Archive for the ‘tennis’ Category

Andy Murray will delay his return to competition for up to two weeks in order to have more physiotherapy on his injured wrist. The British No 1, who has been out of action since suffering the problem in the Hamburg Masters in May, had hoped to play in the Los Angeles Open, which starts a week on Monday, but is not now expected to return until the Legg Mason Classic in Washington DC two weeks later.

The 20-year-old Scot tried to get ready in time to play at Wimbledon, where he was the No 8 seed, but he eventually had to admit defeat on the eve of the tournament. The Los Angeles event marks the start of the American hardcourt season, which Murray has said is his favourite part of the calendar, making it an ideal place to begin his comeback.

But Washington, where Murray reached the final last year, is more important in terms of defending his ranking points.

He rose three places from world No 11 in June despite his inactivity, but will begin to slide down the rankings unless he gets back to winning matches soon.

via: scotsman


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Head-to-head: first meeting

This is the Gasquet’s and Tsonga’s first tour meeting. Although they are both French and very close in age, they have never played each other as professionals. However, they did meet three times on the ITF Junior Circuit with Gasquet winning each time.

Gasquet takes on Tsonga in the fifth all French match-up at Wimbledon this year. The most all-French match-ups here in the Open Era previously was three, those being in 2004. France was the most represented nation in the 2007 men’s draw: 15 French players started here.

Tsonga is the third Frenchmen that Gasquet has played at 2007 Wimbledon. With his wins over Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the second and third rounds here, Gasquet has improved his Grand Slam record against countrymen to 5-0. He had never played a Frenchman at Wimbledon before this year. Gasquet has a 19-9 career record against Frenchmen.

Today marks Tsonga’s first tour-level meeting with a Frenchman.

Gasquet and Tsonga are two of four men in the top half of the draw to have reached the round of 16 without dropping a set. The others are Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

Gasquet defeated qualifier Bohdan Ulihrach 63 64 64 in the opening round, qualifier Nicolas Mahut 64 63 64 in the second round and qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin 63 64 62 in the third round. This was the first time that Gasquet had faced three qualifiers in a row at any tournament.

Gasquet is making his fourth consecutive appearance at Wimbledon. Last year, he lost in the first round to eventual champion Roger Federer 63 62 62.

Gasquet is bidding to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. He previously reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2005, losing to David Nalbandian 64 76 60. He also reached the round of 16 at the 2005 and 2006 US Open, and the 2007 Australian Open.

Gasquet has played two previous matches against wild cards at Grand Slam events and has a 2-0 record. He defeated Phillip Simmonds 61 63 61 in the first round at the 2006 US Open and Nicolas Mahut 63 62 62 in the first round at 2007 Roland Garros.

Gasquet played the grass court warm-up events this year at Halle and Nottingham. He lost in the first round at Halle to Aisam Qureshi 76 64, and reached the quarterfinals at Nottingham. At Nottingham, Gasquet was bidding to create tournament history by winning the title for three consecutive years, but persistent rain forced his quarterfinal match against Arnaud Clement to be moved to indoor hard court – he lost 64 63.

Gasquet’s best result on any surface to date this year was finishing runner-up at Estoril on clay, falling to Novak Djokovic 76 06 61. He was also a semifinalist at Sydney and a quarterfinalist at Adelaide, Marseille and AMS Monte Carlo.

Gasquet began the Grand Slam year with a round of 16 finish at the Australian Open, defeating compatriot Gael Monfils 60 46 75 63 in the third round before losing to Tommy Robredo 64 62 36 64.

Gasquet has won four titles in his career. As well as winning at Nottingham in 2005 and 2006, he was victorious on clay at Gstaad in 2006 and on indoor carpet at Lyon in the same year.

Tsonga has reached the round of 16 on his Wimbledon debut. He defeated countryman Julien Benneteau 76 75 64 in the first round, Nicolas Lapentti 64 62 63 in the second round and Feliciano Lopez 63 76 63 in the third round.

Tsonga’s three victories here are his first at a major. He lost in the first round to Andy Roddick at both 2005 Roland Garros (63 62 64) and the 2007 Australian Open (67 76 63 63). The first-set tiebreak that Tsonga and Roddick played at this year’s Australian Open stretched to 20-18, setting a new record for the longest-known tie break at the Australian Open and equalling the record for the longest-known tiebreak at any tournament.

Tsonga is playing only his third Grand Slam event and has always played as a wild card.

Tsonga is now bidding to become just the third wild card to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. The two men to have done this so far are Pat Cash in 1986 and Goran Ivanisevic in 2001, Ivanisevic going on to win the title. (Wild cards were introduced to Wimbledon in 1997.)

Tsonga is looking to become the first debutant to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals since Florian Mayer in 2004, Mayer losing in the quarterfinals to Lleyton Hewitt 64 62 46 76.

Tsonga attempted to qualify for 2003 and 2004 Roland Garros and the 2004 US Open, but fell in the second qualifying round each time.

Tsonga has won three matches at tour level for the first time. He won two successive tour-level matches for the first time at Queen’s last month as a qualifier, defeating Kristian Pless and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first two rounds before falling to Marin Cilic 46 63 62.

Prior to Queen’s, Tsonga won the Surbiton Challenger on grass, defeating Ivo Karlovic 63 76 in the final. This was Tsonga’s eighth challenger title and his second such title on grass, having won the Nottingham challenger in 2004.

From the Surbiton Challenger through the third round here, Tsonga has won 13 of his 14 matches on grass this year (including qualifying at Queen’s).

Tsonga reached the semifinals of the boys’ singles at 2003 Wimbledon (l. eventual champion Florin Mergea 64 67 64). He finished No. 2 on the ITF Junior World rankings behind Marcos Baghdatis in 2003, having won the US Open boys’ singles title that year.

Since moving to the men’s tour, Tsonga has suffered several injuries. He didn’t play between November 2004 and March 2005 due to a herniated disc. He then contested just three tournaments between July 2005 and February 2006, retiring in one and conceding a walkover in another, due to shoulder, back and abdominal injuries. As a result of this inactivity, his ranking dropped from No. 133 on 23 May 2005 to No. 404 on 3 April 2006. Since then his ranking has risen to a career-high of No. 110.

As a result of reaching the round of 16 here, Tsonga is projected to break into the Top 100 when the new rankings are published on 9 July 2007.

Since returning to the circuit in February 2006, Tsonga has won five Challenger titles and four Futures titles.

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While Andy Murray makes headline news without even playing at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic wins new fans with every match he plays (especially those of a female persuasion) and Richard Gasquet continues to amaze with his sublime talents and frustrate with his lack of consistency, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the forgotten man of the new generation.

The tall 22-year-old Frenchman – who is the spitting image of a young Muhammad Ali – arrived on the professional scene with a bang, making his breakthrough alongside Gael Monfils at the Masters Series event in Paris in 2004. Given wild cards into the qualifying competition, both men earned their place in the main draw and both won a round, Tsonga beating Mario Ancic. With that win coming on the back of a victory over Carlos Moya at the Beijing tournament a couple of moths before, it was no wonder that France sat up and took notice – here were two young stars of the future.

But while Monfils built on that start and worked his way up the world pecking order, breaking into the top 30 last year, no more was heard of Tsonga. Pushed out of the spotlight in his home country by Monfils and Gasquet and completely overtaken by Murray, Djokovic, Marcos Baghdatis and Tomas Berdych, no one knew or cared where he was.

He was, in fact, at the doctors, asking for attention to a series of injuries that robbed him of the first three years of his career. It all began with a herniated disc in his back and was followed up with shoulder and knee problems. When the medics finally cleared him to get back to work, Tsonga was still restricted to playing just eight tournaments a year in 2005 and 2006. When he was able to play, he tended to win, but he was not able to play enough to break out of the challenger circuit.

As it turned out, those two years were the making of Tsonga. As a junior, he was regarded as a man of immense talent but very little brain. He had the game to get to the top but appeared to have low fighting spirit . In 2003, he was one match away from finishing the year as the junior world champion but when the day of the match came he was well beaten and could not bear to watch as Baghdatis overtook him in the rankings and was lauded as the great hope of the future. It was the sort of collapse Tsonga could not imagine happening now.

Focused, dedicated and determined, Tsonga knows that he has been given a second chance and he refuses to waste it. He also knows that he is good – and gradually the rest of the boys in the locker room are beginning to realise it, too.

At the start of this year, he got a wild card in the Australian Open as part of a reciprocal arrangement between the French and Australian tennis federations. Although he did not win his opening match against Andy Roddick, he gave the American a fright. Here was a man who could serve as hard as Roddick, who could hit the ball as hard as Roddick and who believed that he had as much right to be in the second round as Roddick. Suddenly the world began to remember this Tsonga.

Part of the maturing process is knowing your own limitations and where the younger, more immature Tsonga would have jumped at the chance to play at his home grand slam, Tsonga turned down the wild card offered to him this year by the French Tennis Federation. He had just won four challenger titles in five attempts and he was tired. After all his injury problems, he was not sure that his body could withstand best of five set matches on clay at Roland Garros, so he politely refused.

Instead, he came to Britain, won the Surbiton challenger while, at the same time, qualifying for Queen’s and now has arrived in a blaze of glory at Wimbledon.

Now he plays Gasquet for a place in the quarter finals. In fact, Tsonga can barely wait for the match to start. After every win, he points to an imaginary number on his back, as if he were wearing a football shirt. It is to show everyone that he is still part of the team, he is still part of the new generation of potential world beaters.

(via scotsman, photo: getty images)

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Head-to-head: Baghdatis leads 2-1

Baghdatis defeated Latvian Ernests Gulbis 36 64 63 62 in the first round and then recorded the 100th victory of his career in defeating Nicolas Devilder 60 76 67 64 in the second.

Baghdatis is making his third consecutive Wimbledon appearance. He had his best result here last year, reaching the semifinals by defeating Andy Murray 63 64 76 in the last 16 and Lleyton Hewitt 61 57 76 62 in the quarterfinals, before losing to Rafael Nadal 61 75 63. He lost to Mikhail Youzhny 62 36 61 64 in the first round on his debut in 2005.

2006 was an outstanding year for Baghdatis. Before reaching the Wimbledon semifinals, he advanced to his first Grand Slam final at the 2006 Australian Open, as world No. 54 recording three consecutive wins over Top Ten players – No. 3 Andy Roddick in the round of 16, No. 8 Ivan Ljubicic in the quarterfinals and No. 4 David Nalbandian in the semifnials – before falling in the final to No. 1 Roger Federer 57 75 60 62.

By contrast, Baghdatis lost in the second rounds at 2006 Roland Garros and the 2006 US Open, but the above results combined with winning his first career title at 2006 Beijing saw his ranking jump up 44 places throughout the year to end the season at No. 12.

This is Baghdatis’s 12th Grand Slam event and he is bidding to reach the round of 16 at a major for the fifth time.

In 2007, Baghdatis has picked up where he left off in 2006, although his Grand Slam results have been less impressive so far. He won his second career title at Zagreb on indoor carpet (d. Ivan Ljubicic 76 46 64 in the final), and also reached another final two weeks later at Marseille on indoor hard (l. to Gilles Simon 64 76), and a third final at Halle on grass (l. Tomas Berdych 75 64). His best Grand Slam result to date this season was a round of 16 appearance at Roland Garros (l. Igor Andreev 26 61 63 64).

2007 Halle marked Baghdatis’s first career grass court final. That was the only tournament he played on this surface ahead of 2007 Wimbledon, as he then withdrew from ’s-Hertogenbosch with a foot injury.

Baghdatis was ITF Junior World Champion in 2003, winning the boys’ singles at the Australian Open and finishing runner-up in that event at the US Open that year. He fared less well at Wimbledon during his junior career, losing in the boys’ singles second round on both of his appearances here, in 2001-02.

Nalbandian, playing in his fifth Wimbledon, defeated qualifier Mischa Zverev 63 64 62 in the first round and lucky loser Frank Dancevic 62 63 57 63 in the second round.

Nalbandian has maintained his record of always reaching the third round at Wimbledon. Last year he lost at this stage for the first time, losing to Fernando Verdasco 76 76 62, his earliest Wimbledon exit.

Nalbandian reached his first Grand Slam final on his Wimbledon debut in 2002. He defeated Nicolas Lapentti 64 64 46 46 64 in the quarterfinals and Xavier Malisse 76 64 16 26 62 in the semifinals, before losing to Lleyton Hewitt 61 63 62 in the final. This is his most successful Grand Slam performance to date and remarkably was achieved in his first ever professional grass court event.

Since reaching the final in 2002, Nalbandian’s best performance at Wimbledon has been a quarterfinal finish in 2005 (l. Thomas Johansson 76 62 62).

Nalbandian is one of two active players, along with Roger Federer, to have reached the semifinals or better at all four Grand Slams. He reached that stage here in 2002 en route to the final (see above), at the 2003 US Open, and at 2004 Roland Garros, and completed the set at the 2006 Australian Open. He reached his fifth Grand Slam semifinal at 2006 Roland Garros.

Nalbandian is playing a Top 10 player for the 53rd time in his career. He has a 20-32 win-loss record in his previous meetings with Top 10 players.

Nalbandian is joined in the third round by Guillermo Canas, who plays Lleyton Hewitt today. If both Argentines win today and advance to the round of 16, it will mark the second time in the Open Era that two Argentines have advanced to the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria achieved this for the first time in 2005.

Nalbandian warmed up for Wimbledon at Halle, but as No. 7 seed lost in the first round to Marc Gicquel 57 62 64.

Nalbandian reached the round of 16 at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year, losing to Tommy Haas 46 63 62 63 and Nikolay Davydenko 63 76 36 76 at that stage respectively.

Nalbandian’s other highlight of 2007 was reaching the quarterfinals at Barcelona. After a first round bye, he defeated two Spaniards (Alberto Martin and Carlos Moya) in the next two rounds before losing to another Spaniard David Ferrer 76 62.

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Wimbledon champion Roger Federer took just 11 minutes to wrap up a convincing 6-2 7-5 6-1 win over Argentine teen Juan Martin del Potro.

Federer returned with a two-set lead and soon secured his 50th straight win on grass. Federer’s next opponent is Marat Safin on Friday.

There were also wins for Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt and Novak Djokovic.

Federer enjoyed a fairly easy victory against the 18 year old Argentininan as he was in control through the whole match.

Federer dominated the match with a number on unretunable serves and some amazing shots that Del Potro had no answer to. He is very pleased with this victory, but he expects a tough challenge from Marat Safin in the third round.

Elsewhere, fifth seed Nadal enjoyed an easy day’s work with a 6-2 6-4 6-1 second-round victory over Austrian Werner Eschauer.

The Spaniard produced some outstanding groundstrokes on his way to a comfortable win and will now face 28th seed Roger Soderling of Sweden, who beat Frenchman Sebastian Grosjean 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-2.

It was a good day for the seeds in general, though sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko had to battle from two sets down to reach the third round as he finally beat Australian Chris Guccione 3-6 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2.

Fourth seed Djokovic needed four sets to get past world number 67 Amer Delic, finally seeing off the American 6-3 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4). Delic played very well, especially on the net, but Djokovic prevailed with his famous all around game hitting some great shots off the base line and playing well on the net.

Australian 2002 champion Hewitt steamrolled through his second-round match against Italian Simone Bolelli 6-2 6-2 6-1.

American ninth seed James Blake enjoyed a second straight-sets win to move into the third round, defeating Romania’s Andrei Pavel 6-4 6-3 6-3.

The 15th seed Ivan Ljubicic needed just over an hour-and-a-half to get past Czech Jan Hernych 6-4 6-3 6-4 in his rain-delayed second-round match.

Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu faces the big Croatian next after he beat David Ferrer 6-3 6-4 6-3.

Big-serving Australian Wayne Arthurs defeated the Spanish 11th seed Tommy Robredo with a 6-3 7-6 (7/5) 6-3. But, it is a known fact that Robredo is playing very poor on grass.

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Here is a rap song Vince Spadea made just for Wimbledon:

Its all in the club, The All England Club,
playing singles, mixed and dubs,
slugging passing shots and mugs,
Roger trying to an ace, crowds filled with pretty face,
hotties trying to give a hug,
and I’m giving them the shrug,
cause I’m the menace of tennis at the Oscars of service winners,
its time for Wimbledon, mingling in England,
where’s my friends, where’s my Pims, where’s Tim Henman,
royal attendance, where’s Rich Branson, where’s my mansions,
if not now then when then,, if not you then who? Spadea ? Federer, the predator,
who’s betterer, than a big wall, or a big Nadal,
neither miss a ball ,
or the serve of Andy Roddick, Its hypnotic, its illogic, its a comet,
coming like a rocket, and its chronic. where’s our girl, Kournikova, Anna are you married?
strawberries and cream, I used to dream about a street, SW 19 ,
on Center court I’m hitting short wearing shorter shorts than Borg’s. who is Vince, where’s Williams, where’s Prince William, where’s my millions,
where’s Guga Brazilian. where’s my Brit civilians? come on Hewitt, come on do it,
just admit it, Nike said just do it and u did it, its not over Sharapova,
where’s my Rover, where’s my chauffeur get my gopher, this aint kosher.
get me back, to the days, of Johnny Mac, 18 16 making history, Bjorn’s a mystery,
I hear whispering, on the campus, that man Sampras serve attacked us,
the best ever? lets get clever maybe Federer,
how bout Henin, how about Lennon, how bout me and BBC? that be sweet,
on TV, eating scones and tea,
But I feel I won, cause I’m chillin in the Sun ,selling 4 million, having fun is number one,
I’m almost done, but my thoughts are never wrong, Wimby tennis anyone?
I aint lying sis, I’m a music scientist.
Martina, we will savor like Rod Laver, course I met her,
and Sir Edberg, Boris Becker, Having laughs with Steffi Graf ,
doing laundry with our Andre……. Agassi. Tennis’ Brad and Jolie,
has to be, something left to see,
Wimbledon, you’re my friend, our tradition, you’re our mission til the end.

(source: tennisnews)

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The only player that keeps the American dream alive in Wimbledon is Andy Roddick. He feels confidant, even though he knows that Roger Federer is once again in his way. Andy Roddick said:

“In order for me to be successful here I’ve got to beat him one time. That’s the way I look at it. You wake up, you work hard, you go after it again. That’s what I’m going to keep doing.”

American men’s tennis has been in the doldrums since Roddick won the US Open in 2003. It reached a new low at Roland Garros this year when all nine starters were knocked out in the first round.

Roddick, runner-up to Federer in 2004 and 2005, suffered a third round defeat by Andy Murray here last year when his career appeared to be in decline.

However, after hiring former No 1 Jimmy Connors as coach, the big-serving American appears to be back on track, winning the Queen’s Club title for the fourth time last week.

(source: gulfnews, photo taken from getty images)

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