnyder.

Had Serena won these two events she would be number one in the world so perhaps the rankings aren’t so fickle after all.

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Ward suffers with illness in Ecuador

Disaster struck for James Ward last week as he became ill a day before his first round match at The Manta Open in Ecuador.

Despite feeling awful brave Ward dragged himself out of bed to play against local hope and world number 472 Juilo Cesar Campozano.

Ward, who is now the British number 3, could not compete to his full ability and lost 6-3 6-2 in 61 minutes.

This was a big shame as had he been fit he would have had a great chance of going deep into the draw.

He said: “I shouldn’t have played the match as I got really sick.

“I wasn’t able to play anywhere near my best tennis which was very frustrating as I had been looking forward to the event.

“I’ve come up against highly ranked opponents in recent weeks and I thought there was a good chance of getting a few wins under my belt.

“I love travelling the world playing tournaments but occasionally the food isn’t the best which is a problem!

“I’m now at home recovering and hopefully I’ll be back on the tour as soon as possible.”

Ward made his first ever appearance at Wimbledon this year playing against Australian Open semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco. Read the match report here.

Check out his most recent results here.

Holiday tennis causes arguments

On a recent family holiday to Egypt I decided to come out of retirement and play against my brother.

My elbow tendonitis still continues to hamper me however I have now adopted a Roddick style of serving which doesn’t hurt as much – although a second serve is all I can manage.

On arrival to the Tropicana Grand Azure complex I noticed the tennis court which appeared to be clay and I got a little bit excited as I hadn’t played on ‘dirt’ for a while.

A couple of days later my brother and I headed to the court to find an old man sweeping and preparing the surface – excellent.

However there was a slight problem. While everything appeared to look in order, on closer inspection the court had a number of craters which guaranteed that we would have many dodgy bounces.

I lost the first set we played 6-2 but I was happy with my performance and with only a second serve to play with I can’t expect too much. I managed to drum up the support of the old court sweeper by looking at him and celebrating my good shots. After doing this a few times he began clapping my winners without a prompt!

We played our second set of tennis later on in the week and this time I was able to serve a bit better and took a 4-0 lead. My brother then claimed that his side (the side in which he had won 6-2 two days before) was in worse condition than my side.

I was obviously thought this was ridiculous and changed sides to shut him up. Similarly to  a rain break or an injury break my concentration was unsettled and I lost the next three games but managed to break to go 5-3 up.

Unfortunately I failed to close out the set despite serving for it a second time at 6-5 up. With the ‘my side of the court is worse’ statement echoing in my head I entered the tie break determined to not let it be a factor.

I failed to convert two set points and ended up losing the breaker 11-9.

Naturally I then accused my brother of cheating and intentionally trying to put me off. How dare he blame the court and not my brilliant play for his failure in the early to mid stages of the set!

Why Roddick got to the final

andy-roddick-wimbledonI don’t partcularly enjoy watching Andy Roddick play. 

He is not a brilliant shot maker, his backhand looks awkward, he hasn’t got a Murray like touch and his volleys are pretty standard.

These short comings were particularly evident in his match against Jurgen Melzer where the Austrian basically beat himself.

Roddick just pushed the ball back and Melzer, who was always looking to attack, made too many errors.

The way the world number six plays has changed dramatically if you compare his tennis with a couple of years ago. For example the 2007 US Open quarter final loss to Federer was full of energy with the American throwing everything at the Swiss master. He hit massive serves and massive groundstrokes with the emphasis on getting his forehand into play as much as possible.  

The new Roddick,  serves a bit slower, hits with far more caution and simply gets his ground strokes in.

So how did he get to the Wimbledon final I hear you ask?

Because there is no-one better than Roddick at grinding out a long rally on a big point.

Often a tennis match is decided by one or two points and time and time again you will see the American come out on top because mentally he is one of the best players on the tour.

It seems that the appointment of coach Larry Stefaki in December 2008  has worked like a dream as his results have been very impressive since that time.

I think there are a number of players in the top 50 who are better off the ground than Roddick but at the end of the day it’s what is inbetween the ears that counts the most.

While he  doesn’t have the talent of Federer, Nadal or Murray he rarely fails to go deep into a tournament because at crucial times during matches he has the ability to hit groundstrokes all day long until he wins a point.

This is highlighted by the fact he has a 26-6 tie break record for this year. This statistic is so impressive and completely sums up how solid he is.

Obviously I also have to mention his serve. Although he appears to have slowed his first delivery down, it is still effective.

For Wimbledon Roddick had a tournament average of 70 percent first serves in – which is why it took Federer over four hours to break him in the final.

Karlovic loss saves me 250 big ones

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There was no-one happier than me that Roger Federer defeated Ivo Karlovic in straight sets earlier today.

One of my friends is a massive Karlovic supporter and two years ago I bet him £250 that Big Ivo would not reach a grand slam semi final in his career and my goodness, he came a little bit too close to achieving this feat for my liking.

Federer, who has reached his 21st consequtive grand slam semi final, thankfully tamed the big serving Croatian in style breaking him twice with relevant ease.

Breaking the 6’10 giant was particularly significant as he had not been broken in a match since he arrived in England for the grass court season a month ago!

It’s not that I’m not a fan of the Croatian, in fact I love watching him hit aces past everyone, it’s just that if a rally develops he will lose the point 8 times of out 10.

I generally thought he had a chance against Federer today however the Swiss master picked off his massive serves brilliantly. This was seriously a returning clinic and a pleasure to watch from the five-time Wimbledon champion.

But Karlovic will be very pleased with his overall performance at Wimbledon as he has made his first ever quarter final appearance in a grand slam taking out two top ten players along the way in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco.

If you have been won over by the Croatian giant’s massive serve and dodgy ground strokes join this Facebook group – ‘Ivo Karlovic – The King of Tennis’.