Monday, December 29, 2008
"There is such a large number of challenges lying ahead - facing them, working hard and giving my best to succeed is precisely why I love my job so much."
Gotta love a guy who relishes a challenge...I can't wait for this season to start!!
Roger Federer's assault on the 2009 season kicks off in a few days and we should expect nothing but a rollercoaster 2009 campaign.
The world number 2, heads to the Gulf where he will participate in 2 events, an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi featuring 5 other fellow top-10 players including Nadal, followed by the Qatar Open where he will officially start his season.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Here is a guide to who will be playing where first in 2009:
Abu Dhabi World Tennis Championship, United Arab Emirates
Hopman Cup, Perth, Australia
Meghann Shaughnessy/James Blake
Dinara Safina/Marat Safin
Alize Cornet/Gilles Simon
Casey Dellacqua/Lleyton Hewitt
Flavia Pennetta/Simone Bolelli
Sabine Lisicki/Nicolas Kiefer
Dominika Cibulkova/Dominik Hrbaty
Su-Wei Hsieh/Yen-Hsun Lu
Players' first official tournaments in 2009:
Rafael Nadal - Qatar Open
Roger Federer - Qatar Open
Novak Djokovic - Brisbane International
Andy Murray - Qatar Open
Nikolay Davydenko - Chennai Open
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - Brisbane International
Gilles Simon - Sydney Medibank International
Andy Roddick - Qatar Open
Juan Martin Del Potro - Auckland Heineken Open
David Nalbandian - Sydney Medibank International
David Ferrer - Auckland Heineken Open
Stanislas Wawrinka - Chennai Open
Marat Safin - Australian Open (following Hopman Cup and Kooyong)
Speaking of Scrubs, it has been confirmed that there will be a new Cox on the show this season. Courtney Cox-Arquette will appear on Scrubs for a 3-episode arc as the new Chief of Medicine for Sacred Heart. Let's hope Cox-Arquette's return to the small screen this time, will redeem her horrible mistake a.k.a. Dirt, last year.
HBO's Entourage is set to start shooting in January and we should expect the new season by early summer.
Still no news on Greek and am not sure what's happening with Prison Break. The Hollywood Reporter revealed in November 2008 that Fox has ordered two extra episodes of the fourth season, which may serve as a two-hour series finale in 2009. Am still not sure when those 2 episodes are scheduled to air.
Here are return dates for some of the shows:
January 4th : Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives
January 5th: One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl
January 6th: 90210, Scrubs
January 8th: Private Practice (moved to Thursdays), Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty
January 19th: House (moved to Mondays)
January 21st: Lost
February 2nd: Heroes - Volume 4: Fugitives
Check out this Lost Season 5 sneak peek:
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Hope you enjoy it... Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3...
Happy Holidays :)
Monday, December 8, 2008
The tournament will take place between the 1st and 3rd of January at the spectacular 5,000-seater Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City. The event will feature Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick and James Blake, where the winner bags a $250,000 cheque.
'I am really looking forward to playing in Abu Dhabi. The player field is very strong and the location is beautiful. It is always exciting to play in new facilities and I am sure Abu Dhabi will be up there with the best of them. We all hope that this event will return year after year and set the standard for tennis lovers in the region,' said world number 2, Roger Federer.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Anyone else confused about how the refs missed Van Persie's offside? Van Persie's clearly offside goal basically turned the match around and like Arsene Wenger said; it gave them "the belief to come back". Don't get me wrong am happy the Gooners downed Chelsea, but am astonished at the fact that the refs missed such an obvious offside... Van Persie wasn't even remotely close to being onside... It's like the refs were not really watching the match at the time.
Scolari is furious and demands an apology from the ref while Wenger said the offside goal revived the team "but what kind of impact it will have on Chelsea, I do not know" (Duuuhh!! They lost!! That's the bloody impact).
Van Persie's reaction---> "[The goal] was maybe a little bit offside, but it counted and that's all that matters."
Notice the use of the word "little" :)
Moving along... I think Ronaldo's handball/red card also deserves our mocking efforts. What exactly was that?!?! When the Sir came to his defense and said:
"He [Ronaldo] was trying to protect himself from the ball hitting him in the face. He thought he had heard a whistle, he got a little push as well and it is not as if he punched the ball. If that had been outside the box, it would have been a free kick and nothing else. But the crowd played a part and he got sent off.”
Mark Hughes rightfully responded saying:
"...if he says the ball was going to hit him in the face, why didn’t he head it?"
Good point!!! Ronaldo actually had a look on his face that seemed as if he was temporarily brain damaged or something. Did he really hear a whistle?!?!
Another intriguing moment yesterday was during the final moments of the City-United clash, when the Manchester City goal was wide open after goalkeeper, Joe Hart, had gone up for a corner, and Rooney curled the ball towards the net from just inside the City half, but Hart made a miraculous save and managed to punch the ball at the very last second.
I think Rooney did a good job trying to score that goal; my concern actually is about the player who fed the ball to Rooney (I don't remember who it was). He was looking towards his left and totally missed the fact that the goal was EMPTY and it took him quite some time before he gave Rooney the ball. Which is why Hart ended up pulling off that save.
The football ain't over yet...Liverpool play West Ham tonight at 8:00!
City vs. United highlights
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Argentines did all they possibly could to win the Cup. They fussed about the surface ahead of the tie and picked an indoor fast court instead of clay, hoping it would neutralize Rafael Nadal's threat. After some arguing for weeks about the venue, Nadal ended up withdrawing from the final because of a knee injury and the surface choice suddenly became questionable, especially with someone like Feliciano Lopez on the opposing side, who has a strong serve and plays well on fast turfs.
Still, Argentina were confident because they had an incredible winning streak at home in Davis Cup ties, and on paper, had a stronger and higher-ranked team.
Argentina however, did not count on Del Potro's far from perfect performance in the second rubber against Lopez, and they didn't expect to lose the doubles tie either. And on day 3, when Del Potro failed to recover from a thigh strain, Alberto Mancini elected to play Acasuso against Verdasco, who has had a far better season than his Argentine opponent.
The crowd, who were supposed to play a pivotal role in the tie, ended up just being plain annoying for the umpires. In fact Verdasco said after the doubles rubber that he was actually more motivated by the cheering than being bothered by it.
Spain's bench proved to be the main factor behind this incredible victory. The team had harmony and the players refused to lose momentum despite their Nadal blow.
“When Ferrer found out he was not playing, he took it well," said Spain captain Emilio Sanchez. "He immediately offered his support to Fernando which helped him come out on court."
When Verdasco sealed the deal for Spain he said:
"I have to remember Rafael Nadal because we played the Davis Cup final thanks to him. This is one of the happiest days in my life."
"It's a dream. I've wanted this chance since I was a boy, few get it and even fewer take it."
"I tried my best all year to win the Davis Cup and I am happy for everyone in Spain."
Come to think of it, this year has definitely been kind to the Spaniards. Rafael Nadal became the most successful Spanish tennis player in history when he won Roland Garros followed by Wimbledon, to increase his Grand Slam tally to 5 slams. He then rose to the summit of the tennis world rankings on August 18th after chasing that spot for the past 3 years. The Spanish football team ended a horrible run in European championships and won the Euro 2008 during the summer. Even the Tour de France this year was won by Spain's very own Carlos Sastre. All this was topped with a third Davis Cup triumph for the Spaniards...
Congratz to all the Spanish people out there... Viva Espana!!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The Argentines, supported by a wild crowd, captured the first set, before a pumped-up Spanish pair hit back to seal a 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory, and silence the thousands of Argentinean fans, who were out of control.
The highlight of the match was the third set when Argentina pulled back from a 1-5 deficit to force a tie-break. Nalbandian and Calleri then raced to a 5-1 lead in the tie-break but the Spaniards miraculously turned it around and won 6 straight points to win the third set.
Spain are now in a good position to pull off what could be considered an upset, particularly because of the absence of Rafael Nadal, and the fact that they're playing Argentina at home on a fast indoor court.
The Spaniards are just one point away from claiming a third Davis Cup title to their 2000 and 2004 triumphs.
Who said what after the match
"They began to help each other less and less... I was physically down in the third set and Fernando helped me. They did not do that, maybe it's because we know each other better."
"It was unforgettable to play with the crowd singing like this. Even though they were supporting Argentina, it was very enjoyable to play in."
"It was tough to go 5-1 up and then go to a tiebreak, it was tough mentally but that was the key... After that we played better and much looser."
"They actually motivated me and allowed me to play better and their strategy totally backfired," on the crowd who seemed to be a bit hostile towards him (my guess is, they're jealous cuz he's dating Ivanovic).
Argentina captain, Alberto Mancini:
"The team is logically down but we have to go through that... We have to wait and stay quiet and plan. Maybe the immensity of the event was too much for my players. We still have to fight, there are two more points tomorrow and we know it will be hard."
Spain captain, Emilio Sanchez Vicario:
“The crowd didn’t behave well today, they were using bad words and insulting us... I’m disappointed in the way they behaved but we know now and we’ll be ready for tomorrow."
Lopez, ranked 31, stunned world number 9, Juan Martin Del Potro, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3, in front of a crazy home crowd in Mar Del Plata, to level the tie at 1 point apiece for Spain and Argentina.
Argentine hero, David Nalbandian, had clinched a point for his side earlier on Friday, when he easily beat Spain's David Ferrer, 3, 2 and 3.
Spain are playing in the finals without their mean machine, Rafael Nadal, who is suffering from tendinitis, and are looking to end Argentina's unbeaten run at home which dates back to 1998.
Saturday will feature the doubles rubber where left-handed duo, Verdasco and Lopez, are expected to face Argentina's Agustin Calleri and Jose Acasuso.
* UPDATE: Nalbandian has been chosen to partner Calleri for the doubles rubber instead of Acasuso.
"It was a relatively short (singles) match. I'll be ready (for the doubles). I feel good," said Nalbandian.
For starters… Just to get this out of the way early… What the hell is up with Izzie on Grey’s??!?! Is it just me, or isn’t sleeping with a ghost sooo 1990?!?!? Yes, I am referring to Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost, in which they actually only kissed while he was a ghost, AND he was inside a human body… not that that makes any sense but anyways, the whole Denny/Izzie situation is morbid/creepy/annoying! It seems like Shonda Rhimes can’t find a storyline for Izzie without making her act all nutty.
I just found out that ABC have canceled Dirty Sexy Money, which I personally don’t get. They’re gonna air the 13 episodes already produced for season 2, but then it’s game over for the Darlings and their fans. Pushing Daisies also got the axe but Private Practice survived and is getting a full second season.
One quick thing I wanna say about Lucy Lui. Is she capable of playing any character other than the bitchy, over-confident, hardcore badass?!?! I mean off the top of my head, check out her roles in Ally McBeal, Cashmere Mafia, Dirty Sexy Money… Kill Bill… That woman is just terrifying!
Moving to NBC… Does anyone else think the Heroes creators are on crack?! You know what I think is funny?!? During last Monday’s episode (309), they kept showing up those subtitles saying “One year ago” and “Present Day” and crap like that when no one has a freakin’ clue when the hell is today and when the hell was one year ago. The timeline is soooo messed up that am starting to think Peter Petrelli will start saving New York all over again like season 1.
And does anyone have any idea who is good and who is evil anymore?!?! I mean I let the whole “Sylar is a good guy fighting his uncontrollable urge to kill others and take their powers” thing slide, but Angela Petrelli is now suddenly a victim of her husband’s fiendish plans and is not so bad herself?!?! Come ooon!! Or is it just a matter of relativity? Someone is just more evil than someone else. And basically the Petrelli father is the root of all evil!! Well he sure is fertile. He’s up to 3 sons now and counting…
All I can say about Heroes season 3 is: basically everyone you thought was bad is actually good (Sylar, Elle, Angela Petrelli…etc…), and people you thought were good guys are turning bad like Suresh, Claire (she does kill Peter in the future), Peter from the future (the one with the scar, he seemed pretty bad) and the manufactured Tracy, who looks exactly like Nikki, who I have no idea where she is right now.
More to come… Stay tuned!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
After crashing out of the round robin stage in the Masters Cup last week, world number 2, Roger Federer, is a mere 10 points ahead of third-ranked Novak Djokovic, who ended up winning the Cup in Shanghai. Does Federer really care about the Serb breathing down his neck?!?!
"I'm going to sleep well for a month. He (Djokovic) is not going to pass me anytime soon," said Federer.
"For me, honestly, ranking two, three, four, five, 25, it doesn't really matter a whole lot, you know. For me it is either number one or being in the main draw."
Apparently NOT! The Swiss phenomenon obviously cares for nothing but the view from the very top. Talk about high standards...
Friday, November 14, 2008
And what’s up with bringing in Stepanek? Is that the best alternate they could come up with?!?! Were the Cup organizers that desperate? There is nothing lamer than someone who is not a top 10 player squeezing himself into playing at the Masters Cup, except someone who is not even a top 20 player just sticking around in case anybody gets injured. Stepanek is number 26 in the race and number 27 in the ATP rankings. What the hell is he doing in Shanghai?!
Am sure Stepanek fans (if there are any) will not be very happy with my post but am not saying he's a bad player (he did beat Federer this year), I just don't like the fact that he's at the Cup, where 8 players busted their qualifying asses for it. I think that when someone pulls out halfway through the Cup, the organizers shouldn't replace that person. The players who haven't played that contestant yet, should get some sort of automatic points and move on.
I should have known the Cup this year would be a disappointment to me, I mean first Rafa’s tendonitis, then Tsonga crashes out, and now Stepanek is playing understudy for Roddick?!?!
Okay that being said, I’d like to show you guys what Roddick said after he pulled out of Shanghai. He joined many other players in slamming the tour’s schedule especially with some new changes taking effect next year and he even stuck up for Rafa and singled him out as being the most player who would ever want to show up on court. Check this out:
"I think too much is asked of us as far as playing 11 months of the year, and now they're imposing more mandatory tournaments.”
"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's unfortunate for someone like Rafa that goes out there and does things the right way. No one is ever going to question how much effort he gives every time he's on the court.
"I don't think anybody wants to be on the court more than he does, so at a certain point you would hope they start respecting our opinions a little bit more."
"This particular injury had nothing to do with it being a long season. It was an accident and it was unlucky it happened... That being said, I think I've been pretty forthright in my opinions regarding the schedule and it being too long."
Monday, November 10, 2008
Gilles Simon, who only made it to the Masters Cup because Rafael Nadal got tendinitis, stunned the defending champion and current world number 2, Roger Federer, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, in the opening round robin match of the Red Group on Monday.
The sizzling Frenchman stepped up his game after dropping the first set, and turned around the match to claim his second win over Federer this year (he beat him in the Masters Series Canada in the summer).
This victory surely gives Simon a lot of confidence in his group but Federer is far from beaten. The Swiss suffered a similar fate last year in Shanghai when he lost his opening round robin match to Fernando Gonzalez, however Federer went on to win the title. The 4-time Masters Cup champion has the class and resilience, to take this defeat and use it to his own benefit.
Simon, who is now at a career high number 9 in the rankings, next faces Britain's hot shot, Andy Murray, who defeated Andy Roddick in the second singles match of the day. Murray overcame a bad second set to beat the American, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1.
Federer on Simon:
"The better you play, the better he plays, he's quite an unusual player and he makes you work hard and runs very well."
Federer on his loss:
"Definitely today I missed shots I normally don't miss. I think that's just lack of practice.
"It's the only tournament where I really have a chance after losing the first match so I'm happy it happened here."
Simon's reaction to his victory:
"It's always hard to win against Federer. I know that I have to play my best tennis... But in another way, it's easier for me because I have no question in any head. I just want to give everything, every point to my best tennis to win. It's easier to play in that way."
"I defeated him once in Toronto, so it was easier to finish the match. I had no complex when I served in the last game. And, for sure, it was one of the best victory of my career."
's 4 in 44 !!
The Cameroon sensation scored a super hat-trick during Barca's 6-0 drubbing of Valladollid.
Nasri's Brace Against United!
Samir Nasri hit home twice to help Arsenal down United 2-1 in a thrilling Saturday match. The second goal was a textbook Arsenal masterpiece involving some sweet passing sealed with a confident Nasri strike.
"When he is in front of goal he can finish with his right foot or left foot," Arsene Wenger said on Nasri after the match. "He is a tremendous finisher."
Nasri's second goal:
Anelka and Keane Weekend Braces
Anelka went two goals clear of Amr Zaki to take the summit of the top scorers list when he struck twice during Chelsea's 3-0 win at Blackburn. The Anelka's first goal was just lucky but the second showed some real quick response from him.
As much as it hurts me to praise the arrogant Frenchman, he surely is on a roll scoring a hat-trick a week earlier against Sunderland followed by his 2 goals last Sunday against Blackburn.
Anelka's second goal:
Robbie Keane finally scored for Liverpool in the Premier League and he did it twice on Saturday against WBA. Liverpool are now tied with Chelsea at the top of the table however the London side have a goal difference advantage.
The Masters Cup kicked off on Sunday in Shanghai, as world number 3, Novak Djokovic, managed to notch his first ever Masters Cup win, by defeating Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 6-3, in the first round robin match of the Gold Group.
This is Djokovic's second straight Masters Cup appearance, however his first one was a true disappointment as the Serb lost all 3 round robin matches last year.
Shanghai's youngest contestant, Del Potro, who was ranked 65 in the world last July before racing up to his current number 8 position, is making his Masters Cup debut as the tournament's 7th seed.
Other Gold Group action on Sunday saw Nikolay Davydenko overcome a resilient Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a tight 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-6(0) win.
Tsonga, who started this season with a bang by ousting Rafael Nadal from the Aussie Open semis and reaching his maiden Grand Slam final, looks like he wants to end his season in the same fashion, especially after he narrowly grabbed himself a ticket to Shanghai by winning his first ATP Masters title in Paris last week.
Nonetheless, Davydenko, denied the Frenchman his first Shanghai win and now lies second in the Gold Group.
The action in the Red Group starts on Monday with World number 2, Roger Federer, facing new top 10 star, Gilles Simon, followed by Andy Roddick vs. Andy Murray (and I refuse to call it the battle of the Andy's like everybody else... seriously it's overused).
If both Andy's are in good form, we should expect one hell of a serving fest from either side.
Friday, October 31, 2008
* Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his great run at the Paris Masters as he followed his win over Novak Djokovic, with a 3-set victory over Masters Cup qualifier, Andy Roddick.
"I really played beautiful matches. Things are happening during those matches. There's a lot of intensity, sometimes frustration, sometimes a lot of joy, and I love tennis like that... I think players are trying to find a solution against me, and lately they've been playing a lot on my backhand. For me, the more they hit on my backhand the more my backhand improves, thanks to them. It's just the fact that I play more backhands so it becomes better."
* Roddick, became the 6th man to qualify to the Masters Cup in Shanghai. The former world number one, who has a sole Grand Slam title from back in 2003, is one of the most consistent active players on tour despite his Grand Slam drought.
"It's always an honor to qualify... I think this is six straight years, so that's a good accomplishment. They put on a great event there, so I'm looking forward to it... It shows consistency. A lot of times people dip down for a year or two and then kind of get back. So it's been a solid process, but I think I've gone about it the right way and picking and choosing my spots. I think that's helped me be ready or at least want to compete every time I go out on the court, and I think that many years is just a testament to being ready to compete maybe more than anything."* Defending champion in Paris, David Nalbandian, is on course for clinching a Shanghai spot although he might not go, even if he makes it, as he wishes to focus on the Davis Cup final tie in Argentina. The Argentine ended Andy Murray's 14-match winning streak by ousting the Scot in straight sets in the quarters on Friday.
"It's not my goal. I'm not thinking about Shanghai because we have the Davis Cup right after, so that's why."
* The top 2 seeds, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, both pulled out of their quarterfinal matches with injuries, handing their opponents, Nikolay Davydenko and James Blake, safe passage to the semis.
"I had some pain in the knee yesterday. I felt the pain a lot when I woke up this morning... When I push [on my knee] I feel a sharp pain," said Rafa about his injury.
When asked whether he was concerned about being fit for Shanghai, the world number 1 said:
"For sure. Hopefully it will be fine ... [but] I don't know... With this pain maybe [I will go to Shanghai] a little later. I don't know, it depends."
Federer was forced to pull out with a back problem. The world number 2 said:
"I've had a lot of back pain over all the years of playing tennis, so it's not like the first time. It's just the first time it's acute during a tournament and it makes me pull out. I'll check it out for the next few days."
"The flight is scheduled for Monday. I hope I can recover otherwise I'll postpone that. I'm confident and I'm positive that hopefully it's going to get better in the next few days."
"I can't take a chance over a back, so I just want to play it safe and then hopefully be fine for Shanghai again."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Andy Roddick (no. 6 in the race) failed to clinch a Masters Cup berth in Lyon, as he fell to Sweden's Robin Soderling 7-6, 7-6 in the quarterfinals on Friday. The American will have to wait till next week's Masters Series in Paris to try to seal the deal.
"He played better than me in the rallies but this was a good preparation for Bercy... It's a long season... Whoever tells you he's not tired is lying," said Roddick after his loss.
James Blake (no. 10 in the race) also succumbed to a similar fate when he lost to Spain's Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 7-6, in the Basel quarterfinals on Friday. Blake is now 31 points behind 9th placed Gilles Simon.
Meanwhile, Simon managed to increase his chances of grabbing a Masters Cup berth when he reached the Lyon semifinals by defeating fellow Frenchman Josselin Ouanna 6-3, 7-5 on Friday. Simon can move within 3 points of 6th-placed Roddick if wins the title in Lyon this week.
Also still alive in this week's action is 8th-placed Juan Martin Del Potro. The Argentine, who is having an incredible season, ousted Igor Andreev 6-4, 7-5 in the Basel quarterfinals and will next face his compatriot, David Nalbandian, in a repeat of last week's Madrid quarterfinal, where Del Potro demolished Nalbandian. Del Potro has now won 35 out of his last 38 matches and is 15 race points behind Roddick.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who started the week at number 13 in the race, beat Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Lyon quarterfinals, to set up a semfinal against Julien Benneteau (OK Benneteau's quarterfinal match isn't over yet, but he's up 6-3, 4-1, so I assume he's gonna win).
Fernando Verdasco also still has a chance to add some race points to his tally as he reached the semifinals in St. Petersburg where he faces top seed, Andy Murray, on Saturday. Murray beat Verdasco in the final of St. Petersburg last year.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Who is playing where?
Number 6 in the race is Andy Roddick, who secured passage to the second round in Lyon on Tuesday after defeating home favorite, Nicolas Mahut. His next opponent is his fellow American, Robby Ginepri. Roddick believes his chances for qualifying for his 5th Masters Cup are pretty good. The former world number 1 made it to the semis in Shanghai last year, where he lost to David Ferrer.
"I'm in a good position to go to Shanghai but you never know what can happen behind me... Before the last tournament in Paris (next week), I prefer to have all the cards in my hands."Currently occupying spot number 7 is 2007 Shanghai finalist, David Ferrer. Ferrer is taking a break this week and will have to secure his place in the Shanghai field in the Paris Masters next week.
Juan Martin Del Potro is holding tight to the number 8 position. The Argentine hot shot eased through his first round match on Tuesday against George Bastl in Basel. Next up for Del Potro is another Swiss, Stephane Bohli.
Last week's surprise finalist at the Madrid Masters, Gilles Simon, soared to number 9 in the race and will be looking to add to his tally in Lyon this week. The Frenchman starts his campaign against Argentina's Juan Monaco on Wednesday.
James Blake is at number 10, and he's playing in Basel this week. His opening match is against Nicolas Kiefer.
Number 11, Stanislas Wawrinka, suffered a setback in his qualifying quest when he failed to progress to the second round on home soil in Basel. The Swiss fell to Benjamin Becker 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(5), squandering 2 match points on the way.
Other contenders in action this week include Aussie Open finalist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who advanced to the second round in Lyon and Spain's Fernando Verdasco, whose hopes are also still alive in St. Petersburg.
Number 17, David Nalbandian, had previously expressed his disinterest in qualifying for the Masters Cup this year, and stated that he wishes to focus on the Davis Cup final.
"The jet-lag from China to Argentina is terrible... I'm not thinking about qualifying for Shanghai. We have a chance to win the Davis Cup and that's what I'm concentrating on. That's what I'm worrying about now."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Federer stumbled 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to world number 4, Andy Murray, who was firing 210+ km/hr serves throughout the match.
The young Scot, who fell to Federer in the US Open final last month, is now 3-2 against the Swiss.
Murray, who will be bidding for his second Masters Series shield of the season (won Cincinnati in August) next faces unseeded Frenchman, Gilles Simon, who delivered a major upset to home favorite and world number 1, Nadal.
Simon edged the Spaniard 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) with a dramatic ending to the final set tie-break, when the Frenchman challenged a ball from Nadal that was called in, but was then proven long by the hawk-eye system, giving Simon the game, the set and the match.
Despite the defeat, Nadal will leave Madrid a happy man, as he has secured the year-end number 1 ranking after Federer failed to defend his points from a final showing last year.
Simon and Murray are tied at 1-1 head-to-head, where Murray has won their most recent meeting this year on clay.
Simon, who is currently ranked number 16 in the world, has now joined an exclusive club of players who have posted victories over the world's top 3, Nadal (Madrid semis), Federer (Toronto 2nd round) and Novak Djokovic (Marseille 2nd round), all in the same season.
Liverpool avoided a near-defeat to Wigan Athletic in Anfield when two late goals from Albert Riera and Dirk Kuyt gave the Reds a 3-2 win over the Latics.
Egyptian macho-man, Amr Zaki, scored the brace for Wigan, who were ahead 2-1 until the 75th minute when Antonio Valenica received a red card, for a second booking.
Liverpool then took advantage of 10-man Wigan and managed to secure the 3 points.
Zaki's second goal of the match, his 7th in 6 Premier League matches, was a scintillating side-kick that opted the ESPN commentator to say:
"You won't see a better finish anywhere, than this."
Kuyt's second goal that came 5 minutes from time was described by Eurosport's Alex Chick as:
"Kuyt attempted a Zaki-esque volley from a Jermaine Pennant cross."
Derick Alsop of the Telegraph said of the 25-year-old Egyptian:
"... a striker with the muscular presence and finishing appetite to exploit any frailty or half-chance."
We gotta all agree with Liverpool legend, Alan Hansen, when he said that:
"The Egyptian has got to go down as the find of the season."
Zaki is now leading the Premier League top scorer's list with 7 goals, 2 goals ahead of second placed Jermaine Defoe and Fernando Torres.
Zaki's second goal against Liverpool
Friday, October 17, 2008
Yet Another 7-6,7-6 win for Karlovic
Third-seeded Djokovic was sent packing as he suffered a tight defeat to Croatian giant, Ivo Karlovic. As most Karlovic matches go, this one saw no service breaks and it all came down to just a few important points in each tie-break to settle the match in Karlovic's favor.
Djokovic couldn't deal with the Croat's serving stampede which was accentuated with the fast surface in Madrid. Djokovic didn't struggle on serve, he just couldn't break Karlovic and seemed to lack any creativity to retaliate.
Next up for Karlovic is Frenchman, Gilles Simon, who beat Robby Ginepri for a spot in the quarters.
Federer Eases Past Tsonga
Second seed, Roger Federer, continued his almost hopeless quest for recapturing the number 1 spot in the rankings, when he easily dispatched Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. We all expected more from the Australian Open finalist, even Federer said so himself:
"It got easier for me as the match went on. It is the first time I have played him and I had expected it to be much harder."
"I don´t think Tsonga could show what he normally can, today, I couldn`t either because conditions are so quick that there are hardly any rallies if you serve well... so it´s hard to judge your own game."
Next up for Fed is the ever-impressive, Juan Martin Del Potro.
Del Potro Victorious in the Battle of the Argentines
The short version of this story is what David Nalbandian said after his 6-4, 6-2 defeat to his 9th-seeded compatriot Del Potro:
"He played very well, was very solid. I started both sets badly. He took advantage and maintained it throughout the match."
Nice and Precise!!
Del Potro was on fire and outclassed his Davis Cup teammate and the tournament's 7th seed in every possible way. It looks like Del Potro will be the number 1 Argentine real soon.
Rafa Posts Another Win Over Gasquet
Top seed, Rafael Nadal, showed a more convincing display on Thursday against 15th-seed, Richard Gasquet, than he did in his opening match against Ernests Gulbis. Nadal posted a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Frenchman, who was not as ruthless as he normally is with his backhand.
Next up for Rafa is his close friend and countryman, Feliciano Lopez.
"Feliciano is a very awkward opponent on all surfaces; he has got a great first and second serve and that stops you from playing comfortably. Besides, he approaches the net a lot when he is playing aggressively and he is very dangerous. Here at altitude, even though it is indoors and it doesn´t have that much of an effect, the court is fast. It´s going to be difficult to win."
Lopez is the kind of player who every once in a while, has a good run to the final of a tournament - which is normally on a fast surface - yet fails to nail the title at the end. Like Rafa said, he has a good serve and plays well at the net, and when it's going for him, he is pretty dangerous, especially on indoor carpet.
Lopez seems to be enjoying playing at home as well; as his list of seeded victims this tournament has grown to include David Ferrer and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Monfils Ousts Roddick, Murray Edges Past Cilic
French showman, Gael Monfils, eliminated 8th-seeded Andy Roddick to book a quarterfinal meeting with 4th-seeded Andy Murray.
"I just felt a little out of it [mentally] which is not the norm and makes it a bit frustrating," said Roddick.
Monfils is on a bit of a revival run especially after his runner-up showing in Vienna last week. He ousted Fernando Gonzalez before doing the same to Roddick and his next match will be a tricky one.
Murray struggled past Croatian up-and-comer, Marin Cilic, to eventually come through 7-5, 7-6. The young Scot handled the match well as he managed to save the first set when Cilic was serving for it at 5-4, and went on to win the match in straight sets.
Murray and Monfils are 1-1 head-to-head. This match promises to be a good one!