Tag Archives: Nadal

Sky Sports tennis coverage – brilliant

On my Facebook information page I have listed ‘tennis on sky sports’ as one of my favourite TV shows.

At university my house mates and I often found ourselves glued to the tv screen watching an epic ATP tour match.

We were very much involved in the tennis gambling scene and there were some very entertaining moments when bets were going well or badly.

For instance I particularly remember when fellow Tennis Centre writer Andrew Johnson lumped £50 on Rafael Nadal when he was a set down to David Nalbandian.

I however had identified this match as a potential banana skin for Nadal and had backed Nalbandian at a massive starting price of 7/1.

Nadal was simply awful throughtout the contest and Andrew was furious with the Spaniard’s lackluster performance.

Items went flying around the room as he shouted at the TV that he would never bet on tennis again while I performed a ‘slide on knees’ celebration across the wooden flooring as the Argentine cruised to a 61 62 victory.

Although we have had many disagreements about who is going to win a match we both agree on one thing; the Sky Sports studio and commentary team are first class.

Presenter Marcus Buckland along with Mark Petchey, Barry Cowan, Barry Millns and Leif Sharas always provide lively commentary and insight with their tongue in cheek humour often making me chuckle.

Mark Petchey in particular is a truely gifted commentator who makes it look easy when it’s not. 

One of my favourite quotes during commentary is Petchey’s decription of Igor Andreev in a recent match. He said: “When his A game isn’t working that’s where his alphabet stops.” What a comment!

Another stand out moment for me was when Buckland and Petchey were discussing an upcoming match between Nadal and Del Potro.

A graphic came up on the screen listing a number of attributes and Petchey had to decide who was better in each department e.g forehand, backhand, serve, speed etc.

My friends and I cracked up as he said Nadal was better at everything and that it would be a very one sided match.

However Petchey didn’t write off Del Potro completely. He cheekily gave him one thing in his favour –  the ‘underdogs advantage’!

Thankfully for Petchey, his pre match analysis was proved right as Nadal comfortably defeated the Argentine in two sets.

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Ward to play Baghdatis in Queens first round

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The Tennis Centre’s James Ward will play Marcos Baghdatis in the first round at the AEGON Championships.

Baghdatis was handed a wildcard after Japanese teenager Kei Nishikori pulled out.

The Cypriot has been hampered by injury since the end of last year and he has yet to find his best form in 2009.

I think Ward has a chance of causing an upset in this match and I sure he will deliver a great performance in front of a home crowd.

See the full draw.

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the tournament citing a knee injury and this proves I was right when I said he was physically battered when he lost to Soderling at the French Open.

I said: “My immediate thought is that Nadal’s schedule has been too rigorous this year considering he has been to the final of every tournament he has played coming into the French.

“However he shot down this type of suggestion from journalists in his press conference but I reckon deep down he knows he is physically and mentally tired.”

Read the full post.

Match Prediction 18/05/08 Hamburg Final

Hamburg Final – Best Of three sets

Roger Federer SWI (1) – Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

In my opinion this will be Federer’s best chance to beat Nadal on clay this season. The Spaniard came through against Djokovic in three as I predicted but was tested to the limit both mentally and physically. The three hour long match was fantastic with at least 10 points that could be included in the collection of ‘amazing point’ videos on Youtube.

Nadal will definitely feeling the after effects of that match today and the Swiss master will be much fresher having cruised through every round. If Federer goes 4-0 ahead in a set like in the Monte Carlo final I very much doubt the Spaniard will perform the same sort of fight back. I really fancy the world number one here to reclaim his title here but this will be no walkover however and Federer will need to be on top of his game attacking the Spaniard’s backhand as much as possible. A three setter could be on the cards but Federer will prevail.

Predicted Winner  :: Federer

 

Match Prediction 27/04 Monte Carlo Masters

Best of three sets – Clay

Final

Roger Federer (1) SWI – Rafael Nadal (2) ESP

I tipped Nadal to win this tournament and he has cruised through the rounds so far. His battling displays have been impressive on his favourite surface and its going to take a seriously flawless performance from Federer to stop him winning his first title of the season. The interesting point is that the Swiss master has actually played near flawless tennis in his last two matches which makes for a thrilling prospect.

Nalbandian was brushed aside easily after he lost the first set and Djokovic is going back old ways as he retired in the second set as Federer was dominating him. His reason for retiring was that he hadn’t been well for three days. Well this obviously didn’t effect him against Querrey two days earlier and I think this makes Djoko look weak. Federer did not look at all impressed when the Serb came over to him to shake his hand.

Federer must have some belief back after coming back from 5-1 down in the third in his first round match and he really looks fired up here. This is why I think this match will be very close and most probably go to three sets. I feel if Federer gets his tactics right, for example not trying to beat Nadal from the  back of the court and mixes his play up he could unsettle the Spaniard. Moving into the net is an essential tactic here so he can avoid long drawn out points which Rafa revels in.

However overall I still feel this match is Nadal’s to lose as he has been on quite stunning form this week himself and there was a point against Davydenko yesterday which said everything about his character and ability on clay. He was sent wide by the Russian and Rafa attempted a pass down the line which Davydenko drop volleyed. The Spaniard then ran from one side of the court to the other and got the ball just as it was about to touch the ground and he passed Davydenko at the net. I couldn’t believe my eyes as Nadal had absolutely no right to get to that ball.

If Nadal replicated this sort of grit and desire against Federer he will be picking up his first title of the season.

Predicted Winner :: Nadal

Match Prediction 06/04 Sony Ericsson Open

Final

Nikolay Davydenko RUS (4) – Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

Davydenko has surprised many with his impressive performances in Miami. He started the tournament slowly, struggling past Bolelli and Gulbis but has since upped his game and chalked up big victories over Tipsarevic, Ancic and Roddick. The Russian has had some very varied results this year including straight sets loses against Llodra and Fish and as I have said previously you never know what you will get with the world number 4. He can really put in some horrible lackluster showings considering his high ranking. But he has been very much in the zone in this tournament and displayed pure domination from the baseline against Roddick. His serve is also looking much more impressive and won an impressive 34 out of 39 first serve points against the American. To trouble Nadal he will have to repeat these stats and deliver a very solid performance if he is to beat him here.

The Spaniard is on terrific form and is playing to a level I have not witnessed before, particularly on serve he has proved to be virtually unbreakable. I thought Blake would beat him however Nadal showed his class and fighting spirit to come back from a set down. Also he grinded out a win against Berdych who had not lost a set in the tournament. He has been quoted as saying he is playing to his full potential and I think Nadal at full potential can beat anyone.

However the hard courts probably suit Davydenko’s baseline play a bit more and providing he plays to his best ability, he could enjoy picking off Nadal’s high top spin shots. This match has a massive possiblity of going the distance and although Davydenko is bang on form and certainly has a chance I would be silly not to tip up Nadal to deliver yet another unbelievable performance and take the title.

Predicted Winner :: Nadal 

Match Prediction 02/04 Sony Ericsson Open Quarter Finals

Quarter Finals 

Roger Federer SWI (1) – Andy Roddick USA (6)

Roddick has beaten the Swiss master only twice in 19 attempts and one of these wins was in a exhibition match. Had Roddick played Federer in Dubai I would have favoured A-Rod due to his sensational un-breakable form, however he has predictably tailed off now and has not had a smooth ride through this tournament. Federer on the other hand has recovered from his recent dip in form and fitness and seems back to a standard somewhere near his best as he showed against Acasuso. The Swiss master has not won a tournament this season as yet and he looks set for at least a final appearance.

 Predicted Winner :: Federer 

Nikolay Davydenko RUS (4) – Janko Tipsarevic SRB (41)

This will be a close match, probably going the distance and I think the Serbian number 2 could edge it. His five setter against Federer in the Australian Open really gave him the belief that he could be a top player and I think he has displayed his undoubted quality in recent performances. Davydenko has battled through his rounds coming from a set down to win in all three displaying his mental strength and his confidence hitting off both wings. However I think if he gives Tipsarevic any chances the Serbian will take them and not let him back into the match un-like his previous opponents. Davydenko was impressive against Ancic and showed his true quality but he is unpredictable and you never know if he’ll turn up or not. 

 Predicted winner – Tipsarevic

 James Blake USA (9) – Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

Blake lost to Nadal in three sets in their last encounter in Indian Wells and I think he has the quality to get his revenge on the spaniard here providing he is 100 percent. His accurate and powerful shots trouble Nadal who struggles to defend against big hitters. However, as we all know, Nadal never gives up and will fight right up until the last point of a match. His win against Tsonga is an example of this as he won from being 5-3 down in the third set by taking the next four games in a row. Nadal has been untroubled in this tournament but has not faced anyone with the quality of Blake. This match could again go the distance and I’m favouring Blake who will have the home crowd behind him.

 Predicted Winner :: Blake

Tomas Berdych CZE (10) – Igor Andreev RUS (31) 

Berdych has hit form in this tournament and I cannot see him losing to Andreev who I find a little one dimensional sometimes. He relies on his big forehand too much and I think the Czech number one will simply direct traffic to the weaker backhand wing. Berdych will use his strong ground stokes to apply pressure on the Andreev serve, which is quite useful, but does desert him occasionally when needed most. An example of this is when he played Djokovic in Dubai. Berdych has not lost a set this tournament and although this match could be more testing he should come through it.

 Predicted winner :: Berdych

ATP Match Tips Dubai 04/03

Philipp Kohlschrieber GER (ATP Ranking 27) – Rafael Nadal ESP (2)

This will be a close match between two talented players. Nadal as we know is good when defending and is a brilliant shot maker. However Kohlschrieber too has a lovely range of shots and is strong off both wings. Too win the match Kohlschrieber will have to attempt to blast Nadal off the court just at Tsonga did at the Australian Open. We will see just how Nadal reacts to his straight sets beating by Tsonga and if he will certainly be tested here. Nadal leads the head to head 3-0 however the last two matches have been on clay, not Kohlschrieber’s best service.

 Predicted winner : Kohlschrieber

 Tomas Berdych CZE (10) – Gael Monfils FRA (52)

Berdych should cruise through this match against Monfils who is returning from injury. Monfils, who’s last match was in October last year, has a massive serve and very powerful forehand however his physical and match fitness will perhaps be not up to scratch against Berdych.

Predicted winner :: Berdych

 Janko Tipsarevic SRB (40) – Feliciano Lopez ESP (41)

Another even match here with two similarly ranked players. Tipsarevic is the form player and has been brimming with confidence since his epic five setter against Federer at the Australian Open. Lopez has gone out first round of his last two tournaments but had two tough matches against Karlovic and Simon. Lopez can go through purple patches in matches where everything he hits turns to gold, just remember the first set against Federer at last years US Open. This is difficult to call but Lopez providing he serves well can avoid a third first round lost in a row here.

 Predicted winner :: Lopez

Marin Cilic CRO (45) – Novak Djokovic SRB (3)

The newly crowned Australian champion will be fresh after a couple of weeks off after his loss to Simon. Young Croat Cilic is capable of battling against the best but his movement is a down factor and Djokovic will use his hard consitent hitting to get through this one.

Predicted winner :: Djokovic

 Andy Roddick USA (6) – Jaun Carlos Ferrero ESP (22)

 This match will depend on how Ferrero deals with the Roddick serve. If Ferrero can get in a rally with the one dimensional American he will certainly fancy himself. Roddick will try and use his big forehand to his advantage however he can make mistakes on it. Ferrero unlike Roddick is comfortable off both wings and considering Roddicks long journey could be able to cause a minor upset.

 Predicted winner :: Ferrero