American hardcourt season coming up

Now that Nico is enjoying some well deserved holidays to recharge his batteries, let’s look back on the last week on the grass.

Nico had a second title to defend, the week after Wimbledon.  Last year he won the title in singles, and in doubles too with fellow frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin. This year it ended in singles like it ended in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Nico lost in the quarterfinals of Newport to Australian Sam Groth in straight sets: 3-6 4-6. In the first round he won over Facundo Arguello, 7-6 6-4, in the second round over Luke Saville with 6-4 6-2. This quarterfinal means 45 rankingpoints, and that’s a loss of 205 points, compared to the tournament win last year. We find Nico back on spot 87, which is 28 places lower than last week. It might be difficult now to enter some of the tournaments to come.

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In doubles, Nico played with Sergiy Stakhovsky, and they reached all the way to the semifinals. They lost to Jonathan Erlich and Raveej Ram, with 6-7 5-7.

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(photos from Tennishall of Fame facebook)

According to an article/interview in french newspaper l’Equipe, Nico travels to Toronto for his next tournament. He will play in the qualifying event, which starts on august 1st. Last year he didn’t play in Canada, so here’s the opportunity to win some rankingpoints again. He’ll also enter the doublestournament there with Mika Llodra, to work on their year end goal of World Tour Finals. After Toronto, it’s Cincinnati (also qualifications and doubles), Winston Salem and US Open to conclude the American hard court summer. Nico will play the tournament of Winston Salem in the maindraw for sure (defends 2nd round there), and the same with US Open (lost in first round last year).

Less than two weeks untill we can enjoy Nico’s game again, bring on the hardcourts! Allez!

Wimbledon over, Newport up next

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The European grass weeks are over for Nico. He and Mika lost to the Bryan brothers in the semifinal doubles in Wimbledon. The first set was very exciting, with the brothers breaking first, but the french broke back to equal the set. It went all the way to a tiebreak, in which Mika recieved treatment for an injury.

It’s sad to see that from that moment on, Mika could hardly move as before. Smashes were impossible for him. Nico tried to work extra hard, but the team couldn’t help that Bob and Mike got the win with 7-6 6-3 6-2. A pity to end the tournament like this, because Nico seemed to be quite confident with their chances to make it to the title, before.

But the team made it now twice to semifinals in a Grand Slam this year, so it will be interesting to see on which spot they are next week in the doubles race.

Next week brings some more grass, at the tournament in Newport. Last year Nico won both titles there, and he will be back to defend his singles title. The tournament made the draw yesterday, in which Nico is fourth seeded. The first opponent will be Facundo Arguello from Argentina.

Nico plays in doubles too, with Sergiy Stakhovsky from Ukrain. They play the Belgian/Romanian couple of Bemelmans/Copil in the first round. This match will be played tomorrow, not before 2pm local time on court 1. The time difference with Newport and France (Europe) is 6 hours.

Allez Nico!!

 

Wimbledon still continues for Nico

It’s been a while since we wrote on here, but now things get too exciting in London. We’re already in week number 2 of Wimbledon, and Nico is still there! He didn’t have much luck with his singlesdraw, playing 30th seed Marcel Granollers in round 1 (3-6 6-7 7-6 4-6), but he’s doing very good in doubles with his partner Michaël Llodra.

Tomorrow they play their seminfinal against the best team in the world, the Bryan brothers from the United States.The match is scheduled as first on court 1, at 1 pm. This tournament is very good for the race to London, because last year they lost in the second round doubles. Currently Nico and Mika are the tenth doublesteam with only 50 points difference with the numbers 8 in the race. Everything is possible, as there are still some months to come.

So, tomorrow semifinals, this is how the way so far looked like:
Round 1: 6-3 6-3 6-3 against Delbonis/Mayer
Round 2: 6-3 6-4 6-2 against Brunstrom/Nielsen
Round 3: 7-6 7-5 7-5 against Granollers/Lopez
Quarterfinal: 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 against Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin

Allezzzz, let’s believe in them to reach that final! :)

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(Photo’s from zimbio.com)

Nico falls to Roger-Vasselin in Queens round 2

It’s the time of year again for the green stuff, the weeks leading to Wimbledon. As you probably have noticed, Nico plays in London this week, in the historical Queens Club. Last year he fell in the second round to later champion Andy Murray, which gives him only 10 points to defend. Nico won two days ago with a good match in the first round over qualifier Marsel Ilhan, 6-3 6-4. Serving very well, he defeated Ilhan in one hour and 22 minutes.

Today Nico played against fellow frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the second round. They never played eachother on grass before, and never in an ATP tournament either. As expected, it was a very close match, with ERV having the break and the first set with 6-3. But Nico played a very strong second set to take it with 6-1. In the third set, all went on serve untill the tiebreak. Nico got 2 breakpoins, but didn’t convert them. Unfortunately it was ERV who had 3 matchpoints and used the second to clinch the match: 6-3 1-6 7-6. A very close match, in one hour and 59 minutes of play.

The doubles tournament here lasted for only 1 match. In the first place it was meant to be with Mika, but in the end Nico played with Jo Wilfried Tsonga yesterday. It was a match of tiebreaks, with the french winning the first tiebreak, Lopez and Melzer took the second set in another tiebreak and it was decided in a 10 point matchtiebreak, which ended with matchpoints for both teams. Lopez and Melzer won the final tiebreak with 14-12, but overall both teams won 84 points in the match. It was so close!

Now we’re updating anyway, a short update on the rankings after Roland Garros: Nico is number 40 in singles, and together with Mika he fell to place 9 in the doubles team rankings. The two finalists of Roland Garros this year, Granollers/Lopez and Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin entered the top 8. Last year Nico and Mika made it to the finals, and that gave them 720 rankingpoints. The third round retirement of this this year gives only 180 points, that’s 540 points less. But we’re not even halfway the year, so plenty of chances to do better in Wimbledon and US Open this year, and to collect some more much needed points on the road to London.

Here’s some pictures from todays match against Roger-Vasselin. Allezzzzzz Nico, let’s continue in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and have another great week there!

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The road to London continues in doubles

Forgive us for being late with updating the blog, but once a tournament takes place, the days are very busy. We’re in the middle of Roland Garros, and we’ve seen several things of Nico so far. It already started on saturday, with a mini match on kidsday against Argentinian player Alejandro Gonzalez. Nico took the set with 6-3, and then spent a while signing many, many autographs for his fans.

Monday was matchday on court number 2 against Kukuskin from Kazachstan. It was a difficult day, with sometimes light rain. The match started more than an hour later, and was stopped for rain once too. Nico in front of his homecrowd is something special, it feels good to be between people who all want him to win the match. The first set lasted 46 minutes and went to Kukushkin with 6-3, but Nico never gave up in the match and won the second set in tiebreak to equal the score. Kukushkin came back to win the 3rd and the fourth set, but not without a good fight from Nico. He seemed nervous, but kept fighting for all the points. In the end of the fourth set it looked like Nico could force a decider, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. After more than 3 hours of play, the score was 6-3 6-7 6-3 6-4 for Mikhail Kukushkin. Sorry for not tweeting during the match, but internet was not working. :(

Yesterday was the start of the doublescampaign, on the side of Michael Llodra. The opponents were Gael Monfils and Josselin Ouanna. Good decision from the organisation to have put this match on one of the bigger outside courts, number 17. It was packed, not a free seat in the house. Almost all the people supported Monfils and Ouanna, but Mika and Nico thought otherwise and won relatively easy their match in 59 minutes of play. 6-4 6-1 and the two are in the next round to play Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky. Good to see that Mika could actually play, because in his singlesmatch versus Verdasco he could hardly walk in the end.

Then we also have mixed doubles to come,but Nico is not on todays schedule of play so we have to wait one more day to see him back in action. Let us give you some pictures from the week so far, with hopefully much more to come! ;)

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Nico fought till the end, keeping himself pumped in his singlesmatch.Image
On a place where we love to see him, at the net in doubles with Mika Llodra.

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The road to London continues, best of luck for the rounds to come!