If at first you don’t succeed

Tomas Berdych has been a model of consistency in 2015.  Berdych was runner-up at Doha and at Rotterdam.  He was a semifinalist at the Australian Open, at Dubai, and at Masters Miami.  He was a quarterfinalist at Indian Wells.  The Big Czech finds himself in the semifinal round of Monte-Carlo.  His 26-6 record includes wins over Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic, Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils (2X), Bernard Tomic (2X), and Juan Monaco.*  He has not padded his record by running over the competition at multipe 250 series events.

Close but no cigar

Aside from his win over Nadal, Berdych has not posted many upsets either.  Instead, he has absorbed six 2015 losses from Andy Murray (2X), Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Novak Djokovic, and Stanislas Wawrinka.  Murray, Federer, and Djokovic clearly are obstacles to Berdych, but if he wants to make a serious assault on the biggest prizes in tennis he needs to beat players along the level of Ferrer and Wawrinka.  Ferrer has been red-hot in 2015 posting 3 titles.  Wawrinka has 2 titles, and has posted an 18-4 record over the previous 5 Grand Slam events.

2004 Breakthrough 

I look at Berdych’s 2015 and see a lot of strong results.  His worst showing at any event was losing to the possible GOAT in a quarterfinal match.  For Berdych to contend, he has to keep doing what he has been doing and reaching later rounds.  He also has to find another level of play when he faces his peers and members of the big 4.  Asking for another gear from a player who has been a known commodity since the 2004 olympic games may be asking too much.  Still, his results have been quite good under a new coach. I think it will be much easier to see if Berdych has another gear 6-12 months into this partnership.  A 3rd win over Monfils and a Masters 1000 crown would also go a long way toward answering what Berdych’s ceiling is for the remainder of his career.

* Berdych’s 2015 win over Raonic and his Miami win over Monfils were the result of mid-match injuries.

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) v [4] Milos Raonic (CAN) H2H – Milos leads their head-to-head 3-1, but all of the matches have been fairly close and none of the 4 were on clay.  I think Milos is currently playing big matches better than Berdych has in recent months.  Therefore, I think Milos wins in 2 or 3 tight sets.

[9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v [WC/14] Gael Monfils (FRA) H2H – Well Monfils’ sparring session in the round of 16 should be good preparation for Dimitrov.  Monfils has won the only relevant match in their 3 head-to-head meetings.  On paper, Gael should win.  Grigor has reasserted himself thus far with solid victories helping his Q rating.  I think Gael can win this match, but throughout his career Monfils has seemingly been on the cusp of something better than being simply dangerous.  Monfils has never really moved beyond that category and until he does, I can’t pick him to play high-level tennis on a sustained basis.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v [8] Marin Cilic (CRO) H2H – I picked against Cilic in the round of 32 and round of 16.  He should be happy I am doing so again.  What won’t make him happy is Nole’s level of play.
[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) v [5] David Ferrer (ESP) H2H – This is much closer to a 50-50 match than I think most people realize.  Rafa historically has dominated both Ferrer and Monte-Carlo.  Recent form suggests a harder match than their head-to-head might indicate.  In Rio, Ferrer clearly was sharper than Nadal.  Ferrer was awesome in his 2015 Latin American swing winning Rio on clay and Acapulco on hard courts.  Ferrer also took the title in Doha to start the year.  Ferrer has had a better 2015 to this point than Rafa.  @Clutchon&win, a twitter friend, has been bold and picked Ferrer – see below.  I will not go quite that far, but in part because I want to see Nole and Rafa in the semis.  I am picking Rafa to advance in 3 long sets.

Predicted Winners in BOLD

This is a great schedule of matches

[7] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v [9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) H2H – Someone forgot to tell these two that one-handed backhands are an endangered species.  Stan’s form was great in his opening match, but somehow I think Grigor finds a way in 3 sets.

[WC/14] Gael Monfils (FRA) v [2] Roger Federer (SUI) H2H – Roger needed to save a match point vs. Gael in NYC.  Then Gael clobbered him in a Davis Cup match.  This could go either way, but I think Roger is the favorite.

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) v [15] John Isner (USA) H2H – Isner can wins sets off of Rafa on clay, but can and will are two different things.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB)Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) H2H – Nole rolls

[16] Tommy Robredo (ESP) v [4] Milos Raonic (CAN) H2H – If Robredo returns well, my pick will look silly.

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) v [12] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) H2H

[11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v [8] Marin Cilic (CRO) H2H – Battle of the returning wounded?

[10] Gilles Simon (FRA) v [5] David Ferrer (ESP) H2H – Ferrer’s history on clay vs. Simon is solid.

DDP Yoga for Tennis Week 2 Review

Posted: April 15, 2015 by Dan Martin in DDP Yoga, Health, Tennis
Tags: , ,

Healthy: No Hamstring Issues

April 8 – I did the Diamond Dozen

April 9 – I did the Diamond Dozen

April 10 – After my hamstring injury, I was able to enter into a full week of tennis and DDP Yoga.  I did an hour of tennis drills for the first time since my injury.  I felt quite limber.  This helped my volleys and especially my overhead.  Beyond that, I felt like my wind was better.  The only thing I did not notice a big difference with was my footwork.  It was not worse, but it was also not better.  I think residual benefits of DDP Yoga such as weight loss will eventually make my footwork better so I wanted to note that now. DDP Yoga is done from stationary positions so one should not expect it to function like jumping rope for tennis footwork.

April 11 – I did 20 minutes of my own combination of DDP Yoga moves/poses as I did not want to wake anyone by playing the video.

April 12 – I did the Diamond Dozen

April 13 – I did my own combination again.

April 14 – I took a day off

  • Tennis Benefits from Week 2:  A looser spine and shoulders helped me strike the ball more freely. This was especially true on my overhead and volleys.
  • Conditioning Benefits from Week 2: Increased flexibility and stamina was noticable
  • Weight Loss from Week 2: 3 lbs/1.36 kg

Originally posted on The Grandstand:

Nadal 2 Cincy 11 dubsRoger Federer and Rafael Nadal will kick off their Monte-Carlo campaigns on Wednesday. They are set for respective meetings against Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Lucas Pouille.

Jeremy Chardy vs. (2) Roger Federer

Federer and Chardy will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers and for the fourth time in less than a year and a half when they clash again in round two of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Wednesday. They also faced each other at this stage in one of last season’s clay-court Masters, with Chardy pulling off a 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) upset in Rome. Federer had previously prevailed 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3 on the hard courts of Brisbane and he later got the job done 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-4 on the indoor hard courts of Paris Bercy.

Chardy booked his spot in the last 32 by disposing of Diego Schwartzman 7-5, 6-2 on Tuesday. The 35th-ranked Frenchman…

View original 243 more words

Predicted Winners in BOLD

What a picturesque venue

[7] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Juan Monaco (ARG) H2H – I am quite tempted to pick an upset here, but Stan has done well when defending titles.

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [WC] Lucas Pouille (FRA) H2H – Rafa will be tested in Monte Carlo but not in this match.

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) vs Jeremy Chardy (FRA) H2H – I don’t like Chardy’s chances in this match.

[11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs David Goffin (BEL) H2H – I’ll pick a mild upset due to Tsonga’s potential rust.  This is a dangerous pick as Tsonga could overpower Goffin.

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) H2H – The Big Czech has generally won early round matches in recent events.

[9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs Fabio Fognini (ITA) H2H – If Dimitrov is clicking, he should win.  If Fognini plays like he did in Rio, an upset is likely.  I think Dimitrov is less likely to implode so Grigor gets the slightest of edges in my mind.

[4] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs Joao Sousa (POR) H2H – Milos may have his hands full as Sousa is a talented player, but Milos is quite a steady performer in matches he is supposed to win.

[WC/14] Gael Monfils (FRA) vs Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) H2H – Try to predict this one ….

[16] Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs Marcel Granollers (ESP) H2H – Robredo wins a tight baseline duel.

[10] Gilles Simon (FRA) vs [Q] Benoit Paire (FRA) H2H – I love Gilles’ oddly apathetic way of fighting his brains out on court.

[15] John Isner (USA) vs Viktor Troicki (SRB) – The big man typically plays much better on US soil, but I think this is a match he can successfully navigate.

[12] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) H2H – I like Kohlschreiber’s variety to be the difference in this match.

Originally posted on The Grandstand:

Cilic 3Marin Cilic’s comeback from a shoulder injury will begin on Saturday in Indian Wells. Cilic is facing Juan Monaco in the second round, while Bernard Tomic is going up against Borna Coric.

(32) Bernard Tomic vs. (Q) Borna Coric

Tomic and Coric will be going head-to-head for the first time when they collide in round two of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday. It has already been a successful and somewhat dramatic week for Coric, who just barely missed direct entry into the main draw and had to qualify. The 18-year-old Croat outlasted Bjorn Fratangelo 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(7) in the final round then beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday. Coric, who upset Rafael Nadal last fall in Basel, reached the Dubai semifinals last month as a lucky loser and stunned Andy Murray along the way.

Coric is no stranger to the role of underdog and he will be just…

View original 265 more words

Originally posted on The Grandstand:

Dimitrov 1Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilic will kick off their Monte-Carlo campaigns on Tuesday. They are set for respective meetings with Fernando Verdasco and Florian Mayer.

Fernando Verdasco vs. (9) Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov and Verdasco will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they collide in round one of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Tuesday. The head-to-head series is tied 1-1 following a 7-6(3), 5-7, 7-5 Verdasco victory on the clay of Bastad in 2013 and a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win last fall on the hard courts of Beijing.

Verdasco is coming off a semifinal showing in Houston, where he ultimately lost to Sam Querrey 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. The 40th-ranked Spaniard’s 13-8 record on the season also includes a fourth-round performance in Miami. Dimitrov, on the other hand, has slumped since reaching the semis in Brisbane and the last 16 at the Australian Open. The 11th-ranked Bulgarian…

View original 206 more words

What do I think will happen at the Masters 1000 Emeritus Event?  Read on

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[14/W] Gaël Monfils (FRA) vs. [Q] Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS)  H2H – I have come to expect the unexpected with Gael, but I think clay is his best surface.

[11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. [LL] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) H2H – Tsonga has

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [Q] Albert Ramos-Viñolas (ESP) H2H – The world #1 is in great form.

[5] David Ferrer  (ESP) vs. Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM) H2H – Ferrer could be positioned for a big European clay court swing.

Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs. [WC] Lucas Pouille (FRA) H2H – Thiem can build on his strong play in Miami.

[16] Tommy Robredo  (ESP) vs. Andreas Seppi (ITA) H2H – I like Robredo’s preparation and tactical discipline, but this is a 50-50 match.

[9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) H2H – This match is worth the price of admission.  On clay, I think Hot Sauce has a slight edge.

[8] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. [PR] Florian Mayer (GER) H2H – Is Marin healthy? Is he rusty?  Too many questions…

Juan Monaco (ARG) vs. Jiri Veselyy (CZE) H2H – Monaco is playing some of his best tennis.  Also, he’s been working out with Rafa.

Jérémy Chardy (FRA) vs. [Q] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) H2H – Can the Argentine get to Chardy’s backhand?  If so, an upset will not be shocking.

[10] Gilles Simon (FRA) vs. [WC] Benjamin Balleret (MON) H2H – I always like Simon

Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs. Marcel Granollers (ESP) H2H

Viktor Troicki (SRB) vs. Martin Klizan (SVK) H2H – Kilzan’s momentum makes him a slight favorite in my eyes.

Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) H2H – Tomic on clay makes for an iffy pick.

I am guessing that most of my readers love tennis.  What more could be added to a gathering of the top players in the world?  For one, an idyllic Mediterranean setting.  Of course, throwing in a cool stadium doesn’t hurt anything either.  I wish I was there.