Gstaad R2 previews and picks: Federer vs. Brands, Tipsarevic vs. Haase

Roger Federer will kick off his Gstaad campaign on Thursday against familiar foe Daniel Brands. Janko Tipsarevic and Robin Haase are also looking for a spot in the quarterfinals. Chris Skelton previews the action.

Roger Federer vs. Daniel Brands

Welcome to Part 2 of this home-and-home series between the Swiss superstar and the German journeyman. Despite his lowly status, Brands often has risen to the occasion against elite opponents. He took a set from Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros this spring, for example, and just last week he won a set from Federer at Hamburg in their only meeting to date.

Federer’s morale must languish at its lowest ebb in many months after he sustained two losses in two tournaments to opponents outside the Top 100. The upsets secured by Sergiy Stakhovsky and Federico Delbonis will have emboldened underdogs like Brands. And the relatively fast, slippery clay in the mountainous setting of Gstaad will not help a player searching for rhythm, as Federer is this week. Home-court advantage may boost his confidence, but he must serve more impressively than he did in Hamburg, where a back injury may have troubled him again.

But Federer will know what to expect from Brands this time. He should enter their rematch more on guard, aware of the massive serve and fearlessness of his opponent. Federer also may know what to expect from his own racket. Testing a larger, more powerful Wilson frame at Hamburg, he struggled at times with control. The additional time to practice with it should smoothen the transition as Federer looks to give his home fans something to cheer.

Skelton pick: Federer in 2

Dimon pick: Federer in 2

Robin Haase vs. (3) Janko Tipsarevic

Like Federer and Brands, Haase and Tipsarevic have met only once before. Both men probably would rate clay as their least favorite surface, so they may battle the court as much as each other—and themselves.

Tipsarevic has watched his ranking plummet outside the Top 10 this year as he has suffered seven opening-round losses. Playing smaller tournaments like Gstaad usually helps top players emerge from slumps, but he has crashed out of such events just as ignominiously. The top seed at a 250 in Bogota last week, Tipsarevic lost his second match to unseeded Alejandro Falla. Now he faces a rapid transition from hard courts to clay, a strange decision considering his preference for hard courts and the additional travel involved.

Never a threat of Tipsarevic’s quality, Haase earned himself some attention this year of the dubious variety. He set the ATP record for consecutive tiebreaks lost, and he long has been one of the worst players in the Top 100 at closing out matches after he wins the first set. Staying in Europe after Wimbledon, Haase took the much more formidable Jerzy Janowicz to a final-set tiebreak in Hamburg (which, of course, he lost). One round before, though, he went to 7-5 in the third set against the anonymous Diego Sebastian Schwartzman. That pair of results shows how much Haase’s mind and game can fluctuate from one day to another.

Considering the generally unreliable form of both men all season, one can expect a match of modest quality in which both men struggle to capitalize on opportunities. Haase probably owns the superior serve, which may give him an edge at this altitude. But it’s nearly impossible to choose between two slumping, enigmatic competitors too fond of low-percentage tennis.

Skelton pick: Haase in 3

Dimon pick: Haase in 3

55 Comments on Gstaad R2 previews and picks: Federer vs. Brands, Tipsarevic vs. Haase

  1. Thanks nadline! I hope Marca is wrong. I don’t mind Rafa missing Cincy but missing not because of knee or elbow problems but because he wants to conserve his energy for the US Open.
    Although Ricky thinks Rafa has no chance, I think he is the favorite for USO if reports of his knee and elbow troubling him ( more than at IW) are false.

    • he’s CERTAINLY not the favorite. He’s the third favorite AT BEST.

      And i didn’t say he has no chance. I said he has the fifth best chance to win it. Fifth best IF HEALTHY. He has no chance if not 100 percent.

      • Picking a favourite is also based on opinion. When Rafa was told that he was not the favourite for Madrid by a journalist, this was what he said:

        “I don’t care at all,” he said through a translator. “Frankly, what words could I find to tell you? I mean, what else can I say? I try and play my best tennis, and the least of my concerns is to know if I’m favoured or not. These are words that will be carried away by the wind”.

        • well it’s a players opinion because they don’t care but who the favorite is, but all you have to do is go google the official odds. I haven’t looked yet, but Djokovic and Murray are definitely 1-2 in some order. They might be tied for first.

    • saying you think Nadal is going to win the US Open is fine. that is an opinion and one that is plausible.

      saying that you think Nadal is the favorite for the US Open is a statement that is factually incorrect.

      • Nadal is the 3rd favourite behind Nole and Muzz to win the USO according to current oddsmakers. USO is not fast like Cincy, Doha or indoor courts.

        And as far as having to be 100% to win the USO, that applies to every player.

      • Everybody, guys, those of us who have known Ricky for a long time know full well that he only picks Rafa as favourite on clay. There is no way he’ll pick him to win on h/c.

  2. Posted by Rafael Nadal Fans
    29th Jul 2013

    Rafael Nadal was seen practicing on a hard court in Manacor on Saturday. According to Rafa’s french fan Mathilde, he looked to be in top form, working on his attack and volley. Rafa did not have tape on his knee and did not show any signs of pain. His cousins were also on hand to show support. In all, it seemed like a great practice session.

  3. so the odd makers have also placed rafa at no.3 ! I have muzz, nole, rafa, delpo, fed as the top 5 favourties..yes I have delpo above fed…

    NNY,i also value your opinion highly 🙂 .. and federer did not play toronto last year ! and I just think he’ll skip montreal this year..he wont risk his back and fed did not seem to be eager to play montreal during his presser at Gstaad…

    and about marca, well yes we cannot be that sure..but marca does not say rafa ‘will’ miss cincy just says rafa might skip it and we have read the translation from spanish .. Rafa having problems in left elbow is not new..we all know about the left knee..I think its all about rafa being cautious ! If he feels good after montreal or if he gets out early he’l go for cincy, otherwise not !

    Nadline, thanks for the info..I would prefer to believe a bystander if he is telling the truth… but we should remember that it is not easy to figure out if a player is suffering from some minor injury during practise sessions..its just not that noticeable..

    anyway, I hope rafa is fit ! I am confident of a good showing at the USO 🙂

  4. vamosrafa,

    Yes, I did find out on another site that Fed didn’t play Toronto last year. So it makes sense that he would skip it if the back is an issue. He will want to be ready for Cincy, where there’s 1000 points at stake.

    I think Delpo is definitely in the mix, provided that his knee is now healthy. He was in formidable form at Wimbledon, the closest I have seen him to the way he looked before he hurt his wrist. I think Fed’s going to have a tough time. He will be going in ranked at least 5th. He has been having trouble even with easy draws. I know that he’s won a bunch of USO’s but this has been a terrible year for Fed. We’ll have to see how he looks at Cincy.

    I am hearing that Marca is not reliable. However, I do agree that a bystander won’t be able to tell if something is bothering Rafa. These are practices and Rafa’s not going all out. It’s not the same as actually playing conditions in a match.

    If Rafa is fit and healthy and has the chance to play himself into good form at Montreal and maybe Cincy, then I am looking forward to seeing him at the USO!

  5. Well, it is my opinion that Rafa will win the USO. I am not interested in knowing who is the favorite.Was Rafa ever the favorite for a hard court slam?

    • i’m not particularly interested in it either. but I’m also not going to just sit here and not correct someone when they make a factually incorrect statement.

      and no, Rafa has never been favored at the US Open. I can’t remember if he was favored at the 2009 or 2010 Australian.

  6. Rafael Nadal confirms Montreal and Cincinnati
    JUL 30

    Posted by Rafael Nadal Fans

    In an interview at the football match that he kicked off on July 29, Rafael Nadal told reporters that he will play at Montreal and Cincinnati this summer, to ensure that he is in his best shape for the US Open. Recent reports have been circulated by Marca and a popular tennis reporter about Rafa withdrawing from Cincinnati, but these claims have not been substantiated by either Rafa or his team, and it is unclear where these claims originated from.

  7. I did not make a factually incorrect statement. When I said I think he is the favorite, it means, I think he is most likely to win, not that others think he is most likely to win. So really Ricky you must question your bias and understanding of the situation. Favorite means most likely to win. The bookies might have Nole or Muzza as the favorite as most people think Nole or Muzza are the favorites, I have Rafa as the favorite.
    Despite his having more hard court slams than everybody except Fed and Nole among current players, you claimed he is bad on hard courts!
    Also while your justification for not having Rafa as fave is that his record on hard courts is not as good as that of the other two, Rafa’s record on clay did not matter to you when last year you kept predicting Nole as the winner on clay!!!

    • then he say you think he is most likely to win. You said he is the favorite. Those statements are completely different.

  8. Hi everyone! I enjoyed Ricky’s writings and comments from all three years. I was sorry it was over. I’ve never written before. Glad to here everyone. Rafa anywhere, anytime chance of winning! In exceptional.

  9. haha… i think both of you are saying slightly diff things.. anyway, as both of you said, it does not matter who the favourite is. Even if we want to plant favourites, wht not wait till cincy.. If rafa fares really badly in both montreal and cincy, then of coures his chances will be slim but these are all speculations.

    Thanks nadline, I also saw that video on youtube. Finally some confirmation from rafa 🙂
    I would love to see him winning doing well in both..


  10. on a seperate note, I dont understand why delpo often overplays before slams… i think he is a genuine contender, he can take down all 4 members of the big 4 on his day..sometimes, lack of physical fitness undoes his power baseline game so why not preserve energy before the slams? playing montreal and cincy should be ENOUGH..come on big man !

    • Hi nadline, good to see you guys here! Well, still digesting not being able to post on TT actually. Will take sometime to get over it really, which is funny seeing how unbearably toxic it had become. Yeah, went to tennis-x and asked and a poster directed me to here..

  11. yes true ,Ricky..but that is what I a questioning..why exhaust himself by playing three tournies in a row !

  12. Rafa’s has a title and final appearance in his last two USOs same as Nole. Muzz has a title and a SF appearance. They each have a major title this year. Rafa leads the Race. Nole is No. 1.

    Seems pretty even to me.

    USO is not a fast indoor tournament last time I checked.

    (Aside: more often than not, I can’t post under my WordPress account. #WTF)


    • Conspirator (July 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm) !
      As for posting, my conclusions:
      ¤ I can’t post, if I use icon W (WordPress) to log in. I receive an answer: Sorry…
      ¤ If I fill in the fields ‘Email’ and ‘Name’ under the ‘Leave a Reply’ box, posting is OK.

  13. BTW, where is willmw101?

    Anyone know who Humble Rafa is on T-X? Reminds me of willmw or nadline lol.

    • I would actually really love to know who Humble Rafa is on tennis-x. I have wondered about that poster for a while now. Willmw was very direct and sometimes in your face, so I don’t see it being him/her. I never thought it was anyone who posted on TT.

      I guess we are all scattered all over the place. I know that ritb used to post on tennis-x as nadalista but when I have read there I haven’t seen her. The last we heard she was getting ready to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro!

      I miss the rest of the gang – Monalysa, natashao, sanju, luckystar, and all the others.

      • Hey @nny, I am back from the mountain! So gutted about what happened to TT, I guess we just have to move on and accept that. We have to thank Ricky for creating this space where some of us can at least keep in touch. I hope the rest of the TT gang finds it’s way here, and yes, that includes those who were not Rafans! There is this malicious line which has been peddled, especially on tennis-x blog, that TT was a Rafan site (as if that is a bad thing). I also miss the rest of the TT gang, even those I did not always agree with.

        So looking forward to seeing Rafa next week……kick ass, Rafa!

  14. Ricky your understanding of the term favorite is wrong. Favorite doesn’t mean only bookies’ favorite. It can and in fact more correctly means one who has maximum chance of winning. According to my analysis, he is the favorite.
    No point in carrying on this tedious argument. You refuse to accept that your statement about Rafa being bad on hard courts is factually incorrect and is absolutely outrageously wrong, I cannot expect you to accept that you are wrong when you insist that favorite only means bookies’ favorite.
    We will see how USO plays out. Hope Rafa doesn’t play both Montreal and Cincy unless he crashes out early in Montreal.

  15. wc0206 says:
    July 30, 2013 at 9:00 pm
    “IW on a far more favorable surface for Rafa”

    This is such a trite excuse every time Rafa proves his dissenters wrong by winning on h/c.

  16. Well hallo RITB. Glad to know you survived Kilimanjaro. I was having ‘mares you might have succumbed to altitude sickness and were languishing in hospital somewhere. You must be very fit!!!!!!

    Pleased you’ve found your way over to this site. We all worried what you would do when you found TT had gone up in a puff of smoke. It was such a sad moment but luckily Ricky was able to provide a new home. I tried to get to grips with Talk Tennis as a lot of people were proposing that as an alternative meeting place but I found it bewildering and too time consuming. On principle I will not show my face on Tennis X for fear of reprisals from old enemies!

    What did you make of another Brit lifting the TdF trophy?

  17. Well, I’m loving TalkTennis and I don’t find it the least bit bewildering. So much to talk about there and subjects for discussion are poster driven which is what I like. There is access to so much information and articles I might otherwise miss. Of course I’m glad we also have Tenngrand but there is no harm in having many outlets.

    Though TalkTennis appears too busy, you soon get the hang of it by concentrating on the aspects you like and can ignore the rest. There is even a Nadal News thread which gives up to date news on all things Rafa on and off court which is now on it’s 840th page…………brilliant! There is also a cross section of fans of all colours and sizes even diehard Muzza fans.

  18. ritb,

    Hey you’re here! So glad to see you! We were wondering if you would hear about TT and when you would come back. It was best that you were gone because seventeen and a few others took advantage of the lack of moderation and it got beyond ugly!

    Ricky told us about this tennis when the news came that TT was shutting down. I haven’t been on here much because I am waiting for Montreal and Rafa’s return. I needed a break from tennis after those horrible last days at TT. I did try to post on tennis-x a few times, but I have never felt entirely comfortable there. I know what they thought of TT, but who cares! They have their Fed fans in the majority over there.

    I am so proud of you for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! So glad to see you back!

  19. ritb,

    My mother told me about a special on PBS or somewhere about Machu Picchu in Peru. She and my father went there years ago. But my mother said that when they got up to 8000 feet where the city is, she got altitude sickness so bad that she had to leave. They didn’t really get to see much.

    So you were able to handle the high altitude. In fact, when my mother was telling me to watch this special, I told her about you. I told her that there was a woman on the tennis site I go to all the time who was taking on the challenge of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She was very impressed!

    • nny,

      I cannot begin to tell you what a profound experience it was for me. You know, when my son mooted the idea, I basically gave it the silent treatment and pretended it wasn’t taking place! I underestimated the fact that my son has my genes, therefore stubborn, he just went ahead and arranged the whole thing ignoring my silence!I only participated in the preparation when it was time for me to get my yellow fever jabs etc…

      To cut a long story short, I kept a daily diary, it is buried somewhere in one of my suitcases. Altitude sickness? We took our time, and it helped that we went with an experienced guide group who did not rush us so we pretty much acclimatised as we went along. We had a lady 10 years my senior in my group and we both were okay…..It’s only recently that I have noticed I have lost a bit of weight and It is dawning on me that this is related to the climb! Forgot to eat sometimes………….

      So looking forward to seeing Rafa on court next week…..

  20. OK Nadline I will persevere and give it a go! I got as far as trying to register but kept being refused. I eventually discovered it was because I have just got a new computer and had managed to screw up the settings. In the meantime, be a love and keep up your good work by publishing important Rafa news here!!!!

  21. @Ricky, I know you are on this but please try to get that thing we had in TT: listing most recently commented blogs/articles rather than recent comments only..that wud be great


    • Thanks vamosrafa! Good to see you here, just like old times………here’s hoping sanju, abhirf, bharata, chr18 and all the rest of the TT gang find their way here a some point….

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