Thursday, June 10, 2010

Top Seeds Struggle on the Queens Grass Courts

If you were expecting a restoration of ATP order at Wimbledon you wouldn't have current form on your side, because the top seeds at the AEGON Championships at Queens Club have looked very unimpressive.

Andy Roddick started the trend with a disheartening loss to Dudi Sela 6-4, 7-6 (8) on Thursday, failing to play his usual tennis and lacking the aggression that helped him reach the Wimby finals last year. Sela did play a solid all-around game, mixing up his spins to counter-act A-Rod's, but If this is any preview of what the American will look like at the year's 3rd slam, he should prepare himself for a huge dip in the rankings, as the world number 7 has a boatload of points to defend.

Novak Djokovic probably has even more to worry about than Roddick, having reached just one semifinal since his win in Dubai in February. Nole has complained of allergies, slippery courts and butt rashes, but I'd give more credit to his completely uninspired play. The Serb went crashing out to Xavier Mallisse, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in Queens, but the problems lye more in the the world number 3's brain than in his strokes. Any chronic psychological effects from his choke against Jurgen Melzer in the quarters of the French wouldn't surprise me, but Djokovic isn't making a nearly good enough argument for me to consider him a contender in London.

Marin Cilic's loss to Michael Llodra was the least surprising of the seeded upsets on Thursday, but it's an upset nonetheless. Llodra, as I previously mentioned, has began working with '06 Wimbledon champ Amelie Mauresmo to improve his grass-court game, and it looks like the two's partnership is already showing successful results, considering the Frenchman's 7-6 (2), 6-2 defeat of the 5th seeded Cilic.

Rafael Nadal also struggled, but prevailed, in a 3-set encounter with Denis Istomin. 3rd seeded Andy Murray's match with Mardy Fish has been suspended due to darkness, as the two were split 1-set a piece and 3-3 before the ump stopped play. Read about the drams between the two HERE.

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