The Clay-court Season - Run up to the French 2019

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 09 Apr 2019, 9:07 am

It's clay court time, with Rafa raring to go on his favourite surface and Roger playing on the dirt for the first time for three years.

As I do every year, I'm making Rafa favourite for RG and also expect him to have his usual good run at the other big tourneys. There could be a few changes in the men's top ten, with Zverev and Thiem both defending a stack of points.

At the very top, Djoko has a chance to extend his lead, knowing that come June it will be his turn to defend a huge points haul.

A look at the women's rankings shows just how close it is at the top, with the lead likely to change hands a lot over the season.

Kyle Edmund has already chalked up a first-round win on clay in Marrakech. Bad draw for him as he now has to play Tsonga.

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Post by laverfan on Tue 09 Apr 2019, 11:44 pm

Thiem at #5 is a dangerous floater. I expect Djokovic to do well at RG.

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Post by No name Bertie on Wed 10 Apr 2019, 3:24 am

To be honest I am just really interested in whether Nadal is going to win his 12th RG title (and 18th slam) or whether Djokovic is going to get his second year round "grand slam of slams" - 4 in a row (and his 16th slam), to see how well Federer does - and hope none of them get an injury, to see if any of the young pretenders will step up (Thiem et al).

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Post by No name Bertie on Wed 10 Apr 2019, 8:25 am

British tennis player Tara Moore saves match point at 0-6 0-5 down before beating Jessika Ponchet 0-6 7-6 6-3 at the ITF World Tour event in Sunderland. She is 26 years old and ranked #479 in the world having been ranked at #145 in May 2017.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/47871628

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Post by sirfredperry on Wed 10 Apr 2019, 9:02 pm

My fears for Edmund were unfortunately realised. He lost in straight sets to Tsonga.

I see 2017 French Open champion Ostapenko is having a tough time of it. Beaten by a very lowly-ranked qualifier in Bogota.

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Post by sirfredperry on Fri 12 Apr 2019, 8:57 am

Bad result for Cameron Norrie, beaten in Houston by Tipsarevic. Even worse result for A Zverev, who lost to 21-yr-old Spaniard Jaume Munar in Marrakech.

Zverev seems to be doing a Dimitrov, in that he wins the year-end 02 event and then has a poor season.

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Post by sirfredperry on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 12:56 pm

Terrific tournament win for young Chilean Christian Garin in Houston. An even younger player - 17-yr-old Amanda Anisimova - also took a title at the weekend and moves up to 54 in the rankings.
Stan the Man is thru to the second round at MC where main-round play began yesterday (Sunday). RBA got thru today and now plays.....Rafa.

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Post by No name Bertie on Mon 15 Apr 2019, 4:03 pm

I assume Zverev is still being coached by Ivan Lendl? My own thoughts were that A Zverev would reach a limit to his ability / acheivements - that he wasn't someone of multi-slam winning ability - mainly due to physical limitations. He is still young so can prove me wrong.

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 16 Apr 2019, 1:06 pm

NNB - What's let A Zverev down in the last couple of years has not been his non-winning Slam record but his inability to get even beyond the last eight in a Slam.
But, as you say, he has time on his side. He certainly showed UK fans what he can do in winning the O2 event.
After Edmund lost to Schwartzman in MC yesterday, Cameron Norrie has won today.

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Post by sirfredperry on Wed 17 Apr 2019, 8:00 am

Djoko squeezed thru in long three-setter with Kohlshreiber who always manages to give the top players a good game.
Stan the Man managed to lose after winning the first eight games, while Cilic's horror run continued with a three-set defeat.

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Post by sirfredperry on Wed 17 Apr 2019, 3:21 pm

Rafa starts with a 1 and 1 win over RBA. Nishi is out and Cameron Norrie is thru to the third round with a straight-sets win over Fucsovics.

A Zverev fought back from a break down in the second set to bt Felix A-A. Tsitsipas also thru'.

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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 18 Apr 2019, 5:41 pm

Good wins for Rafa and Djoko in MC but Zverev and Thiem both beaten.


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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Fri 19 Apr 2019, 2:46 pm

Daniil Medvedev beats Novak Djokovic 6-3 4-6 6-2.

Lajovic beats Sonego 6-4 7-5

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Sat 20 Apr 2019, 2:45 pm

Dusan Lajovic beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-1 to reach maiden masters 1000 final

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Post by laverfan on Sat 20 Apr 2019, 4:21 pm

Fognini (despite a minor melt down) beats Nadal 6-4, 6-2.

Two new Monte Carlo finalists! The Clay-court Season - Run up to the French 2019 3845856932

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Post by sirfredperry on Sat 20 Apr 2019, 5:40 pm

Fantastic result for Fognini. Although the Italian's recent record on clay was awful, he's a little magician on the surface when on song, so if anyone could upset Rafa was it him. Still a big surprise, though.
Looking at the score without actually seeing any of the match, I wonder if Rafa was injured. Until he fought back in game six of that second set, he'd only won something like six points in five games. May be he won't play Barcelona next week.

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Post by Turron on Sat 20 Apr 2019, 6:19 pm

Losing to Fabio will hurt unless Nadal was desparate to take a holiday. Fognini was being held together by duct tape and elastic bandages so Nadal can hardly claim that he was beaten by an opponent at peak fitness!

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Post by No name Bertie on Sat 20 Apr 2019, 11:52 pm

I have to now assume that old timers Nadal and Djokovic with various physical frailties (wear and tear and coming back from severe injuries) now see the various pre-grand slam tournaments as warm up exercises to build match fitness and sharpness so that they peak for the slams. However the fall off of Nadal against Fognini is surprising and suggests some underlying issue that Nadal didn't want to push.

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Post by sirfredperry on Sun 21 Apr 2019, 8:01 am

Rafa will play Barcelona this week so his problems may not be down to injury. He has said that this was one of his worst matches on clay.

Every year, with the possible exception of 2015, Rafa has got himself into peak condition to garner huge points tallies during the clay-court season (CCS). If he was not feeling too great, perhaps he shouldn't have played IW this year. Last year he skipped IW and Miami and then had his usual stellar CCS.

Then there is Djoko who wiped the floor with Rafa in the AO final but has done little else this season. If you chuck in the struggles of A Zverev, plus Cilic's terrible start to the year, everything is a bit strange at the moment.


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Post by No name Bertie on Sun 21 Apr 2019, 6:06 pm

Well done to the British women - after years of heartbreak in falling at the very last hurdle to gain promotion to World Group II of the Fed Cup - they have finally done it.  It is the first time they have been at this level since 26 years ago.  Key to this seems to be the rise of Katie Boultier - joining Johanna Konta as a top level tennis player.  Katie Boultier is now Britains second ranked player after Johanna Konta and maybe she has the ability and mental strength to succeed where Heather Watson ultimately failed (although Watson has been good enough to make a good living out of tennis - with money in the bank to survive the lean times).
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/tennis/47969390

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Post by sirfredperry on Sun 21 Apr 2019, 6:29 pm

Boulter had three MPs and had been 4-0 up in the final set of her first match before, tearfully, losing. Big effort from her today, especially after losing the first set, being a break down in the second set and having back trouble.

Konta was also a set down against Putintseva today before winning. She has been immense in this Fed Cup run.

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Post by sirfredperry Yesterday at 5:12 pm

Another terrible result for A Zverev - beaten by lucky loser Jarry in a final-set tiebreak having taken a WC into Barcelona. Not quite sure what the matter is with the German at the moment.

Watched some highlights of the Rafa-Fognini semi in MC. Rafa didn't seem to be really going for it until he was 3MPs down right at the end. Later he said it was about the worst he'd ever played on clay.

Rafa could face about-to-retire David Ferrer in Barcelona. Ferrer bt M Zverev comfortably today and could meet Rafa in round three. Just Madrid left for Ferrer in this farewell tour.

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