Tuesday, February 03, 2009

DOWN THE TEE is on vacation!

DOWN THE TEE is currently on vacation, but will be back very soon to give you the latest updates from around the ATP Tour!

Monday, February 02, 2009

This Week's Biggest Movers*

On the rise:
  • #89 (+19) Dudi Sela (ISR)
  • #98 (+17) Wayne Odesnik (USA)
  • #65 (+14) Tommy Haas (GER)
  • #86 (+14) Brian Dabul (ARG)
  • #85 (+12) Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)
Moving down:
  • #108 (-38) Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
  • #122 (-37) Kristof Vliegen (BEL)
  • #101 (-36) Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)
  • #109 (-27) Vince Spadea (USA)
  • #119 (-26) Andrey Golubev (KAZ) 
*Each week, this features players in or just recently out of the Top 100 whose rankings have undergone the greatest change since the previous week.

ATP Challenger Series Results* (Jan. 25-Feb. 1)

Carson, California, USA (Hard)
No. 4 Wayne Odesnik (USA) def. Scoville Jenkins (USA), 6-4, 6-4

Heilbronn, Germany
Benjamin Becker (GER) def. Karol Beck (SVK), 6-4, 6-4

Bucaramanga, Colombia (Clay)
No. 4 Horacio Zeballos (ARG) def. WC Carlos Salamanca (COL), 7-5, 6-2

Key Terms
WC = Wild Card

*The ATP Challenger Series is a series of international men’s professional tennis tournaments throughout the world that allow players to win enough ranking points to earn an entry into an ATP-level main draw or qualifying draw. The ATP Challenger Series is fully administered by the ATP Tour.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

No. 1 Nadal conquers No. 2 Federer in five-sets to win Australian Open title

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal captured his first career Australian Open title and sixth Grand Slam crown by defeating No. 2 Roger Federer, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2, on Sunday night in Melbourne in a match that last four hours and 22-minutes. By defeating Federer in a major final for the third straight time, Nadal denied Federer a chance at tying Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles. Nadal currently owns a 13-6 all-time record against the Swiss.

In the first game of the opening set, Federer came out of the gates nervous, getting broken easily after hitting a double fault and miss hitting two backhands. Nadal couldn’t consolidate the break, as the 13-time Grand Slam champion quickly broke back to even the set at 1-1. In the sixth game, Federer broke serve and went ahead 4-2. In the next game Nadal was able to break serve right back by smashing two running forehand winners and getting help
from Federer as he double-faulted on break point. Nadal broke serve to go up 6-5 and easily held to win the opening set in 58-minutes.

After both players comfortably held serve, the 22-year-old Spaniard broke serve and looked as if he was about to run away with the match, but the 27-year-old from Basel returned the favor by breaking serve on a Nadal double fault. Federer started to find his form on his groundstrokes and was able to win four straight games to capture the second set and level the match at one set apiece.

In the sixth game of the third set, Federer managed to dig himself out of trouble with huge shot making to level the match at 3-3. In the ninth and 11th games of the set, Federer wasted multiple break point chances on Nadal’s serve, as the set headed to a tiebreak. From the start of the tiebreak, the Spaniard was on cruise control and would win the set on his first set point.

In the fifth game of the fourth set, Federer decided to test out Nadal’s fitness with a couple drop shots due to the Spaniard’s semifinal five-set thriller that lasted over five hours on Friday night. Nadal was able to chase the drop shots down and had five break point opportunites but was unable to convert on those chances. Federer went on to win three straight games and win the 45-minute set to level the match and take the match to a fifth and final set.

Despite having plenty of momentum on his side following the fourth set, Federer hit many unforced errors and a few crucial double faults that ultimately cost him the match. At 2-5 down, Federer continued to play very tense tennis and committed a double fault and an unforced error. On his third match point, Nadal won the title when Federer hit his 64th error of the match. Nadal fell to the ground in excitement as his coach, father and other members of the Nadal camp embraced each other with enthusiasm.

“I had many chances. I missed them and they cost me dearly,” said Federer. “It was a tough match. I don't think I served particularly well, unfortunately. And I think that was the key to the match in the end.”

Currently the reigning champion at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and now the Australian Open, Nadal becomes the fourth man to win Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces. At 22 years and seven months old, Nadal is the second youngest man in the Open Era to have won six Grand Slam singles titles. Nadal also becomes the first left-hander to capture the Melbourne title since Petr Korda won the crown in 1998.

Having played in 14 of the past 15 Grand Slam finals, Federer is the third man in history to play the finals at each Grand Slam at least three times. The owner of 168 career wins in Grand Slam matches, Federer will now have to wait until the French Open to try and tie Pete Sampras’ all-time Grand Slam singles title record.

Throughout the five-set thriller, Nadal hit 50 winners and 41 unforced errors compared to 71 winners and 64 unforced errors by Federer. Nadal made 64 percent of first serve points and won 66 percent of those points while breaking serve on seven occasions. Despite only managing to make 52 percent of first serves, Federer won 73 percent of those points. The Swiss was 6 of 19 on break point opportunities.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Nadal wins five-hour Aussie Open classic; Federer awaits in championship match

Australian Open
Melbourne, Australia
January 19-February 1, 2009
$10,142,240 (AUS) / 128 Draw
Hard Courts

Singles – Semifinal

No. 1 Rafael Nadal def. No. 14 Fernando Verdasco, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-7(1), 6-4

—Nadal: 12; Verdasco: 20
Doubles Faults—Nadal: 3; Verdasco: 4
Winners—Nadal: 52; Verdasco: 95
Unforced Errors—Nadal: 25; Verdasco: 76
First Serve Percentage—Nadal: 74%; Verdasco: 69%
Percentage of First Serve Points Won—Nadal: 72%; Verdasco: 71%
Percentage of Second Serve Points Won—Nadal: 62%; Verdasco: 55%
Receiving Points Won—Nadal: 34%; Verdasco: 31%
Net Points Won—Nadal: 70%; Verdasco: 65%
Break Point Conversions—Nadal: 4 of 20; Verdasco: 2 of 4
Total Points Won—Nadal: 193; Verdasco: 192

Total Time of Match—5 hours and 14 minutes

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Federer thumps Roddick to reach Aussie Open final; seeks 14th Grand Slam title

On Thursday night at the Australian Open in Melbourne, second-seeded Roger Federer (pictured) put together another dominating performance by ousting seventh-seeded American Andy Roddick, 6-2, 7-5, 7-5, in two hours and seven minutes. By reaching his fourth career Australian Open final, Federer is within one victory of equaling Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles.

Having won their previous meeting at the Masters Series Miami last year in three sets, Roddick was determined to give it all he had. However, in the third game of the opening set things already started going Federer’s way as the Swiss struck first by breaking the American’s serve with a forehand passing shot. Roddick had a break point opportunity in the next game but the 27-year-old Swiss saved break point with a brilliant forehand passing
shot and would eventually win the game. The 13-time Grand Slam singles champion would never look back. The former World No. 1 clinched the opening set in 32-minutes when the American missed a backhand service return.

“I served well in the first set and that gave me a lot of confidence,” Federer said.

Things looked like they were slipping away from Roddick after falling behind two break points on his opening service game of the second set, but he quickly recovered to hold serve. At 5-5, Federer broke Roddick at love and would hold his serve at love to take the 43-minute second set in convincing fashion. In the second set, Federer only hit one unforced error.

In a close third set that highlighted Federer’s brilliant tennis game and mind, Roddick showed his frustration at 2-2 when he was called for a audible obscenity by chair umpire Eric Molina when he needed to fight off two break point opportunities. Despite holding serve at love on five occasions throughout the match and saving three break points in the 11th game of the third set, Roddick couldn’t save another when Federer ripped a forehand cross court. Federer smoothly held serve at 6-5 to capture his ninth win of the season and reach his 18th career Grand Slam singles final.

“I do feel better mentally (than last year). I'm obviously healthy so I can focus on playing well. I'm really pleased about my performance so far in the tournament. The draw was difficult and dangerous if you look back on who I had to play,” said Federer. “I'd like to play Fernando because he's never played a Grand Slam final before. “I have an edge there. Playing Rafa is obviously more exciting because of the history we have playing in so many Grand Slam finals.”

En route to his 16th victory in 18 meetings against Roddick, Federer smashed 16 aces and no double faults compared to eight aces and two double faults by the American. The World No. 2 smashed 51 winners, won 83 percent of first serve points, won 63 percent of net approaches and broke serve on four occasions throughout the match. Attempting to win his fourth Australian Open, Federer is hoping to join Andre Agassi, Ken Rosewall and Jack Crawford as the only men to win four titles at the year’s first Grand Slam. Having spent 12 hours and 35 minutes on court through six matches, Federer would move into a second place tie with Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi with 48 victories in Melbourne since 1968 if he wins the championship on Sunday.

Federer now awaits the winner of No. 1 Rafael Nadal or No. 14 Fernando Verdasco, who will clash in an all-Spanish semifinal tonight on Rod Laver Arena. Nadal owns a 6-0 series edge against Verdasco, with the top-ranked Spaniard losing only two sets total in all six encounters.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Australian Open semifinal matchups set; Nadal vs. Verdasco; Federer vs. Roddick

Australian Open
Melbourne, Australia
January 19-February 1, 2009
$10,142,240 (AUS) / 128 Draw
Hard Courts

Singles – Quarterfinals

No. 2 Roger Federer def. No. 8 Juan Martin Del Potro, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0
—Federer: 12; Del Potro 5
Double Faults—Federer: 0; Del Potro: 2
Unforced Errors—Federer: 9; Del Potro: 24
First Serve Percentage—Federer: 70%; Del Potro: 59%
Percentage of First Serve Points Won—Federer: 86%; Del Potro: 46%
Net Points Won—Federer: 84%; Del Potro: 45%
Receiving Points Won—Federer: 59%; Del Potro: 17%
Break Point Conversions—Federer: 7 of 11; Del Potro: 0 of 0
Total Points Won—Federer: 83; Del Potro: 36

No. 7 Andy Roddick def. No. 3 Novak Djokovic, 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2, 2-1, ret. injury

Aces—Roddick: 16; Djokovic: 8
Double Faults—Roddick: 5; Djokovic: 5
Unforced Errors—Roddick: 14; Djokovic: 39
First Serve Percentage—Roddick: 71%; Djokovic: 62%
Percentage of First Serve Points Won—Roddick: 87%; Djokovic: 63%
Net Points Won—Roddick: 54%; Djokovic: 50%
Receiving Points Won—Roddick: 43%; Djokovic: 25%
Break Point Conversions—Roddick: 5 of 12; Djokovic: 1 of 1
Total Points Won—Roddick: 114; Djokovic: 88

No. 1 Rafael Nadal def. No. 6 Gilles Simon, 6-2, 7-5, 7-5
—Nadal: 5; Simon: 4
Double Faults—Nadal: 2; Simon: 4
Unforced Errors—Nadal: 24; Simon: 41
First Serve Percentage—Nadal: 67%; Simon: 55%
Percentage of First Serve Points Won—Nadal: 73%; Simon: 71%
Net Points Won—Nadal: 87%; Simon: 66%
Receiving Points Won—Nadal: 44%; Simon: 32%
Break Point Conversions—Nadal: 7 of 12; Simon 3 of 7
Total Points Won—Nadal: 105; Simon: 83

No. 14 Fernando Verdasco def. No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
—Verdasco: 7; Tsonga: 9
Double Faults—Verdasco: 3; Tsonga: 3
Unforced Errors—Verdasco: 29; Tsonga: 40
First Serve Percentage—Verdasco: 78%; Tsonga: 65%
Percentage of First Serve Points Won—Verdasco: 69%; Tsonga: 72%
Net Points Won—Verdasco: 70%; Tsonga: 61%
Receiving Points Won—Verdasco: 36%; Tsonga: 33%
Break Point Conversions—Verdasco: 4 of 4; Tsonga: 2 of 13
Total Points Won—Verdasco: 129; Tsonga: 114