Can Murray, Djokovic Spoil a Federer-Nadal Cincinnati Final?
by Sean Randall | August 22nd, 2009, 1:13 pm
  • 161 Comments

It’s one of the biggest non-Slam days we’ve had on the ATP circuit in a long, long time. Last week we saw all Top 8 players reach the Montreal quarterfinals. Today, Cincinnati arguably does one better playing host to the Top 4 in the semifinals. The end results is one of the best Final Four line ups we’ve seen in a long time – 2008 Monte Carlo was the last time the Top 4 appeared in a SF  – with No. 1 Roger Federer battling No. 2 Andy Murray, and No. 3 Rafael Nadal v. No. 4 Novak Djokovic.

I think today’s results will go a long way in determining the fate of the four combatants come the US Open which begins in just nine days. So for me there’s more on the line than just wins and losses in Cincinnati.

Up first in about hour or so is a much-anticipated, long-awaited match between Federer and Murray. We nearly got that tussle a week ago, but Federer stunningly crashed out to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Today, meeting #9 in on.

Murray of course has won six of the eight meetings with the Swiss, including four straight (I think five if you add in an exo at the start of the year). For Murray, it’s important ahead of the Open to maintain that advantage.

For Federer, it’s really hard to gauge his focus. At this stage in his career, no doubt that he’s concentrating on Slams, so one had to wonder if he still wakes up with enough fire in his belly to really go after the Masters events like he did in past.

A year ago he lollygagged his way through the summer and still managed to win the US Open in the end. Surely that’s on his mind and even though he’s been on the wrong side of the scorecard to Murray, he’ll take another loss here for a surprise win at the Open over the Scot. That said, I’m picking Murray here in two. He’s clearly been playing the better tennis, and in Cincinnati he won’t be feeling the “Slam” pressures. Plus, hHe can’t afford to lose the edge he has over Roger. If he loses here I don’t see him beating Roger at the Open.

The night semifinal also has storylines aplenty. Is Nadal finally 100% back? Is Djokovic still a threat to the top guys? And more.

A year ago in this same round, same time it was Novak winning. Tonight, I think it’s Rafa. Head-to-head Nadal has dominated leading 14-4 with five straight wins over the Serb since that Cincinnati setback. Of course their most recent encounter was that four-hour epic played in Madrid, a loss that Novak really hasn’t seemed to have recovered from.

So for me there’s more on the line for Novak than anyone else playing today. A loss today really moves him back among the contenders at Flushing and he’ll go into the final Major of the year without having a really big win in months. A win, though, puts him back in the mix. But from what I’ve seen, I just don’t think Novak has the belief – we know he has the game – to win at this stage and beat Nadal. So again, Rafa straight sets.

And that should leave us with a Murray v. Nadal final and with the quick turnaround from night to day for the Spaniard, I think Murray wins. But now I’m getting ahead of myself.


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Roger Federer: I Once Won 24 Straight Finals, Now I’m Losing More Than Winning Them, But It’s OK
Bad Knees Are Still Bad, Rafael Nadal Forced Out Of Cincinnati For First Time In Career; US Open In Jeopardy?
Rafael Nadal Could Skip Cincinnati, Roger Federer Might Miss Montreal

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161 Comments for Can Murray, Djokovic Spoil a Federer-Nadal Cincinnati Final?

i am it Says:

i want to see murray rafa final but i want roger and djokovic to lose. wish they did round robin between these 4.


i am it Says:

i want to see murray-rafa final on the one hand but i also don’t want roger and djokovic to lose. i want rafa to win the whole thing. i am all confused who to root for today. wish they did round robin between these 4.


Kimmi Says:

Its not Hot, not Humid, no Wind either just perfect.


i am it Says:

roger breaks early. he wants to win.


Kimmi Says:

Slow start from Murray, fed is serving below 40% 1st serve and still manage to break and hold his own.


Kimmi Says:

What a serve from Murray !!!!


Sean Randall Says:

Federer really attacking.

Slow start from Murray.


Kimmi Says:

It was good from Murray to get out of the 0-40 game, and that return of serve at 30-40 from fed and a save from Murray was magnificent.


Shaky Says:

Wow talk about a huge challenge.

Sort of a fitting way to end that set.


Kimmi Says:

WOW, that was quick..6-2 federer. Fed serving at only 42% 1st serve, with the best returner Murray..what is happening ?


i am it Says:

with 36% first serve roger won the set. that’s insane.


Tennisfan Says:

Roger kicking butt and serving poorly to boot …


Sean Randall Says:

Fed dialed in. Playing very loose.


i am it Says:

murray should keep that come on to himself. he was saying come on yesterday even during the exchange after sitting on chair. i don’t know what to call that.


Eric Says:

Hopefully this will shut up all the Murray fanboys for a while. Sick of hearing about how great he is.


Kimmi Says:

WOWOWOW ! Federer, excellent play today. Congratulations.


Shaky Says:

What the heck was Murray doing challenging that service call in the tiebreak??? I’m speechless about that one. Stunningly bad.


Shaky Says:

Maybe I saw it wrong. Did he not play the return? I don’t get it.

Whatever. Very impressive match from Federer, took every short ball early and came to net, constant pressure. Thought I was in a time machine to 2005.


Scottish Says:

Awesome! Fed played well today. The good news is that he still didn’t play his best. This is a gret win for Fed in many ways. closes the Murray H2H gap, ensures even little more distance form the #2 in rankings before the USO and more importantly continures to give Fed growing confidence heading into the USO. It also helps that he was able to close it out in 2 sets.

Now we will see if it’s going to be the anticipated Fed/Nadal final.


Tennisfan Says:

Murray a bit smug … he thought he’d be #1 by year end … maybe #3???


i am it Says:

if murray cannot beat roger in best of 3, he has little chance in 5-setter match.
well done, roger. at 28, you are still the champion and this consolidates his morale going into the us open. congratulations !


Gordo Says:

If Fed picks up his first serve %, which was really only the one negative you could pick out, it doesn’t matter who is on the opposite side of the net tomorrow. Roger is looking pretty good.

I bet Murray is happy he is #2 and will not have to face Rog until the final of the US Open. Ha!


Kimmi Says:

“Thought I was in a time machine to 2005.”
Shaky, I agree, he was very good today. The serve especially, even though he served on 56% 1st sserve, he was able to deliver at important moments.

I don’t know if Murray was not given a chance to play his best but he was a little off returning especially in the beginning but he picked it up well in the end. Double fault is a bad way to finish the match though.


PietjeP Says:

Good result for Fed; it will give him some extra confidence. And it breaks his hardcourt streak against top players! He hasn’t beaten Nadal, Djoko and Murray since last year US open….

Maybe for Murray it’s good too; it will take some pressure of him heading into the US open

Didn’t see enough of the match to judge it tennis wise… I just saw the breaker.


margot Says:

aaaahhhhhh! to end on a double. When Andy doesn’t serve well, he loses, end of. Outplayed tonight but lives …and rests…to fight another day.
jane: good luck to Djko, hope he plays a lot better than Andy!


jane Says:

Gordo, it is not guaranteed that Murray will remain number 2. If Rafa wins tonight and tomorrow, he overtakes the number 2 spot again. So we have to wait and see, and the final here could have ramifications for all the players – i.e., if affects where or when they could meet Rafa and/or Murray during the USO.


jane Says:

PietjeP – Murray began really slowly. He was serving badly, moving poorly and not returning well either. Meanwhile Fed was hitting winners by game 3? Fed may not have served a high first serve percentage in or a lot of aces, but i think he changed his serve up somehow; he’s going more for placement and taking a little off it perhaps? Any others care to comment on his serving? Something there was flummoxing Murray it seemed to me.


Kimmi Says:

Fed should give the win to Rafa if Rafa wins tonight, just a thought.


i am it Says:

murray is saving energy for 16 slams he will win. he is very foresighted. wise men save for big occasions. if he had used 5 more ounces of energy he would have beaten roger today. loss of extra 5 ounces would have incapacitated murray still affected after 11 days. he has beaten roger 6 times already and that makes murray the world’s best player.. he did not lose today. he is only saving energy.


steve Says:

Jane: the commentators said Federer was using the body serve on his second serve. Also I don’t think he was going for the lines as much as he usually does.

Good match from both. Federer had a game plan, stuck to it, and continued to stay aggressive instead of falling away. Murray raised his game in the second set and played very well, but ultimately I think he was unsettled by the fact that he couldn’t get into Federer’s service games as easily as he usually does, and he had to fight much harder to hold his own serve. The pressure told in the tiebreak.


steve Says:

a bit of trivia: this is the first time that Federer has beaten Murray outside the final of a tournament.


jane Says:

Thanks for the feedback on Fed’s serve, steve; the commentators I was listening to didn’t really comment on it too much. Whatever it was, I think Fed really managed to throw off Murray’s returning abilities. Fed seemed to come out today a man determined. Murray didn’t really get it together until set 2. Sometimes that works for him as he can then turn the momentum of the match. But Fed didn’t let it happen today.


Blank Says:

Tonight’s match will be very interesting…it’s going to be battle of the minds…Djoko has to overcome his memories of getting beaten by Nadal so many times since same time last year, and for Nadal…nobody but Nadal can only tell if he’s fully fit. How will it help him if he pushes for some 2 hrs today and perhaps longer tomorrow? Or is the knee not a concern anymore at all and all the press was just to manage the expectations?…

This will be the most open US open in years…last year’s US Open was open as well but coz of Fed’s poor form, more people expected Nadal to come through. I can’t wait for the 2nd week of US open to..


margot Says:

What I don’t understand about Andy is that he can play aggressively and when he does he’s really excellent, but somehow for some reason he just doesn’t seem to choose to very often. Mad! Why?


Tennisfan Says:

i am it: lets hear one round of god save the queen :)


jane Says:

Tennisfan, only if it’s the Sex Pistols version. LOL.

margot – I didn’t think it was that so much today, although Murray can be too passive in stretches. Murray seemed tired getting going, and was yelling at his legs to move. Maybe he’s just feeling sluggish after winning last week and getting to the semis here.

Many had commented before Cincy began that not a lot of players have won Canada and Cincy back to back.

But you’re right that Murray can and does play aggressively, but he tends to fall back on defense at times when he shouldn’t. I think if he would’ve attacked a little more today, he might’ve taken the second set.

Then again, it was not one of his better serving days, and nor was yesterday.

Another thing with Murray is that he often starts slow and loses the first set, and that immediately puts him at a disadvantage.

He needs to start quicker, keep improving that second serve, and not lapse into defensive mode too often. He can do all that as they aren’t major adjustments really. Maybe the hardest change would be the latter one, IF his natural inclination is to respond rather than attack.


Tennisfan Says:

Fed’s strategy good today … to beat Murray you just don’t beat yourself. Fed was content to just put the ball back in play much of the time and wait for a ball he could do something with.

Murray has gotten further and further away from a power game … probably because he’s had so much success with a junk ball style. But to some extent he has forgotten how to step into the ball.

To have success against Murrays style you have to play with patience … something that Federer hadn’t been doing. Wawarinka almost beat Murray this year playing a patience game … and its something other players will have to learn to have success against him.

Federer forced Murray to go for some lines today and play a lower percentage game…


Von Says:

I think Murray can learn from Nadal by changing from defense to attack. Playing too defensive most of the time is not a good MO and one he needs to begin changing and implementing post haste.

I don’t think we should read too much into this loss though, as these things happen to all top players when even a smidgen of their game is not clicking at the right time. There’s always the next tournament. Next …..


Mindy Says:

kimmi,

Are you joking with that comment about Roger giving the win to Rafa tomorrow? Roger would never, ever do that and frankly, Rafa doesn’t need any gimmes from Roger.

First, Rafa needs to beat Djoko. I am liking Rafa’s chances tonight after seeing him dismiss Berdych. That was a big test. This will be even bigger. But for the first time, Rafa believes. He even said it himself. That means everything. Rafa has found himself. The big edge that Rafa has over Djoko is his mental strength. That has been a question mark for Djoko. If it comes down to a test of wills, Rafa wins.

It could be a battle, but I am hoping that Rafa comes out aggressive, like he did with Berdych. That’s what Federer did with Murray today. As far as I am concerned, Rafa has done more than he could possibly have expected here. Anything else is just icing on the cake. Every match he plays gives him more time to get even better. He is feeling it now, so I just say watch out!

It would be incredible to see Roger and Rafa playing again in the finals of a tournament. Roger seems to have raised his level of play, so he is taking this one seriously. But Rafa is the one guy who can beat him. I am not going to think ahead. Rafa has to beat Djoko and that won’t be easy. If’s it’s a long match, then the winner will be at a real disadvantage tomorrow against Federer. But this is the way it always is for Rafa. Nothing ever comes easy. I am always such a pessimist, but all week I have been feeling very good about Rafa.

I want Rafa to meet Roger. Let them go at it and see if Rafa can still get in his head.


Von Says:

Mindy: Hello, glad to see you weighing in. Your boy looked good last night and I wish him all the best tonight. He certainly hushed up a few with that performance.


Skorocel Says:

steve, here’s another trivia: If Nadal beats Djoker today, it will be already the 17th (!) final between him and Fed, which, if my stats are correct, will then be the 2nd most played final in the Open era after McEnroe vs Lendl (who played 20 finals). Also, the winner will thus pick his 16th MS title and move within just one win from Agassi, who’s the all-time leader in this category with 17 MS trophies. As of now, they both shared the 2nd spot with 15 MS shields, out of which, interestingly, Fed won 10 on hard and 5 on clay, whereas Nadal 10 on clay and 5 on hard.


Paul Says:

Murray just does not seem to be able to keep his mouth shut. He lost against Roger because he kept telling everybody he would beat Federer at Cincy and then at the US Open. No other player on the tour behaves in such an impertinent fashion!


FedRafaFan Says:

I’m sure Rafa will win, but you can never count out Novak. He will make Rafa win it, so Rafa will win in three sets to set up another Federer vs. Nadal clash (this will be their 21st meeting). As far as the tournament winner, it will be tough to call right now. Let’s just say that if Novak makes it tough for Rafa tonight, the result tomorrow will be similar to Federer vs. Nadal 20 in Madrid, where Federer won in straight sets.


Blank Says:

Roddick and Del Potro will be the freshest coming into the open. I want to see Roddick win the US open one last time before the young brigade takes over totally (Del potro, Murray, Djoko, Nadal)


jane Says:

Mindy says “If’s it’s a long match, then the winner will be at a real disadvantage tomorrow against Federer. But this is the way it always is for Rafa.”

It’s true Mindy; Rafa plays the second semi more than usual. Fed almost always plays the first semi. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. Who knows? Maybe they prefer it this way. But if Fed requests to play early, his request is certainly filled much of the time.

As for Rafa, I think he is looking really good; on the one hand, I’d like to see Djoko win, because he’s a fave of mine and it would give his confidence a needed boost, (plus, Rafa in some ways has already exceeded expectations here), but on the other hand, Rafa’s another player I have always loved to watch for his fighting spirit and amazing shots, and a Fed vs. Rafa final would be really interesting pre-USO. Moreover, if Rafa wins he’d take number 2 back which means he could not meet Fed before the final of the USO. To me, there are pluses no matter who wins tonight. Good luck to both!


Kimmi Says:

Mindy, No i was not joking, I think it will be a good strategy for Roger especially if he does not want to face Rafa in the semi at the USO. But as you say, Roger will never do that and Rafa certainly does not need gimmes from Roger. I also think Roger would want to get as more ranking points as possible to extend his # 1 lead.

Jane, I watched a little of Serena/Demantieva,. These two always slug it out on court. This time Demantieva came out firing, few mistakes from Serena at the 1st set tiebreaker which translate to easy straight sets for Demantieva.


Henry Says:

Hi Von,

Ref Mohamed Lahyani

On the other thread you were saying some not so very kind things about Mohamed Lahyani. I have experienced Lahyani and his compatriot Lars Graff from very close by and on numerous live occasions. They have taken umpiring to a different level. These two are very popular both with the players, court officials and tennisfans and for good reasons. Apart from the fact that they create a real team spirit around them on every single court, they often address the crowds in their local languages. The incident in Paris you mention, I recall differently. Lahyani actually gave Roddick an extra challenge even though he already had used up his quota. Lars Graff and Mohamed Lahyani (both from Sweden)take their job very seriously and IMO are among the very best.


jane Says:

Kimmi I missed that match; thanks for the update! I am really happy for Dementieva. Is Sharpie on yet and the “all-ova” semi? I wonder if it’ll be “all-ova” for Maria tonight? LOL.


Veno Says:

Margot: “What I don’t understand about Andy is that he can play aggressively and when he does he’s really excellent, but somehow for some reason he just doesn’t seem to choose to very often. Mad! Why?”

I totally hear ya! This is why(together with his ridiculous ticks and excessive yelps, “C’mons” and “Focusssssssss”) it costs me so much energy to get enjoyment out of seeing Andy play!

Imho he is the best tactician and the best switching from defence to offence…..BUT HE REFUSES TO USE IT MORE REGULARLY!!!! So annoying!!!

He is growing on me little by little though as I posted to you in the other thread…..


Von Says:

Henry:

I’m not talking about that point in the second set. I’m referencing the third set, Roddick painted the lines with a point, which was called out, and because of the previous problem, I suppose he didn’t challenge. Lahyani, of course, didn’t overrule the call, which was later done by official review by the commentators and it showed the ball in. Case in point, Roddick lost the point, the game, and then the set and the match. If you could get hold of that match, watch the many bad,bad calls, which were not over-ruled by Lahyani.

The same scenario happenend today with some bad calls and Lahyani did not even see them, which meant the players had to challenge. I feel Lahyani does leave too much on the players’ shoulders and I think if you would look at the matches he umpires you’d see the same MO with respect to out calls. He might be a good umpire in a lot of respects, but sorry not on bad calls. I think in his case I’d go with Federer that the umpires should be more proactive and not leave discrepancies to the players to challenge.


Kimmi Says:

Jane. LOL..the “all-ova” semi is at 7pm, but i will be watching Nadal/Djoko then.


jane Says:

BTW, speaking of scheduling preferences, did anyone read what Serena said about being scheduled to play her Toronto matches in the day? She said she doesn’t mind because it’s hot and she sweats more and since she wants to lose, like, 5 more pounds, it’s helping her achieve that goal! HA! Can you imagine? The things that girl says sometimes are so funny and audacious.


Von Says:

jane: Maybe Serena’s being truthful in the weight situation and she probably feels that she’d like to lose the weight, albeit, sweating profusely does more damage than good to the body, but maybe she’s not aware of that litt;le deatail.


Veno Says:

Von says: “I think in his case I’d go with Federer that the umpires should be more proactive and not leave discrepancies to the players to challenge.”

Hit the nail on the head there. It’s a system put in place as an electronic “aid” (for the players to use) if the umpire can’t give a definitive ruling on his own regarding a line call, or the lack there-of, or the players don’t agree with the official ruling(which is determined by the umpire)

They should be much more pro active and the same can be said about the let-machine. I see a lot of discrepencies with it and ambiguity by umps in trusting 100% on the technology in stead of using it as an electronic aid also…..But I digress(like that Von-analogy Vonnie?)


Veno Says:

Von says:
“sweating profusely does more damage than good to the body”

This is only true if said sweater(sorry, couldn’t resist) doesn’t re-hydrate him/herself appropriately :)


jane Says:

Von, she could also be taking a swipe at those who criticize her weight which is sort of how I interpreted it, and she’s no shrinking (ahem) violet! On the other hand, she could be talking straight. It’s tough to tell sometimes with Serena. I just thought it was funny.


Henry Says:

Von:

I’m absolutely positive that Federer did not have Lahyani in mind when he talked about pro-activeness by umpires. An umpire cannot be all over the place with his eyes all the time. He/She should only overrule when he/she is absolutely sure. That’s exactly why there are linesmen/women on court as the umpire cannot see all the angles. Lahyani has overruled wrong linescalls many many times when he has the right viewing angle and has not once – i repeat – not once been wrong when he has overruled and he has overruled at very tough decision moments in games/sets. He is the boss on the court and needs to show confidence in his lines colleages and give them confidence too. And by the way, Federer is one of the players that outright hates the Challenge system and when he uses it, he is the one that has been least right of all players on tour. Mind you, I agree with him and Nadal and other players that the Challenge System is not ideal and not always right… the cameras on court (and there are never enough to follow the full trajectory of the ball) only CALCULATE where the ball lands/landed. On court I have seen curve balls curving in and hitting the lines that are given ‘out’ by the challenge system because it ‘calculated” (not actually SAW) the ball going wide.


Goran Says:

Novak will win


Von Says:

Henry:

I digress about Lahyani for now, and won’t belabor the point.

“On court I have seen curve balls curving in and hitting the lines that are given ‘out’ by the challenge system because it ‘calculated” (not actually SAW) the ball going wide.”

I’ve seen this happen a lot of times to some players, and a few times to Roddick and Federer, where they were standing right there over the ball and then Hawkeye showed it to be out. I’ve subsequently come to the conclusion that they both have bad eyesight, Roddick more than Federer. Additionally, I’ve seen instances, especially in DC and Montreal where the let signal goes off and review showed the ball about 4-6 inches over the net but the umpire did nothing. all I’d like to see happen is for the umpires to be more proactive in some areas because a bad call for a player can have deleterious consequences = losing a match.


Veno Says:

Henry, the times the current challenge system incorrectly calculates a trajectory is 0.3 percent!!!

That’s 3 mistakes in a thousand balls and furthermore; eyesight can make the mind play tricks on someone, certainly considering the speeds these balls travel at, let alone the angles, fluffyness of the balls and position of the player in relation to where the ball lands etc.

Even if they’d put in a total cover dynamic laser guided sensor grid system, which would be almost infinitely close to 100% full proof, players would disagree sometimes :)

The point Von made was not that Lahyani is a bad ump in general, but he leans too much on the players using the challenge option when they question a line call….Many a time I have heard him tell a player looking at him to ask if it was out or not say “you may challenge the call”
I don’t mean he never over rules, because I’ve seen him do that very well many times, it’s just in comparison to other umps he’s not someone who exerts much dominance and self assured control over the match, he’s more of a laid back, technical ump….imho


madmax Says:

federer made murray look ordinary today. he was awesome.a fantastic gameplan employed and belief against a very frustrated and annoyed player to watch at times – i wish he’d stop swearing. it’s not pleasant.


Kimo Says:

I just watched the Fed-Murray match, so excuse me for the late entry.

To start things of I just wanna say one thing: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Murray at his best cannot beat Fed at his best. Was either player at their best today? No, but Roger looked more comfortable. He just has an edge on Murray.

Murray doesn’t have any weapon in particular that exploits whatever few weaknesses Roger has. Nadal has a cross-court forehand that at certain times seemed to have been custom designed to torture Roger’s one-handed backhand. Murray just doesn’t have that. Sure his down the line backhand can take Fed by surprise sometimes, but it would do that to anybody and that shot alone doesn’t win you a match against the MIghty Fed. As we saw today, if Fed manages to be patient in his rallies with Murray and pull the trigger on the right shots while keeping his UEs down, Murray has no chance.

That’s what we saw out there today. The match would have probably been closer had Murray served better, but I don’t think it would have made a difference as to the outcome of the match.

This win will be a great confidence booster for Fed going into the US Open, but I’m sure if you ask him would you rather be double-bagled in Cincy to Murray and win the US Open or win in Cincy and lose the US Open, he’d tell you that Cincy can go to hell. Roger didn’t over-celebrate his win today even though I know that he’s mighty pleased with it because of that fact. It’s just a Master Series event (I can’t believe I just wrote that, MS Series are right up there with slams in terms of how competitive they are, but you know what I mean).

On a sidenote, did you see how Murray hit the net with his racquet just before he shook hands with Roger? The guy has ZERO class. I HATE him.


Skorocel Says:

Von and Veno: I see the HE more or less as a certain tool whose main goal is to make the game of tennis even more “fan friendly” rather than something which would be of some help to the players. Its credibility has been questioned many times and by many players, be it Federer or Roddick, and it’s no wonder. Since its introduction, you could’ve seen MANY instances where the slow motion clearly showed the ball was in, yet the HE ruled it out (and vice versa). And that speaks of itself…


Skorocel Says:

jane said: „It’s true Mindy; Rafa plays the second semi more than usual. Fed almost always plays the first semi. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. Who knows? Maybe they prefer it this way. But if Fed requests to play early, his request is certainly filled much of the time.“

jane, as far as I know, Nadal played an evening match yesterday, so it’s only logical he would play as second today, isn’t it? ;-) Or, did you want him to play as first today? LOL! I mean, jane, whenever Fed plays – regardless if it’s under the floodlights or in the day session, you seem to object… And it’s no different with Cincy… Of all his matches thus far, he’s not played even one in the evening session (where the conditions are far more favourable, especially in such tourneys like Cincy, where it’s usually hot and humid during the day), yet you still complain… Why?


Kimo Says:

As to the argument “why doesn’t Murray attack more and be agressive even though he’s good at it”, I have an opinion:

Why is it that Fed was a pretty good player but by no means a great one from 1998 to 2003? It’s because Roger was trying to play like his idols did: they are Edberg, Sampras, and Becker. All S&V-ers. He did a lot of S&V himself back in those days. When he finally decided: “ok, I’m a pretty good baseliner and I’m more comfortable with it than being a serve-and-volleyer”, that’s when the genius in him came out.

In his interview with Charlie Rose after winning Wimby 2007, he said that the thing he’d like to improve a little more was his serve. Rose said: “But most people say you’re serve is pretty good.” Roger said: “It’s good enough to stay back, but not serve and volley. Whenever I try to hit a serve like Sampras I feel like my arm will come off.”

Btw, that was the Roger of 2007 that said that. Shows you how humble he is. :)

Now on to Murray. He’s just more comfotable being passive than being agressive. He’s more comfortable neutralizing his opponents strengths than coming up with agressive tactics of his own. It’s not something you choose, it’s something you’re born with and have to accept. Just like Fed accepted that he is not someone who can serve and volley 100% of the time, Murray has accepted that he is not someone who is an all-barrels-blazing kinda player. That’s why Murray sarted having success in the past 12 months. He’s not at peace with his tennis.


Kimo Says:

I meant “He’s now at peace with his tennis”


Hari Says:

BTW, I hope all of you saw Fed take a swipe at espn for the Tape-delay of the night matches right there at the ESPN desk in the port-match interview. It was good to see the main commentator (Chris?) squirm.
All said and done, Fed is such a great ambassador for the game.


jane Says:

My point is merely this Skorocel: Fed seems to play the first semi in a lot of the slams / masters series. That puts him at an advantage over his opponent, in my opinion, as he has more recovery time and is thus more rested for the final. Given that the second semi is usually played in the evening and then the final is in the day, the one who plays the second semi is at a disadvantage. Fed is Goat said something similar about the USO final – because it’s the very next day in particular, the player who plays the second semi will automatically be more tired. That’s my point.

I understand what you’re saying — keep the guy who played evenings at evenings and the guy who played days at days. It only makes sense! And there are disadvantages to playing day matches as it can be hotter. So I am well aware of that too.

The thing is simply this – whomever plays the day matches in a masters series, and whomever gets the first semi, will automatically have more recovery time. Generally Fed seems to be scheduled early (he played 1 night match at the USO last year only) – and it could be that he requests this, or who knows? Maybe Rafa requests evening. As I said above, “maybe they both prefer it that way!”

So I hope I’ve clarified my comment. As I say, it’s just a pattern I’ve recognised in the last couple of years, and so I bring it up from time to time — today it was in response to Mindy’s comment that the winner of tonight’s match will be at a disadvantage.


Kimo Says:

jane, that’s just how it goes. Del Potro was exhausted when he lost to Murray last week. It’s US tennis. TV just has too much leverage over there that they schedule semis two hours apart at MS events and play them on Saturday at the US Open. Players don’t like it, but what can they do?


Veno Says:

Skorocel says: “Since its introduction, you could’ve seen MANY instances where the slow motion clearly showed the ball was in, yet the HE ruled it out (and vice versa). And that speaks of itself…”

Just not true my friend, we have to deal with fact and actually the system is more accurate to determine if the ball touched a line or not then is often seen with the eye on camera.

I have seen mucho thousands of balls like that on tv, replays and even live and the system is an addition, though not perfect of course, which is overall much more accurate than before it was implemented…Added value is always good, but there is room for improvement still….


Kimo Says:

I’m picking Novak to beat Rafa in straightss today, which would be a shame because it’s been a while since we had a Fed-Rafa encounter.


scineram Says:

Vamos Nole!!


Veno Says:

Jane, for it to be fair they should from the quarters on play the matches simultaneously but no way that will ever happen.

Because it’s become such a physical game the time/rest constraints come into play.
Let’s not over stress it and feel too sorry for the players….

They’ll have to deal with it any way they can. During the 3 year period Fed went 247-15, never once did the fatigue issue came into play…
Maybe he’s just smarter at using scheduling and requests at tournaments for certain slots than his peers….I’m afraid this will always be a problem….


jane Says:

True Veno – couple things they could do: at the USO, play the men’s semis on the Friday. And at the masters don’t have the second semi 4 hours later, but have it immediately following the first one, which would cut down on the gap. Anyhow, you’re correct that there will always be a slight discrepancy in this. It would be nice to see it shift around a little though, so all semis oppponents have a chance to play first once in a while.


Veno Says:

I agree with you Jane…Novak looks good and ready!!!

I hope for a great match but a Djoko win(wow, that’s a first!!!)


jane Says:

First serves will be key if Djoko wants to win tonight; Rafa will make him pay and pay on second serves. : ) And Rafa charges a lot!


Kimmi Says:

I just hope they don’t play for 4 hrs..for their own sake.


steve Says:

Nadal does not look tired in the least. Djokovic also looking very sharp. This promises to be a good match.


i am it Says:

high class tennis from both rafa and djoko. great stuff. rafa is moving well and finding his range.
djoko is showing some magnificent baseline game.


i am it Says:

djoko draws the first blood.


Kimmi Says:

Novak shows flashes of 2008 form…yeaaah !!


Jeremy Says:

Very happy to see Federer win today. Me thinks Andy was getting a bit big for his britches given that he won the last four times against Roger. Sounds like there will be some vintage Murray screaming when i go home and watch the match.

Nadal looked pretty rough against Seppi but seems to have found his legs. He and Novak always play good matches but i hope Nadal prevails, only for the fact that who doesn’t salivate over a Nadal and Federer final?


i am it Says:

And Djokovic holds easily to lead 4-1. His forehand is flying and backhand is also not missing that much. He looks spirited.


steve Says:

Djokovic is striking the ball incredibly cleanly and painting the lines with his shots. The best I’ve seen him play in a while.

Nadal made a mistake, trying to come in to save break point; I suspected that he would get passed, with Djokovic playing so brilliantly, and he did.


jane Says:

5-1 I am gobsmacked! At the same time, I’m very pleased to see Novak playing well.


i am it Says:

another break point for Djoko? He takes it. 5-1. looks like Djoko will beat rafa easily.


steve Says:

As an amusing note, Nadal and Djokovic played in the same round of this tournament last year and Djokovic won. Djokovic also took the first set 6-1 then, but the second was much closer.


Kimmi Says:

WOW..Is Novak back ??


i am it Says:

if he wins djoko will be doing a big favor to murray.


i am it Says:

rafa got a time violation. not a good thing.


i am it Says:

djokovic is playing impressive tennis. is he back or what?


Kimmi Says:

Novak is painting lines, he is playing with a lot of confidence.


steve Says:

Djokovic has come down a bit from the sublime heights of the first set, and Nadal has raised his game, but Djokovic broke Nadal and managed to dig out of a 0-30 hole on his serve.

I don’t think Nadal is getting any rhythm, as aggressively ad Djokovic is playing. If this continues, Djokovic will prevail.


i am it Says:

novak wins in straight set. he played like the 2007 Djoko. the expression after saving the break point and hitting the passing shot in the next point were like his old self.
he did a big favor to murray and built his own confidence going into the US Open. good job.


jane Says:

:-) DURO!!!!! Congrats to Novak!

Nadal wasn’t near his best, but Djok will take the win happily. He played a nice, clean match overall. Great serving except the blip at the end. And some lovely groundstrokes, overheads, etc. I liked his focus too. :))))


Kimmi Says:

Maybe this is waht Djoko needs to get back that belief. We could see his confidence improving from now on. As for Nadal..still a little rusty, too many UE etc etc. Great win Novak.


Duro Says:

Ha ha ha!!! That’s our boy, Jane!!! :-))) one more ) to go!


scineram Says:

YES, HE CAN!


Gordo Says:

I do not know how much was Nola playing like the 2007 Djoko or how much was Rafa not playing like the 2008 Nadal.

Federer now is assured of not meeting Murray until the final of the US Open, should they both get that far.

Tomorrow Federer will be hoping to say at the end of the day he has won the last match he played against each of the top 5 players below him. When was the last time THAT occurred?

A man who feeds off confidence, if Federer wins tomorrow then watch out for him at the US Open. If Djokovic wins all bets are off, except the Djoker may indeed be back.


jane Says:

Sean – oops, you did it again. Didn’t you call for a Murray vs. Nadal final with Murray winning it all. : ) Sorry, couldn’t resist pointing that out, although your predictions haven’t been so bad of late.


Gordo Says:

As much as we love Roger vs Rafa, Rafa needs to lose a lot more rust and dust and I do not see it happening soon. I think maybe the Fed-like invulnerability that Rafa had until Soderling beat him has made him like Federer was last year – mortal to the other players.

I am afraid we may not see another Roger-Rafa final this year.


Veno Says:

Hmm, I seem to recall Sean must have a cracked cristal ball as he is way off a lot of times lately, no disrespect intended Sean :)


jane Says:

“I am afraid we may not see another Roger-Rafa final this year.” We could see a Roger-Rafa semifinal at the USO. That might be something new? And I just don’t think it’s feasible to count Rafa out, like, ever. I really think he’ll be fine for the USO.


Veno Says:

Dunno about that Gordo, Rafa’s looking fine to me. Getting better and stronger all the time…

Funny, for some reason a lot of people seem to remember Rafa as being someone constantly making unbelievable winners and never missing a shot even though he has been gone such a short period of time…Interesting.

I think Rafa will be as much a fave as all the big 6 at the Open…Only 9 days and the wait is over.

It will also come down to who of them gets through the first rounds fittest if they all even come through R128-R16. We’re in for a great USO I’m reckoning…..


Gordo Says:

Jane – I liked your points about playing during the day (earlier) in the heat vs playing at night (later but cooler).

I think with the level of fitness needed on the tour Mr. Djokovic will be fit and ready for Federer.

I always thought the killer is the US Open, where they play both semis back to back on Saturday, with the winners meeting on Sunday. A 5 set killer in either match could spell doom in the final. But then, as the players point out – the trick is to get through your semi-final win with efficiency.

Congrats to your boy Djoko for his endgame. It should be a good final tomorrow.


Veno Says:

Maria a set to the good but Kleybie is leading 3-0 in the second….


Veno Says:

Maria’s looking stronger than the past couple of weeks…


Kimmi Says:

Kleybenova when she hits the ball she is jerking her head…very strange


Gordo Says:

And for those who are curious – of the 20 times Rafa and Roger have met in a tennis match, 16 have been in finals. The others were in the round of 32 in Miami – the first time they met, at Roland Garros in 2005 and in the semis at the 2006 and 2007 Tennis Masters year end tourney.


Veno Says:

Tx Gordo, nice tid bit on their rivalry..

Hey Kimmi!!!!! How are you?

What did you think of both Semis?


jane Says:

Kleybie is probably pushing this to a third, and Maria looked spent last night. I think a third favors Kleybie.

Either way, Dementieva will likely win the event, which is fine with me; I’ve always liked her and now that her serve is improved, she’s a slam contender. I’d love to see Elenea win a slam.

Gordo, thanks for the kind comments. Who knows? Fed looked sharp today and aggressive. So Djoko may not have a hope; we’ll see.


tennisthemenace Says:

I bet my entire life savings based upon Sean’s predictions.


Kimmi Says:

Hi Veno, a lot of tennis for me today, streaming and my big TV.

I lovde Roger play, very business like and glad he got the long awaited win from Murray, but Murray looked all sorts on his serve since montreal..he needs to work on it for the open.

And Novak..well he was the old Novak today I thought….so tomorrow match will be tough for both. Keeping my fingers crossed for the mighty fed.


TheLord Says:

hehehehhehe … lmao ! So much for an expert’s prediction ! :))


uros Says:

Gordo says “So again, Rafa straight sets.”
very amusing!
Cheers from Belgrade


jane Says:

OH! It’s so weird seeing the coaches, and listening to the coaches, on the court in the women’s. It seems … wrong. LOL! Maria looks like “whatever, let me eat my banana!”


Kimmi Says:

Kleybanova got the 2nd set. Sharapova gave it away giving 3 DF serving at 4-5, a little tight the DF started coming.


Kimmi Says:

““whatever, let me eat my banana!””

Jane LOL


Veno Says:

Rankings come Monday:

1)Federer: 11640(F) 12040(W)
2)Murray: 9610
3)Nadal: 9025
4)Djokovic: 7750(F) 8150(W)

The seedings are set for the open:
Fed and Rafa could meet before a final, not since the Masters Cup in ’07 did this occur(and that was because of the RR format only) In a Knock-out tournament it hasn’t happened since Roland Garros 2005!!!(As Gordo pointed out) Now that’s a long time ago!!!


jane Says:

Kimmi – did you see that!? Sharapova was looking at that coach like “as I if don’t know that!” DUH! ha ha


Veno Says:

Lol Jane…Eat my babana….

the on-court coaching is just…..WRONG!!!

What are they? 12-year olds? Jeezzzzzzzzzz


Veno Says:

Jane, I meant…let me eat my banana…oops


Kimmi Says:

Jane LOL, I saw it..that wjy i was laughing at waht you wrote..she looked sooo uninterested. But she seem to be doing what he said “move your feet” She held her game very promising.

Veno, thanks for the projecyed ranking points.


Kimmi Says:

*sorry guys for the typos


Veno Says:

Well, to make things interesting, let’s assume Novak wins the title tomorrow, the ranking with USO ’08 pts dropped looks like this:

1) Federer: 9640
2) Murray: 8210
3) Nadal: 8125
4) Djokovic: 7250

Now, that looks interesting….


jane Says:

Ineed Veno; if Novak wins the title in makes #s 2, 3, 4 that much tighter. And keeps 2 and 3 in striking distance from #1. GO NOLE! Sorry guys…. : )

When Sharapova misses, she missed so badly that it’s SPECTACULAR! LOL. She should eat more babana or something.


Kimmi Says:

Why..these women, they all DF too much. Really SPECTACULAR, I agree Jane


Skorocel Says:

Hari: „All said and done, Fed is such a great ambassador for the game.“

Oh no! Not again, please! I’ve had enough when they called Agassi with the same name…


Skorocel Says:

Veno, if a camera installed on the baseline shows the ball landed wide, yet the HE considers the ball as good, then HOW can one trust that thing?!


jane Says:

Skorocel – I love your comments. I hope you read my response to you above. I tried to explain where I was coming from.

BTW, did anyone notice that both Fed and Novak broke losing streaks to their respective opponents today? That makes it a little tighter for the USO maybe? Throws things up in the air perhaps? I dunno.

Anyhow, back to Shrieky and Kleybie.


Veno Says:

If they install a camera on the baseline, they can also connect it to the HE system, so to me that seems senseless. I’m not implying that a system like HE can’t be calibrated bad, which makes it mis-calcultate the trajectory, but in general, these systems are tested thoroughly and I would trust them until significantly proven wrong. That’s just not the case.


Veno Says:

Maria serving for it!


jane Says:

Man oh man! Sharapova, no matter what, is a hoot to watch. She just goes for it! And when she makes it, it’s amazing, and when she misses, it’s also amazing because she misses so badly. Personally I just laugh at the shrieking but I can totally understand how and why people hate it. I am not giving up on ladies’ tennis, no way.


Skorocel Says:

Very good performance from Novak. He was sharp, focused, and giving the balls an appropriate length. A bit lucky at times when he painted those lines, but overall, a more than deserving victory. I have to say, though, that the end score is a bit cruel for Nadal, who I think played very well right from the start, save some uncharacteristic errors (which he made in a couple of crucial points here and there). Anyway, whoever wins tomorrow, one thing is for sure: We’re in for SOME USO!


Veno Says:

Hey Jane, although I have repeatedly bashed the WTA and women’s tennis, I still watch it and follow it lol.

I only have to see one match of Sorana or Kirilenko and all is good in Veno-land :)


jane Says:

Good for Sharpie! Dementieva and Sharapova in the final, I like it! : )


Veno Says:

LOL! Shrieky broke Kleybie 5 times!!! In 2 sets, but she squandered a further 17(you hear right boys and girls) break points lol….


Veno Says:

a best of 3 sets I mean…..


Kimmi Says:

Shara went for the serve, no matter how many DF she did and in the end it paid off. Great win and she is back.


Kimmi Says:

Anyone care to make prediction for tomorrow ? I will wait for Sean’s..LOL


Skorocel Says:

jane: Yes, I read your answer to my August 22nd 2009 6:41 pm post, and I respect your opinion. I’m not quite in the mood to drag that topic any further, but anyway, I guess we’ll both concur that tomorrow, fatigue shouldn’t be an issue…


jane Says:

LOL Veno, well there are some hotties on the men’s tour too, so there.


Von Says:

Gordo: “As much as we love Roger vs Rafa, Rafa needs to lose a lot more rust and dust and I do not see it happening soon. I think maybe the Fed-like invulnerability that Rafa had until Soderling beat him has made him like Federer was last year – mortal to the other players.”

I agree, that Nadal still has a lot of rust to shake off and it’s evident from the way he’s unable to hit his shots with the same precision and accuracy as he was doing previously.


jane Says:

Okay let’s concur Skorocel, although heat might be an issue. Ack! Forget I said that; I hope not.

Kimmi, I am with you — whatever Sean says, I’ll go with the opposite. Only with my luck, Sean’ll probably be right that time.


Von Says:

Gordo: “I liked your points about playing during the day (earlier) in the heat vs playing at night (later but cooler).

“I think with the level of fitness needed on the tour Mr. Djokovic will be fit and ready for Federer.”

Are you being facetious here? LOL.

____________________
jane: Okay let’s concur Skorocel, although heat might be an issue. Ack! Forget I said that; I hope not.”

Why would heat be an issue? Hasn’t Djoko played during the day at Cincy last year and then again during this week?


Veno Says:

jane Says:

LOL Veno, well there are some hotties on the men’s tour too, so there.

Good for you, irrelevant to me :)


jane Says:

Von – it was a joke! But realistically, Djoko has had his share of bad matches in the heat, no that he should’ve done though. The better guy’ll win tomorrow and, as Rafa would say “that’s it.”

I am off to watch “I’m Not There.” See you all manyana.


Skorocel Says:

Veno, that’s what the HE is supposed to be about – the accuracy. Now I DON’T mean some nanomilimeter close calls, which even a camera placed on the baseline can’t exactly determine. At times, there can be such situations, so an error like that would be understandable – even with the HE. But if a slow motion replay CLEARLY shows you the ball landed in our out, yet the HE says something different, or if a ball only scratches the line, yet the HE makes you feel as if it landed directly on the line, then something is wrong, don’t you think? That’s exactly what Federer was b.tching about in that Wimby 2007 final, if I recall it correctly…


Kimmi Says:

I think Djoko has done well to win this match toningt (regardless of Nadal conditioning), he has been going thru a long slump with bad loses at GS..this will make him happy that he was able to play at the high level throughout the whole match.


Veno Says:

Skorocel: take it regarding HE. Good discussion, but our different views which won’t be unified.

Moving along….Novak even surprised himself with his display he admitted post-match.

Von, hope you had fun….way past my bedtime here…

Shrieky got pas Kleybie in 3…

Later all!


Von Says:

Veno: Yes, I had some fun company at my house tonight. Thanks for the link and have a good night.


Polo Says:

Cindy_Brady, in response to my post said: Nadal is already a great player. What do you mean, the next great player? He’s won 4 French, A Wimbledon, and an Ozzie Open. Won the Olympics. Been ranked #1. What more do you want?

I feel that people tend to use to word “great” indiscriminately. When I said Nadal is the next great player, I was referring to that group of players who have achieved so much and over and above many of their peers. That is a distinct group with the likes of Laver, Borg, Sampras and now Federer. Nadal has done very well (and I expect him to do even more) but if he stopped now, I would not include him in that list. The same reasoning that I would not include McEnroe and Agassi in that group. That said, I do want more from Nadal to qualify to join that mix.


Veno Says:

Glad to hear you had fun Von…

Before I turn in, I have to correct a mistake I made earier: I thought 1-3 in the US Open Series were locked now, but I was wrong. Forgot about the fact Sam Querry’s playing Pilot Penn!!! If he reaches the QF(has to win 1 match, is a 48-draw) he’ll collect 15 pts equalling Murray’s 145 but due to more match wins during the Series he will win the Series with AM second and JMDP third….


Veno Says:

*Sam has to win 2 matches of course, to get to the QF in a 48-draw where he has a first round bye….Nite all!!!


sar Says:

Hi
Just got back to the hotel. Was watching the Bryans play doubles. It was very cool tonight- the rain cooled everything off. Sat with Tenisbebe during the Djokovic/Nadal match. Novak looked on fire tonight and it’s supposed to be cool tomorrow. This tourney has been great. As I said at the beginning of the week, whoever wins this, deserves it.


Federer, Djokovic Meet for Cincinnati Tennis Masters Title Sunday Says:

[...] Can Murray, Djokovic Spoil a Federer-Nadal Cincinnati Final? [...]


Mindy Says:

Von,

Thanks for your kind words. I think you are a Djokovic fan, so you should be very proud of your guy after tonight’s match. He came out on fire and totally ready for this match. I am not sure what was going on with Rafa. He seems to be having trouble with his abdomen. He has some tape on it and I am hearing about a strain. But something was bothering him. He did not play his best at all.

But all credit to Djokovic for coming out and playing excellent tennis. This should help him a lot as he gets ready for the U.S. Open. Since I am not a Federer fan, which anyone who has read my posts should know, I am hoping that Djokovic wins tomorrow. It would also be a huge boost for him. It was nice to see him come back and play his best. He and Rafa have played some great ones over the years. I am sure we will see more of them.


Von Says:

Mindy:

“Thanks for your kind words.” You’re welcome!

“I think you are a Djokovic fan, so you should be very proud of your guy after tonight’s match.”

No I’m not a Djokovic fan; Roddick is my No.1 fave and there are a few other players that I like also..

Ref: Nadal, I think you should be happy that he got to the SF in Cincy and he played very well in his matches leading up to the SF. Therefore, all things considered, I think he’s making great progress and in a couple of months should be rid of the rust that’s built up from not being able to play. I also think he’ll do well at the USO if the stomach injury is not a serious one and does not prevent him from practising. Take care Mindy and I’ll catch ya later.

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