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Djokovic? Federer? The Odds-On Favorites to Win the 2012 Australian Open 52

Posted on January 12, 2012 by JA Allen

Roger Federer won his last Australian Open title in 2010.

It is that time of the year when the snow is blowing while ice drips off your nose in the Midwest. Meanwhile, tennis moves “down under” to the warmth of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The official draw unfolded on Friday. That is when we saw whether the No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic would face Roger Federer or Andy Murray in the semifinals, assuming all the usual suspects make it that far.

Last year during the Australian Open Federer faced Djokovic in the semifinals, losing in straight sets 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 while Nadal, suffering from injury, folded early in the quarterfinals to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.

At the 2011 French Open, Djokovic suffered his first defeat of the season during the semifinals when Roger Federer upset him 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6. Nadal, on the other hand, breezed past Murray 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.  In the final, Federer, who has never defeated Nadal at Stade Roland Garros, failed once again—losing 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1.

When the tour moved on to Wimbledon, Djokovic and Federer were once again drawn into the same half.  But this time, Federer did not meet Djokovic. He lost in the quarterfinals to an on-fire Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France—even after winning the first two sets, 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Nadal, once again, took care of Murray in the semifinals while Djokovic dismissed Tsonga.  In the final, Djokovic prevailed with surprising ease over the now world No. 2 Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

The 2011 US Open would prove to be the piece de resistance for Djokovic and a major blow for Federer. The Big Four made it to the semifinals where, once again, Djokovic faced Federer while Nadal manhandled Murray 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.  The other US Open semifinal should have gone to Federer who took the first two sets.  But even after serving for the match in the fifth set, Federer remained unable to close it out and Djokovic came back to win  6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.  In the final, Nadal was once again unable to dominate the Serb. Djokovic won 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1—claiming his third major title of 2011 and the No. 1 ranking.

After suffering a slump at the end of the year, pundits are once again pondering—can Djokovic do it again?  Only time will tell.  Right now, he must defend his title at the Australian Open.  Odds are in his favor at the moment.

Who will win the Aussie Open men’s title in 2012?  For a change of pace, Djokovic has been drawn into the same half as the No. 4 seed, Andy Murray while world No. 2 Nadal is scheduled to face Federer in the semifinals, should both make it that far.

Here are the top ten odds-on favorites to win the 2012 Australian Open.

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Can David Ferrer and Gael Monfils Upset the Balance at the US Open? 1

Posted on July 26, 2011 by Pete South

David Ferrer will look to break the hold of the "big three" in men's tennis.

Ignoring Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal in the build-up to the US Open might seem like tennis heresy, but it’s a worthy gambit, if only to turn the spotlight on the other players in the top ten of the ATP World Singles Rankings.

Spain’s David Ferrer, for example, is ranked sixth in the world, but is 80/1 in the US Open 2011 tennis odds, making him a rank outsider.

However, Ferrer reached the semi-final at the Australian Open, earlier this year and recently guided Spain to victory against the USA in the Davis Cup, where he beat world number nine Mardy Fish in the longest four-set match in the tournament’s history.

Ferrer has a supporter in Roger Federer, who referred to the Spaniard as “the best returner in the game […], together with Nadal”. Read the rest of this entry →

Gael Monfils Targets Wimbledon Improvement 1

Posted on June 19, 2011 by Pete South

Gael Monfils will look to make a good run at Wimbledon.

The top-seeded French player competing at Wimbledon next week, Gael Monfils, is shaping up for life on grass courts rather nicely at the Gerry Weber ATP event in Halle, Germany. He made it through to the semifinals before being eliminated by the German tennis player and eventual winner Phillipp Kohlschreiber and as such will be looking forward to play getting underway at the All-England Club in London on Monday.

He is perhaps not at his best on grass – a point highlighted by the fact that his best results in Grand Slams have come at the US Open and the French Open – snaring quarter-final and semi-final finishes respectively. But now, following a strong showing in Germany on grass, and a generous ninth seed placement for the SW19 tournament, he is looking in good shape to really mount a challenge and those who bet on Wimbledon 2011 will have to keep an eye on him.

“In the last days before Wimbledon, I want to improve my overall game further still – serve faster and stronger and work on my movement. Last year, I was terrible on grass, because that surface does not come naturally to me, so this year I am happy, I want to continue improving,” he said. Read the rest of this entry →

Rafael Nadal Tops the Men’s Tennis Power Rankings 9

Posted on June 08, 2011 by JA Allen

Rafael Nada wins French Open championship number six.

The 2011 French Open is history, one for the books. It proved to be an exciting two weeks of action with plenty of surprises as the world tuned in to watch players battle it out on the courts of Stade Roland Garros.

It is rare that the ATP top-ranked players are also the top four in our power rankings. Understandably, that does not happen often. But this was a year for the unusual. A case in point––in 2011 the men’s top four seeds reached the French Open semifinals.

It was the first time since since the 2006 French Open that the top four men’s seeds reached the semifinals at any Grand Slam tournament. At that tournament those final four were Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal,  David Nalbandian and Ivan Ljubicic.

The men’s tour has already moved onto grass with the crisp white tradition of historical Wimbledon––the most prestigious of all the grand slam tournaments. While French crowds booed and hissed at players, the exact opposite will unfold under the pristine umbrella of proper British behavior.

So as we shake the red dust off our tennies and cross the channel to London, a new brand of tennis awaits. The question is––who will win the next grand slam tournament held at the All-England Club.

Grass changes the complexity of the game. The slow grind of clay speeds up on the grass courts and low bounces at your ankles becomes the norm.

Change is good and Wimbledon promises another great tournament.

The men’s current power rankings are based on a player’s results in his last four tournaments. In this entry, ranking points come primarily from the ATP points awarded at the French Open.

For the list on the women’s side, please check out the complementary article authored by Feng Rong (Ronger Fengerer). This season-long series contains contributions from JA Allen, Marianne Bevis and Feng Rong.

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Men’s Tennis Power Rankings: Soderling Tops Them All After Paris… 2

Posted on November 15, 2010 by JA Allen

Robin Soderling of Sweden won this week's Paris Masters.

Robin Soderling, whose total tennis repertoire stole the show at the Masters in Paris, tops our Power Rankings for the very first time.

The Swede’s 2010 indoor season proved to be the best of his career, ending with his first ATP Master’s 1000 win.

Soderling, along with many of the world’s top players, fought hard throughout the Fall in order to qualify for the season-ending championships.

As the culminating event of a very long year in tennis, the eight top-ranked men in 2010 will begin play at the World Tour Finals in London on Sunday, November 21.

The eight who have qualified: (1) Rafael Nadal (2) Roger Federer, (3) Novak Djokovic, (4) Robin Soderling, (5) Andy Murray, (6) Thomas Berdych, (7) David Ferrer, and (8) Andy Roddick are almost all featured in our Power Pankings.

Only Berdych failed to make the list, suffering a bit of a slump at the end of this year.

The next question facing the tennis-loving public is—who will win the World Tour Finals (WTF) in London?

Much will depend, of course, on the draw. But with the top eight doing combat, no opponent will be easy.

Judge for yourself as you consider the following candidates:

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BMW Tennis Championship: The French Connection 1

Posted on March 12, 2010 by JA Allen
Frenchman Gael Monfils is known for his pure athleticism on court.

Frenchman Gael Monfils who won the BMW in 2007 is known for his pure athleticism on court.

The French love it in Sunrise, Florida.  Since the tournament’s inception in 2004, a dozen top-ranked Frenchmen have participated in the BMW Tennis Championship Tournament, some coming back year after year.

The reasons they keep returning –– great competition, outstanding hospitality, appreciative crowds and hope for a great springboard into the rest of the season.

In 2007 a young up-and-comer Gael Monfils of France won the BMW Tennis Championship trophy, defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the final 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. Monfils’ pure athleticism and power made him a crowd favorite as he worked his way through the draw.

Monfils followed this triumph in Florida with a trip to the finals of the Hypo Group Tennis International Tournament in Poertschach, Austria where he lost to Argentine Juan Monaco.  During the semifinals at Poertschach, Monfils upset Lleyton Hewitt, seeded No. 4, having previously dismissed the No. 2 seed Andy Roddick in the 3rd round of this French Open tune-up event.

Read the rest of this entry →

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