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Archive for the ‘French Open 2007’ Category

Novak Djokovic lost to Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinals, but, as he says, he is learning something new always.

He is happy with his performance in Paris, especially because it is his best Grand Slam result.

The 20-year-old Serb, touted as a future champion because of his all-around game, reached the semifinals at a major event for the first time. He held his own against Nadal for a set, but the Spaniard’s typically dogged play eventually deflated Djokovic.

Djokovic has climbed from 16th to fourth in the rankings since the start of the year, but he knows there’s still a gap between him and the top two players – No. 2 Nadal and No. 1 Roger Federer.

Djokovic is aware that his results this year have been fantastic and that they are incredible for his age. But he is realistic and says that Nadal and Federer are best and that they are the favourites on every surface. But, we know that Novak will work hard to reach them.

Djokovic led a Serb surge at Roland Garros. The nation had three Grand Slam semifinalists for the first time, with Ana Ivanovic playing in the women’s final Saturday, and Jelena Jankovic also making the women’s final four.

(source: thetennischannel)

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Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko have both showed to the world that they can play great tennis, but can they upset the big two. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have dominated the mens tennis for three years now, and only Novak and Nikolay can stop them on their way to the French Open final.

Fourth seed Davydenko won his first three matches without dropping a set, before seeing off seeded rivals David Nalbandian and Guillermo Canas with the loss of just one set to clinch a clash with Federer. Davydenko has not beaten Federer, the top seed, in eight previous attempts, although only one of those matches was played on clay.
The Russian’s temperament and all-round game is improving and he is not discounting victory against the Swiss superstar.

Djokovic, the sixth seed, is one of three Serbs to have made it into the last four of either the men’s or women’s singles, and has improved as the tournament has gone on.
After struggling past Frenchman Olivier Patience in five sets in the third round, he has stepped up a gear and swept past Fernando Verdasco and Igor Andreev to set up a match with Nadal.
Nadal beat Djokovic last year in the quaterfinals, and this year in Rome and those were the only two matches they played on clay. They also played two matches on a hard court. Nadal won in Indian Wells, and Djokovic won in Miami.

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The Serb never hit top gear but his more powerful serve and greater consistency was too much for Verdasco.

Djokovic said that he was happy with his performance against Verdasco because he could’t find his form in the first three rounds, but than again he won all three matches. He did not come to the tournament to win, just to look ahead to each opponent, and he says the results will come. He has certainly proved that against Verdasco.

Djokovic faces Igor Andreev, the biggest surprise of tournament, in the next round.

Andreev beat Marcos Baghdatis, ranked 19 in the world, in the fourth round.

The Russian’s surprise run, which began with victory over third seed Andy Roddick, looked set to end when he was overwhelmed in the first set.

But he hit back, using his first serve and forehand to devastating effect.

Andreev, the world number 125, is the lowest-ranked player to reach the last eight in Paris since 1999.

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Head-to-head: Canas leads 3-1

Davydenko defeated Stefano Galvani 6:3 6:1 6:1 in the first round, Werner Eschauer 7:5 6:3 6:1 in the second round, Michael Llodra 6:4 6:2 6:4 in the third round and then broke a four-match losing streak against David Nalbandian 6:3 7:6 3:6 7:6 in the round of 16, dropping his first set of the tournament in doing so.

He lost in the quarterfinals last year to David Nalbandian 6:3 6:3 2:6 6:4.

Following his defeat of David Nalbandian in the last 16, Davydenko has a 5-3 win-loss record against Argentines in Grand Slam events, and is 3-3 against the nation at Roland Garros.

Davydenko is facing a second successive Argentine opponent in Canas. This is the fifth time that he has faced Argentine opponents in consecutive rounds in a tournament, and the second time here. In 2006, he defeated Gaston Gaudio in the last 16 before losing to David Nalbandian.

Immediately before 2007 Roland Garros, Davydenko played at Portschach, having won the title in Austria for the past two years. This time however, as No. 1 seed, he lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Juan Monaco 6:2 6:7 6:4.

Before coming here, Davydenko’s best result on clay this year was reaching the semifinals at AMS Rome, where he defeated Tommy Robredo 1:6 6:3 6;3 in the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal 7:6 6:7 6:4 in a match lasting three hours, 38 minutes. Two weeks earlier, he had reached the quarterfinals at Barcelona, but gave a walkover to today’s opponent Canas in that round due to a wrist injury.

Canas defeated Victor Hanescu 6:3 6:1 6:4 in the first round, Simone Bolelli 6:4 6:3 6:3 in the second, Kristof Vliegen 6:2 6:2 2:6 6:3 in the third and countryman Juan Monaco 6:0 6:4 6:2 in the round of 16.

Canas’s first round win against Hanescu came in his first Grand Slam match for two years, having returned from a 15-month anti-doping suspension in September 2006.

Canas has a 10-7 win-loss record against Russian players, 1-1 in Grand Slams, defeating Yevgeny Kafelnikov at 2001 Wimbledon and losing to today’s opponent Davydenko at the 2005 Australian Open.

This yearCanas won the title at Costa do Sauipe, his first tour title for two and a half years, and the seventh of his career, defeating Juan Carlos Ferrero 7:6 6:2 in the final.

In addition to winning the Costa do Sauipe title, Canas has other good results this year on both clay and hard court. He qualified at AMS Miami and advanced to the final, losing to Novak Djokovic 6:3 6:2 6:4, and was runner-up at Barcelona, to Rafael Nadal 6:3 6:4.

His performance at Barcelona was Canas’s standout result on European clay – he did not advance beyond the second round at his three other events in the run-up to here. He withdrew from AMS Monte Carlo with leg pains, and retired in the first round at Munich with a stomach injury.

Four of Canas’s seven titles have been won on clay court. He has won titles at 2001 Casablanca, 2004 Stuttgart and 2004 Umag as well as 2007 Costa do Sauipe.

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A meeting between two Grand Slam champions when Rafael Nadal faces Lleyton Hewitt in a rematch of their round of 16 match here last year. Although Hewitt leads their head-to-head 4-2, Nadal has won both previous clay court encounters, including their most recent match-up at 2007 AMS Hamburg.

In that match, the Spaniard had to recover from a set down to defeat Hewitt 2:6 6:3 7:5. It was just the second set that Nadal had lost on clay in 2007.

Nadal reached the round of 16 here without dropping a set in 2005, but has never reached the Roland Garros quarterfinals without losing a set. He defeated Sebastien Grosjean in four sets, 6:4 3:6 6:0 6:3, in the round of 16 here two years ago. Nadal has never reached the round of 16 in straight sets at any other Grand Slam event.

Nadal has a 3-5 record playing Australians. This is mainly accounted for by his 2-4 head-to-head against Hewitt, but he is 1-1 against other Aussies, having defeated Mark Philippoussis in the first round at the 2006 US Open, and lost by retirement to Chris Guccione in the first round at 2007 Sydney, due to a groin injury.

Nadal is bidding to become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to collect a third successive Roland Garros title.

Nadal arrived at Roland Garros having just suffered his first clay court loss for more than two years. He had his record-breaking 81-match clay court winning streak broken by Roger Federer at AMS Hamburg, falling 2:6 6:2 6:0 in the final. Nadal accumulated his streak after losing to Igor Andreev in the Valencia quarterfinals on 7 April 2005.

Nadal leads the tour for total titles collected in 2007, having won four altogether including his hard court victory at Indian Wells in March. He also leads the tour for total match wins this season, being 39-6 through the third round here.
 

Hewitt is making his eighth Roland Garros appearance, and has reached the round of 16 for the sixth time. Last year, Hewitt lost at this stage to today’s opponent Nadal 6:2 5:7 6:4 6:2.

Hewitt is bidding to reach the Roland Garros quarterfinals for the third time, the quarters being his best result at this event. He first reached the last eight here in 2001, losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero. Hewitt reached the quarterfinals again in 2004, losing to Gaston Gaudio during of a run of seven straight majors where he lost to the eventual champion. Roland Garros is the only major at which Hewitt has not advanced to the semifinals.

Hewitt has a 42-23 career record against Spaniards. He is 10-8 against the nation in Grand Slam events, but at Roland Garros has not won a match against a Spaniard in four previous meetings with one here.

This is Hewitt’s 81st match against a left-handed player and he has a 68-12 win-loss record in previous encounters through his defeat of Niemienen. With the exception of two defeats to Nadal, Hewitt has not lost to a left-hander since March 2003. Hewitt has a 15-1 win-loss record against left-handers in majors, his lone loss being to Nadal here last year.

Following a first round defeat at AMS Rome (lost to Oscar Hernandez), Hewitt displayed some of his best clay court form, reaching successive semifinals at AMS Hamburg (lost to Nadal) and at Portschach (lost to Gael Monfils).

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LLEYTON HEWITT (AUS) vs JARKKO NIEMINEN (FIN)

Head-to-head: Hewitt leads 3-0

Hewitt advanced to the third round by defeating Max Mirnyi in the first round and 2003 Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio in the second round.

Last year, Hewitt lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal 62 57 64 62 in the round of 16.

This is Hewitt’s 80th match against a left-handed player and he has a 67-12 win-loss record in previous encounters. With the exception of two defeats to world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, Hewitt has not lost to a left-hander since March 2003 (lost to Francisco Clavet in the second round at AMS Miami).

Hewitt’s loss to Nadal here last year was his first against a left-handed opponent in a major and he comes into this match with a 14-1 win-loss record against left-handers in majors.

Hewitt made a bad start to the 2007 European clay court season, following an eight-week lay off after AMS Indian Wells with a back injury, returning at AMS Rome. Following a first round defeat at AMS Rome, Hewitt displayed some of his best clay court form, reaching successive semifinals at AMS Hamburg and at Portschach.

Nieminen defeated Feliciano Lopez in the first round and then recorded his 200th career victory and 70th win on clay against French wild card Mathieu Montcourt in the second round.

Nieminen is making his fifth appearance at Roland Garros. At last year’s event, Nieminen suffered his first opening round exit here, when a stomach upset forced him to retire while trailing Raemon Sluiter 6:2 7:6 2:1.

Nieminen played six clay court events in 2007 prior to Roland Garros (including a Davis Cup tie), with his best result coming in his most recent tournament at AMS Hamburg. He advanced to the third round at AMS Hamburg before losing to Novak Djokovic 7:5 4:6 6:4.

This match is going to be quite tough, but I would give slight advantage to Leyton Hewitt based on the current form of the players.

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Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)

Youzhny advanced to the third round by defeating Nicolas Lapentti 63 60 64 in the second round. He had advanced to the second round without completing a game when his first round opponent, Jan Hernych, retired with lower back pain eight minutes into the first game of their match.

Youzhny wants to reach the round of 16 here for the first time. In his only previous third round appearance in 2004, he lost to Nicolas Escude.

Youzhny is playing at Roland Garros for the seventh consecutive year. Last year, Youzhny lost in the second round here to 1998 champion Carlos Moya.

In the lead-up to Roland Garros, Youzhny reached the seventh final of his career, his second on clay, at Munich, losing to Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Munich was Youzhny’s third final of the year. He won his third career title at Rotterdam on indoor hard court in February, defeating Ivan Ljubicic in the final, and a week later reached the final at Dubai, also on hard court, losing to Roger Federer.

Ferrero defeated Amer Delic in the first round and Stefan Koubek in the second round.

Ferrero has fallen in the third round here for the last two years. Last year he lost to Gaston Gaudio at this stage and in 2005, he was defeated by Marat Safin.

Ferrero has recovered from his fall to as low as No. 98 in the rankings in February 2005, but hasn’t recaptured the form that took him to the title here in 2003, and is still searching for his first title since 2003 AMS Madrid, but his game is improving.

Ferrero’s best results in 2007 have been on clay. He reached the final at Costa do Sauipe, losing to Guillermo Canas, and was a semifinalist at Acapulco nd AMS Monte Carlo (lost to Roger
Federer).

Ferrero has a record 18 wins and 8 losses this season on clay which puts him on joint 4th place this season.

David Nalbandian (ARG) v Gael Monfils (FRA)

This is their first match.

Nalbandian defeated Hyung-Taik Lee 6:2 6:1 3:6 6:3 in the opening round and Spanish qualifier Ivan Navarro Pastor 7:5 6:4 6:4 in the second round.

Nalbandian reached the semifinals for the second time last year, defeating Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals before retiring with a left abdominal strain against Roger Federer.

Bearing in mind today’s opponent Monfils’s perfect 4-0 record in five-set matches at Roland Garros, it is interesting to note that Nalbandian’s mark of six career comebacks from two-sets-to-love down is the best among active players.

Nalbandian has played an abbreviated season so far, Roland Garros being just his ninth event (including the Davis Cup quarterfinals). He sat out the first round of this year’s competition in February to rest. He retired with a back injury in the second round at AMS Monte Carlo, then reached the quarterfinals at Barcelona in his last tournament appearance before coming here. Nalbandian withdrew from the Masters Series events in Rome and Hamburg with the back injury.

Monfils defeated Olivier Rochus in the first round and upset No. 18 seed Juan Ignacio Chela 3:6 6:3 6:3 6:1 in the second round.

Monfils has a 4-0 record in five-set matches at Roland Garros, and an overall record of 4-1 in five-set matches (his lone loss being in the first round at the 2005 US Open).

For the other info on Gael Monfils click on the related post below.
Monfils

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