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  • Nadal, Tsonga square off in Queen's Club quarterfinals

    6/10/11 3:36 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Nadal, Tsonga square off in Queen's Club quarterfinals Rafael Nadal will go up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday at the AEGON Championships. A place in the semifinals is at stake.

    Rafael Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be doing battle for the seventh time in their careers when they meet in the quarterfinals of the AEGON Championships on Friday afternoon.

    Nadal leads the head-to-head series 5-1, but they have never faced each other on anything other than hard courts. They most recently square off at last year's Sony Ericsson Open, where Nadal dominated 6-3, 6-2. Tsonga's lone victory over the current world No. 1 came in the 2008 Australian Open semis via a surprising 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 blowout.

    Both players are in fine form as the summer begins to heat up. Nadal is looking to pull off the French Open-Queen's Club double for the second time in his career (2008), having triumphed at Roland Garros just last weekend. The top-seeded Spaniard has not been dominant during his quick transition to grass, but he showed enough to get past Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-4 and Radek Stepanek 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

    Like his opponent, Tsonga also got a first-round bye as one of the top eight seeds (No. 5). The 19th-ranked Frenchman is coming off a third-round showing in Paris, where he seemed poised to go further but squandered a two sets and a break lead against Stanislas Wawrinka. Tsonga rebounded by destroying Michael Berrer 6-0, 6-1 in round two and he led countryman Michael Llodra 4-3 in the first set on Thursday when Llodra retired due to injury.

    A two-time Wimbledon champion, Nadal is more than capable of finding success on grass. Tsonga has never enjoyed great results on the slick stuff, but he does have the power game that can trouble Nadal. The favorite should continue to improve as this tournament progresses and a straight-set win is the likely result, but Tsonga will make it competitive.

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Comments

Rafa took the 1st set despite Tsonga raining aces on him.

phoenix , 6/10/11 7:37 PM


Rafa still has two matches to play tonight in the doubles.

nadline , 6/10/11 7:55 PM


I think Rafa is going home after this match, he needs a rest.

nadline , 6/10/11 8:02 PM


C'mon Tsonga..............you've got nearly the whole Rafa fandom cheering for you today.............do it........

rafaisthebest , 6/10/11 8:04 PM


Rafa didnt even move in 3rd set..Why? Pathetic sloppy play

If they dont want to play, why participate and play and add doubles too?

Will just maybe 4 days rest do? I am sure hell start practising atleast by Wednesday

sanju , 6/10/11 8:20 PM


What a relief.........at least that's past without any niggles for Rafa............NOW GO HOME AND REST!!!!!!!!

Well done Tsonga.............now go and win this thing......

rafaisthebest , 6/10/11 8:20 PM


Tsonga won. Is this good news? I suppose it is. Rafa needs some rest. He has had enough match practice.

holdserve , 6/10/11 8:21 PM


Can sumone explain me what match practice use is this? Practise for 4 days, then rest for 5 days and start practising again?

sanju , 6/10/11 8:22 PM


Yes, I think Rafa shouldn't push himself too much, he's got the grass practice so it's time to go home for some down time.

nadline , 6/10/11 8:23 PM


Rafa didnt even move in 3rd set..Why? Pathetic sloppy play

If they dont want to play, why participate and play and add doubles too?

sanju
, 6/10/11 8:20 PM

Let me guess..........you are a Martian, on a visit to planet earth, gracing us with a visit and you just happened to drop in on this match.....you have absolutely no clue what has transpired in the tennis world the past 5 months, let alone the past 3 weeks...........

Must really be annoying to come all this way and be confronted by this lazy humanoid, Rafael Nadal..............

rafaisthebest , 6/10/11 8:27 PM


sanju, it's to make the transition from one surface to the other. He's now got the feel for grass and will know what to work on when he gets to Wimbledon. Obviously, he'll go home for a few days then come to Wimbledon a few days before the tournament starts. I expect his first match will be on the first Tuesday so he'll have time to work on things.

nadline , 6/10/11 8:27 PM


The Wimbledon draw will be out on Friday 17th June at 10am BST.

nadline , 6/10/11 8:35 PM


rafaisthebest..cut the slack plz..you arent the only rafa fan on planet earth neither are you the only one glued onto happenings in the tennis world..if you cannot answer, there is no need for any sarcasm

Thanks nadline..though I still dont understand how the lack of continuity will help and what was the need to play Queens in the first place..shots can work and not work even in matter of days..for eg his backhand was really clicking qtr final RG onwards but today there was abs no sting and even in Rome, Madrid key matches it was subpar..wouldnt sum practice on wimbledon lawns from say Tuesday/Wednesday have been better and take a good day 10 day rest post RG like Fed/Nole have done?

sanju , 6/10/11 8:46 PM


sanju........................you remember how 'rusty' Nole got not playing in four says at RG?!!...........................Rafa just needed to defend his points!!!!!


Rafa for the win at Wimby!!!!...................VAMOS

Monalysa , 6/10/11 8:55 PM


sanju, the point of playing Queens is to get match practice, he's been experimenting on his return of serve here and has greatly improved on it since Madrid and Rome. Last year he lost to Feli at the same stage and went on to win Wimbledon.

Tsonga was serving out of the trees today so Rafa did well to win the first set. After he lost the second set and his serve early in the 3rd set I don't think he was prepared for a hard graft in order to win because he needs to rest. I hope he pulls out of the doubles. The grass was a bit slippery so movement was restricted unless you want an injury before Wimbledon shich would have been really sad.

I'm picking Roddick to win now.

nadline , 6/10/11 9:07 PM


he is tired but his grass court preparations does not seem ideal he should not get tough early round opponents

isfand , 6/10/11 9:41 PM


The fact that the pre-Wimbledon grass court ramp-up season consists of just 1 week (Halle or Queens) AND that it starts the day after RG is over.... is far from ideal for all of the players, and especially those that went deep into the second week at RG.

Still... most years Roger has elected to play Halle and Nadal has elected to play Queens. As the lesser evil as compared to not playing them and only practicing on grass.

I believe that each year Nadal does the same thing: he rents a house in London for 4 weeks: first week to play at Queens, second week to practice for Wimbledon and then through the end of Wimbledon if he makes it that far. I'm not sure that he goes back to Mallorca in between... I think he doesn't/

So long as you avoid injuries it seems that playing a few rounds on grass is preferable than only practicing. It is bound to speed up the transition from claycourt... given how little time there is for it... even if it means playing when you are physically and mentally tired... it is one of the many times a year you put in what you have to as a pro tennis player. Not that different from the years when you decide to skip eg Halle... you then pay in a different way.

chlorostoma , 6/10/11 10:08 PM


Last year after losing in the quarters, he flew back to Mallorca and came back sometime the next week.
So he is going to repeat the same routine this time, I think.
Anyway, what with him sliding under the net at least twice, I was pretty nervous and am happy he lost. He needs to be mentally and physically fresh.
Hope the big hitters like Isner are not in his quarter. Not Tsonga either.
Once he negotiates the first week at Wimbledon, I don't think anybody can defeat him.

holdserve , 6/10/11 11:15 PM


would prefer a Rafa-Fed semifinal rather than a Rafa-Murray SF. Murray just sucks against the Rafa-Fed-Nole in Slams. Last year, OMG, the whole nation cheering for him and lost in str8s?

So Rafa-Fed SF with Rafa winning and then meeting the Djoker will be exploooosiiiivveeee!!!!!!

torres9 , 6/10/11 11:16 PM


I wonder if Rafa will be seeded #1 at Wimbledon this year and if so will they seed Federer 2nd and Djoker 3rd.

gamesetmatch , 6/10/11 11:17 PM


For why wouldnt he be seeded #1??

Monalysa , 6/10/11 11:53 PM


Because I remembered last year Rafa was the world number 1 player at the time and they still put Roger in the #1 spot...something about Wimbledon have their own rules seating the players.

gamesetmatch , 6/11/11 12:40 AM


Rafa always goes back to Mallorca after Queens, even when he won in Queens in 2008, he rushed back home the next day. He didn't rent a house in London for four weeks; Queens and Wimbledon, they're not in the same location even though they're in London. He rent a house near to the All England L&C Club every year for the Wimbledon tournament.

Rafa was seeded no.2 last year even when he's world no.1 because he missed the 2009 grass season so no point from 2009, but only some of 2008, were added to his ranking points, whilst Fed though was no.2, had some additional points from 2009. Fed won in 2009 at Wimbledon and was a finalist at Halle, so he had a good 2,150 points from 2009; and if I'm not wrong 75% of Wimbledon 2008; ie 75% of his runner up points of 1,200 added to his ranking points, so he ended up seeded as no.1 at Wimbledon last year.

This year Rafa should be seeded no.1, Nole no.2 and Fed no.3 as the points difference between Nole and Fed is too large that points from past years are not enough to make up for the difference.

Rafa should be fine against the big hitters at Wimbledon. From what I saw yesterday, he wasn't returning well initially but later on during the match, his ROS improved. Also he was serving well and playing well, moving well too. He was impressive if we factor in his fatigue. As usual he lost his concentration during the second set and didn't capitalize on the break chances he created and finally ran out of steam in the third set. Of course Tsonga was playing very well, if not an out of steam Rafa would still be able to beat his lesser opponent most of the time. I think we may be seeing a Tsonga vs Murray final here.

luckystar , 6/11/11 3:20 AM


If Nole and Murray ended in the same half at Wimbledon, I feel that Murray has a good chance of reaching his first Wimbledon final, as Murray is a better grass court player than Nole in my opinion. On clay, Murray's worst surface, he was able to push Nole to the limit, I believe on grass, he can do more harm than on clay. I think Nole is better on clay than on grass too. Anyway both of them have to get to the semifinal first before they can meet, and there's no guarantee that they'll get there.

luckystar , 6/11/11 3:28 AM


Luckystar thanks for explaining, I wasn't sure why they seeded Rafa 2nd last year.
I also think Murray has a better chance making to the finale if he is on Nole's half. I wondered though if his ankle will hold up. To me I don't understand why Murray is playing Queen's if he has a tear on his tendon(no matter how small)...why risk it, Wimbledon is more important.

gamesetmatch , 6/11/11 4:13 AM


I so wished Fed would be seeded 2, so that they get a chance to meet only in the finals. and Nadal meets Djoker in the semis. To bad...

Anyway the next best scenario is the same semi final arrangement as in RG.

atul1985 , 6/11/11 5:24 AM


It's a good thing for Rafa to have some match play on grass before Wimbledon, but not too much to avoid exhaustion. He won Wimbledon last year after being eliminated in the same round at Queens, so everything is on track.
For someone like Rafa who relies so much on mental toughness, practice does not compare to entering a real tournament and playing real competition matches. Most of us could go out in the backyard and make ten hoops in a row from the foul line when nobody is watching. But at the NBA finals? Very different.

grafight , 6/11/11 6:49 AM


I think Rafa got what he needed from the Queens tournament. He got to the quarterfinals last year. We know that how he does at Wimbledon has no correlation to how he does at Queens. He needed to get the feel of grass again. Now he can go home and get some much needed rest with family and friends in his beloved Mallorca.

Rafa, have a nice rest and see you at Wimbledon!


Nativenewyorker , 6/11/11 7:54 AM



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