Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday in Madrid

Second round match thoughts are on the Daily Observations page at the PTB (Murray-Chela and Ginepri-Federer)

As for the conclusion of the first round on Tuesday:

On-fire Ivo Karlovic continued his winning ways with a relatively routine 6-4, 6-4 victory over Marat Safin. The Russian has done nothing lately while Karlovic just won a title last week in Sweden, so this comes as no surprise. Still, one would think that Safin could at least take one of the sets into a tiebreaker. With Davydenko out due to injury in Karlovic's section of the draw, this presents a huge opportunity for the giant to make another deep tournament run.

There were some fireworks later on in the day when Paul-Henri Mathieu and Mardy Fish took the court. Plenty of gamesmanship, bathroom breaks, and shouting matches took place in this one in addition to tennis. Not surprisingly, Fish collapsed right at the end of the match. Serving at 5-6 in the third, the American won just one point that game and that was the match. Mathieu advances to play fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet in what should be a more civil affair and one in which Mathieu will have an even more difficult time getting through.

Good opening-round wins were also scored by Agustin Calleri (over Tursunov), Nicolas Kiefer (over Stanislas Wawrinka) and David Nalbandian (over Arnaud Clement). Calleri and Tursunov are both very up-and-down players and having won a tournament two weeks ago, I guess Tursunov was scheduled to be down this time around. Wawrinka, who made it to the final in Vienna last week before losing to Djokovic, probably had too quick a turnaround between that tournament and this one and Kiefer is not someone you want to be playing when you're not at your physical best. As such, this result isn't surprising at all. Finally, I assume Nalbandian was favored in his match with Clement, but pretty much any win for the Argentine right now is a good one. One win could be all Nalbandian gets this week, as he has a tough test with Tomas Berdych in the second round.

In the doubles match of the day, Fernando Gonzalez and Andre Sa took out Nadal and Feliciano Lopez 11-9 in the match tiebreaker for the third set. That must have been outrageously entertaining to watch live. I love how ignorant tennis fans just assume great singles players (specifically baseliners) stink at doubles. Well, anyone who actually pays attention knows this is far from the case. Gonzalez, of course, is an Olympic champion in doubles (with Massu). Nadal, meanwhile, is more than formidable in doubles. I've seen him play once in person (from the front row on one of the outer courts at the Open, paired with Tommy Robredo) and the Spaniards were nothing short of flawless in disposing of Jordan Kerr and Jim Thomas, who were seeded. Anyway, Nadal and Lopez are out, but Fernando (and Sa) moves on and continues to attempt to navigate his way through an interesting--and loaded--doubles draw.

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