Roddick Recovers Against Gulbis at US Open; Nadal, Del Potro Playing Today
by Sean Randall | August 30th, 2008, 12:18 pm
  • 48 Comments

With a set in hand, serving 5-4 against Andy Roddick, Ernests Gulbis finally flinched. Gulbis never saw another lead again the rest of the match. That’s how fine a line tennis is. Had Gulbis served out that game he probably wins that match but Roddick somehow dug himself out of a serious hole to beat the Latvian youngster 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the third round at the US Open.

Going into the match I pegged Gulbis as the favorite, and for about 90 minutes he played like it, crushing forehands, backhands, serves and even showing the very deft touch with the drop shot. But Gulbis couldn’t sustain it. It seemed the closer he got to winning that second set, the more serves he missed, the more errors he made. The moment caught up to him and he crumbled. Credit to Roddick, though, for staying steady and allowing that to happen.

Roddick, who really hasn’t had a big, emotional match win like this since Miami, started out by really aggressively attacking Gulbis, which wasn’t working. But Roddick did what you have to do against a guy on a tear, and that is to keep plugging away, keep serving big, keep getting balls back and hope that things turn, and sure enough they did late in the second set and he got the birthday present he wanted.

At just 20, Gulbis will have plenty of happier birthdays at the US Open ahead. The kid has immense power – hell, he even hits his drop shots hard! – but he’ll need to cut down on the errors if he wants to big a Top 5, Grand Slam type contender. Otherwise he’ll end up as an Eastern European version of James Blake which, who knows, might be okay with him.

After a two tricky opponents, Roddick should get a breather Sunday afternoon against Andreas Seppi before another danger match with Fernando Gonzalez, then perhaps a Thursday night showdown with Novak Djokovic who’s been playing into form.

A guy still not looking like he should is Roger Federer, who I thought didn’t play that well yesterday in a win over Thiago Alves. Federer got through but he’ll need to play better to beat Radek Stepanek tomorrow, and I think he will. Again, his draw sets up nicely.

Later today Rafael Nadal faces Serb Victor Troicki. Nadal wins but I think Troicki could get a set.

Also today, I like Mardy Fish to beat James Blake, Ferrer over Nishikori and David Nalbandian over my man Gael Monfils. It’s good to see Nalbandian playing well again.

And in the best match of the day, we’ll see just how good Juan Martin Del Potro is as he takes on Gilles Simon. I’m actually leaning toward Simon in this one.


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Blake Recovers From Slow Start
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Ernests Gulbis: “I Don’t Know if Being Recognized Helps Me at All” [Video]

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48 Comments for Roddick Recovers Against Gulbis at US Open; Nadal, Del Potro Playing Today

Von Says:

“Otherwise he’ll end up as an Eastern European version of James Blake which, who knows, might be okay with him.”

Add Fernando Gonzalez to that group. Gulbis is pure and simply put a shot-maker who misses a lot and piles up more errors than winners; it’s a ratio of 2:3 with a minus differential. His shots are powerful but the end result is an error. To the lay perszon Gulbis’ tennis appears electrifying, but on closer observation, his is a style that is on song when everything is clicking, but could break down when even a small part of his game or his mindset is off. He’s got enough game for 3 setters, but if he wants to be a serious contender in the slams he’ll have to grow more mentally and physically, same as james Blake. Even though Blake has been able to eek out some 5 set winsagainst the weaker opponents, I’m still not convinced he’s got what it takes to win a in 5 against the tougher players.


TD (Tam) Says:

What does Sean and tennis-x think of Andy Murray’s classless behavior of flexing his muscles after beating an opponent as he did today? I don’t see Djokovic or Roddick doing stupid tricks like that.

Hi Von! Did you enjoy Andy’s win over Ernests last night? I am still buzzing from it. :D


TK Says:

Flexing your muscle when you win is in bad taste and so is bad sportsmanship like not shaking your opponent’s hand when you lose like Cipolla with Wawrinka. Until an explanation surfaces it will be considered bad sportsmanship.


S Green Says:

We already had a post on the same topic. Tennis-X is not a team.
I always appreciated your timely posts and will continue to do so, but this one was overlapping and insensitive to your fellow blogger (at least, that’s how I’d feel if I were working for Tennis-X). Sorry to sound mean.


Von Says:

TD (Tam):
“Hi Von! Did you enjoy Andy’s win over Ernests last night? I am still buzzing from it.”

How are you? I’ve missed you! Yes, I enjoyed every minute of that match. I’m still smiling from our Andy’s win. I tell you I was hoping he’d win because I wouldn’t have had enough energy to handle any of the awful comments that would be written if he had lost — I’d have to refrain from posting for 2 weeks until the topic lost its appeal. Could you imagine the headlines today if he had lost? BTW, did you see Tommy Haas’ umpire tussle? Haas was livid. Transpose that tussle to Roddick and the threads would light up. Not a mention of that anywhere. Isn’t it amazing? I really don’t mind the guys arguing with the umps, because at times, it can be so funny, but it’s the bias I don’t like — it’s OK for one player, but bad for another. Also, some fans have an obsession and thrive on that topic which is very immature. Different strokes for different folks. I’m hoping Andy will have enough reserved energy for his next match against Seppi. He’s got one tough draw. Keep on smiling, and post more frequently will ya. :P


jane Says:

Flexing your muscle my be bad taste, but I am not sure it’s bad sportsmanship. Not shaking your opponent’s hand, however, is definitely poor sportsmanlike. I’d like to hear the explanation for that too.


jane Says:

*my s/b may – sorry.


JCF Says:

So Murray didn’t shake Melzer’s hand?

It was a big win for him, coming back from two sets down, so the flexing is understandable. I didn’t think he would do it.


TD (Tam) Says:

What happened in Wawrinka’s match to cause so much bad blood?

Von:
“How are you? I’ve missed you! Keep on smiling, and post more frequently will ya.”

Sweet words Von! I have been very busy with my new job so I haven’t had much time to watch as much tennis as I’d like. I was able to see Andy’s match last night because it was on so late lol.

“did you see Tommy Haas’ umpire tussle? Haas was livid. Transpose that tussle to Roddick and the threads would light up. Not a mention of that anywhere. Isn’t it amazing? I really don’t mind the guys arguing with the umps, because at times, it can be so funny, but it’s the bias I don’t like — it’s OK for one player, but bad for another. Also, some fans have an obsession and thrive on that topic which is very immature. Different strokes for different folks.”

Yes I agree there is definitely a bias against certain players while others get a free pass that’s why I like to call tennisx out whenever I see eggregious behavior from other players that they would normally criticize Roddick for. :)

“I’m hoping Andy will have enough reserved energy for his next match against Seppi. He’s got one tough draw.”

I still cannot believe he beat Gulbis I agree with Sean in placing him as the favourite in that match and not Roddick. Andy has lost to Tisparevic and Troicki this year so it made sense that Gulbis would win. I think the Seppi match will give Andy a break I hope! Djokovic is lurking around the corner.


zola Says:

Yeah, Sean, wasn’t there another post on the same topic?

I love Gulbis. He is a great guy with a very nice smile and very powerful shots. he played a nearly perfect two sets, but he just crumbled. I guess Roddick’s experience helped him sense the tension and get out of the situation. I hope Gulbis continues to improve. I want to see him in the top 10, top 5….

I did not see Murray flexing his arm. neither Capolla not shaking hands with Stan. What is going on with these men?

****Later today Rafael Nadal faces Serb Victor Troicki. Nadal wins but I think Troicki could get a set.

Also today, I like Mardy Fish to beat James Blake, Ferrer over Nishikori and David Nalbandian over my man Gael Monfils. It’s good to see Nalbandian playing well again.****

well, sean, Rafa did not lose a set to Triocki and Monfils is two sets ahead in the match. So far you are 50-50!

RAfa was great, coming back from a break in the second set. That break woke him up and he moved up a gear. Great job Rafa!


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

As of 5:31pm EST, Gael monfils is up 2 sets and a break over Nalby. I guess your man, Monfils, will be around for you to see him some more. Nalby is not showing any positive energy whatsoever and appears wilted. If Nalby’s form does not improve, it will be Monfils in 3 straight sets.


Von Says:

TD:

Goodluck with the new job. New jobs are fun, but at the same time can be very stressful. Anyway, it’s a positive stress.

“I still cannot believe he beat Gulbis I agree with Sean in placing him as the favourite in that match and not Roddick. Andy has lost to Tisparevic and Troicki this year so it made sense that Gulbis would win…”

I tell you I was 75 percent leaning toward Andy but given his form in the last 4 months, some doubts were creeping into my mind. Going into the USO Andy was so match deprived, as was manifested in LA and Washington. Pat McEnroe stated that Andy had some serious shoulder and back issues — hopefully, it’s now all behind him. Looking at the Gulbis match, in the first set it was just one break of serve for Roddick, after that Andy held his serve and the second set nearly the same thing, but then Roddick took over. Credit should be given to Andy for playing smart. It wasn’t just experience that got Andy through that match; he settled down and held his serve while Gulbis began making a hefty amount of UEs and fading. Roddick played a fairly clean match with much less UEs than Gulbis. I think some are holding on to Andy’s comments after the match where he was being humble, instead of saying like some of the players, “I’m proud of myself for how well I played”. LOL. Catch ya later and stay focused on the new job. :D


Von Says:

JCF:
“So Murray didn’t shake Melzer’s hand?”

No, not Murray, it was Cipolla who didn’t shake Wawrinka’s hand when he lost to Wawa. :)


Von Says:

In all fairness to Sean, Richard Vach’s thread theme focuses on Davenport, Federer and Roddick — yesterday. Sean’s thread focuses on today — the present. cCmpetition is good for the media and the different threads provide more topics on which we posters can blog. All’s fair in love and war. Sean did mention in a previous thread that he was somewhat tardy in his submission of articles but would do better. Hence, this thread is prof that he’s kept his word. I’ll give him a break on this, even though he likes to chide me for my Roddick defense. :P


S Green Says:

Von,
Nice try to win Sean’s confidence. We will see if it works.


TD (Tam) Says:

I dont think Fish will beat Blake tonight. Blake has more game and more experience in dealing with the pressure of night matches in Queens. I hope it will be an exciting match, so everybody enjoy them tonight!


JCF Says:

Check out the current poll on tx. 46% think Nadal won’t win the title, another 46% think Djokovic won’t. And only 6% are doubting Fed.

He has a lot to do if he’s going to live up to the expectations of this site’s community.

I thought it was already out of hand when 80% of those polled thought Federer would win RG this year (I think the question was, who would NOT be winning RG, and most of them picked Nadal).

This is either stupidity, or the RF.com fans have crashed our polls.


jane Says:

Personally I don’t think enough credit has been given to Patrick McEnroe for Roddick’s performance at the Open so far – it hasn’t been mentioned much on these threads anyhow.

I think P-Mac is the calming force Andy needs, not his brother, who is likely to be more hyper like Andy. P-Mac is an even keel guy, who knows his tennis, and look what he’s done for the Davis Cup team! I sense a comfort level in Andy at the Open that’s evident when he plays with his team. It’s not the performance anxiety he had when trying to live up to his idol’s Connors’s expectations, it’s not the personality clash he had with Gilbert, and it’s not the same-old, same-old of having his brother there. The P-Mac / Roddick relationship has BOTH the expectation of winning from their Davis Cup past and the comfort that comes with mutual respect.

It’s too bad Patrick is too busy to take on Roddick full time.


Von Says:

“S”:

“Von,
Nice try to win Sean’s confidence. We will see if it works>’

Do you think I’m trying to win Sean’s favor? Believe me, that’s the last thing on my mind. I don’t care to ingratiate myself with the writers who are faceless to me, and I’m not here for the Miss Congeniality and/or Miss Popularity award. There are several contestants vying for those awards. I derive a huge amount of popularity in my personal from just being me and not sucking up to others. However, be that as it may, I’d like to think I’m fair-minded and I look at things from all angles, if not I’d be worthless in my job. I believe in what I stated and I know that the basis of my point is factual. That being the case, I’m only pointing out the obvious, but you can view my comments in whatever light you choose and it will be fine with me, and of course, you’re entitled to your opinion. I would sincerely hope by now you realize that I’m one of the most controversial posters on this site, and the last one to cow-tow to anyone. It’s infra dig for me to do so.
_______________
JCF:

Forget the polls. They don’t mean a thing if the player ain’t got his zing!! :D


S Green Says:

V,
I was not questioning your integrity.
Sorry I put you in the defensive.
But why did you add, “I’ll give him a break on this, even though he likes to chide me for my Roddick defense”? It sounded like there was some quid pro quo going on here. My misreading !


Von Says:

jane:

“The P-Mac / Roddick relationship has BOTH the expectation of winning from their Davis Cup past and the comfort that comes with mutual respect.”

As I previously pointed out from the inception of the PMac coaching with Andy, they have a very good rapport and know what to expect from each other. They’ve both acknowledged in the past that they disagree on some things and argue, but all in all, there’s mutual respect — a two-way highway sort of thing, and one hand washes the other. As you stated it’s a pity PMac cannot remain with Andy on a long term basis, because if anyone knows Andy, it’ll be PMac. They’ve been together for 4 years in Davis Cup and PMac has a very good insight on what aspects of Andy’s game needs the most focus. I’m now looking at tape of today’s matches in which PMac pointed out that the match wasn’t all Gulbis’ game which faltered, it was Andy’s serve which began clicking in the 2nd set and Andy playing more aggressively. A player doen’t win solely on experience, he’s got to apply his game, which Andy did, without a ton of UEs. The shotmakers will always have a lot of UEs because they go for the big shots and don’t care about the UEs, which ultimately becomes their undoing.


Von Says:

“S”

“But why did you add, “I’ll give him a break on this, even though he likes to chide me for my Roddick defense”? It sounded like there was some quid pro quo going on here. My misreading!”

Ahh, there’s the catch!! I was merely transmitting that despite the manner in which Sean attacks me for my Roddick defense, I can still be fair-minded and overlook his unfairness toward me. Do you see him chiding anyone else and berating their player like he does toward me in my Roddick posts? There are several psuedo-behemoths on this site who go unscathed, while I have to post with him looking over my shoulder at every turn. In those cases, discretion is better than valor. He wins the battle, but I’ll win the war!! :D BTW, I’m not on the defensive toward you. My comments were aimed at those who are stupidly opportunistic and would use the foregoing against me. I’m aware!!!!


S Green Says:

V,
Ref: “.”it was Cipolla who didn’t shake Wawrinka’s hand when he lost to Wawa.”

Both players came to the at the end. Right about when Wawrinka was about to extend his hand, Cippola started arguing about something and gave an angry look. Both parted ways without shaking hands. Yes, Cipolla is blameworthy for his act.


S Green Says:

missing word: “net” before “at the end”


jane Says:

Von,

Yes – I mentioned that last night on the other thread about Roddick’s serve, how it was in the low 50s in that first set, and then that shifted and Gulbis’s serve dropped off.

I also thought Roddick would win prior to the match, and only second-guessed myself when Gulbis went up a break in the second set. But he dismantled himself, and simultaneously Andy hung tough and picked up his own serves. Gulbis is indeed an error prone player, but a hot one. Maybe his coach will help him get it together for the future.

Seems to have worked for Monfils here! The way he played today, I’d day he can give Nadal a run for his money if they both make it through their next round matches.

And speaking of young guns – Nishikori and DP are both about to go up 2 sets… be fun to see them play each other.

But back to Roddick … maybe P-Mac could be a Grand Slam consultant for Andy? He’s usually commentating at all of them anyhow? It’d be nice to see how their relationship could help Andy in those key matches at slams, so he can go deeper.


Von Says:

“S”:
I knew you meant net; where else would they go at the end of the match? :) These guys are young and they are caught up in the moment. The absent handshake could be overlooked due to Cippola’s anger and his focus on arguing with the ump. I merely wanted to point out that it wasn’t Murray who was guilty of the no handshake act.


Von Says:

jane:

“And speaking of young guns – Nishikori and DP are both about to go up 2 sets… be fun to see them play each other.”

I didn’t comment at all on DelPotro previously when all the hype began, anyway, I’ll say my bit now. To me DelPotro has to prove a lot more that he can be a player to be taken seriously. Do you remember Juan Monaco? He was hot just like DelPotro at the beginning of ’07. Now he has fallen off and hasn’t won anything for quite a while. Nishikori same scenario and now we have DelPotro. I suppose we’ll know what JMDP is made of as time goes by. gulbis has talent but unfortunately, he’s a shotmaker, which is something that’s very hard to change. We’ll see.

Andy would do well if PMac can be a consultant to him as PMac’s time permits. he’s got a lot of irons in the fire.


Sean Randall Says:

TD, regarding Andy Murray’s muscle flex, I’ll just say I can do without it. Melzer is an awful big match player as we have seen yet again, Murray shouldn’t need five sets to beat him.

That said, I wish I saw the Cipolla-Wawrinka no shake.

And regarding Gulbis, he’s lost a lot of matches this year, and we saw why last night. Too many errors.

Zola, Nalbandian went in the crapper. I know think Monfils should get past Blake or Monfils and collide with Rafa. Hope it happens. Rafa was impressive today. Querrey will be much tougher.

Von/Zola/Green, if my post was a duplicate so be it. Roddick was the story.


jane Says:

Von,

I made this comment on the other thread,but it’s really related to our discussion here about Gulbis, Del Potro and young guns:

It is tough to make a call on the young guns and their futures. But generally, I think they just need more time in the oven. Some may come out baked, others may rise. Ha-ha


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Von/Zola/Green, if my post was a duplicate so be it. Roddick was the story.”

I didn’t criticize you for the duplicate post. In fact, I didn’t view it as a redundancy, and I provided the factual basis thereto. That said, I don’t see anything wrong with your submission of an article similar to Vach’s — his is the past; yours is the present. not a problem where i’m concerned. The more the merrier.


jane Says:

Del Potro makes it to the round of 16; can he get to the quarters? It’d be great to see Murray vs. Del Potro in that quarter.


zola Says:

Sean,
I don’t care about duplicate/triplicate posts. It is beween you and Vach and the site! I like your analyses.

I think Nalby was overwhelmed by all the energy he saw in Monfils, all those jumps and dives….Monfils-Rafa will be an interesting match and a big challenge for Rafa.

Between KArlovic and Querrey, I am glad it is Querrey playing Rafa, but I might regret it on Monday. But he played better today. I have to thanks Troicki. That break on the second set just changed everything. Rafa went from sloppy to good. I hope he goes from good to better and impressive , when playing Querrey and I hope he can won…but Sam has the crowd and has a great game. we will see.

And Nishikori took Ferrer to a 5th set. It is amazing that not a single second of that match is shown on TV!


zola Says:

Nishikori a break ahead in the 5th!


blah Says:

Nishikori takes the match.


sensationalsafin Says:

Sean, everyone one of your predictions was wrong. So I think Blake will beat Fish and leave you 0/5? No offense, of course, just a funny trend today :P


S Green Says:

sensationalsafin,
I think Sean will get this one right. I was fluctuating, leaning at times toward Fish, when I picked Blake. And now looking at the 1st three games, I can see Fish pulling this one off. He’s on fire from the get go.


jane Says:

“He’s on fire from the get go.” Maybe Shital, but so was Gulbis last night, and look what happened. Sometimes slow and/or steady wins the race. We’ll see.


sensationalsafin Says:

Yeah but Blake would never do what Roddick did last night.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin…
“Yeah but Blake would never do what Roddick did last night.” Which is what – win?! Keep his errors down? Just curious – what are you referring to specifically.


jane Says:

Fish is playing better so far, coming in to net, serving well, etc. He’s exactly where Gulbis was last night – up a set and break.


blah Says:

Fish upsets Blake. He got nervous when he was serving for match but was able to win in tie break.


Von Says:

For once I followed my hunch and picked Fish and I was right. Fish played very well while Blake did his usual, make too many errors and looking like he is carrying the world on his shoulders.

Blake couldn’t do what Roddick did last night because he’s not a fighter and competitor like Roddick. Patrick Mc had better think seriously about taking Fish or Querrey instead of Blake to Madrid for the DC tie. Roddick wins 90 percent of the live rubbers and I’m sure he could use the assistance of one of the other players in the 2nd live rubber. No offene to Blake fans but this is the relity of the situation. Blake has been struggling mentally for quite some time now — he looks as if the fire has gone out of his game. Also, he’s suffering a big let down from the Olympics, coming so close to the sliver and the bronze medals only to lose both. So very sad for him.


sensationalsafin Says:

Blake’s kinda retarded. I mean, the guy doesn’t know how to hit topspin. And when things aren’t going his way, he speeds up and goes for bigger, dumber shots. What did Roddick do? Started pushing and slicing like a pansy. Yeah it won him the match but I’d take Gulbis’s ballbashing over Roddick’s balltapping any day.


JCF Says:

I’ve said it before, Blake is a showman. He likes to pull the trigger whenever given the opportunity, and when he executes, it looks beautiful. Players who win big can also lose big, unfortunately, as apparently Gulbis demonstrated also.

I haven’t got any coverage here until the second week so I’m only guessing, but these guys along with Gonzalez (whom did show a lot of improvement under Larry Stefanki before he dumped him) are ‘Type A’ players.


S Green Says:

V,
Let us know your picks before the match starts. You cannot just say, “I picked the winner.” We need evidence.


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

“What did Roddick do? Started pushing and slicing like a pansy. Yeah it won him the match but I’d take Gulbis’s ballbashing over Roddick’s balltapping any day.”

You are so funny and controversial. We’re similar in some respects. :P I’ll be honest with you. I really don’t care if Roddick played like a pansy, potsie, dopey, tweedle-dee and/or tweedle-dum, I’m happy he WON. I’ll leave the great shots for later. Andy has a tough path and regardless of how well he plays or badly, I’m content with a win. I like what he’s doing. He’s conserving his energy. He played those slice shots to Gulbis, which nullified Gulbis’ power and drew the errors. Roddick is somewhat like Sampras in his mentality about winning. Get a break and hold serve to win the set. If he gets an insurance break, all the merrier. Pete and Andy are dissimilar to Fed and Nadal, who are not cotent to just win, but have to win every point, while demolishing and/or humiliating their opponent for the win. It’s only stats, why not save the mental and physical energy. Pure and simply put, A WIN IS A ‘WIN’. :D


Momstootie Says:

Go Djokovic! He may not be playing so great right now but I’m hoping he steps it up and wins in the final. Today’s match with Del Potro and Nishikori should be very interesting.


sensationalsafin Says:

Nadal just plays with a lot of intensity and Federer wants to be perfect. Considering how much more accomplished they are than Roddick, I’d say their strategy works better. Roddick can’t expect to do what Sampras did. Sampras was a great player. Roddick is not. He can’t do what Sampras did. Besides, Sampras never pushed.

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