Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rafa gets what he wished for...

"I know a few people from inside of Barcelona. You know, always I know Guardiola; I know Estiarte. They are there. I met the past players of them, so from Manchester I really don't know much. So I prefer Barcelona. That's true. I am a big supporter of Real Madrid, but I prefer Barcelona [to win tonight]. But What I really want to see is a fantastic football match tonight. I love football and these kind of matches are always special."
-- Rafael Nadal talks football in his Roland Garros press conference on Saturday ahead of the Champions League final

And the Spaniard got what he wished for, it was a fantastic football match indeed! Congrats to all Blaugranes across the world. ¡Visca Barça!

Friday, May 27, 2011

ROLAND GARROS: The Del Potro-Djokovic Saga is To Be Continued...

Photo via Novak Djokovic's Facebook Page

Oh the drama! The Djokovic-Del Potro match that started as a mouth-watering prospect when the draw came out a week ago and became a must-see reality when both players won their respective second rounds, has now become a true thriller and we are currently stuck in the intermission following one hell of a cliffhanger.

Oh those two are too much. With their budding bromance, their Grand Slam titles, Djokovic's new-found invincibility and Del Potro's supersonic forehand. It's just too much!

As the matches on Philippe Chatrier today ran longer than the organizers expected (seriously a two-year-old would've predicted that) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga tanked his match after owning a two-set lead over Stan the man, we were left wondering, will they or won't they? Will they, or won't they?

It was getting darker and waiting for Tsonga & Stan was not an option anymore, but we finally calmed down when the announcement was made that the Del Potro-Djoko match was moving to Suzanne Lenglen and that we'd get to watch the match we've planned our entire day around.

Djokovic started a-blazing and a single break earned him the first set in an imposing fashion.

But early in the second set when I saw Del Potro hit one of those forehands that are too fast that you don't see it bounce just 'cause you blinked, I knew the Argentine was not going to roll over and let Djokovic breeze through. He was there to fight and he did just that!

And so here we are now, locked at one set apiece, and waiting for tomorrow to come so we can find out what happens next in this story-of-a-match.

There's too much suspense and I can't wait to see what unfolds tomorrow!

To Be Continued...

Make sure to check my daily column at Sport360° throughout the French Open.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

ROLAND GARROS: For The Love Of Tennis

One of the countless reasons why I am in love with tennis... Blaz Kavcic tweeted that after his loss to Juan Martin Del Potro in the French Open second round! Sportsmanship at its finest! *sigh*

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ROLAND GARROS: Rafa admits nerves against Isner

"To be honest with you, I think I played very nervous today. I felt I could lose, and was in real danger since I didn't play well in the tiebreaks..."

Those were Rafa's words - from his exclusive blog for The Telegraph - about his five-set thriller against John Isner in the first round of Roland Garros; the Spaniard's first ever five-set match in Paris since his debut in 2005.

On Tuesday, eyebrows were unanimously raised when Isner went up two sets to one over Nadal, who before dropping the second set to Isner yesterday, had won 22 straight sets in a row in the French capital. Philippe Chatrier is basically is personal playground.

There are many Rafa fans out there who are very concerned at the moment and I want to tell them to take a deep breath and relax because this kind of match against Isner is just what the defending champion needed.

Nadal is coming off two straight final losses to Novak Djokovic on clay. Considering no one has ever achieved such a feat against Nadal, it’s only natural that his confidence is somewhat shaken and that Isner’s full-attack mode took him by surprise. And the way the American was crushing that serve is hard for anyone to handle.

Players constantly say how Grand Slam first rounds are tough on everyone and the fact that Nadal was tested early on but managed to pull through should spring Nadal’s self-belief back to where he needs it to be and prepare him for other aggressive hitters that will come his way in the draw.

Full credit should be given to Isner for executing the almost perfect game plan against the top seed, but Nadal’s appropriate response adjusting his backhand and return in the fourth and final set, bodes well for the Spaniard in the upcoming rounds.

Make sure to check my daily column at Sport360° throughout the French Open.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ROLAND GARROS: Berdych blows away two-set lead against French qualifier

Not that he needs it, but the seeds in Novak Djokovic's quarter of the draw are dropping like flies. Well like two flies anyways.

First Marin Cilic [19] lost yesterday to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo and today, last year's semifinalist and this year's sixth seed, Tomas Berdych, bizarrely lost to French qualifier Stephane Robert after leading the home favorite 2 sets to love.

I was hoping Berdych's inconsistency days were behind him but clearly they are not. That was a really bad loss for the Czech (great for Stephane of course, kudos to the Frenchman) and if he continues this pattern it'll only get ugly for him at Wimbledon where he has final points to defend.

Other seeds who left the draw include Michael Llodra [22], who denied making racist remarks to the Moroccan umpire who was officiating his match following controversy over an exchange that occurred between the Frenchman and umpire Mohammed El Jennati.

Canadian rising star, Milos Raonic [26], also bid adieu to Paris losing in four sets to Michael Berrer. Looks like practicing with Rafa didn't do Raonic any good.

Rafael Nadal [1], Gilles Simon [18], Andy Murray [4], Robin Soderling [5], Jurgen Melzer [8], Fernando Verdasco [16], Alexandr Dolgopolov [21] and Nicolas Almagro [11] are amongst the seeds playing tomorrow.

Let's see which seeds will stumble...

ROLAND GARROS: Quote of the Day - Roger Federer

People are saying the balls here are very quick and that they favor the players who play with a lot of top spin, for example like Rafa. What do you think?

"Honestly I don't think it matters what kind of balls you give Nadal on clay!"

Well said, Fed!!

The Swiss however followed that by explaining his "frustration" with the balls due to the fact that they are different from what the players have been playing with for the past month during their preparation for Roland Garros.

For more Roland Garros coverage, make sure to check my daily column at Sport360° throughout the French Open.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Roland Garros Men's Draw: What a win means for each of the top four?

Roland Garros is a mere 4 hours away and even though Philippe Chatrier Stadium was full to the brim on Saturday for an exhibition event that included the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, Tsonga, Rezai & Mauresmo, featured Bob Sinclair on the decks and briefly on the dirt, and fielded World Judo Champion, Teddy Riner; all eyes will be focused on the tennis and nothing but the tennis come Sunday 11:00 a.m.

Here's a quick preview of the men's draw:

The Rafa Quarter

Rafa comes to Paris this week in a very different position from where he was last year heading into the second Grand Slam of the year. As opposed to the perfect clay swing he had last season, the Spanish clay king has lost his last two finals on the red stuff in Rome and Madrid after winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

Both losses came to the undefeated Djokovic and Nadal's form was pretty solid throughout the clay tournaments, so it's safe to say that Rafa fans should not really panic, considering he has only lost 1 match in 6 appearances at the French Open.

A victory in Paris for Rafa two weeks from today, could tie him with Bjorn Borg's record of 6 Roland Garros titles and it could also mean that Nadal gets to keep his number 1 ranking for at least another week, if Djokovic loses before the final.

A win could also put an end to Djokovic's unbeaten run in 2011, and could ignite the competition in the remaining 2 Slams of the season. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, here's a look at the players in Rafa's path this fortnight.

The world number 1 opens his title defense campaign against the towering John Isner. He could meet Nikolay Davydenko [28] in the third round, Fernando Verdasco [16], Juan Monaco or Sam Querrey [24] in the 4th round before a possible blockbuster quarterfinal against 2-time runner-up, Robin Soderling [5]. Although Soderling would have to overcome the likes of Gilles Simon [18] or Marcos Baghdatis [27] before booking that quarterfinal spot.

Fourth seed, Andy Murray could await Nadal in the semis, as well as last year's semifinalist, Jurgen Melzer [8].

Who else is hot in Rafa's quarter?

Jamaican/German, Dustin Brown, will be making his debut in Paris and opens against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.
Mardy Fish [10], the latest addition to the world's top 10 also lurks in that quarter of the draw, opens against Brazilian Ricardo Mello.

The Murray Quarter

Who would've thought that Andy Murray would take a liking to clay? The Scot seems to be finally back on his feet following his post-Australian-Open-final slump. Two awesome performances against Nadal in Monte Carlo and Djokovic in Rome have reminded us all how brilliant the 24-year-old is and how sooner or later he will in fact rise to Grand Slam glory.

If Murray plans on making his mark on this French Open, he will have to get past French qualifier, Eric Prodon in the first round, possibly Milos Raonic [26] in the third round, Alexandr Dolgopolov [21] or Viktor Troicki [15] in the fourth round, before a potential clash with Melzer [8] in the quarters. Another quarterfinal opponent for Murray could be Nicolas Almagro [11], who comes to Paris fresh off his title win in Nice, his 3rd on clay in 2011.

Of course Rafa or Soderling are two potential semifinal opponents for Murray.

The Federer Quarter

I don't think Federer fans have ever really craved for a Slam victory for their man as much as they do right now. Simply because for the first time in FOREVER, the Swiss is not the holder of a Slam title. Even last year when people were in awe of Rafa's season, Federer still was holder of the Australian Open title and capped his season winning the Masters Cup.

Right now, will all eyes on Djokovic and Rafa, few are considering Federer as a main contender for the French Open title, which if anyone who knows anything about tennis knows that this has been proven to be a grave mistake.

The rule should be: always assume Federer will win until proven otherwise. Write it down folks!

Still am wondering, in what world does Federer have to face Feliciano Lopez in the first round of a Grand Slam. That F-Lopez is a slacker because he definitely plays like a seed, looks like a seed, and competes like a seed, so why the hell is he NOT one? Instead he's playing the world number 3 in the first round which sucks for the both of them, but probably more for the Spaniard.

The first seed in Federer's route could be the talented and smart, Janko Tipsarevic [29] in the third round. Fed's compatriot and Olympic doubles partner, Stanislas Wawrinka [14] or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [17] loom in the fourth round, while David Ferrer [7] or Gael Monfils [9] could play him in the quarters.

The draw could pit any of the following against Federer in the semis: Novak Djokovic [2], Juan Martin Del Potro [25], Richard Gasquet [13], Thomaz Bellucci [23] or Tomas Berdych [6].

The Djoko Quarter

Djokovic's lifelong dream has been to reach the number one in the world ranking spot. While other players may want to win a specific Grand Slam, or win a Gold medal at the Olympics, or dream of lifting the Davis Cup, Djokovic has always been clear on what he wants. He wants to be number 1. He said it when he was barely in the top 100 back in 2005. He said it when he won his first Masters 1000 title in Miami 2007, and he said it after he won his first Grand Slam in Melbourne in 2008. And now the Serb is ever so close to getting what he wants.

If he reaches the final, he gets the spot, regardless of anybody else's results.

In order to fulfill his lifelong dream, Djokovic who turns 24 today must surpass Thiemo De Bakker in the first round, possibly Del Potro [25] or Ernests Gulbis in the third round, Bellucci [23] or Gasquet [13] in the fourth round and Berdych [6] in the quarters. Djokovic's road to the semis is certainly a mine field and if he does make it to the last four, then Federer could stand between him and the #1 spot.

Some people are already picturing a 5th Rafa-Djoko final of the year on Philippe Chatrier, a fortnight away, but from the looks of this draw, I doubt that either player is looking past their first match.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Novak Djokovic has disrupted the no longer existent tennis order! At a time when breaking records has been almost exclusively done by either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, along comes Nole roaring his way past EVERYONE causing raucous in every city he plays in!

The Serb just beat Rafa in a final of a Masters 1000 event for the 4th straight time. Djoko now flies to Paris on a 39 match winning streak (since Davis Cup last Dec, 37 in 2011) & with 7 titles to his name this season.

The million dollar question of course is: Who can stop Djokovic at Roland Garros? Wait a minute, I'm confused! Hasn't that been asked about Rafa for the past 6 years?

It is in fact a confusing time for people like me who are die-hard Rafa fans but have also been supporting Djokovic from the start. It's quite painful watching Rafa lose 4 straight finals to Djokovic, twice on the dirt! Then again, what Nole is doing is so phenomenal that it transcends any personal preferences or allegiances.

The Serb who turns 24 a week from today is achieving something that neither Federer nor Rafa have managed to achieve. And that is ridiculously difficult simply because Rafa and Fed have shattered so many records and accomplished countless astonishing feats, you'd think there's nothing left to be broken.

Not only is Djokovic beating everyone but the way he is doing it is what's truly admirable! He's dominated regardless of the surface and irrespective of the size of the tournament. Whether it's the Australian Open, an ATP 250 event in Belgrade, or a Madrid final against Rafa on clay with a Spanish home crowd against him, Djokovic has not faltered.

Whether he's on the receiving end of Murray serving for the match in a Rome semifinal, or he's lost the first set of a final to someone like Nadal in Miami, the response has been equally mind-blowing.

The frequently tired, quick to retire, mentally-compromised player Djokovic often was, is now a VERY distant memory and no one doesn't like a story of an epic transformation! Even Rafa fans who are suffering from those Novak beat-downs.

So what am I currently hoping for? As a Rafa fan, I'm hoping Rafa does what he does best. Work harder to improve and figure out a way to beat Djokovic, the same way Djokovic has figured out a way to beat him at his very own game.

As a tennis fan am hoping Djokovic pushes everyone to extend themselves the same way Federer did to his chasers throughout his years of dominance. Many argue that Rafa wouldn't have been Rafa without the presence of Federer in the lead. Perhaps Djokovic will have a similar effect on those trailing him in the rankings and that way it's not important who you're supporting because in the end, tennis wins :)

The Novak Djokovic Winning Streak

Since the beginning of the year - specifically since the Australian Open - the number one topic in the tennis world has been one 23-year-old Serb called Novak Djokovic.

While Djokovic is no stranger to the tennis headlines, the way he has dominated the tennis circuit this year both on the court and in the media must be overwhelming, yet somehow the Serb remains focused and on track as he heads into today's Rome final maintaining a 38-match undefeated run dating back to December 2010.

Many people believe that streak might end today at the hands of Rafael Nadal mainly due to the fact that Djokovic might be tired from battling Andy Murray over 3 hours in the semifinals Saturday night as opposed to Nadal, who had a straight sets win over Gasquet earlier in the day.

Here's a closer look at that incredible winning streak everyone's been talking WAY too much about (myself included)...

*Djokovic's 36 straight wins in 2011 is the second best start to a season behind John McEnroe's 42 in 1984.

*Djokovics 38 straight wins (since Davis Cup last year) is the
6th longest winning streak in ATP history (Guillermo Vilas - 46, Ivan Lendl - 44, John McEnroe - 42, Bjorn Borg & Roger Federer - 41).

*In his 38 consecutive wins, Djokovic beat
27 players from 17 different countries.

*There are
7 players who lost more than once to Djokovic during this streak:
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Viktor Troicki lost 3 times.
Tomas Berdych, Andy Murray, Feliciano Lopez & Kevin Anderson each lost twice.

*Six different Spaniards
lost to Djokovic during this run (the most from any country), Rafael Nadal, Feliciano Lopez, Nicolas Almagro, Marcel Granollers, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, David Ferrer.

*During his run, Djokovic
beat a top 10 opponent in 12 of the 38 matches.

*During his run, Djokovic
beat 4 different lefties, Rafael Nadal, Feliciano Lopez, Michael Llodra & Thomaz Bellucci.

*During his run, Djokovic has accumulated 6 titles from the start of 2011 up till now. No other player has gone to Roland Garros with 6 titles from season start since Roger Federer did so in 2005.

*During his run, Djokovic has lost only 9 sets in total.

That last fact prompted Janko Tipsarevic & co to perform this hilarious sketch at the Monte Carlo tennis show last month.

Janko Tipsarevic imitates Novak Djokovic & his team in Monte Carlo

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Murray fails to tame the "Lossless Monster" in Rome

"He beat me in Indian Wells, he beat me in Miami and he beat me in Madrid, but those finals with Djokovic are in the past. I'd love to play him in another final."

Those are the words of Rafael Nadal on the eve of the Rome final, his 6th consecutive one to be exact.

And the Spaniard's wish has been granted as Novak Djokovic battled through 3 hours of majestic clay tennis to fight off Andy Murray in a semifinal we are bound to remember for a very long time.

Murray did almost everything but physically beat up Djokovic to get that Rome semifinal win and end the Serb's unreal winning streak he's maintained since the Davis Cup last December.

But Djokovic - who has shown us a lot already this year - exhibited some superhuman tennis in the tiebreak after he was at the brink of defeat, down 4-5 in the final set.

I'm not sure what kind of nervous system you need to have to be able to switch gears like that disregarding everything that happened up to that point in a match and just go for it. That's something perhaps Murray needs to find out.

Still, today the tennis world was reminded of everything that is special in Andy Murray's game.

Not many people would have predicted that after losing the first set 6/1 to someone who is on a 37-match winning streak, Murray would come back the way he did and win the second set 6/3 and force a decider.

Also not many would have predicted that despite being the one broken first in the third set, Murray would end up in a position where he was serving for the match at 5-4.

Sadly though, a few too many people predicted a Murray choke and when it was tie break time, I doubt there was anything the Scot could've done to halt the Djokovic storm.

And once again, for the 4th time in a Masters 1000 final this year, Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal. The last 3 finals went Djokovic's way, but will the fatigue finally catch up with the "Lossless Monster"? We will begin to find out tomorrow at 4:15pm (Cairo/Rome time).

Here are some tweets from the Djoko-Murray match:

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Djokovic-Murray underway. Monica Seles in the stands and she looks like she's a wee bit high! #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Murray down 1/6. He won zero of 8 second serve points! Djokovic scary solid!

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
I wonder if Djoko likes the "clothes" sergio tacchini give him to wear! Hard to believe he does!

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
That 33-shot rally included everything I love about tennis, Murray & Djokovic combined! #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
I feel like Murray needs a hug after some of those points! Seriously! #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Djokovic saves set points. Murray now trying to serve out this 2nd set and force a deciding one. #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Murray levels the match 1/6, 6/3 against Djokovic. Murray's 1st serve % goes up from 60 to 69. He hit 15 winners. #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
U dont appreciate how tough that backhand smash shot is, until u see someone of the Murray caliber miss it like that! #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Finally one of the best returners in the game has rediscovered his awesome returning powers! Murray breaks back! Epic stuff! #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
If Murray loses this match. I might cry. If Murray wins this match. I also might cry. #JustSaying #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
The Romans would be proud of such a battle! #JustSaying #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Murray has a chance to serve out the match! I won't say anything else to avoid jinxing! #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
RT @McIlroyRory What a game from @andy_murray!! 5-4 up in the third!! Hold serve to win!

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
The net has a weird sense of humor! Playing with historic moments like these! #RomeMasters

RobKoenigTennis Rob Koenig
by ReemAbulleil
Murray's effort tonight has been fact its been MURRACULOUS!!!

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
أنا بطني وجعتني يا موراي

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
This Djoko-Murray match is tennis insanity personified! 1 point and suddenly its Murray who will b serving 2 stay in this match!

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Never thought I'd see a clay match of this awesomeness with Rafa not on court! 3eshna w shofna :)

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
And of course... a freakin' tiebreak! Not sure what kind of balls you need to have to win this one. Steel wont do it!! #RomeMasters

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Djokovic mel akher bey2ollo... matfakkarsh te3mel keda tani ya kalb!! I hate tie breaks!

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Trying to figure what kind of spell Djokovic is on! Went all monstrous on Murray's ass in the TB. 2011 Djoko-Rafa 4.0 tmrw at 4:15pm

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Hahahaha RT @ivokarlovic They say you learn from your mistakes.. If that's true @DjokerNole didn't learn anything this year

SharkoTennis Greg Sharko
@DjokerNole rallies from break down at 3-4, 4-5 in 3rd set to d. @Andy_Murray in Rome SF to extend match win streak to 38 (36-0 in '11).

Charlymoya Carlos Moya
Tremenda victoria de djokovic,espectacular..muy bien murray q no lo ha rematado pero lo ha tenido..partidazo de los q crean aficion

ReemAbulleil Game,Set,Match Blog
Gotta say am happy I was blatantly reminded today of everything special in Andy Murray's game. Commending Djoko is simply redundant ATM

Bryanbros Bob Bryan
Just watched some of the greatest displays of shot-making & guts I have ever seen. Thank u @andy_murray & @DjokerNole. You are both champs.

TipsarevicJanko Janko Tipsarevic
Best match of the year....Respect to both champions!@djokernole and @andy_murray

juliagoerges Julia Goerges
Very impressive novak....just amazing...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Nadal vs Djokovic 2011 Madrid Open Final Highlights

VIDEO: Nadal, Djokovic to revisit their Madrid rivalry... Which streak shall end on Sunday?

Nadal will be facing Djokovic for the 26th time in their careers

We all remember it. That 2009 Madrid semifinal that dropped the hearts of Rafa fans to their feet & broke the hearts of Djokovic fans to pieces.

Many big words were used to describe that match and it was significant in more than one way, not just because it was labeled the longest best-of-3 Masters match ever, but because it validated a new rivalry that was in the making, one that saw Nadal and Djokovic face-off in three consecutive Masters 1000s (2 finals and one semi) on clay and in Madrid, Djokovic was ever-close to making the impossible and that was to beat Nadal on the dirt! Of course Federer did it the following day and it didn't seem so impossible after all but that's not the point.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we have the chance to experience a similar battle. It's 2 years and 4 Grand Slam wins later (shared by the two) and both Rafa and Nole have a lot at stake.

Nadal is the world number one, holder of 3 of the last 4 Grand Slams and is undefeated on clay in 37 consecutive matches dating back to Roland Garros 2009.

The Spaniard is 9-0 on clay against Djokovic but has lost twice already to the Serb this year in the Miami and Indian Wells finals. He is the defending champion in Madrid and is playing in front of 12500 spectators who are mostly Spaniards rooting for their hero.

Nadal may not feel it, or care about it per se, but Djokovic IS breathing down his neck in the rankings considering the world number 2 doesn't have the immense amount of points to defend in the upcoming couple of months like Nadal does.

Djokovic finds himself in a new position this year. He is undefeated in 33 straight matches dating back to last year's Davis Cup finals in December. They can be 34 tomorrow if he beats Rafa to win his 6th consecutive title of the year. SIX titles can you believe it? And it's barely May!

Both players fought hard in their semifinals on Saturday and had to rally back from a set down, so they're probably in a similar physical condition. I doubt anyone can confidently claim a winner in tomorrow's match but we should be able to bet on the fact that it's going to be something special.

One inevitable outcome will be that one of those two mind-boggling streaks will end tomorrow. Whose will it be? Rafa's or Nole's?

Here's a reminder of how the 2009 Madrid semifinal went down...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rafael Nadal & Cristiano Ronaldo... Guess the conversation!

Photo via Rafael Nadal's Official Facebook

A day after Real Madrid were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League by their rivals Barcelona, football phenomenon Cristiano Ronaldo chose to lick his wounds by attending some tennis matches at the Caja Magica and naturally he hung out with die-hard Madridista, Rafael Nadal.

I bet anything there's some serious UEFA/Barcelona bashing going on in that conversation. What do you guys think? Picture the dialogue and hit me up in the comments section!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

UPDATED: Nadal vs Djokovic in Numbers

33-42011 Win-Loss31-0
37 straight on clayStreaks Alive33 straight since Dec 2010
14Straight wins on clay in 20118
14Sets Lost in 20118
2Titles in 20115
19Career Masters 1000 Titles7
9Head2Head on Clay0

**Data as of Saturday May 7th 2011 after semifinals in Madrid Masters**

Sunday, May 1, 2011

F-Lo looking to end Djokovic winning streak

Battle of the faces...?

Feliciano Lopez will try to hand Novak Djokovic his first defeat of the season at the Serbia Open final on Sunday at 4pm (Belgrade time).

If Djokovic wins tomorrow he will have won all 27 matches he contested in 2011 and will have 5 titles to his name on the season which include the Australian Open, the Dubai Tennis Championships, and the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami.

Lopez, who is currently ranked 37 in the ATP rankings, trails the Serb 0-3 head-to-head but can find solace in the fact that he is one of only 5 players who managed to take a set off Djokovic this season, as the world number 2 has only lost 6 sets so far in 2011 (lost 2 to Nadal, 1 to Federer, Dodig, Berdych, Lopez).

Djokovic seems adamant to triumph once again in his home tournament after winning the inaugural Belgrade title in 2009.

"I will try to get the title back where it belongs,and that is SERBIA ! :-)" said the 24 year old on his Facebook page on Saturday ahead of the final.

Other finals taking place on Sunday include the Estoril Open final between 2nd seed Fernando Verdasco and 8th seed Juan Martin Del Potro (3pm Portugal time), while Florian Mayer and Nikolay Davydenko will be battling for the Munich title (3pm Munich time).