Jurgen Melzer

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 (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Roger Federer (above), holds his head during his too close for comfort first round match with Alejandro Falla.


Roger Federer, the defending champion, six time champion, and top seed, wasn’t the only top male to find himself on the brink of elimination today in the first round on the first day of Wimbledon, 2010.  Third seed Novak Djokovic, desperate for a good result here, was also down 2 sets to 1 and a break to Belgian one hander, Olivier Rocchus, and was able to climb out of the hole, to win 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in 3 hours and 51 minutes.  The match was completed under the roof on centre court, and ended near 11 pm local time, the latest ever ending Wimbledon match.

Nikolay Davydenko, the 7th seed who missed the last few months due to injury, also had to come back from down 2 sets to 1 against South African 6’7 shot maker and University of Illinois product, Kevin Anderson, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (3), 7-5, 9-7, needing an extended 5th set.  Anderson played amazing tennis, striking 116 winners along with 36 aces, and 41/66 net approaches.  The error count was low on both sides, and Davydenko also played excellent tennis as well, as the edge may have come down to experience.  Davydenko also did an amazing job at net, winning an astounding 85 % of his approaches (30/35).

The rest of today’s first round matches were a bit more predictable on the men’s side, and a few Americans notched wins.

Mardy Fish over Australian prodigy Bernard Tomic, 6-3, 7-6 (8), 6-2.

Dandy Andy over American Rajeev Ram, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Terrible Taylor Dent takes out Juan Ignacio Chela, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (3), 7-5.

American Jesse Witten fell to talented one handed Frenchman, Michael Llodra, 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3.


Seventeeth seeded Ivan Ljubicic fell in straights to Michal Przysiezny of Poland, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Ilija Bozoljac, who will meet Federer in round 2, got by in a tight 4th setter, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) over Nicolas Massu.

Gael Monfils took out Argentine Leonardo Mayer, 6-1, 7-6 (9), 6-2 in Monfils first match at SW-19 since 2007.




In a shocker, 11th seed Marin Cilic lost in straights to Florian Mayer, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (1).

Other victors included former champ Lleyton Hewitt, Feliciano Lopez over American Jessie Levine, Philipp Kolschreiber, Tomas Berdych, Yen-Hsun Lu, Rainer Schuettler, Daniel Brands, Evgeny Korolev, Teimuraz Gabashvili, Karol Beck, Victor Troicki, Peter Luczak, Ben Becker, Arnaud Clement, American teenager Brendan Evans, Lithuanian prodigy Ricardas Barankis, Marsel Ilhan, Jurgen Melzer, Denis Istomin, who upset Stan Wawrinka, and who famously played Nadal to a 4 hour, 3 set match at Queen’s Club 2 weeks ago, and Victor Hanescu.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

John McEnroe (above), who will call matches tomorrow, and play one at the French Open.

Court Philippe Chatrier


(1) Serena Williams vs (7) Sam Stosur

We are biased here, but we’d be surprised if Serena didn’t play through.  Stosur, who defeated Justine Henin in the RO16, just isn’t the same class of player as Serena.  Sam would have to play great and Serena poorly, for her to have a shot.  Sure, we saw a number one seed go down today, but to a guy like Soderling who has tons of weapons. Stosur, a safe player who runs around the forehand a lot, is going to have trouble finding the time to do so against Serena, if Lady S is herself.

(19) Nicolas Almagro vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

Nadal may be more upset that Soderling won than that Federer lost.  But in his quarter, he draws a talented one hander and avid clay courter, but one who has shown a lot of quit in matches against Nadal on clay.  That said, Almagro managed to take a set from Nadal in Madrid, but is 0-6 lifetime versus Rafa.

Court Suzanne Lenglen


(4) Jelena Jankovic vs. (36) Yaroslava Shvedova

We don’t like Jankovic at all usually, but this is a total mismatch in her favor.  Jankovic should be very tough in this match, but Shvedova could have a shot, depending on Jankovic’s inconsistent first serve and poor second serve.  This is the type of match that Jankovic can serve poorly in and win though.  And we don’t know enough about Shvedova to pick her in a match of this magnitude.

(3) Novak Djokovic vs. (22) Jurgen Melzer

Lenglen should be a Serbian sweep tomorrow.  Melzer hits the big time tomorrow and goes home happy, having made his first major final.

Other notable matches


Legends Doubles Over 45

John McEnroe/Andres Gomez vs. Pat Cash/Mikael Pernfors

Women’s Doubles

(1) Venus/Serena vs. (3) Black/Medina Garrigues

Interesting matchup especially since Cara Black and Lizel Huber were a pretty unstoppable doubles team and world # 1’s until the Williams sisters returned to major doubles.  The rumor is that constant losing to the Williams’ broke up that team. 

Legends Women

Martina Navratilova/Jana Novotna vs. Mary Joe Fernandez/Conchita Martinez

Legends Men’s Under 45

Goran Ivanisevic/Michael Stich vs. Thomas Muster/Mark Woodforde

Enjoy old timer’s day at Roland Garros because there doesn’t figure to be the hottest competition in the men’s and women’s quarter-final matches.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Jurgen Melzer (above) and Novak Djokovic (below).

Robby Ginperi’s dream run at the French Open was upended in 4 sets by Novak Djokovic, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in 2 hours and 16 minutes.  Ginepri was the last remaining American in the draw.  For Ginepri, it was his best ever showing against world # 3 Djokovic, who he had never won a set from prior to today.  Ginepri is now 0-5 against Djokovic, who may be gazing ahead to a possible semi-final showdown with Rafael Nadal, whom he is yet to defeat on clay, despite some epic matches.

First however, Djokovic will have to defeat (22) Jurgen Melzer, who also advanced today.  Take a look at the Ginepri-Djokovic match stats:

     Ginepri (USA)   Djokovic (SRB)
  1st Serve % 64 of 87 = 74 % 76 of 109 = 70 %
  Aces 3 2
  Double Faults 0 2
  Unforced Errors 32 29
  Winning % on 1st Serve 44 of 64 = 69 % 52 of 76 = 68 %
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 10 of 23 = 43 % 18 of 31 = 58 %
  Winners (Including Service) 31 36
  Receiving Points Won 39 of 109 = 36 % 33 of 87 = 38 %
  Break Point Conversions 2 of 8 = 25 % 5 of 9 = 56 %
  Net Approaches 7 of 11 = 64 % 16 of 27 = 59 %
  Total Points Won 93 103
   Fastest Serve Speed 202 KMH 198 KMH
   Average 1st Serve Speed 179 KMH 185 KMH
   Average 2nd Serve Speed 146 KMH 156 KMH

For Jurgen Melzer, the 29 year old reaches his first major quarter-final, after never before having passed the third round of a major.  Melzer bounced Teimuraz Gabashvili, ending his dream run which included an upset over Andy Roddick, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in 2 hours and 54 minutes.  Check out those match stats below:

     Gabashvili (RUS)   Melzer (AUT)
  1st Serve % 70 of 123 = 57 % 69 of 128 = 54 %
  Aces 9 11
  Double Faults 1 1
  Unforced Errors 45 27
  Winning % on 1st Serve 47 of 70 = 67 % 54 of 69 = 78 %
  Winning % on 2nd Serve 30 of 52 = 58 % 34 of 58 = 59 %
  Winners (Including Service) 58 50
  Receiving Points Won 40 of 128 = 31 % 46 of 123 = 37 %
  Break Point Conversions 2 of 8 = 25 % 4 of 13 = 31 %
  Net Approaches 12 of 27 = 44 % 31 of 38 = 82 %
  Total Points Won 117 134
   Fastest Serve Speed 206 KMH 207 KMH
   Average 1st Serve Speed 183 KMH 183 KMH
   Average 2nd Serve Speed 145 KMH 147 KMH

No upsets for the men so far today, though Nicolas Almagro is out to an early lead over Fernando Verdasco, 4-1, in the first set.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)


Will the last remaining American male, Robby Ginepri (above), be waiving goodbye to Paris tommorow?

Court Philippe Chatrier


Robby Ginepri vs. (3) Novak Djokovic

This is a tough ask for Ginepri, on top of the tough ask he improbably pulled off on Saturday, topping former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in 5 sets.  Ginepri’s fitness after a 5 set match is not a question.  This one should come down to a big talent mismatch, as the others in this head to head have.  The Djoker is 4-0 lifetime, and has yet to lose a set to Ginepri, ever.  He even handed Ginepri the most lopsided loss in his career at Roland Garros way back in 2005, 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 in just 1 hour and 18 minutes.  This match is Djokovic’s to lose, but it’s hard to pencil in the Serb because of his poor conditioning and always say quit attitude.

(1) Serena vs. (18) Shahar Peer


Serena should win fairly handily, though Peer’s playing great tennis.  This is a very interesting matchup, especially on Peer’s end.  I hear that in Israel everything stops when she plays, like in Japan, when Ichiro has an at bat, and there are televisions on showing her playing literally everywhere.  That’s enormous pressure.  Serena seems to be in top condition, though she did have a mental lapse for an entire set in round 3 versus Pavlyuchenkova.  Serena seems to want this title though, even if she has to go through Henin and Jankovic before even playing the final.  A victory in this major would give her 2 legs of the slam, with the hardest one for her already under her belt.  Serena is playing for history.  I hate to jinx it, but history might be in trouble.

(24) Thomaz Bellucci vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

One previous encounter, which Nadal won in straights, but Bellucci took a set to a tie-breaker, and kept Rafa on court for almost 3 hours.  Bellucci has had a checkered clay court season, and though he is 22-12 on the year, he hasn’t reallly put much of a win streak together, hasn’t won a tournament, and hasn’t beaten anyone of note.  And David Ferrer completely smoked him a couple of weeks ago, a bad sign for the Brazilian in a matchup against Nadal.  For Nadal, it will be 3 best of 5 set matches in four days, and cumulative toll has always brought his level down some, with his creaky knees.  It would be nice if Bellucci took a set from Nadal, who is yet to lose one at Roland Garros this year.  And in a perfect world, Bellucci would take 3.

(4) Jelena Jankovic vs. (23) Daniela Hantuchova

Jaja versus Dani Hani…what can we say?  Hantuchova is usually loathe to win a big match, and the surface suits Jankovic to a tee, she of the Gael Monfils school of hard court sliding.  I wish I felt DH had a shot, and I know she will get opportunities because of Jankovic’s horrendous serve, but Hantuchova doesn’t seem mentally tough enough to pull it off. 

Court Suzanne Lenglen


(22) Jurgen Melzer vs. Teimuraz Gabashvili

I saw both of these players up close and personal at the US Open in 2008.  Melzer, I thought was overmatched, but scratched out an incredible 5 set win versus Feliciano Lopez.  Gabashvili was also overmatched, and played steady, but lost to Stanislas Wawrinka (by the way, we sat next to Stan’s wife–much fitter than Mirka if you were wondering).  Gabashvili has sort of caught lightning in a bottle here, while Melzer, has steadily improved to the point where he is taking out very legitimate clay courters (David Ferrer).  Melzer has arrived.  I like him tomorrow, big.  It is very unlikely that Gabashvili will have another incredible day on his serve, which carried him against Roddick.

(22) Henin vs. (7) Stosur


Not so fast, Henin bandwagon.  Stosur is going to come to play.  You wouldn’t think Paris was best suited for an Aussie, but Sam is best here on the red clay.  Henin has played well overall, but people aren’t quivering in fear like they once were.  And Henin had a tough weekend courtesy of Maria Sharapova.  I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that the classy Australian can take the Belgian waffle.

(7) Fernando Verdasco vs. (19) Nicolas Almagro


Let’s hope Verdasco wins.  It would set up a very interesting quarter-final between him and Nadal, who he is very tired of losing to.

Jarmila Groth (Aus) vs. Yaroslava Shvedova (Kaz)


Watch this match between unheard ofs, in which one will become a major quarter-finalist become the match of the day.  I wish I could tell you something about these two, but I can’t muster much.  Shvedova has a higher profile than Groth, ranked # 36 in he world.  But Groth has 2 things going for her.  She beat Shvedova at Wimbledon in 2008 in what has been their only match to date.  And Groth is hotter.

Groth (above).

All in all, I thought the Sunday RO16 matchups were way more interesting and competitive than tomorrow’s will be, but at least we don’t have to watch NBC edit our sport tomorrow.

–Crack (http:crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

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