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November 27, 2011 / harrymann

ATP Barclays World Tour Final: Federer vs Tsonga

So, the ATP World Tour final is now set in stone. It is Roger Federer vs Jo Wilfried Tsonga. At the start of the week, if someone had to predict a final, I think it would have been either of Federer/Nadal vs Djokovic/Murray. However, of the top four players, only Federer managed to make it through to the final.

Federer, who didn’t look very convincing in his first set against Ferrer, managed to wrap up the match in two. Federer’s backhand slice was very effective and really caused lot of trouble to Ferrer’s game.

“It’s obviously going to be a special occasion for me tomorrow, playing my 100th final, possibly winning my 70th, winning my sixth at the World Tour Finals,” said Federer.

What is also important to note is that Federer has now secured the year-end world number three ranking replacing Murray. This should bode well for Federer for the upcoming season.

What stands in Federer’s way from winning this prestigious tournament is the big hitting Frenchmen,Tsonga. Berdych and Tsonga were fighting to make it to their first WTF final. Tsonga was the more aggressive and consistent player and that won him the match against Berdych.

It will be interesting to see if Tsonga can beat Federer. We all know what a dangerous game Tsonga possesses, and on his day, he could beat the very best players in the world. It will be very important for Tsonga to keep his aggression level up and target Federer’s backhand for weaker replies. His net game and serving should be top-notch.

For Federer, it is important that he serves big and keeps the rally going as Tsonga tends to mishit in longer rallies. His forehand needs to be working good and he should try to knife his slice even more.

I am going with Federer in this one. He will enter the match as the favorite, and will most likely be too much to handle for the Frenchmen. However, Tsonga winning the tournament cannot be overlooked as well. It promises to be a cracking end to a fantastic season. Who do you think will win it this time?

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November 23, 2011 / harrymann

Artistic Federer beats Nadal in the World Tour Final 2011

If anyone had told me Federer would beat Nadal 6-3, 6-0, prior to their match yesterday, I would have laughed it off. The reason for this is, despite Federer being the creative genius that he is, and everyone knows he is more than capable of producing extremely high level of tennis; Nadal has always been his worst match up nightmare. The cross court forehand to the Federer backhand does the trick more often than not. However, that was clearly not the case this Tuesday.

The display of tennis that we got to see yesterday was out of this world from Federer. By ripping backhands, great forehands, serving big, and just a handful of errors; Federer had Nadal scrambling all over the place.

“When he play like this, he is better than me. That’s it. I didn’t have nothing to do today. He was too good for me.”, said Nadal. “Only Federer can play at this level; I accept normally the losses, it’s not the 1st time I lose a match like this, won’t be last.”

The match was a bit anti climatic, considering it didn’t live up to the Federer-Nadal match expectations. That being said, it was great to see Federer play some of his very best tennis in this match. Nadal, at times, was made to look like a spectator, which is not something you usually get to see from the Spanish warrior.

It will be interesting to see if Federer can keep this run going. He is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most in form player in this tournament, and it will take some doing for anyone to stop him here.

November 20, 2011 / harrymann

Noah, former tennis star, accuses Spanish tennis players of doping

Now this comes as a major shocker, former French tennis player, Yannick Noah, in an interview recently, accused Spanish players of doping. What was worse was rather than condemning this act, he went ahead and stated that everyone should be allowed to dope, or at least the testing should be more lenient.

“How can a country [Spain] dominate sport from one day to the next?” he questioned. “Had they discovered avant-garde training techniques and methods that no one else imagined?”

“We’re not being treated in the same way as the majority of our adversaries from other countries,” he commented. “The best attitude to adopt is to accept doping. And then everyone will have the magic potion.”

Although Noah offered no explanation to his massive accusations and his only comparison was that the Spanish players looked a lot more bulky than their French counterpart. This does leave a lot of answered questions.

As expected, this didn’t go down too well with David Douillet, the French Sports Minister. He condemned the accusations from Noah as being very irresponsible, especially considering the fact that Noah wanted a more lenient dope trial in France.

“What are we saying in reality when we want to institutionalize doping? We imagine that our children will die at 40 or that 12-year-old kids will take pills in the locker room, that’s what that means,” Douillet lashed out.

I have always believed that unless you have factual evidence, especially considering the gravity of this matter, it would make sense to not speak up and cause even more trouble than what is already there.

What do you have to say about Noah’s comments? Do you think doping prevails in tennis? Do let us know your thoughts.

November 19, 2011 / harrymann

Barclays World Tour Final 2011: Federer vs Tsonga, Nadal vs Fish

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2011 Barclays World Tour Final. Federer vs Tsonga is scheduled for the afternoon session and Nadal vs Fish is on tomorrow night.

Let’s look a little bit deeper into the two matches. Firstly, Federer vs Tsonga; Tsonga, in 2011, has beaten Federer twice. He has a very dangerous game, which is something we all know about, and on his day, could be a nightmare for opponents. Federer has, however, since then put the losses at Wimbledon and the Canadian masters, at the hands of Tsonga, behind him, and has most recently beaten him in straights at both the US open and at the Paris masters.

On top of that, when we consider Federer has won his last two tournaments, he will enter the match firmly as the favorite. Despite the fact that Tsonga is a formidable opponent, it is difficult seeing past the result of Federer winning this one. Nevertheless, this one will be interesting for sure. Tsonga needs to be aggressive especially on Federer’s second serve to increase his chances of winning the match.

Nadal – Fish should be another great encounter to look forward to. The head to head is firmly in Nadal’s favor, and he will be the favorite when the match starts. However, we shouldn’t forget that Fish, just recently, at the Cincinnati masters beat Rafael Nadal in straights. Therefore he knows what it takes to beat Nadal. Of course doing it once in eight matches doesn’t paint a very positive picture about Fish’s chances in this match. He will need to be aggressive and take it to Nadal. If he lets Nadal control the baseline rallies, Fish stands very less chance in the match.

If I was a betting man, I would put my money on Roger and Rafael taking it both in two sets. I am sure most of you would do the same thing. What do you think? Do you think either of Tsonga or Fish can pull off an upset tomorrow?

November 16, 2011 / harrymann

World Tour Final 2011 – who will win it this time?

So now we know the two groups for the world tour final; in group 1 we’ve got Djokovic, Murray, Ferrer and Berdych, and in group 2 we have Nadal, Federer, Tsonga and Fish. Both groups are quite competitive, which is exactly what we expect when eight of the world’s best compete against each other.

What makes this one even more special is that we have the prospect of watching both Nadal and Federer compete in the same group for the first time. And their match against each other promises to be a cracker.

It will be interesting to see if Djokovic can end the year on a great note by winning this tournament as well. That will make his year even better than what it currently is. Murray, who has lost just one match recently after winning three straight tournaments, will look to challenge Djokovic for the top spot in his group. Both of them have the best return of serves in the game today, and are extremely capable of getting every ball back, so their match against each other will have no short points; that is for sure. Ferrer, Berdych, Tsonga and Fish would definitely like to make a statement by taking it to the big four. We cannot underestimate them.

At this point, it is quite difficult to predict a winner. Many questions need to be answered first. Will Djokovic recover from his injury and regain top form that made him dominate the tour this year? Will Federer be able to continue his rich indoor form and retain the title he won last year? Will Nadal, who hasn’t played in a while, be at his absolute best in this tournament? Or will Murray’s defense break down the game of the rest of the players in the tournament?

If I have to predict one winner, I will stick with Federer due to his recent form. Who do you think will win this tournament? Who would you put your money in?

November 14, 2011 / harrymann

Indoor King Roger Federer wins Paribas Masters 2011

Image Courtesy: e-newssports.com

Roger Federer is back to his incredible form by winning Paribas Masters 2011. Tsonga, who has recently caused Roger a few problems, was outplayed in the first set, and Roger always looked in control in the second. Federer has now won two back to back tournaments. And it would be fair to say Federer will enter the World Tour Final as the favorite to retain his trophy.

The question now is whether Federer has become an indoor king? Because if recent history is anything to go by, where he had dominated the indoor season last year, and is doing the exact same thing this year, it points out in this direction. Does that mean Federer enjoys conditions where there is no wind; in short, conditions where the external factors don’t play a huge role? Is that what makes Roger Federer a huge favorite in the indoor tournaments as compared to being one of the main contenders at the others? Federer looked quite comfortable in his semis and finals, and seeing that both Berdych and Tsonga had given him trouble previously and had beaten him this year; makes me wonder about this even more.

Or is it the Nadal/Djokovic factor? If we look at three of the four slam defeats for Roger this year, it was at the hands of either of these men. So not having to play either Nadal or Djokovic, does that make Federer an even bigger contender at tournaments?

Fitness is an ever important aspect in tennis and Federer, with his relatively easy game on his body, has managed to remain fit and healthy almost throughout his career. So if Nadal or Djokovic are unable to maintain their fitness for a prolonged period of time, Federer will show no mercy to the field.

What do you think? Is Federer getting back to top form?

November 13, 2011 / harrymann

WWW – Federer vs Tsonga Paribas Masters final 2011

Image Courtesy: tennisera.com

So the final is now set for Paribas Masters 2011 – Federer vs Tsonga. Federer produced a brilliant display of tennis yesterday against Berdych, and Tsonga put up a brave fight against the giant Isner and ended up winning in three tight sets. So what is your gut feeling for the final?

I think the most important question that remains to be answered is whether Federer can produce the level of play that he brought yesterday, against Tsonga as well. If he does, I think there is just winner in today’s match. However, if we are to go by recent history, we know that Federer, over the last year or so, has struggled to produce two great displays back to back. So, all is not set in stone, just yet. Tsonga will need to be aggressive but at the same time keep giving Roger more balls to play. We have noticed that Federer tends to mishit against players who are able to stay with him from the baseline for a long period of time, so defense will have to be a key weapon that Tsonga needs to exploit today. Of course it goes without saying that he needs to serve big and hit huge forehands to stay competitive in the match.

For Federer, it is about being aggressive and using his slice more effectively. His slice stayed really low yesterday, and Berdych, being the tall guy that he is, struggled big time to pick them up.  In addition to that, a good consistent forehand will help him move Tsonga around the court (which will be very important to draw errors).

What do you think? Will Federer produce another excellent display of tennis today or will Tsonga, with the home crowd fully behind him, take down the great Roger Federer? Let us know your thoughts.

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