Wow a great afternoon of tennis yesterday with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic each being stretched to the limit in five set wins. Today could very well be more of the same as Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro battle for a semifinal berth and then later Rafael Nadal will try to reach his first US Open final four against the American Mardy Fish.
Back to yesterday first.
I thought going in Igor Andreev was going to give Federer a heap of trouble, and he did all that and a whole lot more. For my money, that was Fed’s best hardcourt win this year because Andreev is just so strong from the baseline and Fed’s been having trouble from the backcourt. Had that match been played at Cincinnati, Miami, Dubai or even in a non-Slam best-of-five, I think Andreev would have gotten him. But I think the stage and the moment was too much for Igor who really hasn’t been a deep Slam player and a guy who beats the top players. Credit to Fed for getting through and now I think he’ll get a breather against the surprising Cinderella Gilles Luxembourg who stunned Nikolay Davydenko in four sets.
But the match of the day turned out to be Djokovic’s win over Tommy Robredo. Novak of course had a myriad of injuries at different times during the match. Throw in some bathroom breaks, some wristband changes and Robredo wasn’t pleased with the Serb’s antics after the match. “So did I trust him?” Tommy said afterward when questioned about Novak’s ailments. “No. No. I think he took his time because he did it because he was a little bit more tired and that’s a part of the game. It help him a lot.”
And Roddick wasn’t having much of it either. Said Roddick about Novak’s injuries: “No, if it’s (injuries) there, it’s there. There’s just a lot. You know, he’s either quick to call a trainer or he’s the most courageous guy of all time. I think it’s up for you guys to decide.”
Again, I have to ask, how is Novak ever going to be No. 1 if he can’t consistently recover from four/five set wins? And why does Novak go out of his way to make it known how exhausted he is after long matches? Is he trying to take the pressure off by basically saying he has no chance of winning because of his fitness?
Novak’s a great player but he’s going to have to get into better shape, get his body right because he’s not going to keep winning Slams like he did in Australia where he won’t have a tough, long match or even a few along the way. And right now it seems his body/mind is not built for handling the workload of having to win consecutive four or five set matches en route to a title.
As for today, I really like this Murray-Del Potro match-up. We know where Murray is, but this will be a great gauge as to what we can expect from Del Potro. I like to compare JMDP’s game with Gustavo Kuerten’s. Both have lanky bodies, decent serves and they are very tough off the ground. Guga’s the better the mover, but in time in think JMDP will add some quickness. But we still have to see how JMDP handles the spotlight, a place where Guga excelled. How well JMDP handles the pressure next year will also be revealing, because right now against Murray he should be playing pressure free.
Murray has no such luxury. With the high expectations and the fact that his contemporaries like Nadal, Djokovic, Gasquet, Monfils, Baghdatis have already broken through at the Majors, the pressure is really on Andy, I think he’ll will mix it up just enough against the Argy to get through to his first Slam semifinal. But I don’t think it will be easy and it won’t be last time we see these two future greats on the big stage.
Tonight I think Rafa gets through against Fish. But it’s going to be a serious fight. On the faster court I expect Mardy to serve big and really attack Rafa by coming to the next whenever possible. Rafa though will have some break chances, but I’m not sure how many Mardy is going to get, so I think Rafa advances. But I could see the upset.
As for the Venus-Serena Williams matchup, I think Serena wins this one in three sets. I’m nitpicking but I think she’s looked the better player and I just think she’s due for a big win, and this is it.
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