Friday, January 23, 2009

Igor Andreev hit 3 slice backhands in a row

Went out last night, so I didn't get a chance to write this report, thought I am doing my best and that's all that counts.

Didn't watch as many matches as I would have liked, then again I am not as rich as I would like either.

Gonzalez vs Canas: Canas improved on his performance against Kindlmann, but he was always a step behind Gonzo, who rarely looked threatened. Gonzo had some great mishits going into the crowd, but also some huge forehands. Willy is still very fit, but he has lot a bit of speed around the court, this plus his backhand when rallying is falling very short. He saved a few set points in the 1st set, but this was a good match for Gonzo to get some rhythm before he plays Gasquet, now Canas will stay away from the clay until Europe.

Almagro vs. Fognini : Much better from "el cabezon" today, even though the conditions were very shitty with heavy winds and hazy skies. This impacted on the timing of their strokes, but in a way it helped Fognini as it kept some of his wild shanks into the court. After the 2nd set which was fairly close, the Fog checked out mentally and was thinking about the clay in South American and finally Almagro wins 2 matches in Australia.

Monfils vs. Koubek: Not sure what to make of this match. Monfils was his usual self from the baseline, content to play balls with nothing on them, do a lot of running and then all of a sudden rip a huge backhand or forehand down the line. The first set was tight, with Koubek not making many mistakes, but he got punished for the lapse from 15-15, when he made 3 unforced errors in a row to lose serve.

The rallies were quite long, but Koubek wasn't using enough angles to open the court and hit behind Monfils, but the Panther had too many guns for a semi passive Koubek, should be interesting to see whether Almagro can expose the Monfils backhand.

Andreev vs. Gulbis: Plenty of big hitting in this match was to be expected and this was the case. Andreev started the better, using his serve and big forehand to dominate play and Gulbis was hitting some big shots from both sides, but also some big errors and the love of the dropshot is still apparent.

Igor took the first two sets 4 and 4, then not long into the 3rd set, he called the trainer to rub some magic potion on his stomach and after that he was serving significanly slower and Gulbis was able to take advantage and lifted his play to take the next 2 sets.

Looked like he had the momentum and took the break in the 5th, but Andreev was brave and fought hard, this in addition to some poor shot selection from Gulbis helped his cause. One rare Andreev backhand down the line winner was a crucial shot in getting the final break, it was a rare feat to see Andreev hit so many backhands, even the 3 slices in a row. Slice to Andreev is what he does to his bread, not the low spinning shot on a tennis court.

It was an excellent win for Andreev, who needed to improve his 5 set record and hopefully he takes out Blake in the next round.

2 comments:

Denys said...

Seeing Andreev slice that would have been priceless, but his poor record against Blake continues.

Thanks for all the reports.

Marc said...

Koubek seemed quite distracted by the Monfils sideshow, but the Fognini sounded like he didn't give a shit.