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Nadal Closes the Gap on Federer: 10 Bold Tennis Predictions for 2011 2

Posted on January 07, 2011 by JA Allen

Nadal prepares another run at Federer records in 2011.

The 2011 tennis season is under way, and already the tennis world has zeroed in on the biggest game in town—potential showdowns between the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked players in the world, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer respectively.

They are both facing some stiff competition in Doha at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open as the final eight head into quarterfinal action.

With the return to action of Juan Martin del Potro and the constant presence of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, the rampant speculation about 2011 continues for the men.

For the ladies, the strange absence of the Williams sisters on tour leaves many questions about who will rise up and seize this season by the throat early on.

New No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki has yet to win a major. Will she this year? If she falters and fails, who might secure the No. 1 ranking?

The women’s game remains wide open until or if the Williams sisters return.

This brings us to 2011 and our top 10 predictions for the upcoming season.

No. 1: Someone other than Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer will win a major this year.

Will Novak Djokovic capture his second Slam trophy?

It is time for one of the top 10 to break the stranglehold and take away a major trophy.

Marat Safin won one in 2005 at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic also won at the Australian Open in 2008 and Juan Martin del Potro denied Federer his sixth consecutive US Open title by taking it for himself in 2009.

But either Federer or Nadal has won the Wimbledon championship since 2003. Similarly, either Nadal or Federer has won the French Open since 2005.

Usual Suspects

World No. 3 Novak Djokovic

The Serb won the Australian Open in 2008, defeating Federer in the semifinals and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the finals. Since then, Djokovic has appeared in the semifinals of the French in 2007 and 2008, the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2007 and 2010 and the finals of the US Open in 2007 and 2010. Hard courts seem to be his best surface. A repeat down under?

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Classic Match: Nikolay Davydenko Vs. Juan Martin del Potro at 2009 WTF in London 4

Posted on November 19, 2010 by Marianne Bevis

2009 winner Nikolay Davydenko, runner-up Juan Martin del Potro

It’s London 2009, in the gloomy chill of November, and the British are about to see tennis in a whole new light.

Since O2 had transformed the Millennium’s ugly duckling dome that squatted alongside the Thames into a swan, it had become the place to perform: for Prince and Springsteen, for Kylie and Led Zeppelin, and for Rafa and Roger.

Because 2009 had marked the transfer of the Masters Cup from Shanghai to the newly-titled World Tour Finals in the original capital of tennis: London.

But this was a far cry from Wimbledon. This was modern cityscape replete with light show, soundtrack and glamour, determined to bring the best of Shanghai to London’s unlovely Docklands.

As if to celebrate the occasion, the end-of-year climax had secured the top eight men in tennis for the first time in years. The finale in Shanghai was missing Rafael Nadal, injured before it began. It lost Andy Roddick, injured in practice and replaced by Radek Stepanek at the last minute.

The first year for the WTF in London with loaded field.

And Roger Federer was only there by the skin of his teeth, having pulled out of Paris, mid-tournament, two weeks before with a back injury. In the event, he barely made it through the round robins, so debilitated had he become.

But London welcomed the crème-de-la-crème. Even a limping Andy Roddick, who was replaced at the last moment by Robin Soderling, turned up to watch. And the tennis-mad home crowd quickly adjusted from English to British and embraced Andy Murray as one of their own.

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What Have Been the Greatest Upsets in U.S. Open Tennis History? 1

Posted on August 19, 2010 by JA Allen

Night Sessions at the U.S. Open are momentous occasions.

Looking at the modern era or from 1968 forward, how many times has the number one seed or one of the top seeds gone down to defeat unexpectedly in New York during the U.S. Open?  Here are some of the most famous upsets listed here in chronological order.

1975 Jimmy Connors (1) vs. Manuel Orantes (3), Finals

Ornates won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. In 1975 Jimmy Connors, the No. 1 seed defeated his arch rival Bjorn Borg in the semifinals while Spain’s Manuel Orantes defeated the No. 2 seed Guillermo Vilas in a very difficult match to reach the final, facing Jimmy Connors.  The Open at Forest Hills was being played on clay in 1975.

Connors was having a bad year, for him, losing his Australian Open crown to John Newcombe and his Wimbledon trophy to Arthur Ashe.  His back was against the wall as the American faced the Spaniard Orantes, trying to retain his hold on the No. 1 ranking.

The clay surface obviously benefitted Orantes.  But Connors had defeated the Spaniard in six of their last seven meetings and felt confident going into the match that he would win again.

Orantes never let the American into the match.  The Spaniard played slow, denying Connors pace, never allowing him to establish a rhythm. Orantes lobbed and passed Connors at the net with amazing accuracy.

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Juan Martin del Potro: The Next Man Who Should be King 4

Posted on June 06, 2010 by JA Allen

Juan Martin del Potro wins the 2009 U.S. Open over defending champion Roger Federer.

The road to the top of the game in men’s tennis is not an easy one, just ask Juan Martin del Potro who upped his ranking as high as No. 5 in the world after defeating No. 1 seed Roger Federer during the finals of the U.S. Open in 2009.

Federer was going for his sixth consecutive U.S. Open championship.  The Swiss had not lost a match at Flushing Meadows since 2003.  It was del Potro’s first win over the world No. 1 in six tries.

You cannot make it to the top of the men’s game without going through Federer.  Few have done it.  David Nalbandian stood tall defeating the Swiss in 2003 at the U.S. Open during the fourth round after Federer won his first major championship at Wimbledon earlier that summer.

Gustavo Kuerten took Federer down in the third round of the French Open in 2004. Then Marat Safin defeated the Swiss in the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2005, going on to win the Championship.

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Del Potro And Nadal Injuries Open The Door For Davydenko and Soderling 4

Posted on February 17, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
Nikolay Davydenko of Russia

Just how worried are the “big cheeses” in charge of the first Masters events of 2010? As the men’s Tour heads towards the climax of the early hard court season in North America, the window of preparation is closing fast. Yet there are worrying signs about who will actually start, let alone stay, the course.

With the news this week that Juan Martin Del Potro will be absent for between one and two months due to a recurrence of a wrist injury, it will be touch and go whether the world No. 5 is able to play in either Indian Wells—which begins in four weeks’ time—or in Miami—six weeks hence.

This comes on the heels of Rafael Nadal’s departure from the circuit in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, also for at least a month. He is still targeting Indian Wells for his return. But the uncertainty surrounding the fitness of two of the game’s biggest draws must nevertheless be causing a few sleepless nights for tournament organisers.

Del Potro has been hampered, on and off, by tendinitis in the wrist since he won the U.S. Open last September. It forced him to pull out of the second round of the Shanghai Masters, and flared up again at the warm-up tournament in Kooyong before the Australian Open.

He has now been forced to withdraw from Marseille and Dubai with the same problem, and is also unlikely to join the Argentine Davis Cup team against Sweden next month. Read the rest of this entry →

U.S. Open Gets A Sunday Re-Write 0

Posted on September 13, 2009 by JA Allen
Kim Clijsters has made a surprising run to the U.S. Open Finals.

Kim Clijsters has made a surprising run to the U.S. Open Finals.

Start spreading the news.  For the second year in a row the script for the finals at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York has to be re-written.  Oh, for the money to put a roof over our heads…it would seem reasonable insurance against pesky and obstinate mother nature.

Think of all the confusion and lost revenue caused by this year’s two-day rain delay.  It must drive the tournament organizers to abstraction.

Regardless – Sunday in New York promises to present some eye-popping, riveting men’s semifinal contests with number one Roger Federer vs. number four Novak Djokovic in one and Rafael, soon to be number 2 again, Nadal vs. number 5 Juan Martin del Potro in the other.

Add to that the final between surprising finalist Kim Clijsters and number nine seed Caroline Wozniacki and you have a smorgasbord of potential tennis classics ready for the big stage.
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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bob Cousy: The Houdini of the Hardwood
      January 31, 2020 | 4:05 pm
      Bob Cousy

      As we reach the halfway point of the NBA season, we recognize as the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month the first in a long line of superstars to play for the Boston Celtics.

      Before there was Bill Russell and Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics were powered by a 6-foot-1 inch guard from Holy Cross. Bob Cousy was the on-the-court leader for the Celtics in the era during which they emerged as a basketball power.

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