Madrid Open

Madrid Open (5)

Coverage of the combined ATP Masters 1000/WTA Premier Tournament Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open 2010 - May 7-16, 2010

Monday, 17 May 2010 11:32

Game Over

Written by
federer-et-051610-artQuotes of the Day
Roger Federer on the last match point, when he missed a ball that, apparently, took a bad bounce: “Well, I’ve had more beautiful match points than his one. But that’s what happens; we’re on clay after all. I decided to take a chance and it didn’t pay off.”

Rafael Nadal on being the favorite at Roland Garros: “Again, this is what you have to write in your articles and you are free to say whatever you believe. You will never hear me say that I am the favorite, because I don´t like tags and I don't feel I am the favorite. […]I was the favorite before and I´ve lost.”

Doubles Champions, the Bryan twins, on helping journalists to tell which is Bob, and which is Mike:
Mike: “I’m skinnier.”
Bob: “Mike’s skinnier. I have a couple moles back here. I have longer hair right now.”
Mike: “And Bob’s a little uglier.”
Despite these clues, the stenographer who provided transcription of their remarks got their names confused.
Sunday, 16 May 2010 12:03

Close-Up on the Men’s Semis

Written by
rafael-nadal-et-051510-artMadrid Not an Exception
Three Spaniards have reached a Masters 1000 semifinal for the third time in a row. And each  has been the first time one of them has reached that stage: Fernando Verdasco in Monte Carlo, David Ferrer in Rome and Nicolás Almagro in Madrid. So, we started this semifinal day, with Rafael Nadal facing one of his countrymen in Almagro.

Perfect Head-to-Heads
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer both entered their semifinal matches with a perfect head-to-head record against their respective opponents, Almagro and Ferrer. Nadal – Almagro was far from a routine win for Nadal, who lost the first set, suffering the aggressive and almost flawless game of Almagro.  Yet Nadal was able to raise his game, going from a level of 51-percent first serves in the first set to 80-percent in the third. Nadal prevailed by winning the last two sets, 6-2 and 6-2. As the top Spaniard explained later, “He [Almagro] did not frighten me[just this] once. He has been playing very well, the court conditions play to his favour because of the altitude. It’s difficult to return his serve, rallies are difficult against him.” Nadal also explained why he struggled with his serve during the first set, “Well, the serve has been working very well for me except for today. I started serving really, really terribly. Perhaps because I was nervous, because of the tension; he attacked straight away and that that made me serve worse.” He also gave away his simple secret to serving, “As regards to the technique, I do what I can. I´m serious, I´m not joking.”
gulbis-et-051210-artMore Retirements
Yesterday David Nalbandian and Tomas Berdych withdrew before they were to face each other, guaranteeing one of the two lucky losers who replaced them, Mardy Fish or Michael Russell, would reach the Second Round. Andy Roddick also pulled out with stomach problems, allowing Oscar Hernández to enter the main draw. These names are added to a list of match retirements that includes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Leonardo Mayer, Philipp Petzschner, Pablo Cuevas and Igor Andreev that raises the number of casualties during the tournament to eight. Top this with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Juan Martín del Potro, Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando González, Ivan Ljubicic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Radek Stepanek, and Lleyton Hewitt withdrawing before the draw and we have five injured, ill, or absent players in the Top 10, 13 in the Top 25 and 18 of the Top 50. I wonder if this is an ATP all time record? 

Unexpected Losses
Only six of the 16 players seeded in the WTA draw are still alive in the tournament after Serena Williams’ loss yesterday. As she explained, “I wasn’t moving my fastest, but all I could do was try and do the best I could. I don’t know; I definitely wasn’t at my best.” But she still believes she has her chances at the French Open, “I feel like I’ve been under different levels of stress, and hopefully within the next week and a half I’ll be better.” In any case, she was willing to celebrate sister Venus Williams’ win today against Francesca Schiavone, which puts them at the  No. 1 and No. 2 positions, respectively, in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings for the first time since 2003.
Sunday, 09 May 2010 10:47

Madrid Open Preview

Written by
madrid-draw-et-050810-artNew Heights
Already last year the organizers of the Madrid Open wanted to break through with the new stadium complex, La Caja Mágica, and its retractable roofs and “breathable” walls. This year, the theme for innovation is technology all over the tournament. Fans can send text messages to players that display on big screens throughout the grounds; they can play against ATP and WTA players on PlaysStation, or record video messages that are aired worldwide via Ustream. The final will be broadcast in 3D in theaters in Madrid, Barcelona and Málaga. The draw was also made electronically, as it is at some of the Grand Slams. Only seeded players were drawn manually and the rest of the draw was filled by computer.

According to Ion Tiriac, Tournament Advisor and ardent promoter, next year’s modernization will most probably be blue clay and Hawk-Eye. Blue clay is fine, but I will definitely miss the umpires going down to check the mark and climbing back into their chairs. 

The Draw
There were a few surprises during the draw ceremony. The first was that the second seed was Rafael Nadal and not Novak Djokovic, who withdrew with allergies. And then, due to an excellent run during the South American clay court season and also the absences of top players del Potro, Davydenko and González, Thomaz Bellucci is a seeded player in a Masters 1000 Tournament for the first time.