Tag Archives: Singles

Djokovic reigns supreme and Paes completes career slam

Djokovic once again proved why he is the number 1 player in the world. He came through in a cliffhanger of a game against Rafael Nadal in 5 sets. The game was a perfect ending for a great tournament in which the top 3 ruled the roost again. Nadal who played a brilliant match in the semis to knock out Roger Federer lost out in the finals to the brilliant Djokovic. Novak Djokovic who had a brilliant 2011 continued in the same vein by winning the first grand slam of the year.

The game itself was a see-saw ride for the fans. Nadal started well by winning the first set 7-5 but Djokovic came back to dominate the next two sets 6-4, 6-2. At the end of the third set Nadal looked down and out but put in one last great effort to win the 4th in a tie breaker 7-6 to push the game into the 5th. Djokovic though held his nerve to clinch the final set 7-5 to win the match and the title.

It was a brilliant start for Djokovic in 2012 but for Nadal this was yet another loss to the Serbian in a grand slam. Nadal will now want to wait for his favorite surface at the Roland Garros for revenge if at all they face each other in the finals.

Leander’s Career slam:

Leander Paes finally won the Australian open to complete the career slam. This was the only title which was missing from his resume and he will be relieved that he finally got the monkey of his back. Leander and Stepanek were unseeded in this tournament and were brilliant in the finals. The Bryan brothers were chasing their 12 doubles title which would have given them the record currently held by the woodies and it was understandable that only a special effort from their opponent can deny them the prize. Leander and Stepanek were absolutely brilliant in the finals and provided no opening for the number 1 pair in both the sets.

The Paes/Stepanek pair had defeated the number 2 and number 3 seeds on their way to the finals which would for sure have given them a huge boost. It was a great tournament for Leander and he deserves the career slam. It would have been particularly sweet win for him as he had lost to the Bryan brothers at least 3 times in the finals of the Australian open in the past. Kudos to the Indian legend and I hope that he wins more titles this year and continues to succeed at the world level.

Overall it was a great open and the weather was fantastic throughout. The men’s tennis once again proved the domination of the top 3 as they ended up in the Semis once again. Roger, Nadal and Djokovic have dominated the slams over the past year or so and it will be great to see others stepping up in the remaining 3 slams in 2012.

India’s golden man

Somdev acknowledges the crowd after becoming the first Indian to win a gold in Asian Games in Singles

Somdev Devvarman became the first Indian to win a gold in Tennis in the Asian Games singles event. He also became the first Indian to win two gold medals in Asian games history. Just a month ago he had won Gold in the Commonwealth games, also becoming the first Indian to do so. This has been a brilliant year for Somdev as he broke into the top 100 for the first time in his career and also has won 2 gold medals in two major events representing India.

He had also led India to the world group in Davis cup earlier this year. History beckoned Somdev when he stepped on the court in the finals against Uzbekistan’s Dennis Istomin who is ranked 44 in the world and the Indian ace did not disappoint. It was a lopsided final as the Indian won it comfortably with a score line of 6-1, 6-2. The win gave Somdev his second gold in the Asian games to go with 1 bronze which he had won earlier in the team event.

Speaking to the media after his historic win an ecstatic Somdev said, “I am very, very happy to get the gold here. It’s a dream come true. No one comes to an Asian Games with the intention of winning two gold medals. Representing the country gives me the greatest pleasure,”

A brilliant year for a fantastic player and I hope that he can repeat the same success in the world events in the coming year. With this brilliant performance Somdev has for sure become India’s “Golden Man”.

Roger Federer: Inconsistent yet imperious

Fed-Ex still has lot of tennis left in him

Roger Federer burst on to the scene when he ousted defending champion Pete Sampras from 2001 Wimbledon championship in the 4th round. The 2001 championship is more known for the fairy tale journey of wild card entrant and 3 time finalist Goran Ivanisevic. Federer though did not make it beyond the quarters and lost in the very first round of the 2002 championship.

No one could have predicted at that time that this guy will become arguably the best player in the world. Federer won the Wimbledon 2003 by defeating Mark Philippoussis in the finals and what followed that victory was the stuff of legends. What struck me during that championship was the kind of ease with which Federer demolished his opponents. I remember Andy Roddick’s puzzled look in the semis when the champion kept passing him every time he played a great approach shot on his way to the net.

It was how Sampras in his prime used to play on grass. It is quite ironic that Federer who ended Sampras’s hold on Wimbledon will go on to break his Grand Slam record 8 years later. Federer was almost unbeatable for the next 3 years to come on all surfaces except for the clay, the only surface which Sampras was never able to master. Federer though had more success on that surface than Pete as his game was more suited to clay. But as far as the other Grand Slams go, there was only one winner until Nadal came on to the scene.

Nadal often met Federer in the French open finals and defeated him and reminded me of the South American players of the 90’s who were unbeatable on that surface. Nadal began that way, great on clay but could not translate that success to the other surfaces. But the only player who could challenge the domination of Federer during his prime was Nadal. The guy improved leaps and bounds on other surfaces and proved to be more than handful for the champion to put him away. Nadal actually dominates Federer in the Grand Slam finals and holds a proud 5-2 winning record against the champion.

In the last few years though Federer has lost the consistency in his game and lot more errors have started creeping in. Lot more players are now able to defeat him who had no chance of getting close 3 years back. Age might also be a factor as he is not quick around the court as he used to be. He is though still one of the top players in the world ranked second just behind his long time nemesis Rafael Nadal. 2009 probably was the greatest year for Fed as he was able to win the French Open for the first time, the frontier which Sampras was never able to breach. He also passed Sampras’s world record Grand Slam tally in 2009.

It’s hard to call Fed out of form as he has won at least one slam every year since his first in 2003. He is still an amazing player but the old spark is missing. As a great fan of his, I just hope that he has one final hurrah at the top. When Federer is in full flow, it is like poetry in motion. The smooth one handed back hand and power forehand is an amazing sight to his fans. He is probably one of the most graceful tennis players in the history of the game.

Federer still has few more years left in him, which will give him the opportunity to repair his record against Nadal and also a chance to push his Grand Slam tally to 20. He has just added another ATP title to his kitty by winning in Stockholm and thereby equaling Sampras’s record of most singles titles of 64.

Sampras bowed out of the game with a brilliant win in the US Open in front of his home crowd and I hope that Federer to can end his carrier on a winning note and also as the number one player in the world. I guess he deserves that. He is one of nicest guy on the court and humblest off it.