US Open Previews: It’s Showtime
by Abe Kuijl | August 27th, 2007, 12:40 am
  • 60 Comments

Whenever the US Open rolls around, my mind starts to reflect on the season that has been, and I think to myself, ‘wow, is it September already?’ Of course there are still three months of tennis to be played after the Open, but in a way, the season comes to a close after the champions have been crowned in New York.

Let’s not start commemorating just yet, when there’s still looking ahead to do.

MEN’S PREVIEW


First Quarter

Here’s a nice way to get us going. When was the last time Federer started a Slam not seeded first? And how did the Swiss fare? I wonder if Roger remembers this himself.

Federer will headline the field going for his fourth consecutive US Open title and faces two qualifiers to start his campaign. He might get a shot at America’s new hope, John Isner in the third round. Federer should cruise through to the quarters, where we should be in for a rematch of last year’s final, when Fed takes on Roddick. You know what will happen there.

Semifinal pick: Roger Federer

Second Quarter

Moving down the draw, the second quarter offers us the pick’em section of the tournament. Our contestants for a semifinal spot are Davydenko, Canas, Haas, Baghdatis and Blake. Is it just me or does Davydenko always seem to be involved in these regions? Andy Murray also features in this section, but we can’t expect anything from the Briton just yet. Blake clearly thrives on the American hard courts, but there’s another guy here who loves the show and the big occassion and I’m liking this certain Cypriot to come through here.

Semifinal pick: Marcos Baghdatis


Third Quarter

Exactly one year ago, Lleyton Hewitt destroyed an up-and-coming Novak Djokovic in the third round of the US Open. The Serb has his eyes set on a rematch though, as the Djoker and Hewitt are scheduled to meet in the fourth round of this year’s event. To get there, Djokovic has some tough hurdles to clear first. Mario Ancic is not a first round opponent he’d be happy with, nor is Radek Stepanek in round two.

Djokovic has established himself as the No.3 player and already showed at Wimbledon he is capable of defeating Hewitt. Hard courts suit the Djoker better than grass, so he should come through here. Hewitt has always performed well in New York though, and if Djokovic is a little drained from his openers, he could easily go down. And then there is the possibility of facing Mikhail Youzhny in the quarters, the Russian who has beaten him twice this year already. Still, Djokovic has developed into a very good match player and that should see him get through to the semis.

Semifinal pick: Novak Djokovic


Fourth Quarter

Not only is this the familiar Rafa corner, special attention goes out to Tim Henman in this bottom quarter, who starts his career ending Grand Slam against one of the players he’d least liked to have faced. Dmitry Tursunov, who leads the Tiger 5-1 head-to-head, will likely go down as the man who ended Henman’s Grand Slam career.

Even though Nadal has yet to come alive during the American hard court summer, Rafa faces no real threats until the fourth round, and I don’t see David Ferrer or David Nalbandian upend the No.2 either. Fernando Gonzalez is hardly a lock for the quarters, leaving the way wide open for Nadal to advance to the semis.

Semifinal pick: Rafael Nadal


Closing Stages

in Cincinnati, Baghdatis couldn’t beat a Federer who was playing some of his worst tennis of the past three, four years. A semifinal run at a Grand Slam event is a great performance for the Bag Man. It ends here.

In the other semifinal, it’s looking like Djokovic will be out of gas again by the time he gets to face Nadal, who, on his turn, is just starting to warm up. Unless Djokovic finds a way to avoid grinding it out in the earlier rounds, this one is for the running man.

I wouldn’t pick anyone else over Federer in this tournament, not with a best-of-five format, but when Nadal faces the Swiss in the final, I’m going with the Spaniard to win his first US Open title.

Champion: Rafael Nadal

THE LADIES

Is this deja vu, or what’s going on here? Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Serena Williams again feature in the top half of the draw, whilst Anna Chakvetadze and Maria Sharapova are scheduled to meet in a Slam quarterfinal for the third time this season.

First Quarter

Just like Federer, Henin will start her quest for the title in New York against a qualifier, and she too might face an American favorite in the quarters. Andy Roddick is a safer bet to advance to that stage than Serena Williams though, as Serena hasn’t played a match since falling to Henin at Wimbledon. If anyone is capable of pulling off miracle runs at big events it’s Serena, but she might as well fall in the early rounds.

Semifinal pick: Justine Henin

Second Quarter

In the Serbian quarter with Jankovic and Ivanovic, we also find Venus Williams. Jankovic has a nice draw into the last eight, where she will face the winner of her younger compatriot versus Venus. Ivanovic could be a future Slam winner, but Ana still has some maturing to do to beat the more experienced players on the big stage. I’m picking Venus in this one, though I believe Jankovic will make the semis.

Semifinal pick: Jelena Jankovic

Third Quarter

Svetlana Kuznetsova is coming off a tournament win in New Haven, but the third-seeded Russian was far from playing at her best throughout the week. The draw in NY has been kind to Kuzzie and she remains the favorite to reach the last four. Nadia Petrova looks like her biggest challenger in the quarterfinals, although Michaella Krajicek is a dark horse in Petrova’s section.

Semifinal pick: Svetlana Kuznetsova

Fourth Quarter

Here we have Chakvetadze and Maria’s part of the draw. Both Chaky and Pova are the overwhelming favorites to come through their sections, though Patty Schnyder might give Anna C. a run for her money in the fourth round. Even though Sharapova has beaten her compatriot on all three occasions the two squared off in 2007, I believe Chakvetadze should be able to seriously push Maria in this one. Experience will be a factor in the end, so the defending champion should come through.

Semifinal pick: Maria Sharapova

Closing Stages

Although she has never beaten Henin, Jankovic is due for a win over her rival. Last year at the US Open she squandered a set and a 4-2 lead against the Belgian after blowing up over a line call, but the Serb knows that she has become a contender at the majors and believes she can win them. Sharapova is the routine pick against Kuznetsova, but against a Jankovic who has just beaten her nemesis, Maria will lose her crown.

Champion: Jelena Jankovic

Park the bus and drop off the keys. The road trip has reached its final destination. It’s showtime.


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60 Comments for US Open Previews: It’s Showtime

funches Says:

Too much is being made of Federer playing poorly at Cincy this year. He always plays poorly at Cincy. He played much worse there last when he lost to Murray in the second round and much worse there three years ago when he lost to Hrbaty in the first round. This was his most successful summer ever in the lead-up events to the U.S. Open.

Otherwise, I think your commentary is sound. If anyone beats Fed in New York, it will be Nadal.


Tejuz Says:

:-) If Nadal can achieve what you just predicted he definitely will deserve the No 1 ranking. But i just dont think the US Open will turn out that way. Hewitt will have a say in this matter. Djok, i think will be hard pressed to pass his initial rounds. Nadal has a good chance to reach semis. But even if he does reach the finals and face Fed it will be a tough match.

Fed’s serve and slice (yes he used it soo often at Cincy) would be more effective than it was at wimbledon. Probabaly if wind comes into picture it might be to Nadal’s advantage cuz his heavy top spins probabaly has more margin for errors compared to Feds.. also the wind might cause Fed to make more unforced error.
But then how can we forget that match when Fed prevailed over Agassi in 5 sets in the QF of 2004 open in a very windy day.


Voicemale Says:

I want to thank you Abe for your prediction of Nadal to win the Men’s tournament – because I didn’t want to be the only one that thought that too.

Agree with Tejuz that Djokovic doesn’t have the most rugged physical constitution, which accounts for his tendency to labor into the second week of a Major. He’s had to retire twice to Nadal in his career, being well down in both matches while doing so. I also think that Hewitt is playing some great ball right now. He’s a major threat to go very deep, so long as he doesn’t lose his concentration, which he has done in in matches during this second half of his career

I was at Indian Wells this year and was startled by how well Nadal rolled through the draw there. I’d posted before that if he brought that game here, I think he can win it. Federer’s comment about Nadal winning this if he doesn’t is telling in itself. I doubt you would have ever heard him say that 12 months ago. He’s seen (and felt) Nadal’s improvement from last year. Obviously he thinks its good enough to win, too.


Kash Says:

“When was the last time Federer started a Slam not seeded first? And how did the Swiss fare? I wonder if Roger remembers this himself.”

>>>>> At firstlook, that was a straightforward question. So I thought 03 open and 4th round loss to nalbandian in 4 sets. The I thought a little and I am thinking 04 aussie and Champion. Would roger make this goof too, if questionned? some one in the press, pose it to him, i say!

And a question for people on the board, why does djokovic have to work so much for his wins, when he has such big game? He seems to play too much of a running game than he should be doing given the killer down the line shots he has! What do people think? I am sure his fitness is improving as wimbledon showed us. He retired, but the matches against hewitt and baggy man were downright brutal!


grendel Says:

I agree with Abe and Voicemale to the extent that this is Nadal’s big chance. Here’s why:

Much has been made of Federer’s easy draw, but this is for first few rounds, barely relevant really for players of Fed’s and Nadal’s quality. In his quarter, Fed could meet Gasquet and/or Roddick or Berdych – all these are serious if unlikely contenders for the title. Nadal can meet Safin or Nalbandian, and Gonzales – none of whom, on current form, are a threat.

In the semis, the form player is Djokovic and, if he gets there he will be facing Nadal as usual, apparently, exhausted.

So Nadal is indeed a good bet for final. But to maintain credibility in these very favourable circumstances, he’s got to win it. Otherwise Federer will look untouchable for the moment, and we will be looking to Djokovic and not Nadal as his chief contender.


Christopher Says:

Nadal has never advanced past the quarters at the U.S. Open. His hard court summer season has hardly been stellar. He still may be hiding an injury. Picking Nadal to win the whole event is illogical at this point. Facts are facts, Federer won the Cincinnati event and was a finalist in Canada. Perhaps he didn’t play his best tennis but yet he still won the U.S. Open series. I believe Federer will bring it at the U.S. Open like he did at the Austrailian Open where he didn’t lose a set on his way to the championship.

Good luck to all!


Kamy Says:

Roddick is certainly a great player and he has the ability to beat any player on his day. I think its just that psychogical advantage that Federer has against him that makes him so weak against him (thats what i think) and also he is mentally not that tough. The only player apart from Nadal that can consistently beat Federer is Djokovic. The way he is playing i think he will prove to be more fierce rival to Federer than Nadal in the coming future because technically his play is quite good, he can play excellent tennis on all surfaces, so he is versatile and mentally he is strong and certainly not afraid of Federer. Its all about how long he can maintain that level of play. If he does then he will seriously be strong contender to dethrone the great Federer from no. 1 position. As for US open, it would be either federer vs djokovic or federer vs hewitt (my prediction).


zeg Says:

grendel -

Good points. These may be not only favourable circumstances for Nadal, but also a “must do”
breakout time on a hard court. He’s got to win this tournament this year, or at least make it to the final. Otherwise, his position as a serious contender outside clay becomes highly questionable. I believe this time he can win seven straight matches provided his body holds up.


jane Says:

Zeg – what about Rafa’s achievements on grass?

How can you say if he doesn’t make it to the final “his position as a serious contender outside clay becomes highly questionable”?

He’s won hard court tournaments – Master’s Series. He’s been in the final at Wimbie twice. He’s been no# 2 in the world longer than any other player.

I’d say he’s a serious contender already. On clay? He’s not a contender; he’s king.


zeg Says:

jane-

No doubt about grass, he should’ve won it this year. What I am referring to is the “other half” of the Slams – Australian and U.S. – where Rafa is yet to make a lasting impression. I believe he can win both – his hard court achievements are impressive, and even the lamest of pundits stopped calling him a “clay court specialist”. The two hard court Slams are the final frontier, but not much time remains.


jane Says:

Okay, fair enough zeg.

But why the time constraints? He’s a mere 21. Are you saying this because of the other young players coming up, or because of his “physical” game (although Connors had quite a physical, defensive game and look how long he played…)?


zeg Says:

jane-

A bit of both. I am more concerned about Rafa’s health than the upcoming Djokovices, particularly after Cincy.

Meantime, his closest tour buddy Feli pulls off a nice one.


Shital Green Says:

Two upsets already: Baggy and Ferrero exit in the 1st round. Gasquet, Berdych, and Davydenko move on. Our home boy Donald Young also makes it to the 2nd round. Looks like there is going to be a lot of upsets. I am enjoying it, though I did not want Baggy to lose.
Guys,
Recently, I see some animosity among some of us.
Can we act more maturely, show some tolerance, and have a little bit respectful conversation here, appreciating others’ difference of opinion instead of rejecting them outrightly or irrationally bashing them?


jane Says:

Zeg – well I hope Rafa doesn’t have any more dizzy spells or that his knee doesn’t give out. It’d be nice to see another spectacular final like in London.

Shital – yeah, shame about Baggy. I think that loss against Fed in Cincy really was a blow to his confidence. I almost saw that one coming.


zeg Says:

Yeah, maybe changing coaches for Marcos was not a good idea – things went downhill ever since.
After Cincy I took him off my faves list – nothing kills your confidence like a mega-choke.


jane Says:

Andy Murray sure wiped out his opponent – maybe he’ll perform better in the Open than most have anticipated?


Shawn Says:

How could you possibly pick Nadal to win the Open? He has NEVER had success in the 2nd half of the hard court season, even less at the US Open. Federer played “less-good” in one tournament, still ended winning the whole thing, and you go and pick Nadal for the Open? I am completely mind-boggled at this analysis.


Shital Green Says:

Kuijil,
You are already wrong in your 1 pick. I hope you will be wrong in all of your picks, except maybe Fed pick.


Christopher Says:

I’m still puzzled by the Nadal pick. The courts seem very very quick. Baggy went down to a serve and volley player. This doesn’t look good for Nadal’s chances later. Lucky for Nadal he has an easy draw until the quarters.


JCF Says:

“Nadal has never advanced past the quarters at the U.S. Open. His hard court summer season has hardly been stellar. He still may be hiding an injury. Picking Nadal to win the whole event is illogical at this point. Facts are facts,”

That in itself is an illogical basis for a prediction. How is anyone meant to win any title for the first time, if they’ve never gotten past a certain round? Federer had never got past the 4th round at the AO or USO as of 04, but he won both titles. By your logic, Federer should never have won those titles right? And he never got past the QF at Wimbledon as of 03 either, but he won that too.

Fact: There’s a first time for everything, and using past history as your basis is stupid. By that reasoning, no one can ever win any title. I mean, Nadal had never even played at RG until 05, so you can’t even say he’s never gotten past the QF there. He’d never won a single match there! But he won the title in 05.


JCF Says:

“The only player apart from Nadal that can consistently beat Federer is Djokovic.”

Consistently? He’s beaten Federer just once, and the head to head is 4-1 in Fed’s favor. You have a loose definition for ‘consistent’.


Giner Says:

“I’m still puzzled by the Nadal pick. The courts seem very very quick. Baggy went down to a serve and volley player. This doesn’t look good for Nadal’s chances later. Lucky for Nadal he has an easy draw until the quarters.”

So do the SW19 lawns, relatively speaking (where he twice made the finals and lost to the only man that’s won there in the last 5 years). So did Madrid where he won the title in 05 (beating Ljubicic from 2 sets down — a fast court player), Shanghai in 06 when he lost to Fed in two tight sets, and Dubai where he beat Fed in the final in 06. What’s your point?

Baggy is out of form, and his loss says nothing for anyone else.


Daniel Says:

Well, reading this writer last posts he had to “obviously” pick Nadal for the open.
He already breaks his point in 25% with Baghi losing today, so He will only be right about Federer and Djokovic.
Nadal has never won Gonzalez in hard courts. So if Gonzalez makes it to the quarter I see him beaten Nadal in straight sets, like he did in Aussie this year.


zeg Says:

JCF -

I have no doubt about Nadal’s ability to win USO this year. Sure, the naysayers will always resort to some “conventional wisdom”, but it did not work very well in the past two years at Wimbledon.
His shortcomings on a hard court notwithstanding, Nadal posseses enormous confidence in his abilities, and that in tennis is the single most valuable asset. As I mentioned in an earlier post, his biggest obstacle remains his physical form. That will play much bigger role in his success than his opponents.


jane Says:

One other obstacle for Rafa, which hopefully he will right – he can’t stand so far behind the baseline, like he did in Montreal. If he plays a more agressive game, like at SW19 or like that brilliant win on hard courts against Federer in Dubai in 06, he can take it all. And Fed will get to keep his house, since he’ll win his bet.

Vamos!


Christopher Says:

JCF,

Federer always had a great hard court game. It was just a matter of time for him to translate that into a grand slam win like the U.S. Open. It was very easy to predict him to win the title on that basis. Nadal’s game really doesn’t translate that well to fast hard courts like the U.S. Open. Flat power hitters have beat him the past two years (Blake and Youzhnzy) in straight sets. It is still not logical to forecast Nadal winning the U.S. Opne title over Federer when Federer’s game is more suited for these fast hard courts and Nadal’s is not. Until Nadal can prove he can cope with the faster conditions that the U.S. Open presents, then he is not the favorite. This is not dirt. Nadal will not beable to run down so many balls that he can retrieve at R.G. Nadal’s second serve is a liability. He gets in trouble on hard courts with it. Good players will take advantage. There are holes in the Nadal game which fast court players can and will expose. They did in Canada and Cincinnati. Again, the Nadal pick is illogical based on the type of game he plays and the surface he is playing it on.

Maybe you will be right but I would be stunned. We will find out in two weeks who is right.


zeg Says:

I don’t think there’s a clear “favorite” in the field other than Federer. My contention is if Rafa plays at the level of his IW triumph this year, he will beat everyone, including Fed in the final.


grendel Says:

Everyone likes Baggy and is sad when he’s out. But the bright side is that a serve and volleyer won. Thought the species nearly extinct – which is shame.

Also Lopez winning – he’s half serve and volley, isn’t he? Isner also sort of is. Looking forward to full scale revival of the species. Isner due to meet Fed 3rd round – upset unlikely, but if it goes to tie breaks, one lucky net cord (as in the Niemenem match), one double fault – well, that’s 2 sets to Isner. How’s he going to win the third?

Murray looked good against v.weak opponent. But really gave his wrist a good outing, so no wonder he was smiling. Dark horse.


jane Says:

I like Murray as a dark horse; sulky though he may be, he’s got some great variety when he’s on (not to mention healthy) and a Scotsman going deep in a Slam? Just sounds fine to me for some reason. Maybe I’ve got a soft spot for the bagpipes.


Tejuz Says:

Djoko gets a breather now.. with Ancic withdrawal. So i guess he shud be safe if he can get past Stepanek.


Voicemale1 Says:

For all the people in here that chide those of us that did pick Nadal to win the tournament this year – let me remind you. Federer gave an interview to the Associated Press 3 days ago in which he was asked who he thought would win this year if he didn’t. The AP reported that he didn’t hesitate in answering: Rafael Nadal. He didn’t say Djokovic; he didn’t say Hewitt; he didn’t say Roddick, or anybody else. Federer said that if he didn’t win and had to “bet his house” on someone else, it’d be Rafa.

Can’t wait to hear what those that chided us have to say now. Let’s see how many of these Armchair QB/Tennis Coach/Pundit blog posters will claim Federer (who only plays against all of them on the court) has no clue what he’s talking about.


Tejuz Says:

well.. If Fed doesnt win it.. Nadal is the best placed to win it, because he knows how to win the big ones and has beaten the top 10 players consistently. Hewitt would be next followed by Roddick and Djokovic.

Regarding Djoko’s chance… Reaching the semi’s is winning 5 5-setters (minimum 15 sets).. but winning the tournament is winning 7 of them (minimum 21 sets) and the last 2 matches will be against 2 quality players back-2-back which will go the distance for sure. Also at US Open, the QFs (lower half), Semis and Finals are played within a span of 4 days which is quite taxing and needs extreme physical prowess…. which he certainly lacks based on his recent Grand slam results. Thats also the reason why Fed terms US Open as the toughest of them all because of scheduling, wind factor, surface, humidity and the crowd. I think Djoko’s best chance would only come at the Au Open.


achilles190 Says:

I dont think that picking Nadal to win or get to the final is a bad bet.
I think if fed and Nadal get to the final it is Fed final to lose. IF Roger attacks consistently and moves forward and consistently vuts off Rafa angles as he is capable of then I woudl pick Fed in 4 or 5 sets.
what is interesting with these 2 on hardcourt or carpet is that if Nadal hits flatter or stands closer to the baseline he cannot use as much topsin thereby taking away his bigest strength against Federer.

There is an aspest to Rafa’s hardcourt game that is misssed…It is true that there are many who’s game is more suited to hardcourt thatn Rafael Nadal however very few are as mentally tough as Rafa and at times I think that he is the most mentally tough player….On major points Rafael will not make a mistale will get the first serve in and will run down anything. Tis mental tenacity wil win points and sets and at times matches.

Something that Roger federer said about Rafael Nadal back in 2004…..anyone who tinks that Rafael is just a claycourt player does not understand tennis ..rafael is a good tennis player period who reads the game way beyond his years….( paraphrase)


achilles190 Says:

ps when Rafa beat Roger in Dubai……..Rafa was not hugging the baseline,,,,,, It looked at first like it was going to be a straight set victory for Rogers,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and according to reports that I read and highlights that I saw……Roger backed off from attacking perhaps became tentative………….

I actually think this Open will be very exciting —especially the mens……..It is the first Open in a while where I would not bet my house that Roger would win —maybe just my cottage……..

ps —am I the only person who does not believe that Roger has an easy………..I actually feel that rqafa haas a good draw to make it to the final………….although not a cake walk


jane Says:

Hey folks,

I like Rafa’s chances a lot too. It would be great for him to make it to the final – and even better to win it all.

But I am wondering why most people here seem rather quick to write off the Djoker?

Here’s why I wonder, and this is all based on his rise/results this year because clearly this is the year that matters:

First, his physical constitution: he only retired once this year (as far as I know), which was against Rafa in the Semis at Wimbledon, and that was after he had spent more hours than any other player on court. He had tough consecutive matches too, against a resurgent Kiefer, a fighting Hewitt and a talented Baggy. And still he managed to take a set off Rafa even though he was limping due to a foot injury (I think an infected blister). If he wasn’t worn out by the crazy rain-sodden schedule, who knows? Others were affected, not just Djoker. Gasquet was also clearly zonked. He lost in the French to Rafa in the Semis, but the 1st two sets were tight (esp the 1st), and otherwise his RG results were pretty solid.

Second, a recap of his amazing hard court results this year:

Won – Canada Master’s Series (beat Roger, Rafa, et al)
Won – Miami Master’s Series (beat Canas, Rafa, et al)
Final – Indian Wells Master Series (Lost to Rafa)
Quarters – Dubai (lost to Federer – after taking a set from him)
Semis – Rotterdam (lost to Youzhny – another great hard courter who no one seems to be mentioning as a factor here at the Open)

And what of the Australian Open? Well he lost to none other than Federer in the R16, granted it was a straight sets loss, but Fed was playing fantastic in that Slam (his best all year in my opinion) and Djok was still learning, but clearly learning inordinately fast. If he hadn’t run into Federer at that point in the slam, there’s a good chance he would have made it to the semis – or who knows? – there too.

So anyhow, I’d say he’s a good second or third pick for the trophy – he’s not ranked number 3 in the world for nothing.


grendel Says:

Voicemale 1: Do you believe Federer, though? Players are rarely candid about these things. Mind you, it makes sense.

Acilles 190: I remember reading the interview containing Fed’s praise of Nadal. It wasn’t 2004, though; 2006? Also, according to Annabelle Croft on Skysports (today), in a recent newspaper interview, Federer singled out Hewitt as the toughest opponent he has ever had, which is interesting – probably means overall as opposed to:at this moment.

This business about the draw. Some people always seem to look at the first 2 rounds, and assume that’s it, and start muttering darkly about conspiracies. That’s peculiar. From 3rd round onwards, Fed has some battles on his hand. He may win them all easily, and everyone will then say – why didn’t they just give him a ticket to the final? The fact remains, each match from 3rd round on (I’m assuming Isner gets there) is a potential trip up if he is not fully focused.


jane Says:

Kash,

Good question: “why does djokovic have to work so much for his wins, when he has such big game? ”

I’m no technique expert, but I was wondering if it could have something to do with his footwork? He uses a clay court slide on both grass and hardcourt a lot. Maybe if he had smoother footwork, like Federer for instance, he wouldn’t have to work as hard?


Kamy Says:

Most of the people over here are talking about Nadal, what about hewitt’s chances of winning US open? He looks to be in terrific form and the way he has played in the opening match of this tournament, it looks he could be a serious contender to be the champion. He was in good form in cincy masters also. As for Federer, he can still win US open though he is not playing the kind of tennis he plays. But he somehow manages to win despite playing bad tennis and thats the sign of a true champion.


Kamy Says:

JCF

What i meant to say that Djokovic has the ability to beat Federer consistently in the future, he has the potential, thats what i said based on his all court gameplay, technique and mental toughness. If you read my post it says Djokovic “can” its not he has.

As for 4-1 record Federer’s favor means nothing.

Remember you said: “There’s a first time for everything, and using past history as your basis is stupid”


jane Says:

grendel,

“Looking forward to full scale revival of the species.”

Looks like Gimelstob taking a page from Mirnyi’s upset; he’s using serve/volley to great effect against Roddick. Unfortunately, he won’t be part of the revival since he’s retiring.

Maybe players are listening to Pete’s mutterings about his particular style of play?


samps Says:

Well the US open seems faster than SW19 now. So maybe serve and volley is well in order. I remember the Wimby final when Fed tried serve and volley every now and then and got passed almost everytime by Rafa. He even made a comment about that in his post match press interview saying that he Couldnt play serve and volley effectively.

And jane..
First I dont remember Djoko sliding (in the real sense) on grass. It can be done on Hardcourts sure but it hurts your knee. And I seriously doubt Pete’s mutterings on the loss of serve and volley were of relevance esp. on wimby. People have stopped serve and volley on Wimby because it cant be done any more. Sampras lost to Hewitt rather badly playing serve and volley at the US open final so I dont see how the advice holds up unless the hardcourts this season are really faster.
In any case players adapt to the situation. Talk of some kind of ‘art’ dying down are naive, I expect.


Tejuz Says:

well yeah.. it seems serve-volley pays dividends at US Open more than wimbledon these days becauae of fast and slick surface. Someone like Mryni cud take down Baggy or even Gimelstob gave a gud fight to Roddick. But then occassional serve-volley is surely recommended. We did see Fed try them out at Cincy and Montreal.


grendel Says:

Furthermore, Tejuz, I think it was 4th set at Wimby, and Fed at 30-love, serves and volleys – and dumps relatively easy ball into the net (i.e. was not passed). Properly played volley would have been a winner, thus 40 – love, and chances are, Fed would have held serve instead of being broken. Quite different complexion to match. If you think about it, it might (as it happens, it didn’t) have made the difference between winning and losing. One point, one missed volley!

Of course everyone makes mistakes, but the amount of volleying mistakes which a good volleyer like Fed makes is surprising – and one must put it down to lack of practice in match situations.


Christopher Says:

Hmmm,

I wonder why Nadal is playing his first round match on Wednesday and Federer is playing his second round match tonight. It seems to me this is a big disadvantage (Schedule wise) for Nadal. Now he will have to play more matches with less rest because of a shorter period of time. Maybe I’m confused.


zeg Says:

Christopher-
You’re not confused – Rafa now will have to play his matches straight; it’s the “luck” of the draw.


jane Says:

samps
well, i admitted i am no technique expert. perhaps that qualifies as naive but i not sure that’s the right word.

in any case, djok did do a lot of “splits” at wimby, though in hindsight that may have been due to his shoes or the worn out baselines – he did seem to be slipping more that others, hence the shoe comment. as for hardcourt slides – he did it a fair bit in montreal. i was just trying to address kash’s question – perhaps you have ideas about that? it does seem djok has an all-round game and yet seems to take/put in a lot of effort.

regarding serve/volley – again, i was merely responding to a point grendel had made earlier. after watching gimel use it throughout the 1st set against andy and having seen mirnyi take down baggy with it, it seems telling in terms of its effectiveness here at the open. that all depends on an opponents ability to pass, not to mention – as grendel recently points out – the volleyer’s abilities at the net.

but thanks for your feedback.


jane Says:

zeg,

you use those “scare” quotes around luck as though it’s not luck – could you say why?

i’m curious because this seems to be more of a scheduling issue than a draw issue, and if that is indded the case (schedule not draw), then it isn’t “luck”; it would seem to be an unfair advantage due to the scheduling and whoever decides who plays when.


zeg Says:

jane,

LOL. The “” marks around LUCK this time mean it is just the opposite – the bottom quarter of the draw that’s playing today will technically have less time to rest down the road, but they’ve had extra two days before start. Since the USTA can’t fit all of the first round matches into one playing day, they have to schedule them in shifts. That’s where the “luck” of the draw or scheduling comes in.
From another thread : whatever is said about Martina, her tennis commentary on TV was never boring.


jane Says:

zeg – shame, that schedule adavantage/disadvantage, but it is inevitable. someone’s gotta go first. if anyone can hack the latter, more hectic schedule rafa can – that is, if his knee’s okay. i hope so.

i agree with you on martina too – i like that’s she’s blunt. honest and often good for a chuckle.


Christopher Says:

It just seems to me in past years, all of the first round matches have been played the first two days. The top half of the draw may play the first day and the bottom of the draw the second day. I can’t remember it being stretched out to 3 days ( of course without a rain delay). It just seems to me this scheduling is new. Could someone please tell me if this has been done in the past? I’m very curious.


jane Says:

Rafa not looking his sharpest against Jone’s through the first set – and now he has both knees taped. Johnny Mac says rafa tweaked 2nd knee in practice, and he relates problems back to his wimbie schedule and his choice to play Stuggart.

Rafa often starts slowly but I hope he can hang in physically. He’s still too far behind the baseline i think.

Gotta like Djoks or Hewitt’s chances if Rafa goes away.


zeg Says:

Nadal has got to come up – he’s so far behind the baseline right now, he’s practically mailing his shots in. His footwork is also a bit rusty.
Something’s not right.


jane Says:

zeg
yeah – snail mail! did it in montreal too. least he got that first set over with but uncle tony should be telling him to step in more, and not just for 2nd serves but in rallies.

he needs to play his aggressive tennis, no? otherwise too much pression. lol


zeg Says:

jane -

LOL.
If I was his coach, I would advise him to come to the net almost as much as Mirnyi…
Hopefully he pulls this match off and we’ll chalk it up to a warm-up experience.
But he’s got to come up though – his back is turning blue from rubbing against the wall.


grendel Says:

On at exactly same tiome as Nadal match is Henman/Tursonov. So not too many posters will be watching that I’m thinking. But anyway, since we were on about serve and volley earlier on, Henman is giving a wonderful display of the art of volleying. The thing is, he doesn’t quite have the power, and even when you think he’s put one away, Tursonov sometimes not only gets it back, but as a put away winner. What a player! As Petchey and Shiras are saying, this is surely a top 10 man. I think he’ll beat Henman who just doesn’t quite have the power, although he has all the grit in the world.

Jane, I think Samps meant the idea of serve and volley being revived in general was naive, because the courts won’t wear it, or not grass anyway. But things have changed once, they can change again – somehow, a happy medium has to be struck. An earlier poster suggested changing the balls back to as they were to give some, but not too much, encouragement to serve and volleyers.


jane Says:

well that was a rough start for rafa – i wonder if he’ll retire? in the post match interview it sounds like he’ll press on, but ya gotta wonder about his chances now.

even though he had rough points at wimbie, he wasn’t injured, while here he clearly is.

gotta like hewitt or djok to come through


zeg Says:

Well, Rafa is officially a lame duck. Wonder how many more matches he’s got left in him.


grendel Says:

Well, hopelessly and utterly wrong as usual, and couldn’t be more pleased. You have to be British to know quite how infuriating Henman can be, he very rarely wins a match straightforwardly. But today (supposedly his last match) he was relaxed, perhaps that was the key, and proved too much in the end for Tursunov – who’s beaten him for last 5 times I think. Henman’s variety was a delight to behold, and variety is just what Tursunov seems to lack.

If Henman wins his next match, then it’s Nadal, assuming the latter beats Tipsarevic. That will be a tough one which will tell us clearly where Nadal is. Henman can’t beat a Nadal who’s played himself into form, but all the same, it will be a very entertaining match.

Gonzalez losing (at moment). What HAS happened to him?


jane Says:

Tipsy and Tsonga no easy matches for an injured Rafa and a retiring Henman, though I’d like to see that match.


samps Says:

I am surprised as anyone that Henman won and won well at that. He seemed to win most of his net points in the last two sets. He might have a pretty good run this Open I figure even with Nadal in his path. Talking about Rafa, I wonder if Tony is really guiding him the way he should, if its perhaps time for him to change coach? Ok this seems well over the top but why in the name of the lord would he play Stuttgart with a sore knee (He had serious problems there with his knee) esp when the clay season was well over? Hardly the best preparation for hardcourts where confidence and past performance isnt the highest. Anyone unless his knee has a miraculous recovery, I dont see him getting past Tipsy let alone Henman. Worse when he is in trouble, he tends to revert to his natural game, i.e. his claycourt game, a mile behind the baseline and top spinning everything in place. So much for hopes of a good hardcourt game.
Oh BTW is there a clay court tourney after the US which Rafa might play as ideal preparation for Aussie open?

And Jane
I am sorry I wasnt attacking you or calling you naive, it was a generic remark. I was saying what grendel mentioned – merely that players adapt to the prevailing conditions. When the courts get faster on an average we ll see many serve volleyers coming in and more baseliners when they get slower on an average. Even the perceived Mean shift towards faster or slower courts is I believe a transient process. When a particular style of play becomes common I am sure organizers would make modifications in the surface speed to keep things different. Its entirely likely that wimby gets way faster when there is a perception that its too much like clay in speed. I mean just to give an example not an actual possibility.

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