Tennis Server ATP/WTA Pro Tennis Showcase - Legg Mason Classic 2010 - The Big Bounce - Malisse, Berdych, Baghdatis, Verdasco, Nalbandian, Simon, Cilic, Tipsarevic
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August 6, 2010

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Legg Mason Classic 2010, Washington, DC, USA
August 6, 2010
Editorial by Jane Voigt. Photography by Pablo Sanfrancisco.

Jane Voigt Photo
Jane Voigt

The Big Bounce
 
August 6, 2010 -- Hopes for a show of dominance by the Americans in DC were swept down the Potomac River last night as John Isner, Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, and Ryan Sweeting lost in the round of sixteen after multiple rain-soaked delays.
 
What's left is a draw that resembles a training ground for those players bouncing back from injury, lay offs, and months of poor performances.
 
Xavier Malisse, having his best year since 2007, put the big kibosh on big Czech Tomas Berdych today, closing the door on the #1 seed about as convincingly as Gilles Simon stopped the #2 seed and three-time Legg Mason champion Andy Roddick.
 
Malisse's win over Berdych, a top ten player, fueled the Belgian's engines and opened the gate for another dollup of confidence.
 
"The third set is one of the best sets I've played," Malisse began, happy with himself. "[I] started hitting through and through balls and hitting harder and harder with the forehand and served a lot better. It feels nice to play three good sets."
 
Wildcard and #3 seed Fernando Verdasco knew he hadn't played well today against the #8 seed Marcos Baghdatis. The Spaniard said the wind swirled on court, which made clean strikes of the ball tough. His timing suffered; his mind probably did, too.
 
"I didn't feel the ball well. But I don't think he [Baghdatis] played well, either," Verdasco said in a serious tone.
 
Verdasco's plans to play Toronto and Cincinnati, the two ATP Tour 1000 Level Tournaments, but won't defend his title from New Haven. In the second round of the U. S. Open last year he had a minor tear to his abdomen, which bothered him through to his loss in the quarterfinals. He attributed the impairment to scheduling, New Haven being the week prior to the U. S. Open.
 
"I really need to push myself over the next tournaments," Verdasco said. "I need to try to be in the best shape."
 
Verdasco enjoyed his first trip to America's capital and wants to return, even though he lost today in straight sets 76 (3) 64.
 
"Everything was perfect. I had a very good feeling here. There are many people who speak Spanish in the crowd who support me," Verdasco said. "I hope to come back here soon."
 
Marcos Baghdatis has recovered more than 100 ranking points since July 2009. He sits pretty at #25, but has a lot of ground to cover in order to approach his career high of #6 from August, 2008. Like Malisse, his opponent in tomorrow's semifinal, the Cypriot fell so low he played challenger matches to convince himself of his worth on a tennis court and to, more importantly, get back up the rankings.
 
Malisse and Baghdatis met twice last year in challengers. Baghdatis won both.
 
"I watched today's match and Xavier's not missing a lot and he is playing aggressive," Baghdatis said. "I had a victory today. I want to enjoy that, eat, and maybe talk about next match then."
 
When David Nalbandian and Gilles Simon faced off tonight on Stadium Court there could have been a slight edginess in the air. They had never met on court, which always makes players a touch nervous. Plus... Argentina has advanced to the semifinals of Davis Cup due to Nalbandian's competitive spirit. He won the fifth and decisive rubbers in Argentina's last two ties. Next up is Gilles Simon's home -- France -- although neither player has officially been called to play.
 
Simon reached a career high of #6 in 2009 and spent most of this year out with a knee injury. Nalbandian reached a career high of #3 in 2006. After tumbling to a low of #161, he has pulled himself within a couple spots of the top one hundred. Hampered by hip surgery and a more recently a bum shoulder, Nalbandian has been the perennial player tennis fans have looked to for consistent top five results. Simon has never been in that category.
 
Tonight, Nalbandian positively proved his mettle, tipping their head-to-head in his favor with a victory: 36 62 63.
 
Their match was impressive for a couple reasons. Both struck the ball well and kept shots very deep, making it nearly impossible to approach the net. When they did, both displayed artistry. Feathery pickups. Subtle touches. But Simon's first serve percentage steadily fell over the three sets: 88%, 50%, and 42%. Meanwhile, Nalbandian's took the opposite trajectory. He won 82% on first serves in the third set.
 
"Like the other matches this week, I think I finished very well," Nalbandian said. "He [Simon] was a top ten player; I had to push hard."
 
One note on American tennis players at Legg Mason... The lone surviving home-grown player is Mardy Fish. He and his partner Mark Knowles are into the doubles semifinals. With the Bryan brothers lurking on the other end of the draw, you might have suspected a final of, well, Americans ... mostly. Mark Knowles is from the Bahamas. However, and unfortunately for fans who seem to love the boys, the Bryan brothers lost today.
 

 

 
Xavier Malisse (BEL) {blue shirt} d [1] Tomas Berdych (CZE) 64 36 62
 
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis
Xavier Malisse Legg Mason Tennis
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis
Xavier Malisse Legg Mason Tennis
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis
Xavier Malisse Legg Mason Tennis
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis
Xavier Malisse Legg Mason Tennis
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis
Xavier Malisse Legg Mason Tennis
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis
Xavier Malisse Legg Mason Tennis
Tomas Berdych Legg Mason Tennis

 
 
[[8] Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) {white shirt} d [3] [WC] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 76(3) 64
 
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis Legg Mason Tennis
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis Legg Mason Tennis
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis Legg Mason Tennis
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis Legg Mason Tennis
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis Legg Mason Tennis
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis Legg Mason Tennis
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis Legg Mason Tennis
Fernando Verdasco Legg Mason Tennis

 
 
[WC] David Nalbandian (ARG) {blue shirt} d [13] Gilles Simon (FRA) 36 62 63
 
Gilles Simon Legg Mason Tennis
David Nalbandian Legg Mason Tennis
Gilles Simon Legg Mason Tennis
David Nalbandian Legg Mason Tennis
Gilles Simon Legg Mason Tennis
David Nalbandian Legg Mason Tennis
Gilles Simon Legg Mason Tennis
David Nalbandian Legg Mason Tennis
Gilles Simon Legg Mason Tennis

 
 
[4] Marin Cilic (CRO) {blue shirt} d Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) 76(4) 64
 
Janko Tipsarevic Legg Mason Tennis
Marin Cilic Legg Mason Tennis
Janko Tipsarevic Legg Mason Tennis
Marin Cilic Legg Mason Tennis
Marin Cilic Legg Mason Tennis
Janko Tipsarevic Legg Mason Tennis
Marin Cilic Legg Mason Tennis
Janko Tipsarevic Legg Mason Tennis

 
Earlier Coverage from this Event:
 
August 5, 2010 Legg Mason Classic: Xavier Malisse, John Isner, Fernando Verdasco, Ryan Sweeting, Tomas Berdych, Andrey Golubev
August 4, 2010 Legg Mason Classic: Heat on the Hard Courts of America - Marcos Baghdatis, Horacio Zeballos, Alejandro Falla, Lleyton Hewitt, Janko Tipsarevic, Sam Querrey
August 3, 2010 Legg Mason Classic: Returning To The Flock - Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish, Fernando Verdasco, Mike Bryan, Bob Bryan, Viktor Troicki, Michael Berrer, Grega Zemlja
August 2, 2010 Legg Mason Classic: Legg Mason Rocks the Creek - Ryan Sweeting, James Blake, David Nalbandian, Rajeev Ram, Illya Marchenko, Rainer Schuettler
 

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