Robby Ginepri

Part 3 – Cycling to Tennis – The Attack – More about Tennis Fitness

Hello Everyone,

Hope all are staying warm and fit as the tennis season is put on whole for the next couple of weeks. All of the pros are diligently working hard on the court and even harder off it.  Many of them see this as a new opportunity to up their levels of fitness and start the year ahead of the rest.

Americans Amer Delic, James Blake, Alex Kuznetsov and Brendan Evans are all hard at work in Tampa, Fl. Robert Kendrick is in Orlando working the 2 on 1’s, and Sam Querry and Robby Ginepri are hard at work on the West Coast.

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Part 3 – Cycling to Tennis – The Attack – More about Tennis Fitness

In a bike race if you want to be a contender, you need to be at the front of the pack and ready for a rider, or a group of riders to make a getaway from the rest. This is known as a break away.  In order to break away from the pack, the cyclist needs to “time” his attack, when the peloton (a large group of riders) is either sleeping or is at a vulnerable position.

In a tennis point, there is a moment where your opponent will be most vulnerable to an attack at the net.  If the tennis player knows how to make the transition to the net in a quick, clean, and complete manner, he very often will have the opportunity to win the point by hitting a volley or an overhead for a winner.

So, as you can see, both sports have the element of “The Attack”.  So many times when I have watched the pros play, it is easy to see when, in my eyes, he has lost the point because he did not take advantage of the first moment of vulnerability of his opponent.  In the pros, you get one shot generally to win the point. If you don’t take it, your opponent very often will get the next opportunity and most likely will seize the offensive moment.

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Both Cycling and Tennis have elements of strategical offense that can be intuitively developed over the years.  This is what I call the 8th Sense.  The high level Jeti’s , like Roger Federer, and cyclist Jonas Carney, have, that many people lack.  Being able to know what options your opponent has on a particular shot can win you more points each set and game you play.

Tour

If you tennis fitness is lacking, you will have a hard time executing the play. Work hard off the court like the top Americans are doing now!

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Federer Ties Nastase; Soderling and Murray Also Win Tourney Titles

BASEL

Roger Federer drew level with Ilie Nastase on 57 career titles after beating 6-3 6-4 David Nalbandian in the final between the Top two seeded players. Federer never faced a break point and won in Basel third straight year. “It feels great to win at home. Once you had it you want more of it and you want to do it over and over again.” said Federer who improved 10-8 against Nalbandian and 29-6 lifetime record in his hometown.

LYON

Robin Soderling has finally won his 3rd ATP tournament. The Swede has been waiting more than three years for another title, losing meanwhile 4 consecutive finals, three this year (Rotterdam, Memphis, Stockholm). Soderling is one of the biggest indoor specialist, he has played 9 finals in career, all of them indoor. On Sunday needed three sets to upset Julien Benneteau and his home-crowd 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1. Soderling broke the Frenchman’s serve in the 7th game of the second set but lost his own serve in the following game – it was the only game of the match with break points for Benneteau who lost his second ATP final. “As a player you always have the goal to reach the Top 100,” said Soderling who next week will be for the first time in career a Top 20 player. “Once you get there, you want to get to the Top 50. Reaching the Top 20 feels great. It has been my goal for two or three years already.” Thanks to this triumph Soderling creates theoretical chances to play in Masters Cup. He needs to win in Paris next week on the assumption that Gilles Simon and David Ferrer don’t make QF, and anyone else behind Simon and Ferrer doesn’t make the final.

St. PETERSBURG

The Russian-born but Kazhstan representative, Andrei Goloubev was able to win only two games in his first ATP final against defending champion Andy Murray. The British No. 1 converted five of 8 break points and saved two break points in the match which lasted just 58 minutes. It was the shortest final on the ATP circuit this year, and the second shortest final in terms of games (14) after Mikhail Youzhny defeated Rafael Nadal 6-0 6-1 in Chennai. Murray won 8th title in career (5th in European indoor) and became the first British player to win back-to-back titles since Mark Cox in March 1975. “I’m happy to defend my title in St Petersburg,” said Murray. “I like to play indoors. I reached my first ATP final indoors in Bangkok and then won my first ATP title in San Jose.”

Basel – Final

(1)Roger Federer (SUI) d. (2)David Nalbandian (ARG) 6-3 6-4

Lyon – Final

(7)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1

St. Petersburg – Final

(1)Andy Murray (GBR) d. (q)Andrei Goloubev (KAZ) 6-1 6-1

Mondays With Bob Greene: Naturally We Are Annoyed

STARS

Roger Federer won the Davidoff Swiss Indoors, beating David Nalbandian 6-3 6-4 in Basel, Switzerland

Andy Murray beat Andrey Golubev 6-1 6-1 to win the St. Petersburg Open in St. Petersburg, Russia

Robin Soderling won the Grand Prix de Tennis De Lyon by beating Julien Benneteau 6-3 6-7 (5) 6-1 in Lyon, France

Ana Ivanovic beat Vera Zvonareva 6-2 6-1 to win the Generali Ladies Linz in Linz, Austria

Elena Dementieva stopped Carolina Wozniacki 2-6 6-4 7-6 (4) to win the FORTIS Championships in Luxembourg

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Julie Coin 6-4 6-3 to win the Internationaux Feminins de la Vienne in Poitiers, France

Hyung-Taik Lee won the Samsung Securities Cup Challenger in Seoul, Korea, by beating Ivo Minar 6-4 6-0

Jim Courier beat Thomas Enqvist 3-6 6-4 10-8 (Champions tiebreak) to win the Stanford Championships in Dallas, Texas

SAYINGS

“There was a bit of disappointment but I gave a good fight for almost five years, so I’m proud of that, and I think Rafa deserves it this year because he’s played consistently well.” – Roger Federer, admitting he’s disappointed about not finishing the year as the number one player.

“This season has been hard, long and punishing. I will be very happy when I lose in Bercy.” – Richard Gasquet, after losing in Lyon, France, and talking about this week’s tournament in Paris.

“To see him give up mentally beforehand is quite simply abnormal. It is disrespectful vis-à-vis the public who he is counting on supporting him at Bercy. Naturally we are annoyed.” – Patrice Dominguez, national technical director of the French Tennis Federation, referring to Gasquet’s comment.

“This year has been a very positive year for me and I am looking forward to continued success in Doha.” – Venus Williams, after qualifying for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha.

“It has been awhile since I last played and it feels wonderful to be one of the best eight players of the regular Sony Ericsson WTA Tour season.” – Vera Zvonareva, who qualified for the Sony Ericsson Championships.

“You could never forecast that he was going to miss that shot. If he lets it bounce, he could hit it with the butt cap and make it and I wouldn’t be there. That was as improbable as it gets, but that’s why we play sports. The whacky happens.” – Jim Courier, after Thomas Enqvist shanked an easy overhead on match point.

“I think I was just too casual. It’s what you tell an amateur when you play the pro-ams with them, that sometimes they do those mistakes. They take their eye off the ball. I think I did that.” – Thomas Enqvist.

“For the first set and a half we were completely outplayed. At 4-3 down in the second set Bopanna double-faulted at 40-40, and after that the momentum shifted our way.” – Travis Parrott, after teaming with Filip Polasek to win the doubles at St. Petersburg, Russia.

“I’m really disappointed with how I played today. I had no concentration at any stage of the match. Maybe today I finally paid for all of the traveling and the many matches I’ve played over the last several weeks.” – Vera Zvonareva, after losing to Ana Ivanovic in the title match of the Generali Ladies Linz.

“Rafael Nadal has donated the racquet he used to win the 2008 Wimbledon final, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi both donated tennis racquets, while Roger Federer gave us the shirt off his own back.” – Lleyton Hewitt, on items donated to help raise money for a charity, Cure Our Kids.

SET FOR DOHA

The final two spots in the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships have been clinched by Vera Zvonareva and Venus Williams. The women’s tour will wind up with world’s top eight singles players and top four doubles teams in Doha, Qatar, November 4-9. It will be the third time Venus Williams will compete in the season-ending event, but her first since 2002. Others in the field include Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

SIGN OF RESPECT

The new tennis center in Brisbane, Australia, has been named for two-time US Open champion Pat Rafter. The 5,500-seat Rafter Arena will open in January for the Brisbane International men’s and women’s hard court championships. The tournament is a warm-up for the Australian Open, which is held in Melbourne. Novak Djokovic, Marcos Baghdatis and Ana Ivanovic are confirmed for the event, the first international tennis tournament to be played in Brisbane since 1994.

SWEDE VICTORY

When Robin Soderling captured his second Lyon trophy, he became the first Swedish player to win an ATP title in almost three years. The last Swede to capture a tournament on the men’s tour was Thomas Johansson at St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2005. The victory over Frenchman Julien Benneteau will move Soderling into the top 20 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings for the first time. At Lyon, Soderling beat two top-ten players, Andy Roddick and Gilles Simon.

SWISS STAR

Roger Federer won his third straight Davidoff Swiss Indoors crown in his native Basel, Switzerland. He also has been runner-up twice in his nine appearances in Basel. And his 57th career title moves Federer into a tie with Ilie Nastase on the ATP list. He is now three titles behind Andre Agassi. Basel was Federer’s fourth title of 2008, highlighted by his fifth consecutive US Open win. This one came over David Nalbandian, the 2002 Swiss Indoors winner and the tournament’s number two seed. It was the first time since 1993 that the two top seeds have reached the final at Basel.

SHORT DAY

Andy Murray needed only 56 minutes to successfully defend his St. Petersburg Open title by defeating qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-1 6-1. It was the shortest final on the ATP tour this year, and the second fewest games in a title match since Mikhail Youzhny crushed Rafael Nadal 6-0 6-1 at the Chennai Open in January. Now ranked fourth in the world, Murray becomes the first British player to win consecutive titles since Mark Cox did it in March 1975. The Scott has won five titles this year, second only to the eight captured by Nadal. Murray is on a 12-match winning streak and has won 18 of his last 19 matches since losing in the first round of the Beijing Olympics to Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun.

SHORT STAY

For the second straight year, Nikolay Davydenko made a brief appearance at the St. Petersburg Open. This time he injured his left wrist during a first-round victory over Chris Guccione, and then pulled out of the tournament. “I was able to finish the match, but today I felt a lot of pain and I just can’t play,” Davydenko said. Last year, the Russian was fined USD $2,000 by the ATP for not trying hard enough during his loss to qualifier Marin Cilic in a second-round match. The fine was overturned on appeal. Davydenko’s victory over Guccione was his 50th match win of the season, the fourth straight year he has won at least 50 matches.

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STAYING ON TOP

Despite what happens the rest of the way, Jelena Jankovic will end the season as the number one player in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings. Jankovic has a commanding points lead over Dinara Safina and will remain in the top spot regardless of the outcome of the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. She secured the year-ending ranking by winning 12 straight matches en route to three consecutive titles in Beijing, Stuttgart and Moscow. She lost in the US Open final and reached the semifinals of two other Grand Slam tournaments.

SITTER MISSED

Holding match point at 9-8 in the Champions tiebreaker, Jim Courier sent a high defensive lob that just made it over the net in the final of the Stanford Championships in Dallas, Texas. But Thomas Enqvist, standing right on top of the net, elected not to let the ball bounce and shanked the overhead straight down off the frame of his racquet, giving Courier his sixth career Outback Champions Series title, 3-6 6-4 10-8 (Championships tiebreak). “I think I was too casual,” Enqvist said, while Courier said the missed overhead was “one of the nuttiest match points I’ve ever been a part of.”

SEASIDE TENNIS

Four top players will lead a five-day tennis “fantasy camp” on Maui, Hawaii, in November. Lindsay Davenport, Tom Gullikson, Robby Ginepri and Corina Morariu will participate in the four days of instruction and free play. Gullikson is the former US Davis Cup captain and Olympic coach, while Davenport was ranked number one in the world in both singles and doubles. She is one of only four women – joining Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert – to have been the year-ending number one at least four times. Ginepri is one of the top five American players currently on the ATP tour, while Morariu was ranked number one in the world in doubles before being diagnosed with leukemia. She made a complete recovery and was named Comeback Player of the Year on the WTA Tour. The “fantasy camp” is for adult tennis players ranging in skill from recreational to tournament-level.

STRIKING PAIR

Hall of Famer Michael Chang and women’s tennis pro Amber Liu are now husband and wife. Matthew Cronin reports the pair was married at Lake Hills Community Church in Laguna Hills, California, with the reception and dinner taking place at the St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point, California. Among those in attendance were Chang’s brother and coach, Carl; his cousin James Wan, who plays for Stanford University; John Austin, Anne Yelsey, Dick Gould, Lele Forood, Eliot Teltscher and Peanut Louis.

STRONG SALES

The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships will have some people in the seats, if ticket sales are any indication. According to tournament officials, more than 95 percent of the premium seats have been sold for the season-ending event that features the world’s top eight women’s singles players and top four doubles teams. The Championships will be held November 4-9 at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar.

STANDING TALL

Lleyton Hewitt and his wife Bec have begun a month-long fundraising auction with proceeds going to Cure Our Kids, an organization which supports children with cancer and their families at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in New South Wales, Australia. The auction includes items donated by the Hewitts as well as from Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff, among others.

SAD NEWS

A former top-100 player from Italy, Federico Luzzi, is dead at the age of 28. Luzzi died at a hospital in Arezzo, Italy, of leukemia. He was hospitalized after retiring a few days earlier from an Italian league match, citing a high fever. He reached a career-high ranking of number 92 in 2002 before a shoulder injury plagued him the rest of his career. In February, Luzzi was suspended for 200 days and fined USD $50,000 by the ATP for betting on tennis. In 2001, he beat Ville Liukko of Finland 14-12 in the fifth set to complete a 4-hour, 35-minute victory, the longest Davis Cup match ever played by an Italian.

SO LONG

Bill Rusick, an All-American college player and later tennis coach and co-owner of a tennis club, has died at the age of 51. Rusick led Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville to two national championships and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame. He coached at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois, and served as club pro and co-owner at St. Clair Tennis Club. He suffered from pancreatic cancer.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Basel: Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles beat Christopher Kas and Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-3

St. Petersburg: Travis Parrott and Filip Polasek beat Rohan Bopanna and Max Mirnyi 3-6 7-6 (4) 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Lyon: Michael Llodra and Andy Ram beat Stephen Huss and Ross Hutchins 6-3 5-7 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Seoul: Lukasz Kubot and Oliver Marach beat Sanchai Ratiwatana and Sonchat Ratiwatana 7-5 4-6 10-6 (match tiebreak)

Linz: Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama beat Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-4 7-5

Luxembourg: Sorana Cirstea and Marina Erakovic beat Vera Dushevina and Mariya Koryttseva 2-6 6-3 10-8 (match tiebreak)

Poitiers: Petra Cetkovska and Lucie Safarova beat Akgul Amanmuradova and Monica Niculescu 6-4 6-4

SITES TO SURF

Paris: www.fft.fr/bnpparibasmasters//

Quebec: www.challengebell.com

Bratislava: www.stz.sk

Busan: www.busanopen.org/

Cali: www.tennisegurobolivar.com/

Doha: www.Sonyericsson-championships.com

Sunrise: http://www.championsseriestennis.com/arizona2008/

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP

$2,450,000 BNP Paribas Masters, Paris, France, carpet

$125,000 Seguros Bolivar Open, Cali, Colombia, clay

$100,000 Busan Open Challenger, Busan, South Korea, hard

WTA TOUR

$175,000 Bell Challenge, Quebec City, Quebec, hard

$100,000 Ritro Slovak Open, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, hard

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

WTA TOUR

$4,450,000 Sony Ericsson Championships, Doha, Qatar, hard

$100,000 ITF women’s event, Krakow, Poland, hard

ATP

$106,500 Tatra Banka Open, Bratislava, Slovakia, hard

SENIORS

Cancer Treatment Centers of America Championships at Surprise, Surprise, Arizona

Andy Murray Cruises Into Second Straight Final

BASEL

Roger Federer for the fifth time (third in a row) advanced to the final of his home-event in Basel after convincing 6-3 6-2 over in-form Feliciano Lopez. “It’s great to play back-to-back semifinals and reach the final,” said Federer. “I have some points to defend but that is not what my life is about anymore, I hope to win titles. My game has really come along this week and I’m serving well this week.”

In the second semifinal between two Argentinians, David Nalbandian outplayed Juan Martin del Potro 6-4 6-4. Nalbandian is also a Basel specialist. He has played three finals there, won one of them, six years ago, in his first attempt (beating Gonzalez in straight sets in the final).

LYON

Gilles Simon has finally lost a three-setter. He was beaten by the hands of the indoor specialist Robin Soderling. Simon was losing 4:5 (15-30) in the first set but won 10 points in a row and the first set 7-5. The next two sets Soderling won 6-3 and reached third indoor final this year (after Rotterdam and Memphis).

Julien Benneteau defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 7-5 despite 2:5 down in the first set. Benneteau later saved set point at 5:6 with subtle volley. In the similar style he won his first set point in the tie-break as well.

St. PETERSBURG

Andy Murray has won 17 of his last 18 matches. In the Satursday’s semifinal British No. 1 demolished Fernando Verdasco 6-0 6-3. Last year in the final Murray playing against Verdasco lost only two games more. “I played a solid match and he got off to a slow start, making some mistakes and I was able take advantage of that,” said Murray.

“I was very happy with my level of play today and it was a perfect match,” said Golubev, who won the final 10 games of his semifinal match against Victor Hanescu. “This will be my first ATP final and I will never forget this match and this tournament.”

Basel – Semifinals

(1)Roger Federer (SUI) d. Feliciano Lopez 6-3 6-2

(2)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. (3)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 6-4 6-4

Lyon – Semifinals

(7)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. (4)Gilles Simon 5-7 6-3 6-3

Julien Benneteau (FRA) d. (3)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(5) 7-5

St. Petersburg – Semifinals

(1)Andy Murray (GBR) d. (3)Fernando Verdasco 6-0 6-3

(q)Andrei Goloubev (KAZ) d. Victor Hanescu 6-3 6-0

Voo’s ATP Round-Up From Basel, Lyon and St. Pete

BASEL

Roger Federer after two difficult matches in early rounds, won easily his quarterfinal match against Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-2 6-3. “I’m very satisfied by how it went,” Federer said. “I tried to step up the pressure and so far that’s worked well.”

In the semifinal Federer will face Feliciano Lopez who knocked out James Blake 6-4 7-6(7). Blake had double setpoint at 6:5 in the 2nd set but Lopez saved it with second serve ace and forehand winner. In the tie-break Lopez led 6:3, then saved another set point (6:7) with service winner to convert finally 4th match point with excellent cross-court backhand passing-shot. “This one hurt,” Blake said. “I had a set point in the tiebreaker. If I expect to beat a lot of the guys out there I need to play well on those points and I didn’t do it today.” Lopez has won 10th tie-break in a row!

In the other semifinal will meet the two best Argentinians (Del Potro and Nalbandian) who played a match last week in Madrid – Del Potro won 6-4 6-2 in the last 16. “Last week I beat him (Nalbandian) in a great match, and tomorrow I’ve got to be in good shape if I want to do it again,” Del Potro said.

LYON

Two former champions Andy Roddick (2005) and Robin Soderling (2004) played a hard-service battle with no breaks of serve and two tie-breaks. Both tie-breaks had the same pattern – Roddick was leading 3:1 but Soderling won twice 7-5 thanks to unforced errors of American player. Roddick was better (22-20) in aces. Roddick doesn’t add points to Champions Race (he should have reached the final to do it) in contrary to Gilles Simon who has won for the first time in two weeks time a match in straight sets (6-3 7-5 against compatriot Ouanna). Simon could move within three points of sixth-placed Roddick if he wins the title.

In the bottom half of the draw, two Frenchmen (Tsonga and Benneteau) will fight against each other to reach the final. Benneteau advanced to the last four in impressive style – hasn’t lost 4 games in a set in three matches this week.

ST. PETERSBURG

Defending champion Andy Murray has won 10th consecutive match beating Janko Tipsarevic 7-6(5) 7-5 in two hours and 10 minutes. Murray sets up semifinal clash with Fernando Verdasco who qualified to St. Petersburg semifinal third straight year. Murray beat Verdasco 6-2 6-3 in last year’s final.

Andrey Golubev as a first player from Kazakhstan reached the ATP semifinal. Golubev in a duel of two qualifiers was better than Misha Zverev 6-7 6-4 7-6. 21 year-old Kazakh won match point after a successful challenge. He now face Victor Hanescu. The Romanian hadn’t any problems against 27 year-old Michail Elgin who won this week his 1st ATP match.

Basel – Quarterfinals

(1)Roger Federer (SUI) d. Simone Bolelli (ITA) 6-2 6-3

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. (4)James Blake (USA) 6-4 7-6(7)

(3)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. (6)Igor Andreev (RUS) 6-4 7-5

(2)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. (q)Benjamin Becker (GER) 7-6(4) 6-4

Lyon – Quarterfinals

(7)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. (1)Andy Roddick (USA) 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

(4)Gilles Simon (FRA) d. (WC)Josselyn Ouanna (FRA) 6-3 7-5

(3)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 7-6(5) 6-1

Julien Benneteau (FRA) d. Steve Darcis (BEL) 6-3 6-2

St. Petersburg – Quarterfinals

(1)Andy Murray (GBR) d. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 7-6(5) 7-5

(3)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. Rainer Schuettler (GER) 7-5 6-2

(q)Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. (q)Michael Zverev (GER) 6-7(3) 6-4 7-6(4)

Victor Hanescu (ROU) d. (WC)Michail Elgin (RUS) 6-1 6-4

Second Round Round-Up – Basel, Lyon, St. Pete!

BASEL

Roger Federer hasn’t lost a set in 10 meetings against Jarkko Nieminen. The Finn was very close to win a set against former No. 1 this time. Nieminen had two set points at 5:3 in the first set, led 30-0 on serve in the next game and was 5:4 up on serve in the tie-break. Federer finally won the match in two tie-breaks.

Nieminen can’t win a set against federer, Philipp Kohlschreiber can’t win a match against Igor Andreev. The German has lost 7 match in a row to Andreev but for the first time in career was relatively close of victory. Andreev won 7-6 6-7 7-5 breaking Kohlschreiber’s serve for the first time in the last game of the match. Kohlschreiber lost tight matches in his last three indoor events (all of them 6-7 or 5-7 in the third set).

James Blake builds up chances to play in Shanghai after beating Oscar Hernandez. Blake surprisingly lost first set in a tie-break but won the next two sets comfortably 6-2 6-4, facing just one break point in the whole match. “I was serving well and that got me out of a lot of trouble,” Blake said who served 17 aces.

Kristof Vliegen saved with stunning backhand passing-shot a match point against David Nalbandian in the 12th game of the final set and was leading 4:3 in the tie-break but experienced in tight matches Nalbandian won the last four points of the match.

LYON

Marathon-man Gilles Simon still wins his matches in three-sets. In the second round he beat Andreas Seppi 7-6(5) 5-7 6-4. It has been 7th three-set win for Simon in the last two weeks and each of those matches lasted more than 2 hours (against Nadal more than 3 hours)!

Tennis Masters Cup qualification contender Andy Roddick needed two tie-breaks and 26 aces to overcome his compatriot Robby Ginepri. Roddick has to reach the final to add the points in Champions Race. He will now face Robin Soderling who served 20 aces in just 8 service games against one of the shortest player on the tour Christophe Rochus. Rochus received also 20 aces from Gilles Muller one round earlier.

ST. PETERSBURG

For the first time in history two players from Kazakhstan and Latvia reached second round of an ATP Tournament. From those foursome only Andrey Golubev won his match, easily surpassing Marat Safin 6-2 6-4. Unexpectedly Russia won’t have a seeded player in the quarterfinals (four seeded players at the start of tournament). The best Russian tennis player Nikolay Davydenko withdrew due to injuried left wrist. “In one of the games when I was receiving his serve I just snapped my wrist,” said Davydenko about his first-round match against Guccione. “I was able finish the match but today I felt a lot of pain and I just can’t play”.

Basel – Second Round

(1)Roger Federer (SUI) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) 7-6(6) 7-6(1)

Simone Bolelli (ITA) d. Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-4 6-2

(4)James Blake (USA) d. Oscar Hernandez (ESP) 6-7(4) 6-2 6-4

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. (8)Mardy Fish (USA) 7-6(9) 6-4

(6)Igor Andreev (RUS) d. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 7-6(6) 6-7(0) 7-5

(3)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. (WC)Stephane Bohli (SUI) 6-3 6-3

(q)Benjamin Becker (GER) d. (LL)Andreas Beck (GER) 3-6 6-3 6-4

(2)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. (q)Kristof Vliegen (BEL) 6-4 5-7 7-6(4)

Lyon – Second Round

(1)Andy Roddick (USA) d. Robby Ginepri (USA) 7-6(5) 7-6(3)

(7)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. (q)Christophe Rochus (BEL) 6-1 6-2

(4)Gilles Simon (FRA) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 7-6(5) 5-7 6-4

(WC)Josselyn Ouanna (FRA) d. Nicolas Lapentti (ECU) 6-3 1-6 6-3

Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) d. (8)Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 6-4 6-1

(3)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. Fabrice Santoro (FRA) 6-2 5-7 6-3

Julien Benneteau (FRA) d. (5)Tommy Robredo (ESP) 6-2 6-2

Steve Darcis (BEL) vs (2)Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-4 3-6 7-6(5)

St. Petersburg – Second Round

(1)Andy Murray (GBR) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 6-4 6-2

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) d. Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4 7-6(3)

(3)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) d. (WC)Karlis Lejnieks (LAT) 6-1 6-3

Rainer Schuettler (GER) d. Dominik Hrbaty (SVK) 6-3 6-3

(q)Andrey Golubev (KAZ) d. (8)Marat Safin (RUS) 6-4 6-2

(q)Michael Zverev (GER) d. (4)Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 7-5 6-4

Victor Hanescu (ROU) d. (q)Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) 6-3 7-6(7)

(WC)Michail Elgin (RUS) d. (2)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) w/o

Gilles Simon: An Inspiration

That’s it. I’m leaving my life as we know it behind, picking up my rackets, and going pro. That’s right. Straight to the ATP Tour.

OK not really, but with every single match Gilles Simon wins, that desire grows stronger.

Before this, his breakout 2008 campaign, Simon was a virtual unknown outside of die-hard tennis fan circles. Even now he has to be the least-known player inside the top 20. It goes without saying that he is far from a fan favorite. Not because he is a bad guy or anything (he actually seems like quite a good guy), but because he rarely hits jaw-dropping shots, rarely shows emotion, and until this summer, rarely won anything of importance. In other words, Simon is not exactly an inspiration to the average tennis watcher.

No, Simon is an inspiration to the average tennis player. He is living example of you can win at the highest level of tennis by keeping balls in play and fighting as hard as you possibly can until the chair umpire tells you the match is over with a simple “Game, set, and match” phrase that is only outdone in simplicity by Simon’s game.

Those two key elements-refusing  to miss shots and refusing to give up on any point or any match until it is over-have propelled Simon to three ATP titles this year to go along with a Masters Series semifinal showing in Toronto and now a Masters Series title match appearance in Madrid. They have also propelled him to a borderline shocking Top 15 ranking.

That’s right, folks. I’m here to tell you that Simon has done all of this by 1) trying, and 2) hitting balls over the net, between the alleys, and inside the baseline.

And now the good news for all the Average Joe tennis players out there: anyone who has ever picked up a tennis racket is capable of performing those two basic tasks. Sure, some can do task #2 a lot better than others, but anyone can come close to perfecting task #2 by doing a lot of task #1.

If you aren’t convinced, I implore you to watch a Simon match and continue to watch more and more Simon matches until you are ready to abandon your previous job and hit the circuit. I was almost ready after witnessing every single stroke of his clash with Juan Martin Del Potro at the U.S. Open (which Simon lost in five sets). Now I think I’m ready. Madrid, for me, is the last straw.

Consider: Simon has won five matches this week, four of them in third-set tiebreakers. He saved five match points against Igor Andreev by hitting ball after ball back to Andreev on the match points until the Russian missed. He saved two match points against Ginepri, outlasting the American on both after brutally long rallies in which Simon hit (some would say “pushed”) ball after ball in the court until Ginepri finally obliged with an error. As if that wasn’t enough, on Saturday he swindled Rafael Nadal (yes, the No. 1 player on the planet) into playing his let’s-see-who-can-keep-the-most-balls-in-play war of attrition. By now you know that it was Simon who won that war.

And that war has done it for me. It’s convinced me to go pro. Now I ask anyone who has ever given 100 percent on a tennis court and has ever struck a ball successfully over the net to go with me. If you can do that, you are invited.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that it wouldn’t hurt to have Simon’s flawless return of serve, screaming two-handed backhand down the line, world-class speed, nerves of steel, and heart of a champion. But what the heck, those are just minor details. Let’s go!

Rafael Nadal And Roger Federer Reach Madrid Quarters

Two best players in the world, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have been playing first tournament since US Open. They both won comfortably their third round matches against the French opponents: Nadal beat Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-2, Federer dropped one game fewer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nadal needs just one victory to clinch the season-ending No. 1 ranking. “My first objective is to win. To take the No. 1 ranking would be a nice extra compliment” said the Spaniard.

Juan Martin del Potro transforms his great form from clay and hardcourts into the indoor season. Young Argentinian lost only 6 games against compatriot, defending champion and title winner from last week – David Nalbandian. “I have to do my things, but in Davis Cup he is the leader and he is the one that counts above everyone else,” said Del Potro, “We don’t compete to see who is the best from Argentina.” The Argentinians met each other also in the third round of last year’s Madrid Masters and then Nalbandian was the one who lost 6 games.

Marin Cilic was leading 5:3 in the first set against Andy Murray and had triple set point on serve in the 10th game only to lose 5 straight points and shortly the set. Murray won the match 7-5 7-6(2) and in the quartefinal will meet Gael Monfils who upset 6-4 3-6 6-3 Andy Roddick.

In the other French-American clash, Gilles Simon was better than qualifier Robby Ginepri 6-7(6) 6-4 7-6(6). Simon wasted match point on serve at 5:4 in the third set but saved two match points in the tie-break at 4:6 (second one after the longest rally in the match). The Frenchman has won two matches this week saving a match point.

In the last match of the day Ivo Karlovic overcame Novak Djokovic in two tie-breaks. The big serving Croat served 20 aces. Has won both matches this week 7-6 7-6 (previously against Robin Soderling where served 4 aces more), holding his serve in 24 consecutive games, saving just three brak points (all of them in the 9th game of the first set against Djokovic).

Madrid – Third round

(1)Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. (15)Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-4 6-2

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. (10)Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 6-4 6-4

(14)Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. (3)Novak Djokovic (SRB)  7-6(4) 7-6(5)

Gilles Simon (FRA) d. (q)Robby Ginepri (USA) 6-7(6) 6-4 7-6(6) – 2 M.P.

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. (8)Andy Roddick (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-3

(4)Andy Murray (GBR) d. Marin Cilic (CRO) 7-5 7-6(2)

(9)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. (7)David Nalbandian (ARG) 6-4 6-2

(2)Roger Federer (SUI) d. (16)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-4 6-1

Many Upsets at the Madrid Masters

MADRID

Top 10 players, Nikolay Davydenko, David Ferrer and James Blake were ousted in the second round at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid. Each of them will have to fight in the next two weeks to secure spot at Masters Cup in Shanghai. Davydenko who has still the best position to take 5th spot, lost to qualifier Robby Ginepri 6-4 4-6 4-6. The Russian had advantage of a break in the 2nd set (4:3) but couldn’t hold his serve and lost the match after double fault at Ginepri’s first match point.

James Blake won two previous meetings against Gilles Simon (twice this year) without any problems but this time lost 6-3 1-6 4-6. Blake hasn’t won a match at Madrid Masters in 5 appearances.

Djokovic had been struggling with Victor Hanescu before won the match 6-7(8) 7-6(6) 3-1 ret. In the first tie-break Djokovic wasted 4:2 lead and set point (8:7). The Serb had also lost his leading (4:1) in the second tie-break but leveled up the match converting 4th set point with beautiful cross-court bekhend. At the beginning of the final set Hanescu was forced to retie due to injuried left thigh. “He used his biggest weapon, which was his serve,” Djokovic said. “I coudn’t find any rhythm in return, so he used that wisely.”

Also two points away from defeat were Stanislas Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Wawrinka beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 3-6 7-5 7-6(5) despite 1:4 down in the deciding tie-break. Tsonga was 3:5 (30-30) down in the final set against Marcel Granollers but played two great overheads to back into the match and win 3-6 6-3 7-6(5). “I maybe played exactly the same tennis (as in Australia),” said Tsonga. “I won a tournament two weeks ago. I played well, like at the start of the year.”

Madrid – Second Round

(1)Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 7-5 3-6 6-3

(15)Richard Gasquet (FRA) d. Mardy Fish (USA) 6-7(3) 6-4 6-3

(10)Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) d. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 3-6 7-5 7-6(5)

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) d. (6)David Ferrer (ESP) 6-4 7-6(4)

(3)Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. (q)Victor Hanescu (ROU) 6-7(8) 7-6(6) 3-1 ret.

(14)Ivo Karlovic (CRO) d. Robin Soderling (SWE) 7-6(7) 7-6(8)

Gilles Simon (FRA) d. (11)James Blake (USA) 3-6 6-1 6-4

(q)Robby Ginepri (USA) d. (5)Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 4-6 6-4 6-4

(8)Andy Roddick (USA) d. Tommy Robredo (ESP)

Gael Monfils (FRA) d. (12)Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) 6-3 6-4

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. (13)Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-2 6-3

(4)Andy Murray (GBR) d. (LL)Simone Bolelli (ITA) 6-0 2-1 ret.

(7)David Nalbandian (ARG) d. Tomas Berdych (CZE) 6-2 6-7(5) 6-1

(9)Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)  6-2 4-2 ret.

(16)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) d. (q)Marcel Granollers (ESP) 3-6 6-3 7-6(5)

(2)Roger Federer (SUI) d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 6-3 7-6(6)

Tennis As Usual: Hey Marat, You Won the Match

Marat Safin stole the show in Moscow, where most of the tennis action is taking place this week since both men and women are competing at the Kremlin Cup. As usual, Safin made headlines for something other than his play. After securing a break with opponent Noam Okun serving to stay in the match at 4-5 in the third set, Safin walked over to his chair thinking it was time for just another changeover. Little did Safin know that the match was over. Umpire Carlos Bernardes kindly informed the Russian that he had won and Safin finally walked up to the net to exchange both a handshake and a laugh with Okun.

Also advancing in Moscow on Tuesday were No. 1 seed Nikolay Davydenko, Robby Ginepri, and Serbs Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki.

Flavia Pennetta made the most noise on the women’s side with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 upset of Venus Williams. The crowd, however, had to be more enthusiastic about a host of Russians making it to the second round. Russian winners included Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, and Daniela Hantuchova.

Seeds also tumbled at the Bank Austria Tennis Trophy in Vienna, where No. 1 seed Stanislas Wawrinka fell to Philipp Petzschner in a third-set tiebreaker and No. 7 Gilles Simon bowed out to Eduardo Schwank, also in three sets. Fellow Masters Cup hopeful Fernando Gonzalez, on the other hand, survived Simone Bolelli after dropping the first set.

On the ATP Tour, however, the day really belonged to long-lost Joachim Johansson. The big-serving Swede, who had not played competitively in exactly one year, came out of retirement this week to take part in the Stockholm Open and he thrilled the crowd by winning his first match on Tuesday night over Nicolas Mahut. “Pim-Pim” fired 20 aces in just two sets en route to a 7-5, 7-6(5) victory.

In round two Johansson will face top-seeded David Nalbandian, a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Bobby Reynolds. Other seeded players who safely moved through were No. 2 Mario Ancic, No. 5 Rainer Schuettler, and No. 6 Jose Acasuso. Jonas Bjorkman, who is retiring at the end of 2008, was not as fortunate as his countryman Johansson. The veteran lost his first-round match to Juan Monaco in straight sets.