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Azarenka Withdraws, Williams move on; The New Joker (2012 edition); Fed's coming after Tiriac

Today's Results; Quarterfinal Preview

May 17, 2012 | 08:00 PM

Fed's annual endorsement income of $30,000,000 a year comes from long term deals with Nike, Rolex, Credit Suisse, and Wilson. After a decade as one of the top players in the world, when he gets off the court for good he'll be well on his way to becoming another billionaire (like Tiriac). Forbes just named Roger and Rafa to their Top 100 Most Influential Celebrity list.

Joker's 2012 year to date looks very different from his 2011 record, when he had lost no matches and only 5 sets by Rome. This year, except for winning Australia, his record trails both Fed and Rafa:

Joker Rafa Fed

Sets Lost 18 11 14

Matches Lost 4 3 3

Won/Lost 27/4 28/4 29/3

Today, Joker lost another set, this time to #14 seed Juan Monaco, 4-6. Down a break 2-1 in the 2nd set, Joker cut out most of the errors and won 20 of 25 points to close out the set 6-2. The 3rd was more contested until 3-4, when Joker broke and served out the match 6-3, but it was a competitive, messy affair. The new Joker can win these matches with mental toughness, reflected by his now reliable serve that no longer coughs up untimely double faults (he served none today). But he made plenty of errors in the difficult conditions - 40, to be exact, to Monaco's 48 - and neither player hit even half as many winners. The Joker of 2011 was winning with dominating, largely error-free tennis. This v.2 champion is having to work harder. It remains to be seen what affect, if any, this will have on his ability tough out another long final with a champion like Rafa or Roger.

Andy Murray wasn't so lucky with his struggle against old rival #16 seed Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman evened up their H2H 3-3 with a 3 set win, 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-2, assisted by Murray errors and poor serving. Both man faced a ton of break points (17 each), but it was Gasquet who's serve won him free points in the final set. Rome seems to suit Gasquet better than his won soil: last year he beat both Feerer and Berdych on his way to a semi-final loss to Rafa.

Federer also struggled today, losing the 2nd set to Ferrero in a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 win. The remaining higher seeded men won fairly routinely:

- #5 Tsonga, who beat #10 seed Del Potro 6-4, 6-1 for only his second win over the Argentine to 5 losses (two this year on hard courts)

- Rafa destroyed unseeded Granollers 6-1, 6-1

- Berdych defeated #12 Almagro 7-6 (3), 6-3

Unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi continued his streak of upsets, beating Wawrinka 6-7 (1), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (6).

WOMEN's Results

- Wild Card Venus Williams upset #5 seed Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-3.

- Sharapova def, Ivanovic 7-6 (4), 6-3

- Serena def, Garrigues 6-3, 6-1

Quarterfinal Pairings: in Order of Play

MEN: (5 of the same final 8 as last week in Madrid: new this week are Berdych, Tsonga and Seppi)

- Rafa v Berdych (Rafa is 11-3 with Berdych) *

- Gasquet v Ferrer (David has 6-1 edge in series)

- Joker v Tsonga (Jo has 5-4 edge over Joker)

- Fed v Seppi (Roger is 8-0 with Andres)

* Rafa has a winning record with every active player except Davydenko, who is 5-4 with him.

WOMEN: (3 of the same final 8 as last week: Serena, Maria and Li)

- Serena v Pennetta

- Na Li v Cibulkova

- Kvitova v Kerber

- Venus v Sharapova


Rome ATP, WTA 5.17.12

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