Nalbandian’s comeback- Sao Paulo

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After a tough 2012 which despite injuries [ he missed the last quarter of the season] still saw him defeat the likes of Simon, Tipsarevic, Tsonga, F.Mayer and Monaco David Nalbandian seems more or less back in track. He purposedly missed the Oz swing to prepare Davis Cup fully ( though he just played doubles he looked great w/Zeballos in defeating Kas/Kamke) and then flew to Sao Paulo, where he has reached the final in emphatic fashion ( he had a great win vs #11 Almagro in the QF’s, saving a matchpoint and winning in the 3rd set TB with a trademark BH winner return). He faces rusty Nadal on the F, so there’s definitely a chance. With an Argentina vs France tie coming up, this return of David is very needed for Argentina hopes of clinching the Davis Cup, which has been running away from them in the last few years ( they were runner-up in 2007, 2008 and 2011). I think that winning Davis Cup would be the perfect ending for Nalby’s career, so good luck David!

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David Goffin mental strength in doubt

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It’s often tough to establish yourself after a breakthrough year ( it happened to Tomic in 2012, Golubev in 2011, Stebe in 2012, Ebden… and many other players), and it seems to be happening to David Goffin this year, and that’s a shame because the Belgian is in my opinion such an exciting prospect and he has such a good timing off both wings. This year he has a 1-4 record, with just 1 win over Ebden in Brisbane R1. Almost in all his losses he has had a chance of winning, specially in his 5 set losses vs Verdasco in Oz R1 after being two sets to one up with a break in the 4th, and his most recent loss vs Troicki on Davis Cup R1, after squandering a two sets to love lead. Even though he showed some improvements on his game, like more firepower on his groundies and with his serve, he loses all that on key moments, showing a huge lack of mental strength. I hope it’s just a temporary slump, and I think it will be that, because a player of David’s caliber can’t spend too much time without winning. Allez David!, all the best

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Youngsters improving ; Week 1 Review

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This week has been a good one for the young guys, specially for Grigor Dimitrov, born in 1991 and Top-50. This week has been great for him, beating Brian Baker, fellow youngstar and #13 Raonic, Melzer and Baghdatis, and pushing Murray to the edge; serving for the 1st set and having a break lead in the 2nd. ( he lost 76 64)

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awful season vs Top-10’s.

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– Throughout the course of the years, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been regarded as one of the most dangerous players for the Top-5 out there, among with Soderling, Berdych or Nalbandian & Davydenko on their prime, but he was also tagged as a player who could lose to nearly anyone on a bad day. But this changed radically this season, as he has been awful vs Top-10 players all year long ( a record of 1/15!) , but his consistency vs lesser players has made him stay in the Top-10 ( he has only been defeated 10 times by a non Top-10 player). Now we’ll some stastics from him vs Top-10’s.

Overall record by season vs Top-10’s:

2012: 1/15 [ 6,25%].
2011: 10/13 [ 43,47%].
2010: 1/5 [ 16,66%].
2009: 5/5 [ 50%].
2008: 8/5 [ 61,53%]
2007: 0/3 [ 0%].
Previously to 2007: 1/1 [ 50%].

Overall record: 26/47 [ 35,61%].

Losses not to Top-10 players this season:

1- #26 Nishikori- Australian Open R4.
2- #74 Nalbandian- Indian Wells R4.
3- #11 Isner- Davis Cup QF’s.
4- #15 Simon- Monte-Carlo QF.
5- #134 Haas- Munich R2.
6- #20 Dolgopolov- Madrid R3.
7- #69 Dodig- Queens R3.
8- #47 Chardy- Toronto R2.
9- #52 Klizan- US Open R2.
10- #58 Malisse- Valencia R1.

Losses not to Top-10 players on his Top-20 seasons:

2011: 11.
2010: 11 ( though he missed half of the season).
2009: 15.
2008: 8 ( missed again half of the season).

Top-10 players he has lost this year to:

1. Djokovic- 5 times ( Masters Cup RR, Beijing F, Olympics QF, Roland Garros QF & Rome QF).
2- Berdych- 3 times ( Masters Cup RR, Stockholm F & Shangai QF).
3- Del Potro- 2 times ( Dubai QF & Marseille SF).
4- Murray- 2 times ( Masters Cup RR & Wimbledon SF).
5- Ferrer- 1 time ( Paris QF).
6- Nadal- 1 time ( Miami QF).
7- Isner- 1 time ( Winstom Salem SF).

Took two sets off Djokovic in RG ( even had two MP’s), a set off Berdych in Stockholm, a set off Murray in Wimbledon SF, a set off Nadal in Miami & a set off Isner in Winston Salem.

Also, he had the same wins on tour this year as in 2011, 55.

Let’s see how he fares vs Top-10 players on 2013, he has got a coach after nearly two years without one ( he hired Roger Rasheed, former coach of Hewitt & Monfils), I think we all wish the frenchman gets back to his best level, in which he was a real trouble for the Top-4’s.

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Andreas Seppi great year

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– After his 3rd title of his career in Moscow ( defeated Belluci coming back from a set and a break), this year keeps proving as Seppi’s best. Despite a bad start ( just a top-30 win, vs #25 Kohlschreiber on Rotterdam and 3 QF’s [ Doha, Rotterdam, Bucharest]) he won the Belgrade title out of nowhere ( notably defeating an inform Nalbandian). He followed it up with his best clay season, reaching R2 in Madrid ( lost to Dolgo in 3 sets), QF in Rome ( defeated #10 Isner and #16 Wawrinka, saving MP’s in both matches) and a fantastic effort in Roland Garros, reaching R4 ( his best ever performance on a Slam) and more impressively beating spanish claycourter Verdasco and taking #1 Novak Djokovic to 5 sets ( 6-4 7-6(5) 3-6 5-7 3-6). One would think that this loss would affect Andreas confidence but he proved us wrong reaching Eastbourne final ( though he disappointed there vs Roddick, losing 3-6 2-6). Then his worst part of the year arrived, the US swing where he never plays well ( best result was a R2 on Cincinatti and had early exits to outside top-100 players in the USO and Toronto). He bounced back soon, reaching Metz final ( beated Florian Mayer and Monfils), making R2 in Beijing and Shangai and winning Moscow. With his win in Russia, he got a career highest ranking at #22. There are still two weeks left, so we could still see the italian ending the season on a high, making Top-20. If he manages to do that it would the finishing touch for a great year which has seen an steady evolution of his game and confidence on himself.

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Evolution of Djokovic vs Tsonga rivalry.

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– The Tsonga-Djokovic rivalry has always been an interesting one. It provided one of the few Slam finals in the last years ( in Australian Open 08′) without neither Federer or Nadal, and it all ended up with Djokovic winning in 4 tight sets to claim his first Grand Slam title.

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Daniel Gimeno-Traver resurgence

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– This week has been really good for Daniel Gimeno-Traver: he’s got his third ATP SF, first outside of clay ( the clay ones were in Sttutgart and Gstaad, both on 2010, his best season), he’s returned into Top-80, he has also entered Top-70 in the RACE to London and got a $20,070 paycheck with wins over Serra, Kubot and Cipolla. This seemed really unlikely at the beggining of the season, when he was struggling to get wins on Challenger tour ( his worst position on the ATP ranking was #137 on May). He started to play better on Madrid Masters 1000, where he qualified and reached R2 [ defeated Clement, Hanescu, lost to Djokovic on 3 sets]. He continued his comeback winning Monza CH ( beated two top-100 players: Starace and Montañes) and reaching Bastad QF [ defeated #49 Kukushkin]. He continued his good run of form in Cordeons reaching the F after defeating #69 Kavcic and #76 Volandri, and then he made Segovia QF, Aalphen SF and won Seville CH for the second straight year ( beated Robredo) before coming to St.Petersburg. If he continues this fine form and keeps playing with confidence we could see him get close to his best ranking ( #52 in May 2011).

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