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11.51 pm: Novak Djokovic defeats Stanislas Wawrinka 6-4, 6-1. Highly impressive performance. He wore Stan down inexorably over two hours. Tomorrow he faces Robin Soderling, again on Centre, again at 9.15 pm.
And that’s it from me (from the ATP blog at least – the WTA one could last all night!) Thanks for reading, on a day when Federer crashed out at the hands of Richard Gasquet, and Nadal was back on form. See you tomorrow – the matches start at noon with Florian Mayer in his first ever 1000 quarter-final versus Andy Murray, in the “Nole” side of the draw.
11.47 pm: 5-0. Despite Stan having a 15-40 lead on the Djoker service there. The man’s unstoppable at the moment.
11.35 pm: And then all of a sudden it’s 3-0 Nole. 17 out of the last 23 points have gone the way of the Serb, who apparently is struggling to catch his breath out there and took a tablet at one point, but he seems to have Stan’s number now.
11.20 pm: Nole tries everything, throws the kitchen sink at Stan but the Swissie gets everything back. Well, almost everything – in the end, Nole paints the corners then lays down a perfect drop to break and take the set! Gutsy stuff from the no.2 on set point, but it paid off.
11.10 pm: 4-5, break and set point but Stan saves it with a biiiiig serve. The rest of the time he’s doing it Gasquet-style, staying way behind the baseline.
11.05 pm: 4-4. Epic stuff, but come on guys, sort this out quickly!
10.50 pm: Deuces and break points abound on both sides but it’s 3-3 at the moment. Nole’s not serving that well at the moment – is he not liking the cool, artificially-lit conditions? Will Stan be able to step up to the plate? One of many situations where Djokovic is strong is when he’s facing a break point…
10.10 pm: So, Djoker – Stan the Man. This was the 2008 final here, which the Serb took in three. Nole in fact has won their last seven meetings – oof. Stan has struggled here this year through a pair of matches against home-grown wildcards who took him the distance – what can he do against the man of the moment?
10 pm: 4-5, 30-40 so match point, Soderling smashes awkwardly and Almagro fires back a full-stretch passing shot to save it! Incredible! It’s only a stay of execution though – big bad Bobby Sod fires down a beaut of a forehand to carve out a second and that’s all he needs. Robin Soderling defeats Nicolas Almago 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 and will face the winner of the Djokovic – Wawrinka match that is about to start.
9.18 pm: Yup, there we go, Almagro 6-3s it right back at ya and we’re into a decider. Sod, undaunted, holds to 15 to open it. Bring it on, he says (in Swedish, obviously). I took Verdasco out in three and I’ll take you out too… (at least that’s what I think he said…)
9.05 pm: Breaks shared, Bobby Sod then bags another one and has the first set, 6-3. Almagro then ups his serve and in particular his returns in the second and it’s 5-2 to the Spaniard. We’re in for a long ‘un again, methinks.
8.05 pm: And we’re into the night session, with Robin Soderling and Nicolas Almagro 1-1 already. These two have played seven times, with big bad Bobby Sod leading 4-3 but it’s 3-1 to Almagro on clay, including on the Swedish dirt of Bastad less than a year ago. This should be one heck of a match.
7.38 pm: Murray steps it up and goes break hold break and he’s through! Andy Murray defeats Potito Starace 6-2, 6-3 and will face Florian Mayer in tomorrow’s quarters. And how about this? Gasquet takes it to a breaker and wins it, 7-4! Richard Gasquet defeats Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(4). Incredible! And yet not that incredible. Gasquet is the nearly man of French tennis with talent to burn but who has never got it together mentally – perhaps this will be a turning point (as well as the ban that he had a while back after testing positive for cocaine which was then rescinded when he pleaded innocence and was upheld. That has no doubt helped him to focus). Federer meanwhile seems to be happy chugging along, winning some, losing some. He seems to have lost the steel he had, particularly outside of the Slams – in fact he lost it a good 12 months ago. I’m sure he’ll go into his press conference (which he has already called) and say “I’m playing well, I’m happy with my preparation, on my day I can beat anyone”. When you have your day is up to you, Rog, you need to summon it up – and in any case you need weeks, not days…
7.28 pm: Was Federer fooled by the bounce? An amazing moment to pull out a non-necessary ‘tweener, at 4-4 in the final set… It’s now 6-5, Ritchie serving to stay in the match, but if he can, how tense will the subsequent tie-break be?!
Murray was 3-1 to the good and cruising and then he decided to go back to his old habits of hitting drop shots left, right and centre and Starace is back level at threes.
7.02 pm: At 3-2 Muzz carves out a raft of break points and the fifth one turns out to be the charm – and what a point it is, involving lobs, scrambles and a passing shot down the line to conclude. It opens the flood-gates and he breaks again to take the opener 6-2. Fed-Ritchie is 2-1 on service.
6.50 pm: Well well, Gasquet dominates the tie-break 7-2 and we’ll have a decider! Murray – Starace meanwhile is 3-2 to the Scotsman on service.
6.26 pm: Great fight from Ritchie, who breaks back to make it 4-4. The break point is a belter: Fed slices to bring him in and Ritchie plays two full-stretch backhand volleys, the second a beaut. Allez !
6.11 pm: TBErd finally winning at last brings up Murray – Starace. Potito had Muzz exactly where he wanted him on the Paris clay at Roland Garros two years ago, one set all but 5-1 up in the third and then Muzz stepped up a gear and won in four. What will happen today with the Pietrangeli crowd right behind the local boy?
6.06 pm: Tomas Berdych defeats Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-2 and will face Federer (or Gasquet) in the quarters tomorrow. It’s 2-1 to Ritchie in the second and we’ve had a tad of a delay as the court was over-watered at the changeover.
5.52 pm: Fed wins the first two, Ritchie the next three then Fed takes four of five. Did you follow all that? Federer takes the opener 6-4 in half-an-hour. Two one-handed backhands out there, and two of the best (we’ll have Stan Wawrinka’s to watch later on as well). Elsewhere TBerd is 3-2 up and serving, 10 points away from the quarter-finals (and from finally letting Murray and Starace on court).
5.24 pm: Jark the shark takes the tie-break 7-4 and we’ll have a decider! Fed meanwhile is 2-0 up and Ritchie has just won his first point on service to make it 15-30 – tough for him out there. It’s hot as well – very hot.
5.18 pm: Federer – Gasquet is under way on Centre. Ritchie beat Rog at Monte Carlo on the clay. But that was six years ago – since then, the Swiss maestro has got the better of him eight times, and he’s just broken to love to open. Whoooshka.
5.14 pm: Marin Cilic defeats Mardy Fish 7-6(6), 6-3. And his reward? A crack at Rafa Nadal tomorrow. Lucky fellah. That’s him 4-0 over the Fish who was out of water today. Jark the Shark is in the water though and has taken TBerd to a tie-break in the second.
4.27 pm: Berdych wins the opener 6-2 but Nieminen breaks him to open the second. Fish and Cilic then fight it out in a breaker, with the Croat edging it 8-6. Tight.
4 pm: It’s stopped raining over court 10, and Fish (who should have enjoyed the rain with a name like that) and Cilic are locked at 4-all. On Pietrangeli, TBerd leads Jark the Shark 5-
3.28 pm: Lucky loser Jarkko Nieminen versus no.7 seed and Roland Garros 2010 semi-finalist is under way. TBerd leads their H2H 4-1, including their first ever meeting which was here four years ago in the first round, and had never lost a set to the Finn until they played in Stockholm last year, when Jarkko won in straight sets.
And we also have Mardy Fish versus Marin Cilic waiting to get under way, but it appears to be a cloud over court 10 as it’s too drizzly to start! Just over court 10, nowhere else…
2.42 pm: After beating no.8 seed Juergen Melzer yesterday, the German no.1 has now gone one better. Florian Mayer defeats Juan Ignacio Chela 7-5, 6-4 and will face the winner of Starace – Murray in his first ever ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final appearance.
1.42 pm: From 2-2 to 6-2 – that’s the Rafa way! Rafael Nadal defeats Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-2 and will face the winner of Cilic – Fish in the quarter-finals tomorrow evening, I reckon. Other than that bried three-minute period where he lost service in the middle of the first set he looked back to his imperious best today, did the Majorcan, sending out a message to Nole (and Roger, based on last night’s performance).
Mayer meanwhile is serving for the set at 6-5, but Chela is deucing him up.
1.31 pm: After a more balanced second set (the first was all Nadal except for that one brain-cramp service game), Rafa breaks in the sixth game and then follows up with a hold. All of a sudden it goes from 2-3 to 2-5 for Feli, who will serve to stay in the match in two minutes’ time.
1.06 pm: What an up-and-down match this has been – Rafa breaks again and takes the opener 6-4. 95% of first serves in and 17/21 won. The four he lost were when he was broken to 30, otherwise he held to love every time. Strange that he had that sudden lapse… Mayer – Chela meanwhile is 3-3.
1 pm: Ooh, Rafa has another lax game, like he did yesterday when he was a break up in the first set, and we’re back on service. Feli to serve, 4-5.
12.45 pm: 3-1 Nadal. Feli is on the board but Rafa is serving at a 90% clip, not giving his compatriot a sniff. Elsewhere Chela-Mayer is under way as well.
12.35 pm: Right from the off, Nadal is all over the Feli serve. The other Spanish lefty (as opposed to the Majorcan lefty) tries his hardest but Rafa takes him to deuce, then breaks. 2-0. Oh ye of little faith.
12.28 pm: Nadal holds to love to open, finishing off with an ace down the middle. Just in case anyone thought that after his first set and three-quarters against Paolo Lorenzi yesterday, he was a spent force. Shyeah right.
12.15 pm: Here we go, Nadal versus Lopez on Centre Court, this is what it’s all about! Rafa is 28-1 lifetime here at the Foro Italico, hs only loss coming to Juan Carlos Ferrero (2003 Roland Garros champ) in the opening round of 2008. He leads the H2H 7-2, 3-0 on clay but those matches came back in 2006, 7 and 8. Lopez beat Nadal at Queen’s last year but since then Rafa has had his revenge at the US Open and in Miami, both in straight sets.
Ciao a tutti, and welcome to the men’s third round. It’s a packed programme today – other than poor Daveeeed Ferrer who was forced to pull out due to illness, we have the top seven seeds in action today – Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Soderling and Berdych, not to mention the likes of Almagro (no.9), Wawrinka (no.14) and Gasquet (no.16).
Any upsets on the cards today? Soderling may struggle with Almagro, a fired-up Starace could take Murray to three, Fish – Cilic is too close to call if both play well and will Gasquet have the wherewithal to shake up Federer?
Play starts at 12 noon with Rafa taking on Feli Lopez on Centre and Mayer versus Chela on 10. Don’t forget that the WTA matches this afternoon are in a separate blog. Oh yes, and tweet me @DrewLilley and give me your feedback.