So Far in Miami

Hey folks. Just an update on what has so far transpired in Maimi as my first post about live action for The Ultimate Tennis Blog. Quite a few seeds have already fallen, the highest of which was Lopez(10). Lopez lost to Thiem who I like quite a bit with his one-handed backhand and his attitude towards the game. He has been struggling quite a bit so far this year, not quite living up to the promise he showed so far. So it was nice for me to see him finally get another big win. He seems to like playing Lopez because this is now his second win over Lopez after straight setting him in the US Open third round last year. Thiem will now play Sock who defeated 21st seed Fognini. Sock has been playing well lately so it will be a tough match but winnable.

Another youngster who is showing promise is 17-year old Alexander Zverev, who recorded his first Masters Series level win in Miami with a win over Sam Groth. And yet another 17-year old Russian called Andrey Rublev won his first Masters level match with a win over Carreno Busta. The future of tennis is looking bright with the rise of Thiem, Kyrgios, Coric, Kokkinakis, Zverev, and Rublev. And then there are of course the slightly older generation of Nishikori, Dimitrov, and Raonic who have already established themselves to a certain extent. So the future of tennis is looking good. As far as Coric goes he also played Miami and won his first match, but then got bageled by Goffin. So from the youngsters only Thiem is left now.

I’ll take Hantuchova :D

Raonic, Dimitrov, and Nishikori all had easy wins so far. The same goes for big four members Nadal and Murray. Nadal didn’t look particularly impressive against Almagro but you can always rely on Almagro for unlimited amounts of choking. Nadal’s draw is a bit of a joke with his usual Spanish yes men nicely lined up for him. He now plays Fernando ‘Fiasco’ Verdasco after which he plays the winner of Monaco and Garcia-Lopez. Gulbis(14) again did his seeding an injustice when he lost to Monaco and desperately needs to fix his forehand which is a monstrosity. The tragic thing about Gulbis is that he used to have a decent forehand but then changed it to the current monstrosity which is technically the most flawed shot in tennis probably.

Nadal isn’t complaining. An in form Gulbis could have been a threat to him but now he may instead face one of his biggest admirers in Monaco. Hopefully Garcia-Lopez wins as he at least has a win over Nadal. But I think on these slow courts Nadal should easily make semis. Then he could play against Murray or Stan which could get interesting. Finally I get to Djokovic who dropped the second set against Klizan after bageling him in the opening set. I watched the first set and the beginning of the second set where Djokovic got broken but broke right back. I figured it would soon be over and went to bed. This morning I found out Djokovic actually served for the second set at 5-3 after which Klizan went on a tear of four straight games to win the second set 7-5.

The serve has become a potent weapon for Djokovic

But as was the case against Roger Djokovic just kept his level up to bread stick Klizan in the final set. I’m not surprised that Klizan won the second set because he is actually a very good player who has a win over Nadal for instance. So it was the same pattern as the Indian Wells final where the opponent played inspired tennis in the second set but couldn’t keep it up and convincingly lost the final set. Djokovic’s consistent high quality of play is what makes him so damn hard to beat on slow hard court. To win one set you have to play unreal offensive tennis that is impossible to keep up over the entire match, so he just goes ahead and finish you off as soon as your level drops again.

It really is spectacularly difficult to penetrate his unreal defense and base line consistency for long enough to beat him on slow hard court, which is why he is already probably the slow hard court GOAT. His movement, backhand, and return of serve in particular is unreal. Then his serve has become a real weapon and his forehand has always been good. I think he will win Miami without too much trouble too and do a record third Indian Wells/Miami double. Roger did it twice and should Djokovic get it done, while at the same time winning a fifth Miami title, it would be another huge hard court achievement. He really is becoming one of the all time hard court greats but for the moment Roger is still well ahead of him in that regard.

 

Highlights:

Posted in Masters 1000, Miami.

27 Comments

  1. Yep, that’s exactly what happened in the second set that you didn’t see. Klizan really did play inspired aggressive tennis, going for every shot and keeping it up for the whole set. I just knew that level was impossible to maintain. But, Djoko’s play did confirm one tiny hole in his game. If he has any weakness at all it’s being rushed by hard deep shots to his forehand. Most players are afraid to go there, but if you’re on fire, it’s a much better way to go than trying to break down his rock solid backhand. The extra bonus is that if you can get Djoko pissed off about his forehand, he starts serving less dominantly and even throws in some double faults. It’s hard to do and can barely be considered a weakness, but it’s something that a guy line Roger could try to exploit.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good point Eric. Djokovic prefers to take on the rise on his bh rather than his fh. But when it comes to slow hc it doesn’t matter really. We have already seen how he can be broken down by great offensive play on a faster court, but as soon as it goes to slow hc the same player can’t do the same thing.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Check this out lol

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    Eric Reply:

    i didn’t know he started out with a normal forehand and built this monstrosity on purpose. Why??? I assumed it was a childhood thing and he was afraid to mess with it. So silly.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Dunno. Apparently Cahill said it was a shaky shot so he changed it. LOL.

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    Eric Reply:

    Seriously??? Cahill did that?? Oh my God, I can’t believe he isn’t constantly and brutally ridiculed for that. Embarrassing.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I didn’t say Cahill changed it. I think he just said it was a shaky shot as the reason for Gulbis changing it. But now it’s ten times as shaky.

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    Eric Reply:

    I’m glad you clarified that. I lost a whole lot of respect for Cahill in the last few minutes – haha. And I like him. Gulbis seems like the kind of guy that doesn’t really listen to anyone anyway.

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    Eric Reply:

    Seems like an uncoachable big mouth rich kid. And mouthing off and then beating Fed last year really pissed me off. no respect. I’d love to see them run into each other at this years Wimbledon. :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah that pissed me off too. I don’t care for Gulbis. Watching Nadal making Verdasco choke again btw?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha no I don’t think Cahill is capable of such insanity. I like him too.

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  2. SAME OLD, SAME OLD

    I like how you use this new “tennisblog” to be more objective towards Nadal…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I approved this comment to show people why I don’t want a fan blog and how retarded fan bases are. Despite being a Fedfan myself and giving Nadal loads of credit, to the annoyance of my own readers, I still get messages like these. When it comes to fan blogs you can’t win. There is no middle ground and that is extremist thinking. I don’t want that and I don’t think it’s healthy. And I am also tired of having to delete comments from extremist fans like these on a consistent basis to protect my readers. This comment is nothing compared to some I have deleted which were flat out abusive. So I am done with that nonsense.

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    Eric Reply:

    I could see how this stuff could get really annoying to you especially as you say you read and delete so much more of it then we readers ever see. Will be interesting who sticks around and over time who else comes to view your new blog now that it’s transforming. Change is hard for people. Look how long it took Roger to step up to a bigger racket. But if you want to be as great as you can be, in all things, you have to fight through fear of change.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks man I appreciate that. I have deleted things you don’t want to see. This is why I say this stuff is a bit sick and extreme, and I hope I can help some of my readers see the stupidity of it. There is no one currently who comments on my blog who is too extreme but I’d like some of them to follow my lead and try to be more objective in which case they will enjoy the game more too. I was after all similarly biased at some point. But I think it is always important to grow as a tennis fan or as anything else. It’s like you say, change can be painful but without it life would not be possible. One must leave behind childish things.

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  3. Hey Ru-an and guys, what’s up?? Hope you all are fine. First, Ru-an, congrats on the new title and the new “blog”. Second, this year I have to do 4 courses with exams for my work. I am currently doing my first course and in the last week of April I have my exam (hey Eric, you are not the only one battling work and sleep :-) ). So… I won’t have much time to comment (will try to), but I will read it all.
    Just guys… don’t forget me :-) :-)

    Ps 1: Who is this Mannarino?? First time I heard about him was when he was playing Roger and when Roger beat him. Now… he is beating players left and right, including GS winner Stan the Man??

    Ps 2: Like you Ru-an, I was watching (after learning my butt off !!!) Novak playing Klizan. In the 2nd set at 5-3 I turned off my laptop thinking “well, all he needs is one game”. Imagine my surprise when the next day I found out he did win it, but lost the set??

    Ps 3: Don’t the Spanish players know by now that they cannot beat Rafa or trouble him?? The Great Uncle Toni won’t invite them for Christmas dinner again :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Will chat to you guys tomorrow. Off to bed now.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello Katyani, how are you? Don’t worry we won’t forget you.
    1) Mannarino isn’t anything special, although he is been pretty good of late.
    2) Funny.
    3) Speaking of Uncle Toni, did you see the priceless expression on his face when Verdasco was kicking Nadal’s ass?

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  4. Oh and Ronnie… you are hereby ordered to leave atleast one comment a month. I know you have millions of dollars to spend on your numerous vacations… but you have to leave a small comment.
    You can choose from the words:
    a) present
    b) still here
    c) smileyface

    Missed you sweet girl :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘ I know you have millions of dollars to spend on your numerous vacations’. Lol good one.

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  5. Hey Katyani is in the house!!! Don’t worry you will never be forgotten. Good luck with your studies and exams! Hey Ru-an thanks so much for the heads up. A very rare treat indeed. I love watching that guy implode like that and lose. On thing I will say on his behalf that I was surprised to see. On his way out after losing he still stopped and signed a bunch of autographs for the kids. Very cool. Congrats to Fissco, he got a lot of help but he hung on and got it done.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Verdasco was playing close to his potential for once, but got loads of help from Nadal too.

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  6. I’m starting to feel really sorry for Rafa……..sorry guys, I’m only human!!! hehe! Ultimate Congrats Ru-an!!!!! Be back later Ru-an, I promise!!! Gotta rush…..Hi Kat! a)not quite present, b) not quite here, c) smiley’s stolen by Dutch Dynamite and in her FULL possession!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha what an entrance. Don’t worry this is Ultimate Tennis now so you don’t have to feel bad about feeling sorry for Nadal. Personally I don’t feel sorry for him but I don’t get the same kick out of his losses that I used to. And that’s because it happens so often lately! Glad you left a comment because I was about to tell Katyani I am a little disappointed in your absence, but that I’m sure you have a good reason!

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