Saturday, 27 November 2010

Semi final previews

Four of the biggest stars in tennis will take Centre Court at the O2 on Saturday in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. For the first time in six years, four of the Top 5 players on the ATP World Tour are in the semi-finals at the season finale. That 2004 group featured No. 1 Federer, No. 2 Andy Roddick, No. 3 Lleyton Hewitt and No. 4 Marat Safin.

First up is World No. 1 Rafael Nadal against World No. 5 Andy Murray, a head-to-head led by Nadal, 8-4. Murray will regain the No. 4 ranking, surpassing Robin Soderling. Since Nadal won their first five meetings, Murray has won four of their last seven meetings; and while the Brit has gone 0-4 against Nadal on clay and grass, he is 4-4 against him on hard courts - winning four of their last five. Nadal has been sharp this week, going 3-0 in his round robin group (Murray went 2-1, losing to Federer). Both Nadal and Murray are trying to reach their first final here.

ATP Head 2 Head

(1) Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs (5) Andy Murray (GBR)  Nadal Leads 8-4 (4-4 on Hard)
07 Australian Open (Australia)  Hard R16 Rafael Nadal 6-7(3) 6-4  4-6  6-3  6-1
07 ATP Masters Series Madrid (Spain) Hard R16 Rafael Nadal 7-6(5) 6-4
08 ATP Masters Series Hamburg Clay R16 Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2
08 Wimbledon (Great Britain)  Grass QF Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-4
08 ATP Masters Series Toronto  Hard SF Rafael Nadal 7-6(2) 6-3
08 US Open (U.S.A.)   Hard SF Andy Murray 6-2 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4
09 Rotterdam (The Netherlands)  Hard F Andy Murray 6-3 4-6 6-0
09 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells  Hard F Rafael Nadal 6-1 6-2
09 ATP Masters 1000 Monte Carlo  Clay SF Rafael Nadal 6-2 7-6(4)
10 Australian Open (Australia)  Hard QF Andy Murray 6-3 7-6(2) 3-0 ret
10 Wimbledon (Great Britain)  Grass SF Rafael Nadal 6-4 7-6(6) 6-4
10 ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (Canada) Hard SF Andy Murray 6-3 6-4


2010 Highlights:

W: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (d Verdasco); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (d Ferrer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (d Federer); Roland Garros (d Soderling); Wimbledon (d Berdych); US Open (d Djokovic); Tokyo (d Monfils);

F: Doha (l Davydenko);

SF: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Ljubicic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Roddick); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Canada (l Murray); Bangkok (l Garcia-Lopez);

QF: Australian Open (l Murray); London / Queen's Club (l Lopez); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l Baghdatis)

YTD W-L: 70-9  (39-8 on hard, 5-1 indoor, 20-7 in Tie-breaks)

YTD Titles: 7/Career Titles: 43

Date of Birth: June 3, 1986

South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking: 1

Tournament History:

The Spaniard is appearing in his first third semi-final, the first in three years… He went undefeated (3-0) for the first time in round robin play to improve his career record to 7-7…On Friday he beat Berdych 76(3) 61 after posting a 75 62 win over No. 3 Djokovic 75 62 on Wednesday …On Monday he opened by rallying to beat Roddick 36 76(5) 64 in only three-set match in round robin play…He has held serve 32 of 35 games (91%) this week, saving eight of 11 break points, and leads in second serve points won (61%)…His best results are SF showings in 2006-07 (l. to Federer both times)…Has qualified six straight years for season finale but withdrew in ’05 and ’08 due to injuries…Last year went 0-3 in Group B, falling in straight sets to Soderling, Davydenko and Djokovic…The last Spaniard to reach the final was David Ferrer in 2007 (l. to Federer) and last Spanish winner was Alex Corretja in 1998.

2010 in Review:

• The 24-year-old from Mallorca led ATP World Tour with seven titles in eight finals…He’s appearing in the semi-finals for the 13th time this year in 17 tournaments (8-4 in SF matches)

• He’s won at least five titles for six straight years…He won his 70th match (70-9) of the season Friday and fourth time in his career he’s won at least 70 matches (career-high 82 in ’08)

• Finished as ATP World Tour No. 1 for second time in three years as he wrapped up top ranking after winning his first US Open title on Sept. 13

• He became seventh man in history to complete a career Grand Slam, youngest player in Open Era to win all four Grand Slam titles and first player to win three straight Grand Slam titles in same year since 1969 when Rod Laver pulled off Grand Slam

• He went 22-0 in spring clay court season, becoming first player to win a “Clay Slam” in a season, winning three ATP Masters 1000 titles (Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid) along with Roland Garros for fifth time in six years (d. Soderling)…He returned to No. 1 on June 7 and stayed there rest of season

• He opened first three months with a 16-4 mark without a title before winning 54 of his next 59 matches from second week in April at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo (d. Verdasco) until SFs here in London

• In January he opened with a runner-up in Doha (l. to Davydenko, held two match points) and followed with a QF at Australian Open where he retired with a right knee injury (vs. Murray) on Jan. 26…Did not return until Indian Wells in March when he reached back-to-back semi-finals at the first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells (l. to Ljubicic in third set TB) and Miami (l. to Roddick in three sets), falling to eventual champions in both

• He snapped an 11-month title drought in Monte-Carlo by becoming first player in Open Era to win a title for six straight years…The 14 games he lost in five matches was fewest he has dropped en route to a title in his career

• Two weeks later in Rome, he won a fifth title there...Held serve 49 of 50 games and saved 15 of 16 break points...At age 23 years, 11 months, he won a record-breaking 18th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title when he beat Federer 64 76(5) in Madrid

• At Roland Garros, he became second man (after Borg) in history to win five or more French titles…Did not drop a set during fortnight…The Spaniard's 24-match winning streak came to an end in QFs at Queen’s in London (l. to F. Lopez)

• He returned to action at Wimbledon, where he won his second title at All England Club…He defeated first-time major finalist Tomas Berdych in straight sets in final and became first Spaniard in history to win Wimbledon title twice

• In August at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto, he went on to reach SFs (l. to eventual champion Murray)...After a QF loss in Cincinnati (l. to Baghdatis), at US Open, where he was top seed, he beat Djokovic in four sets in a Monday rain-delayed final to win his first title in Flushing Meadows, dropping one set in seven matches…He is third Spaniard after Santana (1965) and Orantes (1975) to win US Open title…He is also second player to win Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces at least twice, behind Wilander

• In early October, reached SFs in Bangkok (l. to Garcia-Lopez), converting just two of 26 break point opportunities in two hours, 45 minutes…He then followed with his seventh tour-level title in Tokyo…He saved two match points in third set tie-break against Troicki in SFs

• His streak of reaching QFs or better in 15 straight tournaments ended in Shanghai where he lost to Melzer in third round…He withdrew from ATP Masters 1000 Paris due to shoulder tendinitis...Has earned a career-high $7,711,998


2010 Highlights:

W: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (d Federer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (d Federer);

F: Australian Open (l Federer); Los Angeles (l Querrey);

SF: Wimbledon (l Nadal);

QF: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l Soderling); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Ferrer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l Fish); Beijing (l Ljubicic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris (l Monfils)

YTD W-L: 46-17 (34-11 on hard, 5-3 indoor, 10-12 in Tie-breaks)

YTD Titles: 2/Career Titles: 16

Date of Birth: May 15, 1987

South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking: 5

Tournament History: 

The 23-year-old Scot went 2-1 in round robin play to advance to his second semi-final (2008)...He has a 7-3 career mark in his third straight year-end championship…On Thursday he qualified for the semi-finals with a 62 62 win over No. 7 Ferrer…In his second match on Tuesday,  he lost to No. 2 Federer, 64 62…In his opener on Sunday, defeated No. 4 seed Soderling 62 64, hitting 10 aces… Leads the tournament in return games won (35%, 9 of 26 games)…Last year had a 2-1 round robin record but missed on qualifying for semi-finals since he lost tie-breaker (in games won percentage by one game) with Juan Martin del Potro…Opened tournament with a 63 36 62 win over No. 5 del Potro, lost to Federer 36 63 61 and defeated Verdasco 64 67(4) 76(3) in final round robin match… In 2008, made impressive debut in Shanghai by reaching semi-finals, posting wins over Roddick 64 16 61, Simon 64 62 and Federer 46 76(3) 75 (l. to Davydenko 75 62 in SFs).

2010 in Review:

• The British No. 1 appearing in his sixth semi-final of the year and he is on course to finish in Top 4 for a third straight season after back-to-back No. 4 year-end rankings in 2008-09

• Began campaign at Australian Open where he advanced to his first final and second Grand Slam title match (’08 US Open)…Posted wins over Isner (3rd Rd.), Nadal (QF), who retired with knee injury and Cilic (SF) en route, dropping only one set, before Federer ended his run in straight sets…Became first British man to reach final Down Under since John Lloyd in 1977 and first Briton to advance to at least two Grand Slam finals in 72 years

• After a three-week break, returned at Dubai and fell in 2nd Rd. to Tipsarevic...In March, exited to No. 6 seed Soderling in 4th Rd. in Indian Wells...In Miami, after a bye, fell in 2nd Rd. to then-No. 101 ranked Fish...It was his first opening-round exit since May 2009 in Rome

• At start of European clay-court circuit, suffered his second successive opening round loss in Monte-Carlo…Went one stage further following week in Rome, where he reached 3rd Rd. (l. to Ferrer)…Advanced to QF Madrid (l. to Ferrer)…At Roland Garros, lost to Berdych in 4th Rd

• In June at Queen's Club in London, lost to Fish in 3rd Rd. but followed with SF at Wimbledon for second year in a row (l. to Nadal)...Split with coach Miles Maclagan on July 27…In late July took a wild card into Los Angeles and lost to Sam Querrey in final (held one M.P.)

• In mid-August at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto, defended title with a 7-5, 7-5 win over Federer in final…Became first player to win back-to-back Canadian titles since Agassi in 1994-95…En route he became fifth different player to defeat Federer and Nadal in same tournament (d. Nadal in SFs)…At US Open, lost to Wawrinka in 3rd Rd. in four hour match

• Returned in October and reached QFs in Beijing (l. to Ljubicic) and followed with his sixth career ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Shanghai and did not drop a set in five wins highlighted by wins over No. 13 Tsonga in QFs and No. 3 Federer in final...Closed with QF in Paris (l. to  Monfils) and slipped to No. 5 (from No. 4) afterwards

Second up is World No. 2 Roger Federer against World No. 3 Novak Djokovic. Federer leads the pair's head-to-head, 12-6, and though he did have a losing record against Djokovic in 2009, he has had the upper hand in 2010, going 3-1 (his only loss coming in the semi-finals of the US Open, although he held two match points there). Federer has been stellar this week too, going 3-0 in round robin play (and not even losing a single set, the first time he has ever done that at this event); Djokovic was 2-1 (losing to Nadal). Federer and Djokovic have both won this title before, Federer four times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007) and Djokovic once  (2008).

ATP Head 2 Head

(2) Roger Federer (SUI) vs (3) Novak Djokovic (SRB)          Federer Leads 12-6
06 ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo  Clay R64 Roger Federer 6-3 2-6 6-3
06 SUI v. SCG WG PO (Switzerland) Hard (I) RR Roger Federer 6-3 6-2 6-3
07 Australian Open (Australia) Hard R16 Roger Federer 6-2 7-5 6-3
07 Dubai (U.A.E.) Hard QF Roger Federer 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3
07 ATP Masters Series Montreal  Hard F Novak Djokovic 7-6(2) 2-6 7-6(2)
07 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard F Roger Federer 7-6(4)7-6(2) 6-4
08 Australian Open (Australia) Hard SF Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-3 7-6(5)
08 ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo  Clay SF Roger Federer 6-3 3-2 ret
08 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard SF Roger Federer       6-3 5-7 7-5 6-2
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami  Hard SF Novak Djokovic 3-6 6-2 6-3
09 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome  Clay SF Novak Djokovic 4-6 6-3 6-3
09 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati  Hard F Roger Federer 6-1 7-5
09 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard SF Roger Federer 7-6(3)7-5 7-5
09 Basel (Switzerland) Hard (I) F Novak Djokovic 6-4 4-6 6-2
10 ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (Canada)Hard SF Roger Federer 6-1 3-6 7-5
10 US Open (U.S.A.) Hard SF Novak Djokovic      5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5
10 ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai (China) Hard SF Roger Federer 7-5 6-4
10 Basel (Switzerland) Hard (I) F Roger Federer 6-4   3-6  6-1


2010 Highlights:

W: Australian Open (d Murray); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati (d Fish); Stockholm (d Mayer); Basel (d Djokovic);

F: ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l Nadal); Halle (l Hewitt); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l Murray); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (l Murray);

SF: Doha (l Davydenko); Estoril (l Montanes); US Open (l Djokovic); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Paris (l Monfils);

QF: Roland Garros (l Soderling); Wimbledon (l Berdych)

YTD W-L: 63-13 (45-7 on hard, 15-1 indoor, 21-10 in Tie-breaks)

YTD Titles: 4

Career Titles: 65

Date of Birth: August 8, 1981

South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking: 2

Tournament History:

The Swiss native has 32-7 career record and he’s appearing in the semi-finals for the eighth time in nine showings in the year-end championships…He went 3-0 in Group B round robin play without dropping a set (6-0) for the first time…On Thursday he defeated No. 5 Soderling 76(5) 63…On Tuesday he beat No. 5 Murray 64 62 (lost just eight points in nine service games) after opening on Sunday with a 61 64 win over No. 7 Ferrer…He leads the tournament in service games won (93%, 27 of 29 games won), saving seven of nine break points…Last year he won his round robin group with a 2-1 mark, beating Verdasco 46 75 61 and Murray 36 63 61 before losing to del Potro 62 67(5) 63 and Davydenko 62 46 75 in the semi-finals…The four-time champion (2003-04, ’06-07) is 4-1 in finals (l. in ’05 to Nalbandian in five sets)…The only time he didn’t advance out of round robin play was in 2008 as he posted a 1-2 record (l. to Simon and Murray, d. Stepanek).

2010 in Review:

• The 29-year-old Swiss native is making his 13th semi-final appearance in 18 tournaments this year and he is 8-4 in SF matches…He is 4-4 in finals

• He will finish in Top 2 South African Airways ATP Rankings for a record eighth straight year…He comes into London with four titles in eight finals during season (has won at least three titles for nine straight years)

• Since his QF loss at Wimbledon, has won 32 of 36 matches during an eight tournament span (inc. here), reaching five finals…His 65 career titles is No. 4 on Open Era titles list

• In first month of action, reached SFs in Doha (l. to Davydenko) and followed with his 16th career Grand Slam crown at Australian Open (d. Murray)…Became first father to win a Slam title since Agassi at ’03 Australian Open…Has won at least one Slam title for eight consecutive years, tying mark of Bjorn Borg and Sampras

• In first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, reached 3rd Rd. in Indian Wells (losing to Baghdatis in a third set tie-break after holding three match points) and followed with 4th Rd. exit in Miami, falling to Berdych in a third set TB after holding match point

• During clay court circuit in May, lost in opening round to Gulbis at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome, reached SFs in Estoril (l. to Montanes) and final at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (l. to Nadal in lone meeting of year)…At Roland Garros, fell in  QFs to Soderling in four sets, ending his record of reaching 23 straight Grand Slam SFs (since ’04 Wimbledon)

• On June 7 dropped to No. 2, having been No. 1 for 285 weeks (one week shy of equalling Sampras' all-time record)...On grass in Halle reached final (l. to Hewitt), which ended a 15-match winning streak against his Aussie rival…It also ended a 29-match Halle win streak

• Returned as defending champion at Wimbledon, where he lost to Berdych in QFs…It was first time since 2002 he didn’t reach final at All England Club...On July 5, he dropped to No. 3 ranking for first time since Nov. 10, 2003 for six weeks

• In mid-August, returned at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto where he beat Berdych (QF) and Djokovic (SF) in three-setters before falling to No. 4 Murray in rain-interrupted final…Returned to No. 2 on Aug. 16

• The following week he snapped a seven month title drought by winning ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati for fourth time (d. Fish in his 90th tour-level final)…Became first player to win back-to-back titles in Cincinnati since Agassi in 1995-96…It was also his 17th ATP Masters 1000 trophy, tying him with Agassi and one short of Nadal

• At US Open, advanced to SFs although he squandered two match points in fifth set loss to Djokovic in three hours, 44 minutes…Afterwards fell to No. 3 on Sept. 13 (for five weeks)

• Returned following month at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai where he lost to Murray in final…Returned to No. 2 on Oct. 18…Then made his first appearance in Stockholm in 10 years and won his 64th tour-level title over German Florian Mayer…It was 18th different country he has won a tour level title…In addition, became first active player to reach 900 career singles matches played

• Two weeks later he won his fourth career title in his hometown of Basel (d. Djokovic)…In final ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris, his season-high 12-match winning streak came to an end in SFs against Gael Monfils as he lost in three tie-breaks (after holding five match points)…It was his fourth loss during year after holding match point…Only lost serve once in 48 games and hit 54 aces during the tournament.

2010 Highlights:

W: Dubai (d Youzhny); Beijing (d Ferrer);

F: US Open (l Nadal); Basel (l Federer);

SF: Rotterdam (l Youzhny); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo (l Verdasco); Wimbledon (l Berdych); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto (l Federer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (l Federer);

QF: Australian Open (l Tsonga); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Verdasco); Belgrade (l Krajinovic); Roland Garros (l Melzer); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l Roddick)

YTD W-L: 59-17 (41-11 on hard, 14-4 indoor, 13-9 in Tie-breaks)

YTD Titles: 2/Career Titles: 18

Date of Birth: May 22, 1987

South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking: 3

Tournament History:

The 23-year-old Serb is 2-1 in round robin play this week (8-6 career match record)…On Friday, he qualified with a 62 63 win over No. 8 Roddick…On Wednesday, he lost to Nadal 75 62 and he opened the tournament Monday with a 63 63 victory over No. 6 Berdych…Last year he went 2-1 in Group B but didn’t advance to semi-finals…He opened with a 36 64 75 win over Davydenko before falling to Soderling 76(5) 61 and closed with a 76(5) 63 victory over Nadal

In 2008, he won four of five matches en route to title (d. Davydenko)…His only loss came in his third round robin match to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 16 75 61…He made his debut three years ago and went 0-3 in round robin play (l. to Ferrer, Gasquet, Nadal), not winning a set (0-6)

2010 in Review:

• The Serb compiled another consistent year and he’s appearing in his 10th semi-final in 20 tournaments this year…He is 4-5 in SF matches…He is 2-2 in finals, reaching QFs or better in all four Grand Slam tournaments for first time in a season, including a final, while leading his country to Davis Cup final for first time (vs. France in Belgrade)

• Also ranked No. 2 for 26 weeks during season…Opened first month with QF at Australian Open (l. to Tsonga in five sets) and afterwards went to No. 2 on Feb. 1

• In February, reached SFs in Rotterdam (l. to Youzhny) and then two weeks later in Dubai he successfully defended an ATP World Tour title for first time in his career, beating Youzhny in a rain-delayed final…He became second player in tournament history (since 1993) to win back-to-back titles

• In early March, he helped Serbia reach Davis Cup World Group QFs by beating Americans Querrey (four sets) and Isner (five sets) in a 3-2 win in Belgrade...At Indian Wells, his nine-match winning streak came to an end with 4th Rd. loss to eventual champion Ivan Ljubicic ...Then lost his opening round match (after a bye) in Miami to Olivier Rochus in three sets

• During clay court circuit, lost to Fernando Verdasco in SFs in Monte-Carlo and QFs in Rome…At his hometown tournament in Belgrade, reached QFs but retired due to illness and allergies after losing first set to wild card Krajinovic…Pulled out of ATP Masters 1000 Madrid f

• At Roland Garros, fell to Melzer in five sets in QFs after holding a two-set lead...In June at Queen's Club in London, lost to Malisse in 3rd Rd. but won doubles title (w/Erlich)...Went on to reach SFs at Wimbledon for second time (’07) but fell short against Berdych…
Participated in latest finish at All England Club in his 1st Rd.  match against Olivier Rochus, which ended at 10:59 p.m. under roof and lights on Centre Court…Afterwards, returned to No. 2 and was there for six weeks

• One week later, he helped Serbia reach its first Davis Cup SF with a win over Croatia, defeating Ljubicic and Cilic in straight sets…In mid-August at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Toronto, lost to Federer in three sets in SFs…Afterwards slipped to No. 3 on August

• Returned to No. 2 on Sept. 13 after his US Open runner-up effort…It was his second final at Flushing Meadows (2007) and en route he beat countryman Troicki in a five-set 1st Rd. battle and then outlasted Federer in five sets in SFs, saving two match points…He lost to World No. 1 Nadal in four sets in a rain-delayed Monday final

• One week later he led Serbia to a 3-2 Davis Cup semi-final victory over Czech Republic by winning in four sets over Berdych in fourth rubber…Tipsarevic won fifth and decisive rubber (d. Stepanek)

• In October he defended his title in Beijing over Ferrer in a rain-delayed Monday final…Following week he reached SFs at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (l. to Federer)...In back-to-back European indoor tournaments, reached final in Basel (l. to Federer in three sets) and third round at ATP Masters 1000 Paris (l. to Llodra)

Courtesy: ATP

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