Queens for me.
And I'm not on hiatus, I'm just on blinkin' holiday.
Fascist Dictator of the Heath Davis Appreciation Society
Supporting Petone's Finest since the very start - Iain O'Brien
Adam Wheater - Another batsman off the Essex production line
Also Supporting the All Time #1 Batsman of All Time Ever - Jacques Kallis and the much maligned Peter Siddle.
Vimes tells it how it is:
PTA Halle Preview: Season II Gerry Weber Open
What looked like a great field for the Halle organisers has taken a hit in the past week or so with Radivoj Daneu, Daniel Páez Blanco and József Boros withdrawing. While Daneu announced is withdrawal through injury late last week, Blanco and Boros, the Roland Garros finalists, announced their withdrawals after the seeds were placed which left two lucky losers replacing them in the top half.
It wasn't ideal for the organisers, as the top two ranked players can now only meet in the semi finals. Rasmus Olesen is the defending champion (having beaten Ivan Genov last season), and he and Sven Oxenstierna have been placed in a stacked half with just the one wildcard and no qualifiers. For a 250 tournament, it is a seriously tough path to title defence with two Grand Slam finalists and two Grand Slam semi finalists in it.
With Blanco and Boros out, the top half is a bit of a disaster. Miroslav Brdar is the highest seed and is uncomfortable with the lower balls on grass. Carlo Amato is the other seed who did well to make the fourth round at Wimbledon last year. Grass king, though, he is not.
The other exciting storyline is veteran Brett Read who is playing his first PTA tournament on grass. The Roland Garros quarter finalist faces a tough path on the grass with serve-and-volley specialist Denis Isaev first, and then a third match against Carlo Amato in a month. His strength has been how much time he has been able to create for himself, so the grass may produce some obstacles for the 28-year old.
Prediction: Rasmus Olesen def. Carlo Amato
Thank **** I'm in the **** part of the draw. Still, I don't think grass will be my forte.
RIP Craig Walsh (Craig) 1985-2012
Proudly supporting the #2 cricketer of all time.
PTA Queen's Preview: Season II AEGON Championships
Big names aplenty turn out at the prestigious Queen's Club tennis tournament in London this week, with three of the world's top ten players headlining the field. Defending champion Darcy Cowan is going through a rough patch of late, and has some huge points to defend this grass season after winning Wimbledon last year as a teenager. He should have no troubles making it through his section, with the only threats being seventh seed Henry Charles, the giant Ivars Emsis and Spas Delev.
The World No. 1, Jason Hall, is the pre-tournament favourite with the bookies, but he was gifted a difficult draw with a possible first up meeting with Jason Bradley. With some good grass players in his quarter, he may struggle to claim his first Queen's title.
The third top ten player is third seed Jefferson Drake who is coming off a career best performance on the clay in Paris last week. Drake has a bye first, but could meet West CWLand rival Scotland Rivers who begins against World No. 78 Martin Reiter of Austria. Also in that section is ninth seed Heath Davis who faces the imposing prospect of Rick Henson in the third round. Youngster Marcuss Deane starts with a winnable match against Ivan Cesljar.
In the second section, fourth seed Zoltán Varga looms large as a real threat. Varga stunned everybody last year to make the semi finals at Wimbledon, and the prospect of Varga/Jojo Mustard in the quarter finals is very exciting with Mustard in career-best form.
The absence of Radek Špidlá makes for an interesting week, but one cannot go past Cowan to defend his crown.
Prediction: Darcy Cowan def. Zoltán Varga
Don't feel like posting the whole draw for Nottingham atm, but the organisers have taken the gutsy move to stage a 56-man tournament in the English "summer". Fifteenth seed Ishan Narang (1R vs. Srdjan Ivic) could meet Jason Lawley (1R vs. Adul Doungtong) in the second round. In the same section, Pierre Rose begins against local wildcard Leon Skinner and then, if he wins, meets sixth seeded Dutchman Thomas Velten.
Elsewhere, youngster Morgan Burridge makes his main draw debut after qualifying as a wildcard. He faces South African Oliver Thursfield first in a tough initiation. Fourteenth seed Roy Daniels should win against Joe Stephens of Wales, but could meet former top hundred player Morton Blundell in the second round. Not a lot of tennis lately for Rock Daniels, so could be a tough week. Third seed Rick Langley has a bye first up, and meets with winner of Erdi Azgin and Evgeny Volkoff.
Nilikar Midid and Mark Harmel are the only top hundred players, and are seeded first and second respectively.
Because there are different sized draws, I will probably have to do this week day-by-day. Hopefully it won't take any longer.
AEGON Championships II - Singles
PTA World Tour 250 - Monday (1st Round) - Queen's Club, London, United Kingdom - Grass
- Fourteenth seed Jarkko Maxum has made a winning start to his season on the grass with a straight sets victory over World No. 91 Fok Zhenyu of China. The East CWLander, who produced a great fortnight of tennis in the doubles draw in Paris, needed a return to touch in the singles but was given a real contest by the Chinese No. 4 in a close match. Maxum struggled to hold serve against Fok, but continually created chances against his unseeded opponent and after breaking three times took the first set 7-5 with a backhand winner off a second serve from the Chinese player. The second set continued in much the same way as Maxum failed to shut Fok out as he gave up a lead of a break on two occasions. In a tiebreaker, though, Maxum started to find his groove as he maintained an early lead and charged into the round of 32 7-5, 7-6(2). He could face French Open quarter finalist Jean-Alain Depuis next after he was drawn against compatriot Christopher Durand.
- The other East CWLander in action was Spas Delev who was taken to the brink by Latvian monster Ivars Emsis. Delev is a self-professed fan of the grass, but was met with the notoriously difficult task of breaking the Emsis serve. In a sometimes drab affair, Delev only managed to complete that feat once to take the second set and to ensure the match went to a deciding third set. Emsis by that point was running out of steam and allowed Delev to wheel onto his forehand side with short rally shots too often as the World No. 44 moved ahead 6-0. He failed to convert his first two match points, but avoided a disaster thanks to an Emsis forehand that managed to hit the bottom of the net to move into the next round 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(2). He looks likely to meet Portugal's Tiago Matías in the next round after rain suspended play in his match against local leftie Scott Whitehouse with the twelfth seed leading 7-6(3), 4-1.
- The only seed to crash out on an interesting day of tennis was thirteenth seed Dmitry Orlov who was humbled by Japanese vet Ninteh Doh 3-6, 1-6.
- Seeded players out: Dmitry Orlov.
Gerry Weber Open II - Singles
PTA World Tour 250 - Monday (1st Round) - Halle, Germany - Grass
- It was a tough initiation for French Open quarter finalist Brett Read as he was taken to the brink by Belarusian serve-and-volleyer Denis Isaev. The veteran World No. 70 regularly troubled Read with his style as the West CWLander often played too defensively and was made to pay by some big shot-making by the assertive Isaev. Still, his class was on display as he made some inroads against the Isaev serve despite struggling on his own and led 5-2 in the third set. Isaev, however, denied Read as he sought to serve out the match and clung on to take the match to a deciding tiebreaker. The French Open quarter finalist had enough about him, however, to stay in the match and advance to the second round 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3). He will yet again meet Carlo Amato after the eighth seed eased past Norwegian qualifier Haiku Morkel in straight sets.
- Seeded players out: None.
Too close for comfort there!
AEGON Championships II - Singles
PTA World Tour 250 - Tuesday (1st Round/2nd Round) - Queen's Club, London, United Kingdom - Grass
- Another rain-affected day limited the number of second round matches that could be completed, but a full-house of first round contests were done and dusted with ninth seed Heath Davis leading the charge. The French Open doubles finalist was drawn against Romanian Bogdan Maurer and had no troubles with his 89th ranked opponent in a convincing win. Maurer, who won a match at Wimbledon last season, had trouble with Davis' power and the wind at Queen's Club and unloaded with a volley of unforced errors. Davis also had some difficulties with the wind that impacted his high ball toss, but he saved four break points during the match to advance 6-2, 6-2. He will meet top fifty ranked Ion Andueza who had troubles of his own in a 6-0, 4-6, 6-4 win over local wildcard Oliver Wright.
- Wildcard entrant Marcuss Deane had a magnificent start to his week with a comfortable win over World No. 64 Ivan Cesljar. Deane, whose efforts in Paris saw him rise to a career high World No. 109, showed why he is one of the hottest prospects on the tour as he cruised past the Croat 6-3, 6-4. Cesljar looked strong on serve except for two service breaks going the way of Deane. Deane, meanwhile, continues to grow in stature and saved the only break point Cesljar brought up on his serve as he advanced easily. He does face the tough task of fifteenth seed Bjorn Donaldson next after the Swede survived a tense match with local Oscar Highsmith to win 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-0.
- In the same section, Scotland Rivers survived a late fightback from Austria's Martin Reiter to also advance in straights. Rivers led 6-3, 5-2 before Reiter worked his way back into the set through some great defensive tennis to draw errors from the World No. 46. But, as another highly talented member of the West CWLand contingent, Rivers survived that scare to produce a fantastic tiebreak performance as he came to the net regularly and to great effect. Reiter struggled with the attacking style of Rivers, and it was the West CWLander who secured a second round meeting with third seed Jefferson Drake 6-3, 7-6(1).
- In other results, Spas Delev will meet Tiago Matías tomorrow after the Portuguese player advanced 7-6(3), 7-6(1), and third seed Jojo Mustard will play qualifier Tu Haifeng who won his first round clash 6-1, 7-5. In second round action, Wimbledon semi finalist Zoltán Varga crashed out in straight sets to Attaphol Sae-ul; eighth seed Morgan Carter was embarrassed by Brazilian Roberto Santos in three sets; and second seed and defending champion Darcy Cowan advanced unconvincingly against Aksu Emrem 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5).
- Seeded players out: Morgan Carter; Zoltán Varga.
Buzzing! Love that
Huge underdog for the next game obviously but gonna give it everything.
Good to get by. Looks like I might have a bit of extra time to prepare for Wimbledon though...
A decent enough win there, but will have to step it up in the next round. Drinking lots of milk so as to ensure that I end up better than the tennis equivalent of Accrington Stanley.
AEGON Championships II - Doubles
PTA World Tour 250 - Tuesday (1st Round) - Queen's Club, London, United Kingdom - Grass
- A pretty strong field at Queen's, but no seeds on show on the Tuesday as Spas Delev and Jefferson Drake began with a tough straight sets win over Sergey Dorofeev and Dmitry Orlov. With longtime partner Martti Korpinen out of favour for the moment, Delev and Drake struggled at times against the Russian wildcard entrants but ultimately proved too good in a straight sets 7-6(2), 7-6(4) victory. They came from a break down in the second set to avoid a match tiebreaker, and set up an intriguing second round clash with the second seeds Heath Davis and Jojo Mustard.
- In the other match involving CWLanders, French Open semi finalist Ivars Emsis and Alexey Yarkin continued their great form with a straight sets win over Jarkko Maxum and Scotland Rivers. Maxum and Rivers struggled against the massive Emsis serve and Yarkin's great finishing around the neck with the East Europeans posing a legitimate risk on grass as they eased to a 6-3, 6-4 win.
- Seeded players out: None.
Gerry Weber Open II - Singles
PTA World Tour 250 - Tuesday (1st Round) - Halle, Germany - Grass
- After a disastrous French Open exit in the third round more than a week ago, second seed Sven Oxenstierna has made a dynamic start to his grass season as he trounced highly rated Russian prodigy Boris Denisov. Continuing a long line of uncomfortable Russians on the grass, Denisov's movement was exposed by the wily West CWLander who looked an improved commodity on the grass since his last foray at Wimbledon in Season I. Denisov has looked good in his big matches this year, but ate a humiliating loss as the Ox charged into the second round 6-0, 6-1. In a tough second round match, he plays France's No. 2 Pierre L'Estrange after his straight sets win over Chile's Jefferson Quezada.
- In the big upset of the day, Roland Garros semi finalist Illya Altman was bounced out by local hope Becker Haas in three sets, while defending champ Rasmus Olesen came from a set down to beat Heinz Hainisch of Austria.
- Seeded players out: Illya Altman.
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