Saturday, January 29, 2011

Santiago Draw

As the top seed, David not only has his own quarter of the draw this time, he has his own half. And David's half looks like this:

[1] David Nalbandian (ARG) vs Carlos Berlocq (ARG)
Ricardo Hocevar (BRA) vs Horacio Zeballos (ARG)
Peter Luczak (AUS) vs Pablo Andujar (ESP)
[WC] Paul Capdeville (CHI) vs [5] Potito Starace (ITA)

[4] Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) vs Jorge Aguilar (CHI)
Caio Zampieri (BRA) vs [WC] Nicolas Massu (CHI)
Eduardo Schwank (ARG) vs Igor Andreev (RUS)
Facundo Bagnis (ARG) vs [8] Santiago Giraldo (COL)

The full draw you can view here.

So David will face one of his countrymen in the first round. It will be his second encounter with Carlos Berlocq (currently ranked #65). The first one took place at Roland Garros 2008, a match that David won very easily in straights (that was directly before the infamous Chardy match).
And also in the second round, David could meet another Argentine, his Davis Cup teammate Horacio Zeballos (currently ranked #108). They've trained together, played doubles together and they played an exhibition match not too long ago - but they've never met on the Tour.
In the quarterfinal, David could find himself up against Potito Starace (#49). They've played three times so far, all on clay and David won all three of their encounters, including the one that took place almost exactly one year ago - David's comeback match at Buenos Aires, last year.
In a possible semifinal, Juan Ignacio Chela or Santiago Giraldo could be David's opponent. Against Chela, David has 4-2 record (having won the last four matches), whereas playing against Giraldo would be a premiere.

In any case - a nice draw for David. We'll see whether he can take advantage of it.

Update (31/01)
As predicted, David is ranked #19 as of this week and back inside the Top 20.
(The other rankings mentioned in this post have also been updated.)

36 comments:

  1. The draw looks good. I don't see anyone who can beat David at his best. Actually I don't see anyone who could beat David playing at an average level. Looks like an easy $68,850 for Mr. Nalbandian.

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  2. ya ur right krystle, i like the draw, very much

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  3. He has already beat Berlocq at the French open,should be no problems this time.

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  4. a very lame draw - should serve as a confidence booster.

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  5. its just good to c Fognini Robredo Monaco and Bellucci in the other half of the draw. the last 3 can really play well on clay.
    Hope the Chileans will cheer for the south Americans.

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  6. Yes, looks a decent draw.

    I will have no internet access for a few days from tomorrow evening, apart from the little I can pick up on my phone (including emailed comments from here), so I will appreciate some details about the score etc. during David's matches.
    :)

    Good luck, David.

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  7. Giraldo could be tricky and Belucci is dangerous.

    Not a walk in the park per se. David needs to keep up concentration and conserve fitness by keeping points short as possible.

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  8. Belluci is the only guy in the draw who I could somewhat acknowledge as a respectable defeater of Nalbandian. This draw is a joke.

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  9. Nobody forces you to follow this tournament.

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  10. And nobody forces you to tell me not to say what I think of it. I am simply describing the draw for what it is. In comparison to even most 250 events, the talent in Santiago is very weak, and you know that. Why is there a problem in stating this?

    The Copa Claro and especially Acapulco have far stronger fields. Like I said, this is a great opportunity to pick up a minor title - but a title nonetheless - and build some momentum heading into more challenging and more important events.

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  11. My problem is your inability to accept David's scheduling decisions, your contempt for other players and your repetitive and negative comments.
    You always want David to win, he has a good chance here, how about acknowledging that.

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  12. I "accept" his decisions in the sense that they are what they are. But I have felt like Nadal fans questioning his scheduling over the years. I don't know what's wrong with that. But will I be very happy if he wins 5 straight and plays well this week? Absolutely.

    If I have a contempt for something, it's inferiority. And that's what this draw in Santiago displays across the board. But, like I said, if he wins it he takes his $70,000 and adds a title to his name, I'd be proud of it as a fan of Nalbandian's. No title is completely easy to come by at this level, but few are easier than a draw of this sort.

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  13. What gives you the right to talk of "inferiority"? I'm not going to have this sort of attitude on my blog. And I won't allow further comments like that.
    Questioning and discussing something is one thing. Complaining over and over again about something you have absolutely no influence on is another.

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  14. and where exactly is the line drawn between "questioning and discussing" on the one hand and "complaining over and over" on the other?

    From my point of view, you regard them as one and the same thing.

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  15. To set the record straight, very briefly, about scheduling. There seems to be some serious misunderstanding of my position here. Two simple points:

    1) I make my suggestions because I want Nalbandian to do well and maximize his results at the important events. Is there something wrong with this? Many act as if I am evil when all I want is for him to make the most of his immense talent.

    2) If you ask anyone who follows tennis - players on tour, top ATP coaches, tennis commentators, general pro tennis fans, or anyone on this board (from Krystyle to Noubar to Istabraq to the Johns to everyone else) - what Nalbandian's main problems have been during his time on tour, one of the first words out of their mouths would be "fitness".

    So, as a corollary, would it be unfair to say that Nalbandian would be one of the less likely guys on tour to play the week before a Slam, do well there, and then also go far in the Slam? I think not.

    Do I think Nalbandian would've gone further and done much better in Melbourne if he had played Doha/Brisbane/Chennai instead of Auckland? Yes, and I don't see why I must be censored or treated like crap on the ground for thinking that.

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  16. David doesnt play on Monday

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  17. Chris, I feel the need to step in if you show contempt for or insult other players. This is my blog and I won't have that here.
    As for the rest, David addressed that in his latest interview.

    Noubar, yep. I've seen it.

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  18. Well, now that the really boring men's AO final is over, let's get on with the Golden Swing! :)

    I find I've never been very interested in predicting outcomes whether tennis, horse racing, basketball or lottery numbers. I prefer just to wait and see what happens. Not much of a "What if" person, I suppose. The one thing I *do* anticipate with excitement is knowing David will be competing on court again soon. The rest is icing on the cake, as they say.

    :)

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  19. Chris I agree with you that this is a very easy draw for David to come out with 250 points. Hopefully this will give him some confidence and get him closer to top 10 again. Compared to the other tournaments going on this week, this one is by far the easiest, but to call the player inferior is stupid. They are all professionals and should be treated as such. As for David's fitness, I don't think thats been an issue. he always finishes off matches, and can go the distance if needed to. his main concern is mental. Also he is very injury prone. As for the aussie open, aukland had no effect on its outcome. The retirement was soley due to the hewitt match. Anyways, good luck to David in the golden swing, and hope to comment more soon on some David Success!

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  20. John H., injuries are a part of the general category known as "fitness" and players who carry a little extra weight or don't do as much as they should in training tend to be a little bit more injury-prone.

    I think many people have often missed the point about Nalbandian's fitness level. His detractors say he's overweight and a little out-of-shape, while his defenders say that he can play for 5 hours when necessary. Both sides are right, but Nalbandian's problem is that he doesn't have a sort of crisp, on-the-ball type fitness that, for example, Nadal and Djokovic have. Nadal shows up fit enough to play his best for 5 hours; Nalbandian shows up fit enough to last 5 hours if he needs to, playing well off and on. That's the difference.

    As for the Auckland matter. I think that Nalbandian would've won the Hewitt match in 3 or 4 sets if he hadn't played the week before. I also think he would've recovered faster from a hypothetical 5-set encounter against Hewitt without playing the week before. But that's just my opinion.

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  21. To Anonymous: though the draw is disappointing, I am just as excited to see Nalbandian play and I hope he does great.

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  22. We had the whole Auckland issue in comments for previous posts - ad nauseam and ad absurdem. The last time, I asked everyone to stop it. But now, here we go again... So I now have to ask again, why can't you leave it when I've expressly asked for that?

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  23. And yes, once more this means that all further comments here will be deleted, Chris. I'm tired of you, derailing the comments at every possible opportunity.

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  24. I don't get it either, whats the fun in it? we have already moved to the third tournament, and still we have to hear about Auckland..let it just be about Santiago now, I am bagging you

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  25. Personally, I've moved on from Auckland and the AO and am looking forward to more tennis from David. I think we all are, so let's all get everything past out of sight and out of mind and MOVE ON.

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  26. I agree Chris that he could be fitter and then he would be less prone to injury. He could do that but it is not the David way, and we must accept that. He still can play at the highest level, and I think in terms of stamina, and speed he is at a good level. He may get injuries but that isn't going to change. I don't worry about what Nalbandian could be, I am happy with the fact that we have a player like him with such a beautiful game to watch. I think the drama around him makes him a fun player to watch and hopefully we have a few more years left to watch him. It's time now for the south american tournaments where I expect him to give it his all and do well. Hopefully he can win the DC this year but until then I wish him good luck in the times to come.

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  27. John, you don't have to convince him,your adding gas to the fire. everyone is ignoring

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  28. David showed from beginning of his comeback last year that he can play good tennis and beat the best players, but he had physical problems last year except the summer season. You know that in Miami against Nadal (like in Indian Wells 2009), but also after his REAL comeback (Washington) in Davis Cup against Monfils, in Montepelier against Simon, and in Paris against Murray. In most of these matches he was in the first set the much better player but then he dropped his level steeply, probably because of fitness. Yes, the tactic from Murray to play serve and volley was a reason for hes defeat too, but still he would have his chances if he played so good as in the first set especially in the returning games. Another problem last year was that he had some weak moments in some matches. For example, he played well and won easy his service games except the ones in each set against Roddick in Basel where he made UE in a row. But unfortunately he had these weak moments also in Auckland against Ferrer which didn't ended and in AO as he lost the third set 3:6 after he was ahead with 2:0 and the loss chain continued until 0:2 in the next set. Similar to the loss chain from Davydenko last year in AO against Federer where he lost 14(!) games in a row after he was 6:2 and a break in the second set ahead.

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  29. Just spotted the Order of Play for tomorrow. David is second up on Center Court not before 4:00 p.m.

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  30. Will there be a stream?

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  31. Nope, I don't think there will be a stream. Too bad because that time suits me.

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  32. The only thing I've seen so far is Live Scores on fromsport.com. But that is today.

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  33. Right now, it looks like there'll only be streams from SF onwards. Maybe QF, but not before that. Which is weird because there used to be extensive coverage of this event in the last years.

    And thanks for the tip with the SOP, John.

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  34. It seems like a long time since David has played on clay. I wonder how this will affect his legs?
    I'm glad that David has a relatively easy draw, though it seems absurd to call any atp draw easy. Somebody may come out of the woodworks and give him a 4 hour match.
    I think that when one does not play on clay for a while and then starts again, it is a big adjustment to the muscles in the legs. So, I hope he goes easy.
    I wanna see him playing the whole year.

    Plus, even though I think he has a good clay court record, he seems to be best suited for hard courts -- quick points that over power his opponents.

    I'll be really glad he just plays good enough with no injuries, no pulls, tears, etc.

    Also, DC comes up next month, and I'm guessing it's on hard courts? So, I'm not sure how this prepares for DC. But if DC is on clay, then this golden swing makes perfect sense.

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  35. The DC tie will be on clay. It's a home tie and Argentina play those (except the final 2008 - for strategic reasons) on clay at the Parque Roca in Buenos Aires.
    And yeah, the upcoming events are David's preparation for the tie. Hopefully without injuries...

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