Posts tagged nadal
Posts tagged nadal
Honestly, it took me this long to get over the U.S. Open. When Djokovic hit that ridiculous return winner to save the first match point he faced against Federer, my only reaction was basically silence until the next point. Seeing Roger Federer set up for that routine midcourt forehand on the next point and have it hover in the air before landing just out, my reaction was basically, “Oh s***.” My mind immediately went back to last year’s semifinal. So did everyone else’s. Including Federer. First, there was the disbelief: “No. No, it’s not going to happen again.” Then, there was the enlightenment: “It’s going to happen again.” Finally, there was the disappointment: “I cannot believe that s*** happened AGAIN! F!!!!!”
I had to work Monday night, so I didn’t really watch that much of the Final. But, then again, I didn’t really need to. My Open pretty much ended after the first Semi; I wouldn’t have even flinched if Nadal had actually crossed the net and beaten Murray with his racquet. It’s such a strange phenomenon being an ardent supporter of a player or team. You invest all this time watching, reading about, living vicariously through your favorite player. When they win, you’re a winner. When they lose, you’re a loser. Capital L.
On a very different note, Davis cup was the next weekend. It was interesting to see the players move on so quickly. I was even a little surprised that Federer actually made the trip to Australia. I think he was too. He went down a set and a break to Hewitt before realizing that he needed to actually play some serious ball if his trip down under wasn’t going to be a huge waste. Ultimately, he got two wins (he also beat Tomic in four) and Stan “the man who made Donald Young a man” Wawrinka pulled out a two-day, five-set win against Hewitt to take the tie and put Switzerland back into the World Group for 2012. Maybe the Australia tie will give Federer the confidence he needs after that heavy loss. Maybe he’ll win the Davis Cup for Switzerland and check off the only item missing from his resume. Maybe I’ll get another follower.
As for the Women’s final: So glad Sam Stosur won! So glad she beat a real, top player like Serena to do it! Not surprised by Serena’s outburst in the first place. And especially glad that Stosur was able to move past the drama and finish the job.
How lucky is Roger Federer? After waiting for what seemed like forever on Monday night to play his match, he was able to breeze through his fourth round match against Juan Monaco. He didn’t start his match until 11:50 pm but turned in his best performance of the last two months and smoked the Argentine in 82 minutes. So, what’s lucky about that?
For one, Monaco, (who had no chance to pull off an upset anyway) had some of the worst preparation I’ve heard of for a pro. When asked how he got ready for his match, he said that he actually warmed up 4 hours before the match. Seriously? I’m obviously no expert, but I’m pretty sure that warming up and then chilling for four hours is pretty much pointless. Why not go hit again for a few minutes when the women start the third set? I just can’t believe that a pro tennis player would be that casual about the chance to get to the quarters of the U.S. Open. And then… he won THREE games. That’s unacceptable for the world number 14. Think about it: 18-3.
Numero dos, just getting Monaco, someone who has no weapons in the fourth round is a perfect draw for Fed. Monaco’s M.O. is pretty much to get a lot of balls in play (if he’s warmed up) and grind guys down. What more could an all time great ask for?
Three, that wait doesn’t seem so long now does it? Federer is a day ahead of Nadal and Murray who only started their fourth round matches today. So, if the Open wants to finish by Sunday and there are no more delays, those guys will potentially be playing best-of-five matches everyday! That’s a tough assignment, even for Nadal.
Last thought: the other day I was talking (writing? blogging?) about Donald FTUSTA Young who was, then wasn’t, and now may be but probably isn’t the “Future of American Tennis.” The question was would he be able to win a match he should after winning one he shouldn’t have. Well, he definitely did and in straight sets no less. Good for him. Young mixed it up against Chela (another unimposing Argentine) who didn’t put up much of a fight. He played some solid tennis, snuck into the net on a few occasions, and took his opportunities when they presented themselves. Basically, he did what you’re supposed to do against a 32 year old clay-courter.
That’s all great, but Juan Ignacio Chela is no Andy Murray. Young must have served 85% of his (relatively weak) serves to Chela’s backhand. There is now way that Murray is going to let that slide. If he doesn’t have the best serving day of his life and keep Murray guessing, he’ll probably do only slightly better than Monaco. But who knows, maybe he’ll get a little lucky.
The last/first post I did dealt pretty much with breaking down the Men’s Singles Draw at the Open. Since then, parts of the draw have broken down before our (my) eyes. Basically, I’m a psychic. My incredibly accurate portrayal of Gael Monfils as a stupid competitor came to be. He beat Dimitrov in a match that was both brilliant and moronic: hit amazing winners and equally amazing errors, a between-the-legs-but-utterly-pointless-volley that cost him the point and some 100+ mph forehands. What did he do in the next round? More of the same.
Unfortunately for Monfils, the swings between genius and stupidity were more costly against Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former No. 1 and a former finalist here who is willing to do anything to win important matches in his advanced age.
Ferrero is 31 years old now and on and off the injured list pretty frequently. But he’s a grinder and a half and kept at it for almost 5 hours. In the end, it was the ending the match deserved. The workmanlike performance from the old man prevailed. And that’s all I want to write about Monfils until the clay next year. Ridiculous.
Other than that, Federer looked good, Nadal looked ok, Djokovic looked great and Murray didn’t.
Another really good match that I watched at work, (What? It was slow! Don’t judge me.) had the other Swiss guy, Stan Wawrinka, and… HE LOST TO DONALD “FTUSTA” YOUNG IN A FIFTH SET TIEBREAKER!!! I’m sorry for screaming. It’s not your fault.
First of all, the 14 seed should not lose a match like that to a less experienced, less physical, less everything player than him. From 4-1 up in the fifth, he blew it and allowed Young to come back. “Here, Donald, do you want to get to the third round of the Open and have the career-defining turning point of your tennis life? I’m just not really feelin’ it. Yeah? Ok, thanks.” But hey, DY played some opportunistic tennis and let Stan self-destruct. He hit the winners that were there to hit and showed some nice defense. It was a nice moment for sure but, honestly, it shouldn’t have been allowed to get that far.
Things to look for:
Will Djokovic get a real test from the Monfils-like Dolgopolov? Will Donald Young have a mental breakdown on court if he can’t back up his big win with another over Chela (like this perhaps)? Will Roddick be back in the mix? Can Mardy Fish keep it going and take out Tsonga? Will Federer be able to avoid the concentration lapses that he’s been having? Will I get another follower? Hmmmmm…
Apparently I have a blog. I am currently blogging. Does it feel good? Maybe. Did I set it up? No. My wife decided that if I haven’t kicked this tennis addiction that she’s been noticing for the last nine years by now, I may as well do something constructive with it. I think I like it. This is history.
About the blog. This will mostly be aimed at my addiction to the “Sport of Kings” or “The Sport for People Who Didn’t Play Anything with the Words ‘PeeWee’ Attached to the Title.” Honestly, it will focus almost exclusively on professional tennis and, to take it a step further, men’s professional tennis. It’s not that I don’t like women’s tennis that much, I just don’t find that many players particularly appealing at the moment. Also, there may be some college tennis thrown in there because it’s pretty fun to watch and a great way to see people who are probably way better than you at tennis without having to pay for it.
On to the tennis. The big news of the tennis world this week is the U.S. Open starts on Monday. I am looking at the draw right now and it looks like… 128 names. But look closer and it will boil down to a couple who have legitimate shots at making some headlines for themselves.
A quick scan of the first quarter of the draw show some notable names like Berdych, Gasquet, and Ferrero. But none is more notable than World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is on an historic roll right now that will almost assuredly take him through to the second week. The highest seed in this section is Gael Monfils (stupid amounts of talent and equally stupid competitive instinct). The one 1st round match I’m going to mention in particular is Monfils opening against Grigor Dimitrov, nicknamed Baby Federer, in what should be good match to watch aesthetically speaking. However, if you’re looking for two people burning with competitive fire to do whatever it takes to get the win, probably look elsewhere.
The first name you see in the second quarter of the draw is 16 time slam champion Roger Federer. He’s a 5 time champ here and is the only guy to finish off Novak Djokovic in a match this year (which freaked my wife out due to me going crazy during that French Open Semi; I think she used the word “lunatic”). Pretty sure that Federer has owned everyone in this section by glancing through the names but there are some tricky players for sure. U.S. Open Series winner Mardy Fish is the 8th seed here and Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco is here too. Former Olympic Pole Vaulter Sergei Bubka has come out of retirement to make an appearance as well. Not really, it’s actually his son. WAKE UP! HALF WAY THERE!
This is Andy Murray’s quarter but it also has ‘09 Champion Juan Martin Del Potro as well. There are some other names that stick out like Baghdatis, Ginepri, Lopez, and Donald “F*** the USTA!” Young. Google it. If Murray doesn’t come through here it’s basically over for him. Not really. Maybe.
Finally, we have the last quarter and we have some marquee names. Andy Roddick’s here, as well as the rapidly rising just to disappear again James Blake, No. 6 Seed Ferrer who is a good litmus test for the top players, and finally the Defending Champion Rafael Nadal. Nadal didn’t look great in this year’s warm up tournaments but, honestly he didn’t last year either so, whatever. I’m watching out for Latvian billionaire’s son Ernests Gulbis because he has talent oozing out of his pores and doesn’t give a s*** about it. Also, the more he wins the more awesome interviews he will have to do. A win-win.
Predictions? I predict that 127 people will lose important tennis matches by September 11th and a lot of those matches will be very entertaining. However, I’m hoping that the 2011 Champion’s name begins with an “R” and ends with “oger Federer.” Can blogs be biased?