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Blondes Away! 10/30/2010 - 11:09 PM

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by Pete Bodo

As Caroline Wozniacki prepares to play for the WTA Championships title (a win there would be Wozniacki's most significant title to date), we're entitled to wonder: Is she the next dominant WTA champion, plucking titles off the Grand Slam tree as if they were low-hanging fruit (see "G" for Graf, or "S" for Serena), or the next...Elena Dementieva?

Dementieva stole some of Wozniacki's thunder this week, choosing to retire from tennis at the same time that Wozniacki sewed up the year-end No. 1 ranking. So one blonde is out, one blonde is in, maintaining a tradition while also paring it down. Wozniacki, of course, has already surpassed Dementieva's career-high ranking of No. 3. But can she build a comparable resume, which includes two Olympic medals (including a gold in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games), nine semifinal—or better—finishes at Grand Slam events, and a 22-5 singles record in Fed Cup?

Two of those Fed Cup wins came in the 2005 final against a strong French squad. Dementieva put on a master class. She beat Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo in singles, and partnered with Dinara Safina to win the critical fifth doubles (defeating the same two women Dementieva subdued in singles) in one of her career-best moments. And it was a championship tie played away from Dementieva's Moscow home, at the home of the French Open, Stade Roland Garros. In a way, that performance is emblematic of the realities that govern the WTA (as well as ATP): If you're not winning majors, you're chopped liver, at least as far as broad acclaim goes. But really, there's a lot more to having as long and rich a career as was Dementieva's.

A player like Dementieva—ask the next cab driver you hail if he recognizes the name—wins an awful lot of tennis matches. Many of those wins are resonant and certainly deeply satisfying. Kind of like writing a novel that's highly praised by your peers, and the most discerning of critics, but fails to crack the all-important best seller list, or attract a big, fat option deal from some movie producer. Why not me?, you may find yourself wondering. To which the only real answer is, Who knows? The prize-money check may balm what wounds a Slamless pro sustains, as does the respect of her peers and the cognescenti. But there's a bigger prize out there, and everyone knows it.

But it's easy to place so much emphasis on the majors, especially when it comes to players not our own. As important as the majors are, they're also to some degree a least-common denominator, universally used to judge players in who we don't necessarily have some vested interest. When you judge a player by her success at the majors—and it's not as if Dementieva has been a total Grand Slam flop—it's a little bit like adopting money earned as a baseline measure of success in business. (Or in the arts, although we're not supposed to say that. But would you really love, say, a Julian Schnabel—or even know who the hail he is—if his work wasn't going for $5 million a pop?) Or put it this way: If that cabbie to whom you put that question about Dementieva picked you up in Moscow, I'd bet dollars to donuts that he or she certainly would recognize her name and her accomplishments. But would he know the name Francesca Schiavone, or Gaston Gaudio?

Wozniacki in some ways has a tougher row to hoe than did Dementieva, despite having jumped out to a significantly better start. Dementieva, who's 29, didn't hit her career-high ranking until last season; Wozniacki, ranked No. 1, is all of 20. With 12 singles titles to her credit, Wozniacki is already just four short of Dementieva's career haul (16). And despite their age difference (even top players are generally thought to need a significant period of apprenticeship before ascending to No. 1, even if they win majors long before), Wozniacki has a winning head-to-head record against Dementieva (4-3).

Those statistics are prohibitively positive for Wozniacki. Yet somehow if I ask myself, Will Wozniacki have a better career than Dementieva?, I find myself balking at making what would be the obvious reply, and why that's so is a question that's more easily answered than the original one.

Dementieva had the misfortune to be a contemporary of Venus and Serena Williams. She played Serena surprisingly close, finishing 5-7 (and who can forget that epic Wimbledon win by Serena, 8-6 in the third, in last year's semis?), but had more trouble with Venus (3-9). Dementieva played Martina Hingis well seven times (3-4), but she was generally crushed by Lindsay Davenport (5-11). Against other Grand Slam champs or No. 1 players, Dementieva was 3-7 against Jelena Jankovic, 4-2 versus Ana Ivanovic, and 6-5 against Dinara Safina. Dementieva was hammered 11-3 by Kim Clijsters and even more savaged by Justine Henin, 11-2. She struggled against Svetlana Kuzentsova (4-7) but fared slightly better against Mauresmo, going 6-10.

By my unreliable math, Dementieva was 44-74 against the best players of two generations. Just for kicks, I checked to see if she'd ever played Steffi Graf, and came up blank. I don't have the patience to add up all the Grand Slam titles accounted for by the women represented in this head-to-head, but suffice it to say that it's mildy surprising that a woman who has a better than .500 record against the cream of the crop didn't hit paydirt on at least one occasion at a major.

Wozniacki is 0-2 against Serena Williams, and 0-4 against Serena's sister Venus. She won the only match she played against Mauresmo, lost her only match with Kim Clijsters (whom she'll face today) as well as her one encounter with Henin. She's 1-2 vs. Ivanovic and 0-4 vs. Jankovic. Davenport won the only time she played Wozniacki, and Hingis crushed her twice. Safina won her only match against Wozniacki. Wozniacki is 3-2 against Kuznetsova. All told, by my count, she's 5-19 against the best players she's faced, and two of those players (Jankovic and Safina) have, like Wozniacki, failed thus far to win a major.

106307504 Five of 24 is a far cry from 44-74, but it's also true that Wozniacki is at the very beginning of her career; I doubt that Dementieva's winning percentage was much higher against the best players at a comparable age. But the critical detail is that Dementieva was nowhere near the No. 1 ranking when she was 20 (she finished 2001 ranked 15th, and actually fell back four places the following year). So what we have in Wozniacki is the apprentice in charge of the workshop, and we'll just have to wait to see how that all works out. It's absurd to challenge or attempt to discredit that No. 1 ranking. It's a fact, although we can while away hours discussing how it came to pass. But the burdens that are passed along to the player who's no. 1 are not to be dismissed.

The great advantage Wozniacki enjoys, which Dementieva never had, is that she's free to write her personal history on what looks more and more like the proverbial tabula rasa. Her path isn't exactly strewn with roadblocks. Three of her main rivals—Jankovic, Ivanovic and Safina—have one major between them. Maria Sharapova hasn't been the same since her shoulder injury of over a year ago, and the Williams sisters are banged up, their future uncertain. Clijsters returned, but has put up exactly the kind of results you can expect from a part-time employee who's secure—she appears to be working only because she needs to fill her days and the money, which after all, is pretty darned good. Henin has retreated to lick the wounds inflicted during her brief return to the fray. Hail, even Kuznetsova's future is clouded, although I imagine Wozniacki wouldn't mind battling her, given how Sveta has provided Caro with more than 50 percent of her wins over top players.

Dementieva is a superior athlete to Wozniacki, but then tennis isn't a game ruled by athleticism, even if it's the value-added element that tends to lift great champions above merely good ones. That raises an interesting point: Was Dementieva a better "athlete" than "tennis player?" And if so, does it mean that Wozniacki, who's clearly more tennis player than athlete, ought to fare better in the long term?

Wozniacki hasn't exactly lit it up at the majors (the U.S. Open excepted), but she's demonstrated a great deal of consistency—more than was ever shown by Dementieva. In tennis, winning begets winning; it's a simple as that. And Dementieva's failure to win a major is less of a comment on her athletic abilities than on some flawed component of her make-up as a tennis player—a shortcoming she was able to overcome on only a few occasions, like the Beijing Olympics, or in that Fed Cup final against France. Call it choking, call it falling prey to a bad day on an important day, or call it the quality of competition—it amounts to the same thing: An inability to raise her game and tighten down the mental screws when it most counted. The failure of a habitual consistency.

So there is Wozniacki's position in a nutshell. The WTA is there for the taking, and Wozniacki has shown signs of being the kind of player who can put the hammer down on her rivals, week-in, week-out. But she has yet to prove herself by the most reliable measure of all, winning the biggest of titles. The opportunity for her is enormous, partly because at the moment there is a surprising lack of potential resistance. And until we see a player whose combination of desire, dedication, fitness and talent exceeds that of Wozniacki's present rivals, it's her game to lose.


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Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 10:55 AM

Hello AM!
Happy Birthday. :)

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 10:58 AM

Really wish Roger would stop playing Abu Dhabi; he's never done well there and I don't know why he thinks it's fun to start the season with losses against other top players.

Maybe if he hadn't let Sod beat him there last year Sod wouldn't have had as much confidence to start zoning at the FO.

Yep, those grapes are sour, thank you very much :)

I know he used to play Kooyong but at least being right next door to the AO that tourney makes some sense.

Of course living in Dubai he probably can't get out of playing sth so close by; but I just felt like venting.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:59 AM

MA: I agree with you. It makes sense for Rafa to play Chennai in 2012 given that he does charity work in India. Plus, he was playing there before he went to Doha.

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 10:59 AM

Just saw the posts above - happy b-day Marge!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:00 AM

Arun Thanks.Just between you and me what age am I supposed to be this year? I forgot Ssssh remember you have kept track.

CWATC Many Thanks.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:04 AM

Well maybe in 2012 Roger will play the Kooyong Classic again

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:05 AM

CWATC: Abu Dhabi is an exo so I don't think Roger approaches it with the same mindset that he does a real tournament. He's goes there because he has do to and just to have some fun and try out some things. If he loses I don't think he's really bothered about that. It also helps that it's close to Dubai.

Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 11:07 AM

AM: That legendary tennis player wouldn't let me know either. :)

Hi CWATC! Abu Dhabi = $$$. :)
I think Fed and Rafa love to play tennis of course.
But the prize money involved in that exho and also that Doha tournament (in addition to the Appearance Fee) is too hard to resist I guess.

On a related note, I love the fact that Murray has moved away from Abu Dhabi and Doha the past 2 years and enjoys playing in HC instead.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:08 AM

Arun Right its all coming back to me now

May I say we both Rock for our ages ok

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 11:14 AM

Hey Arun! :)

wilson, I know, but beating him last year helped Sod's confidence I'm sure.

Ah well, it was just a vent. And after seeing the floor plan of that vacation-mansion as I've said he needs all the $$ he can get to pay the heating bill!

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:15 AM

Arun: Murray has said the reason he left Abu Dhabi and Doha is because they don't have the same conditions as Australia. Most matches in the Abu Dhabi and Doha are played in the late afternoon when it is cooler and feels that playing Australia from the get go helps him to acclimatise to the conditions better. BTW, Abu Dhabi is run by IMG, so Roger and Rafa have no choice but to attend.

Posted by JB (FOOPs unite!!!) 11/01/2010 at 11:15 AM

*sings*

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday dear aussiemargggggg,
happy birthday to you!

*unsings*

May you have a lovely chanel-laden year... ! :)))

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:18 AM

JB LOL!

I love the theme of singing Happy Birthday

I also love the Chanel thought too

Thank you

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:18 AM

CWATC: I don't know how much confidence Soderling actually got from beating Roger in Abu Dhabi. I'm sure he knew Roger wasn't going all out to win that match and even though he beat Roger @ RG in a real match, he hasn't really looked confident when they played since then.

Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 11:24 AM

lol, CWATC.

Comeon, wilson75. I don't believe that "they have no choice" - they are not some kind of puppets of IMG. The words of two of the greatest ever to play the game should (and will) have some effect on IMG before these kind of events. :) I think Fedal can make their own decision on which tournaments to attend so that they prepare themselves better prior to the first slam. But, seeing that they both are doing some good charity work, I assume it's one way to earn for their charity work too.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:25 AM

I think personally Robin has lost his edge in ways.I felt he lost it at RG this year.Just my thoughts

Posted by Colette 11/01/2010 at 11:26 AM

AM, a birthday treat for you in case you haven't seen it.

http://tinyurl.com/2cj86ou

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:32 AM

Colette Thanks.No I have seen that picture with Pat and the Panda lol!

I adore Panda's my brother had a stuffed one when he was younger I always pinched it off him and wasnt into dolls at all I am afraid.

Posted by Colette 11/01/2010 at 11:34 AM

Had you seen the video with the "Fed impersonation"?

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:36 AM

Arun: We don't know what contract they have signed but I'm sure there is clause in there that says they must make themselves available for IMG run events and I'm sure they are greatly remunerated for their presence. I agree that it is more than likely that the money they earn at Abu Dhabi goes to their charities. But I think IMG would be foolish to put on an exhibition without the biggest tennis stars in their stable.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:37 AM

colette Yes I have lol!

Pat looks like he has a bit of a pot belly if I may say soo

Though he still models Bond undies well.

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 11:37 AM

Well since FO Sod's had more pressure against Fed (and been in worse form as AM points out). I feel an exho win is perfect mentally 'cause you tell the press "oh it's just an exo, no big deal" but still just having that experience of having won MP should help mentally to make you less likely to choke in the real match.

But whatever, I'm just overprotective of Rog; it's like misplaced motherly instinct. If I'd had my way he never would have done the Sampras exos either but hey what can you do water under the bridge.

On to more current topics, am bummed that I won't get to see Fed/Dolgo later today; I've really enjoyed the little of Dolgo I've seen; it should hopefully be a treat.

PS. I know re my exo diabtribe the Fed/Roddick kooyong/AO of '07 is the greatest counterexample of all time :) but that was TMF . . .

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:38 AM

AM: You may be right about Soderling losing his edge @ RG. It can't be good for his confidence to beat Roger the player he lost to last year and then come up short in the finals again to the Rafa who he beat last year and probably thought he would beat again.

Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 11:42 AM

Fed/Dolgo should be good. Could be a tough 3-setter with a couple of points here and there deciding the match. Ok, I won't bet on that about the upcoming match. But I expect Dolgo to make great strides next year. He has got such a sweet, but powerfully well-rounded game. He makes the game look so easy and casual while it isn't supposed to be.

espn3 will be showing this match live, so I expect it to be archived too.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:44 AM

wilson75 I think any player that makes like Robin did in making 2 GS finals and to lose must suffer confidence and I personally think this has been the case with Robin.

Look what happened to Murray earlier in the year when he lost to Roger hey it took him ages to get back to form like Wimbledon this year.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:47 AM

CWATC: I disagree with you on the merits of confidence from an exo win. Nothing is on the line in a match like that no ranking points, title, it's just fun and games and as you pointed out Roddick was pretty sure that he was going to beat Roger at AO after beating him in Kooyong '07 and we know what happened in Melbourne. That's why I say that Roger's mindset in those events is much different to that of a real match. He doesn't take exos that seriously, winning or losing is no as important. If I remember Murray won the first Abu Dhabi beating Rafa in the final and then was blow off the court by Verdasco @ AO.

Posted by lilscot 11/01/2010 at 11:49 AM

MA: 10:51 a.m.

Lol. Actually Bob was extremely nice, but way more frail than I had thought. When I grabbed his hand to shake it I felt like I was going to break it. And, he's covered in that fake-tan make-up. When he reached out to shake my hand you could see the line where it ended under his sleeve!

At the end when they took me into a back room to sign the papers for all the stuff this lady comes out with this headshot of Bob carrying it like it was made of diamonds or something and gently laid it down in front of me. I guess I was supposed to swoon of something, but I just pushed it off the paper that said, "sign here for $25,000!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:50 AM

I also feel watching his s.final against Roger this year at RG Robin played his final and I knew then Rafa would have no trouble beating him

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 11:50 AM

BTW in the unlikely event I ever get to meet Fed in my lifetime I will try to get him drunk and get him to tell me the true story of the William Tell clip; I'm still of the wacko gut feeling that it was real . . .

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:51 AM

AM: I agree. I'm sure that second loss @ RG was devastating for Soderling as he has said it was easier to beat Rafa than Roger and to get over that hurdle and then fail against Rafa would be very hard to take.

Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 11:53 AM

"If I remember Murray won the first Abu Dhabi beating Rafa in the final and then was blow off the court by Verdasco @ AO."

wilson75: Subsequently both Verdasco and Federer were blown off the court by Nadal @ AO'09. ;)
Yes, but I agree with your theory on Fed and exhos.

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 11:53 AM

wilson75, agree to disagree, but for Roger's sake I hope you are right :)

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 11:54 AM

CWATC: I think you might have to wait until he writes his memoirs to find out if that William Tell ad was real or not.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 11:58 AM

Well I would like to watch Rogers match with Dolly

Though if I am to keep looking like I am for another year I need sleep

Later everyone and thanks again for the Birthday wishes though I have heaps more hours to celebrate.

Posted by Grant 11/01/2010 at 12:00 PM

Happy Birthday, AM!!!

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 12:02 PM

Verdasco has to be feeling good he won his first match since the USO: 6-4 6-1 against Michael Russell. He will have a tougher task in his next match since he plays either Stakhovsky or Simon in the round.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/01/2010 at 12:03 PM

Has there been any information on the severity of Andy Murray's video game injury? :)

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 11/01/2010 at 12:06 PM

AM, Happy Birthday!!

Posted by sokol 11/01/2010 at 12:06 PM

Happy Birthday, Aussiemarg!

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 12:08 PM

Ross,

From Andy's twitter:

"On way to practice in valencia, my hand is perfect contrary 2 reports, sense of humour wouldn't go a miss haha"

So we can all breath a sigh of relief.

Posted by Vetmama 11/01/2010 at 12:10 PM

Hey, folks. :)

The oop for Basel shows tomorrows marches already...what time is Rog/Dolgo?

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 12:12 PM

Aussiemarg,
In order for Kim to get to number 1, she would have to win Australian Open and Caroline would have to lose at the R16 stage or earlier. Now, even if Caroline lost in first round, Kim still would have to win Australian Open to overtake her. This scenario is in case Caroline or Kim did not play any pre-AO events.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 12:13 PM

Vetmama,
Federer plays at 1:30 PM

Posted by Grant 11/01/2010 at 12:19 PM

"Has there been any information on the severity of Andy Murray's video game injury? :)"

in the words of another famous scot, Groundskeeper Willie, he has "crrrrripling arrrthritis of the thumbs"

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 12:21 PM

Tuesday ATP Order of Play:

Valencia at 8 AM - Almagor, Kohlschreiber, Murray vs Lopez, Garcia-Lopez vs Ferrer, Tursunov, Soderling and Davydenko scheduled
Basel at 9 AM - Tipsarevic vs Istomin, Giraldo, Troicki vs Berrer and Golubev scheduled
Basel at 11 AM - Lu vs Gasquet
Basel at 1 PM - Gulbis vs Djokovic
Basel at 3 PM - Chiudinelli vs Cilic followed by Hajek vs Nalbandian

Starting at 1:30 PM today, ESPN3 will have coverage from Basel

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 12:23 PM

Tuesday ATP Order of Play:

Valencia at 8 AM - Almagro, Kohlschreiber, Murray vs Lopez, Garcia-Lopez vs Ferrer, Tursunov, Soderling and Davydenko scheduled
Basel at 9 AM - Tipsarevic vs Istomin, Giraldo, Troicki vs Berrer and Golubev scheduled
Basel at 11 AM - Lu vs Gasquet
Basel at 1 PM - Gulbis vs Djokovic
Basel at 3 PM - Chiudinelli vs Cilic followed by Hajek vs Nalbandian

Starting at 1:30 PM today, ESPN3 will have coverage from Basel

Posted by Vetmama 11/01/2010 at 12:24 PM

Thanks lots, MA :)

Posted by Larry in the Silicon 11/01/2010 at 12:28 PM

Happy Birthday, Marge. I saw the Pat Rafter thing, and have to say that sense of humor is a little on the sadistic side - he puts a ball on the guy's head and then aims a serve at his gut? Looks like it was about 85-90 mph too...what's the deal with practicing in his underwear?

Anyhow, no one really knows how good Wozniacki will be. As Pete Bodo writes, she's not the athlete Dementieva was, but that was also Dementieva's problem - more athlete than tennis player, track star in tennis shoes. Graf had some of this problem, and Seles - not a great athlete - exploited it quite well until the stabbing. I saw the Wozniacki-Clijsters final on TV from the US Open, and saw a certain lack of power. Then again, Kim Clijsters is a pummeling combo of brute strength and clean ball-striking.

Caroline does not need to become better than Kim to win Majors because Kim is a few years, no more, from re-retiring, and is anyhow inconsistent in Majors. Personally, I think Venus is done as a factor in Majors, and Serena has about a year left, max. So Wozniacki will probably snag up to five Majors. A few years ago, I would have picked Azarenka and a few others to take #1. I think Zvonareva will also get a few before she retires.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 12:30 PM

Vetmama,
Federer is mid-morning match for you.

Posted by sf (aka sod'sfriend) 11/01/2010 at 12:44 PM

happy 19th birthday, aussiemarg!

:)

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/01/2010 at 12:48 PM

marg, sending your chocolates and booze in celebration of the big day! you and your true affection for Fred Federer and his shiny locks are always a joy to behold :)

Posted by zenggi 11/01/2010 at 01:07 PM

I hope this works.

Happy Birthday, Madame AM!

I send you a virtual "Variationen von der Lindt Schokolade." You have to try that dessert at least once for real. Unreal, really.

Posted by Jackie 11/01/2010 at 01:23 PM

Happy birthday, AM!!! You've got mail. :)

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 01:36 PM

Happy Day, AM!

Anyone watching Roger and Dollypop?

Posted by sisu 11/01/2010 at 01:40 PM

Hi AB! I am.

Hope it's good.

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 01:43 PM

Hey sisu:

If it doesn't go 3, this one could be over in 50 minutes, they both play so quickly.

btw- thanks for the shout out on the DC thread.

Posted by sisu 11/01/2010 at 01:46 PM

AB, I agree it could be very fast. Hope it goes Roger's way. ;))

You're welcome. That was lovely to read. ;))

Posted by Sherlock 11/01/2010 at 01:48 PM

"If it doesn't go 3, this one could be over in 50 minutes, they both play so quickly."

You see, that's the problem with these guys. We don't get time to savor the match. Rafa and Nole are trying to teach them the new way, but they never learn. :)

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 01:55 PM

Hi Sherlock:

Dollypop got out of that service game with some good serving and nice S&V on BP. He's like Nishikori when he first arrived on the scene - fearless and Gulbis casual.

Posted by Red 1.7.17.287⁺ = Legacy Solidified 11/01/2010 at 01:56 PM

Good afternoon everyone.
Fed's got his work cut out for him today.
The little dude sure is fast and frisky.

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2010 at 02:00 PM

Morning, all.

Mr Federer holds, then breaks. A nice way for me to start live streaming. Federer 4-3, with a break.

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:00 PM

I dunno, Red, Roger breaks to love to go up 4-3.

Dollypop's game depends on perfect timing to the ball and while striking. He is impatient and makes too many errors.

Posted by vetmama 11/01/2010 at 02:01 PM

Lordie.
Watching a sharp Rogi makes me very very happy.

"TMF Tonic" will cure all that ails ya.:)

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:02 PM

Love hold by Roger, making majority 1st serves. 5-3 Roger.

Posted by sisu 11/01/2010 at 02:02 PM

Finally! Roger takes advantage of his break points.

Hi Sherlock! Hope you're having a good Monday. ;))


Note: This site keeps freezing my computer and I have to restart making it difficult to have any kind of consistent connection.

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:03 PM

Love hold by Dollypop with some good serving to Roger's body, handcuffing his BH. 5-4 Roger to serve for the set.

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2010 at 02:04 PM

Two quick holds, few rallies. 5-4 Federer on serve. Robbie Koenig has the "Federer = good front runner" phrase in the commentator buzzword bingo stakes.

Posted by Red 1.7.17.287⁺ = Legacy Solidified 11/01/2010 at 02:07 PM

AB,
Valid point, however on the kid's previous service game he was down love 30 and kinda Roger ragged there for a bit.
That said Fed seems to have upped his level. Appears to want this over with.

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:07 PM

Roger with 3 SPs, DFs the first, Dollypop gets a good ROS on 2nd, but then overhits long. Roger takes 1st set 6-4 in 27 minutes.

What did I tell ya', Sherlock?

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2010 at 02:08 PM

A DF at 40-0, then Dolgopolov sends an attacking FH long, and it's first set Federer. Federer posting Wozniacki-like winners - 2 for the set.

Posted by Red 1.7.17.287⁺ = Legacy Solidified 11/01/2010 at 02:10 PM

oops..make that 'ran Roger ragged'

Posted by Babe 11/01/2010 at 02:12 PM

So Ivanovic & Gunthardt have split.

Posted by Babe 11/01/2010 at 02:12 PM

Roger is playing SCARY tennis--his bh is exceptional, today.

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:15 PM

Okay, I do not like Roger's kit. Makes him look yellow. Only looks good on the darkest of skin colors.

That said, what comes first, Roger's color combo or court colors? First Beijing, now Basel. Is Roger's new tactic to be camouflaged?

Roger breaks early. Some great hitting by both in Roger's service game, but Roger's good serving keeps him ahead 2-0.

Fast hold by Dollypop. Can he hang around long enough for Roger to go for his 2nd set walkabout?

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2010 at 02:15 PM

An easy hold for Dolgopolov, only problem is he was broken in his first service game of the set. 2-1 Federer, with a break. A lovely BH DTL at 15-0 in Federer's service game - fast court, quick tennis.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/01/2010 at 02:21 PM

i still for the life of me dont understnad why even tourneys at this level PAY everyone to show up! ridiculous! is this a pro sport or not? does even Roddick get appearance money tto show up in basel?

i hate that whole concept...

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2010 at 02:21 PM

The points are flying by in Basel: Federer up 3-2 in set 2 with a break, very short rallies (if any).

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/01/2010 at 02:23 PM

the pace of these pionts and games is amazing lol .. love it, no endless toweling off and fidgeting just get on with it

Posted by Red 1.7.17.287⁺ = Legacy Solidified 11/01/2010 at 02:26 PM

Have not seen tennis played at this pace for a long time.
Beautiful DTL BH by Fed the last game.

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2010 at 02:26 PM

Federer holds, then breaks again: first BP drops a BH volley in the net, then a CC FH by Dolgopolov isn't wide enough and Federer cracks a deep FH that Dolgopolov can only send long. 5-2 Federer, two breaks.

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:26 PM

On track for my 50 minute match prediction.

Roger serving very well, his BH looks good today. Serving for the match.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/01/2010 at 02:28 PM

note to players, dont slide in basel

Posted by Red 1.7.17.287⁺ = Legacy Solidified 11/01/2010 at 02:29 PM

Ouch!

Posted by Sherlock 11/01/2010 at 02:31 PM

Tim, Roger needs to slow down. This match is going way too quickly. :)

Hi, sisu!! Well, it's Monday, that's for sure. :) But it was a good weekend, so I can't complain. How are you?

He he, AB. Gulbis casual. I like that phrase. :)

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:35 PM

Well, while we're waiting for Dollypop and his tweaked ankle to get off the court, may I say.....Go Giants!

And congrats to Roger. I'm sure he would have like to serve the match out, not needing his home court to eat his opponents ankles for a match win.

Sorry Dollypop, hard enough playing Roger for the 1st time, let alone in TMF's living room. Hope your ankle heals quickly.

Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 02:35 PM

Sherlock: AB almost killed my fledgling Dolgo fandom with that description.

Tim, Red: Is Dolgo okay?
I hate it when the players slide on Hard courts, moreso when they get injured because of that..

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 02:36 PM

"So Ivanovic & Gunthardt have split."

Babe,
I think Ana's play as of late will dip once again in 2011 as she adjust to a new coach. Her changing of coaches is similar on what Shahar was or is going through.

Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 02:37 PM

oops. Hope Dolgopolov can recover soon.

Posted by Red 1.7.17.287⁺ = Legacy Solidified 11/01/2010 at 02:38 PM

Arun,
That would be a negative.
The kid fell down and couldn't get up.

Posted by tennis express 11/01/2010 at 02:39 PM

Sad way for the match to end, not enough time to really get into it! I can't believe these guys dont tape their ankles?!

Congrats to fellow Fed fans...sadz for any Dollypop fans out there.

Posted by vetmama 11/01/2010 at 02:41 PM

I only saw the first set, where Roger was changing the direction of the ball with an ease that was wonderful to watch.
BHDTL, FHDTL...

Of course, this being Fed v. 2010, that has no bearing on how he will play tomorrow. :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/01/2010 at 02:41 PM

Arun, lol. Don't think about it too much. :)

AB, go Giants, indeed!

Posted by Andrew 11/01/2010 at 02:41 PM

Memo to Novak Djokovic - careful with the sliding.

Commiserations to Dolgopolov fans - points were going by in a blur, and I didn't see enough to get a sense of what he can do, apart from one running BH pass. That twist looked like a 6 weeker, but Denis Istomin was back on court quickly after a similar injury, so what do I know.

Congratulations to Federer fans - the Basel crowd got treated to an appetizer this evening rather than a main course, but I dare say they're satisfied, if sympathetic to the Ukrainian. Federer was leading 55/36, or 60% to 40%, so he was on course for a thumping: Dolgopolov had won precisely 4 return points out of 37, so he wasn't exactly favorite to overcome two breaks.

I couldn't help but compare and contrast Federer's reaction to his opponent's injury to Maria Sharapova's back in the day:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/01/sports/tennis/01tennis.html

Posted by Arun 11/01/2010 at 02:47 PM

Red: Thanks.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 02:49 PM

Good Morning Everyone,

Oh sad for Dolly I hope he will be ok

Just reading back posts

Big Thank You for all the Birthday Wishes

Posted by Sherlock 11/01/2010 at 02:50 PM

I'm headed to lunch, but happy birthday, AM!! May the Giants give you a nice present later today with a series-ending victory. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 02:52 PM

Larry in the Silicon

Pat Rafter is a underwear model for Bonds hence the reason he was practicing in his undies lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 02:53 PM

Sherlock Thanks and yes Go Giants!

Posted by AB 11/01/2010 at 02:54 PM

Andrew: I'm willing to cut a teen-aged Shrieky some slack for that incident.

Dollypop has fascinating, sinuous power. He must be in perfect position for connecting with the ball because he uses a combination of leg push/torque/snap to generate pop, if he's not in perfect position = UFE.

He seemed to have no game plan but his usual, try to beat the other player with speed. He never got a read on Roger's serve, which was, admittedly pretty good, esp. the wide-out kicker.

I think he'll end up being a Nishikori Gulbis Blake player. Adding some buzz to a match against top players, but not able to string any consistency together.

Roger looked comfortable from the 1st point, but his at-net attempts were the only part of his game that didn't look too good.

Posted by CWATC 11/01/2010 at 02:55 PM

Thanks guys for the match calls as rf.com is slow as molasses!

Congrats to Feddy, glad he seems to be keeping up his confident form.

Poor Dolgo :(

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