Arnaud Clement

Andreas Haider-Mauer at the US Open (above).

Rafael Nadal:  – 7000

Pablo Andujar:  + 1900


Antonio Veic:  + 350

Nikolay Davydenko:  – 600


Sam Querrey:  + 110

Ivan Ljubicic:  – 150


Xavier Malisse:  + 450

Fernando Verdasco:  – 700


Mardy Fish:  – 190

Robin Haase:  + 150


Jeremy Chardy:  + 200

Gilles Simon:  – 300


Marcos Baghdatis:  – 145

Leonardo Mayer:  + 105


Albert Ramos:  + 800

Robin Soderling:  – 2000


Andy Murray:  – 3000

Simone Bolelli:  + 1200


Arnaud Clement:  + 130

Michael Berrer:  – 180


Alexander Dolgopolovic:  – 650

Andreas Heider-Mauer:  + 375


Tobias Kamke:  + 400

Victor Troicki:  – 700


Lukasz Kubot:  – 130

Carlos Berlocq:  – 110


Alejandro Falla:  + 350

Florian Mayer:  – 600


Kevin Anderson:  + 175

Juan Ignacio Chela:  – 250


Lukas Rosol:  + 350

Jurgen Melzer:  – 600


We’re not going to go through the women, but if you are interested you should check out the odds becaause there are some seeming ridiculously high favorites according to the money lines.  We especially, are in long with Jie Zheng at plus 700 to Petra Kvitova at minus 1500.  As for the men, the good bet is the big underdog as well, as you’d have to love Andugar, who can bring you back $91 on a $5 wager if there’s an upset.  Mardy Fish, in action, with a good chance to make at least the 3rd round.  Nice story.  Chardy/Simon, in the all French battle.  Arnaud Clement, still doing it, and probably with those dumb goggles and head band.  Long shot parlays would rack up the dollars if the stars aligned and a few long shots hit on the same ticket.  By the way, Dolgopolov Jr. is way too heavily favored.  Haider-Mauer might only be world #88, but he took Robin Soderling to 5 sets at the US Open and he’s had a very good year, and at 23, could be poised to climb.  He’s also a natural clay courter and Dolgopolov is not, and hasn’t had the type of good season we were looking for after his magical Australian season.  And good for Sam Querrey, who finally won an important match.  We hope he does it again tomorrow, again as underdog.  BTW, we are pulling hard for Kevin Anderson, shot maker, tomoorrow, and we are very impressed with Sergiy Stakhovsky, the big, lean one hander who won his first round match by making passes and tough volleys.  We think he’ll be fun to watch in the doubles tomorrow.

Look for it all on the mix channels.

Crack (

Now that a time honored rainless Wimbledon tradition has passed in the 2010 championships–the no play middle Sunday–we can all look ahead to today’s round of 16 matchups.  On Monday, all men’s and women’s round of 16 matches will be played–almost too much tennis–even for Wimbledon junkies like us.

Centre Court


(1) Roger Federer vs. (16) Jurgen Melzer….the top dog leads off the day on CC in a very favorable matchup.  At least, we think it’s favorable for Federer, though it’s hard to be certain considering he has never met the surprising Austrian, who has made the better part of his living on clay.  Melzer doesn’t seem to have the weapons for grass or to hurt federer, but we thought the same thing of Federer’s opponent last Monday, Alejandro Falla, who took the first 2 sets.  Federer, heavily taxed in the first two rounds, looked considerably better against Arnaud Clement, who is another guy we feel can’t hurt Roger.  At this stage.  As for Melzer, he has played excellent all court tennis in the last year, and has made himself a seed from a journeyman.  Anything’s possible, but a Melzer win would represent one of the hugest upsets in Wimbledon history.  We’ll take Roger, and we hope it’s a quickie, so that he can rest up for who we think will be Tomas Berdych in the quarters.

(1) Serena vs. (17) Sharapova…good luck, Maria.  She’lll need it.  Serena is in fine form, and has pitched bagels in the first set of all 3 of her matches so far, an interesting major tournament immeasurable.  Sharapova, right now, has the champion’s heart, but her game lacks the pop that once blew Serena of this court in the final 6 years ago.  All Serena, all day.  Sharapova will be lucky to hold on to her serve for a few games.

(18) Sam Querrey vs. (4) Andy Murray…Samurai Sam has really impressed us.  Last year, he had a very hard luck loss to Marin Cilic, who was then beaten in one of the better matches of the tournament by Tommy Haas, who knew he couldn’t win by staying in the backcourt, so he rushed the net with fury.  For Querrey, this is a super tough matchup because Murray will control the backcourt, and Sam doesn’t have the ability to get to net, unless he rips a really solid forehand approach.  The game plan worked well at Queen’s but has shown chinks in the armor versus Dodig and Malisse.  Murray is good enough,, and has enough variety, to keep the ball away from Sam’s forehand.  Sam has the better serve, but Murray can hit the 130s on the gun as well.  Sam has an outside chance at best, whch could improve if Murray struggles on his first serve.  Murray, the pride of Britain, doesn’t get near 100 MPH usually on his 2nd serve, and the 22 year old American will need to capitalize on those 2nd balls.  Still, we see this as an immensely difficult spot for Querrey, who can go home and already have people say he had a successful grass court season.  We will root for Sam, but we like Murray tomorrow.

Court one


(8) Clijsters vs. (17) Henin…for us, Henin is the natural grass courter, despite her lack of a Wimbledon championship.  Henin has had trouble in her career with Clijsters power and steady game–on hardcourts.  The two Belgian saviors have been at this rivalry for a while and both have twelve wins in the head to head.  Henin holds a 3-1 lead on grass, though all of the matches were close.  The two will play an exhibition in the fall in their home country that is expected to be the most well attended tennis match in history, with about 43,000 spectators expected.  Henin is not as rock solid as she used to be, and while we have her as the favorite, we would not be surprised if Clijsters won this round of 16 match.

(3) Djokovic vs. (15) Hewitt…Hewitt, a Wimbledon champion and well established grass courter, gets the extra offense he needs on grass that his small body can’t manufacture on clay and sometimes on hards.  The ball moves through the grass quickly, and adds pop to his serve.  Frankly, we like him here.  He’s healthy, has had a good grass season, and we’ve seen very little from Djokovic since his only major victory in Australia in 2008.  Plus, Hewitt is a better fighter than the Djoker, and his fighting spirit should help him in a close match.

Paul-Henri Matthieu vs. (2) Rafael Nadal…the four hour matches have taken a toll on Rafa.  Playing 4 hours against Istomin at Queen’s Club, and then two straight 5 setters here, where he was back to usual tricks, with trainers and tennis elbow and the balky knee.  But tomorrow, we don’t see much to prevent Rafa from moving on to the quarters, where he could possibly be in trouble, if Soderling makes it through.  Even banged up, Nadal has too much game for guys like Matthieu, who hovers around world # 50.  Top ten guys will expose his injury problems in ways that lesser opponents can not.  Matthieu has a slim chance if he serves big and hits a lot of lines.  Hopefully he can make it interesting, though I am not banking on it.

Court Two


(2) Venus vs. Jarmila Groth…we love Venus, and are blinded sometimes by that love.  Even though we’ve been very impressed with Groth, this is the real big time, and she’s already playing with house money by being in this round.  The best grass courter in the game is a tall order for Groth, and we doubt she’ll be up to it.  But from what we’ve seen, Groth is going to put a decent career together, and the Aussies do have grass in their blood.  Venus should win easily, unless she comes out flat, like she did against Petrova in Paris.  Can’t remember the last time she turned out flat at The All England Club though.

(3) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Petra Kvitova…neither player is suited to grass, but Wozniacki is too good and too steady.  A loss here would be a major upset.

Yen-Hsun Lu vs. (5) Dandy Andy…Is Lu going to be getting a lot of 140 MPH bombs back in play?  Tall order.  We could see Roddick going far in this tournament, who has played excellent tennis–aggressive, but with a low error count.  Look for it to continue to tomorrow.

Court Five


Pironkova vs. (11) Bartoli…Bartoli has been a finalist here, but we don’t like her conditioning.  Her movement needs to be the key for her on grass, giving her time ti set up her awkward 2 handers off both sides.  Bartoli won her 3rd round match in a walkover, and should be rested, but we wouldn’t be too shocked if Pironkova pulled the upset.

Klara Zakopalova vs. Kaia Kanepi…both players have a great opportunity here and are playing with house money.  We’re not leaning any particular way, and have no rooting interest yet.

Court Twelve


(21) Zvonareva vs. (4) Jankovic…we may be biased by our disdain for Jankovic, but she’s no grass courter, and Zvonareva has some pop that JJ should be worried about.  Jankovic will be scrambling all match, and she’ll give VZ some break chances.  We like the Russian.

(32) Bennetau vs. (10) Tsonga…two proud Frenchman duel, and Tsonga is the clear favorite, and came through his last match in straights.  But we aren’t in love with him tomorrow.  Bennetau is hot, and these guys have practiced and played doubles together, so there’s no element of surprise.  I look for Bennetau to get a lot of balls back, and I would favor JB in a longer match than a shorter one.

(6) Soderling vs. (9) Ferrer…The Spaniard is a warrior but the Swede is a viking.  We don’t see Soderling having much trouble with Ferrer, but in fairness, David has shocked us before.

Court Eighteen


(9) Na Li vs. (7) Agnieska Radwanska…Li’s a great player, and more accomplished than Radwanska, whose game is tailor made for clay.  But we like Agnieska, though that might be foolish.  both ladies have played very well this month.

(12) Tomas Berdych vs. Daniel Brands…Berdych is a huge favorite, but at 6’5, if Brands can keep the ball low, and make Berdy bend his knees, shot after shot, he could have a chance.  But I doubt it.  i favor Berdyh as well, in a big way, and think he will be really tough for Roger in that potential quarter-final.

Enjoy your grass court tennis, the way the Gods intended…

–Crack (

Frenchman Nicolas Mahut (above) may only be the 149th ranked player in the world, but he is a throwback tennis player, who returned to court 18 on which he had earlier finished the 11 hour five minute all time record longest match in defeat to John Isner this morning, returned again to court 18 this afternoon with doubles partner Arnaud Clement to play a first round doubles match against the British team of Fleming/Skupski.

Mahut, who was noted by ESPN’s Pam Shriver as having difficulty walking in the player’s restaurant after his warmup hit this morning, has left court 18 for a third consecutive day in a suspended match due to darkness.  Mahut/Clement trail Fleming/Skupski 7-6 (4), after one set of play. 

To call Mahut the 149th ranked player in the world and to leave it at that would be a disservice to the nifty Frenchman, who has some of the best hands in the game.  Mahut has some impressive wins to his name in his career, including a victory over Rafael Nadal at Queen’s Club that helped him reach the finals where he lost to eventual champion Andy Roddick, after winning the first set in 2007.  Mahut, an excellent grass courter, defeated Marin Cilic at Queen’s last year, and advanced to the second round of Roland Garros last month, handling young German Mischa Zverev, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

Isner’s coach Craig Boynton called Mahut yesterday “one of the top twenty best player’s on grass in the game.”  For those of you who like his style–aggressive serve and volley with a dynamic one handed backhand–you may get to see a little of him this summer, as his game is also well suited to American hardcourts. 

Those who like his game and are at Wimbledon have had quite a treat this week.  In addition to the epic with Isner and being entered in the doubles, Mahut had to come through qualifying last week, winning 3 matches, and coming from 2 sets to none down in the final round of qualifying against Austrian Stefan Koubek.  In fact, English tennis fans should know Mahut well, who despite not having advanced past the first round at Wimbledon since 2006, had not been eliminated prior to the round of 16 at Queen’s Club until losing a rematch of last year’s battle with Marin Cilic at Queen’s two weeks ago.  We love Mahut’s game, if not the majority of his results, and we totally love him for playing singles and doubles, and today, for keeping his commitment to his doubles partner, Clement.

Some interesting facts from the epic match according to ESPN:

Mahut toweled off 176 times, hit over 750 forehands, and bounced the ball before serving 1,576 times.  I wonder if Kuznetsova would have shaken his hand today.

Here’s to a class act.

–Crack (

In 2004 at Roland Garros, two Frenchmen, Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement, dueled for 6 hours and 33 minutes, in the longest match in tennis history, with Santoro winning the extended 5th set, 16-14.  That was the longest match in history, until yesterday and today, when American, # 23rd seed John Isner and French one hander Nicolas Mahut, played for a jaw dropping 11 hours and 5 minutes on court 18, with the fifth set alone going 428 minutes, in a set that had not seen a break of serve until the 138th game of the extended 5th set, in a match that went on for 3 days.

The match was suspended due to darkness last night with Isner ready to serve in game 119 of the 5th set, somehow, as the giant looked tight at many points throughout the fifth set, but kept getting booming serves in, in what had to be one of history’s most gruelling and fascinating sporting events ever.  That contest has just been concluded after 3 days, and almost a half day’s play, with American John Isner defeating Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (3), 70-68, in front of american tennis luminaries John McEnroe and Tracey Austin, and an electric court 18 at SW-19.

In fact, John McEnroe came in to watch the 5th set yesterday at the start of game 24, more than 100 games and a day before the match’s eventual end, which saw both players strike over one hundred aces and nearly 300 unreturnable serves, when it was all said and done.

Stats?  Check these out:

Mahut (FRA) Isner (USA)
  1st Serve % 328 of 489 = 67 % 361 of 491 = 74 %
  Aces 103 112
  Double Faults 21 10
  Unforced Errors 39 52
  Winning % on 1st Serve 284 of 328 = 87 % 292 of 361 = 81 %
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 101 of 161 = 63 % 82 of 130 = 63 %
  Winners 244 246
  Receiving Points Won 117 of 501 = 23 % 104 of 510 = 20 %
  Break Point Conversions 1 of 3 = 33 % 2 of 14 = 14 %
  Net Approaches 111 of 155 = 72 % 97 of 144 = 67 %
  Total Points Won 502 478
   Fastest Serve Speed 128 MPH 143 MPH
   Average 1st Serve Speed 118 MPH 123 MPH
   Average 2nd Serve Speed 101 MPH 112 MPH

The players struck a combined 980 serves and 490 winners, and to their credit, combined for only 91 errors in the epic match whose fifth set alone was longer than the 2nd longest match in recorded history.  Nicolas Mahut served 64 times in the fifth set in must win games, and held 63 of those times, while John Isner, in what was truly perhaps the most amazing display in all of sports history, allowed only 3 break points against and saved two–in the entire match.

People have already begun to complain about the excessiveness of the fifth set, which at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the French Open, does not have a tie-breaker.  As it shouldn’t.  You play until there’s a break of serve.  That’s true tennis.  And this match reinforced the games most important shot–the serve–without which, both guys would have been off the court a lot sooner.

Give tremendous credit to Nicolas Mahut, who in the deciding game, continued to presss forward, forcing Isner to win the match with a decisive forehand and a decisive backhand pass.  Mahut, one of the games only true serve and volley players left, approached the net 155 times, and went down in keeping with that style.

And then give even more credit to John Isner, who at several points on Wednesday looked done.  In the 2 day fifth set, Isner’s back and legs were visibly tight, but he shook it off.  He just kept serving bombs at will, as if it was rote.  As the match wore on to unthinkable stages, Mahut looked like the more energetic player of the two–a decided advantage he could not exploit–even laying out on the grass a few times to extend for a shot, while Isner looked like he could barely move.

But it was Isner who lobbied to continue play when darkness came, and Isner, who managed the break of serve, which was the match’s first since the 2nd set, more than 600 minutes of play earlier.

Also credit The All England Club for commemorating the match quickly with a classy ceremony and with gifts for both players and the chair (pictured above). 

 Isner will play Thiemo De Bakker in the 2nd round, and is scheduled to still play doubles with Sam Querrey today, who is currently in a dog fight with Ivan Dodig, one set a piece and on serve in the third.


Crack (