Thursday, August 13, 2009

Top 8 Make History

The quarterfinalists are set for the first important tournament after Wimbledon a few weeks ago and it's a historic moment. The Top 8 players in the world advanced to the Rogers Cup quarterfinals and according to the ATP Website, this is the first time this has happened in men's tennis history (since 1973).

Headlining this impressive lineup are world no. 1 and 2 Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both making their first tournament appearance after a long layoff. Federer is on a 22-match streak including a win against Nadal in Madrid and his historic wins at the French Open and Wimbledon. He took a break to spend some time with his wife and his newborn twin girls. Nadal on the other hand has been sidelined since losing to Robin Soderling at the French Open trying to recuperate his knees from tendinitis. Nadal is the defending champion.

With the top two players still finding their legs, many are picking no. 3 Andy Murray to win. He has shown impressive form to reach the quarterfinals. No. 4 Novak Djokovic seems to be the flying under the radar, but his game is suited to this surface. All he needs is some confidence.

No. 5 Andy Roddick and no. 6 Juan Martin Del Potro met up last week at the Legg Mason Tournament finals with Del Potro beating the higher seed. Both thrive at the hard courts able to use their booming serves to neutralize most opponents. They are the next best bets after Federer and Murray to win this tournament.

Finally, no. 7 Jo Wilfried Tsonga and no. 8 Nikolay Davydenko are having inconsistent years. Tsonga started out strong this year winning two titles early, but has faltered ever since. Davydenko, on the other hand, has been struggling in the early part of the year, but he is recently 11-match streak including his first two titles of the year. Unfortunately for him, they are both on clay.

With both of the Williams sisters beaten, only four of the Top 8 women made it to the quarterfinals including world no. 1 Dinara Safina. The story of the week in the women side however is the comeback of former world no. 1 Kim Clijsters who retired two years ago. To reach the quarterfinals she had to defeat three straight Top 20 players including reigning French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. To get further, she will have to defeat Safina.

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