Monday, April 11, 2011

Monte Carlo Reports from Merton Chess Genius, located in the comments

Monte Carlo Masters is upon us. One of the best settings on tour, no lack of money in the principality. Yes, the place is tacky but the courts are beautiful. Jimmy's Bar isn't too bad a place to visit.

Murray taking a wildcard when he and Berdych should have committed, yes I mean committed to the tournament, not committed to a mental asylum.

Will Gimeno-Traver win a match this season, he plays Giraldo for the third time. Nieminen plays Benneteau, who struggled to take out Tomic in qualies, which leads me to Rui Machado. I don't mind MacHado but losing to Tomic on clay is unforgivable at the best of times.

Enjoy the tournament for the settings, and the matches Nadal isn't involved in and I will be getting fan reports which are always good from Merton.

Allez Monaco


Merton said...

Yes, Dani won, and if he is a true gentleman he should send a thank you card to Giraldo. Santi was serving for the first set at 5*-4 and just gifted the game. He is very much like a poor man's right-handed Verdasco, gifted shot-maker (especially the forehand and the serve) but lazy, sloppy in defense and a mental headcase. Dani was solid, that was all that was needed.

Almagro impressed me against Granollers, it was not the monster serve or the flashy backhand but the improvement in defense, the willingness to get down dirty, he even seemed to me to admire a bit less his spectacular shots. I would not be surprised if he knocks out Federer here and for the first time I would rate him as a contender for Paris if somebody takes out Rafa.

Marcos-Radek was an excellent match, though not exactly a typical clay court clash between the two. The weather is awesome and the courts play really fast, I am not surprised to see Haase taking down Davydenko but I didn't watch that match at all.

Denys said...

Gimeno-Traver getting up well Nils will be happy. The win had to come from somewhere and has a chance against an underdone Monfils.

Has Almagro lost some beef?

Merton said...

Almagro definitely looks more fit than I remember him. Of course not Ferrer-level fitness but good for him. Tuesday I saw a bit of Hanescu-M.Gonzalez, Victor is a very likeable fellow qnd I still remember the great performance he put on to take out Nalbandian in Paris. His movement has gotten worse and his drive backhand is gone, he can practically only slice from that side.

Then I moved to Tipsarevic-Lalo 2nd set and the scientist was in trouble. He could not get Lalo on the move, he gave free gifts and he seemed frustrated with himself. It seems to me Tipsarevic thrives more as the underdog than in matches he feels he should win, and Lalo on clay is definitely a match he should be winning.

Federer-Kohli was a totally one-sided affair, Kohli had nothing to hurt Roger with and was just going through the motions, he didn't even try to make Roger shank some backhands. Roger looked confident but in my mind he will be tested on Friday against Almagro.

Montanes-Malisse was one of those where you can see the outcome from the warm-up. Xavier complained to the umpire about the balls, then started mattering to himself from the first game. Albert was all business. After they exchanged a break early on I left pretty sure that Albert would grind down Xavier.

Merton said...

Gulbis-Raonic was interesting up to 3-3, 30-15 on Gulbis serve. Then the umpire called a double bounce on a Raonic dropshot and Gulbis decided to bring out the spoilt brat in him. He complained, then sent a ball right to the Alps and got a warning. Then proceeded to donate the break, and the set. Milos was all business and I left at the end of the first set to catch Berdych-Rochus.

Olie has troubled Tomas in the past through his speed and counter-punching and today he had both in spades but he was too much outgunned and Tomas was not in his gift-giving mood. Still, the first set lasted more than the entire Federer match and Tomas won the set 6-2.

Forgot to add the Anderson-Fognini match, here Kevin seemed to be troubled in the heat and even got a medical time out at a point. The Fog was returning serve just one step ahead of the lines people, still for some reason Kevin didn't try dropshots or serve-and-volley often enough. The Fog returned enough serves to frustrate the South African.

A. said...

Merton, great repports, thanks :yeah:

Marc said...

Brilliant reports man, keep them coming and the millionaires playground is a wonderful venue to see tennis.

Malisse the man bitching in the warm up this is a great frame of mind to play a match.

Merton said...

Lalo-Ferrer would clearly be the end of the line for Lalo and it is good to see him crushing out of the torunament. Ferrer returning well and hitting inside out forehands was all that was needed here.

Then I caught the Fog almost becoming the beneficiary of a choke from Troicki. The Serb carries a greater weight of shot on both sides and he used this to push the Fog back and either finish at the net or force an error. Then up a break at 4-2 in the third he suddenly starts hitting much safer inside the lines. The Fog took advantage to break and then they each held serve to bring it to 5-4. Here the Fog suddenly decided to play more agressively, promptly getting broken for the match. This was definitely a case of the winner being the one who did the next-to-last mistake. There was a whole contingent of Italians cheering for the Fog in the packed Court 2, making for a great atmosphere.

Nadal-Nieminen was next and nothing really to say here, Jarkko's 2nd serve is a huge liability and overall he did well to get 4 games. Murray-Stepanek was not your typical clay court match. It is noticable that movement on clay is unique, and Andy does not even come close to moving as well as he does on hard courts. Here he matches up well against the Czech as Radek does not have a heavy forehand to dictate and move Andy around. Besides Andy showed excellent anticipation on the dropshots that Steps tried.

I caught the third set of Haase-Melzer and Haase looked physically done. Too much difference in movement and somewhat surprising, I thought the Dutch had good chances here. Too bad I missed Almagro-M.Gonzalez, I wonder if Almagro was nervous of approaching the top-10 but I would imagine such a close battle only if Machi would consistently return well and start a war of attrition from the baseline.

This is the last report as I am heading home tomorrow. Thoroughly enjoyable experience, ideally I should be around until the quarters as I don't expect the final weekend to hold any surprises.

GeorgeWh aka Nils said...

Thanks for all the reports Merton, it's always much better to read first hand reports instead of the drivel and the crap from mainstream press agents.

It's a great venue and all your work has been appreciated.

cobalt60 said...

Great write ups Merton; thanks so much!