Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Montreal Masters: How they stack up

I've rather taken to writing predictions.

It's not about the results, but the taking part that counts, as we're often told.

With my record of making picks however, it's
only the taking part that counts. Not that, that'll prevent me from having another stab. Fashionably late as ever.

Usual rules apply. A winner and a dark horse from each quarter.

1st Quarter

My love-hate relationship with Jo-Willy has been in serious danger of veering into hate-hate territory of late. I'd love to see him square off against Federer at the height of his abilities, which are considerable.

It just never seems to happen. And I've gotten quite bored of waiting, and tired of watching him squander away his chances.

Also in this section of the draw are Stanislas, who got the better of Kiefer yesterday and Stepanek, whom I'm guessing will have an easy opener against a qualifier.

The result that interests me though is Gilles Simon, who took out Frank Dancevic 6-1, 6-2. An encouraging result. SO encouraging in fact, I've decided to call a truce and temporarily suspend bandwagon hostilities with Gilles, who I think tends to do rather well in three setter hard court events during this spell of the season.

(Winner: Federer)
(Tentative Dark Horse: Gilles Simon)

2nd Quarter

Marat Safin already out to Gael Monfils in three sets in what was by most accounts a high quality match. That said, I'm not expecting very much from Monfils given it's his first match back from a wrist injury that saw him withdraw from Wimbledon.

Andy Murray did his usual extensive spell of trauma-tastic physical training in Miami, which I
do approve of (it did wonders for him last year). I'd also approve of him taking part in tournaments like Washington however. Not yet convinced he's at the stage where he can ignore everything except the Slams and Masters events. He's doing a great job of dispatching Chardy as I speak.

I'm also very into Kolya's dorky title grabbing spree he's been on of late. I don't pretend to read too much into Umag, but Hamburg was a fine win, featuring quite a strong field.

(Winner: Murray)
(Dark Horse: Nikolay Davydenko)

3rd Quarter

The way things stand right now, I'd say both del Potro and A-Rod have usurped Djoko's #4 standing, which is why I have to pick A-Rod in this quarter, even though he'll have to get past Verdasco to make the quarters. Not sure where Nando is - he almost looks to have got the better of Lopez, though it's not quite over yet.

I saw a few games of the Cilic-Youzhny match yesterday, and nothing I saw from Youzhny
convinced me he's back to his form of two years ago, or that he should have got the better of Cilic. Maybe I should have watched all of the match. It's just I've seen this happen all too often with Cilic recently.

Djoko hasn't won a title since Dubai, but I'm finding it difficult to dismiss him after that rather splendid little clay court stint he had in May. You can find plenty of theories that suggest he enjoys being under the radar, with all the attention on Father-Fed, and Rafa's knee. Probably all true, but I also believe a player of his calibre, the odd questionable result not withstanding, simply never loses the old fashioned will and ability to get through matches. All that said, you simply don't make the #4 player in the world a dark horse. Expect things to get very interesting if he gets past Isner, a match that will answer a lot of questions.

(Winner: A-Rod)
(Darkish Horse: Fernando Verdasco)

4th Quarter

It's almost impossible to predict where Rafa is right now. I've said before that I'm not expecting much and I don't think he is either. That's what's probably behind his decision to play doubles this week, the objective at this point being to maximise the time spent on court, without worrying about what that'll do for his chances in singles. That said, guys like him have a rather annoying habit of steamrolling the competition if they somehow manage to settle into a rhythm. Comeback or no comeback.

My feeling, and I may be wrong about this, is this is the easiest section of the draw. Which means I'm expecting good things for and of Juan del Potro. And not sure who to pick as a dark horse.

It's difficult to see anyone except a fully fluent and functioning Rafa stopping him. And somehow, I don't see that happening.

(Winner: del Potro)
(Very Tentative Dark Horse: Phillip Kohlschreiber)


Murray over Federer in three
A-Rod over del-Potro in three


A-Rod over Murray in three

OMG, I think I just picked A-Rod to win his first Masters Title in three years!
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