Nadal Wins First Grass Court Title in Five Years in Stuttgart

How is everyone doing after the week break? Nadal won his first grass court title since winning Wimbledon in 2010 today when he defeated Troicki 7-6(3), 6-3 in the Stuttgart final. Stuttgart is an ATP 250 event that doesn’t carry much significance, kind of like what was the case with Istanbul. But a title is a title and Nadal had to battle through some tough matches early on against Baghdatis and Tomic. He needed three sets in both those matches and then defeated Monfils and Troicki in straights to win the title.

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Nadal will also be in action at Queen’s this coming week. Usually when he suffers a big loss like the one in Paris he takes a long break, but he seems determined to get back to his best this time. It’s yet to be seen whether he can do so, but given his history you can’t put anything beyond him. His career trajectory is so unpredictable and strange that I won’t be surprised if he wins Wimbledon and the US Open now. That said, Stuttgart was a small event and we will see how he fares in Queen’s this coming week with the big boys back.

  • Queen’s Preview(Draw)

Murray will be back as top seed, Stan as the second seed, Raonic as the third seed, and Cilic as the fourth seed. Cilic played Stuttgart too but lost in the semis to Troicki. I must say it’s pretty nice to see Nadal as the fifth seed for an event like Queen’s. He is in Stan’s quarter but Stan is already playing Kyrgios in the first round, and he has another decent grass court player in Anderson in the second round. There has been quite a bit of talk about Stan’s grass court game after he won the French Open.

Rod Laver, for instance, said that grass should be right up Stan’s alley with his big serve. That remains to be seen. Stan did quite well at Wimbledon last year when he lost in the quarters to Roger in four sets. And maybe with the added confidence of another slam title he can go one or two further this year. I’m just not convinced his game is suited so well to grass. His game tends to be favored by slower surfaces where he has time to set up those big ground strokes.

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That is why he won slams at the two slower slam surfaces. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kyrgios upsets him. His draw will certainly be a test of his grass court prowess. Another weird thing that is going on with Nadal is that his big serve from the 2010 US Open seems to be back, or close to it.  I watched some of his matches against Baghdatis and Tomic and he was serving aces left and right. I guess he is just so ‘talented’ that whenever he needs something extra he can find it at will.

Anyway, it should be interesting to see what happens at Queen’s. Murray is the favorite to make the final in the top half while the bottom half is much more open. I guess anyone out of Stan, Kyrgios, Nadal, and Raonic can make the final there. But the main thing I want to check out is whether Nadal can keep improving. The title in Stuttgart certainly wouldn’t have hurt and with his serve becoming a serious weapon out of nowhere again he can certainly do some damage.

  • Halle Preview(Draw)

The other ATP 500 event this coming week will, of course, be in Halle where Roger is the top seed, followed by Nishikori, Berdych, and Monfils. Roger’s draw looks pretty smooth until the semis where he could play Berdych. Given his routine win over Berdych in Rome I doubt he will be a big concern. Nishikori on grass is not really a big threat either so it looks like an 8th Halle title for Roger. His clay form was good so I don’t see any reason for him to lose here unless Berdych plays out of his skin or something.

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The is in your court.

Posted in ATP 250, ATP 500, Halle, London-Queen's, Stuttgart.

12 Comments

  1. Hello Ru-an, Have been missing hearing from you, it seemed so quiet to come to your blog. Good to hear from you catching up on what has been going on in tennis. Am not surprised about Nadal winning the grass court Final in Stuttgart. He is very determined to do well. As you mentioned, Ru-an, he is unpredictable, one cannot count him out of winning major events……
    Am very much looking forward to see Roger play tennis. Am hoping he will do well and defend his title there. However, it is one match at a time….
    With all the tennis going on this coming week, Ru-an, am looking forward to your blog with comments from all tennis fans.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  2. Hey Ru-an. I noticed you didn’t mention Djoker at all. What’s his grass warm up schedule before Wimby? I always thought queens and Halle were the big ones but maybe the extra time creates more options. Thanks!

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  3. I agree with your Stan analysis, he needs time to set up his big shots and I think he doesn’t deal well with low bounces. Besides being the too lower surface Grand Slams, AO and RG are also the ones with the highest bounce.

    As for Roger’s draw, I think it’s harder than what you are saying, considering that it is his first tournament of the year on grass. He has a solid grass court player in the first round, Kohlschreiber, and then one of two big hitters, Gulbis or Stakhovsky, and the latter has defeated him at Wimbledon already. But yes, he should win the title as he is the best player on grass in the tournament, he just has to show it.

    Nadal is just a box of surprises, and I am also curious to see what he does against harder opponents this week.

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    Veronica Reply:

    FedExpres, agree too about Stan. Don’t think he would be as big a factor in Wimby. And yeah, no draw is easy for Roger these days as we never sure which Roger will turn up. The last two wins against the Czek, Berdych wasn’t really playing well. I would expect Berdych to be playing better and the only real threat in Halle.

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    FedExpress Reply:

    He wasn’t at is best when they last met, but I think Roger’s slice should give him enough trouble. But the fact is that he already beat him at Wimbledon, so we will have to wait and see.

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  4. I think Queens is going to be pretty important to see where Nadal is at. I think Halle is pretty important for Federer as well. So the coming week could be pretty big in deciding how Wimbledon will go. I think if Murray wins here and goes on to face Djokovic in semis again at Wimbledon he will win especially with the crowd support and added confidence of having defeated him both times they played in grass. Things are really starting to heat up now !!

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  5. The Beast starting to get his mojo back?. Maybe the ultimate loss at FO is a blessing in disguise as the pressure is completely off now, he has nothing to lose. He is playing much freer I thought and and more offensive. Even seemed more relaxed. Ominous sign. Despite it being a lesser tourney and facing lesser players, most important is he won a title and it would surely boost his confidence. Queens against the bigger boys would tell us more. If he can go reasonably deep there, then watch out Wimbledon.

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  6. Hi Ruan,
    Hope your fine. Good post as usual. Finally Roger steps into grass courts draw looks decent. Roger said wimbledon will be his priority. serve and volley will be key for Roger.Looking forward for another good show from roger this season too. Nadal played well in stuttgart and serving good will certainly boost his confidence. Djokovic isnt playing any warm up event? Will be interesting grass court season this year. Eagerly waiting to see whether Roger can standalone at wimby with 8th Title.

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  7. Hey Ru-an, there is obviously a huge difference in nadal’s serving but I think it could be all down to the playing surface. A big part of Fed’s success on grass is also the fact that he can get plenty of cheap points from his serve whereas on clay for instance you can count the aces hit on one hand usually.

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  8. I didn’t realize Federer started Monday already in Halle. He squeaked it out in a tiebreaker in 3 sets vs Kohlschreiber. An extremely tight match. Fed got rattled by a late challenged by Kohlschreiber allowed by Maurier in the 2nd set and was promptly broken. In the 3rd things were tight but Federer managed two match points at 15-40, at 4-5 . But Kohlschreiber came up with great shots (bit timid from Fed here, but really Kohlschrieber deserved to get out of it). Then in the tiebreaker Fed was down a mini break twice – Kohlschreiber had the match on his serve, serving at 5-4 with 2 serves coming up. But a clever wrong footing and then a slip I think from Kohschrelber led him to drop both his serves…crazy drama.

    Hopefully Fed can settle down but up next are his Grand Slam conquerors Stakovsky or Guibis…

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    Ajay Reply:

    I hope he plays Stakhovsky and then Berdych in the semis and defeats them. He can exorcise his bad loses in grass against them that way !!

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  9. Nadal will deep at wimbledon but he won’t win it…though am positive he will win the US open. He can’t go a season without a slam. Well, I can be biased that way because am a nadal fan…great post RUAN as usual i always go thru ur blog for its insightful as well as entertaining

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