Simon Reed

Welcome back, Djokovic

Simon Reed

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Novak Djokovic impressed me in his win over Robby Ginepri as, after starting slowly, he fought back and played really well in the end. 

Ginepri surprised the Serb by taking the second set and looked a total nightmare for him.

But afterwards Nole got his serve together and he looked very much like the Djokovic of old. I still don't think he can win it though - Nadal and then Federer are just too far ahead. 

It was another good day for Spain.

Rafael Nadal went through as expected, though there was a little changing of the order with Nicolas Almagro downing Fernando Verdasco to set up an all-Spanish quarter. 

Verdasco will claim he was not 100 per cent fit but he has not been totally convincing this tournament and Almagro has played the better tennis. 

Nadal, on the other hand, showed his strength by playing some of his best tennis to blow away the very talented Thomaz Belluci. 

The Brazilian pushed Nadal as hard as he could but the King of Clay was never in danger and, by his own admission, played as well has he had all tournament. 


Justine Henin is a four-times champion and her defeat to Samantha Stosur created shockwaves here.

It was hardly a surprise for me though as I have not been convinced by this overwhelming favouritism for Henin on the basis of her 'previous' career.

Stosur has been as good as anyone recently and she showed great mental strength to come back after losing the first set after that first-game break.

The Australian started to dominate on her serve and her forehand and she withstood a final-set push from Henin, who responded to a break with one of her own but was unable to capitalise on the momentum.

And this, I feel, is where Henin's problem lies. She gave a superb press conference afterwards, where she said that she was expecting nothing other than a serious challenge on her return to Roland Garros, and that she lacks that same level of mental strength she had pre-retirement. 

Mentally she does not seem the same - but that could well change with the more big matches she plays and I am sure she will continue to rise the rankings. 

Stosur now has a quarter-final against Serena Williams, who may be the top seed and playing well now but who I do not think has been all that convincing this season. 

Serena has had some difficulty closing out the big games since the Australian Open, while Stosur showed good composure to finish Henin off when it mattered. 

I genuinely think this is 50-50 - and would tip the winner of this match to go all the way. 


The quarter-finals begin on Tuesday and there are some interesting clashes. 

In the women's section, Caroline Wozniacki should prove too powerful for Francesca Schiavone who, while a tough customer, I do not think will win a set. 

Nadia Petrova's match with Elena Dementieva is too close to call. Judging by the strapping on her calf, Dementieva is not 100 per cent fit and could go down so a woman in form. 

Back to the men, Tomasz Berdych's dismantling of Andy Murray has got to make him favourite against Mikhail Youzhny, who has done really well this time out but who is a bit of an underachiever. And, of course, top seed Roger Federer faces Robin Soderling. 

Federer is in awesome form and I don't see him being beaten by anyone other than Nadal.

The Swiss legend said he likes to play against Soderling and, while the Swede is playing superbly too, I can't see him taking more than a set off Federer.

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