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Wimbledon: Men's Preview - Saturday, June 30

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Saturday 30 June 2007

Third Round Bottom Half



Featured matches


No. 2 Rafael Nadal (ESP) v No. 28 Robin Soderling (SWE)

No. 4 Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Nicolas Kiefer (GER)

No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) v Gael Monfils (FRA)

No. 7 Tomas Berdych (CZE) v Hyung-Taik Lee (KOR)

No. 10 Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) v No. 23 David Nalbandian (ARG)

No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) v No. 18 Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)

No. 16 Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) v No. 22 Guillermo Canas (ARG)

No. 19 Jonas Bjorkman (SWE) v (Q) Wayne Arthurs (AUS)


On court today…






Head-to-head: Bjorkman leads 4-2

2000     Shanghai                       Hard (O)            R16      Bjorkman          64 76

2001     Nottingham                    Grass (O)          R16      Arthurs              36 64 64

2001     Hong Kong                    Hard (O)            R16      Bjorkman          62 64

2002     Nottingham                    Grass (O)          FR        Bjorkman          62 67 62

2004     AMS Indian Wells          Hard (O)            R32      Arthurs              46 62 63

2004     Stockholm                     Hard (I)              R32      Bjorkman          46 64 64


Bjorkman and Arthurs have their seventh career meeting today but their first in three years. This is their third meeting on grass and their series on the surface is tied at 1-1.


Arthurs aged 36 years, 112 days and Bjorkman aged 35 years, 107 days (ages at the end of the tournament) were the two oldest men to start in this year’s men’s singles draw. Arthurs would become the sixth oldest man to reach the round of 16 and the oldest since Niki Pilic in 1976 while Bjorkman is attempting to become the 11th oldest through to that stage and the oldest since Jimmy Connors in 1988.


This is the latest stage at which two men aged 35 or over (at which age players qualify to play on the Seniors Circuit ?) have played each other at Wimbledon and just the fourth time overall. The other three match-ups between players aged 35 or over were all in the first round: Luis Ayala d. Bob Howe in 1969, Alex Olmedo d. Jorgen Ulrich in 1972 and Ken Rosewall d. Barry Phillips-Moore in 1974. The younger player won on the first two occasions.


The two men have a combined age of 71 years, 219 days but there has been a third round match-up at Wimbledon with a higher combined age. In 1970, Andres Gimeno, aged 32 years, 335 days defeated Torben Ulrich, aged 41 years, 273 days in the third round at Wimbledon. The players’ combined ages were 74 years, 243 days.


                     BJORKMAN                                         v                                       ARTHURS


                            35                                              Age                                           36

                            35                                       ATP Ranking                                   195

                             6                                              Titles                                           1

                          85-54                          Career Grand Slam Record                       25-32

                          27-13                                Wimbledon Record                              10-8

                        408-342                                  Career Record                               133-159

                          79-40                              Career Record - Grass                           39-29

                          15-14                                      2007 Record                                    4-1

                            6-2                                 2007 Record - Grass                              2-0

                          29-12                             Career Five-Set Record                           10-3

                             5                             Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          4

                        122-126                          Career Tiebreak Record                       117-141

                            6-8                                2007 Tiebreak Record                             3-4


·         Bjorkman has already defeated two qualifiers at 2007 Wimbledon. He defeated Fernando Vicente 63 61 62 in the first round and Yeu-Tzuoo Wang 60 63 67 64 in the second to reach the third round here for the fifth consecutive year, and the ninth time overall.


·         Bjorkman is facing three qualifiers in a row for the first time in his career. He had faced two in a row at Wimbledon before, defeating David Di Lucia and Stefano Pescsolido in the first two rounds here in 1998.


·         Bjorkman is bidding to advance to the last 16 at Wimbledon for the fifth time, having a 4-4 win-loss record in his third round matches here to date.


·         Bjorkman is making his 14th consecutive Wimbledon appearance. Along with Tim Henman, Bjorkman has made more appearances than any other player in the men’s draw. Overall, this is Bjorkman’s 55th Slam and only Fabrice Santoro among active players who played his 60th major here has contested more.


·         Last year, Bjorkman produced his best Wimbledon result when advancing to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Roger Federer 62 60 62.


·         At last year’s Wimbledon, Bjorkman also equalled his career-best Grand Slam result. He also reached the semifinals at the 1997 US Open before losing to Greg Rusedski 61 36 36 63 75. Of those players to reach two or more Grand Slam semifinals in the Open Era, only Wayne Ferreira has a longer gap between his first and second semifinal appearances.


·         Bjorkman played two grass court events before arriving at 2007 Wimbledon. He lost in the second round at Queen’s to eventual finalist Nicolas Mahut 63 67 63 and then advanced to the semifinals at Nottingham last week, falling to Arnaud Clement 62 64.


·         Reaching the semifinals at Nottingham was Bjorkman’s best result of the year. He also reached the last 16 at Roland Garros before losing to Carlos Moya 76 62 75, having gone into Roland Garros on a seven-match losing streak (excluding victory in a dead Davis Cup rubber).


·         Bjorkman was one of five men through to the third round in this year’s men’s singles who have won more than one grass court title, having won at Nottingham in both 1998 and 2002. The others are Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick and Richard Gasquet.


·         Bjorkman has a career grass court win-loss record of 79-40 through the second round here. He has the third best record on the surface of players in the draw, behind Tim Henman (83-34) and Lleyton Hewitt (80-18). Hewitt plays Guillermo Canas today while Henman lost to Feliciano Lopez on Thursday.


·         Bjorkman is one of two Swedes through to the third round, along with Robin Soderling, who is scheduled to face No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal today. If both Swedes win today and advance to the round of 16, this will be the first time since 2000, when three Swedish players reached that stage, that Sweden has been represented by more than one player in the last 16 at Wimbledon.


·         Qualifier Arthurs defeated Dutch wild card and 2006 Wimbledon junior champion Thiemo De Bakker 67 67 76 64 64 in the first round, which was his fourth career comeback from two-sets-to-love down. He upset No. 11 seed Tommy Robredo 63 76 63 in the second round, his fourth victory over a seeded player at Wimbledon from six such meetings.


·         Arthurs has said that 2007 Wimbledon will be the final tournament of his 17-year career. Having turned 36 in March, he was the oldest man starting in draw (see head-to-head).


·         This is Arthurs’s third appearance in the Wimbledon third round. He has never lost at this stage, going on to record two round of 16 finishes, his best result here. On his debut in 1999 also as a qualifier, he defeated Tommy Haas 76 76 76 in the third round before losing to eventual runner-up Andre Agassi 67 76 61 64. In 2002, he defeated Taylor Dent 76 76 67 76 in the third round before also losing to the eventual runner-up, David Nalbandian 64 76 26 76.


·         Arthurs is playing Wimbledon as a qualifier for the third time in his career. As well as on his debut in 1999 (see above), he was also a qualifier here last year, losing in the first round to Fabrice Santoro 76 63 36 61; that marked his first appearance as a qualifier at this event since his debut in 1999.


·         [UPDATE LATER] Arthurs is the only qualifier OR is one of two qualifiers remaining in the draw. He is bidding to join Eduoard Roger-Vasselin, who defeated Richard Gasquet on Friday, in the last of 16 here this year.


·         Arthurs is bidding to become just the second man in the Open Era after Russian Andrei Olhovskiy, who did so in 1988 and 1992 to qualify and go on to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon.


·         In last week’s qualifying competition, unseeded, Arthurs defeated No. 25 seed Ramon Delgado 75 63 in the first round, Alex Calatrava 76 76 in the second round, and outlasted Christophe Rochus 63 36 67 75 64 in the final qualifying round. (Note: five-set matches played in qualifying events are not counted on a players’ official five-set match record.).


·         Overall, this is Arthurs’s ninth appearance at Wimbledon.


·         The round of 16 is Arthurs’s best showing at any Grand Slam tournament. As well as reaching the last 16 twice here, he also reached that stage at the 2000 US Open and 2001 Roland Garros.


·         At No. 195, Arthurs is the lowest-ranked player remaining in the men’s draw. (Note: Nicolas Kiefer, who is due to play his third round match against No. 4 seed Novak Djokovic today is currently unranked, having not earned any ranking points in the last 12 months.)


·         [UPDATE LATER] Arthurs was one of five lefthanders to reach the third round of the men’s singles here this year, the highest number since 1999 when Arthurs was also one of five lefties to advance to this stage.


·         [UPDATE LATER, IF VERDASCO AND LOPEZ WIN] With Felician0 Lopez and Fernando Verdasco already through to the round of 16, there is still a possibility of five lefthanders reaching the round of 16 here, if Arthurs, Rafael Nadal and Jarkko Nieminen all win today. This would equal the most lefthanders through to that stage at Wimbledon in the Open Era. Five lefthanders advanced to the round of 16 here in 1974, 1976 and 1987.


·         Arthurs has played sparingly in his final season. This is just his second tour-level event after the 2007 Australian Open, where as a wild card he advanced to the third round before retiring with a right leg problem when trailing Mardy Fish 3-0. He played five qualifying events without success – for Adelaide, Las Vegas, AMS Indian Wells, Roland Garros and Queen’s – before breaking through for Wimbledon.


·         Arthurs has also played a limited doubles schedule in 2007. He competed at Adelaide, the Australian Open, Roland Garros and the Surbition Challenger, and plays here with Justin Gimelstob.




Head-to-head: Baghdatis leads 2-1

2005     Roland Garros               Clay (O)            R128     Nalbandian        06 64 64 64

2005     Basel                            Carpet (I)           SF        Baghdatis          62 76

2006     Australian Open             Hard (O)            SF        Baghdatis          36 57 63 64 64


                     BAGHDATIS                                         v                                     NALBANDIAN


                            22                                              Age                                           25

                            16                                       ATP Ranking                                    25

                             2                                              Titles                                           5

                          23-11                          Career Grand Slam Record                       70-22

                            7-2                                  Wimbledon Record                              17-4

                         100-50                                   Career Record                               231-118

                           14-6                               Career Record - Grass                            19-6

                          30-13                                      2007 Record                                  14-11

                            6-1                                 2007 Record - Grass                              2-1

                            7-2                              Career Five-Set Record                           14-8

                             1                             Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          6

                          40-23                            Career Tiebreak Record                         76-63

                           12-8                               2007 Tiebreak Record                             6-8


·         Baghdatis defeated Latvian Ernests Gulbis 36 64 63 62 in the first round and then recorded the 100th victory of his career in defeating Nicolas Devilder 60 76 67 64 in the second.


·         Baghdatis is making his third consecutive Wimbledon appearance. He had his best result here last year, reaching the semifinals by defeating Andy Murray 63 64 76 in the last 16 and Lleyton Hewitt 61 57 76 62 in the quarterfinals, before losing to Rafael Nadal 61 75 63. He lost to Mikhail Youzhny 62 36 61 64 in the first round on his debut in 2005.


·         2006 was an outstanding year for Baghdatis. Before reaching the Wimbledon semifinals, he advanced to his first Grand Slam final at the 2006 Australian Open, as world No. 54 recording three consecutive wins over Top Ten players – No. 3 Andy Roddick in the round of 16, No. 8 Ivan Ljubicic in the quarterfinals and No. 4 David Nalbandian in the semifnials – before falling in the final to No. 1 Roger Federer 57 75 60 62.


·         By contrast, Baghdatis lost in the second rounds at 2006 Roland Garros and the 2006 US Open, but the above results combined with winning his first career title at 2006 Beijing saw his ranking jump up 44 places throughout the year to end the season at No. 12.


·         This is Baghdatis’s 12th Grand Slam event and he is bidding to reach the round of 16 at a major for the fifth time.


·         In 2007, Baghdatis has picked up where he left off in 2006, although his Grand Slam results have been less impressive so far. He won his second career title at Zagreb on indoor carpet (d. Ivan Ljubicic 76 46 64 in the final), and also reached another final two weeks later at Marseille on indoor hard (l. to Gilles Simon 64 76), and a third final at Halle on grass (l. Tomas Berdych 75 64). His best Grand Slam result to date this season was a round of 16 appearance at Roland Garros (l. Igor Andreev 26 61 63 64).


·         2007 Halle marked Baghdatis’s first career grass court final. That was the only tournament he played on this surface ahead of 2007 Wimbledon, as he then withdrew from ’s-Hertogenbosch with a foot injury.


·         Baghdatis was ITF Junior World Champion in 2003, winning the boys’ singles at the Australian Open and finishing runner-up in that event at the US Open that year. He fared less well at Wimbledon during his junior career, losing in the boys’ singles second round on both of his appearances here, in 2001-02.


·         Nalbandian, playing in his fifth Wimbledon, defeated qualifier Mischa Zverev 63 64 62 in the first round and lucky loser Frank Dancevic 62 63 57 63 in the second round.


·         Nalbandian has maintained his record of always reaching the third round at Wimbledon. Last year he lost at this stage for the first time, losing to Fernando Verdasco 76 76 62, his earliest Wimbledon exit.



·         Nalbandian reached his first Grand Slam final on his Wimbledon debut in 2002. He defeated Nicolas Lapentti 64 64 46 46 64 in the quarterfinals and Xavier Malisse 76 64 16 26 62 in the semifinals, before losing to Lleyton Hewitt 61 63 62 in the final. This is his most successful Grand Slam performance to date and remarkably was achieved in his first ever professional grass court event.


·         Since reaching the final in 2002, Nalbandian’s best performance at Wimbledon has been a quarterfinal finish in 2005 (l. Thomas Johansson 76 62 62).


·         Nalbandian is one of two active players, along with Roger Federer, to have reached the semifinals or better at all four Grand Slams. He reached that stage here in 2002 en route to the final (see above), at the 2003 US Open, and at 2004 Roland Garros, and completed the set at the 2006 Australian Open. He reached his fifth Grand Slam semifinal at 2006 Roland Garros.


·         Nalbandian is playing a Top 10 player for the 53rd time in his career. He has a 20-32 win-loss record in his previous meetings with Top 10 players.


·         Nalbandian is joined in the third round by Guillermo Canas, who plays Lleyton Hewitt today. If both Argentines win today and advance to the round of 16, it will mark the second time in the Open Era that two Argentines have advanced to the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Nalbandian and Guillermo Coria achieved this for the first time in 2005.


·         Nalbandian warmed up for Wimbledon at Halle, but as No. 7 seed lost in the first round to Marc Gicquel 57 62 64.


·         Nalbandian reached the round of 16 at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year, losing to Tommy Haas 46 63 62 63 and Nikolay Davydenko 63 76 36 76 at that stage respectively.


·         Nalbandian’s other highlight of 2007 was reaching the quarterfinals at Barcelona. After a first round bye, he defeated two Spaniards (Alberto Martin and Carlos Moya) in the next two rounds before losing to another Spaniard David Ferrer 76 62.



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