It’s about time to be more regular again with updates here, so let’s look forward instead of back. The last Grand Slam of the year didn’t end like we all hoped, but there’s some tournaments to come before 2014 is over.
A week ago, Nico was champion in the challenger of Saint Rémy, lifting his 11th challenger title of his carreer. Hopefully he gets a boost from this win, and will do great this week in Metz. The draws are made and Nico participates in both singles and doubles. In singles, he plays Jérémy Chardy in the first round. Chardy is currently ranked 35 in the world. In doubles it’s the same, Nico plays with Edouard Roger-Vasselin, against Chardy with Lukas Rosol.
Nico is not scheduled for tomorrow, that gives one more day to get used to the court and the indoor conditions in Metz. Here’s some photo’s from todays training after the qualifying matches were finished.
Let’s give Nico all the support he deserves, he’s got a semifinal in singles and a doublesfinal to defend! ;) Allezzzzzz Nico!!
It feels very good to be writing positive updates again on this blog this week. Nico played another great match yesterday against Robredo, who came from a good run in Cincinnati and some matches under the belt. Especially in the first set, won by Nico with 6-1, was Nico very strong, giving no chances to Robredo. In the second set, the spaniard played better and even threatened Nico’s serve in the first part of the set. Nico broke him early and lead with 3-1, but played a bad servicegame at 3-2 and lost the break. The whole set went further on serve, but it was a fantastic tiebreak for Nico, he won it with 7-0. 6-1 7-6, and there’s the third round in Winston-Salem!
Now it’s a matter of minutes that Nico takes court again, for a match against Andreas Seppi. They played eachother once before, last year in Metz. A match that Nico won in straight sets. Let’s go for another win this week! Allez!!
Monday morning means usually two things. The start of a new tournament and new ATP rankings. This week is a bit different, because we’re in the week before a Grand Slam. That’s why the tournament of Winston-Salem started yesterday already, with a very positive start for Nico. He played Blaz Kavcic from Slovenia in the first round. Nico won the match, with a very decent 6-3 6-2 win. It’s good to see that Nico played agressive, taking the chances he got and coming to the net often to finish off points. That’s how we know that he can play. Especially in the second set there were not many chances for Kavcic to be dangerous.
The second round will be against Tommy Robredo in a battle of 32 year olds. In the head to head the score is 3-1 for Robredo. In those four times they never played on outdoor hard. The matches always seem pretty close, nothing is impossible in this case. The only meeting that Nico has won was in Rotterdam in 2008, defeating Tommy in 2 sets. The most recent one was last year in Wimbledon second round, a straight set win for Tommy. Robredo is currently world number 18, but he made it to quarterfinals in Cincinnati last week. When Nico plays like his did against Kavcic, he certainly has the chance to get the win today.
Regarding the rankings, it is a normal monday like all other mondays. We find Nico this week outside the top 100: he fell 8 places to number 104. It’s good that next week the US Open begins, because in the doublesrace, Nico & Mika are on spot 8 at the moment. They have played only 9 tournaments together this year, most the other teams many more. The only exception is the duo Sock/Pospisil with 4 tournaments. Hopefully there will be some chances to win points in the months to come, especially in New York. The dream of World Tour Finals is still alive in this last season of Mika Llodra on the tour!
In Winston-Salem is court 2 for Nico and his doublespartner Robin Haase, third match after noon. Two singlesmatches are played before them, so approximately between 3 and 4 pm will they be on court. (Six hours later in Europe). Let’s hope for a winning start in doubles too!
The last tournament before the US Open begins today. At least, when it comes to Nico’s matches. Not before 2 pm local time, the center court will be for Nico when he plays Blaz Kavcic in their first round match in Winston-Salem. Kavcic is currently ranked 3 spots higher than Nico, number 93 of the world. In the past those two have played eachother one time before, in the Segovia Challenger in 2009. Nico won this match on outdoor hardcourt with two tiebreaks. Nico plays third seed Tommy Robredo in the second round if he wins today.
Michael Llodra is not in doubles this week with Nico, but Robin Haase is the doublespartner here in Winston-Salem. In the first round, the duo plays Scott Lipsky / Max Mirnyi, both good doubles players. Haase has been in 2013 in the doublesfinal in Australia (partnering Igor Sijsling), so he too knows how to play doubles on hardcourt. Hopefully they have a good run this week, and get some match rythm in doubles.
It looks like we can see todays match in Winston-Salem, the match is between the links for streamed matches! Look for example here, usually they add more streams once it’s closer to the actual event: www.drakulastream.eu
Let’s hear it for Nico! ;) Allez!
Cincinnati hasn’t turned out to be the best week in preparation of the US Open when it comes to matches. Nico lost in the first round to Marinko Matosevic, even though he didn’t play a bad match at all. He was just unlucky that Matosevic had an early break in the first set, which he could hold for the rest of the set. Nico wasn’t without chances, he got 4 breakpoints on the serve of his opponent, but sadly could not use one of them.
The second set went to a tiebreak, and was won by Matosevic with 7-4. Again there were some chances by Nico, not used, and 5 breakpoints faught off. We could read after Totonto that Nico was not satisfied with how he played there, hopefully he’s more optimistic after this match, because it wasn’t a bad match. Just bad luck that Matosevic could use his chances better in this match.
The doubles never happened because Mika Llodra retired from it with a left elbow injury, and they were replaced in the draw by alternates. Bad news for their race to London, but health always comes first. Nico was yesterday still in Cincinnati, training with Federer the other day, and with Wawrinka yesterday, and he seems to be happy there, so all is good. ;)
(photo from )
Next tournament, the last one before US Open, will be Winston-Salem. Nico is in the maindraw here, so no need to qualify first. Tomorrow, friday, they will make the draw for this tournament, at 5 pm local time. One last tournament to get more matches under the belt before the US Open starts.
Monday morning, and the new rankings are on the website of the ATP. Nico has lost 5 places, and is now on spot 96 in singles. Hopefully Cincinnati gives a positive swing to the new week, so close before the US Open. Last year he only played one qualification match, which he lost. Here’s room for building confidence, match rythm and rankingpoints. ;) Today is the first match scheduled on court 3 (second after 11 am), against Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic. Matosevic is on place 89 right now. They never played eachother before in the past, not even on challenger level. If Nico wins this match, he plays the winner of Keving Anderson/John Isner in the second round. Also Andy Murray and Roger Federer are in this quarter of the draw.
The doubles tournament in Cincinnati has to start in round 1, because Nico and Mika are not seeded this week. They start off against Matkowski/Lindstedt in round one. If they win, it’s Toronto finalists Marcelo Melo/Ivan Dodig who are the opponents in round 2. Regarding the rankings, the team dropped one spot to spot 7 this week, so some doubles wins would be very welcome too, to make sure that the World Tour Finals are still within reach. (Toronto ended by the way in round 2, they didn’t win their match against Rojer/Tecau. )
We’re lucky to see that fans make photo’s of Nico on the practice courts this weekend, so here is some proof that Nico is working hard in Cincinnati. (photo’s from twitter James Henry (@olerafa). Let’s make it a good week, in both singles and doubles!
The second part of Toronto will be kicked off today, when the french doublesteam of Nico and Mika taking court number 1. Washington winners Horia Tecau and Jean Julien Rojer are the opponents in this second round match. They had a bye in round 1, and this gives already 90 points for the doublesrace. If Nico and Mika win today, they play second seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares in the quarterfinal. These two defeated the spanish couple of David Ferrer and Guillermo García-Lopez last night.
Unfortunately the singles tournament did not last longer than one match. Michael Russell was too strong in straight sets: 6-3 6-3. Nico had a first serve of less than 50 percent, and no chances in the first set on the Russell serve. He did have some opportunities in set 2, 3 chances, but couldn’t convert them into breaks. Michael Russell did break twice in this set, to win the match with 6-3 6-3. This is not the best start of the hardcourt season, but there’s at least the doubles to get more used to the hardcourt.
This year is not the best year for Masters tournaments for Nico. In Monte Carlo he won a first round on clay, but that’s the only win in a Masters this year. But we should be glad he plays them all so far this year. Last year Nico played qualies for Monte Carlo and Cincinnati, and in oktober two rounds in Paris Bercy. At least he can play them all this year, that’s worth all the support too! We got told today that there’s a chance that Cincinnati qualifying won’t be necessary, but that Nico will be directly into the maindraw. Fingers crossed!
To end this post, here’s some pictures of Nico’s first match in Toronto. (photo’s from Getty Images)