May/17

15

Dimitrov’s Rome Nightmare

Dimitrov unleashes a serve.

Dimitrov unleashes a serve.

Grigor Dimitrov finally appeared to be on the verge of his long-awaited journey to tennis greatness earlier this year in Australia. In the fifth set vs Nadal of the Australian Open semifinals, this was the perfect moment for Dimitrov to take the next step.

But Nadal wouldn’t let Dimitrov take that step. Nadal won 6-4 in the fifth and Dimitrov has suffered a severe downward spiral (though he did win his second title of the year in Bulgaria which was his next event after Australia).

Losing that match to Nadal has evidently damaged Dimitrov’s confidence as his season since early February has been a disaster. He lost a 7-6 in the third tiebreaker to Jack Sock in Indian Wells, blowing a match point.

Then Super G lost 36 67 to Guido Pella in the R64 in Miami.

Then in Morocco Dimitrov lost again in three sets to Tommy Robredo 46 61 16.

In Monte Carlo Dimitrov lost his first match again to Jan Struff 64 36 26.

Last week in Madrid came another heartbreaker, Dimitrov won two rounds over Kohlschreiber and Karlovic but then lost to Dominic Thiem in a third set tiebreaker 9-7, blowing five match points.

That kind of shattering loss is very hard to shake off and this week in Rome Dimitrov crashed again, losing to Juan Martin Del Potro in three sets after winning the first.

The 26 year old is ranked 11 in the world and has a nice record of 19-7 on the year but half of the seven losses have been devastating losses.

You have to wonder, why can’t Dimitrov finish any of these close matches at the wire?

Does Dimitrov have a reputation among the ATP players of being a choker who lacks sufficient killer instinct? Is the affable and friendly Bulgarian too nice, too soft in the heat of the battle of a ferocious tennis fistfight? Does Dimitrov lack the eye of the tiger?

Dimitrov showed in Melbourne he has the goods and he has the physical arsenal to win a major title. But some small element is missing, whether that mysterious element is still underdeveloped or totally absent and lacking remains to be seen.

Dimitrov will enter Roland Garros in two weeks as a seeded player. A seeded player with a very low supply of confidence.

(Photo by Henk Abbink)

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104 comments

  • El Dude · May 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Scoop: Interesting comment. I wonder if anyone has done a study, looking at “tipping point” matches in careers; clearly people often look back in hindsight and pin-point a breakthrough match for a player, but rarely do we look at matches and say, “that is when a player missed their opportunity to take it to the next level.” Meaning, can we look back at the careers of talented but underachieving players, and pinpoint specific matches that essentially froze them at a certain level? And speculate that if that match had gone differently, their entire later career would be quite different?

    David Nalbandian would be an interesting player to look at, in this regard, or even Andy Roddick, whose career was complete lessened by one player. For Roddick, was it the 2004 Wimbledon final when he was up a set on Roger but then lost three sets in a row to lose their second Slam meeting, a pattern which never changed? If Andy had somehow beaten Roger, would his career have been different afterwards? Or is it more mechanistic than that, and his game just didn’t match up well against Roger’s, and even if he won in 2004, Roger would have still dominated him.

    Anyhow, as far as Dimitrov is concerned, I think you are right – and that tapping into the energy of the fans, the crowd, the entire event, might boost him. He’s a likeable guy.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Agree Andrew. Sock should have done better in Miami. Now could be the time he puts it together. I really want to see Sock’s effort and intensity levels vs Rafa. Will he treat it like any other match or will he raise his intensity and desperation levels? Playing lefty Vesely is perfect prep.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Andrew: I believe a lot of Cincy winners have won US Open. Will check on that stat.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 17, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    El Dude; Intriguing subject. Instantly I think of young Spadea serving for the match vs Chang at US Open night match on Armstrong but Vince blew it and lost the match. Pancho Segura said it took Spadea years to get over that loss. Yes certain losses are devastating to a player. Natasha Zverev lost by double bagel to Graf in the FO final and that basically killed her singles career. How would Michael Russell’s career played out if he won that match point vs eventual champion Guga at FO? What if Coria didn’t give that FO final away to Gaudio? Surely his career would have been different. The insiders say in boxing that when a boxer becomes “champion” his confidence goes up. Probably same for tennis. Rios lost a heartbreaker one year to Hrbaty at FO that really killed him and he was never really a GS threat after it. Baghdatis losing to Agassi at US Open was another devastating loss that really killed his career. I would also rate Blake’s loss in the US Open five setter to Agassi as another heartbreaking loss that pretty much crushed Blake as a GS contender. That was his ONE SHOT. Nalbandian losing to Hewitt at Wimbledon was a crusher too. Very interesting subject. Would really be interesting to talk to retired players about this – if they are willing to be open and candid about this it could be extremely interesting.

  • Grace · May 17, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Dream on guys! :) I really like Sock but Rafa will try to go all the way. If he does, he will have more than a week off before he plays his first match in Paris.
    Sock never played Rafa in Indian Wells. Rafa won 6-2, 6-3 in Key Biscayne (hard court, mind you!)in March. In 2015 Jack did manage to take a set off Rafa in Bejing and at Roland Garros in Rafa’s worst (clay) year, when he only won Hamburg and Buenos Aires (and Stuttgart on grass). After comfortably beating Jack 6-3, 6-1, he lost focus and the 3rd set (5-7) to wrap it up with 6-2 in the 4th… and that was a not very confident Rafa in his worst clay year.
    Rafa may be tired but exactly what arsenal does Sock have to suddenly beat the best man on clay…whom he lost to on HC just two months ago?
    But I’m all for a great match and love surprises.

  • catherine bell · May 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    El Dude – so much that goes on in athletic performance is subconscious it’s difficult to tell if there’s that breakthrough moment or the level was naturally fixed and we can pinpoint when the level was reached. Maybe Roddick found his level v Federer and that match shows it in retrospect.

    Going back to Kerber –
    I think perhaps the accumulated stress and strain of Angie’s great year in 2016 changed her mind/body connection in some unknown (and maybe unknowable)way,so that however much she trains, practises etc she can no longer play at the same level in matches, no matter who her opponents are. The pattern of her game is there but she can’t carry out the functions. The ability may come back, may not.

    The brain is a complicated organ – doesn’t always like being told what to do :)

    It’s pretty impossible to articulate what’s happened – Angie’s press conferences just show her saying the same things over and over. She can’t recognise her situation – no performer could. It’s a kind of necessary denial.

  • Henk · May 17, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Very interesting subject indeed El Dude and Scoop! Nice ‘tipping-point’ analysis. BTW did you guys read the “The Tipping Point”? Can wholeheartdely recommend the book.

    Grace: I’m with you all the way! Only fatigue will take Rafa out of Rome. This may well become the year of the first (and last) full, clean clay sweep by any player. He already won the clay- and hard court slams too, so maybe more history in the making. I say maybe as I don’t want to jinx it.

    Scoop, what arsenal do you see that Jack Sock would have or could develop to make it tough for Rafa?

  • Chazz · May 17, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Andrew, regarding Sock’s last 7 matches and surrendering at least a set, it includes the 2 and 3 loss to Nadal in the Miami Open, which was a poor performance along with most of the other matches in Houston, Madrid, and now Rome. Clay is supposed to be his best surface so I was hoping for more out of him than what he’s shown this part of the year. Outside of Nadal and SteveJo (both losses), the other 5 opponents were not in the top 35 and he struggled with all of them. He hasn’t been playing well and I hope he turns it around.

  • Andrew Miller · May 17, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Grace, thanks for correcting me, I mistook the Federer Sock match in Indian Wells. My bad.

    Chazz, I don’t see why Sock cant pull it off. He is winning on the doubles side and a win is a win no matter where it comes from, and makes Sock’s low points less low while keeping him enthusiastic for another battle in singles.

    Plus, Sock loves it out there! He may act like he’s happy go lucky, but no top twenty player is in the top twenty for a lack of ambition. These guys live for this kind of match.

    In Miami he played well for a few stretches after he got himself into the match at the end of the first set. I even thought he’d grab a set but Nadal got his second wind and that was that.

    On paper it’s fat chance. But you never know how a player responds. Nadal could steamroll him, or Sock could show that he learned something in Miami and that he’s no pushover.

  • Chazz · May 17, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Andrew, that’s fair. I see where you’re coming from. I should probably be a little more optimistic about US men and their success/bright futures. I saw this the other day: US men are having their best season on the ATP tour since 2009 (fastest to 100 wins). Considering the only one over 30 in the group is Isner, the future looks to be in good shape.

  • El Dude · May 17, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Scoop, I bet a lot of players would be happy to talk about it – it might even be a relief, in a way.

    I only followed tennis casually back then (baseball was my first sports love, and I only followed tennis casually from 1980ish when I was a kid and remember rooting for a certain blonde Swede over a feisty American, to six or seven years ago when I became somewhat obsessive about learning the history of tennis), but Guillermo Coria is an interesting one. Wikipedia has an interesting write-up on his 2005 season, including a 5+ hour Rome final loss to Rafa that included a 15-minute deuce! I wonder if that was his turning point – because it was also when Rafa was breaking through, establishing himself as the King of Clay. Coria was only 23 and one of the better clay courters; if Rafa hadn’t risen up, he was a good bet to win a French Open or two. But according to Wikipedia, the service “yips” became a factor and he never required. He’s one of many players of that generation that I’d love to see have a re-do to their career.

    But the article points to the 2004 French Open, and it may be right. As you know, he lost to #44 Gaston Gaudio–the definition of “one-Slam wonder”–in five sets. After that he never won a big title again, losing in three Masters finals.

    Actually, I think Coria is a good example of how it usually isn’t one match, but several in combination. So for Coria, his demise started when he lost the 2004 FO to Gaudio, and then was solidified with three Masters finals losted, and then completed when the yips took over his game, the yips being the “symptom” of his eroding confidence.

    Just speculating, of course.

  • scoopmalinowski · May 17, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Coria was the king of clay pre Rafa. But only for about a yr. He blew the French title to Gaudio though it was in his bag. Long story about that match if you didnt see it-too bad. It was incredible drama. Coria was great. But unfortunately for Coria, Rafa emerged and began to dominate earlier than anyone expected.

  • scoopmalinowski · May 17, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Sock has the arsenal. Huge serve at times that can dominate. Huge fh as we know. Excellent wheels. Sufficient backhand. Yes, sufficient. Its just about putting everything together and coming of age. And again, upping the intensity and ferocity levels. Greater urgency obsession and desperation. No more cool casual, its just another match syndrome. To beat Rafa, Sock must summon his beast mode.

  • catherine bell · May 18, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Good piece by Simon Briggs in today’s DTel (I can’t link) on Murray’s slump relating to some of the things discussed here.

    No one seems very interested in poor Kerber’s declension (except in Germany I imagine) but surely it raises questions – how does a player suddenly jump up several levels and why can they just as suddenly fall back to their mean or below it ? Anyone who can provide a solution to the latter would no doubt make a great deal of money.

    It’s unlikely players will talk honestly to the press about their own slumps and yips etc for fairly obvious reasons. Successful performers of any kind are generally narcissists with huge egos which require constant stroking and reassurance. Performing is not a natural act.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 18, 2017 at 6:05 am

    You can’t be serious! If Sock wins a set off of Nadal today I will personally walk across Bellevue Street in Newport with nothing but a pink thong on during the Hall of Fame Tournament in less than two months. There’s absolutely no way that Sock is going to win a set against Nadal when he had trouble closing out Vesely yesterday.

    Great day of tennis today. Berdy v Raonic stands out as does Nishy v Fognini.

  • catherine bell · May 18, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Just noticed pic of Simona and Nastase sharing a victory hug in Madrid – predictably pompous response from the WTA ‘totally unacceptable’ etc etc
    love it :)

    Bet Nastase finds a way to sneak into RG as well…

  • Chazz · May 18, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Dan, please don’t provide video or photo evidence if you actually do that in Newport.

    I think it was Sascha Zverev who played Fognini today, and beat him soundly. Also Cilic with a very impressive win over Goffin.

    Lots of intruiguing matchups…
    Will Bautista Agut beat Djoker?
    Can QBall give Thiem a scare?
    Isner and Wawrinka
    Nishikori and del Potro

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Tiriac gave Nastase words of support last week which was nice to see – He really didn’t do anything outrageously wrong – sticks and stones can break your bones but words cant harm you – we were taught that line as children – now adults are such wimps about words – Living in a PC world is ridiculous – Toughen up people it’s a rough world out there -

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Still waiting for Dan to pay off his last lost bet which the price was to walk four legged through the US Open food court barking like a dog if I remember correctly :) That lost wager was to Tommyboy a few years ago but I forget what the wager was about.

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Scoop, ElDude, Coria’s demise was Nadal. Coria didn’t melt down in 2005, he was still excellent. Nadal beat him I think for the Rome 2005 title, in five sets? Is that right? Then Coria melted down. He was still the guy to beat on clay in 2005 and then suddenly he wasn’t. At the very least his demise, the short story,was two matches. The meltdown against Gaudio, and Nadal basically putting the final nail in the career a year later.

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Chazz I think USA men are soft when push comes to shove regardless of surface. But they are better than they have been for a while.

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Catherine, Kerber seems to have inspired Konta after her career best year. Her drop off is dramatic, but Kerber came out of nowhere to win her Australian title and then compete for Wimbledon and win the US Open. But every year on tour, every tournament is a new one! It’s something Federer and Nadal have spoken about for many years now, “it’s not easy to do this” and they have spoken about how they surprised even themselves sometimes with their consistency. And those are two of the three, four players with the best results on tour in decades.
    “not so easy”.
    What Wawrinka has done, winning a slam per year from 2014, 2015, 2016 is even harder than what Kerber did, because he ripped the title from the tour’s best four players, who have left few scraps on the table for any other players in their quest for the history books.

    Basically, Kerber has nothing to prove. And she’s playing as if she has nothing left to prove. At the end of last year she seemed to have adjusted quite well to becoming an elite champion and she wore the mantle well too.

    But that’s sport. The big four have always known there were others out there who wanted to try on their crowns. Maybe Kerber didn’t pay much attention to that, that being the challenger sometimes is easier than being the champ. And maybe she hasn’t taken advantage of that to hire some people to take care of stuff for her so she can focus.

  • catherine bell · May 18, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Scoop
    I liked to see Simona not afraid to be seen publicly embracing Nastase- Roumanians stick together :)

    Simona may go the whole way in Rome – but WTA is surely the flattest for years – No 1 who can’t win a match and the rest about equal.

  • catherine bell · May 18, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Andrew –
    Yes – Kerber had that great year but the circuit goes on circling and she had to come back and show she could do it again and maybe that has proved too much for her. It’s always a big question – how do you exit
    gracefully ?
    I doubt Angie wants to retire quite yet so some changes or additions to her support team might help. She’s suffering, it’s clear, and it’s hard to watch someone who’s clearly as nice as Angie go on suffering.

    She and Simona seem to be reading the same psych books – talk about ‘being in the moment’ etc but Simona is younger and stronger so will lap up the trophies I suspect.

    Bitter thing about tennis – unless you’re totally dominant and can retire like that, Serena probably in this era, you’ll see your major titles stripped away from you, one by one.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Wow, You know I don’t like to comment on women’s tennis, but just caught end of Venus’s thrashing of Konta, and I was impressed. Venus was really moving and sliding and slashing. She looked fitter. It was vintage Venus.

    Berdy’s lost it just like Ferrer. Raonic into quarters and he looks formidable. True, Kei-Del Po could be match of the day.

    Chazz, I can’t make any promises on the video and Scoop, if you can’t remember what the bet is for, then I don’t have to pay it up.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Andrew; I don’t think it was a meltdown vs Gaudio I think Coria taunted Gaudio and it backfired. Coria was killing Gaudio badly two easy sets than 5-4 in the third. I believe Coria served for it and before that the fans did the wave which relaxed and loosened up Gaudio who smiled and really enjoyed it. Suddenly he began to play better and stole the third set from the edge of the cliff. Coria was ticked off and faked an injury in the fourth set and totally gave it away. As if telling Gaudio here boy I will give you the fourth set with a fake injury and then resume business and kick your ass in the fifth because I know you’re soft and I am better than you. Well the fifth set came and on the first point suddenly Coria’s fake injury was GONE. But the fifth set was a dog fight and Coria had match points but Gaudio saved them! Then Gaudio won. Incredible win by Gaudio and total idiot arrogant choke job by poor sport cocky Coria. Then Rafa came on strong the next year and they had two very tough five set battles but Rafa prevailed and Coria knew that he had blown his one shot at the French Open. Coria knew that Rafa was only gonna get bigger and stronger and better and the stupid giveaway of the fourth set to Gaudio forever haunts poor Coria. If he only could have that fourth set back he surely would have won the French Open.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Very nice to see Nastase getting support from Tiriac and Halep and hopefully others will not be afraid to stand up and support him too.

  • catherine bell · May 18, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Dan –
    Every time you comment on women’s tennis it seems something good happens :)
    I followed Venus’ match and if she keeps up that standard can see her going further – she plays Muguruza or Goerges next.
    Flying the flag for Serena ?

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Dan, shocked Venus beat Konta who has beaten Venus last few matches, gripping matches actually. Must see tv when those two play.

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Catherine, Kerber wasn’t herself last year and she is herself this year. Not uncommon.

  • Hartt · May 18, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I was very happy with the Raonic vs Berdych match today. Milos played so well (although Berdy was his usual headcase self and contributed by playing some key shots poorly). Milos won 6-3, 6-2 in exactly 1 hour. He served well with a first serve % of 65%, winning 96% of his first serve. He had 6 aces to 3 DFs, so this was not a case of an ace fest.

    What was so great was that his groundies were on. He had 26 winners, so excluding the aces, 20 from other shots, and just 13 UFEs. He had 5/6 net points and converted 3/3 BPs. Sascha Zverev is Milos’ opponent tomorrow. The youngster has been playing well in this tourney, so that could be a tough match. Milos will need to play like he did today to win that one.

  • catherine bell · May 18, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Andrew –
    Angie was herself last year – it was just a different self :)

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Catherine, I’d argue Kerber added a new dimension last year, an opportunistic approach that she’d employ. The killer instinct where she made the most of her lefty game, took care of short balls, did more with the ball on the run. She was for a time a complete pro with a defense to offense capability.
    That’s been watered down.
    It’s very hard to play a new way. Tennis isn’t automatic and bad habits creep back quickly. I don’t feel bad for her. And her success motivated every one else like Konta.

  • Dan Markowitz · May 18, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    What has gotten into QBall? Taking the first set against Thiem. Hitting a dropper off his forehand and then winning easy volley once Thiem ran it down.

    And Izzie? Never would I’d’ve guessed he could’ve taken down Wawa, especially in straights. What’s next, QBall will close out and Thiem and Sock will whip Nadal. I would bet that there’s never been three Americans reaching the Italian Open quarters in the same year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Querrey beat Thiem in Acapulco dudnt he? Isner is the least respected least appreciated American star in the history of Tennis USA. Isner has been written off more than Federer and Harrison combined yet he keeps on truckin.

  • catherine bell · May 18, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Andrew –
    You’re right re Kerber’s game but I do feel bad for her. You have to because she knows what she’s lost.
    It still might be possible to change again. Maybe with new coaching input. Take her game apart and put it back together. She’s thinking in the old way.

    I’m not sure Konta was motivated by Angie – and I’m still not absolutely persuaded by her. She hasn’t impressed since Miami, not me anyway.

    Sock’s not whipping Nadal.

  • Chazz · May 18, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Querrey had 2 match points in the tiebreaker but lost to Thiem. Thiem is turning into an amazing escape artist.

    As expected, no win for Sock today although he did look really good for most of the 2nd set. Still not enough to win a set. One bright spot to Sock not winning a set – Newport will be happy Dan didn’t have to do what he said he would.

    Scoop, I guess there is no issue with Kyrgios and Sock because Nick was sitting in the stands by his coach watching the match.

    Regarding Isner, I can’t speak for others but the giant powerhouse player doesn’t do it for me, whether it’s Dr. Ivo, Ivanisevic or Isner (weird that they all start with the letter I). It’s just a style preference. He seems like a great guy though and good ambassador for the sport.

  • Chazz · May 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Correction: Thiem actually saved 3 match points.

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    USA losing to Australia and Kyrgios was a gift. It’s like Lloyd Carroll telling Fish he is a journeyman, which forced Fish to wrestle with that possibility and Fish soon became the top USA men’s player and best player since Roddick’s retirement from the USA in the last five years. Australia’s Team B plus Team A Kyrgios beat up on a favored USA squad, smashing their hopes for a trophy. All the bad press pushed USA men to a high number of titles this year in comparison with recent years and makes us all go after Sock and other USA men while they gain career best results regardless of surface, even on the clay they despise.

    This is great stuff.

  • Andrew Miller · May 18, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    But USA men are still soft. Their heart of a lion only appears for a few matches per year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Usa Tennis is in a good place right now. Several players are winning Atp titles this. Each of these players is in striking range of invading the second week of a major. Then there are over a half dozen teenagers nipping at their heels. Plus you have the players like Sandgren and Krueger rocketing to prominence. Krueger just beat Donskoy this week in a challenger. Usa tennis is rising higher seemingly every week.

  • catherine bell · May 19, 2017 at 2:47 am

    Dan will love this –
    Women’s tennis looks in the tank right now – you could count some of the attendance in Rome on the fingers of one hand – maybe not even that. Of course no Italian contenders doesn’t help, Italians generally only support the women’s game if it’s their own. Bet someone’s regretting they snubbed Schiavone. Flavia and Fabio’s baby will be bigger news.

    Had a look at Simona – she looks good to win. Her game’s not changed – just faster and stronger and mentally there. But she’ll only fill a stadium full of Romanians.
    Angie’s legs are made of lead – stuck in the clay. Her anticipation’s out the window as well. New coach please. Torben knows her game too well.

    Venus is in terrific shape but it’s a tiring surface at her age. The rest are good players but they’re just the rest. No spark.
    Whatever happened to Madison ? Is she still injured ?

  • catherine bell · May 19, 2017 at 2:55 am

    Oh and he’s called Federico and he’ll be Italian No 1 some day :)

  • Hartt · May 19, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Flavia had great timing, waiting until Fabio was out of the tourney. Hope the baby takes after his mother. :)

    Because my sports channel only carries the ATP matches I have not seen any of the women’s. (And there have been so many good men’s matches I have not resorted to streams.) It’s interesting to hear about the poor attendance for women’s matches. Many of the men’s, even those that started at noon, have been packed.

  • catherine bell · May 19, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Simona wipes out Kontaveit 2 & 4.If she wins Rome I think she has a good claim to be No 1, in practice if not by number theory. Suspect Kerber would be glad to be relieved of that albatross. Angie will hit rock bottom this summer and then could begin a climb back – it’s been done before.

    Italian has always been poor for women. Italians just don’t take to the women’s game. One year the tournament was played in Perugia. Rome is a place where the women are just carried by the men’s event I’m sorry to say.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Not true. Italians loved watching Sabatini and Capriati :) Remember reading about this in Hard Courts by Feinstein.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2017 at 8:33 am

    That win over Stosur from way down in Miami seems to be the turning point in Halep’s career/season. Or maybe was it doing a Biofile with me after ? :)

  • Chazz · May 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Halep sure does look like the #1 at some point if she keeps going, eh?

  • catherine bell · May 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Scoop –
    Sabatini and Capriati were both considered Italian :)
    Whatever, attendance has usually been poor, except maybe the finals, and if you take a look this year you’ll see sparsely filled stands.

    Simona’s turning point was probably being ‘suspended’ by Cahill after she more or less gave up against Konta in Miami. She handled Fed Cup very well and played Stuttgart without a coach. I believe she could have won Madrid on her own but Cahill probably wasn’t taking any chances.
    This is the point where Simona should really give up OCC for good.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 19, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I thought Konta just played lights out vs Halep that day and earned it. Halep’s reaction to it was acceptable. She was very frustrated to be outplayed like that when she herself felt she was playing so well herself. Tennis can be very sad and frustrating when you know you are playing well and the other player just has your # on that day.

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