Czech Republic won last year after an inspiring performance from Radek Stepanek, when he beat Nicolas Almagro to win it for the Czech’s. This year’s tournament is sure to be just as good as the last and in this post i’m going to preview this years Davis Cup and predict all the ties of the First Round. For all the ties I’ve predicted the matches based on the most likely rubbers to happen.
Spain VS Canada-
Spain’s usual quality is really lacking this year, with the absences of their three main men: Nadal, Ferrer and Almagro it leaves them extremely vulnerable of losing in the First Round this year to Canada who have well known stars Raonic and Nestor on their books.
First Single- Raonic VS Ramos- Raonic Wins (1-0) Canada
Second Single- Popisil VS Granollers- Granollers Wins (1-1)
Doubles- Raonic/Nestor VS Granollers/Lopez- Granollers/Lopez Wins (1-2) Spain
Third Single- Raonic VS Granollers- Raonic Wins (2-2)
Fourth Single- Popisil VS Ramos- Ramos Wins (3-2) Spain
Croatia VS Italy-
Two pretty even sides play against each other in what will sure to be a tight affair, interestingly this tie will be played on clay but too be honest it shouldn’t make too much difference to the outcome.
First Single- Seppi VS Dodig- Seppi Wins (1-0) Italy
Second Single- Fognini VS Cilic- Cilic Wins (1-1)
Doubles- Fognini/Seppi VS Dodig/Cilic- Dodig/Cilic Wins (1-2) Croatia
Third Single- Seppi VS Cilic- Cilic Wins (1-3) Croatia
Fourth Single- Fognini VS Dodig- Fognini Wins (2-3) Croatia
Belgium VS Serbia-
With both Tipsarevic and Djokovic in their team Serbia should have too much for the Belgium, and the form champions should pick up a win, against Belgium who at the moment just lack a bit of star quality.
First Single- Goffin VS Tipsarevic- Tipsarevic Wins (1-0) Serbia
Second Single- Darcis VS Djokovic- Djokovic Wins (2-0) Serbia
Doubles- Rochus/Bemelmans VS Zimonjic/Tipsarevic- Zimonjic/Tipsarevic Wins (3-0) Serbia
Third Single- Troicki VS Rochus- Troicki Wins (4-0) Serbia
Fourth Single- Bemelmans VS Tipsarevic- Tipsarevic Wins (5-0) Serbia
USA VS Brazil-
A pretty straight forward win for the US, who will be helped a lot by the tie being played on home soil on their specialty court surface, which is of course a Hard Court.
First Single- Isner VS Alves- Isner Wins (1-0) USA
Second Single- Querrey VS Bellucci- Querrey Wins (2-0) USA
Doubles- Bryan/Bryan VS Soares/Melo- Bryan/Bryan Wins (3-0) USA
Third Single- Isner VS Bellucci- Isner Wins (4-0) USA
Fourth Single- Querrey VS Alves- Querrey Wins (5-0) USA
France VS Israel-
Israel are team that may be getting relegated this year where as France is a team that should aiming to try and win the title, so another one sided game is here, and France are my pick to win the whole competition at the moment.
First Single- Tsonga VS Weintraub- Tsonga Wins (1-0) France
Second Single- Gasquet VS Sela- Gasquet Wins (2-0) France
Doubles- Llodra/Benneteau VS Erlich/Ram- Erlich/Ram Wins (2-1) France
Third Single- Tsonga VS Sela- Tsonga Wins (3-1) France
Fourth Single- Gasquet VS Weintraub- Gasquet Wins (4-1) France
Argentina VS Germany-
This could be very close and go down to the wire as both teams have players of around the same quality levels, so this one is a very tough one to try and predict the outcome for.
First Single- Monaco VS Mayer- Monaco Wins (1-0) Argentina
Second Single- NalbandianVS Kohlschreiber- Kohlschreiber Wins (1-1)
Doubles- Berlocq/Zeballos VS Kas/Mayer- Kas/Mayer Wins (1-2) Germany
Third Single- Monaco VS Kohlschreiber- Monaco Wins (2-2)
Fourth Single- Nalbandian VS Mayer- Nalbandian Wins (3-2) Argentina
Kazakhstan VS Austria-
Neither of these teams are likely to go far in the competition as they’re both pretty poor outfits who will most likely lose in the next match they will play in after this one.
First Single- Kukushkin VS Haider-Maurer- Kukushkin Wins (1-0) Kazakhstan
Second Single- Golubev VS Melzer- Melzer Wins (1-1)
Doubles- Schukin/Golubev VS Melzer/Peya- Melzer/Peya Wins (1-2) Austria
Third Single- Kukushkin VS Melzer- Melzer Wins (1-3) Austria
Fourth Single- Golubev VS Haider-Maurer- Haider-Maurer Wins (1-4) Austria
Switzerland VS Czech Republic-
Without Federer I think Switzerland will not be able to cope with the Czech’s and the defending champions should get off to this year with a good win.
First Single- Wawrinka VS Rosol- Wawrinka Wins (1-0) Switzerland
Second Single- Chiudinelli VS Berdych- Berdych Wins (1-1)
Doubles- Wawrinka/Laaksonen VS Rosol/Berdych- Rosol/Berdych Wins (1-2) Czech Republic
Third Single- Wawrinka VS Berdych- Wawrinka Wins- (2-2)
Fourth Single- Chiudinelli VS Rosol- Rosol Wins (2-3) Czech Republic
Those are my views on this years first round Davis Cup ties, what are yours? Post them in the comments below.
We haven’t seen Rafa play for around 7 months and he is now ready to make his long awaited comeback in Vina Del Mar 250 tournament in Chile, in this post i’m going to write about what to expect from Nadal after he has recovered from his knee injuries up to the French Open. Will he win another slam and get back to his old best! He sure has a lot of catching up to do when he comes back on February 4th!
Pre Knee Injury Nadal:
Rafa’s 2012 started of quite well making it to the Australian Open final, he pushed Novak to the limit in that famous five set thriller- one of the greatest Grand Slam finals of all time. There was still no signs of trouble when he played at Indian Wells, although he was very poor in losing in straight sets to Federer who would go on to win the title beating shock finalist John Isner. It was when Rafa came to Miami that we realized something was not right as he withdrew before his semi final match against Andy Murray, with a knee injury. However Nadal was fine in winning all of his clay tournaments last year with the exception of Madrid on that dodgy blue clay surface, and he stormed to his 7th French Open Title. But in the Wimbledon Second Round Rafa was to be humbled by Rosol- then World Number 100! At first nobody knew what had happened as Rafa didn’t exactly play terribly Rosol just played incredibly well. Only after he announced he withdrawal from the Olympics and then the US Open did we find out about his further knee problems, he wasn’t to play another match again in 2012.
Vina Del Mar:
I don’t think you should expect much in this particular tournament as I can see Rafa treating it as a bit of practice more like an exhibition. Just to see how he can compete in a competitive match and whether his knee is good enough to last for the rest of the season. Therefore for that reason I can see a early round exit happening to somebody like: Albert Ramos or Paulo Lorenzi.
In Brazil Rafa will have improved a bit more and will be ready for the challenge after having some extra rest because of his early exit in Chile. However I still don’t think he will win this tournament instead I believe that Nadal will make the final and end up losing to defending champion Nicolas Almagro who will continue his good form from the Australian Open.
Nadal will continue improving slowly but surely by most likely beating Almagro in his semi final, but I just think that Nadal will face Ferrer in the final and the peak in form Ferrer will be too much for Nadal at this particular stage in Rafa’s comeback. But he will still not get rolled over by David he will put up quite a fight for David to retain his title.
Rafa has done quite well at Indian Wells in the past, and I think he will play well in the early rounds this year but then get beaten in the quarters by whoever is opponent will be- it can be any of: Djokovic, Federer, Murray or Ferrer. Rafa’s best chnace of making the Semi’s will be if he draws David Ferrer as I think on a Hard Court Rafa may just be in with a good chance.
Rafa has never won in Miami but he has made a couple of finals their and this year I think due to the draw being quite open with the absence of Roger Federer I think Rafa will make the semi’s as he will play any of Berdych, Tsonga, Del Potro, or Tipsarevic and I think Nadal can beat all of them if he is playing well. With Delpo and Berdych being the two exceptions as a good day for both of them to could see them nick a win. And then Rafa in the Semi’s will have to play the daunting task of either Murray or Djokovic who are both way too good for Rafa on a hard court and I think he will then realize how much the game has moved on.
His best tournament will see him win his first tournament since his comeback as I just think no matter who Rafa faces he will not let them win as this Tournament means so much to Rafa and I think he will make it his 9th win in Monte Carlo in a win in the final against most likely either Novak Djokovic or David Ferrer.
Next up for Rafa is a another one of his favourite tournaments as he plays in Barcelona, I think Spain will once again have a home winner but not someone who goes by the name of Rafa Nadal! Instead it will be David Ferrer who will beat Rafa in the final and become Nadal new main rival on the clay courts. As Ferrer further consolidates his place ahead of Nadal in the world rankings.
Even though Madrid is now back onto the red clay and not that blue clay which produced some incredible shocks, one of which saw Rafa lose to Fernando Verdasco. This time as it’s back on the red Rafa will not go out early but I still don’t see him winning this year instead I think he will go out in either the Quarters or Semi’s by someone like Nole or Roger.
This has probably been Novak Djokovic’s best Clay Tournament therefore I think he will beat Rafa in the final this year after impressive performances from Rafa in the opening round. Although he will lose Rafa will gain confidence that he can compete strongly with Nole as he only loses in a tight three setter that in the end Rafa will lose due to his fitness compared to Djokovic’s.
What Rafa will do at Roland Garros this year all depends on the draw so what I’ve done is put all the possible draw situations for Nadal presuming the rankings stay as they are now except that I think Murray will overtake Federer as World Number 2 after Miami.
QF- Djokovic (Loses in 5 tight sets, fitness once again being his downfall!)
QF- Murray (Wins in 4 tight sets) SF- Federer (Wins in 4 sets) F- Djokovic (Loses in 4 close sets)
QF- Federer (Wins in 4 sets) SF- Murray (Wins in 5 sets) F- Ferrer (Loses in 5)
QF- Ferrer (Wins in 5 close sets) SF- Murray (Wins in 5 sets) F- Federer (Wins in 5 sets)- Momentum will carry him through!
QF- Murray (Wins in 4 tight sets) SF- Ferrer (Loses in 5 sets)
QF- Federer (Wins in 4 sets) SF- Djokovic (Loses in 4 sets)
QF- Ferrer (Wins in 5 close sets) SF- Federer (Loses in 5 sets)
Those are my thoughts, what are yours? Post them in the comments below.
It’s all over in Melbourne for another year, I can’t call it the greatest I’ve seen from Australia but it has been entertaining nevertheless and we have had some matches which we couldn’t take our eyes off! Djokovic has taken the crown once again, beating Britain’s Andy Murray in 4 sets after Murray struggled with blisters and fatigue from his great performance in beating Federer in 5 sets.
Rating the Top 8’s Tournament Performance:
Fantastic to see him win his third Melbourne title in a row and his fourth overall, he started off well in beating opponents who had nothing special in straight sets in the early rounds. But he ran into trouble in the 4th Round when he faced Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka who cruised to the first set and was on the verge of winning the 2nd before Nole proved why he is the Number 1 player in the world, then winning the next two sets, though Stan wasn’t finished yet as he won the 4th set on a tiebreak and broke early in the 5th before succumbing to the Serbian at 12-10. Novak then faced Berdych who despite taking him to 4 sets never really troubled and Djokovic was to face Spanish star Ferrer in the semi’s who he battered in three easy sets. In the final Nole once again played Murray and despite Murray getting off to a good start Novak raised his game to win the second set on a tiebreak and win the final two sets by out playing the Brit.
I think Roger can be quite pleased with how he went on his tough draw which saw him win in straight over Raonic, Tomic and Davydenko in the early rounds, but I think what Roger would be most disappointed with would be that he struggled so much in beating Tsonga needing 5 sets to take down the French star. That may seem like a good result but it left him quite tired for when he had to face his toughest challenge playing Andy Murray, and the Brit was far the better player and Federer was lucky to take him to Five, and Roger could have been more competitive in the deciding set if he hadn’t struggled so much against Tsonga.
He will be proud of making the final but will look back on how he had chances to win the final, looking especially at that second set tiebreak which he could so easily have won earlier when he had three break points early in the set. Andy started off with no trouble, not dropping a set until the semi’s against Federer and I think if Murray had of served out for the match in the Fourth Set than Andy would have played much better in the last 2 sets and wouldn’t have been fatigued as much and given Nole a bit more of a challenge.
Did well to make another Semi, he is now consistently making at least the Quarters and now many Semi’s in Grand Slams and I think now he has got the Number 4 spot in the rankings he will make more semi’s in the upcoming masters events and challenge for the title in France. What David will want to work on from the tournament is to learn how to beat players like Roger and Nole if he can learn to play the right way rather than how hen played in the Semi’s then he can be a much better player in the process.
Good performances int he early rounds and proved why he is the top of the world, and he did played alright against Novak he even managed to take a set off him, and Tomas does play well against the top players and I don’t think we could have expected much more in Australia this year and I think Berdych’s best chance to make a Semi-Final this year will be if he draws Federer in his quarter.
6. Del Potro
Probably the biggest flop this year in Melbourne as he was embarrassingly defeated by Chardy who maybe was in the form of his life but still shouldn’t be beating a player of Del Potro’s quality. I think that match proves that contrary to many other people predictions that Delpo will never win another Slam or even make another final his best days in my opinion are well behind him despite him still being young.
Pushed Federer all the way in the Quarters and while he had many chances to win he shouldn’t be too downhearted from that game, he can be pleased also with his early round performances and his battling win over compatriot Gasquet. So I think overall this year in Melbourne while give Jo a lot of confidence when he plays in his home Slam and then later probably his favourite Slam at Wimbledon.
His injury was in the end what knocked him out this year and I think if he hadn’t had that injury then he would have beaten Almagro in the fourth round and then Ferrer would have had too much for him in the Quarters. In the earlier rounds Tipsy did pretty good especially in beating Home crowd Favourite Lleyton Hewitt in three straight forward sets.
Other Players Who Shined:
Match of the Tournament:
Without a doubt Wawrinka VS Djokovic, the most memorable match of the tournament so far by a country mile. I think it was the first time we had seen Djokovic most vulnerable against a player not associated with the very top of Men’s tennis for a very long time, certainly since his big breakthrough in 2011. The first set was incredible from Stan he just couldn’t miss he was winning nearly every point against the World Number 1 and Nole didn’t know what to do with him as Stan took the set 6-1. That continued in the next set when Stan was serving for the set when Djokovic produced one of his famous Superhuman efforts to come back and eventually take that set. Nole continued the run by winning the third set pretty comfortably, at which point it all looked straight forward, Nole was going to win the next set and win the match however nobody thought Wawrinka was going to do what he did and win the fourth set on a tiebreak! This set us up for a decider which went the distance and in the end saw Novak come through 12-10 after Wawrinka battled so hard and was so unlucky to lose that match.
My next update will be a guide to the upcoming Davis Cup. If you have any advice or suggestions please comment in the section below.
I’m expecting a really enthralling final on Sunday and I doubt that I will be disappointed as in my opinion the two greatest players at the moment face off against each, even though the rankings may not say so. These two had many matches over 2012 battling with each other- to name just a few: Aussie Open Semi, Olympic Semi, Shanghai Final and of course US Open final. This is the big tennis rivalry over the next five years and I expect these two to share the Grand Slams between them over that period. History is on the line for both players, as Djokovic hopes to be the first man in the Open Era to win three titles in a row at the Australian Open and win his fourth overall. And Murray hopes to become the first player to win his second Grand Slam in the Slam right after he won his first.
How Djokovic Could Win-
All Novak will have to do is play at the same level that he did against Ferrer in the semi’s, the only problem with that is that Murray would have much stronger resistance than what the Spaniard had the other day. If Novak can stop Andy playing his recently strong offensive game and get him back into his old defensive mode then that would give Nole a massive chance of winning.
How Murray Could Win-
Murray will have to play a very strong offensive game like he played against Federer and towards the back end of last year, and I think if he can do that then hen can frustrate Novak a lot. I think the other keys in this match will be how well Murray does his second serves and if he can keep his first serve percentage high then he will have the chance to win his second slam.
The First Set in my opinion will I think decide all as if Nole wins it then I would predict him to win in 4 sets but if Murray wins it then I would see him win in 4/5 sets as both players are usually dominate after winning the opening set- and Novak only lost one game last year after winning the opening set, which is a better record then any other player. My prediction is that Murray will be play really well to win the first set but then Novak will come back in to it by winning the second set but I think a rejuvenated Andy will play exceptionally well to win the next two sets and become a Multi-Grand Slam Champion.
Murray Wins- 7-6 6-7 7-5 6-4
Make your prediction for the final in the comments section below.
What a game this could be, it’s defiantly the game of the tournament so far and these two have played so many great matches against each other. Three of which have been Grand Slam Finals and one has been the Gold Medal match at the Olympics. Coincidentally this is the first time these two have played each other in a grand slam match which hasn’t been the final and Federer leads that head to head 3-0. But that was the old Murray- the more passive Murray which Federer could take advantage of if his own game was at it’s best.
In terms of all matches these two have played each other against Murray leads the Head to Head 10-9 with all but one of those wins being on a Hard court, so in my opinion I think the game is in Murray’s favour and even though Murray has yet to be fully tested he has played marvelously well to get to the Semi’s without dropping a set or a set going to tiebreak.
Murray’s Route To Semi’s-
1st Round- BT Haase 6-1 6-3 6-3
2nd Round- BT Sousa 6-2 6-2 6-4
3rd Round- BT Berankis 6-3 6-4 7-5
4th Round- BT Simon 6-3 6-1 6-3
Quarters- BT Chardy 6-4 6-1 6-2
Federer’s Route To Semi’s-
1st Round- BT Paire 6-2 6-4 6-1
2nd Round- BT Daydenko 6-3 6-4 6-4
3rd Round- BT Tomic 6-4 7-6 6-1
4th Round- BT Raonic 6-4 7-6 6-2
Quarters- BT Tsonga 7-6 4-6 7-6 3-6 6-3
I believe that if both players play at the top of their game tomorrow then this game is firmly Murray’s to lose and he would probably win it in 3/4 sets, but I think if one player doesn’t play at their best then the other will win, whether it be Murray in 3 or Federer in 5. So I decided to predict a Murray straight sets win as Federer looked to have problems in his previous game and Murray has been in the form of his life and has massive confidence, but they will be 3 tight sets!
Murray Wins- 6-4 6-3 6-2
What do you think of the match? Make your predictions in the Comments below.
We had some amazing matches yesterday, and one incredible shock which saw the 29th seed and 19 year old beat her hero, Serena Williams winner of 15 Grand Slams in 3 great sets of tennis. This sees the end of the 2013 Serena Slam dream!
Djokovic VS Ferrer-
This should be a great match as these are two top players playing out for a chance to make it to the final, and David will be especially up for it as he hopes to make his first Slam Final! Now I’ve found it tough to decide whether Ferrer will win in 5 or Novak will win in 5 as despite most people expecting Novak to win easily I just can’t see that happening as I don’t think Djokovic has been at the top of his game so far this year. Now I either choose the safe option or the risky one, I’m going to choose the risky one as I just have a felling Ferrer might take this.
Ferrer Wins- 4-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-3
Azarenka VS Stephens-
Well Stephens can be so proud of her efforts in Melbourne and will take great confidence from this for the rest of the year and I now think she has moved ahead of Laura Robson as most promising youngster. However Azarenka is the defending champion and even though she isn’t as hard to beat as Williams’s is Victoria most probably will not be struggling with injuries which gave Sloane a big advantage in her previous match.
Azarenka Wins- 7-6 6-3
Na VS Sharapova-
A fabulous match this will be prove to be as both players have played as well as they’ve ever done in reaching the Semi-Final’s and this match will be much closer than Maria’s other ones and will only come down to a couple of points. And I’m going for Maria for the win as she is the better player, to set up a rematch of last years final and in my mind she will probably avenge last years defeat by beating Vika on Rod Laver on Saturday.
Sharapova Wins- 7-5 6-4
Make your predictions in the comments section below!