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Monday Net Post 11/05/2007 - 11:26 AM

Last Week's Tournaments

BNP Paribas Masters (ATP - Indoor Carpet - Paris, France)

- Singles Final: David Nalbandian def. Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-0.
     - Singles Semifinal: David Nalbandian def. Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4.
     - Singles Semifinal: Rafael Nadal def. Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
- Singles Bracket

- Doubles Final: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def. Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic 6-3, 7-6.
     - Doubles Semifinal: Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan def. Simon Aspelin/Julian Knowle 6-3, 6-4.
     - Doubles Semifinal: Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic def. Arnaud Clement/Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4.
- Doubles Bracket

Bell Challenge (WTA - Indoor Hard - Quebec City, Canada)

- Singles Final: Lindsay Davenport def. Julia Vakulenko 6-4, 6-1.
     - Singles Semifinal: Julia Vakulenko def. Julie Ditty 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
     - Singles Semifinal: Lindsay Davenport def. Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-7, 6-3.

- Doubles Final: Christina Fusano/Raquel Kops-Jones def. Stephanie Dubois/Renata Voracova 6-2, 7-6.
     - Doubles Semifinal: Christina Fusano/Raquel Kops-Jones def. Maria Fernanda Alves/Betina Jozami 6-3, 6-4.
     - Doubles Semifinal: Stephanie Dubois/Renata Voracova def. Sunitha Rao/Christina Wheeler 6-1, 6-3.

- Singles & Doubles Bracket

By the Letter is no tennis scheduled this week for the ATP Tour, after 44 consecutive weeks of play (including Davis Cup)
E...xiting in the first round of the Bell Challenge was top-seed Nicole Vaidisova, who injured her wrist after splitting the first two sets.
N...ovak Djokovic's second round loss to Fabrice Santoro in Bercy was a puzzling result, but it was revealed afterwards that the Serb was under medication after dental surgery.  "I couldn't give my 100 percent - not even 30 percent," he said.
N...adal has now reached the final of every Masters Series event except for Cincinnati (best finish: QF in 2006).
I...n reaching the semifinals of Bercy, Richard Gasquet jumped five positions in the ATP world rankings, clinching the eighth and final spot in the Tennis Masters Cup.
S...cot Andy Murray was involved in a minor car accident in Paris, but felt no ill effects during his matches, defeating Jarkko Nieminen and Fabrice Santoro before falling to Richard Gasquet in a close quarterfinal contest.
W...inning their eleventh title of the season in Paris, the Bryan brothers have now won 44 doubles titles, good for fourth best in the Open Era
O...fficial statement from Larry Scott, CEO of the WTA Tour, on the sudden Martina Hingis retirement.
R...etiring (for real) from tennis, effective immediately, was the decision Martina Hingis took as she revealed that she had tested positive for cocaine at this year's Wimbledon Championships.
L...ifetime ban for players involved in match-fixing was encouraged by ATP president Etienne de Villiers, following widespread accusations of such nefarious activity in recent months.
D...avid Nalbandian became the first alternate for the Tennis Masters Cup thanks to his back-to-back Masters Series titles; with Andy Roddick's participation in doubt, it's possible that the Argentine could end up playing in the year-end championships.  Two years ago, Nalbandian also was an alternate in Shanghai, and went on to win the tournament.

McGrogan's Heroes

ATP - In a span of just three weeks, the short list of contenders for the Australian Open men's title has a new member - one who was a minor figure on the tennis landscape a mere month ago.  David Nalbandian's win in Bercy gives him two Masters Series shields for the season - as many as Roger Federer has won this year (David defeated Roger twice enroute to his Masters triumphs). This raises interesting issues for Nalbandian, and they are welcome ones after the riducule he absorbed over his seemingly poor fitness through most of 2007.Nalby

Nalbandian might be the biggest "wild card" heading into the new year.  I think we know what to expect from Federer, Nadal, an,  to an extent Djokovic.  The crew of Gasquet, Murray, Baghdatis, Berdych et al are much less predictable, but most pundits would probably suggest that one from this group will finally make a "leap" of sorts, and the rest will likely play like they have been for the past few years.  But ask prognosticators about Nalbandian, and I'd expect to hear predictions ranging from sure-thing Grand Slam champion to consistent flame-out, or worse.  I don't the critics for having so little confidence, since he has been so up and down, but right now, the notion that he may be taking the last, big step into the elite is supportable.

As mentioned in the By the Letter ("D"), there is a chance that David could play in the Tennis Masters Cup.  If not, the next time we'll see the Argentinean is in January, leading up to the Australian Open.  One thing worth mentioning - the last player to complete the Madrid/Paris double was Marat Safin, who went on a similarly torrid streak following the U.S. Open in 2004.  The winner at the following year's Australian Open?  Marat Safin.

Lindsay WTA - Lindsay Davenport is a champion again this week, although she has no chance (as opposed to Nalbandian's slim chance) to make the year-end championships. But I believe that, just like Nalbandian, she would surely make some noise if she did play. Davenport cruised through the Bell Challenge in Quebec City, winning her second tournament of fall (she defeated third-seeded Julia Vakulenko in the final, 6-4, 6-1).  Lindsay breezed through this match, requiring only 22 minutes to take the second set.  It was both a representation of how far she's come back since having a child (she is 13-1 on the year), as well as her dominance in this particular event.

Entered into the Quebec draw as a wild card, Davenport ran into few obstacles along the way.  All of her matches were straight-setters, with the exception of her semifinal against second-seeded Vera Zvonareva (6-2, 6-7, 6-3).  But other than Zvonareva, none of Davenport's opponents could earn more than four games in a set against the resurgent American. Lindsay played exceptionally well, albeit in a rather weak draw (see: fourth-seeded Meilen Tu).  No one will complain about her having won the title though, least of akk Davenport, who was overjoyed with her unexpected success since returning to the WTA Tour.

Another comparison I draw with both Nalbandian and Davenport is that Lindsay is another wild card heading into next year.  Davenport has played only Tier II and III events since returning to action, so it will be interesting to she how she stacks up against a much deeper draw once January rolls around.  However, she defeated a number of highly-ranked players in those smaller events, including Daniela Hantuchova, Jelena Jankovic, and Elena Dementieva.

P.S. In the past, there has been some correlation to "blogging a tournament", and then winning that event.  I can't quite remember who has done this before, but it's been done multiple times on the men's tour (anyone want to chime in with the names?).  This past week, Lindsay blogged about her time in Quebec for the WTA's site, and naturally, went on to win.

Tennis Theatre

Here's a video from the 2000 Australian Open final, in a match that featured two women who were both in the news this week - but for completely different reasons.

Next Week's Tournament

Sony Ericsson Championships (WTA - Indoor Hard - Madrid, Spain)

- Website
- Singles Bracket
- Doubles Information

Television Coverage:

11/6 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/6 - 11:00 pm - 12:00 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 am - 12:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 am - 12:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 am - 12:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/7 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/8 - 12:00 am - 1:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/8 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/9 - 12:30 am - 2:00 am (Versus - Singles)
11/9 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/10 - 12:00 am - 1:30 am (Versus - Singles)
11/10 - 5:30 am - 7:30 am (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Live)
11/10 - 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Live)
11/10 - 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm (Versus - Singles)
11/10 - 10:00 pm - 2:00 am (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Tape)
11/11 - 7:30 am - 9:30 am (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Live)
11/11 - 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm (Tennis Channel - Doubles; Tape)
11/11 - 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm (Versus - Singles)

P.S. There also appears to be some Tennis Masters Cup (ATP) coverage on Tennis Channel on Sunday, 11/11, from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, as well as from 8:00 pm - 12:00 am.

Beyond the Bracket

You've probably all seen commercials on Tennis Channel featuring Ivan Lendl and his "perspectives".  Now, I'm not sure if these are actually his own ideas, or if the concept is completely staged - but that's a subject for speculation on another day.  Today, I want to answer one of the points that Lendl raises in the most recent "perspective" of his, that being the location of the year-end championships (YEC). 

Lendl states that the YEC should be kept in the same location year after year, in order to develop a sense of history and identity that the current YECs are lacking.  Lendl played in a number of YECs which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and he feels that this venue was optimal.  He has good reason to say that - in its heyday, the YEC appeared to be a much grander and more celebrated event than it is today. This may be because, as Lendl said, the tournament moves to where the tours can find the :the biggest payday."  BTW, you'll see at the end of each "Perspectives" item that you can  share your thoughts with Ivan by emailing him. I'm going to skip emailing Ivan and share my thoughts here.

I think that you can go two ways on this.  There is some merit in keeping the event in the same place, year after year, and it certainly would establish a continuity and tradition, which are important in the always-changing tennis calendar.  But I don't think the YEC (for the men) needs to be played at Madison Square Garden - after all, New York City already has a Grand Slam, and it is played only a few months before the YECs begin.  It seems like overkill, although the attendance and media buzz certainly would be massive.  There are other places more deserving - in particular, places that don't currently host a major tournament.  Somewhere like...South America.

Infrastructures notwithstanding, I think that the YECs would be well-suited in the southern hemisphere.  First of all, the continent produces some of the world's best players, but besides the South American swing that follows the Australian Open, there are practically no tournaments played there during the year. South America doesn't even host a Masters Series tournament for the ATP Tour, and there are nine of these on the schedule.  In addition, the passionate fans that South America is noted for (watch some of the Davis Cup ties that have been played there) would add to the lively environment, which I think would be a big improvement over the current stasis in Shanghai.  I realize that there are some problems with this idea - most notably generating sufficient revenue, as well as the change that would be required from the fall indoor season in Europe and Asia, to the outdoor clay of a YEC in South America.  But I do think it is an ideal location, purely based on tennis reasons.

Another way to approach this is to have the YEC move every year, in order to equally distrubute the wealth (of players and spectating opportunities).  If this occurred, the incumbent host nation would have an entire year to generate a great deal of buzz for a once-in-a-generation mega-tournament. The current system, which has seen the YEC in Frankfurt for six years, Hannover for four years, Houston for two years, Shanghai for four years, etc, is the worst of both worlds. 

A constant complaint about tennis is that the best players only play in the biggest events, and so smaller countries/tournaments/fans are shut out from seeing the Federers, Nadals, Henins, and Williamses of the world.  The best way to promote the game is to let the fans see the world's best, and if the YEC went on a yearly rotational basis, this is more likely to happen. I can see, oh New Zealand, or perhaps Copenhagen, taking on the role of host for the YEC.

FIFA just restructured the way the World Cup is being distributed, and tennis should do the same.

And lastly,  here is your IF question for today: had to guess, how far will David Nalbandian and Lindsay Davenport get at the 2008 Australian Open?

- Ed McGrogan

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Posted by Yummy Prince Fed/Karen 11/05/2007 at 11:49 AM

First. Could that be true. I am first. Now to read the blog

Posted by tenniscan 11/05/2007 at 11:50 AM

Davenport: quarters; Nalbandian: semis

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 11:53 AM

Ed: QF for both players

Posted by Papo 11/05/2007 at 12:10 PM

QF for Linsay

In his current form Nalby could win the AO ; )

Posted by GSte 11/05/2007 at 12:23 PM

I think Davenport will reach the QF, and Nalbandian the SF.

Ed, I like your idea of rotating the Masters Cup and YEC yearly. If tennis is to extend its popularity further, I think countries that don't host slams, masters events or tier 1's should have the opportunity to showcase the top 8 players to its people.

Posted by Schwab 11/05/2007 at 12:23 PM

If answers:

Nalbandian - Semifinals(loses to Federer)
Davenport - Quarterfinals (loses to Henin)

Posted by Orpheo 11/05/2007 at 12:24 PM

4th round for Lindsay
Semis for Nalbandian (unless he maintains this level of play in which case he will win AO)

Posted by temes 11/05/2007 at 12:44 PM

I would love Lindsay to win the AO very much but theres always S&V who must win...but I think she could make it to quarters, and depending on the opponent, she will either win or lose there. lol

Posted by chieko 11/05/2007 at 12:48 PM

Pete san, do you think that Nalbandian will get into Shanghai??? I learnt that he has jumped many positions to be an alternate.

Posted by Aaress 11/05/2007 at 12:49 PM


It is actually pretty rare on the WTA Tour that the player blogging wins the singles title. Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm almost certain that the only player to do it in 2007 was Lindsay last week.

Occasionally, the blogger may win the doubles title (Liezel Huber at the Open Gaz de France) or reach the final, but to my knowledge, Davenport was the only woman to actually write the blog and win the singles tournament this season.

Posted by Victor 11/05/2007 at 01:08 PM


Go serve and volley! Win the AO '08!

Posted by Maplesugar 11/05/2007 at 01:26 PM

A YEC in South America sounds reasonable...except for the surface of red clay. No good. I really hate it being in Shanghai. It seems so dull. I believe I heard that the design of the stadium is partly to blame, as even the fans with the good seats are far from the action on the court. I know that the fans there are very enthusiastic...but that doesn't come across on T.V. at all.

Yeah, playing it in MSG--as much as I'd love that, as it's in my part of the world--doesn't strike me as fair at all--for the reasons you state.

I do think it's a great question to ask, this tournament has really lost its gloss, despite the number of dollars thrown at it.

Posted by a rabid Bostonian 11/05/2007 at 01:27 PM

To any(misguided) Colts fans out there--"who's ya daddy?"

Posted by Papo 11/05/2007 at 01:27 PM

In case you haven't seen it, here is a link to Pete's ESPN blog on the "Plump Prince of the Pampas" winning two Masters Series tournaments in a row : )

Posted by sean m 11/05/2007 at 01:30 PM

if i had to guess, i'd venture no guess as we can't know what kind of draw either of them will get. if lindsay draws either williams in the second round, do any of us still want to grant her a place in the QF? what if nalby catches ivo in the first round? winnable, but also extremely perilous. davide can make into the second week easily at every slam, owing to his potential. but more often than not, that potential has been left untapped. we'll see of course, but there's just no way of knowing today how well either of them do in melbourne.

Posted by Maplesugar 11/05/2007 at 01:31 PM

P.S. I could see Lindsay going all the way in Australia. And Nalby, if he plays like he's been playing these past two weeks, I can see being stopped in the SFs.

Posted by Leonardo 11/05/2007 at 01:34 PM

Davenport could easily reach the fourth round or even quarters. Nalbandian, the way he's playing and if he keeps training is a lock for the semifinals and maybe the winner of the whole thing. Keep in mind that both Roger and Rafa will be well rested

Posted by Kirsten 11/05/2007 at 01:35 PM

Ed: Depends on who they run into, of course. Given her recent play, Lindsay might be a favorite or at least equal to anyone other than Henin, or a fit Serena. Given a favorable draw, she could make it to the finals.

I would almost say the same for Nalbandian. I would like him against anyone but Federer. I know, he's beat Federer twice in a row. But there's clearly something different about beating Federer in a 3-set Masters Series tournament than beating him in a 5 set grand slam match (other than the French). But I'm kinda rooting for him to break through.

Posted by Sher 11/05/2007 at 01:49 PM

"N...adal has now reached the final of every Masters Series event except for Cincinnati (best finish: QF in 2006)."

How common is this statistic?

I mean, is it usual for good players to have been in all the finals?

I know Federer has been in every final except Paris (and the only other two MS he's never won are Rome & Monte Carlo).

Posted by Tim 11/05/2007 at 01:49 PM

that ESPN story on fat nalbie should be filed under 'backhanded compliments'


Posted by Carrie 11/05/2007 at 01:52 PM

Has Pete taken a look at Nalby version 2.0? He is sturdy- but plump may no longer be an apt descriptor.

Posted by Pete 11/05/2007 at 01:52 PM

Chieko - I am guessing that Andy R. will pull out and Nalby will go to town!

Posted by Sher 11/05/2007 at 01:53 PM

David Nalbandian - depending on the draw of course but I see him in the semis. (As I think is his usual good form run).

Posted by Pete 11/05/2007 at 01:53 PM

Yes, Carrie, I've seen Daveed, just having a little fun with the long-view. . . new post coming on the same subject this afternoon at 5.

Posted by superSnark 11/05/2007 at 01:54 PM

Lindsay hasn't played Justine (the all-round best player) or either of the Williamses (who can match her power and move better than she does). I see her getting to a QF with a reasonable draw, but not winning it. The only player of note she's beaten since coming back is Jankovic, who sometimes plays too passively, relying on her fitness to play get-ball-tennis.

Posted by Yummy Prince Fed/Karen 11/05/2007 at 01:57 PM

Just read Jon Wertheim's piece over at and he has indicated that Nalby will perhaps be in Shanghai as his moles say that someone is about to drop out. From discussions here it could be either Kolya or Roddick

Posted by Snoo Ferroo 11/05/2007 at 02:03 PM

in the atp all these dudes won a tournament while blogging: Nanner (RG 06 & 07), Kvetcher (Memphis 07), TMF (Tokyo 06), Erlich & Ram (Thailand 06), Bryans (Wimby 06), Disco (Hamburg 06), Melzer (ok so it was the dubs but hey, Jurgen's a better dubs than singles player anyhow so it counts, Casablanca 06), Blakesy (Sydney 06) and Ljuby (Chennai 06).

It'd be cool if SA could have the YEC (or even a measly 1000 series or whatever), but everyone will go apoplectic if the YEC is on red clay, what with that being a boutique surfrace, leastways according to everybody who's not south american or spanish. And I can't imagine an SA YEC on anything other than clay. so.

Posted by zolarafa (formerly just zola) 11/05/2007 at 02:28 PM


thanks a lot. very interesting as always.

I think YEC should rotate each year and be on a different surface. This way it will not favor those who are better on a special surface.

** constant complaint about tennis is that the best players only play in the biggest events, and so smaller countries/tournaments/fans are shut out from seeing the Federers, Nadals, Henins, and Williamses of the world. ***

Rafa played in Chennai-india last year and he will be there this year too. Roger plays in BAser, I think sharapova and Ivanovic played in Istabnul last year.....I think these should be acknowledged.

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 02:40 PM

Zola- I like you're idea about rotating surfaces each year for teh YEC-- I wish we could see more grass court tennis- and since it's not as rough on the body as a hard court- I would love to see more grass court tournaments- though I don't know a way this could possibly happen with RG and Wimby being only 2 weeks apart

Posted by temes 11/05/2007 at 02:43 PM

It seems, bloggers have an advantage over the rest of the field.

Posted by Papo 11/05/2007 at 02:44 PM

Rotating the YEC is a good idea. Other countries like say Argentina, Serbia, India, Israel, South Africa, etc... should have a chance to host the biggest Masters Series event of the year and show off what a great job they can do at it. So many possibilities. It would also mean it would be played on different surfaces more often. Playing on the same surface all the time favors the best players on that particular surface.

Posted by linex 11/05/2007 at 02:45 PM


I am glad that you are finally convinced about Nalbandian´s talent, grit (although this was not mentioned in the article) and wile. And I am glad that you finally recognize that he has some impressive achievments like being able to beat all the top five players Roddick, Nadal, Novak, Roger and of course Kolya. Not to mention his outstanding record in Davis Cup matches.

I do not know if his ambition is to be the World Number 1 he knows that it is almost impossible with Roger around but I am sure that he will put some effort in trying to finally win a grand slam. Luckily for him, he has equal chances of achieving that goal in Paris, Melbourne, NY or London. He already reached the semis in all those tournaments. Statistics suggest that his best results were in Paris and Melbourne where he won more matches. Probably US Open 2003 was a missed opportunity for Nalbandian with his Semi final loss to Andy R after having a match point and Ferrero waiting in the final.

Posted by Schwab 11/05/2007 at 02:45 PM

Snoo Foo and Ed,
I think that the YEC belong indoors on a rotating basis BUT I would like to see South America get a 1000 series(Master event) due to the number of players playing on the tour. ATP needs to make a revision in the schedule to allow this before 2009. Has anyone told the players/officials on this suggestion.

Posted by zolarafa (formerly just zola) 11/05/2007 at 02:50 PM

you don't need to worry. ATP is too much in favor of hard court players to do anything like that and God-forbid, have the YEC on clay!
The current ATP schedule is working on eliminating clay and grass altogether .

Posted by Schwab 11/05/2007 at 02:56 PM

Thanks for mentioning that the rotating YEC s/b played on different surfaces. That will put more intrigue into it.

Posted by temes 11/05/2007 at 02:57 PM

But it would be crazy to have one clay tournament all of a sudden midst hard-court season, crazy!

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 02:59 PM

"I think YEC should rotate each year and be on a different surface."

zola: I like that idea.

Posted by zolarafa (formerly just zola) 11/05/2007 at 03:00 PM

yes, I like the idea, but the ATP the way I see it right now is too overwhelmed to do anything like that.
I bet a YEC in south America on clay will be very interesting. I would love to see a YEC on grass too.

Posted by Schwab 11/05/2007 at 03:01 PM

Forgot to say the rotating YEC s/b played on different surfaces indoors. Someone probably know how to maintain grass surface indoors.

Posted by zolarafa (formerly just zola) 11/05/2007 at 03:06 PM

I think they do know how to make indoor grass. Remember last year's battle of surfaces exo? that was indoors I think. I bet they can lay grass a couple of weeks before the event. The other half was clay too. so that should be possible. but I don't mind if it is outdoor grass or clay or hard. If the weather id fine ( e.g. southern hemisphere) , why not?

Posted by evie 11/05/2007 at 03:07 PM

Is this true, Roddick withdrew:

Posted by evie 11/05/2007 at 03:08 PM

sory that was for Paris Masters

Posted by 11/05/2007 at 03:11 PM

evie, andy's website says : "With Andy taking off to travel halfway around the world for the biggest Masters Series event of the year..."

Posted by Snoo Ferroo 11/05/2007 at 03:15 PM

if there was any possible way to make a halfway decent indoor grass court, we'd all be watching a-rod play on it in a few weeks.

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 03:17 PM

Snoo- it's called astroturf- add a little sand for autheticity

Posted by evie 11/05/2007 at 03:28 PM

Anonymous, yes Andy is most probably going. I'd like him too actualy. Though I like Nalbie too. Did you see singing Nalbie video link over at CNN.SI Jon Wertheim. Cute.

Posted by evie 11/05/2007 at 03:29 PM

got misspellings above, sorry.

Posted by Snoo Ferroo 11/05/2007 at 03:31 PM

so if it's so much like real grass why don't they play the dc final on it?

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 03:34 PM

Snoo- they'd have to wear knee pads and shoulder pads ;)

Posted by zolarafa (formerly just zola) 11/05/2007 at 03:38 PM

the one in MAllorca exo was real grass (indoors).

Posted by Snoo Ferroo 11/05/2007 at 03:38 PM

is it slippery?

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 03:41 PM

Snoo- I have played on an astroturf court with sand added- and it was divine-- a little slippery but not too bad-- I imagined I was at Wimby :)

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 03:47 PM

jbrad: I've played on similar courts and hated them - too slippery. Horrible for any player who likes to make quick moves.

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 03:50 PM

The court would have been find without the added sand - easy on the joints.

Posted by Snoo Ferroo 11/05/2007 at 03:53 PM

zola whatever they threw together for that half-man half-beast exo in mallorca would prolly have an even higher YEC apoplexy rating than SA clay.

Posted by Squeak 11/05/2007 at 03:54 PM

Ed - I don't think Nalbandian will be past the QFs. While he has beaten practically all of the top tier players at least once in his two wins, let's not forget that he has lost early to Stanislas Wawrinka in two other tournaments (once in straight sets). While Wawrinka is no one to take lightly, he is definitely not a top tier player. Also, while Federer is starting to actually look human based on his losses to Canas and now Nalbandian, he ALWAYS shows up in the four major tournaments. So, even if Nalbandian does get to deep in the tourney, he will not beat Federer.

As for Davenport, she has a chance to make some waves, but as in previous years, her movement is a big issue. Quick players give her fits. She has a chance to get to the Round of 16, but I don't think she can go much farther.

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 03:58 PM

Sam- it's prolly not too different than the Wimby courts with a little drizzle

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 04:00 PM

jbrad: I've never played on real grass so I don't know, but this surface was by far the worst I've played on. I've played on hard, carpet, red clay, Har-Tru.

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 04:05 PM

Sam- I never played on real grass either-- but I did like the sandy astroturf! The worst surface I've played on was when I went to Madrid and played on the courts at the Casa de Campo- the courts were pebbles but shellacked and painted over- I felt like I'd stepped in oil but was running on concrete- the guy I was playing with moved on it like he'd always played on it :)

Posted by zolarafa (formerly just zola) 11/05/2007 at 04:12 PM

Snoo Ferroo

***zola whatever they threw together for that half-man half-beast exo in mallorca would prolly have an even higher YEC apoplexy rating than SA clay.**

maybe that ( half clay-half grass-half hard) should be the YEC surface!

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 04:20 PM

jbrad: Yikes - that surface sounds bad. As for the sandy astroturf, the first time I played on it we were playing doubles and I went to make a cut and slipped and skinned my knee and elbow. 12 years later I still have the marks. Then I played on it a few years later at another location, and though I didn't slip I was unable to play on it - couldn't attack the net at all due to the lousy footing. Even the clay courts I'd played on were much better in terms of footing.

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 04:21 PM

jbrad: What is your playing style? The sandy astroturf seems like it would suit players that don't move around much.

Posted by mici 11/05/2007 at 04:24 PM

like I said for me king david has the most chance to win a slam:

a)Aus open
d)US open (don't belive he could win it, to many players can over power him).

I like his chance in the Aus open, and if it playes indoor it will help him,
that said it depend of how the courts are, if they are fast and low bouncing courts I can see him getting in more problems depending of the draw.

I can see him in the semi's of finals depend of the draw,

I like his chances more them djoko and nadal, a lot more, and if it was rebound ace courts I would give him even more chances then those 2.

****I like rotating a place but not serface, that should be on hard court the most natrul serface.

******linzy devnport: 1/4 depend of the draw 1/2 and maybe a final, I can see her beat justin (I think she would have doen it in 2006 if she wasn't injered), and the wiliams sister (didn't she do it in 2005 summer), Her problem will be V JJ and her type of player, I can see lucy safrove beating her, and the new girl savey (the hun girl), other then that I think she can beat all of them.

Posted by sophie 11/05/2007 at 04:43 PM

It wouldn't matter whether the YEC was played on hard, clay or grass as only clay court style tennis is played these days like atlast week's indoor hard tournament, Wimbledon, Indian Wells, RG....all indistinguishable. The net is there merely to divide the court or have a drop shot spun over it and the court has a variety of different colours just to break up the monotony.

South America on clay would be ideal. Modern tennis finds its true home.

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 04:43 PM

Sam- I am a baseliner mostly, but I like short points- if I can force an error or hit a clean winner, I'm happy! But I have learned to attack short balls, chip and charge 2nd serves :), follow the short balls into the net- it's a new way for me but I'm having fun with it

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 04:45 PM

Sam- I just reread your post-- I run after everything!

Posted by beth 11/05/2007 at 04:51 PM

I am not sure about Lindsay Davenport's chances in the AO
but if Nalbandian can continue to play at the his high level , like the last two Masters - I could see him winning the whole thing.
Now, can he keep it up , that is a really big if .
realistically , I would say he is a semifinalist , though , not the champion

I have played on a sandy astroturf court when I was on vacation
very slippery stuff - I did not like it too much , I had a hard time with footwork on that court

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 04:55 PM

jbrad: I'm the same way in terms of running everything down (court coverage is my strong suit). I like to attack the net, but I'd say my style is more all-court. I serve & volley about half the time, and my baseline game is more steady than offensive. I transition to net when the opportunity presents itself.

"The net is there merely to divide the court or have a drop shot spun over it and the court has a variety of different colours just to break up the monotony."

LOL sophie. Where has all the net play gone?

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 05:01 PM

Sam- I'm constantly working on my patience and consistency

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 05:08 PM

jbrad: I try to work on both as well. It's hard to remain patient sometimes.

"very slippery stuff - I did not like it too much , I had a hard time with footwork on that court "

Beth: Thanks for backing me on this. :-)

Posted by beth 11/05/2007 at 05:17 PM

welcome , Sam
I also found this particular court to be really slow
there must have been a lot of sand on this one
Balls sat up for a long time
allowed quicker ( and more sure footed ) players a lot of time to run down everything
a lot of balls that I thought were sure winners, were coming back
looked like grass , played like clay

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 05:30 PM

This was years ago I played on the snady astroturf- maybe I was wearing my ultra-tred tennis shoes- cuz I don't remember being bothered by the slipperiness of the court- though I hadn't had my growth spurt yet, so I may have been topping put at 5'0" or something :)

Posted by beth 11/05/2007 at 05:33 PM

i felt that it was the sand that made it slippery
and where I was playing ( at a beach resort ) there was lots of sand
It did not seem to be to evenly spread around the court
so , certain parts were really slick - where there was a lot of sand
and certain parts had good traction
not the best maintained tennis court I have ever played on , that 's for sure

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 05:35 PM

Beth- ok yeah, piles of sand don't sound too good

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 05:39 PM

"i felt that it was the sand that made it slippery"

Same here. The sand on the court I slipped on were somewhat uneven (near the beach and blown around by the ocean breeze, I suppose. But the other courts has the sand evenly spread and it was still slippery. The court would have been fine with just the astroturf.

Posted by beth 11/05/2007 at 05:40 PM

they were not conducive to good tennis
but , on days when there was no good surf , the court was buzzing with activity anyway

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 05:45 PM

why do they put the sand on it?

Posted by Sam 11/05/2007 at 05:49 PM

jbrad: Good question ...

Posted by beth 11/05/2007 at 05:50 PM

I don't know
I thought maybe because it was so close to the beach , they could not stop the sand from getting in it
This one , at the resort , was the only court of its kind I had ever seen.
apparently , there are others out there - so the reason for the sand escapes me .
maybe Sam knows .

Posted by jbradhunter 11/05/2007 at 05:58 PM

the one I played at was at the Mobile Tennis Center- in Alabama-- they've since gotten rid of them, but they had sand too- and no where near the beach

Posted by FoT 11/05/2007 at 06:02 PM

I'm pumped up for the Year End! But sad because that's the last tournament of the year (even though I know the players are tired and need a break).

As far as the AO next year... I have no idea how far Nalbandian will go. He didn't show up to play in 2007 until the indoor season in 2 tournaments... So I wouldn't get too high on him keeping up this form. He hadn't done much this year until the indoor season while all the other top players have been playing and going deep in tournaments. So of all the ones left - Nalbandian was the freshest player of all and he played fantastic in winning the 2 Master Series events.

However, I remember back in 2005 when he won the Masters Cup some folks already had him winning the AO and other grand slams the next year. He didn't do it. So I don't hold much in stock with Nalbandian for 2008 really. He has played great in 2 tournaments at the end of the year. I seriously doubt if he can keep that level up throughout 2008. But we will see.

Posted by beth 11/05/2007 at 06:09 PM

well , Sam did not know the answer to the question
Does anyone else know why astroturf courts have sand in them ?

Posted by Sher 11/05/2007 at 06:33 PM

Speaking of that exo, I wonder if they'll play it next year as well. It's not on Roger's schedule but it is only exhibition

Posted by sophie 11/05/2007 at 06:47 PM

"I like his chance in the Aus open, and if it playes indoor it will help him,
that said it depend of how the courts are, if they are fast and low bouncing courts I can see him getting in more problems depending of the draw."

mici, when did you last see a fast low bouncing court?

Posted by jason 11/05/2007 at 07:11 PM

yeah, nalby has an execellent chance to get into ao semis. but i want him to play the yec. he could take out fed, given rafa a chance to be #1 after the ao. Also, i think rafa is rounding into

form after his lay off.( he cannot take a bbreak and make it to a final like fed) he can beat nalby in the yec. Remember ferrer gives nalby fits, beating him 6 times, and ferrer is great defesive player. But rafa is better.

Posted by VE 11/05/2007 at 07:11 PM

The biggest question mark for Lindsay is her ranking. She's No. 73, will be unseeded and stands a decent chance of drawing a big gun early. If she has a 1st round match against Chakvetadze, I think she's a good bet for the second week; if it's Henin, well, I'll hope taking the flight to show Jagger kangaroos live was worth it. My guess: QF

Nalbandian, I don't know how to read being honest. He beats Djokovic, Rafa and Fed; then loses to Wawrinka before beating Gasquet, Ferrer, Fed and Nadal the next week. Talk about up and down? He will be seeded, probably 6th or 7th so he can work his way into an event, but I wonder how much the conditions (both magnitude and weather) will get to Nalbandian. Not that he can't play on outdoor hardcourts, I'm not trying to insinuate THAT, but four of his seven titles have come indoors.

Posted by VE 11/05/2007 at 07:22 PM

Also, I hated the sandstroturf courts, all the low bounces were killer and being born and bred a hardcourt player, I remember finding the footing far less than ideal.

Posted by Willie the Speare Shaker 11/05/2007 at 07:27 PM

As per the WTA Bloggers and winning events, it's actually the opposite. While the ATP has the "blessing of the blog", the WTA has a long standing "curse of the blog". The last person to win the event they blogged at was Kim Clijsters (there's a name from the past...) at Hasselt in '06. Incidentally, Clijsters toughest match was ALSO a semifinal against Vera Zvonereva. And yes it's dorky that I know that, and yes I do have an Excel chart. Work is boring sometimes.

Posted by jb 11/05/2007 at 09:12 PM

'kay IF answer..

Nablie - semis
Lindsay - quarters

Though wouldn't surprise me if I'm totally wrong.

I think Andy will pull out of Shanghai - though I don't want him too as he needs some match play before Davis. If Daveed plays - I think he'll have a very good chance of winninig it. He's fresh, he's motivated and he's on fire. But then again, so's Ferru!

Posted by Bismarck 11/05/2007 at 10:18 PM

my condolences for you and your family. wish you the best.
and really enjoyed all your reports from bercy.

nalby - semifinal, maybe only QF.

lindsay - 4th round. a bad draw and she´s gone even earlier.

Posted by Bismarck 11/05/2007 at 10:27 PM

and Ed:

sorry, but that was the best clip you could find to honour hingis in the hour of her retirement?! losing the final with a horrendous service game without winning a point and making bad error after bad error?
well, if the point of it was only to show hingis and davenport at the same time... can´t argue with that of course. yes, one can see hingis in it. and davenport, too.

Posted by mici 11/05/2007 at 10:42 PM

fot: but he did get to the semi in 2006 aus and had 2 set adv over marcos in the semis before he chocked.

sophie: I think the us is very close to low bouncing fast court.

from what I hear about the new aus court it should be low bouncing court(becouse of the sand)and madum fast court.

1 of king david main problems is that players can over power him, so that won't help him.

Posted by Schwab 11/05/2007 at 10:55 PM

Did King David make it to the semis at Roland Garros before he had to retire against Fed due to a stomach injury?

Posted by coco 11/06/2007 at 07:38 AM

To answer Beth - I think some astroturf courts have sand in them to give them a different playing characteristic, ie more sand = slower. I've played on quite a few artificial grass courts and some have no sand at all, and these definitely play faster. I think sand probably helps keep the courts playable in case of rain too.

And you are right about one thing - although as I said, some astroturf can be quite fast, in general they look like grass but don't play much like it at all. If you could make an artificial grass court that could be played on indoors, I'm sure we'd be seeing it at the DC final.

Posted by Schwab 11/06/2007 at 09:07 AM

Justine and Anna C will be on the court in approx 3 hours

Henin in 2 over Chakvetadze
Sharapova in 2 over Hantuchova
Kuznetsova in 3 over Ivanovic - Match may last 2.5 hours.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 11/06/2007 at 09:34 AM

the last time the US chose grass it was a disaster and Blake has never played especially well on grass has he? I would think a fast to medium fast hard court would suit them best or just take the USO court.

The problem with grass is it is organic and can vary widely even within a single club and area. Look at how they changed Wimbledon by making the earth harder and more compact and the grass a more durable type. One gets closer to a medium pace hard court versus the old style where the courts were softer, grass cut slightly longer. At the end of Wimbledon the baselines and the T were like a sand pit anyway.

A traditional grass court is very fast, with low, and often unusual bounces. Part of the S&V was to avoid the lottery that baseline rallies became with the bounces.

Synthetic grass, if there really is such a thing in other than name only, comes in a wide range of styles. In the UK it tends to be a sort of plastic long nap door mat with deeper sand to even out the surface but the little naps left giving it a strange playing sensation that is nothing like grass. There is also the carpet or sports stadium type surface with very light sand to give a little more slide rather than the very sticky feel unsanded carpet tends to produce. Both are quite odd, special "club" type courts.

Two types of very fast, low bouncing courts are traditional grass, lightly sanded thin carpet and very smoothe (ie no sand in paint) hard courts. Obviously all these court speeds can be altered by the ball choice.

My club has grass, synthetic outdoor grass, acrylic hard courts- same type used at USO, indoor bubble Swedish carpet and a very odd painted hard court, called "porus" they use for county and competition in UK. So have played quite a bit on those surfaces as well as French and Spanish Clay.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 11/06/2007 at 09:39 AM

I agree with most of what Mici has said. Fed, at his best, would take his chances and liked a court that rewarded going for a winner. Part of what he was saying about Paris, was the courts did not reward risk taking as it was difficult to hit through someone. Perfect for a player like Nalby who can work into points with offense, defense and getting into a position to use the angles. A great all court game. Fed will play around but he likes the first strike. I also agree with Mici that post Roche, he has been playing more cautious in general.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 11/06/2007 at 09:41 AM

I also agree with Steve on the other site that Rafa also has been playing more cautious but have no idea if it is due to the pressure and dynamics of being expected to win or a desire to protect his physical health. Both can alter the mental approach to playing. I think Rafa plays best when he is in full flight.

Posted by Sam 11/06/2007 at 10:47 AM

Schwab: Agree with your first 2 picks, but think Ivanovic will win in 3.

coco: Thanks for the astroturf court info. I've never played on any where there was no sand. But I'd rather them play fast than be so difficult to move on. I noticed that many of the older players who don't move around much like those courts since they don't lose out in terms of mobility, and the courts offer nice cushioning for their joints.

Tokyo Tom: Thanks for the AO surface info on the other thread.

Posted by Sam 11/06/2007 at 11:16 AM

Tokyo Tom: Blake lost a 5-setter to Gonzalez on grass in DC, right? I don't recall Blake having much success on grass - agree that a fast hardcourt would suit him best.

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