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Rear View Mirror – a look at last week’s picks
I picked five of the eight quarterfinalists at the US Open. Not great but no one else did well either because my team maintained its ranking in the ATP fantasy game. Could have been worse. Nikolay Davydenko got himself to the semifinals and Novak Djokovic dragged himself through some slow starts and a few marathon matches to get all the way to the final.
Bucharest (clay, $76, 970)
Nicolas Almagro has wild card Fabrice Santoro in his quarter but Santoro has only played on main draw clay event this year.
Jurgen Melzer and Florent Serra are in the same quarter and this is very tough because Melzer was the finalist last year and Serra is 8-1 lifetime in Bucharest. Serra is freaky, Bucharest is the only place he plays well but Melzer is having a better year so I’m taking him.
Potito Starace beat Albert Montanes in straight sets at a clay court challenger a few weeks ago so I’m picking him.
Andreev has split his two clay court matches with Filippo Volandri this year but he got to the final of Bucharest in 2004 and 2005, the last two times he played here, so he’s on my team.
***Correction: Damn, I did it again. Andreev is not available because he was out of the top 100 when the season started. I hope they’ll update the top 100 players throughout the season next year because then I won’t look so bad. I’m taking Volandri. Not only that but of course Russia is still in Davis Cup (see my error below) and Davydenko will again be dragging his tired butt to Moscow to lead them on.
Beijing (outdoor hard court, first prize is $69, 200)
Last year Nikolay Davydenko played Beijing after getting to the semifinals at the US Open. By the time he retired in the quarterfinals and flew back to Moscow he was too tired to play in Russia’s Davis Cup match. This year Russia is out of Davis Cup and Davydenko is back in Beijing after another US Open semifinal run. Nicolas Kiefer is the main worry in his quarter of the draw. Davydenko should beat him if he doesn’t retire again.
The highest ranked player in Tommy Robredo’s quarter is number 92 Igor Kunitsyn. Robredo couldn’t possibly screw this up, could he? He could. He lost to 88th ranked Ernests Gulbis at the US Open but Gulbis is more talented than Kunitsyn so Robredo should be alright.
Marcos Baghdatis had a miserable summer hard court season last year then came to Beijing and won this tournament. He might not win it this year but he only has to deal with Ivan Ljubicic to get to the semifinals. This is a relatively slow court so Ljubicic doesn’t have much advantage on his serve and besides, Baghdatis is 3-0 over him.
Fernando Gonzalez is trying to win his first hard court match since March. Even if he does, Hyung-Taik Lee is playing much better than him and should get to the semifinals instead.
Here’s my team: Davydenko, Robredo, Baghdatis, Lee, Almagro, Melzer, Starace, Volandri (see correction above).
Did Davydenko Do It?
It’s time for a new poll now that Roger Federer is in the US Open final. If you remember, Davydenko was involved in a match with Martin Vassallo-Arguello in Sopot earlier this year that drew irregular betting on the internet betting site Betfair (appropriately named I’d say).
The pattern of betting looked suspiciously like someone had a fix on and Betfair voided all bets on the match. Davydenko will speak with investigators from the ATP after the Beijing tournament. Meanwhile, here’s the question:
Do you think Nikolay Davydenko was involved in match fixing in Sopot?
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