Howdy, folks. A lot of discussions and entertainment on my blog as usual so thanks for that. Next week is the inaugural tournament for Istanbul and today the draw was released. Roger is, of course, the top seed while his clone Dimitrov is the second seed. This is probably the weakest ATP 250 I have ever laid my eyes upon, and I’m 100% serious when I say that. I can’t remember seeing a weaker draw. I guess they offered Roger 100% of the appearance fees available while Dimitrov did it just to play in the same event as Roger.
- A Must Win Situation
That is how desperate he is to be like Roger and why he is still losing 6-3, 6-1 to Monfils in Monte Carlo. The third seed in Istanbul is Cuevas while Giraldo is the fourth seed, so really there is not much room for error for Roger here. Anything less than a title would be a failure if we are being honest. After what happened in Monte Carlo it is a good opportunity to set the record straight because it is a weak event and a title is a title. But like I said the flip side of that is that he has to win it.
Even if he loses in the final it would look like another failure. There was quite a lot expected of Roger after winning Dubai and making the Indian Wells final. The Monte Carlo loss was a setback, not necessarily because Roger lost but the way he lost. Losing in straight sets to Monfils after being 5-3 up in the second set tie-break with a serve to come reminded of the Roger that lost in Melbourne to Seppi. If he wins Istanbul then that would kind of cancel out the loss in Monte Carlo and he can go to Madrid and Rome with a clean slate.
- Nishikori On Fire in Barcelona
As for Barcelona today Nishikori destroyed Klizan 6-1, 6-2 who is a player I happen to have a lot of respect for. I also watched that match and Nishikori was on fire. He will play Andujar in the final who had a terrific 7-6(6), 6-3 win over Ferrer today. I watched some of that match too and Andujar did incredibly well to come back from 3-6 in the tie-break, and that after he lost his serve when serving for the first set at 6-5. So really a terrific mental effort from a player with a great attitude and that is always good to see.
The way Nishikori is playing though it looks like he will defend his title. If he does that he will also be just 110 points behind Nadal in the rankings. Then it is Madrid where Nadal will defend the title and Nishikori a final. Madrid is high altitude where the balls fly and that does not help Nadal in his current predicament. If Nadal doesn’t make at least the final there he will fall several places in the rankings. It looks likely now that he will be ranked outside the top four for the French Open.
And, of course, that means he will play Djokovic, Roger, Murray, or Nishikori in the quarters. I think Nadal already wants to avoid Nishikori in his quarter in Madrid. He looks very good right now and could easily defeat Nadal with the form he is in. Either way things will get interesting if Nadal is ranked outside the top four in Paris, which looks likely. Who knows, Roger may even get a very rare opportunity to play Nadal in the quarters there while Nadal is at his most fragile…
The is in your court.