ATP Tennis 360

November 13, 2009 5:15 PM

Paris quarters: Delpo retired, ok Rafa and Djoker

Novak Djokovic defeated, nonetheless a see-saw performance, Robin Soderling 63 16 64 erasing any further hope of the Swede to go to the World Tour Finals.

After the mathematical qualification of Nikolay Davydenko, the last spot was now occupied by Fernando Verdasco. The Spaniard has to thank his compatriot Rafa Nadal who stopped the title holder Tsonga 75 75 breaking him once per set, always to 6-5.

The home crowd found ways to celebrate thanks to Gael Monfils and his come back victory over Marin Cilic 36 64 64 while in the last quarter scheduled Juan Martin Del Potro surrender to a stomach injury retiring at 0-4 in the first set against Radek Stepanek.

Here's the match reports.

Djokovic-Soderling 64 16 63
The fifth defeat in as many direct meetings against Novak Djokovic forced Robin Soderling to abandon any further hope to go to London. So, he becomes the first Grand Slam finalist not to qualify for the Masters Cup since Marcos Baghdatis in 2006.

The Djoker broke first, to 2-1, although the Swede saved the first break point with a blistering inside out cross court forehand that Djokovic could only send dribbling back into the net. But with a forehand error and a double fault the Roland Garros finalist conceded his serve in the tamest of manners. The Serb gave back the courtesy to 4 all: Soderling had all the time to arrive on his poor drop shot and fired a crosscourt forehand winner to set up a pair of break points that he wasted before reset the score alongside the service games with a forehand winner down the line. The joy was extremely short, however, because he conceded the serve to love with a shocking game and Djokovic sealed the first set, not before going for his ill-advised dropshot and finding himself on the ropes saving two break points before clinching the set when Soderling hit a forehand long.

The Swede rushed in the second, breaking in the second game. Djoko slapped a forehand long of the baseline and concede his serve in frustration: firstly he slammed a ball into the net and then he broke a racquet onto the floor while the crowd booed him walking to the chair to change it. Soderling broke again to 15 to 1-5 racing up to the nth short drop shot from the Serb and firing away a forehand winner sealing the set in the very nexth game with the aces number four and five.

In the final set, Djokovic continued to battle with the range of his groundstrokes. However he was the first to produce break points when a bleeding double fault from Soderling handed him three chance to go servin for the match at 5-3. The first went begging, but Djoko broke at the second attempt when Soderling slapped a backhand into the net. Serving wiyh new balls Djoko booked his place into the semis when his opponent sent a change-of-direction backhand into the net. The two players exchanged a very brief and cold handshake at the end of the match.

Nadal-Tsonga 75 75
Rafa Nadal posed an end to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's title defence and, doing so, gifted Fernando Verdasco the last berth in the World Tour Finals to be hosted in London. The Mallorcan saved a break point in his first service game, and other two, with an an inch-perfect lob after a lengthy rally and an inside out forehand drop shot to hold to 3-3. Tsonga was serving brilliantly, and a cracking first ball led him save the first break point at 4-4, but finally the Spaniard broke to 6-5 after squandering another opportunity, when Tsonga's reaction lob at the net dropped just long of the baseline. The matador from Manacor reserved his more classical and brilliant face for the most counting moment, sealing the first set with a service winner.

The second set followed an identical development. The Frenchman remained in front until 5-4, although his serve percentage dropped to 60% thanks to a more-than-75% winning points percentage. He produced a spot of serve and volley to level at 4 all 30-30 but Rafa quickly earned a break point by lashing a forehand passing shot past Tsonga, who was getting up after falling playing a stretched backhand volley. Finally, he held, but couldn't manage the pressure being broken to 5-6 after a series of consecutive forehands into the net. Simply Tsonga imploded and Nadal held to love in the very next game when "Cassius Clay" sent a backhand return well long.

Monfils-Cilic 36 64 64
With the home crowd in raptures, Gael Monfils came back to gain a spot in the last Masters 1000's semifinals against Marin Cilic, who broke first benefitting from the first sign of weakness from the Guadalupe-born and pouncing on a couple of second serves from La Monf, who was broken again while he was serving to stay in the first set. He saved the first set point with a blistering forehand winner but slapped long on the second throwing his racquet down in disgust.

The Croat confirmed all his inconsistency sending a forehand into the net to hand Monfils his first break to 1-0 in the second set. He had also the chance to level the match in the sixth game, but squandered the first sending a forehand long and wide having an open court before Monfils saved the second with his serve and held to 4-2. This was enough to wrap up the set 6-4 sending out an ace and profitting from a second serve return into the net from the Croat.

The French broke first also in the decider to 3-2 thanks to a forehand winner at full stretch greeted by a roaring crowd exhalted by seeing Monfils pumping up his fist against his chest in celebration. Another forehand error from Cilic gave La Monf his first match point at 5-3, but the chance went begging because he was left diving to his right in chase of a great cross court forehand winner. But he produced his second match point in the next game, with a neat little spot of serve and volley, concluded with a forehand volley winner. An ace out wide sealed the success.   

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