Archive for the ‘Doha’ Category

7 Jan 2016

nadal doha

The Bakery is your one stop shop for quick hitting match reports. Bagels and breadsticks may or may not be included.

Rafael Nadal is the player to watch heading into the Australian Open. We more or less know what we are getting from the other members of the big four, and possibly even the rest of the players in the top ten. But as with his health, Nadal’s form was all over the place in 2015, and it is difficult to forecast how his 2016 will play out.

Everything looked like business as usual for Nadal in the first set. Kuznetsov’s inside out forehands from the ad side floated short and high and the Spaniard took full advantage, ripping forehands every which way and looking to be in complete control. The most obvious positive sign was his interest in hammering forehands down the line from both the deuce and ad sides. If you’re a Rafa fan, you don’t just want to see those types of shots, you want to see the explosiveness from the ground to create the overwhelming pace that’s necessary to make those shots successful.

However, as the match wore on, Kuznetsov grew more comfortable. He did well to mix in drop shots and put some extra spin on the inside out forehands. Those shots went from falling into the hitting zone of Nadal to pushing Rafa out wide. With the court open, the Russian began venturing to the net and getting more creative. The wind and cold temperatures further affected the match, including one game where Nadal was forced into hitting some bizarre looking backhand slices and digging tough balls off of his shoe laces.

With a double fault forcing a break, Nadal went up 4-3 in the final set, but was immediately broken off two sensational Kuznetsov return winners. Finally, Nadal closed things out with a couple of stellar games.

Overall, it was a decent showing from Nadal in tough conditions. The flashes of explosiveness, forehands down both lines and pretty good movement are all excellent signs. However, the lack of depth and problems with Kuznetsov’s inside out forehands are worrying. Stay tuned.

16 Feb 2013

Victoria Azarenka Doha 1

Victoria Azarenka d. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-3

Victoria Azarenka hits the ball hard. Agnieszka Radwanska does not.

On the most recent Changeover podcast, I picked Azarenka to win Doha. This wasn’t based off of her current form. It wasn’t even based on the fact that she was the top seed. It was based entirely off of the chance of her draw. A quick glance revealed that there were no players in her entire half that would likely give her any trouble. Barring injury, it would be a major surprise if she didn’t make the final. She’s made the final, and hasn’t had an opponent take more than 3 games off of her in a set.

The fact that Agnieszka Radwanska, the fourth seed, and a player who can roll over lesser players with ease was dismissed by Azarenka speaks volumes to how good Vika is; and where the WTA is currently at.

Power remains the biggest weapon a player in the WTA can have. A combination of movement and consistency is a deadly combo. Mental toughness? Bloody hell. It’s the reason players like Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic can be so frustrating – the power is there, the consistency is not. It’s also the reason I’ve backed players like Sloane Stephens and Laura Robson. Once the ranking becomes respectable, these type of players can simply hit through smaller players to roll on through early rounds.

Aga sure didn’t play well, but she never looked like giving a damn, either. Azarenka is simply killing her prey before they get on court and then ripping the meat off over the following 80 minutes. That’s not to say that Serena and Maria won’t have something to say about it, but it’s difficult not to back Azarenka, particularly with the great draws she is bound to get.


Posted by Brodie under: Bepa, Caro, Doha

26 Feb 2011

Vera Zvonareva Doha

There’s something special about bug-eyed pictures of athletes. Maybe it’s because I’m a baseball fan, and you see a lot of them there… but there’s something really special about that “oh yeah, that’s the ball I was looking for” look.

It might be Sergey’s silent, steely resolve, it might be a natural maturation, it might just be a new self-belief… whatever it is, the resurgence of Vera over the past year has been an impressive one. Thursday, she was pushed to three hours by Dani, a player who had just beaten her in Pattaya not long ago, and pulled out the third set after being down a break in the third. The next day, she was pushed to the limit once again by JJ. Down 0-40 at 4-4 in the third set on her serve, she flipped the switch and absolutely crushed her way to taking the final set 6-4. Boom. In days gone by, a break or 0-40 late in the third set against a good opponent likely would have done Bepa (and her racquet) in. Now it’s nothing but determination and grit.

Despite what seems like limitless success and numerous finals for the Russian, she hasn’t won a title in a year. Number 3 in the world? That just isn’t right.

Unfortunately, in the final, Vera will be running into the brick wall that is the world number 1, who is having another superb week. The good news for Vera is that Caro has been playing for two straight weeks, and might be a little tired. I really think it should be a good final, and I would not be surprised to see it go three. Regardless, it’s been a fantastic start to the year for both ladies.

9 Jan 2011

Roger Federer Doha

While Rafa spent the final 3/4 of 2010 conquering slams and taking on new followers, Fed was silently planning his coup back to power.

No, he didn’t beat Rafa (this year). But Fed is confident and more importantly, playing insanely well. Maybe it’s the hunger, maybe it’s the looming title defense (and 2000 points), and more than likely it’s the coach. Regardless, Fed is back with solid, attacking tennis and is feeling good. He’s got his mojo back.

Rafa will be getting a ton of attention in a week’s time, and I get the sense that that’s ok by Fed’s term. Saddle up people.

Sick Victory

Posted by Brodie under: Doha, Rafa

7 Jan 2011

It was a strange day for Rafa, who managed to go out without much of a fight and win a championship in the same day.


The loss to Kolya was far from suprising and far from enjoyable. Rafa was clearly ailing and by the end of the first set, he was out of steam. By the second set, he was barely moving. The snarl was anywhere but his face, which looked closer to a sick puppy than a bulldog.

Then he came out and won the doubles title. To be fair, the 10% of the time Rafa squared up the ball against Kolya, he was able to hit it well. Obviously there’s a lot less running around in doubles and that combined with no ad scoring must have helped.

There you have it. Rafa’s first title of 2011: Doha doubles champion.

Elsewhere, Fed was all business against Jo. Fed has been cruising all week and has been clutch in tiebreaks as per usual. He’ll be in tough against The Fuzzy Koala in the final however, and I think it will be a good test to find out exactly where he is.

1 Jan 2011

ATP & WTA – Brisbane (250 & International)
Brisbane tennis

Official Site: Here
Draws: Men & Women
Top Men Seeds: Sod, Dick, Fer, Fish
Top Women Seeds:
Superhero Sam, Shahar, Nads, Mono

The ATP side of things kicks off with some seriously big hitting. Thrown in the mix you also have Bags and Feli, as well as wildcards like Steps and Arnaud. It’s a pretty solid draw all around that should create some good match-ups fairly on in the tournament. If you’re itching to get back at things and are looking for some good early matches, Brisbane is definitely the way to go on the ATP side of things.

Things are similar on the WTA side of the coin as well. Sam, Nads, Pavs and Kleybs are all featured for some big babe hitting, not to mention Kvitova, Petko and JD. Also featured are Dani, Flavs, Domi and Polona. Maybe it’s just because I’m in tennis withdrawl (actually it’s likely entirely the reason) but this is a really exciting draw and should be fantastic once solid action gets under way on Monday.

WTA – Auckland (International)
Chennai atp

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
Masha, Wicky, Kuz, Goerges

What to say, really. Nothing too exciting, but it will be interesting to see how Masha does. For those curious, Masha was offered a Sydney wildcard, but will apparently only bother to take it if she loses in the first round to CSN. So there you go.

ATP – Doha (250)
Doha tennis

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
Rafa, Fed, Jo, Fuzzy Koala

Doha is much like it was last year, featuring Fedal and eventual champ Fuzzy Koala. Also, HOLY HELL IS IT GOOD TO SEE JO BACK OR WHAT?! We missed you. He’s got mad points to defend in Melbourne too, so good luck.

Otherwise the draw is pretty bare. A possible Rafa/Ernie quarterfinal, and guys like Jarkko, Ivo, and Kohls bumming around. Much like most ATP 250s, this probably won’t get good until the quarterfinals, but it should be damn juicy at that point. Keep an eye out during the week on how the top guns are doing.

ATP – Chennai (250)

Official Site: Here
Draw: Here
Top Seeds:
Berd, Marin, Stan, Richie

Chennai is likely the weakest draw out of all 3 ATP events this week. Never heard of it? Its home to a tiny 4.6 million people.

Anyway, the two guys to watch here are the top 2 seeds, Berd and Marin. They both really fell off in the second half of the season, and it’s especially important for Marin to kick things off right this season, as he has semi points to defend in Melbourne.

2010 MTR Wrap-Up: Post-USO

Posted by Brodie under: Doha, London

31 Dec 2010

Due to the fact that 1) I didn’t watch a TON of tennis post-USO and 2) we’re all ready to move on to 2011, I’m going to make this a quick one.

The post-USO period is always a rocky, unpredictable time, and that was definitely true of this year’s Asian swing. However, it did produce two of the best 3 set matches on the men’s side, Sod/Llodra Paris semi and Rafa/Muzz WTF semi. Otherwise, things were mostly underwhelming. The top guns generally lost interest, there were plenty of odd upsets, and the YEC and WTF were generally bland despite a couple of fantastic matches. There were some bright spots however. Llodra had an epic run, young Canadian hopeful Milos Raonic appeared on the scene, and Serbia had an epic home Davis Cup victory. What else do we have here…

The Good:

The Bad: Elena retired. It was the most depressing thing ever. No one saw it coming. All class, that lady. You and your crazy mother shall be missed.

The Ugly: Delpo returned! For… a match. In which he managed to lose to a hobbit who is half his size and twice his age. That was it for the return. It was all a lot of excitement with not much result to back it up. Still, it was nice to see that Delpo is indeed still alive.

The Hilarious: Remember when Ana got an entire game penalty for randomly taking a potty break in the second game of her match? It was pretty amazing. Worth a re-watch.

Hot As Hell

Posted by Brodie under: Doha, Koyla, Rafa

9 Jan 2010


First he ruined Fed and a possible Fedal final, then he ruined Rafa. Wow. 0-6, 7-6(8), 6-4. Quite a scoreline, quite a feat. And we shouldn’t start hyping him TOO much for Melbourne, but let’s be honest, this dude is hot, and can beat anyone right now. And if you’re a Rafa fan, he’s playing like he’s got something to prove, destroyed basically everyone else he played… AO is going to be fantastic.

Tough Day At The Office

Posted by Brodie under: Doha, Federror, Koyla

8 Jan 2010


Hmm. 6-4, 6-4 for Kolya, his second straight victory over Fed after never being able to beat him in about a million years.

I didn’t see the match, but I DID see the last match each of these guys played, and it’s not surprising. It’s about Kolya playing well AND Fed struggling. And I’m not even sure what to say about Fed. Dropping a set to Ernie, his backhand looked vulnerable, perhaps his shot selection a bit. When he lost in the USO final he struggled with his first serve, but he served 55% today and 61% against Ernie. Though, Fed is Fed, and just like last year, is definitely not a write off for Melbourne, as he always ups his game for the slam, will have a great draw with the top rank, and has his insane semi streak to keep going too.

At the same time, Kolya is on a total roll, and if you were to pick anyone outside of the top 5 to win AO, I think he’s a no brainer. Which is sort of hilarious, because a lot like Lena, he’s seemed sort of like a write off for a slam, “his day as passed”. The dude just seems to be moving so well and making the correct shot selection decision every time. Ivo was close with him yesterday, but it was like “well, Kolya is playing smart and solid, he’s got this fine.” Indeed he did. At the same time, Rafa has been mercilessly ripping his way through the draw and is out to re-prove himself, so this will be a really great test as to where the two of these guys sit, heading into Melbourne.


Posted by Brodie under: Doha, Rafa

7 Jan 2010

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6-1, 2-0 ret. Robbie and Jason joked that Darcis was not retiring from a back injury, but in fact a “sore bottom” after receiving such a “spanking”. I’m not even sure that probably describes it. Rafa’s taking no prisoners, y’all.

Mind The Racket Podcast:

Episode 7 – US Open Week 2 Wrap-Up