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High Notes for the Past Ten Champions at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami 3

Posted on March 21, 2011 by JA Allen

The Sony Ericsson Open gets underway this week in Miami.

The blueprint for the Sony Ericsson Open existed long before the tournament materialized as part of the tennis landscape in the United States––more specifically in Miami.

The man who pursued the dream and saw it through to its often-complicated conclusion was Butch Buchholtz, a former tennis pro who toured with such notables as Pancho Gonzalez and Jack Kramer back in the 1960s.

On February 4, 1985 after years of negotiations with the ATP and WTA, the first ball was served in a combined tennis event called the International Players Championships sponsored by Lipton.

Tim Mayotte and Martina Navratilova were its first two winners. In fact the final featured Chris Evert and Navratilova and the stands were jam-packed.

The inaugural tournament was held at Delray Beach.

After relocating a few times, the tournament finally settled in the newly constructed Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Miami-Dade Country in 1989. In 1994 came the addition of a $20 million permanent stadium.

Andre Agassi holds the record for the men having won this title six times in his career.  The next closest male is Pete Sampras who won this title three times.  Ivan Lendl won the title twice.

Current players Andy Roddick and Roger Federer have also won this title twice.

Current top seed and top-ranked Rafael Nadal has never won the title at the Sony Ericsson Open.  Perhaps this year?

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Federer? Nadal? 10 Men Who Can Win the Australian Open, Part 1 2

Posted on January 12, 2011 by JA Allen

The 2011 Australian Open gets underway on Monday, January 17 in Melbourne

The Australian Open begins on Monday, Jan. 17, in Melbourne, Australia.

The draw for the first Grand Slam of the season will not be held until Friday, Jan. 14.

Until that time, no one will know who they will be facing in the first round or which potential opponents might be waiting down the road.

According to oddsmakers, Rafael Nadal is slightly favored to win the title over Roger Federer.

So what do these betting gurus know?

They know about past patterns of behavior and predictable outcomes based on certain incontrovertible factors. They know about odds of winning.

“Beating the odds” means winding up with an unexpected outcome.

This is the crux of betting—figuring out which players may beat the odds.

Nothing is a given, although based on recent history it is not unreasonable to expect either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal to win the championship in Melbourne.

It is almost inevitable that one of them will be in the final.

But that did not happen in 2008, and who is to say that 2011 could not repeat that aberration?

According to this author’s research, following are the 10 players with the best shot at winning in Melbourne…

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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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Roger Federer and Other Tops Seeds Advance In Paris 2

Posted on November 10, 2010 by JA Allen

Roger Federer faced crowd favorite Frenchman Richard Gasquet in Paris.

Will Paris continue to sizzle? Unveiled in France this week is the last Masters event of 2010 before the year-end finals begin in London.

A few players are hanging onto the hope that they can make the final field of eight for the Barclays WTF. One is Fernando Verdasco who must make the semifinals in Paris in order to chance booking a flight to London.

Jurgen Melzer only has a prayer to make the field by winning this Masters event in Paris. That makes Melzer’s chances as one of the longest of long shots.

In the third day of action, the biggest names in the draw were on court for the first time.  Several of the contests on this day offered interesting and even inspiring performances by the top seeds.

No. 1 Roger Federer vs. Richard Gasquet

Federer faced crowd favorite Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the first evening match.

The No. 1 seed broke the Frenchman early during Gasquet’s first service game. Then Federer held on to win the opening set never allowing Gasquet a peek at a break opportunity.

Federer continued to dominate by breaking Gasquet during the Frenchman’s first game of the second set. That one break of serve was again all the Swiss needed.  The Frenchman never earned a break point on the Federer serve during the entire match as the Swiss won 6-4, 6-4.

One of the announcers described Federer’s play as poetry in motion.

In the end the commentator admitted that Gasquet did not play a bad match but was powerless against the Swiss.  It was indeed, a master class conducted by Federer in his opening match of this tournament.

The Masters in Paris remains one of the few that the Swiss has never won. Will this be the year?

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Federer To Nadal: Indian Wells Delivers the Best From Top to Bottom 2

Posted on March 10, 2010 by JA Allen
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal resume competition in Indian Wells.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal resume competition in Indian Wells.

Finally play gets underway this week for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells with a lineup that includes almost all the usual suspects.  Who will survive the test of time and layoffs to take the title this year?  That is the question lingering on everyone’s lips.

Roger Federer’s Quarter

There are some very intriguing match-ups possible in Federer’s quarter of the draw including a potential 3rd round clash with the No. 27 seed Marcos Baghdatis.  The Cypriot who found his way out of the deep freeze and into the semifinals at Dubai is well on his way to a legitimate comeback after spending much of 2009 on the injured reserve list.

Seeded players hoping to advance to week two of the tournament include Tommy Robredo, seeded No. 18 and the always dangerous Radek Stepanek who has been known to throw wrenches into the plans of many a higher seeded player.  Stepanek lives to wreak havoc with the draw and could meet Federer in the 4th round.

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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 →

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