Hi everyone, I'm back at last - long update coming up for my 2007 ATP Season!
Congrats iopazzza on your promising run, commiserations to SDAWG - hopefully you will be back to Slam-winning ways soon!
So, following on from the shock loss in Dubai, James Zeiner headed to Indian Wells. He destroyed Xavier Malisse 6-0, 6-0 in the opening match in 50 minutes, defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-2 and then destroyed Andy Murray in a very one-sided encounter 6-1, 6-0 to reach the Quarter Finals. That was a great win considering the trouble Murray has posed in past meetings. The rampage continued as Zeiner swept past Tomas Berdych 6-1, 6-0, then dispatched Andy Roddick 6-1, 6-2 in the Semi Finals to set up a Final meeting with top-ranked Roger Federer. Zeiner went into the match with an 8-9 H2H record, with his most recent win in 4 sets at the 2007 Australian Open Final. He played some awesome tennis packed with jaw-dropping passing shots and ran away with the match 6-3, 6-2 to take home his 2nd Indian Wells Title!
After this, Zeiner played in Miami, winning his first match against Serra 6-2, 6-2, before taking revenge upon Lleyton Hewitt for the Dubai defeat, winning 6-1, 6-3. In R4, Zeiner was locked in an epic battle with David Ferrer and had to save 1 Match Point before winnin 6-4, 4-6, 7-5! In the QFs, he beat Nieminen 6-1, 6-0, then thrashed Marcos Baghdatis 6-0, 6-0 to make the final and continue his dominant run through the American hard court season. In the Final however, Zeiner was stunned 6-7, 3-6 by rising star Novak Djokovic (who also defeated Federer in the QFs)!
Zeiner was then called up for Davis Cup duty for Australia against Spain, where he defeated Ferrer 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 in the first match. However, he lost the first set 3-6 to Nadal in his 2nd tie and was forced to retire due to "injury" (my computer crashed
Onto the clay season where more success awaited. Monte Carlo began and Zeiner reclaimed the World No. 1 ranking by winning his R2 match against Kohlschreiber 6-0, 6-2. He then beat Guillermo Canas 6-3, 6-2 before once again defeating Nieminen 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Semis. James Blake was the next opponent, who he duly beat 6-4, 6-3, before dispatching Nadal in the final 6-3, 6-2 and winning his 3rd Monte Carlo Title (also won in 2004 and 2005)!
In Madrid, Zeiner was the 3-time Defending Champion. He beat Chela 7-6, 6-1 in the opening match after a tough first set with 6 breaks of serve. He then swatted aside Andreev 6-1, 6-1 and Stan Wawrinka 6-0, 6-4 to reach the Semis. Once again, he played Ferrer and broke right at the end of each set to win 6-4, 6-4 to reach another Final. The final was a formality, as he dismissed JC Ferrero 6-2, 6-2 to pick up his 4th Consecutive Madrid Title!
Then for the first time, Zeiner opted to play the Rome Masters. He won his opening match 6-0, 6-2 then beat declining David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-2 to reach the QFs. The QF against Davydenko was tricky, with Davydenko breaking first, but Zeiner responded beautifully to reel off 16 points in a row and win the first set, before closing out the match 6-3, 6-4. He was in fine form and beat Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-1 to reach yet another final, and routed Gonzalez 6-2, 6-1 to sweep the clay season Masters
But then at Roland Garros 2007, something changed. Zeiner was not timing the ball quite as well. He easily won the first 2 matches 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 and 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, but there were too many errors and the 1st serve percentage was down at 41%. He produced a solid performance to beat Chela in R3, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 and then made it easily past Paul-Henry Mathieu 6-3, 6-1, 6-1. The Quarter Final with Robredo was a close match, with Zeiner eventually winning 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 after staying mentally strong in the first 2 sets, and this set up yet another meeting with Ferrer. Ferrer was in excellent form, and he quickly went up a break in the 1st set, but Zeiner responded by breaking back and then breaking once again right before the tie-break. He ran through the second set and then broke in the 8th game of set 3 to serve for the match! But Ferrer suddenly came up with some fantastic return winners (LUCKY!) to break back, then eventually took the set 7-2 in a tie-break! This was the FIRST set Zeiner had dropped throughout the whole of the clay season! Ferrer continued this great form and broke early in the 4th set and then won it - this meant that this was also the FIRST time anyone had taken Zeiner to 5 sets at Roland Garros. Ferrer could not be stopped, and finally served out the match to complete an epic comeback from 2 sets down, triumphing 5-7, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4!! This was also Zeiner's first loss at Roland Garros since 2004, and since Federer went on to win the title, he dropped back to No. 2 in the rankings.
After this tough loss, Zeiner recuperated and then went to the grass courts of Halle, faced with a relatively easy draw. He defeated Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-2 in the opening match, then beat Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-2 to reach the Semifinals against Novak Djokovic. Zeiner broke in the opening game of the match and served his way to winning the first set. There were no breaks in the 2nd set, but Djokovic held his nerve better in the tie-break. There was to be no comeback though, as Zeiner romped through the decider to win 6-4, 6-7, 6-1, then he returned the following day to beat Davydenko 6-2, 6-1 and win Halle for a 2nd time (first title in 2004)!
Zeiner now enters Wimbledon seeded 2, looking for his first victory there
He has a 47-4 Win-Loss record for the season, having won 7 titles in the year (including 1 Grand Slam).
Zeiner also has 13 Masters Titles to his name