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Archive for April 25th, 2008

What is the likely strategy tomorrow for Federer and Djokovic without getting too complicated?

Posted by tennisplanet on April 25, 2008

Switzerland's Roger Federer serves to Argentina's David Nalbandian, during their quarter finals match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament,   in Monaco, Friday, April 25, 2008.  

Federer: has to keep Djokovic on the run with his sharp angles. If Federer does not take time away from Djokovic he will exploit to the hilt. Come to the net to keep Djokovic guessing. Watch for the drop shot-lob combo from Djokovic. Of course, higher than 59% first serves peppered with aces. It’s critical for Federer to draw first blood on clay, considering his current situation. Federer is already thinking of the final against Nadal. He has to resist that temptation and avoid turning this into a classic trap game.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia prepares to return the ball to Andy Murray of Great Britain during their third round match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament in Monaco, Thursday, April 24, 2008.  

Djokovic: has to focus on what’s worked for him against Federer in the past. Attack Federer’s backhand so heavily that it opens up the court on the forehand side for a winner. Keep his emotions in check since the crowd will be rowdy and behind Federer. Win cheap points on his serve by serving exclusively to Federer’s backhand. Let Federer run around to hit a quick forehand return, leaving the court open for a clean winner.

It appears it will come down to the fitness level. Both have proven that they have the game to outfox the other recently. How far will their body go along with what their mind is intending will determine the winner. Djokovic obviously has the edge based on his performance this season, but Federer on his day can take down two Djokovics.

Question is whether Federer can reign in the unforced errors, break point conversion percentage, 1st serve percentage for three sets without tiring, considering he has already had at least two physically and emotionally draining matches here, and that he hasn’t had any extended rest from his Estoril outing.

Djokovic is relatively fresh and that could be one of the main reason for his dominant showing here. His last match was at Miami where he was taken out in the opening round giving him even more time to get ready for this event – almost a month. So far physical fitness and nerves are the two areas that have been suspect for Djokovic. He appears to have handled the nerves, but fitness is still up in the air. He has that edge here, considering it’s a physically demanding surface compared to hard courts.

Which makes it even more creditable if Federer is able to pull this off.

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Federer vs Djokovic at Monte Carlo semifinal.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 25, 2008

Serbia's Novak Djokovic serves to  Sam Querrey, of the US during their quarterfinal match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament,  in Monaco, Friday, April 25, 2008. Djokovic won 6-4, 6-0.  

-H2H: 5-2 Federer.

-Djokovic has defeated Federer twice in the last three matches, last one in straight sets.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during his third round match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament in Monaco against Andy Murray of Great Britain, Thursday, April 24, 2008.  

-Djokovic has clocked just 3:39 minutes on the court compared to 5:21 for Federer.

-Djokovic serving at 63%, Federer at 59.

Switzerland's  Roger Federer returns to Argentina's David Nalbandian during their quarter final match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament, in Monaco, Friday, April 25, 2008.  

-Djokovic is still to drop a set, Federer has dropped two.

-Djokovic has bageled twice (Murray and Querrey), Federer has none.

Switzerland's Roger Federer returns to Argentina's David Nalbandian, during their quarter final match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament,   in Monaco, Friday, April 25, 2008.  

-Djokovic has never reached the semis here. In fact he has just played MC twice (1st and third round), Federer has played seven times with best result being finals, twice. Lost to Nadal both times.

-Federer has 14 aces to 8 for Djokovic.

-This is the battle for the fittest who is most likely to take down Nadal in the finals. Djokovic appears way ahead so far. But Federer has given some hope to make it a tough match based on his last two outings.

Can Federer cliimb the mountain one more time and run through the top cats on clay?

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fed vs. nalby. From arbit. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 25, 2008

arbit

fed vs. nalby

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Federer finds form again to set up the juicy semis against Djokovic.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 25, 2008

Switzerland's Roger Federer serves to Argentina's David Nalbandian, during their quarter finals match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament, in Monaco, Friday, April 25, 2008.  

Federer appears to have rediscovered his touch just in time at Monte Carlo. After having a miserable opening round against some unknown freak, Federer has now strung together two back to back impressive victories to ramp up his game against the world’s two top players, Djokovic and Nadal.

Other than the level of competition and his desire to impose his will despite being down, there’s very little explanation of how he is being able to raise his game against a very hot Nalbandian. Nalbandian had straight set victories until now with a bagel against Robredo. Besides, he was at his favorite surface having won the last two matches against Federer back to back.

Roger Federer of Switzerland competes in his quarter final match against David Nalbandian of Argentina on day seven of the Masters Series at the Monte Carlo Country Club, April 25, 2008 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

That’s a lot of ammunition anyone has had against Federer in a while. Nalbandian admitted to being tired in the second and the third set. Are you freaking kidding me!!!!!!!!! If you are tiring against a joker who is still recovering from mono, you fully deserved the loss.

David Nalbandian of Argentina competes in his quarter final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland on day seven of the Masters Series at the Monte Carlo Country Club, April 25, 2008 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images) 

Although Djokovic delivered his second bagel of the tournament against Querrey, this come from behind victory from Federer, is not what he would like Federer to have right before his next encounter. Although Federer’s serve completely deserted him (he served at 52% of the match), the stat that seemed most impressive was his break point conversion percentage at 100%. He converted all five of his break points. Considering his poor performance in this department not just here but the entire season so far, it’s a welcome sign that he has made a concerted effort to be more judicious in his shot selection at these crucial points of the match.

Switzerland's Roger Federer waves the crowd after beating Argentina's David Nalbandian in their quarter final match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Open tournament,  in Monaco, Friday, April 25, 2008.  

But he cannot get complacent yet. The encouraging part of the whole drama so far is that Federer has been able to handle the seed shock relatively more comfortably than the past four months. Doing it on clay makes it even more exciting.

Can we get our hopes up for Federer-Nadal final yet and maybe a title here, or is this just one of those two steps forward and one step back BS again?

Nevertheless, irrespective of what happens from now on, there’s enough material from Estoril and here to build on. Although the ship is not out of the storm yet, but it’s surely headed in the right direction.

If Federer goes all the way, I think the option he has had for the last month or so, to be able to talk to someone about the entire match, the strategy etc. may have provided a second layer of support, to move his mission to get back to the top emphatically. 

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Monte Carlo – city beautiful.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 25, 2008

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If you have a car that runs on gas, you are a target.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 25, 2008

Click here for more.

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