Federer Must Overcome Losing Record vs. Simon
by Sandra Harwitt|
On tap for Thursday are the last two men’s quarter-final matches and both women’s semi-final encounters. Here’s how they look to play out.
Roger Federer (Switzerland) v Gilles Simon (France) – Would you like to know an interesting fact about Gilles Simon? Well, here’s one to ponder. The Frenchman actually holds a 2-1 winning match record over Roger Federer, the guy who owns a record 16 Grand Slam titles. Simon is a former Top 10 player, but a right knee injury played havoc with the beginning of his 2010 season. He’s now ranked No. 27, but he certainly showed signs of his former form when he captured the Sydney title in January. Federer is one up on Simon on titles won this year having taking the honors at Dubai and Doha. In fact, he comes into this match with an impressive 21-3 record for the season – his three losses came to the hottest guy in the game: Novak Djokovic, who has yet to lose a match this year. The good news for Federer in this encounter is that he won their latest outing in the second round of the Australian Open. Every time these two play they go the distance, so expect a battle. But when this quarter-final match is over, Simon will be the player who used to have a career edge over the Swiss sensation.
Rafael Nadal (Spain) v Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) – Rafael Nadal is the top of the charts these days in tennis, but hasn’t captured a title since winning at Tokyo last fall. He had an opportunity to reel in a 44th career title at the last tour stop at Indian Wells, but fell to Novak Djokovic in the final. A nine-time Grand Slam champion, Nadal is looking to secure a little Sony Ericsson Open history this year by becoming the first Spanish man to win this singles titles. He’s reached the final here twice, and compatriots Carlos Moya (2003) and Sergi Bruguera (1997) were also finalists, but no one went home with the trophy. Nadal should feel comfortable that he’s playing Tomas Berdych in this quarter-final as he seems to own the Czech in career matches. Nadal’s 9-3 on Berdych and has won their last eight meetings since taking the 2007 Monte Carlo semi-final match they played. Nadal beats Berdych back to secure the semi-final berth.
Andrea Petkovic (Germany) v Maria Sharapova (Russia) – The tennis world is finding out all about Andrea Petkovic’s winning personality during this Sony Ericsson Open. She’s also got quite the momentum going with her game, which will be rewarded with a Top 20 debut the next time the WTA put out their new rankings. If Petkovic can win this match she could rise to at least No. 13 in the world. She’s showing fine style this year with a runner-up appearance in Brisbane, semi-finals in Miami, and quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Paris Indoors. She’s only won one career title thus far and that was back at the 2009 Bad Gastein event. In order to have a shot at the Miami title she will have to send Maria Sharapova packing in this semi-final. There is some concern as to what shape Sharapova will arrive on the court as she seemed to badly twist her ankle towards the end of her intriguing three-set quarter-final win over Alexandra Dulgheru. It would be a shame if Sharapova isn’t as fit as can be because she is beginning to be the same player we watched win three Grand Slam finals before a shoulder injury stood in her way of further success. This match has a lot of upside for fans, and it could go either way. But don’t be at all surprise to see Petkovic doing another version of the popular victory “Petko Dance.”
Vera Zvonareva (Russia) v Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) – Okay, I’ll say it right at the start. It was expected that this semi-final would be between Vera Zvonareva and defending champion Kim Clijsters. But Victoria Azarenka had other ideas. She clocked Clijsters in the quarter-final 6-3, 6-3 to earn her spot against Zvonareva. Don’t be all that surprised about that outcome. If you remember back to 2009 you’ll remember that Azarenka left Crandon Park the Sony Ericsson Open champion. That victory here in 2009 remains Azarenka’s biggest career title. The Belarussian will have her work cut out for her in this semi-final as Zvonareva holds a 6-2 career edge in matches played between the two. Zvonareva’s been playing great ball of late, which is evidenced by her world No. 3 ranking. She was a finalist at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010, and already won her first title of this season at Doha – her 11th career singles trophy. Zvonareva is interesting as she not only plays tennis, but she is going for her second career degree, this one in international economic relations. You can be sure she’ll be relating an international message to Azarenka in this encounter, something that will across clearly as I’m better than you are.
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