Good morning. As usual please use this space to discuss today's matches, and any other tennis-related matters of the day. We'd appreciate it if you could hold you off-topic chat until the tennis has finished.
Please note that when this post has collected between 400-500 comments, we'll put up an Overflow post to help avoid the issues related to TypePad freezes. This will be provided, as normal, via a link at the bottom of this headline post, while the current post will be closed to comments. If we need subsequent Overflow posts, they will be accessed in the normal way via links at the top and bottom of the Overflow. No Overflow posts will be linked from the tennis.com front page.
Today's Order of play in Madrid can be found on this link. Looking just at the ATP, I'm going to have a tough time deciding whether to watch world number five Juan Martin Del Potro versus Tomas Berdych (who won last week's tournament in Munich, and also these two's only match to date, in Tokyo last year) or Novak Djokovic against Oscar Hernandez. Later in the day there's also an opportunity to see James Blake (who reached the Estoril final last week) take on Ivo Karlovic (last week's Belgrade semifinalist). Karlovic leads that head-to-head 3-1. David Ferrer versus Juan Monaco also looks promising (Monaco has won both of their matches on clay, but those happened four or five years ago). Naturally I'll be watching the battle of the lefties - Rafael Nadal versus Jurgen Melzer - late in the afternoon.
Perhaps Master Ace or other posters can identify the best potential matches of the day on the WTA side. I've seen little of the WTA lately, so can't say much about current form. I did catch some of Dinara Safina's run to the title in Rome last week, including her marathon semifinal against Venus Williams, and would expect that many of you will be watching the world number one as she takes on Li Na in the primetime evening slot today.
I'm nominating an ATP player of the day for yesterday - Ivan Ljubicic, who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5. Clay is Tsonga's worst surface, but the clay in Madrid this week looks pretty fast, and the two players were mostly able to dominate on serve. Perhaps our WTA watchers could suggest a player of the day on the women's side.
As always, enjoy today's tennis.
-- Rosangel Valenti
[Note - we have opened an Overflow post as of around 11.45 a.m. EST - please follow the link below to reach it. RV]