Google Down the Line!: Samurai, Lleyton and Li get their grass-court games in gear for Wimbledon

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Samurai, Lleyton and Li get their grass-court games in gear for Wimbledon

Sam Querrey became the first baller to win a title on three different surfaces this season after defeating compatriot Mardy Fish 7-6 (3), 7-5 at Queen's Club. He won his first title of the year on hard at Memphis, second on clay in Belgrade and this week on grass. It's a tremendous win for Samurai especially when you consider who was in the draw at the start of the week: World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick to name just a few. He seems primed to do better than his career-best second round appearance at Wimbledon.

Lleyton Hewitt decided 15 straight losses were enough and shocked Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 at Halle where the Swiss holds a lifetime contract. It was the Aussie's debut at the tourney and, more importantly, his first win over the 16-time Grand Slammer since he beat Fed in five sets at Davis Cup in 2003. As for Fed he lost for only the second time in his last 78 matches on the slick stuff, the only other one being the epic Wimbledon final in 2008 against Rafa.

Lleyton will be, what's the word, RELIEVED to have that monkey off his back and he'll no doubt like his chances to make a good run at Wimby now. But what about Fed, who hasn't won a title since capturing the Aussie Open in January? Well, he's on his best surface entering the tourney he loves the most so he should be feeling good about that. But his confidence isn't living at its usual heights (as evidenced by his recent losses) which might make him vulnerable early on at Wimby. He's an expert at managing his game over the two weeks of a major, though, so if he gets through the first one relatively unscathed he could still go all the way.

Li Na went one further this year in Birmingham but needed to defeat Maria Sharapova again to get there. The Chinese lady baller, who ousted Shrieka last season in the semifinals but lost in the final, once again bested the Russian 7-5, 6-1 to claim the crown. Nice win for Li and a good effort by the former Wimby champ to get to another final. But Shrieka threw down 7 DF's in the match after smacking 12 aces in the semifinals which shows real inconsistency in her serve. She'll be looking at another early round loss at The All England Club if she doesn't get that part of her game under control.

Noticeable Notables:

Dinara Safina lost her fifth straight match going down this time to Magdalena Rybarikova 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of 's-Hertogenbosch. I'm not feeling too good about her chances to defend the Wimby semifinal appearance from last year or even make it past the first week, and that could mean a big tumble down the rankings. Like out of the Top 30 even.

Novak Djokovic & Jonathan Erlich were REALLY happy about the men's doubles title they won at Queen's Club:

Let's hope they double up s'more.

[Photo(s): Getty Images]

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  1. Nole + Elrich, I totally dig them!

  2. Roger who? It's sad. When will he win one tournament? Well, I guess that makes better opportunities for other players.


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