Thursday, August 09, 2007

The 400 Club

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Andy Roddick won his 400th professional match with a 6-2, 6-3 beatdown of Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the Rogers Cup in Montréal tonight. I don't get to call many of Andy's victories beatdowns and since he's been on the receiving end of quite a few, I'll just say that turnabout is fair play.

Roddick's overall career record is now 400-124 (.763). Not too shabby for a "mindless ballbasher" with "nothing but a serve." And he's only 24.

The "ballbasher" broke down his opponent from the baseline with loops and slices Baghdatis couldn't handle. Andy broke serve four times, and with a mere 5 aces, lost his own serve once. But he simply was more steady and when forced to come up with some great volleys to hold for a 5-2 lead in the second set, he silenced the commentators who were stunned by what they saw. "Who's that guy at the net?" I said aloud.

Andy will take on Novak Djokovic, who dismissed David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 (is there an echo in here?), in what is arguably the most anticipated quarterfinal of the bunch. Frist-time meetings between top players on big stages are always exciting. They've been switching off most of the year as the No. 3, 4, and 5 players, along with Nikolay Davydenko, who's also still left in the draw. Novak and Andy both have enough game to beat the other, so if they bring their best tennis, it could be a great match.

Davydenko defeated compatriot Mikhail Youzhny 7-6(8), 6-3. Showing no signs of the foot injury that forced him to retire from the match that made headlines for its betting controversy, Davydenko will face Radek Stepanek, who frustrated Tommy Haas with more than just his tennis en route to a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 victory.

Roger Federer, who made qualifier Fabio Fognini look like a hitting partner in his 6-1, 6-1 rout, will face Lleyton Hewitt who, thanks to a net cord down match point, outlasted Dominik Hrbaty 6-7(10), 7-6(6), 7-5 in the day's longest match.

And Frank Dancevic gutted out a gritty win over Fernando Verdasco, (who seems to think Africa is a country and the Canucks are Africans - don't make me explain, it will be ugly) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Frank is the first male Canadian in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open since 1989. He'll face Rafael Nadal, who withstood a barrage of power from Paul-Henri Mathieu in the day's best match. Frank, who withdrew from doubles, will need all the help he can get because the world No. 2 is on a mission here. Remember, the last time he played in Montréal, he won the title. Rafa's relentless fight finally broke his opponent's spirit in his 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory.

I'm not making any quarterfinal predictions. May the best men win.

39 comments:

Ashley said...

And Frank Dancevic gutted out a gritty win over Fernando Verdasco, (who seems to think Africa is a country and the Canucks are Africans - don't make me explain, it will be ugly) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Come on Craig, don't do this to me. Explain please. I didn't see this match, but reading MTF it sounded like Verdasco pulled a Berdych on the crowd.

Ashley

Helen W said...

Craig I'm back!

I'd love to hear the dirt about the Dancevic - Verdasco match. I didn't get to see the whole match, but the handshake at the net seemed pretty cool. I noticed the same thing in Dancevic's match with JM del Potro. I didn't see any shenanigans during the matches (didn't see much of that one either) so ... what gives?

I'm a fellow Canuck, so I'm kinda rooting for Frank.

oddman said...

Yay, Andy! Yay, Frankie! Great stuff. Don't think he's gonna get a win over Rafa, but you never know. Dancevic's got the game on right now. It's good to hear Andy put a beatdown on somebody - and Baghdatis is no slouch.

Craig Hickman said...

Welcome back, helen w. Hope all is well.

(Down, karen, down. [wink]).

Craig Hickman said...

Since you asked so nicely, Ashley.

I'll try to be diplomatic.

Verdasco was having a fit with the Canucks who were cheering during his serves. (It was a bit much and the chair ump didn't intervene until too late...)

After showing his ass and getting them even more riled up after holding serve by baiting them with gestures such as hands to his ears, he said loudly: "What kind of country is this? Africa?"

Why the chair didn't default him at that point, I'll never know.(Actually, yes I do. I'm not sure the chair ump understood the blatant racism, but that's a whole other story...) Verdasco was unceremoniously booed. He tried to change momentum in the third set with a injury timeout after being broken for 1-2, but Frank held it together and pulled out the victory.

I've also thought Verdasco was braindead, but now I know he has other issues to boot.

oddman said...

Oh, you're gonna hear about it from Karen, you bet! LOL!

Nick McCarvel said...

I'm sorry but..."showed his ass"? I feel like I need to see a video clip not only to understand the drama but to, well, you know...Verdasco's kind of cute, in the I'm-an-arrogant-tennis-player way.

Craig Hickman said...

LOL, nick. That's a figure of speech, not meant literally.

Karen said...

LOL - Hey guys, I see that you are all making jokes at my expenses. Yes I am a jealous old hag, but thats what makes me so loveable. As for you Craig, no jerk sauce for you. No Jamaican anything for you. As to Oddman, I am so going to get you one of these days. On to tennis, so Yummy Prince Fed plays Lleyton come on Hewitt. I wonder who will win. This should be a good match, what with Lleyton working with Yummy Prince Fed's former coach. Someone posted over at tennis.com that if Lleyton called Tony asking for help on how to beat Fed he is SOL as one of the complaints that Fed had was that Tony did not talk much. Someone also said "hit high looping top spin balls to his backhand with your left hand". I thought that was pretty funny as well. Hey Craig, heard your boy was cursing at the linesmen or was it Baggy in yesterday's match. What gives? As to Verdasco, can you say ignorant!!!. No wonder he lost. In order to be arrogant you first have to have a game that will kill all opponents and not allow wild cards and qualifiers to take you out. Here endeth my spiel

tangerine said...

Nice to see Andy put the beatdown on somebody else for once. He's been on the receiving end of those kinds of matches far too often for my liking. He needs to dish out come cold revenge of his own more often.

Dancevic is an exciting new face so I don't blame the Canuks for getting a little crazy. He's the first tennis player they've had in, like, a million years, to cheer for. Verdasco was crazy. There's a thread in MTF whining about Roddick cursing again. How come nobody starts threads when Clement abuses ballkids or somebody makes a thinly vieled racist remark, as Verdasco did? These behaviors are far more offensive.

I'm interested in the Fed-Hewitt match. I hope it's not another boring beatdown but Hewitt may be out of gas after that marathon with Hrbaty, and Roger appears to be playing extremely well.

Djokovic-Roddick. I can't predict Roddick matches anymore, I never know when the good Andy will show up to play. The good Andy HAS to show up today because there's no other way that he will beat Novak.

Stepanek-Davydenko. I could care less about this matchup of the fuglies. One of them loses, that can only be a good thing for tennis. Thank god both of these nerds were drawn on Federer's side and not Nadal's. LOL. Yes, I'm biased. ;)

Craig Hickman said...

Why doesn't anyone start threads about this:

“Jesus Christ, man, take your glasses off for f%$^#'s sake” -

Tommy Haas to Chair Umpire, Aug 7, 2007 in his loss to Radek Stepanek.

Roddick mouthed an F-U to a linesperson (for good reason, I might add) and we don't have any evidence to even suggest the linesperson was looking at Andy when he did it since the linesperson in question was on the opposite side of the court on the baseline. Roddick was at about the service line when he mouthed the inaudible expletive.

So, karen, you're being vengeful now, huh? No jerk sauce? I'm crushed. I think I know a way to make you change your mind....

tangerine said...

Hey Craig, somebody over at MTF insinuated that Andy was saying "F-U" to Jimmy Connors. LOL.

You've done gone inspired me to rant off again over at MTF. Check out my post:

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showpost.php?p=5828744&postcount=88

I love it when someone opens the door for me to rant like a crazy woman. :)

Karen said...

Let me state the obvious - Start cheering for Yummy Prince Fed. That would make me deliriously happy.

oddman said...

You are loveable karen. You make me laugh - too sweet. I look forward to you trying to get back at me (chuckle).

As for us Canucks having something to cheer about, you are SO right, tangerine. It's wonderful to have a Canadian still in the draw at Montreal. Rowdy Canuck fans? I don't believe it, lol.

Craig Hickman said...

Tangy, you are too funny. I don't even bother countering the double standards as they relate to Andy anymore. It's pointless. He's a polarizing figure in men's tennis. Which means he's powerful. When Ljube Job loses, no one cares. He has no power. When Haas cusses, no one cares. He has no power. When Clement abuses ball kids, no one cares. He has no power. Etc... ad nauseum.

You get my point, no?

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, I won't ever root for Raja. Unless someone drugs my tea. But I can think of something else, just give me time.

Karen said...

LOL - so no jerk for you - nah it is not that serious. I hear what you guys are saying about Andy. I guess people expect a certain type of behaviour from him, don't know why as he has not ever struck me as the kind who would rein in his emotions or not say what was on his mind, even if it is fuck you to a lines judge or to his opponent. What I guess people don't like is is in his face manner (you know the whole frat boy entitlement posture that he sometimes exhibits on court), especially during his hey day. Come to think of it I believe Rafa and to a lesser extent Yummy Prince Fed all exhibit the same attitude, it is called entitlement and I guess most players believe that because they are good at what they do there is a sense of entitlement to their on-court and off-court antics. Another reason why Andy may be a polarizing figure in our sport of tennis, is that many people believe that he was force-fed to us by the American media as the next Pete Sampras and he (Andy that is) started to believe the hype. The same can be said of Sharapova. If she had not won another Grand Slam soon, her ass would have been grass, and she would have been known as a one-hit wonder. In any event, she is not even being spoken of in the same breath as someone who can one day achieve greatness by winning multiple slams. I feel for all those who really root for Andy (like Craig, I can never see myself rooting for him (see quote on Raja from Craig) but it must hurt greatly when you are being beaten left, right and centre by the up and comers. Makes me wonder when Raja and Rafa's time will come.

Karen said...

Hey Tangi where in Canada are you? I intend to visit over the winter as my mom and most of my relatives live in Alberta, Canada. As for me I am living here in the grand old Cayman Islands.

Ashley said...

Karen said...
Let me state the obvious - Start cheering for Yummy Prince Fed. That would make me deliriously happy.

Karen you and I can be friends.
Thanks for the insight Craig. I'll be rooting for Frankie boy tonight.

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, I agree with you except for one thing: Roddick NEVER believed the hype about himself. Had he, he wouldn't be where he is right now. Because you don't follow him, I can tell you for a fact that he is far more self-deprecating than he is entitled. He feels entitled as the American No. 1 only, and he uses that entitlement as a "Diva" when it comes to where Davis Cup ties are played on home soil, etc. but in the larger pantheon of ATP tennis, he doesn't believe he's worthy to beat the top players.

And that is (one of the many reasons) why he falters against the "up-and-comers" who are hyped just as he was when he was one.



I posted an entry about this awhile back. I'll have to look it up and give you the link.

Karen said...

Please do. As a matter of fact I believe that it should be instructive to all the up and comers that you should really not believe the hype machine. Because when you as a player do not live up to the hype, guess what, you are the one who is going to be left in the poo-poo. In any event, he is the American No. 1 and he wears that mantle very well. I see that right now they are now hyping John Isner (Peter Bodo amongst them). For a fellow that all he has is a serve and not much of a ground game, he will soon realise what it means to play with the big boys. I believe every player should basically go through what Yummy Prince Fed went through - 3 years on the ATP tour without winning a title. 3 years of being called mentally weak and then righting the ship when his parents (yes his parents) decided to not have anything more to do with him until he cleaned up his act. That is why players like Rafa will last a long time, it is the family support that is behind you and which keeps you grounded, that and coaches who have the players' interest at heart and not the fame and notoriety for themselves (Exhibit A - Jimmy Connors).

On to the less serious stuff: Hey Ashley as long as you cheer for Yummy Prince Fed you can always be my friend. I am always on the lookout for friends (see previous posts to Craig on this topic). LOL

Craig Hickman said...

I found the link.

Here you go, Karen

sher said...

Rafa is serving horribly, and as much as I love him, this is a great chance for Dancevic.

Also, a little confused, are you guys using the word 'Canuck' to mean 'Canadian'? That's what I'm getting from the context, but...why?

Karen said...

Hey Craig, I read it and see what you mean. For me I am not much of a fan of his as well. Don't think that Yummy Prince Fed thinks much of him either, especially him talking trash without being able to back it up, i.e. AO this year. As to Andy, I believe even though he may never win another major, he should go deep in these tournaments. I don't think people should be re-tooling his game too much because after awhile, the game that took him to No. 1 in 2003 and has been his mainstay for quite some time and has worked for him, should probably remain with him. I am no expert at tennis, but perhaps they should have been looking at making the game that he had better, instead of changing it in the first place to beat one player, i.e. Yummy Prince Fed. Let us see what the rest of the year and early next year brings.

oddman said...

As a Canuck, it's a slang term for a Canadian. But not meant in a negative way, just a 'Canuck'. Eh?

Craig Hickman said...

karen, I agree with your last post wholeheartedly. From where I set, Brad Gilbert got Andy away from his best tennis (yeah, I know he won the US Open with him in his corner, but he was going to do that anyway.) But something else has happened in his mind and that's another discussion.

Ashley said...

Can someone tell me WHY is ESPN2 showing a tape match of tennis, when we could be watching an entertaining LIVE match.

WTF is wrong with these people?

Karen said...

I am going to say something way off base here, but there is a discussion currently on Tennis.com between Kamakashi (sp?) and Steve on Federer's autobiography (why is everyone doing an autobiography while still young and alive?) whatever. Anywho, one of the things that is pointed out is the belief that Yummy Prince Fed has in his abilities. This thing that he just believed that he was the best and that no one could beat him. He felt that if he lost a match it was not as a result of the other guy playing better but because he played terrible tennis. It sounds like an egomaniac way of thinking, but stay with me here guys. If you are a professional athlete one of the things you have to have first of all is the belief system. You have to think that there is no one out there better than you. Andy, has been hiring and firing coaches for the last 4 years because people have been saying to him that you need to retool your game to beat this guy called Federer. This guy is so good that you have to beat him in order to win tournaments. In order to beat him you need to go to his backhand and hit high looping shots so that he has problems returning. So he tries that and retools his game, only problem is, that formula only works for one guy and on one surface on a consistent basis, Rafael Nadal on clay. During the time that Andy has now lost the belief that got him to No. 1 other players have retooled their game to get past Andy and go for the big guy. The same thing almost happened to Fed when he had Tony working with him. He worked with someone who was retooling his game and he starts to lose against other players. Can you imagine any other player deciding in the harshest part of the tennis season to fire a coach and go it alone and ends up getting to the finals of the FO and winning Wimbledon (rain delays be damned) he still had to go out there and play. I am saying all this to say this: Andy, take a look in the mirror. Look at what got you to No. 1 and won you a major. Then start playing like you believe you can beat these guys and stop trying to beat one player. You have to get through the others before you can get to him in any event. And thats my take.

sher said...

Hey Karen, it's not egomaniac to believe in yourself. It's when you start treating everyone else like dirt that you've got problems. Nobody can succeed in high-stress professions without a core belief in their abilities, and Federer wears it well.

Craig Hickman said...

ashley, ESPN isn't showing this match at all. They're going to how Maria later (on tape delay) on the east coast.

Karen said...

I am curious to know why ESPN bothers to get the rights to these events when they do not even bother to show up for dang thing. Tape delay, tape delay, tape delay. We have to be scoreboard watching and it does not help that my damn pirate dish is down once again so I cannot even get to watch the quarter-finals of the WTA. Arrggh

sher said...

oh i know. i'm in canada and i can't watch canada open. this sucks. almost as much as being in paris during french open and not getting the sports chanel on your hotel's tv.

Ashley said...

I'm going to use the old cliche. My hat off to Frank Dancevic. He held nothing back. When he won the first set I started to believe. A shame he couldn't convert a couple of those break points. As for Nadal & Djokovic, let them knock each other out so the winner will be to tired to play the TMF.

Craig don't get me started on Shreikopvia.

Karen said...

Ashley, absolutely brilliant on the Shriekapova comment. As to Rafa and Nole, I am with you 100% on that one. Gawd is not Radek Stepanek the most unfortunate looking fellow you have ever had the misfortune to see on t.v. He is absolutely hideous, and that worm thing that he does. Gross. Ugh. How Martina (do not call me Chucky) stands to kiss that guy, much less plan to have his babies does it is beyond me. In saying that can you imagine what their offspring will look like. God Forbid. Ugh

Craig Hickman said...

But Karen, didn't you know Czech men are known for their big "snakes"?

Karen said...

LOL Craig not even if I had an anaconda type snaker would I be caught dead with that unfortunate looking fellow. Are you watching the match on t.v. now - Gawd I cannot stand when that girl plays but I need my tennis fix. I admit, I am a junkie. The reason why Shriekapova looks so good is because some of the women are so bad. Elena is a much better player and I thought she had been serving much better, but tonight she is not even able to convert the 1 break point that she has been able to get.

Craig Hickman said...

LOL. You are too many things, Karen.

ElenaD did break serve once when the Pova gil served for the first set.

Karen said...

I am sorry but I really do not want to sound mean-spirited as I know that Shriekapova has fans, but I am absolutely stunned when so-called journalists can come on air and say things like this: well viewership has gone up considerably during this US open series as a result of Maria playing". I was stunned to hear that because one of the highest ratings that ESPN ever got was the recent final between Shriekapova and Serena; Venus and that girl from France during Wimbledon and no one has yet beaten the all time greatest viewership when both sisters played the US Open final for the first time. Not even Yummy Prince Fed has been able to garner as many viewers as the WS. For them to even think that she is marketable is just laughable and ludicrous and I for am not buying the hype. Serena is playing New Haven, want to bet that if any of those matches with Serena are televised more people will tune in than even those for Yummy Prince Fed and Rafa final. Talk what you want about the WS but they not only sell tickets but make people tune in to ESPN. Anyway, I am now going to bed. I am tired and I need to go get some rest for Saturday chores.

Craig Hickman said...

Nighty, night.