Roger Federer a No. 7 seed for upcoming U.S. Open
The final tennis Grand Slam event of the year, the United States Open, begins Monday in New York. That Novak Djokovic was the top men’s seed was no surprise at all, but it’s quite surprising to see all time Slams leader Roger Federer way down at No. 7.
Federer has slipped from fifth to seventh in the ATP Tour world rankings, his lowest position in 11 years. The 17-time Grand Slam champion was defeated in the quarter-finals of the Western and Southern Open by rival foe Rafael Nadal last week. That meant Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, both of whom reached the last four in Cincinnati, moved above Federer.
It has been a forgettable year for the former world No 1, who is enduring his worst season since before he won his first grand slam at Wimbledon a decade ago. This is the first time he has been seeded outside the top three at a grand slam since Wimbledon in 2003. . Federer, who has won five of his 17 grand slam titles at Flushing Meadows, could, in a worst-case scenario face one of the top three seeds in the quarterfinals, semis and final.
Federer just turned 32, which is pretty much the end of the road for major singles champions. Andre Agassi was 32 when he won his last major, the 2003 Australian Open, where, through a quirky series of events, he didn’t have to face a single player in the Top 10. Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors were 31 when they held up major trophies for the last time. Goran Ivanisevic was 29 when he won Wimbledon, his one and only Slam title.
Djokovic is No. 1. He has reached the semifinals of the US Open in each of the last six years, making the final four times and winning it all in 2011. Djokovic was in last year’s final, but lost in five sets to Murray, who became the first British player since 1977, and first British man since 1936, to win a grand slam tournament with the victory. Apart from Roger Federer, who won five in succession between 2004 and 2008, only Pat Rafter (1997-98) and Pete Sampras (1995-96) have won the U.S. Open in back-to-back years.
Murray is seeded third in the men’s draw after Nadal, who won the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, moved above him to second in the world rankings. The highest-seeded American man is John Isner, who beat Djokovic in Cincinnati before falling to Nadal in the final. Isner is seeded No. 13.
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Roger Federer’s Wimbledon chances improve with Nadal loss
Everyone was anticipating a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal quarterfinal showdown at Wimbledon, but Nadal’s stunning loss Monday opens the door for Federer to potentially cruise into the semifinals against, likely, Andy Murray. Of course Federer beat Murray in four sets last year for his seventh Wimbledon title, tied with Pete Sampras for the most all-time.
Nadal was shocked by the 135th-ranked player in the world, Steve Darcis. Darcis was able to overpower Nadal, blasting 13 aces and scoring 53 winners to Nadal’s 32. He had the Spanish star running like a gazelle from one side of the court to the other, and Nadal simply couldn’t keep up with the frantic pace. The straight-sets victory by Darcis marked the first time in Nadal’s prodigious career that he’s lost in the first round of a Grand Slam event.
Federer no doubt was pleased as he hasn’t beaten Rafa at a major since 2007. Federer routed No. 48-ranked Victor Hanescu of Romania, 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 in just more than an hour with a scintillating display of all-court domination on Monday.
It was vintage Federer dismantling a worthy opponent in the opening match on Centre Court, courtesy of being the defending gentlemen’s champion. Federer’s swing that did most of the damage, with almost half (14) of his total winners coming from the forehand. Federer’s forehand accounted for eight ground stroke winners, three passing shot winners, two approach winners and even a drop shot winner for good measure. Federer also dominated coming forward; he won 84 percent (21/25) of approaching points, including five forehand volley winners and one backhand volley winner.
Now the Swiss star faces Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky on Wednesday, with Federer a mammoth favorite on WagerWeb.com. Stakhovsky, No. 116 in the world, has an excellent backhand and loves to pressure the net. Stakhovsky has equaled his best Wimbledon performance in reaching the second round (which he also did in 2011) and is not to be taken lightly. The two have faced off just once, a 6-3, 6-4 Federer win on the hardcourts of Dubai in 2011. Stakhovsky has won just four career singles titles and not since 2010.
Wimbledon semifinals: Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic
Is Friday’s Wimbledon semifinal match between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Roger Federer the de-facto championship match? Most people think so. Djokovic, the defending Wimbledon champ, is a slight favorite on WagerWeb.com.
Federer, who lost in the quarterfinal rounds the last two years — losses that fed speculation that Federer would not win a 17th major title — moved into his eighth Wimbledon semifinal with a dispassionate dismantling of 26th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, on Centre Court in 1 hour 32 minutes. Federer is looking for a seventh Wimbledon title, which would tie Pete Sampras’ record.
Playing at almost the same time on Court 1, top-seeded and defending champion Novak Djokovic was almost as dominant against an equally overmatched opponent with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 win over 31st-seeded German Florian Mayer in 1:45.
Federer, who turns 31 in August, has been plagued by a dodgy back for several years now. It came into play in his previous match against Xavier Malisse, requiring a consultation with both a trainer and a doctor. Federer’s movement has been limited ever so slightly and the back has been a leading factor.
Against Youzhny, it didn’t seem to limit him.
“My back is holding up,” Federer said. “I could focus on tennis again, on tactics I wanted to play, instead of focusing on how to manage little issues or big issues, whatever you want to call them.”
Federer has now beaten the Russian in all 14 of their matches. Youzhny has won all of three sets in 35 opportunities. It should be noted, however, that Youzhny’s wife, Yulia, gave birth to their second son last night, hours before he took the court.
For the last 18 months the No. 1-ranked Djokovic has been the winner of four majors, unable only to conquer clay court at the French Open. Last year Federer beat Djokovic in the semifinals in Paris and this year Nadal beat him in the finals.
Federer leads the 25-year-old Serb 14-12 in career meetings but Federer has lost six of his last seven matches against Djokovic. Possibly the most devastating was at the U.S. Open in 2011 when Federer held two match points on his serve in the fifth set but lost, 6-7, (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. But the two have never played on Wimbledon’s grass, the place where Federer’s precise tennis has been most rewarded.
Wimbledon quarterfinals: Roger Federer vs. Mikhail Youzhny
Roger Federer, who is looking for his record-tying seventh Wimbledon title, fought off the effects of back trouble to reach the quarterfinals at the 2012 Championships by defeating 31-year-old Belgian Xavier Malisse 7-6, 6-1,4-6, 6-3. Federer’s reward is a date against another player in the 30-and-over age bracket doing well at Wimbledon this year, Russian Mikhail Youzhny. Federer is a huge favorite on WagerWeb.com.
Federer has seldom been slowed by health issues, but he briefly left the court Monday because of a back injury and had spectators wondering whether he would return. After an eight-minute delay, Federer resumed whacking winners and went on to beat frequent foil Malisse. The 16-time Grand Slam champion reached his 33rd consecutive major quarterfinal, extending his Open era record.
Federer’s back began bothering him early in his match. He blamed the cool, windy weather and the lingering effects of an arduous five-set win over Julien Benneteau three days earlier. Federer’s serve lacked its usual speed, but his play seemed otherwise unaffected by the bothersome back. An hour after the victory, he said he already felt much better.
“Honestly I’m not too worried,” he said.
On Wednesday he’ll play No. 26-seeded Youzhny, who edged Denis Istomin 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5. Federer improved to 10-1 against Malisse. He’s 13-0 against Youzhny.
Federer and Youzhny just played in the Gerry Weber Wimbledon warm-up tournament in mid-June, with Federer spanking the Russian 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final (where Federer lost). Youzhny has won three of the 32 sets they’ve played against each other.
“I never beat this guy,” Youzhny said, “so just now I can’t talk like about my dreams, what I have to do on court to beat Roger.”
Six times Youzhny had tried to reach Wimbledon’s quarterfinals. Six times he had failed before Monday to become the first man from his country to reach the last eight here since Marat Safin in 2008. Youzhny is a good grass player who has been unlucky in the past in the fourth round. Twice he has faced Rafael Nadal and once each Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter at the peak of their powers.
A Federer victory sets up a likely semifinal match against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is a big favorite for his quarterfinal match Wednesday vs. Florian Mayer.
Australian Open men’s semifinals: Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal
The best rivalry in tennis for the past decade or so resumes in the semifinals of the Australian Open when third-seeded Roger Federer and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal meet for a spot in Sunday’s final. It’s the 27th time these two Hall of Famers will have met. Federer opened as the slight -115 tennis bets favorite on WagerWeb.com for Thursday night’s match in Melbourne.
Four-time Australian Open champion Federer advanced to his ninth straight semifinal at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 quarterfinal win Tuesday over Juan Martin del Potro, the man who beat him for the U.S. Open title in 2009. It was the 1,000th match in Federer’s pro career and he has yet to drop a set here in 2012. Nadal took 4 hours and 16 minutes to beat Tomas Berdych 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-3, reach his 18th major semifinal.
Federer and Nadal – they were ranked 1-2 for many years – have been on opposite halves of the draw since the 2005 French Open. That was the last time the pair met in a Grand Slam semifinal, won that year by Nadal in four sets.
Nadal takes a 17-9 lifetime edge into Thursday’s match, including a 7-2 edge and a four-match winning streak in the majors. The last time Federer emerged victorious on the Grand Slam stage was the 2007 Wimbledon final, and it’s a trend he badly wants to reverse.
Nadal handed Federer two of his toughest losses, triumphing in arguably the greatest match of all time at Wimbledon in 2008 and repeating his five-set heroics at the ensuing Australian Open. Few thought Nadal had it in him in 2009, given he had contested a five-hour, 14 minute marathon against Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals two days before. Federer enjoyed an extra day of rest back then.
“We played a lot of matches against each other, in very important moments for our careers and very high moments,” said Nadal, a 10-time Grand Slam champion. “So the match is special.”
They played four times last year, with Nadal winning in the semifinals in Miami and Madrid and in the final of the French Open. But Federer stopped the streak emphatically when he dismantled Nadal, 6-3, 6-0, in the round-robin phase of the ATP World Tour Finals in November. Federer, not Nadal, has been on the much bigger roll of late. He has not lost since the semifinals of last year’s United States Open, winning his last 24 matches. His only blemish came when he retired before the semifinals in Doha with his back problems.
“Even if it’s not a final, it’s still a huge match,” Federer said.
The winner faces the Novak Djokovic-Andy Murray winner on Saturday night U.S. time.
Djokovic, Murray look to join Australian Open semifinals
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have advance to the semifinals of the first tennis Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, and now top-seeded Novak Djokovic, the WagerWeb.com tournament tennis bets favorite, and No. 4 Andy Murray look to join Rafa and Federer when they take the court late tonight U.S. time Down Under.
Djokovic, the world No. 1 and defending champion, takes on fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain. Djokovic was pushed in his last match by Aussie Lleyton Hewitt. Up two sets and 3-0 in the third, the wheels came off. Djokovic was stretched to four sets and even had to fend off a break point in the infancy of the fourth when the score was tied. He finally put the banged-up Hewitt away 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.
Djokovic’s serve and forehand, in particular, tailed off. In the first two sets, he made a combined five forehand unforced errors. The number rose to 14 in the last two. His first-serve percentage fell in the middle of the third, and overall Djokovic was broken four times.
Djokovic’s next opponent, Ferrer, is similar to Hewitt: He hustles for every ball and is a fine returner. But at this juncture of their careers, he’s better than Hewitt. Mind you, Ferrer won’t be the overwhelming crowd favorite Wednesday, as “Rusty” was.
Ferrer topped Djokovic at the year-end championships in London in December, and even if the Serb was fatigued, Ferrer will take confidence from the 6-3, 6-1 victory indoors. That result allowed Ferrer, a semifinalist in Melbourne last year, to edge closer in their head to heads. He trails 6-5.
Murray, seeded fourth and looking for his third straight trip to the finals of this tournament, faces No. 24 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan. Nishikori’s defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved him into his first grand slam quarter-final and also made him the first Japanese male to make it into the last eight at the Australian Open in 80 years. Before Nishikori, Shuzo Matsuoka was the only Japanese player to reach the latter stages of a Grand Slam event, when he made the 1995 Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Murray beat the 22-year-old Nishikori 6-0 6-3 in the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters in 2011 in the pair’s only previous match.
Final Nadal-Federer match of year looms at ATP Finals
he final tennis tournament of the season begins Sunday at London’s O2 Arena with the ATP World Tour Finals, and the pairings have been set for the biggest event that’s not a major. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who is still trying to recover from injury, and Andy Murray are in Group A for the tournament. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will meet in the opening phase of the event after both were drawn into Group B.
Federer beat Nadal in last year’s ATP final, but the second-ranked Spaniard still leads their head-to-head series 17-8. Their most recent meeting was in the French Open final, when Nadal beat Federer for the title at Roland Garros for the fourth time. Federer, however, is coming off two straight tournament victories. He won in his hometown of Basel and then claimed the title at the Paris Masters on Sunday. Nadal hasn’t played since losing at the Shanghai Masters last month.
Murray will head to London having won three tournaments during the autumn, although his bid for a fourth straight success was ended by Tomas Berdych at the BNP Paribas Masters. He was beaten in the Tour Finals at the semi-final stage 12 months ago, losing out to Nadal and he could face the same player again in the last four after avoiding him in the group stage.
Djokovic has three grand slams to his name this year, but he has been struggling with injuries since the summer. He has lost just four times this year, but withdrew from last week’s event in Paris with a shoulder problem and is under a cloud. Murray trails Djokovic 6-4 on their head-to-head record, but has a verdict over the Serb in 2011 – albeit when the world No. 1 was forced to retire during the Cincinnati Masters final. Djokovic will finish the season No. 1 regardless of what happens here.
This event is a round-robin format featuring the world’s top eight ranked players. Djokovic and Nadal, as the top two seeds, were kept apart in the draw, as were third-ranked Murray and fourth seed Federer. David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as the fifth and sixth best players in the word were also separated, as were seventh and eighth-ranked Tomas Berdych and Mardy Fish, the lone American in the field.
Wimbledon preview: Roger Federer
Some consider Roger Federer the best player in tennis history, and his 16 Grand Slam titles are the most of anyone. But he’s still one short of Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles. And Federer has won only one of the past three Wimbledons, and that was the year Rafael Nadal was out injured. The Swiss star is just 2-6 in his career vs. Nadal in Grand Slam finals. Federer hasn’t won a major since the 2010 Australian Open.
Federer has second-seeded Novak Djokovic as his projected semifinal opponent; Federer ended Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak at the French Open. The third-seeded Swiss will face Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the first round, and could encounter former finalist David Nalbandian in the third round.
2011 Match Record: 34-8
2011 Singles Titles: 1
Career Singles Titles: 67
Major Titles: 16 – Wimbledon (’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’09), U.S. Open (’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08), Australian Open (’04, ’06, ’07, ’10), French Open (’09),
Last 5 Wimbledons: ’10-QF, ’09-W, ’08-F, ’07-W, ’06-W
Overview: Has won six Wimbledon championships; trying to join Sampras and Willie Renshaw (who played in the 1800s) as the only men to win seven singles titles at the tournament. … Has reached at least the quarterfinals at a record 28 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. … This will be last Grand Slam tournament for Federer before he turns 30 on Aug. 8.