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Sports Then and Now

Classic Match: David Nalbandian Vs. Roger Federer at Tennis Masters Cup in 2005 5

Posted on November 05, 2010 by JA Allen

The top 8 qualifiers for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.

In 2005 the venue for the Tennis Masters Cup Final—the ATP’s year-end championship—moved to Shanghai from Houston.

Awarding China the honor of hosting the event was a coup—a great step forward in promoting professional tennis to millions of new tennis fans.

The Chinese, increasingly enamored of men’s professional tennis, especially the play of Roger Federer,  the current world No. 1, felt pride in providing the best possible environment for the players.

Problems, however, facing the ATP and the sponsors of the event to be held in Qi Zhong City Arena for the first time had nothing to do with the Arena or any physical accommodations.

As the tournament neared, No. 2 Rafael Nadal pulled out of the competition following the withdrawal of No. 3 Andy Roddick—both citing injuries.

Also sidelined for the event was No. 4 Lleyton Hewitt.  No. 5 Andre Agassi along with Marat Safin, winner of the 2005 Australian Open, also pulled out of the round robin competition.

Read the rest of this entry →

Miami’s Tennis Brings Technicolor Thrills To The Hard Court Climax 2

Posted on March 31, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
Sony Ericsson Open - Day 8

The Florida Keys at the height of spring simply burst with “weather” in all its drama.

Hot sunshine alternates with breezy outbursts. The coastal winds kick up the odd storm, then die away to leave air so heavy it presses like a saturated sponge on the forehead.

Residents and visitors alike can take to the sea, or sink beneath the waving palms, indulge in every sport known to man, or simply sit back and soak in the atmosphere.

The Miami Sony Ericsson Open, the second of the two giant Masters that bestride the early hard court season and the late spring of clay, is in full swing.

It is surely the brightest and breeziest tournament of the year: the sprightly allegro before the transition into the adagio of the second movement on clay.

Crandon Park, home of this popular tournament, is bright and breezy in the old fashioned sense, too. It wears its heart on its sleeve, burgeoning with primary colors, Mexican waves, and more diversions from the tennis than you can count.

Perhaps it is the humidity—touching 90% at its halfway point.

Perhaps it is the ebullience of the Latin American fan-base, here to support a wide field of south American players.

Perhaps it is the temperature, soaring from a night-time in the 50s to a daytime approaching the mid-80s.

Or maybe it’s the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring: thunder and lightning or cloudless skies.

Whatever it is, Miami seems to live for the moment.

For some players, though, the moment was quickly gone. Read the rest of this entry →

Clash of the Titans: David Nalbandian vs. Roger Federer, Part 2 3

Posted on February 18, 2010 by JA Allen
Nalbandian defeats Federer in Madrid

Nalbandian defeats Federer in Madrid

David Nalbandian and Roger Federer have fought each other long and hard on tennis courts around the world since their days on the junior circuit with Nalbandian usually winning those early contests.

The Argentine’s game when he plays it at his best makes him almost unbeatable.  Early on in his career Nalbandian was a superior player to Federer who often could not control his emotions, losing his way in a match.  The wily Argentine recognized this fact and took full advantage.

Once they turned pro, Nalbandian won their first five matches.  It wasn’t until they met at the year-end 2003 Tennis Master’s Cup in Houston in round robin play that Federer was finally able to defeat Nalbandian 6-3, 6-0.   Even so Nalbandian finished 2003 in the top 10 for the first time in his career.

Even as Federer began his remarkable winning span from 2004-2007, Nalbandian continued to rise up periodically and remind the Swiss of his roots, back in the days when Federer could be flummoxed by the consistent play and tenacious returns that the Argentine was capable of  delivering.

Nalbandian loved to remind Federer that he could exert his will and still beat the World No. 1. Read the rest of this entry →

Classic Near Misses: Roger Federer at the 2005 Masters Cup Final 0

Posted on December 05, 2009 by JA Allen
The 2005 Masters Cup Final was one of the rare times when Roger Federer was unable to pull out a clutch victory.

The 2005 Masters Cup Final was one of the rare times when Roger Federer was unable to pull out a clutch victory.

Roger Federer waged war with David Nalbandian throughout his junior and professional tennis career. The Argentine prided himself on being the first to have “Federer’s number.”

These were days before Rafael Nadal supplanted the underachieving Nalbandian as Federer’s chief antagonizer—preying on the mind of the Swiss Maestro.

The great Nalbandian not only possessed a keen tennis mind but was renowned as one of the cleanest ball-strikers in the game. He understood that hitting the ball flat with power deep in the corners in order to rob the Swiss of time could bring the great man down if you could sustain the pace and continue to hit the lines. It was not an easy task, but it could be done.

Nalbandian enjoyed defeating Federer—the No. 1 player in the world—more than any other player on tour. What is more, he had the game to do it.

They have met 18 times in their long and storied careers. Federer has captured 10 wins while Nalbandian’s seized eight victories. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

      Read more »

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