Baghdatis Stuns Nadal, Federer Next in Cincinnati SF; Roddick v. Fish This Afternoon
by Sean Randall | August 21st, 2010, 10:10 am
  • 231 Comments

One thing is for sure we’ll have an American against a European in the finals of the Cincinnati Tennis Masters, but who will it be?

In the quarterfinals Friday, American countrymen Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick earned their spots in the Final four with both taking different routes.

Fish enjoyed one of the best wins of his career beating an in-form Andy Murray 6-7(7), 6-1, 7-6(5).

Murray led a mini-break 4-2 in the final set tiebreak before Fish got hot again winning four straight to eventually claim his third consecutive victory over Murray this year.

“Yeah, it was physical. It’s hot,” Fish said. “The humidity is not there as much as, you know, maybe we had in D.C. or Atlanta, but it’s every bit as hot. So, yeah, I mean, it feels great to win a match like that.”

Murray seemed to be exhausted from his seven match win streak. “Just tired. It’s nothing more than that really,” he said afterward. Murray was visited by the trainer during the match for spells of dizziness and knee pain and the Scot complained about an earlier noon start when his request for a late start was denied. That said, Murray needs to quit whining about the schedule and play tennis.

While Fish went the distance, Roddick had a comfortable afternoon in a 6-4, 7-5 win over a very uninspired, catatonic Novak Djokovic.

“Novak probably didn’t play his best today,” agreed Roddick who’s been battling a bout with mono. “That’s fairly apparent. He’s missing balls he normally doesn’t miss. So I probably expected him to play a little bit better.

“I didn’t come into this tournament with hardly any expectations,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was gonna play it, to be honest, you know, Thursday, Friday of last week. So I mean, the doc told me to probably only practice about an hour a day, and I think I’ve done more than that this week. So it’s all good from — regardless of what happens from here on out, I consider it a big success just because I feel like I have some form going into the US Open regardless. So this has been a very, very positive week for me this week.”

The win for Roddick sends the two-time Cincy champ back into the Top 10 on Monday, and it was his fourth straight over the Serb who appears to have no answer against Roddick and little motivation to find one.

“The game overall was terrible,” the World No. 2 said. “Just played a very bad match, even though it was 6-4, 7-5. Every time I need to do play well, I made some mistakes, especially from forehand side, which is my stronger side. Supposed to play more winners than unforced errors. But, you know, bad day I guess.”

“I guess”? I guess Andy’s in your head Novak.

“Andy, he was getting a lot of balls back, but he didn’t do anything special,” he added. “I mean, he was just playing, and he didn’t even play any deep balls. He was just kind of making me play an extra shot, and I was making unforced errors from all court. It was just terrible.”

All eyes were on a possible Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal showdown Saturday night, but those plans got nixed yet again.

Federer did his part in business-like 6-4, 7-5 win over Nikolay Dayvdenko.

But in the evening Marcos Baghdatis pulled off the stunner of the day with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 upset over Nadal.

Baghdatis, who had never beaten Nadal in three tries, broke Rafa at 4-4. Then, serving for the match, he squandered a 40-0 lead leaving things rather tight and precarious at 40-30. But Marcos pulled it out when Nadal misfired into the net off the ground.

“I think against Rafa you have to mix up the speed of the balls,” Marcos said. “You don’t have to give him rhythm basically. You have to hit one and then play slow, you know. You just have to make him think. When you play the same speed he likes it and he starts to feel the game and starts to get the rhythm. That’s what I did today. Like I said, I also served very big today and that was the key of the match.”

Said Nadal of his uneven play, “My game can improve, that’s for sure. Must improve if I really want to have chances to have some opportunity in two weeks or in one week in New York. So I have one week to keep working, keep practicing hard, and that’s what I gonna try: to keep improving my confidence with the backhand. And the serve I think I am in the right way, but I need to keep working. I gonna have a good chance to work. And the forehand, I am playing well with the forehand, but I am having too much unforced errors for the moment.”

Nadal has never been to the final on fast courts of Cincinnati, nor the final on the even faster courts in Flushing.

Baghdatis has quietly put together a heck of a summer. And he’s beaten both Wimbledon finalists – Tomas Berdych and now Nadal – in his last two matches and he now meets a 6-time champion – like Murray last week, he too will try to beat Rafa and Roger back-to-back.

As for today, in the earlier semifinal Fish has been one of the hottest players this summer winning 21 of his last 24 matches and 15 of 16. Fish’s summer resurgence began with a title in Newport, then Atlanta where he beat Roddick before losing to Marin Cilic in three sets in the Washington third round.

Head-to-head, Roddick has the big edge 9-2 including a Cincinnati 2003 win in the final, but Fish won their most recent meeting in that Altanta semifinal. In fact that win for Fish was the first time he’s won a matchpoint in singles against Roddick in his pro career – Fish’s other win came courtesy of a Roddick retirement. So Fish has to be flying high in confidence and in his game at this point.

If he still has the legs from yesterday’s near 3-hour win over Murray (and he played/lost doubles later), I give the slight edge to Fish in this one.

Tonight, like Fish, Baghdatis’s confidence also has to be soaring after earning his first career wins over Berdych then Nadal. Federer, though, is 6-1 against the Cypriot and he’s the fresher guy after playing just under three sets this week.

“I’m gonna concentrate on my game,” Baghdatis said of the Swiss. “I’m not gonna start thinking if I beat him or if he’s beatable or not. I think I’ll just go out there and try to find the solution to win like I did last time, just to play very aggressive, serve very well like today, and basically play my game.”

The match will be played in cooler conditions so heat won’t be a factor but I have to wonder about Bag’s legs and energy level after last night. That said, Marcos has the game to beat Federer but I give the edge to Roger tonight.

Both semifinals should be live on ESPN2 in the U.S. On Sunday CBS will have live coverage of the final.

CINCINNATI SATURDAY SCHEDULE

STADIUM start 12:00 noon
[5] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) vs [4] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR)

Not Before 2:00 PM
[WC] M Fish (USA) vs [9] A Roddick (USA)

Not Before 7:00 PM
M Baghdatis (CYP) vs [3] R Federer (SUI)
W Moodie (RSA) / D Norman (BEL) vs [2] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA)


Also Check Out:
2011 ATP Summer Schedule: Where Will Nadal, Djokovic, Federer Be Playing?
Roddick Wins in Three; Americans Isner, Fish, Blake Today in Cincinnati
Roddick Makes a Change
Federer Lands in Nadal’s Half at Cincinnati; Roddick Returns
Roddick, Fish, Berdych Face Stern Tests Today in Washington

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231 Comments for Baghdatis Stuns Nadal, Federer Next in Cincinnati SF; Roddick v. Fish This Afternoon

Gannu Says:

Hope feddy bear wins this entire tournament.. have not seen him lifting a trophy since australian open… He is playing well.. was very good against Davy.. I really hope “the Sean jinx” doesnt work and fed takes the title.. He seems to get more and more confident every match…I will there supporting all the way feddy…


Kimberly Says:

Murray needs to learn some respect. One of the reasons FIsh plays doubles is financial. And certainly his partner deserves it. When your not a top 10 player you need the prize money with all the travel expenses. To complain that him and his singles match is more important than Fish and his doubles match is just rude.


aleish17 Says:

Now Im confuse. I have had read here in this site before (from one or two posters) that the Cincy court is faster than the hard courts in Flushing Meadows. Now, Sean stated in this article that the NY court is faster than the Cincy.

Which is which? Can someone enlighten me please?


pro rafa Says:

at least Rafa has no points to defend next year
he will if he wins the US open… but i feel that it is a very tough ask
hopin 4 a 9th GS though
VAMOS RAFA!!


blank Says:

aleish17,

I read the players interviews. They clearly said in terms of speed Flushing Meadows falls between Cincy and Toronto, with Cincy being the fastest.


blank Says:

If Andy Murray is complaining, then so should Roddick. He is American and considering his health issues, he didn’t get any favors either. After the lengthy Soderling battle late evening, he was slotted to play in the day session the next day against Djokovic.


Von Says:

“Andy, he was getting a lot of balls back, but he didn’t do anything special,” he added. “I mean, he was just playing, and he didn’t even play any deep balls. He was just kind of making me play an extra shot, and I was making unforced errors from all court. It was just terrible.”

This is what bugs me about this guy. Do try to be gracious. He lost, and Roddick had to do something special to win. His favourite comment, “it was more me making the errors, than him doing anything special.” OY VEY

I saw a lot of deep balls from one side of the court to the next — cross-court.
_____________
Blank: Cincy has always been the fastest of the hardcourts.


Von Says:

Blank: “If Andy Murray is complaining, then so should Roddick. He is American and considering his health issues, he didn’t get any favors either. After the lengthy Soderling battle late evening, he was slotted to play in the day session the next day against Djokovic.”

Precisely. I was a bit miffed that Roddick was not given the usual 24 hors recovery time. He has mono, you’d think they’d take that into consideration. His opponent had 24+ hours to recover.


Skeezerweezer Says:

I like AR’s attitude and how happy he is with his game now. Sounds like he is primed to make a run at the USO.


jane Says:

“Cincy court is faster than the hard courts in Flushing Meadows.”

aleish17 – to echo Blank, I know Murray in his interview said he thinks that Flushing Meadows plays faster than Toronto but slower than Cincy.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

That was some brilliant tennis from Baggy. I see that what has been giving Nadal problems on the hard courts is keeping him far back- easier said than done, of course, but both Baggy and Beneteau had Nadal pinned 10 feet behind the baseline.
Roger has an advantage now. Normally players can weather these masters tourneys without too much fatigue but Baggy obviously had to work his ass off yesterday.

The big news here is that a lot of lustre has come off the idea of a Rafa Dominance Tour. After Wimbledon he was a prohibitive favourite for USO. Now he’s definitely come back to the pack. I would probably even pick Roger ahead, then Rafa, just barely ahead of Muzza. Still, I think these three have solidifed as having a significant lead in odds over Berdych, ROddick, Soderling or any other dark horses like Nalbandian, Baggy or GUlbis.


madmax Says:

Gannu,

Hi! Where have you been? where is Huh?

Another 2 great matches forecast for tonight.

Just know that Fed is going to be ready and really looking forward to the match against Baggy. I don’t think it’s going to be easy, because it is never is at this stage of a tournament, whoever you are playing, but there is no reason whatsoever why he shouldn’t win – one match at a time – as long as he keeps those UE’s down! and first serves in.

I think Federer is playing much better than ever in terms of masters tournaments – certainly in Toronto and the last match against Davydenko, was just awesome from the Fed.

Roger’s movement around the court was so much better yesterday. He was taking the ball much earlier, and building on the aggression he had against Berdych and Novak in the previous tournament. It is for this reason that I think he’ll be one step ahead of baggy – at least I hope so!

Go Federer!

About Roddick -v- Fish – it’s got to be a win-win situation for both.


David Says:

Tennis Vagabond

Whatever pundits were hinting at a “Rafa Dominance Tour” are just showing their ignorance of tennis. There’s no way a player who averages about 2 aces a match is ever going to dominate the Tour. That’s just impossible.

By the same token, people who late last year were predicting Rafa’s demise were also very foolish. Once things get back on clay, maybe Rafa can dominate again, but it should be clear after these 2 events (Toronto and Cincy) that any tournament title on hard court for Nadal is going to be few and far between.


goat galz Says:

Von says: Gosh he looks awful though, so yellow

Hey Nurse Ratchet, did you a peek at the medical report yet?
yellow=hepatitis


grace Says:

Nothing is said about Roger´s match against Davyd.
The cleanest match Roger´s played in a while.
So far this match to be the best of Cincy.
The writer seems to hate Roger…


contador Says:

i noticed baggy had the answers. it appeared he was able to learn from his own mistakes during the match and keep his head when the crowd was cheering on nadal and nadal did all his celebrating. baggy is was cool, not overly awed.

baggy is one of those players with an unflappably great attitude. and the best kiss the court win celebration.

gulbis. i can’t yet pick him as a dark horse for a slam. he has made a huge improvement since summer 2009 when apparently he was not showing up for practice. another thing mentioned by a commentator during the murray match was that gulbis has added a fitness trainer. i hope he continues working.

about cincy, i am not making another prediction. i already bombed out by picking murray and nadal for the final.

i am going to sick back, enjoy and watch tennis. no hiding during the federer match!


contador Says:

s/b sit back and enjoy not “sick” back lol….my typing…


David Says:

Skeezerweezer

I agree about Roddick. It seems like he’s one of those guys who has ups and downs during the course of a year, but when he starts playing well right before any Slam other than the French, look out. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to regard him as the No. 2 fave heading into the USO. The trouble, as always, is Federer. With Fed playing well again, Roddick’s chances are slim at the USO, but he’ll never stop trying that’s for sure.


funches Says:

This talk about Roddick’s recovery time is silly. It is much better to play at night, out of the heat, and lose the extra recovery time than to play in the middle of the day and get more recovery time.

That’s just common sense. I wonder if the people who think otherwise have never had the experience of playing in 100-degree heat under the sun. It’s a killer, even for professional athletes.


jane Says:

contador “i am going to sick back, enjoy and watch tennis.” LOL!! I love this typo – somehow a classic oxymoron, because even when we enjoy watching a match, the tense ones can make us sick with nerves. Good one, Freudian typo/slip. : )


contador Says:

yep. freudian slip, jane. you know i can’t stand, sit, lie down – no position lasts very long. what helps is to stare intently into a pint of ice cream-ben and jerry’s key lime pie flavor atm mmmm


Bob Says:

Murray is the biggest whinger on tour; his body language and constant swearing are a big turnoff. Tough potatoes to the Scot. Really don’t think he’s gonna win the USO this year. Nope.


Kimmi Says:

hahaha I bet baggy will bring those “sick back” moments.


madmax Says:

C’mon federer! one match at a time but…

Go and get to the final, and beat the Baggy man! :)


grendel Says:

“it should be clear after these 2 events (Toronto and Cincy) that any tournament title on hard court for Nadal is going to be few and far between.” (David)

That is true. But of course, the US Open is not an ordinary hardcourt tournament, and Nadal is not an ordinary claycourt/grasscourt player.

Nadal will be much harder to beat in New York than in Cincinnati etc, and my feeling is that only Murray or Roddick can beat him in 5 sets. Of course Federer has the ideal game to beat him – but he doesn’t have the mind, not where it counts, that has been made clear.


madmax Says:

How has it been made clear gredenl that federer doesn’t have the mind to beat federer? Rubbish.


madmax Says:

How has it been made clear grendel that federer doesn’t have the mind to beat rafa? Rubbish. Check out the hard court stats for these two and let’s put a more positive spin on Roger’s game, particularly since the hard court swing.

Far too negative.


Colin Says:

As always, Murray is castigated for doing things nearly everyone else does. Someone has him saying he and his match are more important than Fish and his doubles. That is plainly an absurd interpretation of his remarks, as “his” match was also Fish’s match. Murray pointed out that it’s the singles matches that get the TV attention. That’s true enough – it’s a thing about which tennis fans often complain.
On the subject of the heat, why does a tournament in the rich ol’ USA have kids holding umbrellas? During the breaks, half the time the sun was shining on Fish’s head! Canvas chairs with built-in umbrella or awning, could surely be bought at any garden centre.


contador Says:

nah. i’m one leg off the nadal bandwagon since toronto and i’m leaving it that way.

( in regard to picking nadal to win uso ) not that he cant win it.

nadal was the favorite to win NYC in 2008, when he was #1 and having another best year ever…

who knocked him out that year?

losing toronto to muzz and cincy to baghdatis has to ding his confidence a bit. maybe, maybe not. if it was the clay court or grass slams, it would not think so.

rain delay in cincy


steve Says:

@grendel: Nadal has only ever played one five-set match at USO, way back in 2004. He won that one, but since it was so long ago and against the then world #139, I don’t know if you can draw any conclusions from it.

Unlike Wimbledon or AO, where he many times has taken advantage of the best-of-five-set format to outlast opponents who were outplaying him, but could not keep it up for five sets, I don’t think he can do that as easily at the US Open. It is the only major where he has ever lost a match after winning the first set.

It seems on those courts, either he has enough to dispatch his opponents in four sets or less, or his opponents can outhit or outplay him in four sets or less. Sheer attrition over five sets–which is how he has beaten Federer, off of clay–just doesn’t seem to work there for him, not nearly as well.


David Says:

grendel

I think it’s crazy to say that Murray and Roddick are the only two who can beat Nadal in 5 sets on hard court. These are the best in the world we’re talking about and even Federer “could” lose to a bunch of guys.

But if we’re talking about probabilities here, I’d say the odds of anyone beating Federer in 3 out of 5 at the USO are very slim. The odds of a number of guys beating Nadal on hard courts, from Murray and Roddick, to Fed to Djoko, Sod, Berdych, Nalby, Fish, etc., etc. are quite good.

That’s why I don’t like his chances at all.


David Says:

Steve

I also think Nadal has 2 things going for him on grass that he doesn’t have in his favor on hard court.

1. He gets a lot more service winners. So even though it’s still really difficult to break serve, he holds his own serve really comfortably for the most part and then his mental toughness shines through more often than not in tiebreakers.

2. He also moves extremely well on grass, maybe better than anyone except Fed. So while his opponents – like Sod and Berdych and even Djoko for example – struggle to get their footing, Rafa is totally at ease moving around. On hard courts there’s less of a movement advantage. Everyone feels comfortable moving on hard courts so he doesn’t get those easy points that he does on grass when guys slip trying to change directions, etc.


Ike Says:

but where i come from, rain is a good thing! – Luke Bryan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VKy69sE4VY&feature=av2n

Enjoy!!!


Ike Says:

God is great, beer is good, people are crazy! – Billy Currington

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKpQRjj_WbU&feature=related

Enjoy!!!


Ike Says:

Easton Corbin – A Little More Country Than That

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS1NfjLkdSM&feature=related

Enjoy!!!


Ike Says:

guys sorry for the above country music links. i have my country music hat on today. hope someone will enjoy those songs.


Ike Says:

great BH from Fish


David Says:

grendel

I also don’t understand why you would say Federer has “the ideal game” to beat Rafa.

The players who have given Nadal the most trouble in his career are guys with 2 handed backhands who can drive their backhands pretty flat off of Rafa’s heavy topspin (Murray, Sod, Djoko, etc.) That’s one of the only shots that Fed doesn’t have in his arsenal.

Also, Rafa just murders slice, so that takes away one of Fed’s favorite plays as well.

I would say Rafa has the ideal game to play Fed (except for the serve, obviously he’d rather get more free points) but not the other way around.


Ike Says:

Fish hit three consecutive aces from the deuce court – all up the T


Ike Says:

David

agree with ur Rafa – Fed game analysis


Ike Says:

who will win the ace race today?
i say Fish!
btw, he has beautiful/easy serve action


Ike Says:

David

i had subscription to Fuzzy Yellow Balls, where in the common forehand errors they mention following errors:

Discontinuous swing path

Inconsistent hitting arm

Short follow thru

Body not rotated during / after contact

there lots of other errors but would you add any important ones? (think in terms of coaching)


grendel Says:

The impression I have is that Nadal gets surprised by a Tsonga, a Soderling, a Berdych etc – and then works them out and beats them – on hard court. I can’t see any of the above beating Nadal again where it matters. del Potro is altogether more formidable – but obviously he’s not match fit. Roddick is extremely canny and canot be browbeaten by Nadal – that is unusual enough to be worthy of comment – and therefore if his game is on, he has a good chance of taking Nadal. Murray seems to be ready, both in his mind and his game (temporary hiccup the other day). Who else? Possibly Davydenko, though I don’t think he is fully back yet. Can’t see the wonderful Baggy going best of 5 with Nadal.

As for Federer, madmax, the stats are irrelevant since they go back a long way, in tennis terms, and times have changed drastically. The evidence that Federer has tended to crumble against Nadal for mental reason seems to me to be overwhelming. Just think, if you had a lot of money on Federer to win, who would you least like to see him play in the final? It has to be Nadal, by a long way. It is true that he may have overcome this mental block – we have absolutely no means of knowing, but I guess it’s possible, these things happen. But until I see it with my own eyes, I will continue to subscribe to the Doubting Thomas camp. I’ve been burnt a little bit too often in that particular area.


Ike Says:

ace race Fish leads 5-3


grendel Says:

David – true about the bh, but that doesn’t alter the fact that Federer at his best is just much better than Nadal on a hard court, especially a fast one.


blank Says:

Boy, it’s humid out there. It’s like rain pouring out of Roddick’s cap.


Ike Says:

grendel

i still think this is the year either Murray or Nadal will win the USO


Ike Says:

blank

ever been to Cincy?


contador Says:

i enjoyed it ike.

the old cotton farmer reminds me of all the potato farmers in southern idaho : )

fish has his little ankle bandaged. not a good sign

fish could win the ace count. would be cool if he pulled off the win but i think roddick wins the match

maybe roddick ( hell i dunno )


V Says:

NADAL AS GREAT A PLAYER AS HE IS WILL NEVER DOMINATE HARD COURT PLAYERS THE WAY FEDERER DID. HARD COURTS TENNIS IS WHERE REAL TENNIS IS PLAYED…


joe Says:

Im liking Fish to win, fish will wrap it up. Get it? Fish wrap?


Ike Says:

good to c Fish going toe-to-toe with A-Rod


contador Says:

no joe, i won’t start on the fish jokes. you can’t make me : )


David Says:

V

No, clay-court tennis is real tennis too. You train on it, you get good, you enter tournaments, you do well, you make lots of real money. So it “really” is tennis also.


aleish17 Says:

Blank,

Thanks for that info. So Sean might be wrong about the USO court faster than Cincy. Well, sounds good to me as a Rafa fan. We know he can’t do very well on faster hard courts. But Rafa for me is always going to be a strong contender regardless of the court.


Ike Says:

Contador

great u liked the country songs.
yeah, the idaho potatos…

we got rain delay again so here are few more songs for you, hope u will enjoy em!

Brooks & Dunn – Believe
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5z-jjWyAJQ

Trace Adkins – Ladies Love Country Boys
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHK6CrNJTQw&feature=related

btw, my gf says how could i like music something like this? i show her the country music videos on YouTube and then she looks at me as if i m dumb/stupid :(


David Says:

Grendel

I agree Fed’s better on hard court. He’s the best player of all time on hard court, imo.

But that’s different than saying he has the “ideal game” to beat Nadal. Really, anyone with a one-handed backhand automatically does not have the ideal game to play Rafa.


Kimberly Says:

i have crashed and burned at the draw challenge this time but inviting everyone to join our group on the atp draw challenge for shanghai—tennisxfans.

At this point I am going to act like the true american. I want the underdog. I want Fish to win the tourney. He’s worked so hard.


aleish17 Says:

@ Blank and Jane

Thanks for the info. =)
Good luck to your respective faves!

BTW I was a Andy Roddick fan before I even became a Nadal fan. Since no presence of Nadal now in the semis, Im rooting for Roddick to take this tourney.

Go Andy!

and…..
Rest well and practice hard Rafael Nadal! ;)


David Says:

Ike

Like I said before, I really don’t consider myself any sort of expert on tennis technique. However, I will say this: at every level below the pros, by far the biggest problem is just players making slews of unforced errors. So the key is to find a technique on forehand and backhand that will enable you to keep the ball in play longer than your opponent. Which, taking a cue from our main man Rafa, means giving yourself a lot of margin for error and using lots of spin to keep the ball well within the lines. If you do that, and you’re in great shape, you’re going to win a lot of matches.

I just see way too many amateurs out there trying to smash the ball flat for winners like they think they’re Robin Soderling, making 2 errors for every good shot they hit.


Ike Says:

contador

oops i misspelled potatoes as potatos
kind of my “inverse” Dan Qyuale moment :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wdqbi66oNuI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQnXe23izf8&NR=1

I bet Sarah Palin can’t spell most of the commonly consumed fruits / vegetables :)


Ike Says:

David

thanks for the tips.
Btw, I use semi-western (classical Agassi) grip for my FH. Eastern (Fed) / western (Rafa) just doesn’t feel natural to me.

I use Head Sonic Pro 17 strings. Best strings i used so far.
I haven’t tried Babolat RPM Blast 17 660 String, may be i will.


Ike Says:

jane

if you like country music, go thru the YouTube links i posted above


Ike Says:

it’s about to get re-started


David Says:

Ike

Another bit of technique that’s a bit tough to develop and is not to be found in any textbook is the forehand where players brush up on the ball and the racquet finishes on the right side of the body if you’re a right hander and there’s almost a 90 degree angle between the racquet and your forearm.

Here’s a link showing Ferrero doing this

http://cornedbeefhash.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/jc-ferrero-valencia081.jpg

If you can practice that technique and repeatedly get the ball to bounce once and then halfway up the fence (try to do it 10 times in a row just dropping the ball out of your hand) then you’re going to develop real consistency and really reduce your UEs.


contador Says:

very funny ike, hehehe “potatoe” or potato.

the brooks and dunn song, “believe” makes me cry. aw

good luck to you and your gf. even if she’s not a cw fan, the lyrics and message to “believe” are hardly stupid/dumb, imo.

opposites attract, it’s true. ( though i notice a lot of people pick bf’s and gf’s and pets that look like and are just like themselves, lolzzz)

match back on. great half-time entertainment , ike.


Ike Says:

David

thanks for that tip, (i didn’t know that one until i watched Will Hamilton on FYB), i been trying that shot for last couple months, sometimes it works really well, but i m still not consistent at it. I think Rafa uses that shot a lot


Ike Says:

contador

glad u liked the entertainment, (actually lyrics is the main reason why i like country music, i almost don’t like their hawnky-tawnk music)


Ike Says:

rain has ruined Fish’s serve, he has no rhythm what so ever


Ike Says:

Jason Godall said “I am not big fan of Federer” of course he is not Fed fan, Fed is been beating Murray in GS finals and keeping the bad streak of Briton not winning the GS alive.


madmax Says:

grendel,

‘But until I see it with my own eyes, I will continue to subscribe to the Doubting Thomas camp. I’ve been burnt a little bit too often in that particular area’.

that’s a shame grendel. but that’s up to you. Whenever I see federer play, to me, it is a complete joy. I think that the losses he has had had this year, he has learnt from them, but more than that, he WANTS to learn from them. I have read many interviews from him, l’equippe, espn, in particular, where he has always stayed positive about his game and the fact that he has this love for the game that drives him on to become a better player, even after all that he has achieved – and how much he loves playing nadal, it sounds romantic/idealistic I know, but go back to Miami last year where he beat nadal in the final – a straight sets win, no one gave federer a chance there. Plus, it isn’t federer’s fault if rafa doesn’t get to a final and federer does. Then say what? That federer wouldn’t have won if rafa reached the final? poor argument.

Any match whereby the two of them meet, it’s fresh and game on, but I disagree with you in many respects. I can’t argue with you regarding nadal on clay, because he is amazing here, but not just against federer, against everybody. yet federer doesn’t get the credit for his consistency on clay – doesn’t matter – because for me, he is second best here.

this is all becoming a bit repetitive and we won’t agree on it. We could both cite h2h, most of rafa’s wins being on clay, etc. but it’s old news.

I don’t believe that rafa is in fed’s head. I believe he – fed – loves the challenge. I believe he has worked really hard to improve his own game, he is playing more leftys in practice sessions in zurich (for this last year),i think he really respects rafa enormously, because he has brought the best out of roger and I believe, vice versa.

As I’ve said before h2h is one element of a rivalry. I could quote a whole lot of h2h’s here where lesser players than nadal have a h2h in their favour – does that make them a better player than nadal? does that mean that they are in rafa’s head? I tend not to go with this argument.

Agassi and sampras had a disproportionate h2h, but both respectful of each other and both great champions.

One does not detract from the other.

Sean, looks like your first prediction is wrong! Oh Sean!


Skeezerweezer Says:

Wow I leave u folks for a lilttle while and your on to country music ? Lol I love this blog……


madmax Says:

Jason Goodall is not popular either – aren’t commentators supposed to be more objective?

Smacks of jealousy since Jason Goodall was ranked 2000th in the world – so I guess his view is understandable!


Von Says:

FOT — Got your back also.

________________
Blank: Everything’s thumbs up. LOL.
________________
I don’t believe Goodall. He’s a huge Fed fan. Maybe, he’s just trying to keep the British press from slaughtering him, and also hold onto his job. LOL.


Von Says:

skeezer: Diversity makes for lots of pleasure. Now, that does not apply to significant others. LOL.


Ike Says:

Skeezerweezer

hope u liked some of that country music, (i have already apologized for posting those links – it all started with the “rain is a good thing”)


Ike Says:

Mardy gets the break back, he IS fighting.


Ike Says:

Jason Godall says “Can u believe that?”
Robbie Koenig says “I can’t”.
Whenever people say “can’t” British way, i found it amuzing, it should be pronounced the proper way “the American way” :)

note: amusing should be spelled amuzing


Ike Says:

hang in there Mardy….


Von Says:

Come on Andy, win this!!


Ike Says:

good job Mardy, we going distance now…


Ike Says:

von

if i remember right, u r Texan, is that the reason u rooting for Andy (as he resides in Austin) :)


Kimberly Says:

come on Mardy!


Ike Says:

kimberly

cheer up, Mardy WILL beat Roddick & Baggy WILL beat Fed


johhny Says:

Fish to take out monoduck.


Kimberly Says:

loooooove to see Fish win the tourney.


Ike Says:

Fish has turned around the game…


Von Says:

Well Mr.v. johnny, has appeared .I don’t blame you for being nasty, Roddick beat your boy and your girl isn’t doing well, so why not vent on roddick. LOL.Now do the cha cha.
________

Ike: no, I’m from Florida but I love my puddle duck, as johnny vared calls him mono duck.

Mono is not something to make fun of, hope your boy doesn’t get it also. Are we going to see some Murray and Fed bashing now johnny/v?


Von Says:

Rain has always done Roddick in. He was up a set and a break, just about to close out the match and the rain came. Reminds me of wimby vs. Fed.

I suppose all the joker fans are rooting for Roddick to lose. LOOL .Have fun guys, the Joker will still lose when he plays Roddick. So vent away ……


Kimmi Says:

OMG, just tune in to the match. Fish looks to be winning this.

Still cannot believe how good fish has been recently…


Von Says:

sheesh, We’ve got joker fans here now who want for Roddick and Fed to be beaten. The hate for Fed, it’s the No. 2 ranking they want for the Joker and for Roddick, because he beat the Joker yesterday. And around and around the circle goes ….


johhny Says:

Always liked Mardy, such a gentleman and well behaved guy with manners. Nothing like , you know …. Go Fish ;)


Von Says:

Roddick’s tiredness is showing. I’m happy Roddick is back in the top 10 as i didn’t expect him to get this far, nor be back in the top 10. I’m happy for mardy as he can get into the top 30 by winning this match.


Kimmi Says:

how old is fish? where has he been all these year. Why is he playing so well almost near the end of his career?

he is playing like a top 10 guy. congrats to him.

Should now pull out of new heaven..no need to play there.

Go home after cincy, relax and get ready to win your first grand slam.


madmax Says:

this has got to be one of the most remarkable turnarounds ever? – roddick gone on mental walkabout – he’s serving now to stay in the match – who would have thought?


Von Says:

If I remember correctly that wasn’t the case about mardy a while back when you were showing clips about him moluthing off at Paul Henri Mathieu.

Anyway, have fun I got what I wanted, and the Joker fans will have to be biting their nails tonight hoping for Baggy to take out Fed, which ain’t gonna happen. GO FED!!


Von Says:

Ike: I forgot to mention that I root for the Americans, but I like other players. Either way, regardless of who wins in this match,I’m happy, as American tennis is taking a bit hit at the present time. Roddick is back in the top 10, and Mardy will be in the top 30. That’s a win win situation for me.


Kimberly Says:

come on Mardy, serve it out!!!!!!!


Ike Says:

good job Mardy!


Kimberly Says:

Congrats to FIsh and his fans (not sure there are really any) but I am happy to see him win! Was pulling for him as the underdog?

Now can Baggy pull off the unimaginable (i don’t think so but who knows)


johhny Says:

wow, Mardy delivers a breadstick to Andy. And some winners were just outstanding. Way to go Mardy, congrats!


Kimmi Says:

the commentator said roddick had 5-2 in the second set…really? i dont believe roddick would lose after leading 5-2 ?

For those who watched the whole match, what happened to roddick ?


johhny Says:

“For those who watched the whole match, what happened to roddick ?”

well, he ran into a better player ….


Ike Says:

von

commentators (Jason / Robbie) made u a good (obvious) point, “Americans spend millions of dollars on tennis and they don’t have players in top 10, whereas those small countries in Europe somehow produce world-class players”
USTA has to do something different to promote tennis in US. It’s literally dying.

n’joy the Florida heat / humidity :)


Ike Says:

btw, i was right in prediction, Mardy won the ace race (17-11)


Von Says:

Good win for Mardy. He was the fitter of the two. Roddick did well for what he’s dealing with. It probably will be a bit of a let down for rRddick as he had a break and was waiting to serve out the match. The rain came and the momentum swung. That’s tiredness for you. Once you sit down, it just comes down on you like a sledge hammer.

I suppose we won’t see those headlines about no American men in the top 10 now, hopefully, not any more, or for a long time to come.

Anyway, I’m rooting for Fed to get to the finals and be seeded as the No. 2 player. It will be better for tennis, especially at the USO.


madmax Says:

well, sean. take my hat off. I thought roddick had this match on his racquet. Roddick got tight in the third set – He was going to win!

Mardy just interviewed by sky, he said he wants to play the greatest ever – roger federer – in the final – (when he was asked who he would prefer to play). Ahhh mardy. one match at a time.

Baggy is real impressive right now. Fed has got a match.

C’moon Federer! Go for the win!


Von Says:

Ike: The USTA is trying, but it seems that the young players aren’t hungry enough.

For the small countries, tennis is a ticket out of the ghetto and poor living conditions. Americans don’t see tennis as a meal ticket, so there’s the big difference. To succeed and be a star player has to be hungry.

Hey, the Florida heat is as bad as cincy and there won’t be any let up until around November. i remember one christmas it was 79 degrees. I left New York for the warm weather.


Von Says:

Kimmi: Roddick was up 5-2, and then the rain came. It’s similar to what happened to Fed against the Joker in Miami? when he was leading, the rain came and then, he lost. That was when he broke the racquet. it must be frustrating for a player when that happens.

Well johnny, I suppose the Joker ran into a better player yesterday, isn’t it?


steve Says:

I think Roddick ran out of gas. He’s recovering from mono. He missed his chance to finish Fish off and just didn’t have enough to compete in the third.

Takes nothing away from Fish, though. He played brilliant, intelligent tennis to turn it around.


Von Says:

Steve, they both know each other very well, and I’m sure mardy sensed it. both wins have come during this period of roddick not being at 100 percent. I’d like to see them play when they’re both 100 percent, as I still feel that Roddick has got the edge in that matchup. Their 9-2 H2H, even though we can’t go by H2Hs, has got to mean something.. I’m just an observer, and it was obvious Roddick was out of gas when they returned. With tiredness, once you sit down, it’s difficult to get back up. Mono is like that.

I’m just happy that Roddick is back in the top 10, and he has picked up some match play which should boost his condfidence going into the USO. All’s well that ends well ….


johhny Says:

One aspect of Mardy’s game that contributed largely towards his win was superb volleying; such a gentle touch … balls were landing like butterflies with broken legs as Robbie Koenig would say :)


Kimmi Says:

Von – thanks. the rain delay can course wonders to players. too bad roddick could not sustain his form…

Its great to see roddick playing well again though. Great perfomance to the semi here.

as for fish..congrats again. the guy keep surprising me.


grendel Says:

The impression I sort of got was this: before the first rain break, the match was evenly contested. After the break, Mardy Fish just wasn’t there. He was very sluggish, dumping incredibly easy balls into the net. I couldn’t understand it, but Petchey pointed out that Fish perhaps hadn’t fully recovered from the Murray match. It was ok at the beginning, when he had plenty of time to warm up and get into the match – this just didn’t happen for him second time round (lactic acid and stuff, apparently).

So when they came out following the second rain break, it was just a formality, really, for Roddick to complete the match. However, Fish is a close friend – they had been like “brothers” he’d said – and it seems to me entirely possible that Roddick felt both embarrassed and even guilty for his friend’s misfortune. So perhaps his mind wasn’t properly on the job. Fish himself was perhaps relaxed, with nothing to lose.

Of course, once he won that second set, it was deadly serious again. Too late for Roddick, though – his rhythm had been fatally disrupted. That’s how I read it. Very odd business.

Ike – concerning American tennis. Peter Fleming reminded us today that in the twilight of McEnroe/Connors, there was much bewailing of the poverty on the prospective American tennis scene. And then, out of nowhere, appeared 4 very young men – Sampras, Agassi, Chang and Courier. America is a big country. Sooner or later, something like this will happen again – I hope so, not because I am pro-American (or anti-American) but because the tennis world does not, imo,function properly without the active and enthusiastic participation of America. The spending of all those dollars, b.t.w., means nothing. We in Britain spend huge amounts of money on tennis and never get ANY return (neither Henman nor Murray were products of the L.T.A.)


funches Says:

The only reason Roddick won the first set was because of the rain. Fish was outplaying him but couldn’t get the break, then came out cold after the delay.

I’m not a Roddick fan or hater, although I find him highly entertaining off the court, but his game is the problem. Playing like a junior girl during the rallies won’ t ever cut it at a grand slam. He’s headed for an early loss in the U.S. Open if he doesn’t start playing with more aggression.


Von Says:

grendel: Your take on the match is close to what I mentioned. It was a combination of frustration from Roddick, as he only had one more game to serve out, and I think he was feeling tired. he didn’t have many aces, and he was duffing some easy net balls. Anyway, it’s done, and nothing can change it, so I’m not going to be unhappy. roddick was not even supposed to play this week, if he followed his doctor’s orders, but I suppose he was determined to get back into the top 10. Can you imagine this country’s expectations is on his shoulders to perform well? OY

Mardy is having a good run and I’m happy for him. At least one American is still in the tournament.

With respect to Britain’s dollars on tennis, it’s very sad indeed. At least we have got 3 now in the top 20, and one in the top 10. That translates to, we ain’t that badly off.

BTW, for those who don’t know, Jim Courier got married today in California. All my best to Jim and his bride.


Von Says:

Well funches, we’re all entitled to our opinions. Roddick has done well for someone who’s not feeling 100 percent. Fish should play better, as he’s not sick. It seems that everyone is forgetting this guy is not well.

I hope Roddick proves you wrong and does not exit the USO as early as you would like to happen.


Von Says:

Kimmi: You’re welcome.

I think it’s time for me to exit, as I’ve spent more time than I allocated for blogging/tennis.


Stefani Germanotta Says:

I thought it was well known that Courier is gay?


jane Says:

Missed the entire match but it looks like it suffered from some stops and starts; I saw that “scattered showers” were in the forecast for today. Quite the run for Mardy Fish here and all summer – good for him! – and Roddick is already pleased with his run as per his expectations coming in.

I hope Fed and Baggy have a 3 setter as I might get to see some of that one.


Kimmi Says:

Goodall just said delpo wont play the USO..well, we kind of knew that. :)

Other news is.. since delpo wont play, nalby will be seeded.


jane Says:

Kimmi, that’s great news about Nalby being seeded; he deserves it. Baggy’s serve is on fire at this event!! I couldn’t get over it versus Rafa last night.


contador Says:

way out roger


contador Says:

2 timely aces

3-2 federer


contador Says:

i am registered for the us open bracket challenge. i had to give them cookies. that was the problem


Kimmi Says:

Baggy has come to play, this looks to be a tough match for rog…

C’mon rog. we are behind you


contador Says:

baghdatis working over fed’s backhand 3-3


jane Says:

Fed’s serve isn’t too shabby either.


contador Says:

super volley fed!! and service game

4-3


contador Says:

oh nice service game fed!

can he keep this up?

5-4


contador Says:

federer can you get the break?

doesn’t look like it….

this is sure a quite match

oh deuce


contador Says:

quiet not quite

ad baggy back to deuce

c’mon fed


contador Says:

ad fed!


jane Says:

Fed better at the net! Set point.


contador Says:

yessssss!!

set to fed


contador Says:

tra lalalala

going for the ben and jerry’s….humming


jane Says:

It sure feels like Fed’s hit more than 4 and Baggy more than 2 aces. Very short points.


contador Says:

no getting too cute pink fed

deuce and an early break would be nice.

ad baggy


jane Says:

Fed’s all business tonight, finishing off points quickly and often at the net or down-the-line.


contador Says:

this match is moving along

sheesh ended that game with authority, federer

2-1 fed


dari Says:

Somebody is looking Sharp tonight- bah! Except for that wikd shank. That happens sometimes! Happy with fed’s play, especially that relatively quick no conversion for first set!


contador Says:

you are right dari. so far so good

i like federer’s serving so far, very much


dari Says:

Should say “bp” conversion


dari Says:

Fed’s feet tonight are giving him the opportunity to come in or hit mid to back court winners as he pleases. It’s quite lovely to watch!
And contador, that serve is setting it all up!


contador Says:

now please serve this out!

it is a beautiful thing to watch, federer at his best.


David Says:

Do you guys think that maybe when Fed’s 35 he won’t be the favorite to win everything off clay? His dominance has to end at some point.


Mg Mg Says:

Baghdatis’ footfaults are the difference tonight. Rafa should have won yesterday. Line judges do not want to see Roger-Rafa match. They must be Roger’s fans.


jane Says:

Well…that was quick! These super fast courts suit Fed very well.


Kimmi Says:

WHO HOOOO! World # 2.

congratulatins, the fed. magnificent perfomance.


contador Says:

aw baggy did the hard work last night.

great! feddy in the final…. : )


i am it Says:

Roger played a clean, beautiful, economic match tonight.
Congratulation to the champ !

Baghy also showed some of the best passing sots and volleys. Well done ! Wishing for a 3rd set set but Roger was too good to deny.


dari Says:

What the wow, roger! Baggy wasn’t as big a server tonight, but rog made that look too easy! Congrats, let’s get the title tomorrow and some rest for the uso!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

That was the best volleying I’ve seen from Federer- from anyone- in years. The other night I was watching a Youtube of Edberg v Macenroe at Wimbledon, and I was struck by how much deeper and sharper they hit their volleys than today’s players. Fed and the other top volleyers really seemed tame by comparison. But this performance was like a throwback. Those were really deep aggressive shots. Beautiful.


johhny Says:

Nice and easy one by Fed. Congrats to the warrior Baggy, Fed was too much to handle today.


kimberly Says:

Congrats to roger

IMO fish outplayed roddick the entire match. I would also say he outplayed murray.

Will be interesting to see fish/fed. Will also be interesting to see if he can put something together for uso.

Kimmi-im not particularly a delpo fan but I think its disappointing any time champion can’t defend his title. And his aabsence is a loss to all us tennis fans.


steve Says:

Congrats to Federer. That was a surgical performance.

Not that Baghdatis played badly–whenever he had the chance to play, which was very rarely.


contador Says:

don’t be fish food fed!

have yourself a fish fillet!

(sorry)


Kimmi Says:

contador – i will have a fillet tomorrow. hope fed has one too :)


Von Says:

FO: Way to go. You got your wish.
____________________

Fish was only getting in 49% of first serves, so how is that outplaying Roddick? Fed told the commentators that he was watching the match and he’s never seen that happen to Andy before. It’s a matter of perception as to who played better and what we like to see and/or want to happen.


steve Says:

The match against Fish should be really fun. Both players volley extremely well will rush the net constantly and try to take the initiative away from the opponent. The court is so fast that it rewards that kind of play.

Federer will have to be ultra-aggressive as well as bring his passing shots to stop Fish. I would say, as amazing as he played tonight, he’ll need to top that for tomorrow.

The only downside to lovely performances like this, is that if you blink you’ll miss about half of it.


i am it Says:

It was bit short but sweet. Fed looked extremely happy in the interview: “I am not going anywhere. Twenty [Slams]is possible.” He was not joking, nothing wrong to higher. Time will tell if it comes to fruition. As for tomorrow, if he plays like yesterday and today, he should not have much problem tomorrow with the American challenger. I don’t think he will be missing his most “favorite player.”

Madmax, you are fired because you have been significantly absent during the business hours for 2 days when the commander was executing his plans. Unacceptable. Find another job that suits you:-)


Von Says:

to be realistic though, Fed came into the match well-rested. baggy played more matches than the top 4 guys, or I should say top 8, plus he had to battle Berdych and nadal. That’s not an easy task. He must have been very tired.

Anyway, it’s good to see a final tomorrow with two good players going at it. I think Fish should be very tired and it will be an easy match for Fed. Fed mentioned Fish’s win over him at IW, so I’m sure revenge is on his mind. LOL.


i am it Says:

s/b nothing wrong to higher = nothing wrong to aim higher


grendel Says:

Tennis Vagabond – I can’t remember seeing Federer volley so well, either, especially since he’s not been impressive in that department recently. There was so much snap. And it was creative, too, rather just sliding up to the net to finish a point.

I can’t agree with you, Steve, about Baghdatis. I haven’t seen the stats, but his serving was pretty weak. He’d been serving monstrous stuff against Berdych and Nadal. Three in a row was perhaps too much.


Von Says:

OOPS: My *;41 post s/b FOT, not FO.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Fed rocks. GOAT!, go Fed :)


David Says:

I think at this rate Fed could win 25 Slams. There’s just no one who can deal with this guy off of clay except Nadal, and we know Nadal can’t get far enough most of the time.


Andrew Miller Says:

Baggy could have played better if not for the emotional win vs. Nadal yesterday. Only a few guys can beat Nadal-Federer back to back. Del Potro and Nalbandian, the Argentines.

Fish should be a different story. He is “fit” which makes him more challenging an opponent.


David Says:

Andrew,

Djokovic and Murray have done it too, so it’s not actually THAT rare. Everytime it’s happened it’s been on hard courts (Rafa’s worst surface) and only once at a Slam.

I think Fish is a better player than Bags because of his serve. But realistically, it’ll probably be Fed in straights. He’s just at another level from everyone else.


Clay Says:

Even P McEnroe was awed by some of Roger’s shot tonight.:)


johhny Says:

Montreal 2007 Rogers Cup, Djokovic beat (in this order):

#3 Andy Roddick QF
#2 Rafa Nadal SF
#1 Federer F


grendel Says:

“I think Fish is a better player than Bags because of his serve”???? (David)

Baggy’s serve was off tonight, but it was magnificent against Nadal and Berdych. I’m not that knowledgeable about Fish, but my impression has been that his serve, whilst excellent when it’s firing, is unreliable – 1st serve tends to be around the 45% mark. I’m just going on matches I remember. Don’t know whether this is generally the case.

I agree with Andrew Miller – that defeat of Nadal must have been emotionally draining for Baggy (whereas Murray expected to beat Nadal, and fulfilling his expectations must have put him in good fettle for tackling Federer). When Baghdatis beat Fed in the Spring, he subsequently lost to Robredo. I don’t think that means Baggy is weak at all, just that he is not yet used to these huge victories. I hope they become more common, and he’ll be then better equipped to carry on the battle.


Ben Pronin Says:

Overall a great week for Baghdatis. He does have a win over Fed this year, so it’s not like he just lost his millionth in a row to the guy. It’s nice to see Baghy and Berdych coming into their own this year. I’ve always loved both these guys, and Baghdatis is one of the best personalities on tour.


David Says:

Grendel

You’re right that Fish’s first serve % can go a little off at time. I’m not sure why because he has one of the sweetest motions in all of tennis.

Bags did serve huge against Rafa, but that’s a bit of an aberration. He’s not known to be that great of a server and he also usually struggles to get a high % in, in fact 51% for the year on average.

But overall Fish’s serve is superior. He averages more aces per match, a higher first-serve percentage. And he leads the Tour in % of first-serve points won.


Andrew Miller Says:

I agree with Ben and all on Baghdatis – he is one of my favorite players! When he does well I think it’s fun for fans. I’m just not entirely convinced that he enjoys the grind of the tour: he likes to play the Federers and Nadals but not so much the Istomins and Bennetaus.

So Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro, Nalbandian and Davydenko are the only players to beat Federer and Nadal in the same tournament? I did not know that Murray and Djokovic had both accomplished that feat, I thought only Davydenko, Nalbandian and Del Potro.

Only Del Potro has done so at a Slam if I am not mistaken. That is what separates a guy like Del Potro from the rest of the ATP Tour: he’s the only one at a Slam that’s proven the ability to beat both the Federer and Nadal.


johhny Says:

AO 2008 Novak beat Federer (SF) and redhot Tsonga (F) who dispatched Nadal 3:0 in the semis.


Ben Pronin Says:

Andrew, Del Potro did something absolutely unbelievable. It’s not just that he beat Nadal and Fed in a slam, it’s the way he beat them. He absolutely crushed Nadal, who is easily one of the hardest players to put away in the history of the game. And then he came pulled out a ridiculous comeback against one of the greatest front-runners in tennis history, at a stage where only one guy was ever successful against him before. If you can’t tell, I’m severely bummed out by Del Potro’s ongoing absence.


Andrew Miller Says:

I like Mardy Fish as a player too, he’s a guy who should have been the #2 player in the post-Agassi/post-Sampras era. I say that because I think his game is more steady and strategic, while less explosive, than James Blake, who I never felt approached his matches strategically.

Example: Nadal, with the wisdom of Uncle Tony in his ear, would deliberately go after Federer’s backhand (even if it is a shot of beauty), knowing that he had a strategic advantage, if slight, by going after it. I do not remember Blake ever applying a similar strategy other than playing his game, win or lose.

That’s why I feel unfortunately that Blake may not get back to top 20, let alone top 50, because he employs no strategy. His game is high risk, whatever return.


Andrew Miller Says:

I mean Mardy Fish as #2 U.S. player in the post-Agassi/Post-Sampras era.


Andrew Miller Says:

Ben, Del Potro is definitely something else! He’s just really, really tough. I can tell you feel he’s a multiple slam winner in waiting.


David Says:

I wouldn’t say I’m all that bummed out about Delpo not being around. I find his game rather uninspiring, although obviously very powerful and impressive.

If he does manage to get past his health issues, I’d expect him to reach the number 1 spot over the next 2 years. I’m quite sure Fed will get back there just long enough to break Sampras’ record, but then the next guy to take the mantle will likely be JMDP. He’s got the game, the mentality, everything to be a 5 or 6 Slam winner, imo.


kimberly Says:

I am not a big fan of his but I have been very very disappointed by his absence.

It will be interesting to see him play the asian swing. He will lose his top ten rank by not defending. Anyone know about where his rank will be?


David Says:

I know this is supposed to be the time to congratulate Mardy Fish on this great run of success this hard court season. But I can’t help but think, why did it take him this long to commit himself to tennis? Mardy’s been a good player for a long time. Remember, he made the 2003 Cincy final. Yet he waits until he’s 28 years old to really get in shape? Think what he could’ve accomplished over the last 7 years. Maybe he could’ve been the top American, maybe even have won a Slam and lost 5 or 6 times in the finals of Slams to Federer. He’d have made the Hall of Fame with that record.


madmax Says:

Madmax, you are fired because you have been significantly absent during the business hours for 2 days when the commander was executing his plans. Unacceptable. Find another job that suits you:-)

August 21st, 2010 at 8:47 pm

very funny I am it! :)

thing is, I have been here – did not want to converse during match with fed as others prior, too negative – it takes me out of my zone –

and…oh excellent one of stat mountain…considering one has exited this fab forum for 4 months, 17 days, 8 hours and 43 minutes, (no I HAVEN’T missed you), me thinks one has become a little cheeky! :)))))

I JUST WANT TO SAY, WOWZA FEDERER. YOU ARE THE BEST.


David Says:

After Federer wins Cincinnati and the U.S. Open, I’ll be eagerly awaiting this “expert’s” next article about Federer. Here was his last article

http://tennis.fanhouse.com/2010/06/30/roger-federer-passed-by-tomas-berdych-time/


Andrew Miller Says:

I agree with David about Mardy Fish – he certainly could have done more before his rededication in 2009-2010. However, I think the fact that he’s serious now is important: now is not the easiest time to break through, and even with the odds against him here he is, on the final Sunday in the U.S.’ 2nd most important tournament (Cincinatti is that: Miami and Indian Wells are great tournaments, but Cincinatti actually leads to something). He definitely should have been better, earlier – and he should have won the Olympics in 2004.

But here he is. Final Sunday. Cincinatti. Federer.

Make it happen Mardy.


madmax Says:

David,

this is what I mean about Federer – everyone loves him when he wins – experts and fans alike, but when he had his slump/having his slump, as you say, ‘so-called experts’ pay him their ‘disrespects’ along with fairweather fans.

One match at a time though with Fed. Remember before the hard court swing, he was written off, had no chance at the USOpen, it was all nadal and murray. I’ not even going to look at what the guy you just posted is gonna write, now that fed had reached another final of a masters tourny – it’s just ‘jumping ship’ at it’s worst.

As for today, really pleased to see Mardy Fish. Got to be honest, always knew that he had caused Murray a lot of problems earlier in the year, and he DOES look great.

We have heard more over in UK (continuously actually), about his weight loss more than his game and only now, people are sitting up and re-evaluation Mardy Fish! It’s a great good luck story.

Hope it’s going to be another great match today.

Either way, fed is no.2, reached another final, got to do his confidence the world of good.

Mardy fish has his home crowd behind him, the crowd loved him yesterday – he didn’t buckle under roddic – that’s pretty awesome by anyone’s standards.

Hoping for a federer win. I always feel with these ‘resurgent’ players, that they play their best tennis against Federer, tennis that they haven’t played before, am sure Mardy will give it his all –

C’mon Federer!


Ben Pronin Says:

I feel that Federer has a tendency to squash the hopes and dreams of “resurgent” players. I know that sounds negative, but seriously, how often have we seen a guy playing the best tennis of his life only to lose to Federer? That’s why Federer is who he is.

Honestly, I’m just confused by this event from Fed’s standpoint. I was sure he would lose early simply because that’s been his pattern. But he’s gone against his usual thing and reached a second straight final. Hopefully he’ll win it. I’m going to check if anyone else has more that 3 or 4 Cincy titles, could be another record for the Swiss man!


Ben Pronin Says:

From a quick glance, Federer is currently tied with Agassi and Sampras with 3 titles. If he wins tomorrow, he’ll be tied for most titles with Mats Wilander.


blah Says:

for fed fans, (who probably have seen this already anyway) a shot he hit during an ad shoot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTl3U6aSd2w&feature=player_embedded


bstevens Says:

A little off topic, but what if Roger Federer’s road to the US Open 2010 final was like this:

1R: Grigor Dimitrov (Fed plays a younger version of himself)
2R: Ivo Karlovic (5th set tiebreaks give him a shot)
3R: David Nalbandian (Fed’s toughest career rival not named Nadal)
4R: Ernests Gulbis (Completely unpredictable)
QF: Tomas Berdych (Proving to be a worthy foe)
SF: Andy Murray (Hungry for his first slam)
Final: Rafael Nadal (Can it get any sweeter?)

What do you think?


madmax Says:

bstevens – I love it! Can I turn it around on you, buddy? :)/

A little off topic, but what if Rafae Nadal’s road to the US Open 2010 final was like this:

1R Grigor Dimitriov (took a set of nadal in 2008 so looking to gain some form and break through in one of the biggest ways possible)

2R Ivo Karlovic (always causes rafa problems when he serves, but then he does everyone.

3R David Nalbandian (Has a greater h2h over nadal and is a slimmer version of big dave, plus a resurgent player not frightened of rafa, where his game matches up perfectly)

4R Ernests Gulbis (looking for a match win over nadal after taking a set off him this year and throwing his chance away to beat the world no. 1

QF Tomas Berdych – Revenge for wimbledon final – and this time he DOESN’T choke.

SF: Andy Murray (he’s in rafa’s head and murray loves to play him)

Final Federer (Can it get any better?).

:)))))))))/


madmax Says:

*1R* Grigor Dimitrov (2009 Rotterdam, not 2008).


andrea Says:

federer played sublime today.

going into the USO, the talk in the past 3 or 4 years is usually about whether:

1) nadal will finally win
2) murray will finally win
3) federer will win again?

seems to be the same old this year as well.

nadal seems to really be struggling this year on the hard courts.

tomorrow’s final should be good. mardy seems to be on a roll.


pro rafa Says:

no one can disagree…. roger federer has got style
i’m beginning to like fedex more than ever now!!! a true god… a true artist!!


Kimmi Says:

blah – never seen that clip. its great.

no way, did he really do that..twice? I think it is camera trick.


madmax Says:

No Kimmi. It’s not. It’s real. go check out the analysis on the video done by some scientist guy. It’s all over youtube.


Andrew Miller Says:

As for Federer’s Cincinatti result, I really believe the light draw made him fresh for a quick run through Davydenko and Baghdatis. Federer hardly played up to the QF vs. Davydenko – sometimes you get lucky. This is Federer reaping the luck that accompanies years of dedicstion.


Andrew Miller Says:

dedication, sorry.


Andrew Miller Says:

so Mardy’s a super-underdog. I’d like to see Fish win it today.


Andrew Miller Says:

Ben is right about Federer squashing resurgent players. One thing I like about Federer is how much of the time, if he loses to a player, he gets them back the next tournament. Like Berdych – Fed had lost two straight to Berdych, with the first loss in Miami giving Berdych the confidence to beat Federer at Wimbledon. Federer must have said to himself: “Tomas, not this time. I know you think you can beat me this time, but it’s time to teach you a lesson.”


NELTA Says:

Great performance by Fed except his 2nd serve return. In both the Davy and Baggy match he won well under 50% of the points on their 2nd serves. The only thing he feels comfortable with is floating back a slice. On one occasion he ran around his backhand and smacked a forehand winner, but that’s not something you can do off a 2nd serve on a regular basis on a fast hard court. He did maybe 4 chip and charges on pressure points and I think he won half of those points. With today’s spin and power that’s not something you can do 20 times in a match and except to win more than half, but I like the surprise element on a 30 all or break point. Fed tried coming over his backhand on the 2nd serve with mediocre results.

Nadal by contrast is doing quite well returning 2nd serves off both wings getting decent depth and pace. His opponents are consistently winning well under 50% of their 2nd serve points because he is able to start the point from a neutral or slightly positive position with a good return. That’s a great sign for Nadal.

The 1st serve return is an entirely different matter. Nadal is really struggling here on the fast hard courts. If you get a 128mph+ 1st serve in then Nadal almost never returns it in the court. Nadal only won 7 of 54 points off Baggy’s 1st serve. If you take out the aces and only count the 1st serves that Nadal got his racket on then Baggy still won 80% of those points.

Federer by contrast was knifing back Baggy’s hard, flat serves on his backhand and blocking forehands deep in the court. Baggy only won 52% of his 1st serves. If you take out the aces and only include the 1st serves that Fed got his racket on then he won more than half the points. That’s an amazing stat on a fast hard court. The numbers are exactly the same against Davydenko.

So what does this mean? Well it’s quite easy to practice 2nd serve returns so Fed should be doing a lot of this with his hitting partner especially in pre-match warmup.

Improving your 1st serve return is much trickier. You can’t groove your 1st serve return like you can on the 2nd serve. Many hitting partners can’t produce a 130 MPH serve. Some will move in say 6 ft from the baseline and hit the serve from there to simulate a faster serve, but the trajectory is not quite the same. Nadal has a great ground game so he just needs to get more of those returns in play. He might need to change his forehand grip to continental which he did a few times at Wimby. He also could take a page out of Murray’s book where sometimes he will stand waaay behind the baseline to return a big 1st serve.


NELTA Says:

Fed definitely got lucky with the draw, not in terms of who he had to play, but the fact that he only had to play 1 set in his 1st 2 matches. If Fed plays 3 sets today then he would have played 8 total which is the same that Nadal played this week.


adam cunliffe Says:

“Honestly, I’m just confused by this event from Fed’s standpoint. I was sure he would lose early simply because that’s been his pattern. But he’s gone against his usual thing and reached a second straight final.” – Ben, as Andrew Miller pointed out, Federer has had an absurdly easy ride this tourney. You take the smooth with the rough. Why not.

There is a bit of rationalisation going on here w.r.t. Fed. The link David posted was just a piece of sloppy journalism, identical to several others I have seen, so I couldn’t even be bothered to finish it. But it is not a question of either/or, where Federer (or anyone else) is concerned.

Federer, by his own exacting standards,was unquestionably going through a slump,and it is perfectly reasonable to point this out at the time, and it is also fun to speculate as to why, even if the chances of making much sense are admittedly low.

Federer himself clearly signalled his own dissatisfaction with his form by hiring Annacone. You can put two apparently opposing spins on this: for instance, it shows how high his motivation is to improve and win more, or it shows his deep concern with his apparent deterioration. And then you can argue. But that is wrong. Because both are true, and to insist on one at the expense of the other is a sign that you are not really interested in what is actually the case, because you have already made up your mind. Just like politics.

Expressions like “jumping ship” and “fairweather friends” are sometimes justified, but usually they are polemical tools to push a particular case.

If Federer has managed to iron out some of his difficulties, I personally would be delighted. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have the difficulties in the first place. And if he manages to address with a degree of success the problems Nadal poses for him, both technically and mentally, (always supposing they ever meet again – it’s beginning to look seriously doubtful), everyone would be obliged to acknowledge a staggering success story.

Of course, if you don’t really think Federer has a problem with Nadal (and I don’t mean on claycourts), then you are never going to be able to take pleasure in his resolving the problem – not without doing horrific violence to logic. There is a little paradox there that some of Federer’s more unthinkingly enthusiastic fans might care to ponder.


grendel Says:

well, the cat is out of the bag – made a mistake there. Dreaming. I am the Adam Cunliffe. Oh, well, who cares.

Great post, Nelta, as usual. Pity you can’t spare more time. Just one slight quibble. I was also very impressed by Federer’s return of serve, whether I’d worked it out that it was first serve, dunno – and I also said his return of davydenko’s serve was excellent. My quibble is, leaving aside aces, Baghdatis’ serve did not seem to me to be nearly as penetrating against Fed as against Nadal. Illusion or was it so?


grendel Says:

I don’t get it – I put in a longish post under my own monicker by mistake – and now it’s been scratched? Why?


Andrew Miller Says:

I am rooting for Fish. No one has him winning.


grendel Says:

sorry, resolved – I give in. Patience was never my middle name – or attention to detail for that matter.


guy Says:

grendel, you’re right about fish’s serve, it’s a huge first serve but the percentage has always been poor for a guy his height.

baghdatis goes for massive first serves and also has a poor percentage in general, this time has a height excuse. against nadal served a high percentage for him. but can go off because of tight margins.

i notice the fed Backhand discussion never goes away. people who think this glitch explains fed’s losses to nadal, explain how youzhny and blake were bogey’s for nadal, yet both have onehanders . and gaudio dominated nadal on clay with a onehander.

i agree fish should’ve been in shape his whole career, it’s a little late now. injuries are one thing, but no excuse to be overweight as a pro athlete if you’re serious.


madmax Says:

grendel,

I think your above post was aimed at me? (being as you used ‘jumping ship/etc.’. That’s fine. I always like a good discussion with you.

It doesn’t matter what name you post under, your posts are always thought provoking. :)

Roger’s movement around the court yesterday was outstanding. He is a player who moves around the ball to hit forehands from any position. He is also a player who moves forward to put pressure on his opponent. He takes the ball early, and therefore moves one step ahead of his opponent. You mention about his second serves and whilst the stats are there, he also made some GREAT second serves grendel, which you omitted to mention.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading this afternoon to counter what you said about nadal earlier yesterday and his general progression/decline, whichever way you want to take it.

The very first time Federer beat Sampras at Wimbledon in 2003, he came in over 80% of the time. (I went back to the start of Fed’s glory years and checked here). The guy knows how to approach the net! You’ve talked about nadal being in Fed’s head, but let’s look at a few things. Arguably, his best match against Nadal on clay, Finals in Rome. He had 2 match points, he came in over 85 times in that match!

I just think Fed had – and I say ‘had’ – got so comfortable beating everyone that he’s not using that part of his game as much as did in his early years. I have seen Federer using the slice much more recently. You tell me what’s a better shot selection on any surface for that matter. That said, how can you not be mesmorised by what Federer has done for the past 7 years, what he does with a tennis ball is phenomenal.

I am mesmerized by his footwork – he is so agile and light on his feet which is largely why he does not punish his body and allows him longevity in the game.

I try to curb my enthusiasm grendel (occasionally), and remain objective but it’s ever so hard sometimes, when you just love the Fed.


Gordo Says:

The Gilette out take “trick” shot, where Roger “hits” a ball off the dude’s head twice – once captured on camera is sadly fake.

a) maybe if he were in his tennis gear and if the guy was a determined distance – say at the net and Federer were at the baseline it might be possible, but

b) the guy has enough trouble balancing the water bottle on his head and then he doesn’t flinch when the ball is rocketing at his head?

c) Fed’s entourage is just a little too nonchalent about what just happened.

d) Offscreen, but most significant, the Gilette spokesperson in Ireland, when asked if it was fake, instead of answering “What! You don’t think Roger Federer is capable of that?” and avoiding the question, simply said “We are going to leave it to the viewer to decide.”

All the above = fake. Cute, funny, well thought out, but fake.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Fed has a brilliant BH, how could he not win so many majors? He is just a bad macthup with Nadal.


NELTA Says:

You’re right Grendel. Baghdatis was not serving consistently big like he was against Nadal.

When Fish beat Fed at IW in 2008 his 1st serve % was in the 30s.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Gordo,

Fake or not it was great publicity and timing..Obviously it worked, everyone and there brother has seen it, tennis fan or not.:)


Andrew Miller Says:

Nadal has some extra motivation when playing Federer. Don’t think for a second that Nadal does not love the fact of his H2H record vs. Federer!


David Says:

guy

I think the key word was Blake and Youzhny “were” bogeys for Nadal. Gonzo beat him at the AO too but these were all losses on hard courts before Nadal reached his peak. Now, as a Rafa fan, whenever I see a draw loaded up with 1-handed players I get my hopes up that he might be able to sneak through (and hopefully get Fed in the final!)

Nadal occasionally loses to a 1-handed backhand player (Ljubicic at IW) but those losses are few and far between and he never gets dominated by those players. The guys that have dominated him in matches on fast courts are Murray, Djoko, Sod, Cilic, Delpo, Nalby. They all have great 2-handers and just aren’t bothered by Nadal’s tremendous spin on the forehand side. In fact, not only are they not bothered by that super heavy ball, they attack it.


David Says:

adam cunliffe

The so-called “problem” with Fed’s game also could very well have been that he was simply injured at Wimbledon. It’s very likely that if he were 100 percent he would’ve beaten Berdych and then gone on to win the tournament. The French loss to Sod was his first loss before the semis in 24 Grand Slams. I mean the streak had to end eventually and Sod and Fed are very evenly matched on clay.


grendel Says:

madmax

certainly you must not curb your enthusiasm for Federer. But you are young, and we who are ancient like to look at these matters in the round…

Fed’s second serve can be spectacular. One in particular I remember in the last week or two was a wide angled kicker which was quite unplayable. I suppose that’s the definition of an ace, but whereas with some aces, if the player had got lucky and guessed right he might have got to the ball, I don’t see how anyone could have got to that particular second serve, unless he’d instantly sprouted wings.

You could argue that in that Rome final (magnificent match), Fed choked. Nadal remarked afterwards that he was lucky, since at match point Fed had missed the type of fh he usually got. Diplomatically put, wouldn’t you say? And when those match points came and went, you knew the match was over. And it was. Fed had shot his bolt.

Obviously, madmax, this business of coming into the net is something you have to be familiar with, and if you stop doing it, you partically forget how to (just like people can partially forget their own languages when regularly speaking another). It’s great to see Federer re-engaging with old skills.


grendel Says:

“The so-called “problem” with Fed’s game also could very well have been that he was simply injured at Wimbledon. It’s very likely that if he were 100 percent he would’ve beaten Berdych and then gone on to win the tournament”

You’re allowed to suggest this if you’re a Nadal fan – very much not if you’re a Fed fan! Which is why although I have wondered to what degree the slight injuries might have affected Fed, I’ve never brought it up, and I think that’s probably true of many Fed fans. However, that said, there are clearly underlying problems which started to appear long before Wimbledon.


grendel Says:

I meant to address the last post to David, a Nadal fan.


David Says:

grendel

IIRC, Fed was battling some injury problems around the Miami/Indian Wells swing in ’09 as well. I think it was a back issue, which probably had a lot to do with his struggles at that time. Then he took some time off, went on his honeymoon and then came back strong at Madrid.

I think even if an injury isn’t that serious and you can still play, it’s still a really tough ask to beat top 10 players when something’s aggravating you. Nadal at the USO last year was battling that abdominal tear and I think only got as far as he did because of a favorable draw.


Von Says:

Hey grendel: Is your real life name Adam? OH WOW, you’ve stolen my heart. I absolutely love that name Adam. I wanted to name my son Adam, but my husband was *adam*-ant against it and he got his way eventually. He named him after one of the Shakespeare British actors.


grendel Says:

yes, Von, but keep it quiet – I sleepwalked into a mistake, where it says “name required” for some reason, I put my own name. Mortifying!


Von Says:

grendel: Mum’s the word. Except, now in my mind, I’ll remember you as the one I like and it will be difficult to fight with you. LOL


jane Says:

NELTA, i think you are a bit of a “stats” appreciator, or you’ve posted some before. Anyhow it seems to me that Fed has a pretty good return game a.t.m. – He is 7th on the season for 1st serve returns (Murray is 6th, Djoko is 1st, Nadal is 12th) and Fed is 15th overall for second serve returns (Rafa is 1st, then Ferrer, then Djok, then Murray …Berdych is 10th, Soda is 14th).

As others have opined, Fed’s break point conversion could use work, perhaps, as he is 44th in that category, whereas Nadal, Soda, Djok and Berdych are all in top 20.

Interesting is that Fed’s first serve percentage is worse than many other top guns’ however, when Roger gets his first serve in he is very likely to win the point, but he’s high up for winning after second serves as well.

So probably – generally speaking, not based on today’s match – if Fed could convert on more BP chances (as Dory noted on another thread), he’d dominate more easily, like he used to do.


jane Says:

p.s. I realize that stats do not tell “the whole story” but they are part of it anyhow. :)


skeezerweezer Says:

NELTA,

Totally agree with you on Fed working on 2nd serve return. Good call.

First serve can be more reactionary and reflex. Just getting it back is a good thing. Just getting back a 2nd serve is a bad thing. 2nd serve return in a lot of cases you have a chance to put the ball where you want and sometimes with authority…..

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