Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer progress in contrasting styles: Djokovic, Murray and Soderling lurk in the wings
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Sunday evening and it’s seven days into the 2011 Australian Open.
The spotlight remains focused on the rivalry for the ages. Federer and Nadal are on course for a shoot-out on Sunday, the 30th of January.
That is, if the drama on court plays out as the script their fans envision.
The No.1 and No.2 seeds have taken different routes to the much expected showdown.
Today—the 16th of January—is the eve of the 2011 Australian Open.
History will be made at the Asia-Pacific Grand Slam if Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal clinch the men’s title.
It will be Roger Federer’s 17th major. It will be a Star Trek landmark—going where no man has been before. If Nadal wins, it will be the culmination of the Rafa Slam—an event much anticipated by players and fans.
Two matches for charity saw the No. 1 and No.2 players in the world faceoff in Zurich and Madrid. The matches billed “Match For Africa” and “Joining Forces For the Benefit Of Children” finished with scores tied 1-1. Roger Federer was victorious 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 back home and Rafael Nadal hit back 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1 in Spain.
The two stars rarely collide on the ATP Tour. The matches were a bonus to their multitude of fans.
Somdev is hitting his stride and new heights on the ATP tour.
His ranking has risen to 94, his best ever on the ATP tour.
Somdev has been hovering in and out of the top 100 for the past few months.
A ranking within the top 100 will ensure automatic entry into the majors allowing him to skip the grind of qualifying rounds.
Devvarman recently clinched the men’s singles gold at the CommonWealth Games in New Delhi, justifying his top seeding.
Samantha Stosur cuts a striking, even imposing figure on court with her trademark baseball cap and dark shades.
She brings to the tennis court her unique persona and style.
She started out as a doubles player and was ranked No. 1 in the world with Lisa Raymond.
Samantha Stosur is the Australian No.1. She goes into the US Open ranked No. 5, her highest ranking ever at Flushing Meadows.
If 2009 marked the rebirth of Stosur in her singles avatar, 2010 confirmed her status as a challenger to beware of.
2009 saw her reach the French Open semis and 2010 saw her go one better reaching the finals only to cave in to an uninhibited Schiavone. Ironically, it was Schiavone she knocked out in the first round at the 2009 edition of the French Open.
2010 has been her best year ever on the WTA tour. Her career high-ranking of five has come on the back of her stupendous showing at the French Open. This period also includes seven successive quarter-final appearances, a record of sorts.
If you were a newbie following women’s tennis when Jennifer Capriati won the Australian & French Opens in 2001 and followed it up with the Australian Open again the following year, you would not have been surprised to see her at the pinnacle of women’s tennis, holding the No. 1 ranking.
But as avid followers of the game can testify, there is a very interesting and heart-warming story behind Capriati’s success.
Capriati was a prodigy—a teen prodigy no less—and made her professional debut on March 5, 1990, three weeks before her 14th birthday.
Success was quick to follow!
She reached the final of her debut tournament at Boca Raton, Florida, losing to Gabriela Sabatini in the final.
She reached the finals of her next tournament as well, losing to none other than, in her own words "the lege", Martina Navratilova.
Quote of the day:
Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student. – George Iles