• Nadal takes on Gulbis, Federer battles Troicki

    1/6/11 4:57 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal takes on Gulbis, Federer battles Troicki After a tough day on Wednesday, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will be in quarterfinal action in Doha on Thursday.

    Rafael Nadal vs. Ernests Gulbis

    Rafael Nadal is back in action on Thursday after being bageled in the middle set by Lukas Lacko in the second round. The Spaniard lost his way in the middle set, but righted the ship to take the third 6-3. With his play as erratic as it was in the second round, the world No. 1 will need to be cautious of an in-form Ernests Gulbis. The Latvian has been playing well this week and could well give Nadal an upset scare.

    Gulbis has never defeated Nadal, though he’s taken a set in each of their 3 matches.

    Prediction – With the way Gulbis is playing, he will likely get at least a set from the Spaniard – but Nadal should come through in 3 in the end.

    Roger Federer vs. Viktor Troicki

    Roger Federer was not in particularly good form on Wednesday either. The Swiss man looked flat against countryman Marco Chiudinelli, though he managed to win 7-6(5), 7-5. Troicki is a far better player than Chiudinelli. If Federer plays in the quarters the way he did in the second round, Troicki will have his shot at the biggest upset of his career.

    Troicki’s ranking sits at a solid 28 in the world. He has played Federer just once before, back in 2006 in Tokyo. Federer won in straight sets, but Troicki took him to two tiebreakers.

    Prediction – Troicki will have his chances, but expect Federer to pull the win out.

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Maybe today Fed will lead the way to an upset, followed closely by Rafa. Most likely not, I think. Both Troicki and Gulbis have the abilities for causing the upsets if the top two guys keep playing like crap. They are definitely better players than Chiudinelli and Lacko.

It seems to me that both Fed and Rafa are affected by the travelling and the climate change, and maybe even that tennis on water promo. Rafa even had fever and was coughing during the last match. Rafa may be the one being upset here, if not Gulbis then may be Davy. I hope for the best for Rafa.

luckystar , 1/6/11 8:06 AM

I couldn't agree more, luckystar...I hope Rafa has recovered although I know it can not happen overnight, but I keep my hopes...both Gulbi and Davy are difficult to play with even when Rafa is 100%, but let us believe Rafa's condition is improved and that he will be up to his task...we shall see...Good luck, Rafa! Please be well! Maybe his LUCKYSTAR will be there to give him fortune...VAMOS RAFA!

natashao , 1/6/11 12:06 PM

Rafa is definately not at his best but we all know Gulbis.
It will all depend on the first set - if Gulbis can play agressive and consistent and clinch the opener, it will be difficult for this 'weaker' Nadal to win the next two.
Let's wait and see :)

Shireling , 1/6/11 1:35 PM

Im sorry, but i for one dont believe Gulbis can beat Rafa at this point, sick or not!!! Yeah, Gulbis is good, but please!!!!

And i think the same for Fed too!

Monalysa , 1/6/11 2:19 PM

Very interesting read considering the AO is nigh! eliability-Fifth-Set-Records.aspx

Monalysa , 1/6/11 2:35 PM

@Monalysa, so what? It only means that he goes into fifth set more often even when he is playing well, so it doesn't really matter that it is a fifth set.

What I am trying to say is that if a payer like rafa goes into fifth set, it doesn't mean he is having a really off day, he can be playing well and still end up in the fifth set due to his playing style. THen on it is an even game and rafa usually has the big game experience and mental strength to pull of that even contest in his favour.

On the other hand, a player like federer rarely gets stretched to fourth or fifth set when he is playing even reasonably well. SO when it does go into a fifth sat, it means he is having a particularly off day.

So at the beginning of the fifth set unlike rafa (where it is still an even contest) fed enters a fifth set with a distinct disadvantage that he is playing bad/off his step throughout the match. ANd the other player has the advantage now. It is much harder to turn it around from that situation.

So, to sum it up, rafa has a better record in fifth sets BECAUSE he encounters fifth sets more often even when he is playing well/very well and hence has higher chance of going on to win

Players like Fed see a fifth set only when either they are playing very bad or when the other player is playing out of this world tennis, and consequently chances of fed losing a five set match is more.

I hope it makes sense to you, I am taking nothing away from nadal's fitness etc.. that too plays a role, but I think this is the real reason.

TheObserver , 1/6/11 2:59 PM

Observer, did you watch every one of Fed's five sets match? How can you be sure that when Fed went to five sets, each time he wasn't playing well? Likewise for Rafa, did you watch his every five sets match to determine that each time, he was playing well but still enter into five sets??

All these conclusions of yours are merely assumptions and dare I say, your biased opinions!

luckystar , 1/6/11 3:20 PM

i said more often than not dear friend. If you can't see the logic in it, we can agree who is the biased one. Statistically it is more probable that rafa would win more 5 sets due to the reason i said above. however there might be chances when fed was playing well and was still pushed to five sets and defeated by a better player (case in point AO2009), also there might be times when nadal was playing badly, hung on till 5 sets and scraped out a win (case in point that early five setter nadal had in 2010 en-route to a slam victory).

All I am saying is that more often than not it happens the other way around and hence nadal will obviously have a better five set record, it is more due to style of play than anything else.

If you are going to give me another senseless comment, please excuse me in advance if I don't reply, I don't mean to be rude, it is just that I don't know that method of argument.

PS. I have watched every match of federer's and nadal's let alone 5 set matches. So if you were going somewhere with that question, you have your answer.

TheObserver , 1/6/11 3:34 PM

Be brave, stand strong, stay fit, Rafa!

Augustina08 , 1/6/11 3:41 PM

TheObserver, my post was merely for the sake of information. You certainly read much more into it than i did!!!

Monalysa , 1/6/11 4:08 PM

Observer, Fed had played more five set matches than Rafa, as he was in the tour longer than Rafa. Naturally, his five set matches would have a good mixture of good and bad days. Rafa had played in only 17 five sets matches (so far I think based on atp stats). He may have gone to five setters on his good days more than his bad days so far, but that doesn't mean that it will always be like this going forward. Right now I don't foresee Rafa playing well and still have to go to five setters, as he is at the top of his game now. He'll probably only go to five setters on his bad days going forward.

PS. Observer, were you the one who was into betting about players/matches? I seem to remember that you posted something about Murray during 2010, and mentioned similar things about watching every match or something like that.

luckystar , 1/6/11 4:25 PM

Easy day at the office for Fed today, so far. No more crap play from Fed I suppose. Robbie Koenig or Jason Goodall was mentioning that Fed had his game plan ready coming in to this match, hitting low cross court backhands and topspin down the line backhands to keep Troicki at the back of the court.

luckystar , 1/6/11 4:32 PM

No luckystar. I joined this site only recently. My previous posts were with the excel sheet on the points predictions for 2011 if you remember.
As for what we were talking about, It was just my point of view and as long as you don't abuse, you are welcome to differ from it. And I dont think watching every match means I have to be into betting. I realized early that every match from these two greats are something to treasre and made sure I never missed one. That is all.

TheObserver , 1/6/11 4:38 PM

Sorry Observer, I've mistaken you for somebody else then. Well good to hear that you have actually watched all the matches, and not just based your opinions on some assumptions. If I've sounded abusive earlier on, I must apologize.

luckystar , 1/6/11 4:48 PM

Troicki totally outplayed by Fed. So Fed is back to his usual good self. Now let's see if Rafa is back to his usual good self or still the 'crap' or ill one. Rafa please show us what you are capable of and beat Gulbis!

luckystar , 1/6/11 5:04 PM

Don't think Tsonga has much of a chance tomorrow ... after watching watching today's play. :)

smr , 1/6/11 5:05 PM

Rafa all business so far at 4-1.

smr , 1/6/11 5:51 PM

Rafa calls for trainer at 5-4.

smr , 1/6/11 6:12 PM

Hard fought first set for Nadal. Gulbis playing well and Rafa still feverish.

smr , 1/6/11 6:32 PM

hold on to the break rafael ! he is quitting the dbles i am sure ...may be he shud quit the tournament too

vamosrafa , 1/6/11 7:11 PM

Sweaty, feverish Nadal wins with a second break. :)

smr , 1/6/11 7:17 PM

Rafa won the match. Yesterday I felt that Rafa dragged himself through the match, today I felt that he played.

Congratulations to Rafa on the victory!

Augustina08 , 1/6/11 7:27 PM

27 winners to 11 u.e not bad for a feverish person eh? :P rafa looked jussst a tad slower, thats it...good performance overall.first time he has beaten gulbis in straight sets

vamosrafa , 1/6/11 7:37 PM

Great win for a feverish good to finish in, I hope for Ivo to win which means Rafa would not need to do a lot of running in the semis...:)


natashao , 1/6/11 7:42 PM

The doubles team Rafa & Marc has started their match.

Augustina08 , 1/6/11 7:54 PM

Good win by Rafa. Yes this is the first time Rafa beats Gulbis in straight sets, and despite him not at his physical best. I think this shows the improvement in Rafa's game. Rafa should be OK now, and I think he knew what he was doing, judging by the fact that he sought the trainer's advice when he was sweating profusely during the first set. He seemed OK in the second set.

I think Davy should come through and will be a tough opponent for Rafa. Davy is playing well against Ivo at the moment.

luckystar , 1/6/11 8:18 PM

I haven't been able to actually see Rafa, so I am relying on the observations of those who have been able to watch his matches. This is a good victory, because Gulbis has been a tough opponent for Rafa in the past.

I have to believe that Rafa knows what he is doing. If he called the trainer at one point, then he is being cautious about his health. He is one tough young man.

I am hoping to see a match before it's over. The tennis channel isn't carrying the matches, so I can't record anything.

Hang in there, Rafa! Good luck in the semis!

Nativenewyorker , 1/6/11 8:26 PM

Well done Rafa.


gorafago , 1/6/11 8:39 PM

Davydendko played very strongly the whole match against Karlovic... he should be a tough competitor against Nadal tomorrow.

chlorostoma , 1/6/11 8:57 PM

The doubles team of Rafa & Marc won their match. It lasted 1h 18 min. Hopefully, it wasn't very tiriyng.

Congratulations to Rafa on the second victory today !
Vamos! Vamos! Vamos!

Augustina08 , 1/6/11 9:13 PM

By winning the doubles today, is Rafa and Mark into the doubles final? Is the doubles final being played tomorrow or Sat?

luckystar , 1/6/11 9:18 PM

yeah, they are in the finals against Bracciciali/Seppi

natashao , 1/6/11 9:20 PM

The doubles are good preparation too of course for the AO.

chlorostoma , 1/6/11 9:24 PM

rafa plays singles match second (around 6 pm local time) and after POSSIBLE suitable rest (that is exactly how it reads in the "order of play" sheet) plays I can say is


natashao , 1/6/11 10:04 PM

I hope Rafa can beat Davy this time. It's been a year since they last met. Rafa has lost to Davy three straight times so he really must try his best not to lose to Davy again. Davy is playing well at the moment and likes to take the ball early. I have faith that the new improved Rafa can beat Davy, provided Rafa is not bothered by fever. The task gets tougher each day, I can't imagine after Davy, a not at his best Rafa has to face Fed who is playing scary tennis again, adv Fed. One match at a time though.

luckystar , 1/7/11 3:42 AM

The fact that Rafa has been struggling with a fever and a viral infection, is the only reason why I think that Davy could win this match. Rafa is not the same player that Davy met last year. He has improved a number of facets of his game considerably. Davy will be facing a much different Rafa than he did last year.

I don't care about the fact that Davy has won the last few times they have met. Rafa is coming off a year in which he won three straight slams and completed the career grand slam. Confidence will not be a problem. I think that his mental toughness should get him through this match. Even though Davy is playing well again, I am not going against Rafa.

It all depends on how much Rafa has left and if he doesn't feel worse tomorrow.

Nativenewyorker , 1/7/11 5:43 AM

I agree with you NNY. Rafa seems OK yesterday, so I think he has almost fully recovered from the fever. I know Rafa can beat Davy, given that Rafa has improved so much since the last time they met and I'm sure Rafa is determined not to lose to Davy again.

luckystar , 1/7/11 6:06 AM

Rafa was dropping the balls very short yesterday, especially on the ROS.
The flu seems to have affected his game.
Dont know how he will be feeling today, but if he plays like yesterday, then I think Davy will win.

atul1985 , 1/7/11 8:14 AM

NNY, I totally agree with you! I will not go against Rafa. I know he will give it his ALL, with or without fever! I dont CARE if Davy beat him last year, that was LAST year, this is now and Rafa CAN beat Davy. Im predicting Rafa in 3, winning the first set!

But if Im wrong and he loses, forget fever, he simply cant win them ALL!!

Good luck, Rafa!!!!!!

Monalysa , 1/7/11 1:08 PM

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