Category Archives: Indian Wells

Trends and Perspective on WTA Retirements and Withdrawals

Yesterday, there was no women’s singles at Indian Wells. Both Victoria Azarenka and Sam Stosur pulled out of their quarterfinal matches, presenting a very obvious target for anyone concerned about an injury bug in women’s tennis.

Last year, WTA retirements hit an all-time high of 4.8% of tour-level matches, almost a full percentage point above the 3.9% of matches that were not completed in 2006.  While part of the injury total was due to stomach bugs in China and food poisoning at Indian Wells, the overall trend has been upward for about 30 years:

WTArets

While it’s less clear that players are any more likely to pull out of Grand Slam matches (the dark red line in the graph above), there’s no doubt that more WTA matches are ending due to injury than they did 10, 20, or 30 years ago.

In a moment, I’ll explain why this is happening, and why the trend is unlikely to reverse itself anytime soon.  But first, some perspective on yesterday’s programming disaster.

Since there was nothing else to talk about yesterday in the world of women’s tennis, it was inevitable that the subject of injuries dominated. (Thanks to Federer vs. Nadal on the card, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.) Taking a tournament-wide view, though, this year’s Indian Wells WTA event has been a positive on the health front.

Women’s tennis has seen more than 1 in 50 tour-level matches end with W/O or RET in the score for more than 15 years.  Yesterday’s two withdrawals were the first two incomplete matches of the entire event–including qualifying!  Assuming we get through the semifinals and final without any further problems, that’s 93 of 95 (97.9%) of main draw matches complete, and 129 of 131 (98.5%) of main draw and qualifying matches complete.  Last year, while food poisoning dominated the headlines, there were at least three injury-related retirements from the singles draw, and two years ago, there were five.

These two quarterfinal withdrawals were bad news for television and fans, but they don’t represent a trend.

High stakes, high risk

While Indian Wells has been mostly injury-free, it also shouldn’t be seen as a trend in the positive direction.  WTA players (and ATPers, for the same reasons) are going to keep showing up at tournaments less than 100%, developing health problems midway through tournaments, and generally not finishing all the matches they start.

This isn’t because of too many hard courts, slower balls, mandatory events, doping, or even runaway racquet technology.  It’s because the financial stakes in tennis–and with it, severe inequality in the ranks–are climbing even faster than the injury rate.  The level of fitness required to compete at the highest level is always increasing, and players are forced to choose between trying to keep up or probably falling away.

A simpler example of this phenomenon, and one that makes it easier to illustrate the point, is in competitive distance running.  Marathoners rarely run more than two marathons per year, and there is very little room at the top.  Run a marathon in 2:04 and you’re a superstar. 2:05 or 2:06 and the sponsors will keep supporting you.  If you can’t break 2:10, you’re probably working full-time at a local shoe store.

The most straightforward way to improve your marathon time is to train harder, whether that means more mileage over a several-month training period or more aggressive workouts.  When the choice is between 2:05 and oblivion, the incentives are heavily structured toward overly aggressive training.  There’s not much difference between finishing with a 2:10 compared to overtraining, getting injured, and not finishing at all.

Tennis, of course, is a bit more forgiving.  You don’t need to be one of the top 10 in the world to make a decent living, but then again, to remain in the top 10, you must consistently beat players on the fringes of the top 100, where the incentives are not that different from those in distance running.

As the stakes increase, players are more willing to skirt the edge between hard training and over training.  And while players are getting closer to that line, they are hardly going too far–at least according to their own incentives.  Sure, we’d like to have seen Vika play yesterday, but a few retirements over the course of the year isn’t going to stop her from regaining the #1 ranking.  Two years ago, she pulled out of her quarterfinal with Caroline Wozniacki after only three games–and then started a twelve-match winning streak the following week.

If there were more matches on clay, players would simply push themselves harder on clay courts.  (Anyway, there is almost exactly the same percentage of WTA retirements on clay as there are on hard.)  Same thing if the balls played faster.  If there were fewer mandatory events, we’d see top players engaging in longer periods of hard training. Probably more exhibitions, too.

There are no incentives–nor should there be–for players to stay healthy for the duration of 100% of their matches.  If we want the best players in the world to entertain us with the best possible tennis they can play, retirements and withdrawals are something we’ll have to learn to accept.  We won’t get one without the other.

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2012 Indian Wells Projections: Quarterfinals

A couple of days ago, I wrote about how the cluster of players after the big four was itself cementing its hold on the next few ranking spots.  Since then, Ferrer, Berdych, and Tsonga have all lost.  Oops!

Of that group, only Juan Martin del Potro has survived, and according to my numbers, he poses a serious challenge to Roger Federer tomorrow.  But that isn’t the tightest match.  That honor goes to Isner/Simon, the most dramatic contrast of playing styles in the quarterfinals.  They’ve played once before, at last year’s US Open, when Isner won in four sets, including three tiebreaks.  It was even closer than it sounds–Simon won more than half of the points that day.

Here are the full odds for the rest of the tournament:

Player                       SF      F      W
(1)Novak Djokovic         84.8%  69.0%  44.5%
(12)Nicolas Almagro       15.2%   6.7%   1.6%
(13)Gilles Simon          48.1%  11.5%   3.4%
(11)John Isner            51.9%  12.8%   4.0%  

(9)Juan Martin Del Potro  44.6%  21.0%   8.9%
(3)Roger Federer          55.4%  29.2%  13.9%
David Nalbandian          23.3%   6.5%   1.8%
(2)Rafael Nadal           76.7%  43.2%  21.9%

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2012 Indian Wells Projections: Round of 16

As big days in men’s tennis go, Super Wednesday at Indian Wells is right up there.  Six of the top ten are in action, along with ten other guys, some of whom belong here.  According to my simulations, it is increasingly Novak Djokovic’s tournament to win.  At the very least, it’s Novak’s quarterfinal to reach.

Player                       QF     SF      F      W  
(1)Novak Djokovic         95.6%  72.6%  60.6%  40.4%  
Pablo Andujar              4.4%   0.6%   0.1%   0.0%  
(12)Nicolas Almagro       31.4%   5.7%   2.7%   0.8%  
(7)Tomas Berdych          68.6%  21.1%  14.1%   6.3%  
                                                      
Ryan Harrison             39.7%  17.5%   3.2%   0.7%  
(13)Gilles Simon          60.3%  32.8%   8.0%   2.6%  
(11)John Isner            70.8%  39.5%  10.1%   3.4%  
(Q)Matthew Ebden          29.2%  10.1%   1.3%   0.2%  
                                                      
Player                       QF     SF      F      W  
Denis Istomin             23.4%   6.1%   1.5%   0.3%  
(9)Juan Martin Del Potro  76.6%  38.9%  19.2%   8.3%  
Thomaz Bellucci           17.5%   4.6%   0.9%   0.2%  
(3)Roger Federer          82.5%  50.4%  27.7%  13.5%  
                                                      
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga     67.3%  30.4%  14.7%   6.0%  
David Nalbandian          32.7%   9.6%   3.0%   0.8%  
(21)Alexandr Dolgopolov   25.0%  10.1%   3.3%   1.0%  
(2)Rafael Nadal           75.0%  49.9%  29.7%  15.3%

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The Winter of Mardy Fish

Yesterday at Indian Wells, Mardy Fish lost to Matthew Ebden, an Australian counterpuncher barely ranked inside the top 100.  Ebden has played well since last fall, when he reached the quarters in Shanghai by beating Ryan Harrison and Gilles Simon, but that isn’t going to make Fish feel any better.  It’s been a disastrous few months for the American.

How disastrous?  Mardy’s loss yesterday was his 10th in his last 14 matches.  In that time, he’s beaten Andreas Seppi (by retirement), Andreas Beck, Gilles Muller, and Florian Mayer.  He’s lost to Ebden, Albano Olivetti, Alejandro Falla, and James Blake.  Not exactly top ten results.

Looking back through his last 15 months of results, though, it’s questionable whether he ever had what we think of as “top ten” results.  When the big four is winning everything, that leaves only crumbs for the rest, so men like Fish, Janko Tipsarevic, and Nicolas Almagro find themselves in the top ten simply by reaching a bunch of quarterfinals and winning a 250 or two.  It was evident at last year’s World Tour Finals: Fish, as the eight-seed, managed to take a set from both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal,  but went home without a single victory.  (In addition to the elite world of the top four, there seems also to be an elite world of five-through-seven.  David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Tomas Berdych seem to be on a different level than everyone else, with the exception of Juan Martin Del Potro.)

Fish’s most impressive results in all of 2011 were a quarterfinal at Wimbledon (he beat Berdych en route) and semis at Cincinnati and Miami.  (He beat Nadal in Cinci and Ferrer in Miami.)  It was easy to root for Mardy the comeback kid, but the number eight ranking seems to be his ceiling.  And with Tipsarevic, Del Potro, and John Isner chasing him down, a poor performance in Miami this year could mean he’ll never reach that peak again.

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2012 Indian Wells Projections: Round of 32

Andy Murray is out, and the clear winner is … Novak Djokovic.  Djokovic’s chances of winning the tournament leapt to 36.2%, almost triple Nadal’s.  The Djokovic factor produces an interesting quirk: the only two players of the remaining 32 whose chances round to 0.0% play each other in the 3rd round.  One of them, of course, is guaranteed to reach the round of 16, but their chances of beating Djokovic (or Kevin Anderson, come to that) are awfully small.

Aside from the top seeds, there aren’t many overwhelming favorites this round, according to my odds.  It often seems to happen that way at Masters and even Grand Slam events–there’s a slew of compelling matchups in the third and fourth rounds, then in the quarters, we watch the top seeds rip apart guys outside of the top four.

Here are the odds for today’s and tomorrow’ matches:

Player                      R16     QF     SF        W  
(1)Novak Djokovic         85.8%  81.6%  64.4%    36.2%  
(29)Kevin Anderson        14.2%  10.8%   4.2%     0.5%  
Pablo Andujar             45.9%   3.2%   0.5%     0.0%  
Albert Ramos              54.1%   4.3%   0.8%     0.0%  
(12)Nicolas Almagro       58.4%  21.2%   5.1%     0.7%  
Santiago Giraldo          41.7%  12.0%   2.3%     0.2%  
(30)Andy Roddick          35.8%  20.8%   5.6%     1.0%  
(7)Tomas Berdych          64.2%  46.0%  17.0%     5.2%  

Player                      R16     QF     SF        W  
Guillermo Garcia Lopez    48.2%  16.8%   6.1%     0.3%  
Ryan Harrison             51.8%  19.1%   7.3%     0.4%  
(23)Stanislas Wawrinka    55.0%  36.4%  19.4%     2.4%  
(13)Gilles Simon          45.0%  27.6%  13.4%     1.4%  
(11)John Isner            57.3%  28.5%  15.3%     1.6%  
(22)Juan Monaco           42.7%  18.4%   8.6%     0.7%  
(Q)Matthew Ebden          24.2%   7.8%   2.6%     0.1%  
(8)Mardy Fish             75.8%  45.2%  27.4%     4.1%  

Player                      R16     QF     SF        W  
(5)David Ferrer           69.0%  32.2%  15.2%     2.5%  
Denis Istomin             31.0%   8.9%   2.7%     0.2%  
(19)Fernando Verdasco     30.6%  13.9%   5.3%     0.5%  
(9)Juan Martin Del Potro  69.4%  45.1%  25.3%     6.3%  
Nikolay Davydenko         57.8%  15.9%   5.4%     0.4%  
Thomaz Bellucci           42.3%   9.3%   2.6%     0.1%  
(27)Milos Raonic          31.2%  19.9%   8.9%     1.2%  
(3)Roger Federer          68.8%  54.8%  34.6%    10.3%  

Player                      R16     QF     SF        W  
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga     76.9%  50.1%  25.0%     5.9%  
(28)Radek Stepanek        23.1%   8.2%   2.0%     0.1%  
David Nalbandian          44.8%  17.6%   5.9%     0.7%  
(10)Janko Tipsarevic      55.2%  24.1%   9.3%     1.3%  
Marcos Baghdatis          53.5%  18.4%   8.5%     1.2%  
(21)Alexandr Dolgopolov   46.5%  14.7%   6.3%     0.7%  
(26)Marcel Granollers     24.5%  11.4%   4.8%     0.6%  
(2)Rafael Nadal           75.5%  55.5%  38.1%    13.2%

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Another Early Exit for Andy Murray

Last night, disaster befell Andy Murray again.  The only good thing you can say about his straight-set loss to 92nd-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is that it wasn’t quite the embarrassment of his losses to Donald Young and Alex Bogomolov one year ago.  Once again, it raises questions about whether Murray really belongs in the conversation with the rest of the big four.  After all, except for the odd disappointment from semi-injured Rafa, the other three guys aren’t losing in any first or second rounds.

Federer hasn’t lost to anyone outside the top 50 since Indian Wells in 2008, and that was to a comeback-trail Mardy Fish.  Nadal has been perfect against the top 50 since his own (probably injured) loss to Gigi in 2010–before that, you have to go back to Queen’s Club 2007.  Djokovic’s undefeated streak against the top 50 goes back to Queen’s Club 2010.

While it’s disappointing that Murray followed up such an impressive performance in Dubai with such a dud, let’s consider this in context.  Even counting Indian Wells last year, yesterday’s match was only Murray’s fifth loss to a player outside the top 20 (and third outside the top 50) since the beginning of 2011.  (He also lost to Thomaz Bellucci in Madrid and Kevin Anderson in Canada.)  Sure, this is the rung below Rafa/Roger/Novak, but the current level of top three-or-four dominance has raised the bar beyond any realistic expectations.

And perhaps most importantly, do these early exits really matter?  In the locker room, maybe, but what about in the rankings?  Murray trails Federer by 1,260 points.  If Andy had reached the semis in both Indian Wells and Miami last year (and remember, simply playing up to one’s seed can’t reasonably be expected), he would have 670 more points, barely cutting that lead in half.  Count the early exit at the Canada Masters as well and assume that he reached the semifinal there as well–still only 1005 additional points, and not enough to catch Federer.  (Though he would’ve held the #3 ranking before Fed’s win in Dubai.)

These counterfactuals are reminders that, given the current level of competition, it’s the big matches that really matter.  Winning a grand slam semifinal is worth almost as much as reaching the semis of two Masters events.  If Murray is to displace one of the top three, he’s much more likely to do so by winning a slam (or at least reaching more finals) than by simply playing up to his seed everywhere else.

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2012 Indian Wells Projections: Field of 64

When I initially posted odds for Indian Wells, the qualifiers weren’t placed.  In the space of a couple days, the draw was filled out, and then most of the qualifiers were gone.  Frederico Gil, Marinko Matosevic, and Andrey Golubev got from qualifying to the second round, but they faced other qualifiers in the first round.  The only other qualifying survivor was Matthew Ebden, who advanced past the always-beatable Igor Kunitsyn.

With the big names, little has changed–after all, the top 32 have yet to play a match.  The simulation is just a little more nuanced, now that the actual rating of each player is included.

Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(1)Novak Djokovic         89.6%  75.8%  62.3%    25.8%  
(Q)Andrey Golubev         10.4%   4.1%   1.5%     0.0%  
Philipp Kohlschreiber     53.7%  11.4%   5.5%     0.3%  
(29)Kevin Anderson        46.3%   8.8%   3.9%     0.2%  
(18)Florian Mayer         82.7%  44.6%  12.4%     0.9%  
Pablo Andujar             17.3%   3.7%   0.3%     0.0%  
Albert Ramos              18.4%   4.7%   0.4%     0.0%  
Richard Gasquet           81.6%  47.0%  13.7%     1.1%  
                                                        
Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(12)Nicolas Almagro       51.3%  21.9%   9.0%     0.3%  
(WC)Sam Querrey           48.7%  19.9%   7.9%     0.2%  
Santiago Giraldo          28.6%  12.1%   4.0%     0.1%  
(17)Kei Nishikori         71.4%  46.1%  25.2%     2.2%  
(30)Andy Roddick          64.6%  27.3%  13.5%     0.6%  
Lukasz Kubot              35.4%  10.5%   3.8%     0.1%  
Sergiy Stakhovsky         24.8%  10.5%   3.8%     0.1%  
(7)Tomas Berdych          75.2%  51.7%  32.8%     3.8%  
                                                        
Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(4)Andy Murray            80.7%  62.3%  44.5%     9.7%  
Guillermo Garcia Lopez    19.3%   8.5%   3.3%     0.1%  
Ryan Harrison             44.2%  11.8%   4.8%     0.1%  
(25)Viktor Troicki        55.8%  17.4%   8.0%     0.3%  
(23)Stanislas Wawrinka    84.0%  50.8%  22.5%     1.9%  
(WC)Robby Ginepri         16.0%   3.8%   0.6%     0.0%  
Dudi Sela                 33.8%  11.8%   3.2%     0.0%  
(13)Gilles Simon          66.2%  33.6%  13.2%     0.8%  
                                                        
Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(11)John Isner            84.1%  52.4%  27.7%     1.5%  
(LL)Federico Gil          15.9%   3.9%   0.7%     0.0%  
Nicolas Mahut             34.4%  11.8%   3.8%     0.0%  
(22)Juan Monaco           65.6%  31.9%  14.7%     0.5%  
(32)Julien Benneteau      63.7%  26.7%  12.9%     0.4%  
(Q)Matthew Ebden          36.3%  10.7%   3.7%     0.0%  
Andreas Seppi             32.2%  16.3%   7.3%     0.1%  
(8)Mardy Fish             67.8%  46.3%  29.1%     2.4%  
                                                        
Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(5)David Ferrer           70.0%  51.3%  25.6%     2.1%  
Grigor Dimitrov           30.0%  16.5%   5.2%     0.1%  
Denis Istomin             73.6%  27.5%   8.9%     0.2%  
(31)Juan Ignacio Chela    26.4%   4.7%   0.7%     0.0%  
(19)Fernando Verdasco     65.3%  24.1%  12.1%     0.5%  
Ryan Sweeting             34.7%   8.6%   3.1%     0.0%  
(Q)Marinko Matosevic      14.3%   4.6%   1.3%     0.0%  
(9)Juan Martin Del Potro  85.7%  62.8%  43.2%     6.4%  
                                                        
Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(14)Gael Monfils          69.1%  48.2%  23.2%     2.7%  
Nikolay Davydenko         30.9%  15.8%   4.8%     0.1%  
Thomaz Bellucci           39.1%  11.8%   3.0%     0.0%  
(20)Jurgen Melzer         60.9%  24.2%   8.2%     0.3%  
(27)Milos Raonic          86.8%  32.7%  16.9%     1.1%  
Carlos Berlocq            13.2%   1.3%   0.2%     0.0%  
(WC)Denis Kudla           16.6%   6.0%   1.9%     0.0%  
(3)Roger Federer          83.4%  60.1%  41.8%     8.5%  
                                                        
Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga     72.4%  56.4%  36.9%     4.8%  
Michael Llodra            27.6%  15.9%   6.7%     0.2%  
Xavier Malisse            47.2%  12.7%   4.3%     0.0%  
(28)Radek Stepanek        52.8%  15.0%   5.4%     0.1%  
(24)Marin Cilic           54.8%  30.7%  15.1%     0.8%  
David Nalbandian          45.2%  23.2%  10.3%     0.4%  
Gilles Muller             26.5%   7.6%   2.2%     0.0%  
(10)Janko Tipsarevic      73.5%  38.4%  19.2%     1.1%  
                                                        
Player                      R32    R16     QF        W  
(15)Feliciano Lopez       42.6%  21.8%   6.6%     0.3%  
Marcos Baghdatis          57.4%  33.5%  12.0%     0.9%  
Steve Darcis              35.9%  12.8%   2.9%     0.1%  
(21)Alexandr Dolgopolov   64.1%  31.9%  10.6%     0.6%  
(26)Marcel Granollers     91.1%  25.9%  13.0%     0.7%  
Tommy Haas                 8.9%   0.4%   0.0%     0.0%  
Leonardo Mayer             7.4%   1.8%   0.4%     0.0%  
(2)Rafael Nadal           92.7%  71.9%  54.5%    14.3%

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Who Excels at the March Masters?

It’s not quite March Madness, but the March Masters tournaments of Indian Wells and Miami do constitute a unique part of the tennis season.  Though the conditions are different on opposite sides of the continent, it’s hot, and many players are contesting their first important matches since the Australian Open.

I queried my match database to come up with the best career performers at these two tournaments.  Setting aside a few players who have done well in just a couple of showings, here are the top twelve active players, by win percentage at Indian Wells and Miami.  (Incidentally, they are the only twelve with winning percentages over 60%.)

Player                  W   L  Titles   Win%  
Novak Djokovic         40   8       4  83.3%  
Rafael Nadal           57  13       2  81.4%  
Roger Federer          73  19       5  79.3%  
Andy Roddick           58  19       2  75.3%  
Juan Martin Del Potro  19   7       0  73.1%  
Andy Murray            25  11       1  69.4%  
Lleyton Hewitt         42  21       2  66.7%  
Ivan Ljubicic          37  20       1  64.9%  
Tomas Berdych          25  14       0  64.1%  
James Blake            37  21       0  63.8%  
Jo Wilfried Tsonga     13   8       0  61.9%  
Stanislas Wawrinka     14   9       0  60.9%

Del Potro is highest on the list among those without a title at either event.  Roddick’s place so high on the list serves as a reminder that this is his kind of territory–hard courts in the heat.  If he hadn’t played so poorly in his last two events, it would be tempting to pick him as an underdog this month.

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I hope you’ve started playing around with Tennis Abstract.  One of the latest features to come online is the ability to make multiple selections from a single menu.  For instance, on Ivan Ljubicic’s page, select “Career” from the “Time Span” menu, then open up the “Events” menu on the left-hand side, then select both Indian Wells and Miami, which will show you the matches (and their stats) that add up to his 37-20 record at these tournaments.

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2012 Indian Wells Draw Predictions

The Indian Wells draw is out.  With my latest hard-court rankings, I’ve run simulations on the draw.  Qualifiers aren’t yet placed, so I set all of the qualifiers equal to the 100th-ranked player.

I’d like to have some flashy, controversial projections, but the numbers don’t look much different than they did before the Australian Open.  Djokovic has a 27% chance of winning, Nadal 13.2%, with Murray a bit ahead of Federer.  Murray not only rates a bit higher in my ranking system after his latest win over Novak, but he has a somewhat easier draw here.

Here are the full projections:

Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(1)Novak Djokovic         100.0%  92.2%  78.9%    27.2%  
Qualifier1                 50.0%   3.9%   1.3%     0.0%  
Qualifier2                 50.0%   3.9%   1.3%     0.0%  
Matthias Bachinger         34.5%  13.1%   1.7%     0.0%  
Philipp Kohlschreiber      65.5%  35.2%   7.3%     0.2%  
(29)Kevin Anderson        100.0%  51.6%   9.5%     0.2%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(18)Florian Mayer         100.0%  69.5%  37.6%     0.7%  
Robin Haase                72.5%  25.8%  10.4%     0.0%  
Pablo Andujar              27.5%   4.7%   1.0%     0.0%  
Albert Ramos               36.8%   6.7%   1.6%     0.0%  
(WC)Jesse Levine           63.2%  17.8%   6.3%     0.0%  
Richard Gasquet           100.0%  75.5%  43.1%     1.0%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(12)Nicolas Almagro       100.0%  56.8%  23.8%     0.3%  
Qualifier3                 33.1%  10.6%   2.8%     0.0%  
(WC)Sam Querrey            66.9%  32.6%  13.1%     0.1%  
Santiago Giraldo           80.6%  23.1%  10.2%     0.1%  
(WC)Jack Sock              19.4%   1.8%   0.3%     0.0%  
(17)Kei Nishikori         100.0%  75.1%  49.8%     2.3%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(30)Andy Roddick          100.0%  62.1%  26.4%     0.6%  
Ivo Karlovic               54.8%  22.0%   7.4%     0.1%  
Lukasz Kubot               45.2%  15.9%   4.6%     0.0%  
Alex Bogomolov Jr.         48.3%  11.3%   4.6%     0.0%  
Sergiy Stakhovsky          51.7%  12.8%   5.3%     0.0%  
(7)Tomas Berdych          100.0%  75.8%  51.7%     3.8%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(4)Andy Murray            100.0%  83.3%  64.7%    10.0%  
Guillermo Garcia Lopez     80.3%  15.5%   7.3%     0.1%  
Rui Machado                19.7%   1.2%   0.2%     0.0%  
Flavio Cipolla             40.2%  13.9%   2.7%     0.0%  
Ryan Harrison              59.8%  26.5%   6.8%     0.1%  
(25)Viktor Troicki        100.0%  59.6%  18.2%     0.3%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(23)Stanislas Wawrinka    100.0%  79.2%  48.0%     1.8%  
Qualifier4                 61.7%  14.7%   4.9%     0.0%  
(WC)Robby Ginepri          38.3%   6.1%   1.5%     0.0%  
Qualifier5                 42.6%  11.7%   3.5%     0.0%  
Dudi Sela                  57.4%  19.3%   6.8%     0.0%  
(13)Gilles Simon          100.0%  69.1%  35.4%     0.8%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(11)John Isner            100.0%  73.7%  46.1%     1.2%  
Qualifier6                 50.0%  13.2%   5.0%     0.0%  
Qualifier7                 50.0%  13.1%   5.0%     0.0%  
Qualifier8                 48.0%  15.5%   5.0%     0.0%  
Nicolas Mahut              52.0%  17.8%   6.1%     0.0%  
(22)Juan Monaco           100.0%  66.7%  32.9%     0.4%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(32)Julien Benneteau      100.0%  69.1%  29.4%     0.4%  
Qualifier9                 54.2%  17.7%   4.7%     0.0%  
Igor Kunitsyn              45.8%  13.2%   3.1%     0.0%  
Andreas Seppi              56.1%  18.0%   9.4%     0.1%  
Olivier Rochus             43.9%  12.0%   5.5%     0.0%  
(8)Mardy Fish             100.0%  70.0%  48.0%     2.5%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(5)David Ferrer           100.0%  67.6%  51.5%     2.2%  
Ivan Dodig                 54.9%  18.8%  11.7%     0.1%  
Grigor Dimitrov            45.1%  13.6%   7.9%     0.0%  
Yen-Hsun Lu                40.7%  26.7%   7.7%     0.0%  
Denis Istomin              59.3%  43.7%  16.0%     0.1%  
(31)Juan Ignacio Chela    100.0%  29.6%   5.2%     0.0%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(19)Fernando Verdasco     100.0%  62.3%  23.1%     0.4%  
Cedrik-Marcel Stebe        56.1%  22.5%   6.5%     0.0%  
Ryan Sweeting              43.9%  15.2%   3.8%     0.0%  
Qualifier10                50.1%   7.9%   2.7%     0.0%  
Qualifier11                49.9%   7.9%   2.7%     0.0%  
(9)Juan Martin Del Potro  100.0%  84.2%  61.3%     6.3%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(14)Gael Monfils          100.0%  72.9%  51.1%     2.8%  
Nikolay Davydenko          65.9%  20.6%  10.7%     0.1%  
Qualifier12                34.1%   6.5%   2.4%     0.0%  
Lukas Rosol                42.2%  13.4%   3.2%     0.0%  
Thomaz Bellucci            57.8%  22.6%   6.9%     0.0%  
(20)Jurgen Melzer         100.0%  64.0%  25.6%     0.3%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(27)Milos Raonic          100.0%  74.4%  28.2%     1.0%  
Carlos Berlocq             26.0%   3.4%   0.3%     0.0%  
Benoit Paire               74.0%  22.2%   4.9%     0.0%  
Dmitry Tursunov            49.9%   8.4%   3.0%     0.0%  
(WC)Denis Kudla            50.1%   8.3%   3.0%     0.0%  
(3)Roger Federer          100.0%  83.4%  60.7%     8.7%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(6)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga     100.0%  71.2%  56.0%     4.6%  
Michael Llodra             46.4%  12.6%   7.4%     0.1%  
Ernests Gulbis             53.6%  16.1%   9.9%     0.1%  
Xavier Malisse             56.9%  27.0%   7.2%     0.0%  
Qualifier13                43.1%  17.4%   3.7%     0.0%  
(28)Radek Stepanek        100.0%  55.6%  15.8%     0.1%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(24)Marin Cilic           100.0%  60.1%  30.6%     0.9%  
Potito Starac              17.1%   2.5%   0.4%     0.0%  
David Nalbandian           82.9%  37.4%  17.3%     0.3%  
Bernard Tomic              74.2%  38.0%  20.7%     0.7%  
Gilles Muller              25.8%   7.0%   2.1%     0.0%  
(10)Janko Tipsarevic      100.0%  55.0%  29.1%     0.9%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(15)Feliciano Lopez       100.0%  47.8%  24.2%     0.3%  
Jeremy Chardy              36.0%  15.5%   6.8%     0.0%  
Marcos Baghdatis           64.0%  36.7%  21.2%     0.6%  
Donald Young               54.1%  21.5%   9.0%     0.1%  
Steve Darcis               45.9%  16.6%   6.2%     0.0%  
(21)Alexandr Dolgopolov   100.0%  61.9%  32.5%     0.7%  
                                                         
Player                       R64    R32    R16        W  
(26)Marcel Granollers     100.0%  67.6%  20.2%     0.6%  
Jarkko Nieminen            85.5%  31.1%   6.5%     0.0%  
Tommy Haas                 14.5%   1.3%   0.1%     0.0%  
Alejandro Falla            68.3%  10.0%   3.9%     0.0%  
Leonardo Mayer             31.7%   2.4%   0.5%     0.0%  
(2)Rafael Nadal           100.0%  87.7%  68.8%    13.2%

(For those eagle-eyed readers, qualifiers don’t all have identical chances against each other because I’m running a Monte Carlo simulation, running the bracket 100,000 times. This method occasionally results in slight errors, or tiny changes from one simulation to the next.)

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Filed under Forecasting, Indian Wells

Monday Topspin: Djokovic Keeps Winning

Another day at the office: Novak Djokovic is still undefeated in 2011.  For the second time, he earned a championship the hard way, beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the same tournament.  He wins the Indian Wells crown for the second time as well, and his victory moves him into the #2 spot in the ATP rankings.

Nadal may not be playing his best tennis, but the first set, at least, was absolutely gripping.  Both players are so athletic and skilled on the defense that many rallies made them look like counterpunchers, except both guys were hitting the ball too hard for that.  In the first set and the beginning of the second, Djokovic appeared to suffer the same lapse that lost him a set against Federer.  But as in the semifinal, he came back in plenty of time.

It was Nadal whose racquet ultimately let him down.  The biggest difference between the Rafa of last September and the Rafa of right now is his serve.  In the sets he lost, the first serve percentage was dreadful: 25% in the second and 45% in the third.  Even when it was going in, it was hardly a weapon.  Nadal’s return game alone is good enough to beat most people, but not Djokovic, certainly not right now.

In Miami, Djokovic can pad his lead over Federer, but #2 remains in play.  Last year, Djokovic lost in the 2nd round to Olivier Rochus, while Federer fell in the 4th to Tomas Berdych.  To take back #2, Federer needs to win the tournament, and even then, he’ll need Novak to lose in the semis or earlier.

Federer at #3 makes every tournament draw a little more interesting: There’s the possibility of a Nadal-Federer semifinal.  If not, Federer could line up to face Djokovic is the semi.  The latter is a familiar sight, and it’s still an exciting one.

New rankings: With Indian Wells on the board along with two weeks worth of challengers, there is an enormous amount of movement.  The biggest winner is Djokovic, moving one spot closer to #1.  Both Juan Martin del Potro and Ivo Karlovic made big strides in their comebacks: Delpo jumped 39 spots to #51, and Karlovic is up 86 places to 153.

Four players reached a new career high thanks to their performances in California: Milos Raonic gained three more places to #34, Somdev Devvarman goes up to #73, Ryan Sweeting breaks into the top 100 at #91, and Ryan Harrison advances 22 spots to #130.

Several players made triple-digit jumps as well.  Cedrik-Marcel Stebe moves into the top 250, landing at #234 after challenger semifinal appearances in two consecutive weeks.  Amer Delic, a former top-60 player returning from injury, gains 141 places to #303 after his championship in Sarajevo.  Rohan Bopanna, on the strength of qualifying for Indian Wells, jumps 119 spots to #510, and Wayne Odesnik, winner at USA F7 two weeks ago, lands at #538, an 135-place improvement.

Challenger results: Yesterday I reported on the final in Guangzhou, which leaves us four more challengers to touch on.  In Le Gosier, Olivier Rochus triumphed over countryman Stephane Robert.  It’s a bigger accomplishment than the usual victory at that level: Le Gosier is at one of the highest rungs of prize money ($100,000), and the draw was full of top-100 players who made early exits from Indian Wells.

In fact, while Rochus won the title and advanced back into the top 100, Robert could be said to have had the better week.  En route to the final, he defeated Dustin Brown, Pablo Andujar, Marsel Ilhan, and top seed Jarkko Nieminen.  As if that wasn’t enough, he teamed with Riccardo Ghedin to win the doubles–over Rochus and Arnaud Clement.

At an indoor tourney in Rimouski, Canada, the field wasn’t nearly as strong.  The title match was plenty exciting, as Fritz Wolmarans defeated Bobby Reynolds in a third-set tiebreak.

The San Jose challenger, in Costa Rica, attracted plenty of South American talent, despite its hard courts.  Returning to the winner’s circle was Ecuador’s Giovanni Lapentti, who won in straight sets over Igor Kunitsyn.

Finally, a clay court challenger took place in Rabat, where the Czech Ivo Minar won the title, getting past Peter Luczak in the final.  The surprise performance of the week belongs to the unheralded Tunisian Malek Jaziri, who entered on a wild card.  His second and third round opponents were a wild card and a qualifier, respectively, but to get there, he had to defeat fourth-seed Jaroslav Pospisil in his opening match.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the fields in the coming week.  See you then!

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Filed under Challengers, Daily recaps, Indian Wells, Rankings