Salary Stretch

Two Absolutely Step up performances on the Asian Swing for the Men by Marion Cilic & Joe Willie Tsonga.  Tsonga rolled countryman Gael Monfils in a surprisingly easy semifinal victory in Tokyo today.  He’ll now play Michael Youzhny in the final.  This is a huge opportunity for Tsonga to get some much needed points in his race to the year end Masters Championship in London.  I feel like Tsonga should roll in this match tomorrow. He seems to thrive at the end of year as he did last year. 

Marion Cilic, the 21 yr old coming off of his great US Open performance, absolutely takes Rafael Nadal to the woodshed with a 6-1, 6-3 victory.  This is the second big result for him in the last month, first with Murray at the Open and now Nadal. These two wins for Cilic have got me re-thinking that the big Croatian is actually on his way to big things in 2010. Cilic now plays a very in form Djokovic, aka, the Joker in the Beijing Final.  He’s got his swagger back and is playing as good of tennis right now as he has all year.  I like Djokovic in straight sets to win the title. He’s locked and loaded, aiming to close out the year in the top 3.

Nice to see Nadal playing, in supposedly good health, but this is a troubling score. We’re barely used to seeing Rafa lose, much less take two back-to-back poundings from younger players.  He’s going to be eager to get back on the court this coming week. 

Shanghai next week for the men.  A new tournament boasting the most money for any ATP event, has 13 of the top 15, only missing a fatigued and new father Roger Federer, deciding to spend more time with the twins.  Good for you buddy.  You earned the break. Also, the injured Andy Murray, opting to rest the wrist, probably a smart move not to rush back.

There are seven players locked in a battle for two remaining spots for the London Masters: Joe Willie Tsonga, Verdasco, Soderling, Davydenko, Cilic, Monfils, and Gonzo. That’s what makes this week and all the remaining matches from here on out so big. We’re in the salary stretch.  Should be some good viewing to see who makes the cut.

I think this is a big week for Del Po who lost first round in Tokyo last week.  As well as Andy Roddick, suffering a first round loss in Beijing.  I think both these players have the ability to brush off the loss and step up this week. 

My money is still on Djokovic as the player to beat…but I’m keeping a close eye on Joe Willie Tsonga to make a big run this week.

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