Thursday, October 26, 2006

Race To Shanghai Masters Cup (Part 1)

Four of the final eight tennis players have booked their places for the Shanghai Masters Cup due to take place from 11th November till the 18th November 2006 in China.
World number 1 and 2, Roger federer (Swi) and Rafael Nadal (Spa) were already assured of a place in this prestigious tournament both being far away from any possbile threat from other players.
This week, Ivan Ljubicic (Cro) and Andy Roddick (US) have also secured their places after both Tommy Robredo (ranked 8th in the race) and Marcus Baghdatis (ranked 10th) crashed out prematurely from the tournaments they were participating in.

Here is a presentation of the first four qualifiers to this year's final event.

Roger Federer. Current world number 1 and ranked 1st in the ATP race, Federer is the absolute favourite to win this tournament. He is without any shadow of a doubt, the most gifted player of his generation, and will most certainly become one of the greatest in tennis history. His record for this year is an impressive 82 wins for only 5 defeats (singles matches). In 2006, He has so far won 10 titles on the Tour. So with 43 titles and 9 Grand Slams to his name to date, and at such a young age (25 years) , Federer should face no problems whatsoever, if he remains healthy, in regaining the title he won for two consecutive years in 2003 and 2004. He might also get the chance to avenge his last year's defeat in 5 sets against David Nalbandian (Arg), should Nalbandian make the cut.

Rafael Nadal. Currently ranked 2nd in the world and in the ATP Race, Nadal is the only player to have defeated Federer on more than one occasion this year. The record of head-to-head matches between them is 6-2 in hi favour. However, four of his six victories were on clay courts. He is a fast-rising star but still lacks experience (20 years old) and versatility in his game on all playing surfaces. He has ruled over clay court tournaments for the past two years (Roland Garros champion in 2005 and 2006) and most of his 5 titles this year were on clay courts. Nevertheless, Nadal is experiencing difficulty adapting to fast and hard courts. He needs to add the "serve and volley" weapon to his impressive backcourt left-handed skills, in order to pose a threat to the likes of Federer, Roddick and Ljubicic.

Ivan Ljubicic. Currently ranked 4th in the world and 3rd in the ATP race, Ljubicic is what we call a "late-bloomer". At the age of 27, Ivan has only 6 singles titles to his name thus far. However, 2006 has been by far his most productive year with 3 singles titles coming his way and a bunch of interesting results in this years Grand Slams (Semi-final in Roland-Garros and Quarter-Final in the Australian Open). He has started the year energetically, but has later faded away, losing to relatively weaker opponents. If he can pick himself up and play to his best, Ljubicic can certainly be considered as a serious contender to reach the final stages of this tournament.

Andy Roddick. Currently ranked 5th in the world and 4th in the ATP race, Roddick has not had a good year by his high standards. Plagued by injuries, he was only able to collect a singles titles in Cincinnati to add to his doubles titles he won in Indianapolis. Former world N.1 (in November 2003), Roddick is one of those players who are yet to live up to their reputation as he was predicted to fill the shoes of the likes of Pete Sampras and the now-retired Andre Agassi.
Compared to Ljubicic, their head-to-head place Roddick 5-3 ahead. However, Ljubicic has won the last two matches, the last meeting being played on a carpet floor in Paris 2005. Roddick hasn't taken part in last year's Master's Cup, but his former achievements in this particular tournament have enabled him to reach the semi-finals stage in both 2003 (beaten by Federer) and 2004 (beaten by Hewitt) . Maybe he could raise his game a further notch this year and have a shot at the title this year, should his fitness allow him to do so.

On another level, with only two weeks left for the opening day in Shanghai, a bunch of other players are still battling to book the final four seats for the tournament. The Paris tournament next week will offer 100 points to the winner, so all players concerned still have everything to play for in the closing days.

Posted by Maldoror :: 11:43:00 AM :: 1 Comments:

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tennis Masters Cup (11th - 18th November 2006)

With the Masters Cup looming, the ATP tennis players have but a few weeks to make the final cut. Indeed, the world's best have but a few tournaments left to gather some extra points that will enable them to contest this major event.
The Masters Cup is the pinnacle of the season for ATP players. Only the highest eight ranked players get the right to participate in it. So the race to grab points and move higher up the ranks is a must for those who aspire to be involved in that tremendous tournament.
Names like Roger Federer (Swi) and Rafael Nadal (Spa) are assured of a spot for being ranked N. 1 and 2 respectively. They have quite a big margin over other players so there is no fear that they should be overthrown in the next couple of weeks as four more tournaments are up for grabs. Nevertheless players who currently occupy ranks 3 to 8 have all to play for in these last remaining days as a mere 100 points seperate all of them and they are all aware that their final ranking before that tournament is crucial.
Other players can easily move up and spoil their party before it even starts. Indeed, players like Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp), Mario Ancic (Cro) Tommy Haas (Ger) and Fernando Gonzalez (Chi), ranked 9th to 12th respectively, are all within 80 points of that number 8 hot seat. Needless to say that Fernando Gonzalez and Marcos Baghdatis have obtained tremendous results lately. Therefore, Tommy Robredo (Spa) and David Nalbandian (Arg) (ranked 7th and 8th respectively) cannot afford to let go if they intend to keep their places.
All four tournaments leading to the Masters Cup will be played on carpet or hard surfaces, so big hitters like Tommy Haas, David Nalbandian and James Blake (US), will have a slight advantage over others; an advantage that should allow them to retain their spots or move further up the rankings.
Note: That elusive eighth and last qualifying spot can also be attributed to a winner of a Grand slam in that same year, but he must be ranked within the top 20 in the ATP Race.
As for the Masters Cup in itself, one should know that it is a little bit different from other tournaments as players do not directly enter the knockout phase. In fact, the eight players are divided into 2 groups: one is called red and the other gold. Then elimination is not direct as they enter a round robin type competition. Each player of a group gets to play against the three others and in the end the two players from each group with the best record, proceed to the semi-finals. The elimination is then direct as the winners of each semi-final meet up in the final to battle for the trophy.
Shanghai is the venue for this year's ATP Masters Cup, for the second year in a row, and whoever lifts the coveted trophy, tennis fans are always guaranteed a load of breathtaking tennis and some mouthwatering clashes between the world's top eight.

Note: I will try to keep you updated on the results of the ATP race as the opening day draws near, and will try to present all the eight players as they book their spots for the major tennis showdown. Keep an eye on this Spot ;)

Posted by Maldoror :: 9:17:00 PM :: 2 Comments:

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Freezing Time...

How many times were you in a situation where you feel that you want time to stop right there for ever or to keep on going but with the same thing happening over and over again without changing?

Posted by aroundtheclock24_7 :: 1:53:00 AM :: 3 Comments:

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I am going to write few technical posts here that are related to the average home user in order to make his/her use of the Internet more efficient and secure. I will start today with my Internet browser of choice, Firefox.

The feature that I love most about Firefox is tabbed browsing. Through tabs, you can open several web pages in one window. This is very efficient as it doesn't fill your taskbar.

Another feature that is so useful is the Automatic updates. As you log to the net, Firefox will automatically check for updates and it will automatically download them and ask you for installation in case found.

Integrated Search is a third feature that I keep using. I don't remember when was the last time I browsed to www.google.com to do a web search. Now, I exclusively use the Google search integrated in Firefox and accessible on the top right. And I can add new engines and choose among existing ones.

You can read more about Firefox and download it here.

Posted by lifeflaw :: 7:43:00 PM :: 5 Comments:

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Posted by Spotter :: 11:10:00 AM :: 0 Comments:

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