Cesky girls retain the Fed Cup, beating Serbia 3-1. Unusually, the main contributor wasn't Kvitova or the hot doubles team but Lucie Safarova, who won both her singles rubbers. She played especially well in the clinching rubber against Jankovic.
Kvitova did contribute a win over Jankovic yesterday, but was beaten by Ivanovic early today. That she played at all was remarkable, as reports are that she is still suffering from the virus that forced her withdrawal in Istanbul last week. Jankovic was also clearly ill, blowing her nose repeatedly during the match. A bit of a shame for the final, that.
The Czech doubles pairing, Lucia Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova, must be especially pleased to get a winners medal after the season they have had. They are the No.2 pairing in the world at the moment but haven't won anything of real significance this year, instead finishing as runners-up at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the US Open and last week's Tour Championships. In theory, if it had come to a deciding rubber, any pair that Serbia had put forward ought not have been a match for them. In practice, who knows? I'm not sure many would have picked Kirilenko and Petrova to beat them in Istanbul.
In two weeks time there is the chance to complete the set, as the Czech men host Spain in the Davis Cup Final. It's going to be played on the same indoor hard court, which looked a pretty fast surface. That will give Berdych and Stepanek an advantage against Ferrer, and might make for an interesting choice as to the 2nd Spanish singles player; do you go for the 3rd or 4th highest ranked Spaniards, Almagro and Granollers, who are really both best on a clay (especially Granollers)? Or do you drop slightly further down the rankings to Verdasco or Lopez? Personally, I think Verdasco, with Almagro as the reserve.
Verdasco can be pretty flaky under pressure and it's a long time now since his white-hot run of form. I'd probably go for Almagro myself. I wouldn't really trust Granollers as the back-up singles player, but he and Marc Lopez have had a good year on tour and will presumably be the doubles pair, so they don't have much choice about that short of pairing him with Verdasco or F Lopez instead.
Ferrer is a set up in the Paris final against Janowicz, and will play at least three matches at the O2 next week, maybe more as he's in the easier group. He'll be knackered for that final.
Ferrer wins, incredibly for someone who has been at the top as long as he has, his first Masters 1000 title. In fairness to him his best surface is clay, but his two finals on that surface, and three of his four semis, have seen him come against the GOAT Rafa.
In reference to the post a while ago upthread about Rafa losing #4, Ferrer's Paris win puts him just 765 points behind. By my calculation, if Ferrer gets through his group at the O2 with two wins, that will give him 800 points and really throw the cat amongst the pigeons for the Oz Open draw.
05 Nov 2012 11:56 - 05 Nov 2012 12:00#728645by Janik
Slams draws are not as fixed as 4 vs 5, etc.
Only the 1st and 2nd seeds are placed into specific positions at the top and bottom of the drawsheet. All other groups of seeds from 3/4 downwards are allocated by lot to either/any of the possible spots. So a 5th seeded Nadal could be schdeuled to face any of Djokovic, Federer, Murray or Ferrer in a quarter-final. There would be a 1-in-4 chance of having one half with Djokovic/Federer, Murray and Nadal in it.
This does all assume that Nadal will play the Aussie, of course.
Edit - no, bad maths, is a 50/50 chance of one of the top two, plus Murray and Nadal ending up on one side. It's a 25/75 chance for Djokovic or Federer as individuals whether they end up in such a nasty half.
Sorry: meant Barker v Wade (thanks), although if Robson v doodah (Ms Watson, the slightly hotter of the two... and please, dont go there: I said it, so you dont have to...), is a non starter, go for it.
It took me all of 48 seconds to remember her name... I am so fucking gay.
I've met Riley, and yes, my life is not dissimilar
05 Nov 2012 20:29 - 05 Nov 2012 20:30#728873by Rogin the Armchair fan
What's the "set difference" rule at the Masters again, in case 3 players each win 1 match each behind a group winner who wins all 3 (I assume in the case of 2 players winning 2 each, the group winner is the one who won their head-to-head).
It was something like sets W-L first, wasn't it, but then if any were still tied on that basis it went down not to strict games difference but games won average? It was something like that.
Only wondering now that Murray's beaten Berdych 2 sets to 1 and 15-13 in games on that basis, what happens if he loses to Tsonga who in turn loses to Berdych, by similar scores, but all of them lose to Djok.
Last Edit: 05 Nov 2012 20:30 by Rogin the Armchair fan.
Yep, believe it's set difference and then game average, because winning a set 6-4 is in theory more comprehensive than winning at 7-5, for example.
The other scenario where this comes into play is when three players win twice and one loses all three. This befell Murray in 2009, where despite two group wins and only one loss, a 6-1 tanked set against Federer came back to haunt him.
I have to agree SSK. There is almost no match between the big 4 which doesnt leave some form of imprint on one's memory. This year Djokovic v Federer in Paris was disappointing due to conditions favouring Novak so heavily but other than that it has been epic contests galore. Djokovic v Nadal in Australia and Djokovic v Murray in New York being my top two.
17 Nov 2012 20:35 - 17 Nov 2012 20:37#733183by Janik
Except the year is not quite finished. There is still the Davis Cup final to complete. This time tomorrow, and everyone is finally on holiday.
In terms of the selection choices discussed higher up the thread, the Spanish went SSK's way and picked Almagro. He pushed Berdych very hard on a court much less suited to him than to the big Czech, but lost in five. That made it 1-1 after Ferrer was very good (as per) in beating Stepanek in the opening rubber. I wonder if he enjoys being the undispusted star of his team for once?
Todays Doubles has produced a bit of a shock result as Berdych-Stepanek have teamed up to defeat Granollers-Lopez, who are one of the top Doubles pairs around and won the Tour Finals last week. That puts the Czech's 2-1 up and so just needing one of the reverse singles to take the Cup, but it does mean that the Czech singles players spent today playing a three hour plus match, whilst the Spanish singles guys had a day off.
First up tomorrow is the top string match-up Berdych vs Ferrer, with Stepanek vs Almagro waiting in the wings if needed.
I find either match very hard to call. Ferrer has an iron will, but Berdych has the bigger shots, which on a quick indoor court ought to make a significant difference. Stepanek is unusual in being a net-rusher, but again, it's a quick surface, which suits that sort of game and really doesn't fit with Almagro's style. Almagro is clearly the stronger player in a general sense, though. And anyway, if it comes down to this match, nerves will decide it as much as tennis ability.
All live on Eurosport 2 from 11:30 tomorrow, for those who fancy a watch.