Friday, October 31, 2008

Paris Masters: Tsonga on a Roll, Murray's Streak Halted

* Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his great run at the Paris Masters as he followed his win over Novak Djokovic, with a 3-set victory over Masters Cup qualifier, Andy Roddick.

"I really played beautiful matches. Things are happening during those matches. There's a lot of intensity, sometimes frustration, sometimes a lot of joy, and I love tennis like that... I think players are trying to find a solution against me, and lately they've been playing a lot on my backhand. For me, the more they hit on my backhand the more my backhand improves, thanks to them. It's just the fact that I play more backhands so it becomes better."

* Roddick, became the 6th man to qualify to the Masters Cup in Shanghai. The former world number one, who has a sole Grand Slam title from back in 2003, is one of the most consistent active players on tour despite his Grand Slam drought.

"It's always an honor to qualify... I think this is six straight years, so that's a good accomplishment. They put on a great event there, so I'm looking forward to it... It shows consistency. A lot of times people dip down for a year or two and then kind of get back. So it's been a solid process, but I think I've gone about it the right way and picking and choosing my spots. I think that's helped me be ready or at least want to compete every time I go out on the court, and I think that many years is just a testament to being ready to compete maybe more than anything."

* Defending champion in Paris, David Nalbandian, is on course for clinching a Shanghai spot although he might not go, even if he makes it, as he wishes to focus on the Davis Cup final tie in Argentina. The Argentine ended Andy Murray's 14-match winning streak by ousting the Scot in straight sets in the quarters on Friday.

"It's not my goal. I'm not thinking about Shanghai because we have the Davis Cup right after, so that's why."

* The top 2 seeds, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, both pulled out of their quarterfinal matches with injuries, handing their opponents, Nikolay Davydenko and James Blake, safe passage to the semis.

"I had some pain in the knee yesterday. I felt the pain a lot when I woke up this morning... When I push [on my knee] I feel a sharp pain," said Rafa about his injury.

When asked whether he was concerned about being fit for Shanghai, the world number 1 said:

"For sure. Hopefully it will be fine ... [but] I don't know... With this pain maybe [I will go to Shanghai] a little later. I don't know, it depends."

Federer was forced to pull out with a back problem. The world number 2 said:

"I've had a lot of back pain over all the years of playing tennis, so it's not like the first time. It's just the first time it's acute during a tournament and it makes me pull out. I'll check it out for the next few days."

"The flight is scheduled for Monday. I hope I can recover otherwise I'll postpone that. I'm confident and I'm positive that hopefully it's going to get better in the next few days."

"I can't take a chance over a back, so I just want to play it safe and then hopefully be fine for Shanghai again."

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