Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Best Australian Open semis and final – Rusedski

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By Greg Rusedski

Again, in the men’s draw it turned out to be all about the top four in the world. In the semi-finals it was Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic versus Andy Murray. Could Federer finally beat Nadal in a major again? The last time he beat Nadal at a major was 2007 in the Wimbledon final. Nadal leads Federer in their Grand Slam matches 7 wins to 2 losses.

Federer started like a house on fire to win the first set, but Nadal wasn’t worried. He knew he could not lose to Federer in a major because he knew that physically he would wear him down. When that happens Federer loses his concentration ever so fractionally and that is when Rafa pounces and turns the match in his favor. The strategy against Federer is simple for Nadal. Nadal’s left handed high heavy topspin forehand moves Federer all over the court and breaks down Federer’s backhand side. Physically, Federer cannot keep up with Nadal in a three out of five set match anymore. Federer has to beat Nadal in three sets, which is nearly impossible. Also on his serve Rafa can start the point on his terms because Federer cannot really attack his serve with the one-handed backhand.

Rafa won in 4 tight sets and this really hurt Roger because he felt that he was playing well enough to win and that Rafa had to have been a bit tired after his epic four hour win against Berdych in the previous round.

At the moment I do not think Roger will win another major because Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray are all five years younger and stronger which makes a huge difference physically in major play. I hope I am wrong because he is such a great champion.

Rusedski looks to Cincinnati for US Open form

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The Cincinnati Masters became a very important event before the US Open because a lot of the big names lost early in Montreal and needed to get match play before the Open started.

How would Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray perform? Could Novak Djokovic continue his amazing run of only one match lost all season, having just won Montreal a week earlier?

“Bring on Wimbledon!” – Rusedski

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The grass court season is finally underway. I love this time of year. We finally get to see some attacking tennis, but still not as much as during my era because the courts and balls are a lot slower.

The Queen’s Club Championships started with one of its best fields in the tournaments history with 15 of the top 20 in the world entered. The only big withdrawal was that of Novak Djokovic, sighting a knee problem, but I am sure he will be fine for Wimbledon. Nadal, the six time French open champion, arrived Monday evening after all his sponsor commitments at Disneyland Paris. He is such a professional; he had a 1 hour 45min intense practice session and entered the doubles event as well to get match practice before his first round match in singles on Wednesday.

“This year’s French Open the best in years” – Rusedski

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This year’s French Open was the best in years. Part of the reason was the new, quicker tennis balls which allowed players to play more aggressively. The women’s event was wide open. There were about 8 possible winners on the women’s side, while on the men’s side it was all about Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Everybody thought they would be in the finals, but don’t write off Roger Federer just yet.

From a British perspective it was all about Andy Murray and he had a dream draw to the semi-finals. He didn’t make it easy by hurting his ankle in the 3rd round but came through to the semi-finals against Nadal.

Murray handed awkward French Open draw

French Open third seed Andy Murray has been given a really tough first round opponent in Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela.

Just a couple of years ago Chela would have been the favourite to win on Roland Garros’s clay.

Murray climbs rankings despite media pressure

Andy Murray will go where no British man has ever gone before — next Monday he will become the first Briton to climb to third in the ATP rankings.

But instead of rejoicing in Murray’s achievements, sections of the British press appear hell bent on heaping more and more pressure on their number one player.

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