Murray Finishes off Nadal, Will Meet Federer in US Open Final Monday
by Sean Randall | September 7th, 2008, 6:47 pm
  • 61 Comments

If you were hoping for another chapter in the Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal saga, forget it because it’s not happening at the 2008 US Open final. Not after Andy Murray finished off Nadal in fine fashion 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 to reach his first career Grand Slam final.

What impressed me most about Murray was his ability to regroup and keep it together after going down a break in the fourth set. Murray squandered so many break points in Rafa’s first service game of the fourth, then he got broken, but he stayed the course winning five of the last six games to close out Nadal.

The match of course was resumed from yesterday with Nadal serving with a break 3-2. Unlike yesterday Nadal came out guns blazing, but Murray was sharp as well. When Nadal closed out the third then raced ahead to break and 0-30 on Murray’s serve it looked like we were headed to a fifth. But full credit to Murray for not getting down, something he has been known to do in the past.

We know of Murray’s variety, emotion and moxie, but the Scot has great hands around the court and his movement is really underrated. Now he plays the well-rested Federer tomorrow in less than 24 hours at 5pm in the biggest match of his life.

Murray leads Federer 2-1 in their head-to-head, most recently beating the Swiss in Dubai arguably during the Fed mono days. But Fed’s the experienced guy, the fitter player and the favorite (I’ll pick my winner tomorrow) as he tries to finally get into the Grand Slam and hardcourt win column for the first time this year.

I think the summer rigor finally did catch up to Nadal who was slouched over, in a ready-to-vomit posture after the second-to-last point of the match. The grind finally got to him and Murray was too good.

Going into the summer I did not think a player could win both Beijing and the US Open, something even Murray’s mom, Judy, stated. And it turned out to be true at least in Rafa’s case. But Roger still pocketed doubles gold, now he finds himself again three sets from (un)lucky Slam No. 13.


Also Check Out:
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Rafael Nadal Finishes No. 1, Ahead Of No. 2 Djokovic By 770 Ranking Points
Andy Murray Won The Last 23 Point Of His Match – “It’s Not Easy To Do” He Says!
Berdych Beating Roddick on Monday at Wimbledon? Stay Tuned!

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61 Comments for Murray Finishes off Nadal, Will Meet Federer in US Open Final Monday

Charlzz Says:

I thought this was an intelligent match from Murray and I’m starting to believe Murray is the smartest guy playing tennis now. Compare what he did with del Potro where he tried to extend point, slicing under the ball, trying to tire del Potro out in the fourth set.

Against Nadal, Murray took the shots against Nadal, but instead of attack, attack, attack, which many players have tried against Nadal, Murray plays a craftier point.

Look no further than break point in the final game. Murray pushed Nadal out wide inside out, and rather than power a hard shot, he lifts a higher crosscourt shot, forcing Nadal to have to hit a high backhand, then opens up the court again inside out, and returns back the other way, eventually hitting a hard shot up the line, come to net, and volley to the open court.

Beyond that, Murray can play fantastic defense, getting a racquet on wide shots, hitting slices, forcing Nadal to hit another shot. Nadal was sharp, but a bit tired. You could hear some of the mishits Nadal was making, and he was actually getting a touch impatient, whacking a hard shot wide down-the-line. Murray wanted Nadal to have to run, knowing he’s not 100%.

Murray might have won sooner had he not been dumping shots into the net himself.

Overall, a smart match. I have to think that Murray might have enough magic for Federer too. Federer’s best chance is his serve which is the one weapon Federer has that’s much better than Nadal.


Von Says:

Murray did to Nadal what Nadal does to his opponents, and that is, let Nadal beat himself at his own game. Murray wasn’t afraid to go for his shots and he at times played some cat and mouse with Nadal which frustrated the Spaniard. Additionally, Murray was playing very smartly, mixing up his shots and kept Nadal off balance — Nadal had difficulty playing his style and dictating play.

Good job by Murray.


Gargoyles Says:

Sean, how about you tell us what do you have against Federer? You rarely give him credit and you always have some biting remarks about him. “..beating the Swiss in Dubai arguably during the Fed mono days..” Why not come right out an call Fed a liar about his mono? But you have all the excuses lined up for Nadal “…the summer rigor finally did catch up to Nadal…” forgetting that Federer won 3 Slams in 3 different years and a bunch of summer titles and the season ending tournament. But I guess it is okay if Nadal is tired.


NachoF Says:

Sean Randall Says:
“I did not think a player could win both Beijing and the Olympics,”

what?


JCF Says:

I’m glad Murray got through. I didn’t want a Fed-Nadal final this time around. I wanted either Fed-Murray or Nadal-Djokovic, but since Djoko lost…

I’m happy for whoever wins the final. Before the tournament, I wanted Fed to win, but not against Rafa, which meant losing in the SF, and Murray was the best guy to do it. As things went along and Nadal had as good a draw as he could ask for, I didn’t think it would turn out that way, but it almost has. I do think Fed will win, but I’ll be just as happy if Murray won it. That way there will be four main stars in the men’s tour, and not three.

Murray has a winning record against Fed, but none of those matches were best of five. Fed’s experience in GS finals should come through. Federer in 4.

Great season for Rafa still. He did one better than his previous best at all majors (He already won FO but this time he did it without dropping a set). He won two of his dream titles (Wimbledon and Gold Medal) so he can’t complain about his loss.

And now a 5 month wait until the AO…

Looking at the draw will no longer be the same. One of them gets Murray and the other gets Djokovic. I don’t think either player would be ‘preferable’ over the other. They’re about evenly matched. After today’s match, Nadal can no longer fear Murray less than he fears playing Djokovic. Federer is probably unfazed by either player. The win against Djokovic has led me to the conclusion that he is still the better player (Djoko looked more impressive at this Open, and Fed was supposedly in a slump, not playing his best), and that his loss to Djoko at AO was a one-off, probably due to mono.

Nadal is going to continue to be a contender for hard court slams. No one is going to be able to say “he can’t win on hard courts”. He’s proven that, and this is probably the best positive he can take.

Murray’s 1st round exit at Beijing is looking more and more like a tank job to get out early. I wonder why he didn’t just pass on the offer. Let’s hope he can maintain the consistency.

As for Djokovic, I think he’s answered all my questions regarding his fitness. I didn’t think he would play as good as he did against Roddick given the 5 set match from two days earlier.

All in all, a great tournament from these four, and I know we will see a lot more from them, in several rivalries between each of them. Djoko vs Murray in particular is what I want to see more of. As I said, I believe they are evenly matched.


Beatriz Says:

Do you know what is the weirdest thing?
People always talk about nadal and djokovic’s physical preparation and blablabla, but you never talk about roger’s.
It’s like: Nadal lost: reason? he’s tired!
DJokovic lost: why? h’s tired as well.
Oh, c’mon! Give me a break.
Nadal is 5 years younger than roger and much more strong and doesn’t matter the situation, he always loses because he’s tired.
What about roger, who played the same number of matches that djokovic played this year?
Oh no. Federer is never tired. When he loses the reason is always the same: BAD SEASON! Ok, so he doesn’t feel the pressure, he never gets tired, he’s in a bad season (3 slams final and a semifinal + 2 master series final) and nadal is better than him.
You know what? I’m tired of the midia. I’m tired for the excuses for nadal’s loses!


Beatriz Says:

^^^
oh yes.. and I can’t forget saying: roger’s also lazy on court.


Singh-is-King Says:

It looked quite inevitable once Murray showed that he could carry his form from yesterday. He was the better player yesterday and same was true today.

Actually as a Rafa fan am quite happy as I think the Scot has a better chance at dethroning Federer than Rafa himself.


Sean Randall Says:

NachoF, thanks. Corrected.

Gargoyles, care to elaborate?

Charleszz, yup very smart match from Murray.

JCF, regarding fitness among the big four I’d put Djokovic at the bottom, below Murray now who’s survived a few lengthy matches this week and still looks fairly fresh.


mem Says:

congratulations to andy for playing smart and studying nadal’s tactics to a tee. he even copied nadal’s strategy of standing back on the 1st serve and coming in on the 2nd. whatever it takes, I guess. all credit to andy, he took it to an obvious fatigued rafa. a win is a win! rafa commented after the match that he had chances in the 4th set, but andy just played better. so true! andy deserves his merit! nonetheless, I hope today is not the end of andy’s intelligent game plan, because we all know to stay at the top and win slams, you have bring it week-in and week-out, and no one has the consistency of federer and nadal! that’s why they’ve been #1 and #2 for such a long time! it will be interesting to see the final unfold!


Will Says:

Very impressed with Murray’s ability to hold it together after missing so many break chances and then getting broken at love. Hats off to Nadal – he’s had a great run this year and it was his best result at the US Open. He was clearly exhausted at the end of the match which is the first time I’ve ever seen him hunched over. He actually looked mortal.

Ok, one other rant. Can CBS please get rid of Dick Enberg? This guy knows very little about the game of tennis and is often corrected by the other announcers. Yes, we all love his talk-over video montages, but he should not be doing color commentary or play-by-play. At one point he was counting each point out loud – 18, 19, 20, 21 points. So annoying.


mem Says:

Beatriz, how fresh to you think any player would be after playing 70+ matches coming into the usopen? like or not, nadal performed outstanding these two weeks considering a summer of playing almost every week with very little rest in between. he’s certainly not a machine, although some people think so. its time for him to take a break! federer needs to win tomorrow in order to not lose any ranking points, because he is the defending champion. nadal made it to the round of 16 last year, therefore, he will probably gain roughly 300 ranking points when the new rankings come out, even though he lost today in the semis. he’s in good shape! I don’t think anyone is making excuses for rafa, just speaking the truth! its tough on all players because the competition is stiff!


zola Says:

first of all, big congratulations to Murray for a very smart game plan and for all the improvements he has done to his game.
If he keeps his head together and doesn’t get distracted by the big win, he has a great chance in the final.

It is amazing how the big two became bug three and now it is big four. Murray is a serious contender and he ia a real threat to Rafa, Fed and Djoko. He is hardworking and is capable of everything. offense and defense. just bravo.

Rafa had a great summer. 8 titles, two grand slam titles and two GS semis and two master series titles. pluse the olympic gold…..He deserves the beach and sunshine and some rest before he takes off for the DC semis in MAdrid. He looked very tired.

and why are they tired?

The ATP site has the number of matches played by each player:

Rafa: 70-8 ( plus 5-1 in US open)=84 matches
Fed: 47-12(plus 6-0 in US Open)=64 matches
Djoko:49-12 ( plus 5-1 in US open)=67 matches
Murray: 35-13 (plus 6-0 in us open)=54 matches

well, I agree that now Murray is as big a concern as Djoko. what a field! The young guns are taking over the top 10. I am waiting to see who will be the next . Del Potro maybe?


andrea Says:

holy jesus murray. you out slugged nadal! not a minor feat in the slightest.

the points in the last set were of phenomenal quality. nadal’s shots were being returned, with authority, by murray and it sure kept nadal off kilter.

well done andy!


trilby Says:

Will says: “Can CBS please get rid of Dick Enberg? This guy knows very little about the game of tennis and is often corrected by the other announcers. Yes, we all love his talk-over video montages, but he should not be doing color commentary or play-by-play.”

I second that motion! That man’s inane comments drive me crazy. Today when he pointed out that both players were still standing in the sun as the shadow slowly crept across the court – as if we couldn’t see for ourselves – I finally hit the mute button. Heaven help us if this is the only team we can look forward to for whatever meagre coverage we’ll get for next year’s season.

But what fabulous play by Andy today. So good to see one former brat growing up and becoming both wise in the game and on the PR side. Would that poor Novak could do the same.


Von Says:

Hate to say this, but the best commentators are the Brits and South Africans. I absolutely enjoy their use of proper grammar and the smarts to be quiet during important points, which makes concentration on the match easier. The US has some good commentators also, but they tend to gossip too much. The incessant chatter drives me nuts. I find myself using the mute button more often now. Dick Enberg at times, refers to a GSs as 2 best of 3. I’ve stated previously that both Enberg and Gimelsob, even though Gimel is not commentating at the USO, should be put courtside where the noise of the crowd will drown out his incoherent utterances. But, there’s one even worse than Enberg, and that’s Tracy Austin. The woman never shuts up. I have a feeling this woman sits in front of her computer for hours prior to a match, compiling all of the gossip she can glean, rehearses it, and then gets on air and reel it off, nonstop. Either that, or she likes to hear her own voice. Ted Robinson and Carillo are Johnny Mac’s echoes — it’s painful how they suck up to him. Lord help us.


tad Says:

Now that Nadal has lost and is no longer a threat to tennis-x’s favorite golden boy Federer I hope this means that they will stop with the schoolyard trashing of Nadal and his numerous tics and habits. Every elite player has them, including prettyboy Roger.


Ezorra Says:

I am so happy to see most of Nadal’s fans take this defeat very professionally. Some of them who really hate us might think that we will defend Nadal like a hell as what they did when their heroes are defeated. We don’t have to do that because we’re always realizing that losing the match is part of what we call as SPORT.

It is very funny to see some of them tried as best as they can to provoke us by ignoring the fact that Nadal will broaden his gap from other players no matter what happen in the match.

There are so many positive things could be taken out from it. For example, we knew that Nadal has to defend a lot of points next year. This defeat can reduce his burden and encourage him to do better for the next year’s matches. On top of that, this his best performance in US opens so far. We should proud of it, no?

In other words, we’re very sad but at the same time, we are very grateful because Nadal had such a great season this year. I think we should celebrate it!

Lastly, I urge all of my friends here not to make any excuses on why Nadal was defeated last night and accept the fact that Murray has played so much better than him to win the match. We should happy for Murray and enjoy the final tomorrow!

Hope the best will win. Congratulations to both Murray’s and Federer’s fans.

VAMOS RAFA!!!


mem Says:

Ezorra, great post! I echo your thoughts! nadal’s lost was bitter-sweet. I was sad to see him leave, but he needs rest. he has to play davis cup next weekend. andy was incredible. nadal said so himself!


Dan Martin Says:

Murray looked really good today and yesterday of course. I think the match is a real toss-up tomorrow in the full sense of the word as it could go one sided to either man or go in a close match to either man.


Daniel Says:

Well JCF

“No one is going to be able to say “he can’t win on hard courts”

I have to desagree! He still doesn’t have a Grand Slam final on hard, in his peak year, so far. Even Murray got his first. :)

For me, the point is, hardcourts is for agressive play, and thank god the agressive style prevail, Tsonga and Murray! And strangelly Nadal was playing much better in first rounds, really agressive, but in the last two matchs we saw a bunch of ball into the air again, he didn’t made those flat winners anymore. When Murray stop missing and the rallies were longer, Nadal reverts to his old deffensive play, and when nothing was working anymore he came wrongly to the net (reminds me Roddick drop shot in the tiebreak versus Djoko).

Now that the young ones finally mature (Murray, Del Potro, Gulbis in the making…), it will be even harder for him to get his first Slam final on hard. I do think he will, as Jane mentioned AO is his best shot, earlier season, but untill he do it I will still be reluctant.


AfriendofAfriend Says:

Nadal either thought to much of himself today or he just had a bad game. Nadal clearly didn’t look like the player we saw at Wimbledon or the French. Also on the other hand, Murray played a terrific game on saturday, testing Nadal on every shot. What an outing. Now my favorite, Federer can win this open and get back on track to being number 1.


Von Says:

“I am so happy to see most of Nadal’s fans take this defeat very professionally. Some of them who really hate us might think that we will defend Nadal like a hell as what they did when their heroes are defeated. We don’t have to do that because we’re always realizing that losing the match is part of what we call as SPORT.”

Nadal fans behaving professionally? I’m a bit lost here. To behave or act professionally, one has to have a job/profession. The players have a profession — they’re tennis players, however, being a fan is not a profession, unless some of you earn an income from being “professional fans”, if not, then there can’t be professionalism. And, I would hope all fans do realize that losing and winning is part of sport, at least I would hope so.

The fans of the players who lose always remain quiet after their player or team loses, because they have nothing to crow about and/or jump for joy. they need time to accept and assimilate the fact that their favourite player lost. However, on many occasions, the fans of the losing players have to deal not only with the reality their player lost, but also the gloating, snide and cruel remarks emanating from the fans of other players, which is indeed very cruel.

Over the past 4 days I’ve seen how cruel and low-class some of the Nadal fans can behave when Roddick lost. Roddick was called a donkey, ugly American, no good player, and several other dirty names — the redundancy was nauseating. Not to mention the fact that the whole United States was subject to abuse, and it was stated that the USO had the worst fans on the face of the planet.

“In other words, we’re very sad but at the same time, we are very grateful because Nadal had such a great season this year. I think we should celebrate it!”

How can we ever forget Nadal’s curriculum vitae/resume and his woonderful season; we’re constantly reminded of his numerous achievements all of the time. Rafa this, Rafa, that. I don’t see the fans of the other players listing those players’ innumerable accomplishments, but from some of the Nadal fans we receive a dose every day, several times a day.

Let’s not build up ourselves to be too noble — that’s being a “show-off’. Let others do the complimenting. But then, I suppose if you don’t blow your own trumpet, no one else will do so for you. So blow away to your heart’s content, but leave out the sarcasm. Take time to lick your wounds and heal, which is not something the fans of other players are allowed to do. And, “don’t take this personlly”……


Ezorra Says:

She starts again…

you know what? talk whatever you want… :) happy to see your “value.”


Von Says:

Two more to go to catch up.


Ezorra Says:

mem said:

“Ezorra, great post! I echo your thoughts!”

thanks mem


Gordo Says:

Murray – good on you, boy! Even when Tsonga defeated Rafa in the Australian Open I never thought he was hitting the ball harder and faster than Nadal, but today Murray did just that.

When he had 7 break points in that one marathon game and failed to break Rafa I thought “Uh-oh! – here comes the Spaniard now!” But Murray withheld the storm. He was a monster out there.

I honestly think Nadal felt intimidated in the last game. The Djokovic-like drop shot on match point was almost a surrender – I never expected to see that match end that way.

Can the Scot take it to the next level and beat Federer?

This will be interesting. As Jim Courier says – if Federer wins tomorrow he not only salvages his season, but he sends out a signal to watch out for him in 2009.

With no high bouncing topspins to his backhand I think he will have the advantage – as long as his deceptive first serve is working at a high percentage.

Now – to address this Fed-bashing site – if Fed loses tomorrow he will have 3 runner-up positions and a semi-finalist loss in the 4 majors.

If he wins – One championship, 2 runner-up positions and a semifinalist loss in the Slams.

I argue that any pro player outside of Rafa would love to have the – what does this site call Federer’s 2008 campaign? – oh yes – HORRIFIC. Good Lord, Sean and company – how was your best year on the tour? lol


Gordo Says:

And to leave you all with a quote from today’s victor – this is from the tail end of the press conference with Murray following his match today, when asked about Federer, he said -

“I mean, he made the final at Wimbledon, the final of the French Open, the semis of Australian Open, and he’s in the final here. I don’t understand why everyone thinks he’s not playing well. He’s played unbelievable in the best tournaments and he’s in the final for the fifth straight year here. It’s a ridiculous run. I think he’s playing great. I just think the level of tennis has got better.”

Good luck to both Murray and Federer tomorrow – may you dazzle us all again, and may the best player win – in a best of 5 that is what usually happens.


zola Says:

Ezorra
***There are so many positive things could be taken out from it. For example, we knew that Nadal has to defend a lot of points next year. This defeat can reduce his burden and encourage him to do better for the next year’s matches. On top of that, this his best performance in US opens so far. We should proud of it, no? ***

Exactly. He had a great run this year anyway. For me the back to back FO and wimbledon was enough. evrything else was a bonus. He then won Queens/Toronto and the Olympic gold and became no 1. So I am glad that he is healthy ad injury -free and as you said has some room for next year. The best thing for him is just to get some rest.

Gordo,
I think many top 10 players will easily trade their best year with Federer’s worst.


NachoF Says:

In Venezuela on ESPN we get to pick if we want spanish or english narrators… I cant stand the Argentinian accent so many I times I switch to the American commentators… I dont know if you guys have heard of them, Sam Gore and Jimmy Arias… they do a pretty good job I guess.


Federer is betterer Says:

Has anybody noticed that Federer reaches 3 Grand Slam finals this year, with “only” 2 for Nadal? Talk about a bad year…


Kaka Says:

and win none!


Federer is betterer Says:

yet! Wait for another 24h to assess.
Still, can you tell me how many players have reached 3 Grand Slam Finals in the same year? Not that many. And I bet that for none of them it was considered a bad year.


Von Says:

“I dont know if you guys have heard of them, Sam Gore and Jimmy Arias… they do a pretty good job I guess.”

I love to listen to Sam Gore; he has the same sweet, soft voice as Doug Adler, whom I like very much. Arias is OK, but at times can be a little too critical and his nasal tone I can tolerate in small doses. Leif Shiras is very good and is always complimentary of the athletes. I like it when Doug Adler and Leif team up and/or Sam Gore and Leif Shiras. It’s obvious Leif, Sam gore and Doug are more educated from their comments.


Von Says:

Kaka:

You’re a man of few words. BTW I thought you did a good job refereeing a few nights ago. I couldn’t laugh then, but later the next day, after reeading the comments again, I sure got a kick out of that. I loved it and found it very humorous, but you’ve always been funny, and that’s what I liked about you — your great sense of humor. Your one-liners confuse me though. Keep up the humor. :P


Lausanne Says:

@Beatriz

Thanks for you post, I’ve also noticed that double standard when commenting Roger’s and Nadal’s matches, especially on this site.

Roger’s accomplishments are systematically underrated by the editorial staff and it’s good that from time to time someone put things in perspective…

Of course, we must recognize that Djokovic has great tennis skills and Nadal is incredible in his physical game and will, but overall Roger is still the best tennis player out there IMHO.


Von Says:

“Still, can you tell me how many players have reached 3 Grand Slam Finals in the same year? Not that many. And I bet that for none of them it was considered a bad year.”

Fed has had a very good year, which is nothing to scoff at, despite not winning a slam title. I think the problem is that he hasn’t lived up to the media’s expectations of winning everything. I wish my player got that kind of year.


Kaka Says:

Federer is betterer & Kaka,

Do we really need to compare those two players’ achievements? What are the benefits of comparing them to us? Or… are you trying to create dispute here?


Kaka is stupid... Says:

Federer is betterer & Kaka,

Do we really need to compare those two players’ achievements? What are the benefits of comparing them to us? Or… are you trying to create dispute here??


NachoF Says:

I wouldnt say it was a “bad” year for Federer… I guess it was weird…. its just that compared to his previous years its not nearly as good….it really makes no sense for a guy to reach three GS finals but not win one or any Master Series event either…. for a guy that has won more than 50 tournaments to only win two small events in one year is definitely a disappointment :(


RJ Says:

Its not a bad year for Federer when compared to the rest of the field.

The difference though has been that while Fed has been by and large the most consistent across all services he hasn’t been the best. Thats why this year he’s got good results but hasn’t got the wins. Lets hope he can win tonight.


zola Says:

Rafa’s blog for timesonline:

“Murray was better-no excuses”

http://timesonline.typepad.com/rafael_nadal/2008/09/murray-was-bett.html


grendel Says:

Watching Murray outhink and outlast Nadal from the back of the court was an unexpected – and enjoyable – experience. Take the penultimate point of the match; Nadal was very good, very good indeed – but he was hanging in, waiting. But that opening never came, and Murray calmly finished a point he had bossed from the outset with a volley. It was rather amazing to see Nadal winded, and against Murray, too. Few people who saw it will forget Murray’s almost comical collapse (from cramp) against Johanssen at Queens, 3 years ago I think. I mean, he just fell flat, it was Laurel and Hardy stuff. And now he’s apparently as fit as any of them.

It was warming to see Nadal’s spontaneous goodwill at the end of the match. Obviously he’s had a great season, so he can afford to be generous – but still, he was generous, that’s the point. Meanwhile, what future for Nadal at US Open? I’ve clearly been deluded by the mythical stature clinging to Nadal, and some steadier folk have seen the writing on the wall for some time now. In particular, I strongly agree with Daniel. Just think, next year there will be: Roddick and Federer, wily veterans each with a point to make as time runs out; a mature and improved Murray (God!); a reinvigorated Djokovic; and a superb bunch of youngsters in the waiting, not quite there now (except perhaps del Potro), but who will be threatening indeed in 12 months – Gulbis, Cilic, Belluci, Nishikori and of course del Potro, and none of these are likely to succomb to the “awe” factor. Nadal, of course, will be a contender, but only one among many, and by no means the most potent. It’s beginning to look (as many people have already said, but I always refused to believe) that he’s going to suffer Borg’s fate, or maybe not even that, Borg did get to several finals didn’t he? Just one point; it is amazing to me, an essentially non-playing fan, that Nadal’s serve is so lethal at Wimbledon, and so – well, ordinary – here in New York. I wonder what the experts think.

I don’t think for a moment Murray will be handicapped by nerves tonight. He loves the big time. If Fed is to beat him, he’s going to have to bring his best game, that’s for sure. It’s easy to see the match going either way.


jane Says:

I’ve said it before and will say it again: I think Rafa’s best chance at winning a hardcourt slam is the AO. It’s dryer and hotter there, so his spin will work better, and he’ll be fresh as it’s at the beginning of the season. Just speculation, of course, but that’s what I think.


jane Says:

Murray showed some nerves against Rafa, getting tight on break points, but in the end he was able to close it. I think that’s in part because he was up two sets; he knew the match was his if he could just close it out. He’ll have to start strong today. Best of luck to him in his first GS Final – what a fun player to watch.


zola Says:

grendel,
I think this year was a great improvement on Rafa’s part compared to the last year. Considering all the tournaments he played ( about 20 matches more than Fed/Djoko and 30 more than Murray). He still managed to reach the semis in the US Open. I think the mental factor was huge. Exactly the reverse for Fed.
Wimbledon plays a big factor here. whoever wins it comes to the hard courts with a better momentum and this year it helped Rafa.
Next year I would say it will bu Murray, Del Potro , Gulbis in and Roddick, Blake, perhaps Ferrer out and Fed/Davydenko, not at their best.

I think if Rafa comes fresh enough to the US Open, he has a chance. we have to yet see a year like that of course.

brw, Rafa is always gracious. you should read some of his interviews and blogs.


Zman Says:

Earlier in his career the knock on Nadal was that his shots had TOO much topspin and didn’t penetrate the court enough. For most of this season, he had proven his critics wrong by hitting a little flatter and much deeper than in the past. But perhaps the long season finally caught up, as his shots fell short throughout most of the match – often times bouncing around the service line. This allowed Murray to take the ball earlier and control most of the points.

I don’t think Murray will have this luxury with Federer. Rodger hits through the ball on both sides, using his slice backhand low and deep through the court. But Murray has the consistent game to get under Federer’s skin, as we’ve seen in their previous meetings. If Federer keeps his errors low, like he did against Djokovic, we should be in for a great match tonight. If not, Murray may get his first slam. Will be interesting to see how he handles being in his first Slam final.


Daniel Says:

Nadal didn’t felt the urgency to win this US Open. He may have thought: hey, I’ve already won RG, Wimbledon (his goal) and Gold medal and I am in semis already…

I think he’ll only win US Open if he lost earlier in Wimbledon, this way he can come fresher and with all his mental strength to New York, this year was just too much (maybe if we hadn’t Olympics he would have been in the final here)!

grendel, as always, you improve my thoughts (my English fails with my will sometimes!) :)


grendel Says:

Yes, I agree, the AO seems to be Nadal’s best shot at a hardcourt slam. But there’s something special about the US. Well, and about Wimbledon. And -er- about the French. But not about the Aussie. For some reason, that’s still the cinderella among the slams.

Zola – yes, del Potro and Gulbis probably the pick of the younger bunch. But don’t discount the others. Nadal (like Fed) had a VERY friendly draw this time round, and next year, if he meets someone like Belluci 3rd round, it couldl be one hell of a battle. Don’t agree about Roddick, I’ve always thought he has another slam in him – but the conditions, e.g.his health etc, need to be right. Agree about the others, except Fed – absolutely no idea where he’ll be at.

So far as Nadal is concerned a) why should he come in fresh? He’ll obviously have won everything in sight on clay, and perhaps on grass too. And if he hasn’t on grass, this might signal a slight decline, which would not augur well for the US. And b) most people seem agreed that Nadal was near his best against Murray on second day – and that wasn’t good enough. Sorry, but I’m a convert to Nadal having a gap in his CV when he hangs up his racket.


zola Says:

grendel,
Tennis to me is about improvements. Rafa and Murray ( and fed) are where they are because of all the hard work they put day in and day out.

I don’t think Rafa was near his best in the second day. He couldn’t hit the ball hard enough. Remember his matches with Gasquet and Murray in Toronto.But as you say, coming to the US Open, this may always be the case. So that’s something he needs to work on. Tweak his hard court game a bit more maybe. I don’t think his schedule will change.
I am a bit more hopeful for next year because this year was just brutal with back to back clay court torunaments and the olympics. I agree. the young guns are coming up and Rafa has to beat them to get to the top. One thing I am always confident, is that he will do his best.

I am enjoying this year right now. I will worry about the next year when it comes. This has been a phenomenal year for Rafa and for tennis. look that even at his worst year Fed is playing his third GS final, Rafa is No 1, Djoko has a slam and Murray is playing in a Slam final. such a field! What more can a tennis fan ask for?


Jake Says:

Andy Murray.

UK sensation. Completely unorthodox playing style. Can win under pressure.

It seems some people love him, and some people hate him. Not many in between.

Check out Love40.com to post a video commentary about what you think about Murray.


SG Says:

Yup. Tennis finally has some balance in the top 10. Fed, Nadal, Djokovic & Murray. I don’t think anyone’s going to outright dominate the tour for a while. I like Fed’s chances today though. He played sublime tennis in the 4th set against Djokovic. I haven’t seen him play like that in a couple of years. To quote a Sampras line, “Winning this tournament will save my year.” I think Fed is having the same thoughts. And I think he’ll cash in. I like Murray. But I do think he’ll be overwhelmed by the moment (…though I hope I’m wrong).


MMT Says:

I can’t stand Murray and his “entourage”, but I think he’ll win in 4 sets.

He has the fitness and mobility to get a lot of balls back, and he also can hit winners and hold his serve consistently. This is the perfect formula to beat Federer, which he has already done this year.

I also find it mildy ironic that Federer is facing Murray in a grand-slam final, when he claimed after his loss to the same player in Dubai this year that he’d need to play differently to be a top player.

I think those words will come back to haunt him and unfortunately we’re going to have to live with the unbearable British press for the next couple of years as a result, but at the end of the day I think he’s got Fed’s number and will dial it in today.


YY Says:

Von,

“Over the past 4 days I’ve seen how cruel and low-class some of the Nadal fans can behave when Roddick lost. Roddick was called a donkey, ugly American, no good player, and several other dirty names — the redundancy was nauseating. Not to mention the fact that the whole United States was subject to abuse, and it was stated that the USO had the worst fans on the face of the planet.”

Er… not sure if the comments are made by Anti-Roddick rather than Nadal fans! How presumptuous again! I think real Nadal’s fan would not do their idol any justice by insulting other players.

Why are you so sensitive to the so called trumpeting of his achievements? Even if they are mentioned, isn’t what Nadal achieved worthy of being proud of?

Feels more like a case of sour grapes because Roddick hasn’t been performing up to his potential and nothing for his fans to shout out for. :P

Before you say I am anti-Roddick, let me assure you that I still root for him and believe that he still has potential to be a great player. Just feel it is unfortunate for him that Rafa and Fed have dominated the scene so much in recent years, and newbies like Djokovic and Murray have overtaken him.


YY Says:

As for the final. 50-50. Difficult to make a call. Murray has the game to beat Federer but does he have the nerves to take his first Grand Slam final? Or would the pressure to make up for the year undo Federer’s performance should he fall behind Murrary early (if Federer gets an early lead, I see Murray’s chances of an upset dramatically falling). Kinda dejavu but a strange result could be Murray losing the US Open and winning the Aussie Open in 2009 (repeating Djokovic’s experience ’07-’08).

Even as a Nadal fan, I do not see him winning a hardcourt GS. I think Federer has a better chance of winning the French than Nadal winning UO/AO. Next year will be a nail biting year for fans of the top 4 as I feel it is now no longer just a 1-2 fight but a 1-2-3-4 war!

Bring on 2009!!!


sensationalsafin Says:

Roddick does NOT have the potential to be a great player. He’s a good player and that’s all he ever was and will be. Just because he’s the head of american tennis right now doesn’t mean he’s great. And his game? I still can’t believe he beat Gulbis and got out of the second round!! His backhand sucks, his forehand sucks, his volleys suck. All he has is a big first serve. His second serve is ok, nothing special.


MMT Says:

YY: “Or would the pressure to make up for the year undo Federer’s performance should he fall behind Murrary early…”

For me this is the key – Federer has been more impatient and error proned this year. There seems to be little middle ground with him: he either panicks, plays over-agressive and make errors, or he plays conservative, and waits for the error – like he did against Djokovic last year in the final.

The problem with the latter is that it depends on his opponent making mistakes. Unfortunately this year, that’s happening less often.

Ultimately both strategies play right into Murray’s hands – he’s patient and quick enough to let Federer make a lot of unforced errors. But he is also sufficiently versatile to win a chess match in which he takes the initiative and come to net to end points.

Under the circumstances I see Federer succumbing to the pressure enormous pressure of salvaging his year and making so many errors trying to take the initiative early on, that he falls behind and Murray grabs hold of the match by the middle of the second set.

An understandable blip in concentration in his first grand slam final may cost him a set, but I think Murray wins in 4.


Daniel Says:

Well, Murray did beat fed before, twice, but both were in first round matchs: round of 32 in Cincinati 2007 and round of 32 Dubai this year. A Grand Slam final where Fed came after 6 wins, I don’t think so. Murray can only win in a 5 set or if Fed play really bad. Wll see..


grendel Says:

well, Federer came out firing in first set against Djokovic, presumably taking enormous risks, and it paid off. That said, I really have no idea who’ll win tonight. b.t.w. to Daniel: as one who has always struggled helplessly with foreign languages, I am always hugely impressed by those who can express themselves in a second language.


Von Says:

YY:

“Er… not sure if the comments are made by Anti-Roddick rather than Nadal fans! How presumptuous again! I think real Nadal’s fan would not do their idol any justice by insulting other players.”

You are wrong. One of the chief offenders was Vulcan, who is a huge Nadal fan. The other is Zola another Nadal fan, who is most times off-topic, but nonetheless, very effusive with her criticisms toward EVERYONE. Roddick’s nAme has only to be mentioned, and they both run balistic. What’s their problem? Just raw hate for an American player. Please don’t say I’m presumptuous unless you read first. And what’s the purpose of the the sarcastic smiley, next to the sour grapes statement. Are you an Indian giver? Give with one hand and take away with the next? Or you don’t have the courage of your convictions? Please dont’ judge me by your standands. I am at times disappointed when the players I like lose, but I DON’T, and you can believe me if you want, vent on other people because of that. I’m realistic to know that no one can win every time and my expectations are within reason. if I see Federer will be Roddick’s opponent, I automatically feEl Fed will win and there isn’t any disappointment. Maybe it’s difficult for some to understand, but I’m way above some of these feelings which I see portrayed.

“Er… not sure if the comments are made by Anti-Roddick rather than Nadal fans! How presumptuous again! I think real Nadal’s fan would not do their idol any justice by insulting other players.”

I remember one time you mentioned this to Zola when she was on one of her phoney defences for Federer, reading the riot act to a poster, which was just after Fed was beaten by Nadal at Wimby. It’s so easy for her to be so hypocritically defensive toward Federer because Nadal beat him. Throw a morsel of faked kindness and earn some judos at the same time — a very smart strategy, n’est ce pas? Anyway, you mentioned that Nadal and Fed would not ‘insult” the other players to her. Your words fell on deaf ears there. Berating Roddick and other players for everything is her pasttime on these threads. She thrives on it. Vulcan, from what I’ve determined is pretty new here, but the two have found common ground in Roddick and enjoy degrading him. In the future, please read more before jumping to conclusions, because I’m sure if you had done that, your post and my response wouldn’t have come under the umbrella of “superfluous” utterances.


JCF Says:

I know this is late, but I’m looking through old posts for reasons I may have upset Von and how to placate her… Not seeing anything here though.

“Nadal is 5 years younger than roger and much more strong and doesn’t matter the situation, he always loses because he’s tired.”

I don’t think it was that. I think Murray was too good on the day.

Both Nadal and Federer played the most tennis going into Wimbledon (especially Nadal) but they were still the last ones standing at the end, and even went the distance against each other, so tiredness should not have been the cause for the loss. Perhaps a factor, but Murray had better stats, and that was what won him the match.

Roddick in 03 won Montreal, Cincy, and US Open playing the last 4 matches or so back to back because of rain delays. I’m not the one making excuses here.

“Now that Nadal has lost and is no longer a threat to tennis-x’s favorite golden boy Federer I hope this means that they will stop with the schoolyard trashing of Nadal and his numerous tics and habits. Every elite player has them, including prettyboy Roger.”

What are Fed’s habits if I may ask?

“I have to desagree! He still doesn’t have a Grand Slam final on hard, in his peak year, so far. Even Murray got his first. :)”

Let’s not go there again. Going into 2004, Federer’s best AO and USO results were 4th round. Were you there saying that Federer can’t win a GS on hard court?

Federer is betterer Says:

“Has anybody noticed that Federer reaches 3 Grand Slam finals this year, with “only” 2 for Nadal? Talk about a bad year…”

Do you remember 2006 when Justine Henin reached FOUR grand slam finals compared to two for Mauresmo? Who had the better year?

jane Says:

“I’ve said it before and will say it again: I think Rafa’s best chance at winning a hardcourt slam is the AO. It’s dryer and hotter there, so his spin will work better, and he’ll be fresh as it’s at the beginning of the season. Just speculation, of course, but that’s what I think.”

His chances were probably better on rebound ace which some players said was slower than the plexicushion, and it did bounce higher. That’s just a guess. I think he could win it on plexicushion too, with the right draw.

“Sorry, but I’m a convert to Nadal having a gap in his CV when he hangs up his racket.”

Most players have gaps in their CV when they hang them up. The only guy in Open Era that I don’t think had any gaps was Agassi, and perhaps Laver. The argument that I would like to make is that having a gap where a hardcourt slam should go is better than having a gap where a clay or grass slam should be. The reason he lost at the US Open (this year and past years) isn’t because the courts were too fast for him. His opponent just played better on the day. I think that if this match was played on grass, Murray would still have won.

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ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
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