Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tricky Opener For Safin Against Gasquet In Dubai

Five of the top seven seeds in Dubai have withdrawn, including Nadal, Federer and the no longer defending champion, Roddick; yet still Marat Safin managed to get himself a crappy draw as he faces Richard Gasquet in the first round on Tuesday, with a potential quarterfinal match against 2nd-seed, Andy Murray.

The Russian, who received a wildcard invitation to the tournament, is seeded 8th this week, and is ranked a single spot ahead of Gasquet, who has slipped to number 26 in the world rankings.

Safin owns a 3-1 head-to-head record over Gasquet, however last time the two have faced off was back in 2006.

Former world number 1, Safin, who is believed to be playing his final season, has done nothing special so far this year. He reached the 3rd round at the Aussie Open before Federer ousted him in straights, and he crashed out of the first round in Marseille last week, to Arnaud Clement.

Gasquet on the other hand, has shown some signs of his majestic form that saw him reach a career-high of number 7 in the world rankings 2 years ago, as he reached the semifinals in both Sydney and Brisbane earlier this year, before he made it to the 3rd round at the Australian Open, where he suffered a tight defeat to Fernando Gonzalez, losing 10-12 in the 5th set.

The Frenchman however is yet to make a statement since Melbourne and his chances against Safin might not be too great especially after he stumbled out of the first round in Rotterdam and withdrew from Marseille last week, with a shoulder injury.

Top-seed, Novak Djokovic, will also be in action on Tuesday with an opening round match against Flavio Cipolla.

Murray, survived a test on Monday against 75th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky, who oddly retired from the match while trailing 6-7, 6-3, 5-3, and 0-30 on his own serve. I don't get why he would retire when there could have only been 2 more points left in the match. WEIRD??!?! The Scot rightfully commented on Stakhovsky's retirement by saying:

“I was surprised... It wasn’t like there was a long time to go in the match. If he can’t continue, he can’t continue, but the first point of that game he was sliding to the backhand on the court.

His ankle is obviously bad for him to stop, but I would obviously rather have finished the match. He hit two 190 kph serves to start the game so he was still serving okay. It seemed the movement to his forehand is where he was struggling. But I’ve been in that position before and I always try to finish the match.”

Looks like Djokovic has inspired some of those up-and-comers, don't you think?!


Ru-an said...

Sorry to se Murray withdraw today but glad at the same time that Gasquet is now in the semi's. Yeah ridiculous from teh Russian nto to finish his macth against Murray.

Reem said...

Yeah Gasquet finally caught a break... He has a good chance against Ferrer next. I think he'll be in the final.
Djokovic and Simon are 5-5 in the third set right now. Tight match!! There's a chance for an all-French final maybe!?!?!