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-> Llodra’s serve and volley style of tennis has been successful at this tournament due to several reasons; home support, faster conditions, etc, but the main point is that, on these courts (and mainly all indoor courts), serve and volley is a way to “mix” things up; after being beaten 6-2 in the first set by Nalbandian, Andy Murray adopted a heavy serve and volley approach in the second set, thus completely losing the Argentinian’s rhythm, winning the second set and also causing the Argentinian to smash his racquet in anger towards the end of the set, Murray won the third set relatively easy. It is so vital to have a big, or accurate serve when it comes to playing indoor tournaments.

-> Federer’s serving against Melzer was exceptional, the Austrian playing a brilliant second set, yet he still lost. Does Melzer look at this positively and believe he can play his best tennis against Federer, or does he look at this negatively and believe that despite playing his best tennis, Federer will be too good for him, as today’s match showed? It’s a tough one to think about, but I believe the Austrian’s fiery determination will make him think positively despite losing in 2 Majors this year to Federer.

-> The Berdych of old, the one that was very inconsistent, has been around for nearly 3-4 months now, since Wimbledon, he only won FOUR points in the third set against Davydenko in his match, the Czech star has come so far (top 8 ranking), but he is still no-where near the level of Federer, or Nadal, or even Roddick, when it comes to the C word: consistency.

-> Roddick was basically “pushing” against Soderling, and lost 7-5 6-4, you just feel the American can do so much more than just push the ball back, rely on his opponents errors and on his big serve. Roddick is suited to a naturally aggressive game, a passive approach is very helpful as it cuts errors and I believe in general it makes a player like Roddick, often branded one-dimensional, into a difficult player to beat. This year, when facing Nadal, he pushed for one set and played aggressively for two; could Nadal have expected this?

-> Top players need to understand the importance of the “late run in”, 2010 is still very much alive, despite all 4 Majors and nearly all ATP 1000 tournaments complete, a good example of someone who is taking this late run in seriously is Federer, who has won 1 ATP 250 tournament, 1 ATP 500 tournament, reached one 1 ATP 1000 Final, and is in the semi-final of another ATP 1000 tournament. Knowing you can have a great late-season takes off the pressure you receive in the early part of a season.

-> Full credit to Gael Monfils, his aggressive (33 winners) performance against Murray has hopefully shown to other players (Nalbandian, Cilic) that controlled aggression is the best form of tactics to employ when facing Murray. Wawrinka (US Open), Nadal (Wimbledon) and Federer’s (Australian Open) Grand Slam match wins against Murray this year were the definition of controlled aggression. Murray finished the match against Nadal with just 2 points lesser than his opponent. He won 44% of his second serve points against Wawrinka, who won just 42%, second serves are often an indication of who is dominating the groundstroke rallies; Murray won more due to a more passive, secure approach, Wawrinka followed the same, but at times, exploded with aggressive shots, making the difference.


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