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Rome 2014

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Post by laverfan Tue 13 May 2014, 3:21 am

First topic message reminder :

ATP Draw: http://www.atpworldtour.com/Share/Event-Draws.aspx?EventId=416&Year=2014

WTA Draw: http://www.wtatennis.com/singles-draws/tournamentId/643/round/7/rangeStart/1/rangeEnd/16

OoP:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

CENTRALE Start 1:30 pm
[1] Serena Williams (USA)
v
[10] Sara Errani (ITA)

Not Before 4:00 pm

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP)
v
[2] Novak Djokovic (SRB)

PIETRANGELI Start 2:30 pm

[6] Daniel Nestor (CAN)
Nenad Zimonjic (SRB)
v
Robin Haase (NED)
Feliciano Lopez (ESP)

[4] Kveta Peschke (CZE)
Katarina Srebotnik (SLO)
v
[2] Sara Errani (ITA)
Roberta Vinci (ITA)

(Apologies for missing last two days. Been a bit under the weather).


Last edited by laverfan on Sun 18 May 2014, 1:04 pm; edited 6 times in total

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Post by bogbrush Sun 18 May 2014, 9:09 pm

Gerry SA wrote:Sorry I can't see how anyone can have Nadal as favourite for the French Open.

Yes he's an 8 time Roland Garros champion, but he's been average(maybe worst at times this year on European clay)

However great Nadal has been on clay, for me the greatest of all time, but every circle has it's end.

Nadal's on his knees at present.

Whilst Djokovic doesn't look as bigger favourite as 2011, he's easily the top dog heading in.

Nadal's second favourite, but a distance second favourite.
I agree, this is the worst I've seen Nadal for 10 years.

This match wasn't actually that close. The game score might look good but Djokovic won 56% of the points. That's actually pretty overwhelming.


Last edited by bogbrush on Sun 18 May 2014, 9:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by TopoftheChops Sun 18 May 2014, 9:09 pm

Well done to Raonic this week, he proved himself to be a grandslam winner in the next 2/3 years

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Post by Born Slippy Sun 18 May 2014, 10:50 pm

I thought Nadal played well today. The idea that he is somehow worse than the kid who was playing in 05-06 makes me smile. The problem is that he has never had an answer to an in form Novak, who can just totally take the game away from him. Novak this year has stepped up another level - some of his volleying today was exceptional. We have been very fortunate to see three ATGs playing at once plus a fourth player who at any other time would be a dominant number 1 and apparently its a bad thing we have had the privilege of watching them dominate for 5-6 years.

Today's match was exceptional and of breathtaking high standard. It made the Fed-Nadal match of 06 look like two juniors playing in comparison. We have seen possibly the best clay court season of the last twenty years. Three different winners with two other finalists. A build up to a slam just can't be better than this.

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Post by CAS Sun 18 May 2014, 11:08 pm

been away from the forum for a while but that match made me want to check on here, the last 3 matches between the two were on hard court so was reluctant to say whether Djokovic had truly turned a corner again against Nadal. That win today was huge, I think only Djokovic would come back a set down on clay to Nadal, no one else is capable. He is ability to take the ball on the rise is beautiful to watch, he's my favourite for Roland Garros for sure, hopefully Muzza and Federer make Semi-final appearances too!

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Post by bogbrush Sun 18 May 2014, 11:37 pm

BS, I base this view on a Nadal losing to El Mugro and Ferrer before this, dropping sets to Simon and Youzhny here, and looking feeble against Murray for extended periods. Not since 2005 (or more accurately before that) has he been treated like this on clay.

Today he was distant 2nd. The tennis scoring system helped him look close but it really wasn't. 56% points is usually enough for easy straight sets.
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Post by sirfredperry Mon 19 May 2014, 9:09 am

I'd still make Rafa favourite for the French. But it's hard not to look beyond a Rafa-Djoko final and I think there would not be many who'd be surprised to see a Serb victory.
We're almost back to where we were in 2011 with Djoko having the edge over Rafa going into the French only for the eagerly-awaited final between the two (which many though Nole would win) failing to happen thanks to a certain Mr Federer.
Both the top two are hard enough to beat over three sets, let alone five. So barring injury or Fed brilliance, it's likely they'll be slugging it out in the final not only for the title but for the number one spot.

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Post by HM Murdock Mon 19 May 2014, 10:19 am

I think there's good chance that there won't be a Rafa v Novak final at RG this year.

I think the chasing pack can smell blood and the psychological edge held by the top guys is beginning to crumble. I wouldn't be hugely surprised to see one, or even both, of Novak and Rafa fall before the final.

In one-off BO5 match at RG, I'd probably give the slight edge to Novak at present.

But there are so many variables that can affect this. Novak has a bit of a curse in that he seems to have a game that inspires opponents to their best tennis. He doesn't seem to have be able to smother an opponent in the way that Nadal can, and has had a lot of 4R to SF 5 set bloodbaths in recent years.

The rankings are also a bit odd at the moment and it's quite possible to have an unusually hard or unusually easy route to the final. If Novak has a Murray/Federer QF and SF, that diminishes his chances. They are match ups he has historically struggled with.

Rafa too is looking more vulnerable than ever. I think being Bo5 is an effective insurance policy for him but I can imagine a few players being able to snatch the opening two sets. Then it's all about being fit enough and composed enough to get it done. That's where the pool of players capable of doing it begins to shrink.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 19 May 2014, 10:43 am

HM - Good sum up of the status quo. People are beginning to fancy their chances against the top players, Rafa in particular and even on clay, far more than in the past.
But apart from Stan the Man, nobody is taking the big titles which are still being snapped up by the top guys. Even going two sets up on Rafa at the French may not be enough for the chasing pack, although anyone who gets themselves into that position will have done remarkably well.
As I've said in the past, I'd take Rafa to win RG on one leg. With both legs gone he might have to settle for the semis. Completely expired and six feet under? He'd still get through a few rounds !

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Post by lags72 Mon 19 May 2014, 10:44 am

Good perspective there by sfp, and the scene is now set perfectly (and almost inevitably) for another Djoko-Nadal Final clash at RG. And with the Number One spot on the line, all the ingredients are there for a fierce battle.

Based on yesterday's performances (and earlier Rome rounds too) you would have to say that Novak's game is in significantly better shape than Rafa's ; but this is counter-balanced by the sheer belief that has carried Rafa over the finish line at his RG fortress in countless matches through the years.

With an eye to the future health of the game, I certainly hope that at least one of the 'newer' names can spice things up a bit. And however fanciful it may seem right now, it would be quite something to see a French final consisting of players whose names do not include either Nadal or Djokovic.

As for the other members of the traditional big four ......Murray came mighty close to taking out Nadal at Rome and is probably the only guy that Rafa need fear, other than Djokovic of course. Sfp mentioned Federer ending Djoko's wonder streak of 2011. Djokovic is stronger on clay today than in 2011, whilst Federer is undoubtedly weaker and well into his twilight. But of their three contests so far this season, Fed has won two and only lost the other on a TB, so the possibility of the old man stopping Novak once again is perhaps not too remote.

Edit: written before your post HMM. I wouldn't dismiss the points you make although for me, a Djokovic-Nadal final remains the most likely scenario.


Last edited by lags72 on Mon 19 May 2014, 11:12 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 19 May 2014, 10:59 am

The French could all be on the draw. Fed will be mighty relieved that Duracell-bunny, perpetual-motion Ferrer (amazed at his stamina) has not sneaked the number four ranking.
At least Djoko can't meet Rafa in the semis this year. Dark horse? Berdych, praps - and, remarkably, with no points to defend.

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Post by HM Murdock Mon 19 May 2014, 11:15 am

lags72 wrote:Edit: written before your post HMM. I wouldn't dismiss the points you make although for me, a Djokovic-Nadal final remains the most likely scenario.
Oh, I agree.

But the days of being 99% sure of Rafa being there and 80% sure of Novak seeing off the dangerous floaters seem to be coming to an end.

Novak's results post-Dubai have been fantastic but they have been only a whisker away from being unremarkable.

He was a tie breaker away from losing to Federer at IW and a tie breaker away from losing to Raonic in Rome. But for about 4 or 5 points, we'd be saying Novak is having a mini crisis. That's not to diminish the results because he played well at key moments. But when you are dealing with such narrow margins, sooner or later they go against you.

Changing the subject slightly, I'm starting to think that Becker may well be having a good influence on Novak. I've been impressed with how Novak has played calmly under some serious pressure in recent tournaments. The celebrations have become more controlled too. He doesn't appear to be feeling the burden of pressure as he has in previous years. Whether this can be attributed to Boris, I don't know, but he certainly doesn't appear to be the disruptive influence I feared.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 19 May 2014, 11:18 am

Am about to start an RG preview thread, if that's OK, as we're all into French mode now and it seems better than sticking on to the Rome topic.

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Post by HM Murdock Mon 19 May 2014, 11:19 am

sirfredperry wrote: Dark horse? Berdych, praps - and, remarkably, with no points to defend.
I'd say Berdych's early season momentum seems to have stalled somewhat.

I think Murray may actually be a dark horse. If gets the right draw and gets into a beligerent, aggressive mindset, he could go very deep.

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Post by CAS Mon 19 May 2014, 7:43 pm

Nishikori has to be the dark horse for me, convinced he had Rafa beat in Madrid

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Post by socal1976 Tue 20 May 2014, 6:21 am

Born Slippy wrote:I thought Nadal played well today. The idea that he is somehow worse than the kid who was playing in 05-06 makes me smile. The problem is that he has never had an answer to an in form Novak, who can just totally take the game away from him. Novak this year has stepped up another level - some of his volleying today was exceptional. We have been very fortunate to see three ATGs playing at once plus a fourth player who at any other time would be a dominant number 1 and apparently its a bad thing we have had the privilege of watching them dominate for 5-6 years.

Today's match was exceptional and of breathtaking high standard. It made the Fed-Nadal match of 06 look like two juniors playing in comparison. We have seen possibly the best clay court season of the last twenty years. Three different winners with two other finalists. A build up to a slam just can't be better than this.

I agree with most of this post BS, people will not give Novak the credit he deserves for stepping up his level and breaking the fedal duopoly. That is fine he has been a great champion regardless. Nadal to me though has been off pace this year on clay. I don't think it is age or a loss of ability, I think he is a better player and the numbers demonstrate that compared to 05 or 06. Just last year he was dominant on clay he hasn't all of a sudden hit the wall. But tennis is a sport where at the top margins are thin and focus and fitness play a huge role. Nadal has never been a player who has had back to back or 3 straight number one seasons. The level of energy he expends and how hard he works can cause his mind or body to burnout. And I think that is what we are seeing to an extent this clay court season. Plus since 2011 he finally has an opponent who regardless of the surface can beat him even if Nadal plays well. These losses to Djokovic are a big part of what has put this doubt into Nadal's mind. Not to mention Stan getting him at the AO. In a game where margins are thin at the top a slight loss of belief and a slight bit of added tension can humble even the mightiest of champions. We saw that with Novak last year and maybe this is Nadal's retrenchment period.

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