Archives for July 2015

The Picks: Murray vs Federer, can Andy stop the great Rog at Wimbledon?

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2- Roger Federer vs. 3-Andy Murray

This will be hell of a match. The last time at Wimbledon was in 2012 in the final, when the Swiss took Murray in four sets. That was Federer’s last Grand Slam, but really, it doesn’t matter too much, because the 33 year old is still brilliant on grass. Yes, he might be a little slower when running around, but his volleys have improved over the past two years (thanks, Stefan Edberg) and his one-handed backhand has also become better when going down the line. Here at the 2015 Wimbledon during the past 11 days, he has been clinical, trouncing five partners.

With all that said, it is Murray’s time. The world has it that the Britain’s has a sore shoulder, which isn’t great, but he did not win two majors and a Olympic gold because he was bombing aces. He won because he has a lot of different shots and likes to play long points.

If Murray is going to win the match, he has three critical things:

1: He has improvement his forehand over the past five years, but he was to push forward, swing hard and believe that he can stroke the lines. He cannot just throw it up deep and soft. He has to crack it.

2: His first serve isn’t massive, but it is pretty darn good and he mixed it well. It’s his second serve that is problematic: he cannot just push it down the middle. He has to make sure that he shows depth.

3: Murray’s volleys are exquisite. He doesn’t have to charge the net all the time, just enough to bother Federer, because he knows that the Swiss would love to take it over the net, and if he does, Federer will win the contests hands down.

Murray will do all the three things and win it in five glorious sets.

1-Novak Djokovic v 21-Richard Gasquet

This is quite surprising, considering it looked like the Roland Garros Wawrinka champion was going to dispatch Gasquet and get ready to face Djokovic again. But the Frenchman showed a lot of guts and won in five terrific sets.

But does Gasquet have a legit chance to upset No. 1 Djokovic on grass? Probably not, considering that the Serbian is 11-1 on head-to-head. But they have never played on grass before and Gasquet did reach the semis at 2007 Wimbledon, so he can attack the ball and dig in. Let’s say that Gasquet one a set, but the defending champion Djokovic will be super-steady and win it in four sets.

Wimbledon: Serena clocks Sharapova, young Muguruza stops Radwanska

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It was inevitable. Maria Sharapova was going to hit the corner as hard as she could, but before she started, she had to return Serena’s massive serves and when she was serving, she had to be very unpredictable. She did not on both accounts.

Once again, Serena Williams thumped past Sharapova 6-2 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon final for the eight time. The 33-year-old Serena was cool, collected and lethal. She did not face a break points, she nailed 13 aces, and she won 86 percent of her first serves (25 of 29, thank you). She broke Sharapova three times. That was enough.

Yes, Sharapova had a few fine moments, but she was not close to being playing perfect, while Serena almost did. Essentially, it is all about why Serena has beaten Sharapova 17 matches in a row: Serena has a much better first and second serves, and Serena reads Sharapova’s serves substantially better. It is simple, but every effective. When Sharapova manages to get into the points it is 50-50, but that isn’t often enough, as she is frequently skidding around and she cannot dictate. Look at her percentage when Sharapova was hitting her second serve on Thursday: try 29 percent (6/21). Ouch and goodbye.

Perhaps someday, she will finally upset Serena, but she has to figure out where exactly Williams tends to go. She has to dash over quickly and get the ball into play and deep. Serena has a very good idea which way Sharapova is serving (such as down the T all the time), but maybe the Russian/American will finally find it. You know, all the so-called Big-4 (Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal) can return the big guys who serve 140-plus and winning those matches. Is it possible for the five-time champion Sharapova be able to return the 120 mph too? Not yet, but she will keep pushing on.

Eventually, a 21 year old was ready to jump up, and that is exactly what Garbine Muguruza did, when he took down Aga Radwanska 6-2 3-6 6-3. Yes, Radwanska could have played better in the third set, but the Spaniard out hit her and she was very intelligent. She knew that the Pole would try to be trick her, but Muguruza kept looking where the opponent was going. She was patient and when she had a legitimate chance, she went for it. She has a big first serve, she can crack her forehand and backhand and she isn’t shy at the net.

Yes, Williams is the favorite for sure, but Muguruza shocked her at the 2014 Roland Garros and Serena bested her in the Aussie Open, but it was three sets. If Muguruza isn’t very nervous, she can push her.



Wimbledon: Serena knocks down Vika again, Maria stops CoCo

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1-Serena Williams d 23-Victoria Azarenka 3-6 6-2 6-3

Azarenka came out firing, blasting her returns, nailing close to the lines and running like a wind. However, Williams knew that she wasn’t quite ready yet, especially with her serves and once she started clubbing, she began to wore her down. Yes, Azarenka kept trying, she kept deep, but she could not break Serena down, as Williams nailed 17 aces and won 80 percent of her first serve, 39 for 49. According to the stats, Williams had 46 winner and only 12 unforced errors, which might be a bit off, but still, she was darn good. When the 20 Grand Slam is on, she is impossible to beat her.

4-Maria Sharapova beat CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3 6-7(3) 6-2

I am not sure why Vandeweghe was upset that Sharapova had a ‘unsporting behavior,’ because regardless, the Russian/US out hit her in the third set. Yes, Vandeweghe has grown up a lot during the past nine day, upsetting four fine players such as Lucie Safarova, but on Centre Court, she was extremely powerful, but she was up and down and needed to be more calm in the big moments. The five-time champion was sloppy in the second set, but in the third set, Sharapova moved forward and was lethal. Sharapova will face Serena; the only time she has ever beaten her at a major, at 2004 Wimbledon. That was a long, long time ago.

13-Aga Radwanska beat 21-Madison Keys 7-6(3) 3-6 6-3

About three weeks ago, Radwanska was finally feeling good again after four months when she was in a panic. But now she knows exactly which way she is going and when she is prepared to go for it. For the smallish Radwanska, her first serve was excellent and she did a terrific job down the middle and extremely very deep. The 20-year-old Keys is getting better and better and she will be heard at the rest of the US Open summer series.

20-Garbine Muguruza beat 15-Timea Bacsinszky 7-5 6-3

In 1997, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario reached the semis (and final) and that was the only other Spaniard to go deep on grass. But the super-aggressive and fast learner Muguruza overcame the talented Bacsinszky in straight sets. Muguruza hiccupped at the French Open, but this time, she has been touching the line. Radwanska is favored, but the Spaniard moves extremely well and if she isn’t nervous, she can upend the Pole.

7 US players can all win today at Wimbledon, reach 2nd week, or not?

Isner was great in Davis Cup but struggled in the majors.

Isner could face Kudla in the Round of 16


Wimbledon, July 3

Centre Court

Serena Williams vs. Heather Watson

 The No. 1 has lost one match this year and she has been able to squeeze it out when she is ill – hence winning Roland Garros. Now Williams is feeling much better, her first serve is huge on the grass and she knows that she must bend down during the groundstrokes.

The Britain Watson knows how to play the right shots at the All England Club, and she scored two fantastic wins, but she isn’t strong enough against Williams. The American will win is two fast sets.

No. 1 Court

 John Isner vs. Marin Cilic

Can Big John actually upend Cilic, who has beaten them all four times, including the first time they met up when the Croatian outlasted the American 9-7 in the fifth set at the 2011 Aussie Open? Cilic has beaten him on hard courts and clay, but he has yet to face the 6-foot-10 Isner on grass, who has had trouble getting down real low and returning consistently. Yes, the 2014 US Open champion Cilic has been exceptional at the Slams and he is substantially better on his backhand, but Isner is ready to jump on his strokes and when he sees the second serves, he will go for it.

Both men can bomb away with their first serves. Both will nail it — oh who knows, maybe 50 aces each? — and go to four tiebreakers. Isner will grab three out of fours sets to win it. You don’t want Isner to go into the fifth set and play for a minimum 8 hours-plus, do you?

No. 2 Court

 Sloane Stephens vs. Lucie Safarova

Really, Safarova is favored, having reached the 2014 Wimbledon semifinal and a few weeks ago, she reached the Roland Garros final, playing spectacularly well. However, over the past couple months, Stephens has been playing better and better. She pushed Serena hard at RG, and two year ago, she reached the Wimby quarterfinal, losing to Marion Bartoli, who eventually won the title. The American Stephens has to be very steady and when she gets a clean look she needs to rip it. The 22-year-old Stephens will upend Safarova in three dramatic sets.

Venus Williams vs. Aleksandra Krunic

The five-time Wimbledon champ was amazing over the years, but since 2011, Venus has come down a bit and at the age of 35, it is very difficult to run like the wind like she did when she was a teen and throughout the 20s.

However, she knows Wimbledon up and down and the young Serbian does not. Venus can struggle, but regardless she will win in straight sets.

No. 3 Court

CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Sam Stosur

Vandeweghe told me the other day that she thinks that some day she can become No. 1? Well, that’s gutsy considering that this is the first time she has reached the third round at a Slam. She has a huge first serve and she can be super aggressive, which is terrific, but she has to be in control against the former US Open champ Stosur, who doesn’t love the grass overall. However, Stosur can thrown in a bunch of aces and dictate with her forehand. The US Vandeweghe has more weapons, but she can grow wild. However, she will raise her game once again and win it in three sets.

Court 18

Bethanie Mattek-Sands vs. Belinda Bencic

Can the smart veteran out-thing the bright Bencic who is on fire on grass? Perhaps, but Mattek has to be extremely accurate. Mattek charged against Ana Ivanovic and became her uncomfortable, but against the Swiss Bencic, she will have to be a little more conservative. The Swiss likes to pass you, she is cagey and she can run wide. The teenage Bencic loves the grass and she should be in the top 10 by next year because she is very good and she is getting better every month. But Mattek is an excellent doubles player and now she is playing confident now on the singles once again. Mattek will win in three sets.

Denis Kudla vs. Santiago Giraldo

Kudla loves grass, so much so that he has only lost one match in the past three weeks. Yes, he played a couple of Challengers, which is not against the top-50 boys and much lower, but still, he says when he touched on the grass he began to feel comfortable. Now the young American grabbed two matches here at Wimbledon and he is super solid. Without a doubt, Kudla has a long way to go, but he has a great shot against Giraldo, who has never played fantastic on the slippery green stuff. Giraldo has more variety, but Kudla is more effective and he will win in five long sets.


Vandeweghe would love to become No.1, but very long way to go

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WIMBLEDON – CoCo Vandeweghe is still very young, only 23 year old, but she has learned a lot over the past two years. In the second round at Wimbledon, she upset the world No. 11 Karolina Pliskova 7-6(5) 6-4.

On an excellent game for the Americans on Wednesday, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, Bethany Matter-Sands, John Isner and Denis Kudla all came through.

Mattel-Sands, who upended the No. 7 Ana Ivanovic in straight sets, said that the women are stronger and stronger.

“It’s great.  I think we had 16 players in the main draw this year, maybe more, including some doubles players,” Mattel-Sands said. “But, no, a few years ago, I was being asked, What happened to USA tennis, and I said, Well, it comes and goes.  I think there were a lot of younger players that coming that showed promise.  Sure enough, I think we have a really strong contingent of American players and it’s really good to see.”

The San Diego resident Vandeweghe wasn’t afraid at all against Pliskova. She went out on court, hit huge serves and was very effective. Some people thought the Czech might out hit her, but the American knew exactly where she was going. Vandeweghe dictated her terms.

“I wasn’t nervous about playing her. I had more confidence that I was the better player,” Vandeweghe said.

“Not just because of that. I think I have more weapons than her, personally. She’s definitely the higher ranked player, she’s had the results through the year, consistently but I thought off the ground I could rally her, which I did. In the return of serve games if I got a beat on her serve I would be able to break her, which I eventually did. And I thought I could serve better than her, which I did. I really think going there that I was the better player and I should win that match.”

Vandeweghe has a tremendous amount of confidence. She can go up and down at times, but she loves the grass and last year she won a tournament at the Netherlands, grabbing seven wins and the title. A few weeks ago, she went back to the Netherlands, reaching the quarterfinals. She has been ranked inside the top 40 most of this year and she wants to move forward.

This is the first time on the Slams that she has reached the third round. Vandeweghe is ambitious and she believes that some day she could grab No. 1.

“I’ve always thought to be No.1” she said. “It’s kind of similar of going into a match and thinking for me, I’m not going to win. It’s like winning a Grand Slam, winning a gold medal, those are lifelong dreams of mine. So to put it to the way side for whatever reason, I think is silly.”

Vandeweghe admitted that when she first started on the tour, she wasn’t strategic. She was still learning to play, trying to figure it out which way she should play. In 2006, she was given a wild card at a tournament in San Diego. She had a blast, but as she admitted, she could be wild.

Now, she is much smarter.

“Maturity is probably a big thing for me,” she said. “I’ve also improved a lot in the fitness department. I’ve focused a lot on that. I’ve found my game style. I have a lot of variety, a lot of different things I can do on the court. So it was kind of reigning it all in for me.
I always went and played tennis and just played. It wasn’t like game plans or if I get put in this pickle, this what’s going to happen. I’m going to serve my first serve here and I’m putting my first shot here. That was never a structure in my game till about two years ago. It was just me playing tennis.”

Vandeweghe knows Serena very well – they all do. Vandeweghe and Serena once played against each other in 2012, when Williams bested CoCo in the final. The tall and strong woman played very well then, and she has watched a close eye on the legend.

Vandeweghe respects Serena greatly and Williams leads by her example.

“I’ve faced Serena a couple of different times and it’s when you’re down a break point or you feel that momentum switch at 4-3 in the games, where most momentum changes happen in a match – I think Serena is very high up there. She definitely makes it about Serena in any match that she plays. For me, I think that’s also her own way of doing things and that’s her own killer instinct. Where she’s going to take upon herself to beat you – you’re not going to beat her. So that’s just a different mind frame.”


Wimbledon, Day 2: Who did what? Murray, Federer, Querrey, Kvitova, Bouchard, Halep & more

Can Tsonga find new life under Rasheed?

Can Tsonga find new life under Rasheed?



Andy Murray is so un-concerned about the outside the 20 guys that he seems to know exactly what he’s doing. To me, he’s the favorite to win the title once again and he looked fairly good to knock off Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 7-6(3) 6-4.

Many folks think that the time Wimbledon champion Rafa Nadal doesn’t have a great shot, but eventually he will come back again and he looks pretty darn and smoking Thomaz Bellucci 6-4 6-2 6-4.

Perhaps Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will stay healthy during this week, and he hung in there to tough out the lefty   Gilles Muller 7-6(8) 6-7(3) 6-4 3-6 6-2, but he is not going to make his knees fall apart again?

The American Sam Querrey says that he is much happier on the grass rather than clay. As he said, he just can’t go deep on the red dirt. So now the 27 year old can hit his serve very hard, blast his forehand and on occasion, coming into net. He was quite happy after beating   Igor Sijsling 7-5 6-3 6-4. Guess who has to play in the second round? Roger Federer? A serious underdog.

Does the seven time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer have a real chance to win a major again? It’s been three now which is a long time, but nobody can mix it on the grass like he can. He crushed Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-3 6-3.

The huge serve Samuel Groth upset the young American Jack Sock 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-3. Sock was clearly hurt with his left knee and his arm. He appeared to be a lot of pain. He will have a decent shot of reaching the top 20 by the US Open, but he has to make sure that he is healthy and not over do it.

The young teenager has a ways to go, but in the very least Borna Coric doesn’t appear to give up, especially at the Slams. He beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 1-6 9-7. My he can smoke the ball.


Props to Jana Cepelova for playing quite well, but the world No. 3 Simona Halep faded again, falling 5-7 6-4 6-3. Halep has looked excellent on the hard courts this year, but she was so-so on clay, and she has been mentally checked out

The defending champion Petra Kvitova says that she is still a little bit ill, but she played excellent ball and thrashed Kiki Bertens 6-1 6-0. In the side of the draw, she is the favorite to reach the final. Can she possible beat Serena Williams? Perhaps not, but if she were banging the balls cleanly she would have a legitimate chance.

Caroline Wozniacki has never loved the grass but her section is wide open. She was pretty pleased to best Zheng Saisai 7-5 6-0. If she can play aggressive, she could go far.

The left-hander Angelique Kerber has dictated with her forehand over the past four months, and that is what she did to beat Carina Witthoeft 6-0 6-0. Kerber can certainly reach the semifinal.

Way to go for Duan Yingying who upset the 2014 Wimbledon final Genie Bouchard 7-6(3) 6-4. Bouchard went out there with a small tear and perhaps she shouldn’t have played anyway, but she wanted to try in London and hang around this week. But once again, she lost quickly and she will have to go back to square one.

Perhaps Agnieszka Radwanska is still is shaky mentally but over the past 2 and half weeks she has improved. She looked happy be beating Lucie Hradecka 6-3 6-2. If she can get to the fourth round vs. Kvitova, watch out.