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Clay Court Season - the run up to the French Open 2023

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 03 Apr 2023, 3:14 am

After IW and Miami attention switches to the European clay-court season culminating with RG.

Monte Carlo starts next week. It was initially reported that Rafa would make his return at MC but the player has refuted that. It appears he'll be back for Barcelona.

Rafa's long absence and a lack of clarity over his fitness mean that another RG title for the Spaniard is far from certain. Medvedev has been the stand-out player so far this year, reaching five successive finals and winning four of them. Can he take his hard-court form into the clay-court season?

Djoko will be eyeing more Slam glory and will no doubt be pleased that any effort he puts in at Wimbledon this year will be rewarded with ranking points now that the Russia/Belarus ban has been lifted.

One Ukrainian back on the circuit today is Mrs Gael Monfils, aka as Elina Svitolina, who returns after giving birth as recently as October. Expect her to be critical of the lifting of the Wimbledon ban.




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Post by Guest Mon 03 Apr 2023, 4:56 am

Medvedev is too passive on clay. It’s all good and well being a defensive wall but playing from 10-15ft behind the baseline you won’t win against the big boys on clay.

Carlitos, Djokovic and Ruud probably the front runners. Maybe Sascha and Tsitsipas tier below.

Anyone actually care about Svitolina?

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Post by Guest Tue 04 Apr 2023, 3:12 pm

Carlitos Alcaraz has some injury issues will miss Monte Carlo

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 10 Apr 2023, 11:26 am

Tiafoe took the Houston title while Ons Jabeur won Charleston.

Murray and Norrie both got dumped out in the opening round in MC today, but Draper had a good, straight-sets win over fast-rising star Baez.

Stan the Man was a first-round winner today in MC and now takes on Fritz.

A word on Briton Francesca Jones who, admirably, manages to play despite lacking a number of fingers and toes. Stuck down in the ranking 800s, she has risen more than 400 places by reaching a main-tour semi last week before losing to eventual champion Tatjana Maria.

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Post by Guest Thu 13 Apr 2023, 1:57 pm

Lorenzo Musetti beats Novak Djokovic 4-6 7-5 6-4 in the principality. Not often you see Djokovic losing BO3 after winning first set.

Jan-Lennard Struff beat Casper Ruud 6-1 7-6

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Post by Guest Thu 13 Apr 2023, 6:21 pm

Daniil Medvedev keeps his hot streak going as he comes from a set down and a break down in the final set to beat Sascha Zverev 3-6 7-5 7-6(7).

For someone whom claims to be rubbish on clay, Medvedev has victories over Djokovic, Tsitsipas and now Zverev on the dirt.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 14 Apr 2023, 2:37 am

Apparently, Djoko's serving went awry. His recent record at MC is comparatively poor.

Zverev served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and again at 5-4 in the third. He then had two MPs during the final-set tiebreak before going down.


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Post by Guest Fri 14 Apr 2023, 8:15 am

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Barcelona Open - where he was a 12 time former champion.


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Post by Guest Fri 14 Apr 2023, 8:16 am

Rublev beat Struff 6-1 7-6(5) to reach Monte Carlo semi finals.

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Post by Guest Fri 14 Apr 2023, 8:25 am

Taylor Fritz downs 2 time defending champion Tsitsipas 6-2 6-4 to setup semi final against Rublev.

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Post by Guest Fri 14 Apr 2023, 10:28 am

Holger Rune ends Daniil Medvedev’s streak of finals but chopping down the Russian 6-3 6-4.

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Post by Guest Fri 14 Apr 2023, 12:13 pm

Sinner outclassed Musetti 6-2 6-2

Rune vs Sinner
Rublev vs Fritz

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 14 Apr 2023, 12:24 pm

Reckon Medvedev's ultra-long match yesterday caught up with him. Fritz appears to have come on in leaps and bounds of late and is proving a real handful for all opponents.


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Post by Guest Sat 15 Apr 2023, 2:31 pm

Andrey Rublev came from a set down to beat Taylor Fritz 5-7 6-1 6-3. Rublev reaches his third ATP 1000 final(second in Monte Carlo) he’s lost the previous two.

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Post by Guest Sat 15 Apr 2023, 6:01 pm

Holger Rune came from a set down to beat Jannik Sinner 1-6 7-5 7-5.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 16 Apr 2023, 11:21 am

Rublev takes the MC title. Rune was 4-1 up in the final set before going down 7-5.

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Post by Guest Sun 16 Apr 2023, 11:42 am

Might be the coming of age moment for Rublev, for a long time he was billed as being superior to Medvedev. Maybe the long overdue ‘big title’ will break the door down now.

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Post by MrInvisible Sun 16 Apr 2023, 5:10 pm

I saw this match live along with Rune's semifinal win against Sinner - both enjoyable matches. The 3rd set of today's final was v evenly poised... until 5-5, on Rune's serve when he dominated the first two points only to lose both in almost identical fashion by putting a couple of fairly straightforward smashes into the net, to hand a pretty tame break to Rublev. Up until that point Rune was looking to be shading it slightly and from what I recall was hitting more winners than Rublev.

I tell you what impressed me about Rublev today - mental resilience and defensive play, both aspects of his play he has struggled with before in his career. Finally he is showing maturity and greater tactical awareness to match his talent - a good win.

As for Rune he looked a bit tired at the end and hopefully he doesn't burn himself out before Roland Garros as he does look a contender there.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 18 Apr 2023, 8:01 am

Stan the Man beaten in Boznian tourney by 18-yr-old Frenchman Luca Van Assche.

Stan was as break up in the final set before the teenager fought back. LVA has got into the top 100 on the back of some outstanding Challenger results in recent months. May well be a name to look out for.

I see Djoko is already citing an elbow injury ahead of his next match which just happens to be against Van Assche. However Novak is clearly fit enough not to have had to drop out, so make of his injury what you will.

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Post by Guest Fri 21 Apr 2023, 2:17 pm

Novak Djokovic lost to Dusan Lajovic at the Srpska Open, the elbow seems to be a real issue.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 22 Apr 2023, 11:06 am

Djoko, after that defeat, has pulled out of Madrid next week. Evans has battled thru to the semis in Barcelona but is now facing Alcaraz who is an early break up.

Interesting final looms in the women's in Stuttgart. Number one Swiatek takes on the year-so-far leader Sabalenka.

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Post by Guest Sat 22 Apr 2023, 3:41 pm

Alcaraz breezed past Evans 6-2 6-2. Will face Tsitsipas in the final. Interestingly the Greek is 0/9 In ATP 500 finals.

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Post by Guest Sun 23 Apr 2023, 11:33 am

Carlos Alcaraz retains his title in Barcelona beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4. Alcaraz wins the title without losing a set.

Tsitsipas’ backhand has no hope again Alcaraz.

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Post by Guest Sun 23 Apr 2023, 3:19 pm

Also unsurprisingly Tsitsipas being 0/10 is ATP500 finals is a record. Somewhere down the line you imagine he’ll finally land one though.

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Post by dummy_half Mon 24 Apr 2023, 12:10 pm

Jeff Navarro wrote:Also unsurprisingly Tsitsipas being 0/10 is ATP500 finals is a record. Somewhere down the line you imagine he’ll finally land one though.

That is quite some record, especially for someone with a couple of MS1000 titles and GS finals under his belt. 9 titles and 17 losing finals - by my reckoning he's only lost one final at MS 250 level.

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Post by Guest Tue 25 Apr 2023, 4:53 am

dummy_half wrote:
Jeff Navarro wrote:Also unsurprisingly Tsitsipas being 0/10 is ATP500 finals is a record. Somewhere down the line you imagine he’ll finally land one though.

That is quite some record, especially for someone with a couple of MS1000 titles and GS finals under his belt. 9 titles and 17 losing finals - by my reckoning he's only lost one final at MS 250 level.

Something like 3-6 in ‘big finals’. 0-10 at 500 level and 6-1 at 250 level.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 28 Apr 2023, 3:07 am

Andy Murray had a disappointing match in Madrid, losing to a guy I'd never heard of. Only good thing for Murray at the moment is that he has very few points to defend.

Andy, interviewed afterwards, said playing at RG was a possibility.

Kyle Edmund also lost in Madrid - to Dom Thiem.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 02 May 2023, 11:01 am

Alcaraz currently a set up v Zverev having almost lost his opening match to Ruusuvuori and then having a more comfortable win against Dimi.

Khachanov today saw off Rublev in straight sets. Tsitsipas is in action later, having come thru' two tough three-setters. Fellow Russian Karatsev, who has slipped down the rankings of late, beat Medvedev in straights.


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Post by sirfredperry Wed 03 May 2023, 1:30 am

Alcaraz dropped just three games in his win over Zverev. Fritz was beaten by 99th-ranked Zhang of China.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 03 May 2023, 12:44 pm

Alcaraz thru to the semis. He took the first set v Khachanov but was 5-2 down in the second before winning five games in a row to take the match.

Flicking thru the scores I saw that Andy Murray was playing in a 175pt Challenger in Aix-en-Provence. His first round opponent was.....Gael Monfils.

But the Frenchman has hardly played of late and has slipped to 300-something in the rankings. So Andy was able to win 3 and 2.

LATER: Just seen that Raducanu is going to be out "for a few months" having had surgery on her hand injury. Let's hope she does not go the way of Laura Robson who had to jack it in thru persistent injury.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Wed 03 May 2023, 2:59 pm

sirfredperry wrote:LATER: Just seen that Raducanu is going to be out "for a few months" having had surgery on her hand injury. Let's hope she does not go the way of Laura Robson who had to jack it in thru persistent injury.

Also going to have surgery on her other wrist in a couple of weeks and then her ankle.

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Post by No name Bertie Wed 03 May 2023, 5:07 pm

Must be some sort of congenital issue as both wrists and both ankles are apparently going to be operated on. According to the BBC:

" "... I dealt with a recurring injury on a bone of both hands" .... The hand problems - involving a bone very close to the wrists "

This at least helps to explain Raducanu's drop off since her amazing Wimbledon and then US Open 2021 runs. I seem to recall she had some sort of injury at Wimbledon 2021.
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Post by Guest Fri 05 May 2023, 4:00 am

Semi finals in Madrid:

Alcaraz vs Coric
Struff vs Karatsev

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Post by Guest Fri 05 May 2023, 3:38 pm

10 time Italian Open champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Rome.

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Post by Guest Sat 06 May 2023, 3:12 pm

Aryna Sabalenka beat Iga Świątek 6-3 3-6 6-3 to win her second title in Madrid. The Belarusian’s 5th WTA 1000 title. It will give her great encouragement she can dethrone the Pole at Roland Garros.

Also Khachanov and Rublev won the mens doubles. Their first title together and both mens maiden ATP 1000 doubles title.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 07 May 2023, 11:17 am

Andy Murray has just beaten Tommy Paul to take a 175pt Challenger title. Murray lost the first set 6-2 but only dropped three games thereafter. Some very useful points for Andy.

It would be a major surprise if Alcaraz fails to beat Struff, with the Spaniard poised to soon return to number one.

Clearly, Rafa must be considered a doubt for RG. Even if he does manage to start in Paris, for once he will not be the favourite.

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Post by Guest Sun 07 May 2023, 3:32 pm

Carlitos Alcaraz retains his title in Madrid, beating Jan-Lennard Scruff 6-4 3-6 6-3

Alcaraz is my favourite for Roland Garros

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 07 May 2023, 4:06 pm

I would agree that Alcaraz has a great chance at RG. He was made to work a bit harder than I thought he would have to in today's final. Good effort from Struff who wasn't able to strut his stuff for quite long enough.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 09 May 2023, 8:19 am

On to Rome which, like Madrid, is a two-week tournament.

Swiatek, quite rightly IMHO, spoke out at Madrid during the presentation ceremony about the scheduling. It was about time one of the players said something, with organisers trying to cram far too many matches on to the show courts.

TV companies and sponsors have a big say in all this and yes, the players benefit from the ensuing huge prize money. But it's crazy to have matches starting late and finishing in the early hours.

Meanwhile, Murray, up to a five-year high ranking of 42, faces Fognini in the first round in Rome. A couple of years ago I would have taken the Italian, a clay-court specialist, to win this. But at 35 years old, Fabio's powers are waning. Still gonna be a tough match for Andy, though.


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Post by Oakdene Thu 11 May 2023, 9:35 am

sirfredperry wrote:On to Rome which, like Madrid, is a two-week tournament.

Swiatek, quite rightly IMHO, spoke out at Madrid during the presentation ceremony about the scheduling. It was about time one of the players said something, with organisers trying to cram far too many matches on to the show courts.

TV companies and sponsors have a big say in all this and yes, the players benefit from the ensuing huge prize money. But it's crazy to have matches starting late and finishing in the early hours.

Meanwhile, Murray, up to a five-year high ranking of 42, faces Fognini in the first round in Rome. A couple of years ago I would have taken the Italian, a clay-court specialist, to win this. But at 35 years old, Fabio's powers are waning. Still gonna be a tough match for Andy, though.


Murray lost in 3 sets, he will decide if he is going to play in the French Open shortly.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 11 May 2023, 1:19 pm

Is there any easily available metric to judge the popularity of tennis? I get the impression that its popularity is in decline but maybe as the "market" expands globally the overall popularity is staying the same or increasing.
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Post by Guest Mon 15 May 2023, 9:57 am

Carlos Alcaraz stunned in the third round at the Roman Masters. The Spaniard lost to Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan. The Hungarian winning 6-3 7-6

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Post by Guest Mon 15 May 2023, 11:44 am

Daniil Medvedev came from a set down to beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles 3-6 6-1 6-3.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 16 May 2023, 8:56 am

The shock Alcaraz defeat could end up being a good thing for the Spaniard. He'll be that much fresher for RG.

He's only just turned 20 and you'll recall his exertions last year led to a spell out of the game. It's a long season and he needs to look after his body.

Djoko beat Norrie in straights today but the match was touched by controversy. First, Djkoko was late for the start, then he objected to a medical timeout by Cam.

But the main row was over a point which Djoko had effectively conceded by turning his back on it. Norrie proceeded to smash the ball straight at Novak, hitting him on the heel or ankle.

Djoko later accused Cam of not using "fair play". Be interesting to hear Norrie's version of events.

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Post by Guest Tue 16 May 2023, 4:45 pm

Daniil Medvedev beat former champion Sascha Zverev 6-2 7-6. The Russian seems to have some new tricks on the dirt this year. Sascha doesn’t seem the same player since they horrific ankle injury last year.

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Post by Guest Wed 17 May 2023, 10:40 am

Holger Rune beats 6 time champion Novak Djokovic 6-2 4-6 6-2 to reach the semi finals in Roma.

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Post by slashermcguirk Wed 17 May 2023, 11:10 am

Djokovic has been so poor since he won the Australian open. Looks a shadow of the player he was. I think the writing is on the wall now for Nadal and Djokovic. I think they may be destined to both finish on 22 slams. I have noticed a real drop in Novaks level overall in recent months. I think it probably doesnt help that he has played so little this year, missing the American swing with vaccination policy and during the clay swing his game has been non existent. I wouldnt be at all surprised if Djokovic goes out earlier at French open this year, rewind back a few years and he would absolutely destroy the likes of Rune.

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Post by Guest Wed 17 May 2023, 11:56 am

Djokovic’s movement, at least on clay, seems to have slowed down a bit from what I’ve seen of the European clay court events. And somewhat strangely he was running around his backhand a lot today as well - when let’s be honest his backhand is an absolute killer.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 17 May 2023, 12:13 pm

That's two wins in a row for Rune over Djoko. Appears to have been a bad-tempered match with both players unhappy with certain calls.

Rune has a habit of throwing all his toys out of the pram. He can obviously play, so he must not allow his temperament to stand in his way.

With Rafa's fitness, and even his appearance, in doubt for RG, it could well be that we will see a new winner this year. Slasher and JN above clearly feel Novak is nowhere near his best. But he could yet surprise us.

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Post by Guest Wed 17 May 2023, 12:57 pm

With Djokovic we can never be sure, he could rock up and trash everyone at Roland Garros. But this year he seems a little off.
And yes it would be historic if won a third Roland Garros - would be the only man to win each major at least 3 times.
But, unless the cards fall into place, Wimbledon seems like the best bet for number 23, IMO anyway.

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