Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wimbledon Second Monday Preview

I usually can't say enough good things about the Second Monday of Wimbledon. If you can only attend the tournament on one day—this is the best day to go. Instead of the usual schedule of one half of the draw playing on one day and the other half playing the next day, on the Second Monday ALL remaining men and women play. This means there are lots of great matches being played and because not all of them can be played on the show courts, you'll still get to see high level players on the outer courts even if you only have a grounds pass. It's usually the best day in tennis and it's usually glorious.

However, the Second Monday of Wimbledon 2014 is not going to be quite so glorious. Yes, it will still feature many good matches, but you won't get to see all the remaining players. In fact, you won't get to see Federer or Nadal at all. A very rainy Saturday meant that many matches got cancelled, and because there is never any play on the Middle Sunday, these cancelled matches will be played on Monday and some of the matches that would have been on Monday will now be on Tuesday. So basically we get a second rate version of a Second Monday.

It's not all bad though. There is still the potential for some pretty exciting matches. Here are my two must-see matches on Monday:

Novak Djokovic vs. Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga
This match could go one of two ways: either Djokovic blows Tsonga away in three easy sets, or Tsonga plays the kind of amazing tennis we know he can play and forces a fifth set...and Djokovic still wins. As talented as he is, Tsonga is way too inconsistent to beat Djokovic in a five set match at Wimbledon. Plus, Novak needs to atone for his lacklustre French Open final performance.
Prediction: Djokovic wins in three sets

Genie Bouchard vs. Alize Cornet
The biggest upset of the tournament so far is, without a doubt, Alize Cornet's win over Serena Williams. Knowing that she took out one of the toughest competitors in the sport has got to give Cornet a huge amount of confidence, but she'll need more than just confidence to beat Genie Bouchard. Genie has reached the semifinals in every Slam this year, and she won't want to break her streak—particularly now that she won't have to face Serena.
Prediction: Bouchard wins in three sets

Other intriguing Monday matches include Marin Cilic vs. Jeremy Chardy, Feliciano Lopez vs. John Isner, Andy Murray vs. Kevin Anderson, Maria Sharapova vs. Angelique Kerber, and the continuation of the suspended match between Ana Ivanovic and Sabine Lisicki.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Rogers Cup Photos: Finals Day with Nadal, Murray, Raonic

Video: Andy Murray Interview at Rogers Cup

Here's Andy Murray and his doubles partner Colin Fleming after losing the doubles final at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Sorry about the poor sound quality—Murray wasn't scheduled to talk to the media, as he was in a hurry to go to Cincinnati, but a few of us rushed down to the players area to get a few questions in before he left.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rogers Cup Men's Semifinal Prediction: Raonic vs. Pospisil

Vasek Pospisil after defeating Berdych
Yesterday on Twitter I asked if anyone had predicted a Raonic vs. Pospisil semifinal, and then I claimed that anyone who said they had was a liar. But apparently I was wrong...

So thank you Jared Pine (@JaredPine) for sending me this and making me feel bad that I had less faith in the two Canadian boys than this ATP Fantasy fellow. (But seriously, who makes that pick?)

On with my semifinal prediction...

Vasek Pospisil vs. Milos Raonic 

All I can say is you did good Canada. You did really good. I don't know if it was the rambunctious and very biased Canadian crowd that helped these two reach the semis, but even if the crowd helped them along, they both had to play great tennis to end up in the final four. That's right—two of the final four players at this tournament are from Canada. 

Vasek has played some amazing tennis and his excitement is infectious. I was on the National Bank Court while Pospisil was playing Berdych and the atmosphere was incredible. The other players have been describing the experience of playing a Canadian player here as being the same as playing a Davis Cup match, and I would have to agree. And no one has revved up the crowd more than Vasek Pospisil. He genuinely seems so surprised and elated to be in the position he's in and when he walks into his press conferences he can't stop grinning. It is for this reason that I think Vasek is going to defeat Milos today. 

Milos has been the better player for the past few years, so all the pressure is on him to win this semifinal match. If he doesn't win, it will only add to the talk that Milos has been hyped up too much and that he still hasn't produced the results that people expected of him. On the other hand, just reaching the semis is an unbelievable achievement for Vasek, so no matter what happens today, this will be seen as a breakthrough tournament for him.

Milos is also the more subdued player and I think the crowd will get behind Vasek and his endearingly enthusiastic personality. That's not to say that I don't think the crowd will support Raonic, because they will. I just think that as the match goes on that Vasek might get a little more support.

I'll take Pospisil defeating Raonic in three sets. But no matter what the result is we'll have a Canadian in the final of a Masters 1000 event...and that is a big deal.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Video: Nadal Practice Session At Rogers Cup in Montreal

For photos from Nadal's practice session click here, and for other photos from the Rogers Cup click here

Rogers Cup Photos: Nadal, Raonic, Del Potro, Haas

Lots of great players on the grounds yesterday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal and another fantastic day for Canadian tennis with Vasek Pospisil defeating Radek Stepanek, and Milos Raonic beating Mikhail Youzhny.

Today should be even better with Nadal vs. Janowicz first up on Center Court, followed by Murray vs. Gulbis, Del Potro vs. Raonic, and Djokovic vs. Istomin. I'll also be making my way over to the National Bank Court to watch Pospisil try to take down Berdych.

Here are some photos from the Rogers Cup so far...

First up we've got Tommy Haas stretching it out during his practice session.

Then we've got Frank Dancevic and Jerzy Janowicz in their second round match. Jerzy won in three sets.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rogers Cup: Men's Predictions

I’m currently en route to Montreal, so I’ll have lots of photos, video, and stories to share once I arrive at the Rogers Cup. For now, I will leave you with my predictions for the men’s event. Please note that my first draft of this post had Djokovic, Murray, Nadal and Ferrer all making it through to the semis. But as the ATP has been a little unpredictable as of late, I decided to make some riskier predictions. Here we go!

Novak Djokovic’s Quarter

Djokovic should easily make it through to the quarterfinals—especially since his only intriguing potential match would have been against Bernard Tomic in the second round...but unfortunately the always unpredictable Bernie went down to Florian Mayer in his first match. Anyone in the bottom half of this section could make it through to the quarters, with Nishikori and Gasquet being the most likely candidates. I’ll take Djokovic and Gasquet meeting in the quarters with Djokovic destroying Gasquet to make it through to the semis.

Rafael Nadal’s Quarter

Nadal’s opening match will be against Canadian Jesse Levine—a match that Nadal should have no problem getting through. Jerzy Janowicz is an exciting third round possibility for Rafa, with Stan Wawrinka and Tommy Haas as potential quarterfinal opponents. Although Nadal is always the safer bet, I’ll take Nadal and Wawrinka meeting in the quarters, with Wawrinka making it through to face Djokovic in the semis. (And for the record, I also won’t be surprised if Jerzy takes out Nadal in the third round. Just saying.)

David Ferrer’s Quarter

Up first for Ferrer will be either Llodra or Bogomolov and then Andujar or Davydenko in the next round. None of these players should prove difficult for Ferrer, and I can’t see him running into any trouble until at least the quarters where he’ll likely play Tomas Berdych. I’m hoping that Vasek Pospisil will be able to use some of the Canadian energy to move past John Isner and then either Stepanek or Almagro, but that might be overly optimistic. I’ll take Ferrer and Berdych in the quarters with Ferrer making it through to the semis.

Andy Murray’s Quarter

Murray probably has the most interesting quarter with Del Potro, Raonic, Gulbis, Fognini and Dimitrov as possible opponents. First up for Murray will be Granollers or Dimitrov, and then Gulbis, Baghdatis or Fognini in the third round. Del Potro should easily make it through his first match and then he’ll face a potential third round clash with Canadian favourite Milos Raonic. I wish I could believe that Raonic could beat Del Po, but I just can’t, so I’ll take Del Potro overpowering Murray to make his way into the semis. 

Semifinals: Djokovic vs. Wawrinka and Ferrer vs. Del Potro
Final: Djokovic defeating Del Potro

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Canada Defeats Spain in Davis Cup World Group Play

A year ago nobody could have predicted that Canada would beat Spain in a Davis Cup event. With a seemingly never ending roster of great players like Rafa Nadal, David Ferrer, Nicolas Almagro, and Feliciano Lopez, Spain is considered to be one of the top countries in the sport—certainly stronger than Canada with it's one player in the top fifty.

Yet here we are, in 2013, with Canada beating Spain to advance to the second round of Davis Cup World Group play for the first time....ever. Sure, Spain didn't have many of their top players there (okay fine, Spain didn't have ANY of their top players there), and it likely would have been an impossible task for Canada to have beaten Spain if Nadal and/or Ferrer were in attendance, but this win still matters, and it's a big deal for Canadian tennis.

For the first time ever, Canada has produced a player that people are talking about—and not just those people in the tennis world. Milos Raonic is slowly becoming a household name in Canada, and his success is a great thing for the sport of tennis in Canada.

Now if he could just win one of those pesky grand slams...

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