Is Lopez acussing the pressure of being a Top-20 player?

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After a wonderful 2011, which saw him winning another Davis Cup, reaching quarter-finals at Wimbledon, and semi-finals at Shangai Masters 1000, 2012 saw Feliciano Lopez starting a season in the Top-20 for the first time. He started 2012 in Sydney, losing to Julien Bennetau on his opening match. But, it seemed that his great run of form continued, as he reached forth round at Australian Open, defeating #17 ranked John Isner in the way.

Despite this great A.O, the European Indoor season confirmed what many tought: Lopez was an inconsistent player which had a surprisingly solid campaign in 2011. He lost in Montpellier R2 to French youngster Rufin, who was ranked outside of the Top-200 when they faced. Then, he lost to #733 ranked Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round of Rotterdam. He did a decent performance in Dubai, playing a good match vs Federer, losing 5-7 3-6 on second round.

The US Masters campaign was even worse!, he started Indian Wells as the 15th seed, but lost easily to Baghdatis after having a Bye. Miami was a dejá vu of IW, as he lost to compatriot Ramos in straights. The clay seemed to be healing a bit the season, as he got his best result of the year reaching SF at Houston [ he lost to Isner 3-6 on 3rd set]. But Monte-Carlo was, again rather disappointing, as he lost to Wawrinka in straights on R1. However, it seemed as he was recovering, making QF at Barcelona [ he had 3 MP’s vs Ferrer] and SF at Munich. But as the Masters 1000 returned, the bad play continued, losing to Melzer on Madrid R1 & to Granollers on Rome R1.

His bad results on M-1000’s are worrying, as he has a 0-5 record in this events on 2012, and they are the main key for Lopez to maintain his ranking, and his overall W/L record this year is negative, standing at 11-13. Also, his great 2011 service numbers have gotten worse, this year he has had 213 aces in 24 matches ( 8,8 aces per match), 2,5 aces less than last year. He is ranked #17 at the moment, but has to defend 360 pts. at Wimbledon in a month. His race ranking is #30, and it’s possible that it will be lower at the end of the week.

The keys for Feli are to get back an almost unbreakable serve, and to have more confidence on his groundstrokes, like vs Ferrer in Barcelona. Good luck!

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