Posts Tagged ‘Rafael Nadal’

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.

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.

I grabbed Rafael Nadal’s 2015 results from Yahoo Sports and pasted them below (for some reason Yahoo lists Rio twice). World #3 Nadal does have one title in 2015. Winning Buenos Aires after reaching the semifinal round at Rio gives Nadal a 7-1 record on clay.  Rafa certainly will welcome a return to his favored surface after some curious hard court results to start the year.  I think any deep analysis or Rafa’s form and mentality needs to wait until Roland Garros 2015 is in the books.  We all know clay can cure many ills for Nadal.  I want to look briefly at his hard court results.

The Relatively Good

Rafa’s loss to Milos Raonic at Indian Wells does not strike me as a bad loss because Milos is a young player who is pushing toward the top 5 of the ATP rankings.  Rafa also reached the quarterfinal round at the Australian Open despite coming into 2015 not having been truly tested since Wimbledon 2014.  Rafa posted straight set wins over Kevin Anderson in Melbourne and Gilles Simon at Indian Wells. The only odd things about these results are Rafa failing to convert match points versus Raonic and losing to Berdych after winning 17 consecutive matches vs. the Big Czech.  Rafa and every other established star on tour will likely eventually lose to up and coming players such as Raonic.  It was apparent for the first two sets versus Berdych that Rafa was woefully short on match play over the previous 6 months.  These two losses don’t amount to any eye brow raising on my part.

The Bad

Michael Berrer is a nice player, but Rafa has minimized upset losses on hard courts since at least 2008.

The Ugly

I say ugly because Rafa has generally dominated fellow Spaniards and players who have slighted him.  Fernando Verdasco beating Rafa in Miami is surprising.  I looked at Rafa beating Hot Sauce as being a given.  If I throw in Fabio Fognini coming from a set down to beat Rafa on clay, Rafa has recent losses to two guys I suspect are not well liked in the locker room.  I am not sure if Rafa is still ticked at Berdych for quieting the crowd in Madrid almost a decade ago, but this too could have been an annoying loss for the Mallorcan.

The Wait and See

As I said earlier, Rafa may find his form and confidence return once he gets another 10 clay court matches under his belt.  I don’t think this is an apocalyptic situation for Rafa, but these results have been curious.

 2015 Tournament Results – Singles
 Tournament (Seed) Surface Round Opponent W/L Score
 Qatar ExxonMobil Open (2)
Jan 5-Jan 11
Hard First Round Michael Berrer L 6-1, 3-6, 4-6
 Australian Open (3)
Jan 18-Feb 1
Hard First Round Mikhail Youzhny W 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Second Round Tim Smyczek W 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-5
Third Round Dudi Sela W 6-1, 6-0, 7-5
Fourth Round Kevin Anderson (14) W 7-5, 6-1, 6-4
Quarterfinals Tomas Berdych (7) L 2-6, 0-6, 6-7 (5-7)
 Rio Open presented by Claro HDTV (1)
Feb 16-Feb 22
Clay First Round Thomaz Bellucci W 6-4, 6-1
Second Round Pablo Carreno-Busta W 7-5, 6-3
Quarterfinals Pablo Cuevas (6) W 4-6, 7-5, 6-0
Semifinals Fabio Fognini (4) L 6-1, 2-6, 5-7
 Rio Open (1)
Feb 16-Feb 22
Clay First Round Thomaz Bellucci W 6-4, 6-1
Second Round Pablo Carreno-Busta W 7-5, 6-3
Quarterfinals Pablo Cuevas (6) W 4-6, 7-5, 6-0
Semifinals Fabio Fognini (4) L 6-1, 2-6, 5-7
 Argentina Open presented by Buenos Aires Ciudad (1)
Feb 23-Mar 1
Clay Second Round Facundo Arguello W 6-4, 6-0
Quarterfinals Federico Del Bonis W 6-1, 6-1
Semifinals Carlos Berlocq W 7-6 (9-7), 6-2
Final Juan Monaco W 6-4, 6-1
 BNP Paribas Open (3)
Mar 11-Mar 22
Hard Second Round Igor Sijsling W 6-4, 6-2
Third Round Donald Young W 6-4, 6-2
Fourth Round Gilles Simon (13) W 6-2, 6-4
Quarterfinals Milos Raonic (6) L 6-4, 6-7 (10-12), 5-7
 Miami Open presented by Itau (2)
Mar 24-Apr 5
Hard Second Round Nicolas Almagro W 6-4, 6-2
Third Round Fernando Verdasco(29) L 4-6, 6-2, 3-6

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[3] Andy Murray (GBR) vs [27] Santiago Giraldo (COL) H2H – Murray loves Miami as it is home away from home.

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [29] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) H2H – Not enough Hot Sauce exists to pull off this upset

[23] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs Juan Monaco (ARG) H2H – Monaco is having a fine 2015 campaign

[7] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs [28] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) H2H – If Stan can avoid audible obscenities, he ought to win.

[11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs [17] Gael Monfils (FRA) H2H – Tsonga is still rusty, but with Gael anything is possible.

[8] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs [25] Bernard Tomic (AUS) H2H – I almost picked Tomic.  I think Berdych is just more steady overall at this stage of each man’s career though.

[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs [24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) H2H – A 50-50 match

Jack Sock (USA) vs Dominic Thiem (AUT) H2H – This should be fun.  I think Thiem will win so long as his variety is a factor.

Predicted Winners in BOLD

I can see having 32 seeds at a slam because such events involve 7 rounds, but this seems excessive

[3] Andy Murray (GBR) vs Donald Young (USA) – These two have had their fair share of matches.

[2] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Nicolas Almagro (ESP) – This could be interested, but Rafa should win.

[11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs Tim Smyczek (USA) – Tsonga’s comeback should get a good start.

[8] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs [WC] Hyeon Chung (KOR)

[7] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Carlos Berlocq (ARG) – On clay, this might be a 50-50 match.

[17] Gael Monfils (FRA) vs [Q] Filip Krajinovic (SRB) – With Gael, who knows?

[14] Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs Juan Monaco (ARG) – Monaco should win in my view.

[15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Sam Querrey (USA) – I’ll take Sam, but on paper Anderson is the favorite.

[10] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs Dominic Thiem (AUT) – Thiem is a talent to watch, but FLo is playing some of the best tennis of his career.

[21] Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs Jack Sock (USA) – Both guys can go bonkers

[25] Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs [Q] Austin Krajicek (USA) – Is Tomic healthy?

[27] Santiago Giraldo (COL) vs Robin Haase (NED)

[29] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs [Q] James Duckworth (AUS)

[24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) vs Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) – Mayer should do well

[28] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)

[23] Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)

Tennis Power Ranking 2015: #2

Given that I live so close to Cincinnati we can all hope these are used for seedings at Masters Cincinnati

  1. Novak Djokovic – Novak withstood some nerves in the second set to avenge his loss in Dubai and further strengthen his hold on the #1 ranking.  I think Djokovic is the man to beat if he is feeling at ease and playing on a medium paced surface or slower.
  2. Roger Federer – Roger’s title in Dubai and runner-up showing at Indian Wells have erased his poor Australian Open performance.  He is locked in at #2 until/unless Rafa can return to his desired form.  Roger would likely want a match with Nole in which the surface plays a bit faster.  Change since last ranking +4
  3. Andy Murray – Andy has been a bit hot and cold in 2015, but his recent Davis Cup results combined with his Indian Wells wins demonstrate he is on a hot streak.  Change since last ranking -1
  4. Milos Raonic – The powerful Canadian looks like he is willing to disturb the oligolpoly that has ruled men’s tennis since 2008.  Change since last ranking +4  
  5. Rafael Nadal – Rafa’s title in Buenos Aires and quarterfinal run at Indian Wells have him edging out countryman David Ferrer for the 5th spot.  Rafa has not seemed like himself in 2015, but until the clay court season is in the books, it is hard to know what if anything this means.  Change since last ranking – 1
  6. David Ferrer – David has been en fuego for much of 2015.  He did not post his best result at Indian Wells, but 3 titles are 3 titles.  I expect Ferrer to rebound in Miami.  Change since last ranking – not ranked
  7. Tomas Berdych – The Big Czech has been quite consistent in 2015, but has yet to build upon his victory over Nadal in Melbourne with another signature win.
  8. Kei Nishikori – He hit the right notes in Memphis, but has yet to make a push against the Big 4.
  9. Stanislas Wawrinka – I think Stan benefits in 3 out of 5 set matches, but I also thought his title in Rotterdam would bode well for his weekly results.  Stan is still in my top 5 for slams on surfaces other than clay, but his results in Dubai and Indian Wells were not great.  Change since last ranking – 6
  10. Bernard Tomic – Tomic has put together his best stretch of tennis ever in 2015.  Withdrawing from Indian Wells and losses to Donald Young aside, he seems to be focused on success.  Change since last  ranking – not ranked

Biggest Movers – Roger Federer and Milos Raonic each jumped 4 spots while Stanislas Wawrinka fell 6 (!) spots

Entered the Poll – David Ferrer and Bernard Tomic

Dropped Out – Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [6] Milos Raonic (CAN)

This is Rafa’s biggest match of 2015 since he faced Berdych in Melbourne.  Nadal did win Buenos Aires, but he did not face a murderer’s row of opponents.  Rafa should win just about any 250 level event he enters on clay.  His game versus higher ranked players and on hard courts is still a bit of an unknown.  We’ll know more after this match tomorrow.  Nadal fans will not be happy with my thought that if Milos holds his nerve he will also hold his serve in Indian Wells.  I think Rafa is not quite back to his elite level from whatever ailed him in 2014.  Therefore, and maybe this is the upsets of March Madness getting to me, I am picking Milos.  Raonic has reached the quarters or better at so many Masters 1000 events and slams in the past 18 months that I think he is due for a big win.

My Prediction: Milos Raonic d. Rafal Nadal 7-6, 6-4 w/ one frustration break making the difference

Predicted Winners in BOLD

Great Slate of Matches as One Would Expect

[12] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) v [5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) H2H – I could see this go either way, but I think Nishikori is a higher level player in general so he is my pick.

[13] Gilles Simon (FRA) v [3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) H2H – I’d love to see Simon win as he is one of my favorites, but it is not fall 2008 any longer.

Jack Sock (USA) v [2] Roger Federer (SUI) H2H – Sock keeps making my picks look bad so he should be glad I picked Federer.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v [18] John Isner (USA) H2H – Isner’s second serve bothers Novak’s return game.  Therefore, Isner has won some matches vs. Nole.  I expect this to be close, but I also think Nole is the class of tennis at the moment so he will generally win matches that are not ideal match-ups.

[4] Andy Murray (GBR)Adrian Mannarino (FRA) H2H – Murray seems to be playing at his Australian Open level.

[27] Lukas Rosol (CZE) v [9] Tomas Berdych (CZE) H2H – The Big Czech has been #6 for the year in my mind.

[6] Milos Raonic (CAN) v [17] Tommy Robredo (ESP) H2H – Milos needs to watch his step as Robredo is going to play a disciplined match, but I think his serve gives him enough of a margin for error to win.

[WC] Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v [32] Bernard Tomic (AUS) H2H – Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi! Tomic, like Sock, keeps upending my picks.

Predicted Winners in BOLD

Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Steve Johnson (USA) H2H – Johnson has a chance, but he is not my pick.

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Donald Young (USA) H2H – Lefty vs. Lefty = Rafa winning

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) vs Andreas Seppi (ITA) H2H – Federer is undefeated in 2015 except for his matches vs. Seppi.  This could be tricky.

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs Jack Sock (USA) H2H – I know US players have done well, but I think Agut will grind Sock down.

[6] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) H2H

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs Tommy Robredo (ESP) H2H

Robin Haase (NED) vs Lukas Rosol (CZE) H2H –

Gilles Simon (FRA) vs [Q] Michael Berrer (GER) H2H – He will avenge Gasquet