Nervous Nadal Survives Verdasco, Faces Fish in Cincy QFs; Federer, Djokovic Today
by Sean Randall | August 19th, 2011
  • 155 Comments

Rafael Nadal has about 10 days to get his flegling game in order. In a very scratchy, very nervous affair with friend and countryman Fernando Verdasco, Nadal came away with the 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 7-6(9) victory in the third round at the Cincinnati Tennis Masters.

But problems persist. Like the Ivan Dodig match (he led 6-1, 3-1) and against Juliean Benneteau (he failed to serve out the match in the second set), Nadal again had trouble closing the match yesterday.

Rafa led by a break in the third then blew four matchpoints in the final set breaker before a big sigh of relief as he got the win. Maybe the victory gets him over the hump or maybe after all those losses to Novak Djokovic, the once mentally unbreakable Nadal is breaking.

The end of the match tiebreak was marred by some incredibly bad forehand misses, as both both were tightening up.

“You enjoy always a good match, but when you lose in this way, of course it’s not easy, because it could have been a big win,” said Verdasco who drops to 0-12 career against Nadal. “You have it so close; tennis is like that. Tennis is very tough. It’s a very hard sport, not easy mentally. You need to be strong and not let these situations affect you.”

“The truth is that I am very happy. Very content with the victory,” added Nadal. “It was a tough match for both of us. Now I’m looking ahead to my next round and I hope to continue playing well here in Cincinnati.”

Nadal, who also played (and lost) his doubles after that 3-hour, 40-minute slugfest with Verdasco, moves on to play arguably the second hottest player on the tour, Mardy Fish. The American Fish has been on a rampage this summer and yesterday he edged Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-5.

While Nadal leads 6-0 in their head-to-head, today you have to give Fish a real shot to pull the upset. He’s playing the better tennis.

“If you want to play someone like Rafa, you hope that he plays a match that’s four hours long before you play him,” joked Fish. “That’s as physical as it gets. It’s hot out there, so I’m sure he’ll be pretty tired. He’s a human being. It’s a great opportunity for me. I’ve never beaten him before. This is probably a surface that I would choose to play him on if I were to pick: something hot, something quick.”

Fish has taken sets off Rafa in their last two including Wimbledon, and with Nadal’s long match yesterday, his two burnt fingers on his right hand and a clear lack of confidence, I’ll give a slight edge to Fish. But Mardy has a history of coming up short and losing that forehand in these big matches (see the Davis Cup), so it could be another nervy affair.

Also today, former champion Andy Murray opens play at 11am against Gilles Simon. Both players are mirror images of each with Murray the more accomplished and he’s won six straight over the Frenchman. And even though Simon’s had the better summer I think Murray’s getting into form and I’ll pick him to win.

“I was hitting the ball a little bit cleaner today,” said Murray after avenging his Miami loss to Alex Bogomolov, Jr. on Thursday. “I would still definitely like to do things better. I didn’t move particularly well, and that’s something that I’ll need to improve on in this kind of 10, 11 days before the US Open. I want to try and make sure that’s perfect before the start of the US Open.”

Roger Federer continues what seems like a mini revenge tour this week against Tomas Berdych. Federer’s facing the third straight player to have a big win over him (he beat Del Potro then Blake), and now gets the Czech who sent him out of Wimbledon last year. A four-time Cincinnati champion, Federer has won 24 of his last 26 in the city, he’s playing very well this week and he leads 9-3 against Berdych. With all those gaudy numbers I think he makes it 10.

“He’s a dangerous player,” Federer said of Berdych. “He hits the ball extremely hard and he can go through matches and dominate from the baseline. I have to make sure I get into his service games and play aggressive myself and see where it takes us. We’ve had some tough matches over the years, and I expect something similar tomorrow.”

Tonight, Novak Djokovic bids for his 56th win of the year against Gael Monfils. It’s a rematch to the hour almost where Djokovic crushed Monfils last Friday in Montreal quarterfinals, but tonight with the Serb maybe showing signs of fatigue I expect a much closer match. Still, it’s hard to pick against Novak.

“I played so many matches, and they caught up to me a little bit,” Djokovic said yesterday after beating Radek Stepanek 6-3, 6-3. “It’s expected that some part of my game is not working 100 per cent.

“But I believe that tomorrow the serve will be better. It’s important to have the right mindset and positive attitude. I don’t think that my rhythm is bad, it’s just a little bit my toss and I’m out of balance on my serve and I’m forcing it a little bit too much. Maybe I should go a little bit for percentage rather than speed.”

Djokovic leads Monfils 7-0 in their series. But if Federer wins easily and Djokovic is embroiled in a long match with Monfils tonight, might there be reason for a weary Novak to avoid to a clash with the Swiss Saturday night?

Maria Sharapova is the class of what’s left of the battered women’s field. She’ll be tested though this morning by Sam Stosur.

ESPN2 again has the TV coverage from 1pm-5pm ET and at 7pm with the Djokovic match.

FRIDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE

CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
[10] S Stosur (AUS) vs [4] [WC] M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 1:00 PM
[7] M Fish (USA) vs [2] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 2:30 PM
[3] R Federer (SUI) vs [8] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [6] G Monfils (FRA) – ATP
[1] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs N Grandin (RSA) / V Uhlirova (CZE) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[10] G Simon (FRA) vs [4] A Murray (GBR) – ATP
D Hantuchova (SVK) vs [2] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA
N Petrova (RUS) vs [9] A Petkovic (GER) – WTA
Not Before 7:00 PM
[16] S Peng (CHN) vs [13] J Jankovic (SRB) – WTA
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [7] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) – ATP


Also Check Out:
Tennis-X Funk/Trunk: Murray, Rafa, Kim-tastic
Breaking Down the No. 1 Ranking Between Federer, Nadal
Roddick, Fish, Berdych Face Stern Tests Today in Washington
Roddick Survives Malisse Scare in Atlanta; Del Potro Improving, Not Playing
Fish, Isner, Harrison Lead Americans into Atlanta QFs

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155 Comments for Nervous Nadal Survives Verdasco, Faces Fish in Cincy QFs; Federer, Djokovic Today

Brando Says:

Interesting. I’m glad djokovic pointed out his serve, since that’s the part recently that seems to be dropping its usual standard. Against stepanek his 1st serve percntage was in the 40s! Right now though his return is just phenomenal and considering that out of his rivals only federer has a serve he should be fine. Rafa is getting a high 1st serve percentage in but he is getting broken often and he seems to lose big points n his on serve. Hope he improves on that against fish. Will be tough considering the opponent and match start time given to him by the organisers!


Humble Rafa Says:

Djoker can throw in an underhanded serve and he will still win. Power of choices.


RFFan Says:

Didn’t Novak decimate Monfils just last week?

Fed/Berdych is much more likely to be competative.


Dory Says:

Simon has defeated Melzer, Tipsy and Ferrer! Hope not Murray.


skeezerweezer Says:

So weird…..Simon and Murray have clone like games…..but…..Murray has a more physical presence….thus the difference.


Kimberly Says:

sharapova put on a clinic.

Not looking forward to the next match even though i like Mardy. Just cant see nadal winning or even competing. Hope im wrong.


Brando Says:

Pleased that Murray won- now come on rafa!!


skeezerweezer Says:

Rafa seems to have nothing on the BH side at the moment, hitting it short from that side and chipping more than he used to.

MMT Like your observation of technical issues…love that stuff.


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeeze, I think it’s because he can’t grip the racquet too well with his right hand.

And I agree, MMT, great stuff.


Cbeat Says:

I have not been on for a long time…living in Switzerland now and im still a big Fed fan. Watching the Nadal vs Fish match and must say for the first time I really want Nadal to win! Unfair Call where the ball was out..;). There is something about your favorite players rival where you want him not to do well, but when I see him having such a rough time on court it pains.

Hope Nadal Wins!


Wheeler Says:

EPIC FAIL LOSER ATROCIOUS RIDICULOUS MORONIC CINCY SCHEDULING! NADAL AND FEDERER QF MATCHES GOING ON SIMULTANEOUSLY?


van orten Says:

breaking news!!!! : rafa called for the trainer because he burnt his fingers on a hot plate in a restaurant… come on rafa pls be healthy for once at the us open


Wheeler Says:

Sorry I thought Federer match was on Grandstand and furious. I take back my words.


van orten Says:

nadal moonballing even on the fast hc of cincy …this guy is incredible…


van orten Says:

now its his foot …come on man!!!


skeezerweezer Says:

Ben,

Re; I was going to respond to that post (re;fingers) but I would have gotten myself in trouble ;). Let’s just say the serving prep is also a little more difficult with his technique.


van orten Says:

wow nadal breaking back even though he is injured…what an amazing warrior he is what a fighter we love you rafa for that


tennisfansince76 Says:

Nadal seems to be suffering from WDS(Wimbeldon dethronement syndrome) similar to Fed 3 years ago. it seems that even if you are the 2nd best player in the world losing to really only 1 player that losing your wimbledon crown has bad mental effects. Nadal looks shaken.


JCZ Says:

Score one for the Fish.


tennisfansince76 Says:

how did Nadal hurt his fingers anyway? on his night job at Benihana’s. hey its a tough economy.


van orten Says:

he should have lost yesterday but fish deserves that win… he has a big game always attacking so lets see how he does vs murray


van orten Says:

tennisfansince76

interesting theory..fed won the us open though ..hope nadal wont ;-)


Colin Says:

A fine effort by Fish. I don’t think Murray is playing well enough at the moment to beat him, though Andy does tend to up his level steeply in the late stages of a tournament.
Mardy could well win this whole thing.


mem Says:

congratulations to mardy! well done! mardy is playing some great tennis. good luck to him.

much better match from rafa. a step at a time. moving on to prepare for the usopen. vamos rafa!


Humble Rafa Says:

What happenned to fingers is apparently a mystery. It involves Xisca. I will leave it at that.


Daniel Says:

Ha! That’s good for my draw: I had Fish beating Nadal in the quarters and losing to Murray in the semis.
Let’s see if I got the other semis right, Fed x Djoko.


tennisfansince76 Says:

yes Van Orten but he sort of backed into it. he was definitely vulnerable in a few matches(5 setter vs Andreev). Djokovic kind of blew himself up by attacking the NY crowd and turning them against him and then Murray in the final was not really ready for prime time (will he ever be?)


van orten Says:

i never liked berdych by the way ..he only plays good vs fed but chokes vs all the other top guys


van orten Says:

i hate him asking for his towel after every point he wins…he is one annoying player hard to watch…my humble opinion though


Humble Rafa Says:

Nice to see Fed unravel from the start.


van orten Says:

watch him playing incredible tennis tonight and then losing without an effort vs nole ..typical berdych that would be


andrea Says:

nice win by fish. nadal is definitely in a mini slump. hopefully fed can pull out the win over berdych. he is like tsonga in that he can win against fed but then usually loses next round.


van orten Says:

pls someone refuse to give him his towellllll


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s like Berdych learns to play tennis right before his matches with Federer and then forgets everything for all other matches.


Roger de Vries Says:

By the way, does anyone know if the Tennis-X bloggers earn any money with this site? If they do, they could make the site much more attractive for many more fans to come over here, like making a forum, making ppl sign up, much more.


van orten Says:

berdych didnt do anything this year well nothing ..but today he will win vs fed and then what ..what a player


Humble Rafa Says:

My boy Roger Federer has had trouble returning serves for a while. To win against the Berdych and M. Ali, he needs to put the ball back in play. Enuf said.


van orten Says:

fed def. not in the match..he is still in his hotel room hahaha his look on his face is priceless


Humble Rafa Says:

The excuse table is open. Please bring them now. Roger is sure to lose, don’t worry.

1) I had to mediate a fight between the girls last night.
2) Fight with Mirka
3) Bored


van orten Says:

berdych hahhahhahah will be crushed by nole but will ask tonight for his towel minimum 232 times …sry guys but as mentioned before he is really annoying even watching him live this year in miami it was impossible to root for him


margot Says:

Quick, quick u guys go and look at no. 20 on Leaderboard b4 I come crashing down :)
Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


van orten Says:

@ben pronin

yeah exactly…typical berdych as usual


margot Says:

And it will be an ever so brief moment as Fed looks like losing :(


Tmak Says:

Is it possible that neither Nadal or Federer will face Nole at the US open? I hope Mardy is placed with Nole to play in the Final to at least get a great match. Mu goodness, are these guys trying to give Djokovic the best season ever and then hear that for the rest of their careers?


jane Says:

Way to go margot! I don’t think we’ve had anyone that high on the leaderboard for an event yet! Fab job picking!


mem Says:

van orten,

you say that nadal is one annoying player to watch, but you watch him anyway, what does that say about you? just curious!


jane Says:

No one has given Nole his stellar season: he is 16-1 versus top ten players. He has earned his kudos. :)


Ben Pronin Says:

This match is like the Federer-Nadal match this year. Federer is being completely outclassed for no reason other than his opponent playing way too good for him. Maybe he’ll come back but I don’t see it.


jamie Says:

I stick by my predictions:

Slam predictions:

Fed 16 (he’s done winning slams, book it)

Nadal 11

Djokovic 8


Humble Rafa Says:

Does anyone know if Jelena is here. Not the drama queen, but the first lady of the men’s tour.


van orten Says:

mem nadal is not that annoying ..of course i watch he is annoying but pretty damn successful..thats the difference to berdych


andrea Says:

jamie,

i agree that roger will always lead in slams. i feel one more before he wraps it up. but it will be one where it all works out for him…like getting the james blake’s of the world in the third and fourth rounds and not meeting a guy he can usually beat (like tsonga or berdych) who happens to be on fire that night.


Colin Says:

“Fab” ? That dates you, Jane!


Roger de Vries Says:

Geez, why did so many ppl leave after Fish’ match? Roger’s the most talented tennis player ever.


Humble Rafa Says:

Fed unravel time. 1..2..3..


Brando Says:

Congratulations to fish for the win! I hope he wins a master series at some stage in his career, if he doesn’t go on to win this one- best of luck! As for rafa, did not see the match but expected this result. Based on what mem says it seems
he has improved from the verdasco match which is good. He lost to baghdatis last year at this stage and then went on to win USO- so it’s not all doom and gloom for him! 9 days off and a 5 set grand slam tournament should see a change in his fortune hopefully, vamos!


Humble Rafa Says:

Roger,

In Amerika, people don’t care for tennis unless it is played by Americans. Sad..but true.

Look at Wimbledon. They haven’t had a winner in ages but the love for the game is still there. Not so in Amerika.


Ben Pronin Says:

Alright now I’d say this match is just like the one he played against Montanes last year in Estoril.

The reality? Federer’s just not what he used to be. Can’t wait for madmax to yell at Federer and Annacone.


Roger de Vries Says:

Ben, you’re so childish. lol


Dory Says:

This was the worst match I have seen Roger play this year. Just serving and hitting all over the place. Even as a diehard fan, I have accepted the end of Roger Federer now. I don’t think he should retire as he may get a chance some time in Slams and if he picks up form but Federer plays well very rarely these days. The glory days are behind us. Thankfully, there’s Djokovic at the top for me.


skeezerweezer Says:

Well, maybe Rafa can call up Fed now that they are out and party it up in wonderful Cincy. Not great performances by both of them. Is there some kind of mystery movement decease going around?

Kinda expected Rafa would have a tough go with Fish, cause Fish is actually playing well, but Berdy? C’mon Fed!


andrea Says:

good grief roger. what a wasted tie break. those last couple of points looked like a junior player, who doesn’t have the patience to play out the point. anyone want to put money on berdych not finishing the next match due to his shoulder? sigh.


skeezerweezer Says:

On another note, Nole was just planning to have dinner and call it a night if he wins his next match. But since Fedal lost, he is going Disco dancing and Karoake’ in


Roger de Vries Says:

Djoker is fun off court but on court lacking the surprising plays imo. He’s so steady like Lendl but unfortunately not that much more exciting to watch his tennis. I’ll miss Roger dearly when he quits. Tennis is heading towards power and fitness more and more, it can be exciting but when you see Fed overpowered on a regular basis, it’s much less exciting.


Brando Says:

CRAP! Federer’s just not the same anymore now. Him and nadal are in bad shape going to USO. Djokovic has got it so easy right now. Not only is he the best, but his main rivals from the past are either out of form or confidence! You know you got it made when the main hope now seems to be andy Murray!


skeezerweezer Says:

@Roger

Yes and its becoming more frequent ( overpowered )….member Tsonga?


Roger de Vries Says:

btw, I think the reason Fed played such sloppy points in the TB is because of his respect for the Berdych power. He was scared to work the point and be surprised by one of these rockets once more.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not childish.

This wasn’t the worst match Federer’s played. I think a lot of it is because of Berdych. He just came out on top and took away all timing and rhythm from Federer. The fact that he never dropped his level made it really difficult for Federer to get into the match. It is what it is, onto New York.


van orten Says:

berdych is the most annoying player on tour for a federer supporter because he only plays his best vs him…about fed…he played a bad match ok…but remember guys he won all of his us open titles without winning before in cincy…so it s ok losing..but the last 5 points from berdych in the breaker he mishit 3 easy forhands…

i cannot take this guy seriously i mean what will he say to his children or grandchildren::: my biggest success in my career??? mmmhhh winning 4 times vs federer ..come on ..tomorrow you will see him implode vs djoker as usual not that fed would have had a better chance..but at least he wins on a regular basis vs djoker berdych is verdasco kind of player god i m pissed ;-)


Brando Says:

@ skeezerweezer : LMAO, I actually think rafa and roger should hit the town and party! Both seem like they need to chill and relax as they seem quite tense and anxious on court recently.


margot Says:

Awful tie break from Roger. All he had to do was force an injured Berdych to play another set. What IS going on?
Lucky Nole.


Roger de Vries Says:

It actually gives a good signal for the near future, since more players will have this kind of power, and Roger will lose a step, he can’t beat them so easily anymore with his variety and start losing more and more against these type of players. Doom thinking? Or a fact?


Daniel Says:

S..t, My bracket is a mess now.

Damm, will we even had Federer and Nadal in a US Open semis?! Will they come back to life once they play a 5 set match?!

The good part is we should have a Djoko x Murray final.

I expect Djoko to increase his leval now that again, the pressure of not having to play neither Federer or Nadal is there. Fish is still dangerous, this courts are excelent for him.

Changing topic, I stand what I posted a few months back, just to instigate something: Had Nadal been good enough on super fast courts, which are favorable to Federer as Cincy, US Open, indoor WTF, tourneys Fed won more than 4 times, would the HxH be different?

I know, there is the mental aspect (block), but only because Fed was good enough to be playing in Nadal backyard all the time (14 times on clay), and eventually, when you lose far too many, it lingers. Not the case with Djoko, after being 16-7 against Nadal he is reverting that, but only bacause he has father time on his side. Fed was already 5 years older.

You have to answer this question and think about it: IF Nadal had meet Federer at leats 7-8 times from 2004 to 2011 in Cincy, US Open and WTF, would you really think the Head to Head will be what it is?! They only met 3 and Fed won all, so I would expect Nadal to win 1 in every 4, or less, he even lost last year WTF in London when he was in supreme form in his peak year.

This is just a testmony to Fed’s greatness, even today with Djokovic possed, his last 2 losses come to the same player: Federer.

I rest my case


van orten Says:

@ben pronin ..ok berdych played good ..but federers serving was really poor today and he mishit lots of easy forhands that had nothing to do with berdych ..but its ok he will be there at the us open …no doubt the semis are very likely in a best of 5 match..so no need to panic ..maybe his glory days are over but he is still number 3 in the world and i dont see anybody better or more consistent than him this year except for djoker and rafa ..thats a fact so people should go easy on such a great champion


Roger de Vries Says:

Yea Fed would have had a good chance beating Djoker, he’s in good shape although today Berdych got him out of shape. Luck is on Nole’s side, but he deserves it.


Brando Says:

@ margot: completely agree , lucky nole it is. What’s the best form of competion to have ? No competition. That’s what nole enjoying now. Best bet is your boy Murray. He did beat djokovic at cincy in 2008 final remember ? Hoping- not expecting- a repeat here this time!


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer’s serving is the only reason the second set wasn’t a blow out.


Roger de Vries Says:

Yea but Berdych served good too so that’s normal, they both needed the serve


jane Says:

Two of Fed’s USO’s came after wins at Cincy if I remember correctly van orten.

Fed could work on his return game, esp the second serve returns.

I know Berdych has done very little of note this year, but I caught Berdych versus Ivo in Canada (on t.v.) and I said then that Berd looked good. So maybe he is returning to some form. The sad thing is that he was/is injured. It is sad for him as he may not be able to capitalize on his better form, and it’s sad for Fed as he couldn’t capitalize on the injury in the tiebreak.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Before Fed first came on the scene, it was power tennis for the most part. Topspin and baseline except for the occasional Sampras or Rafter. Fed brought in variety. Slice, chip, serve and the liquid whip FH. Now, the slice short and deep that use to throw players in a tissy, doesn’t work as well. In fact they are takin that and throwing bombs back and taking control of most points by it. Fed thinks his floating slice BH return is a great return still, me assumes. But players have adapted. A lot of them handle it well now and return in good measure.


jamie Says:

Federer is done winning slams.


Kimmi Says:

I kind of saw this one coming. berdych shrives playing fed nowaday. and fed returns are getting worse and worse…

Time for djokovic to shine..again! or muzza ??

Congrats to fish..rafa didnt have it in cincy. hot sauce should have won it yesterday if he wasnt such a choker.


scoreboard66 Says:

Good grief Roger, this is unbelievable. Another loss and another fre ticked for Novak to get to the finals.

Both Berdych and Tsonga go all out, and use up their energy stores just to say they beat Fed, coz their wins over Fed appears to be more impressive than beating any other player. Then after they get the win, and have nothing left in the tank, Novak capitalizes on their tiredness, they lose, and Novak is in the finals.

Dunno, but I’m sick and tired of the monotony of one player winning all the time. I want some variety and unpredictability in the tournaments. For me, tennis is becoming too predictable and has gotten monotonous and borrrrriing.

@skeezerweezer, Fed’s slice BH is good for Cincy as it’s able to drop low, making for a difficult return by the opponent.

@HR, give rafa break, the guy is in pain, and has still tried to win. Hav you ever had a blistereed or burned finger? It’s an extremely painful condition. Tommy Haas had a blister on his hand a couple of years ago and couldn’t even hold thr racket. To me, Rafa is to be commended for trying instead of being berated.

@jane, what happenend to your stance on everyone is entitled to their opinions? No one said Novak is not deserving of his wins, but unless you have your head in the sand, it’s obvious to the tennis world, that both Fed and Rafa are not the players they were a year ago, and Murray is just lost somewhere in space. The whole combination makes it a lot easier for Novak to win, which is what the poster above was trying to relay, before you your defense.


alison hodge Says:

although nole has been playing fantastic this year,with roger on the wane,and the jury still out on rafa,murray yet to proove himself grand slam wise,del potro yet to make an impression after a long term injury,djokovic must be licking his lips with glee,after all he seems to be lacking any real competition,come the us open i hope they will all raise there levels significantly,otherwise it could be a washout,only time will tell.


scoreboard66 Says:

Now that both Rog and Rafa are out, I’d like to see Fish win an MS title, coz he’s been very consistent and has the desire to win. Let’s have a new winner other than a top 4, which will make tennis exciting and instill some belieif in the lower-ranked and older players. Cmon Fish.


Ike Says:

scoreboard66
Totally agree with you…rooting for Fish to win this title, and hopefully maybe USO!


grendel Says:

If Fish beats Murray and then beats Djokovic in final – is he then a contender for the US?

It’s all very well going on about Federer not having a good day or whatever, but what about commending Berdych? You could tell he fancied this one right from the start – he that intense look rather than his usual slightly puzzled one.

From the first time I saw him I thought Berdych had huge potential, but he only ever realised it in fits and starts. Today was one of his best performances. He was in commanding form and that is a glorious spectacle. Why so niggardly with the compliments? His game is a simple one, especially when compared with Federer’s or Murray’s. But beauty has many faces and raw power, unleashed again and again on both wings with perfect timing, is one of them.


Ike Says:

grendel
I read Mardy’s interview in this month’s Tennis magazine, he admits that in the past he had trouble concentrating for so long in the grandslams, he says it’s not the physical stamina, it’s the mental stamina, that’s the issue. He still hasn’t made it to the GS semi in his career. He has awful record in the finals. Hopefully this is his year. I am hoping somehow he will put together two great weeks and win this USO!


marrisv Says:

@grendel Agree. Berdych played really well and love his game. He has greatly improved his return of serve as well.


marrisv Says:

On another note Monfils with the first set against Novak. Commendable after receiving a pasting last week.


Ike Says:

grendel
Agree with you re. Berdych. His game is simple one. Good serve, can hit winners from both FH and BH side. Maybe, mentally he is not strong enough? Can’t play aggressive in tough points / moments? He played awesome today, hit a lot of clean winners. Yes, Fed hit lot of UEs, but let’s not take credit away from Tomas, he was brilliant today, hopefully he will do well in USO.


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic of old? His serve seems abysmal.


Dory Says:

No!!!! Careful Djoker. Monfils is dangerous. 1 set is all he gets, okay? Please.


Ike Says:

marrisv
yeah, it’s commendable and interesting that Monfils is playing so well today compared with a week ago. Shall I say, you never know which Monfils is going to show up on a given day? LOL


Ike Says:

Ben Pronin
seems Nole was bit passive in the first set, but I am sure he will manage a way to win this match. He has done it time and again this year.


Ike Says:

Dory
Relax!!! Nole will win this match. He had his chances of breaking Monfils serve in the first set, couldn’t take it. But I think he will manage these two sets.


Ike Says:

This stadium looks so wonderful, I regret not going to this event when I was in Ohio for 3 years :(
Hopefully, I will make it to all four/five North American Masters series host cities to see these matches.


dari Says:

T-Berd played great today, hit huge and didn’t make as many mistakes as is usually the price when you hit all out. roger made a lot of mistakes.
After all he did to hold that marathon game at 5-5, he gave away so much in the TB. Mighta gotten tomas in a third set since his shoulder was hurting.
THAT is what was disappointing for me.

Nadal- i heard there were gasps in the press room when he showed them his fingers. What the hell kind of plate was that, and what is the restaurant so I don’t go there?

Djokovic looks like he wants off court, much like yesterday.
If he goes out, I say “top 3- who needs em?”
Wish fish and Andy weren’t on the same side, they are who i would like to win this most of who is left.
Later, guys


Brando Says:

@Ben:

Glad you picked up on it ben! as i mentioned in my 10.02 post on this thread the djokovic serve is starting to look shaky again- not enough 1st serve are going in!

He should still win this but what i feel maybe djokovic’s biggest problem- and he reffered to this in one of his recent press conference- is MENTAL FATIGUE.

If you cast your mind back to 2008 when nadal won FO, queens, wimbledon, montreal, olympics, reached SF at cincy (losing to djokovic), then reached SF at the USO he lost to a 1st time grand slam SF in murray.

What rafa said after the match was that mental fatigue was greatly affecting him- even though his body was fine- so i think that’s what maybe novaks problem atm.


Ike Says:

dari
like your nickname for Tomas Berdych….T-Berd….kind of like ThunderBird :)
Agree, either Andy or Mardy win this title, hopefully Mardy :)


Ike Says:

Brando
So far Nole has played something like 55 matches this year. I think if he wins this title, USO, Paris, Shanghai, and London, he will have played about 79 matches this year, plus few Davis cup matches. Which is less than what Roger played and won in 2004-07. So, I think Nole should be able to handle it physically, and mentally.


grendel Says:

Brando – this idea of “MENTAL FATIGUE” seems to me just another way of saying that the longer this “run” (scare quotes because it’s an interrupted run – all the same, it feels like just one run, not two)continues, the more the pressure builds up. And the burden of expectation becomes steadily intolerable, one would have thought.

I’m not a Djokovic fan, so it’s kind of not my business, but I am curious to know what can be done about it. Rest can’t be the issue – he’s just had a long rest since Wimbledon. Should he deliberately tank? Easier said than done for a naturally competitive spirit.

But it is surely a genuine problem. It would be a disaster for Djokovic to win these masters titles and then to fail at the US Open for essentially non-tennis reasons. Maybe there is no fix. Maybe in the end it all comes down to: does the lad have the fortitude to battle through the sludge which mental fatigue induces?


Ike Says:

Btw, Roger was 92-5 in 2006


jane Says:

Good points / questions grendel.


Ike Says:

grendel
i played tennis last three days, 2 hours everyday, finally yesterday i thought i was fatigued, in the second set it was all mental, somehow i managed to win 6-3, but i was telling myself to be positive. Of course this is no comparison to the pros, but you get the point. I think if this is Nole’s career year, which seems like it is, I think he will be able to manage it. Fish or Murray could be dangerous for him in USO, if they are in the same draw. I think either of these three guys will win the USO.


Ike Says:

jane
how are you???


Ike Says:

jane
sorry for your Canucks loss in the Stanley finals, but i m happy my predictions came true. I love my bruins!
Hopefully you didn’t riot in the streets of Vancouver LOL


jane Says:

Lol, hi Ike. Just watched, sadly, from the t.v.


Eric Says:

This match is giving me a heart attack. Allez, Gael!


Ike Says:

Nole is back!


Ike Says:

just wondering if Gael has come to the net this many times ever in his career in any other match? he is (was) playing great.


Ike Says:

i know jane, it was sad, gave bad name to your city :(


Ben Pronin Says:

What is going on in this match??


Ike Says:

gael still fighting in this set, commendable.


Ike Says:

oh yes!!!


Eric Says:

Boo… Monfils “deserved” that set IMO. Still, glad for a third! :)


Ike Says:

i m loving this match! hopefully the final set will be high quality!


Ike Says:

sorry Eric, but i don’t think Monfils “deserved” to win second set, i think his energy level is dropping, i will be truly surprised if he wins this match. Btw, i do like gael.


Eric Says:

Of course his energy level is dropping, Ike, that’s the Monfils way. I say he “deserved” to win for gritting his teeth and hanging on even after falling down another break, and for staying focused long enough to win – finally! – that epic 14-minute Djokovic game (even if he should have had a good chance to win it a few min earlier when Nole fooled him too easily with that floating ace). Of course, Djokovic _actually_ won it, so, you know, hard to argue with that.


Eric Says:

Well… guess that was that; Nole already up a break and consolidated it. Monf out of energy, out of belief in victory. Game over. Maybe Tsonga should offer a seminar in not fading away?


scoreboard66 Says:

Ike, let’s hope Mardy has enough left in the tank to beat Murray. He must be very tired by now coz he’s been playing every week non-stop.

Whatever happens in this match, Monfils has shown the other players how to beat Novak. Lots of speed, which is what Rafa had, taking the ball early and not backing down in the rallies. Novak is just content to lay the ball in the court at times and wait for La Monf to make errors.I think LaMonf played a few games too passively, but he did play a good second set and should have won it. Today’s performance has restored my respect for Gael, who showed that he came to play today, not be a clown. C’mon Gael, win this.


scoreboard66 Says:

Oh well, I figured on this happening, but I didn’t want to jinx him. If history tells us anything, Monfils runs out of energy if he has to play three days in a row, or two very tough sets, then the third is there for the taking, uh uhm.


Ike Says:

seems like Monfils is coming to the net 50% of the times!


Ike Says:

scoreboard66
i think Mardy will have enough for tomorrow and USO.
Note: Mardy has won last three matches against Andy, including the one here last year. He will be dangerous.


Ike Says:

hopefully Gael shows some positive signs now.


Ike Says:

Eric
i hear Tsonga and Monfils are good friends. right?
Yeah, it’s amazing how much energy Tsonga shows (of course when he is physically fit, last week it was disaster against Nole). I think Monfils is bit like Marcelo Rios


Ike Says:

scoreboard66
Nole knows many ways to beat his opponents, hopefully he will win the USO. He is showman and def. would like to entertain the Flushing Meadows crowd.


Ike Says:

I LOVE this ESPN3 tennis crew!!! Cahill, Gilbert, and all! Awesome guys, excellent! Would be great if they somehow manage to get Robbie Ceonig, and Jason Godall involved.
Last year it wasn’t this great.


jane Says:

Yay Nole.


skeezerweezer Says:

jane,

“ditto” :)


Ben Pronin Says:

There’s always an excuse: Federer had weak competition, Nadal faced mono Federer, now Federer is old and Nadal is declining and blah blah blah.

What do you want these guys to do? Purposely break their own legs so that they look challenged?


Kimberly Says:

congrats to nole for winning even with a slow start.

Booo Fedal. Maybe USO?


grendel Says:

Watched the last set and a half – whereas I gather the first set and a half was the most fun. Typical. Peter Fleming said Djokovic had shoulder injury, which would account for lack of bombs would it not. Hopefully nothing which will impede him at the Open.
After first game in 3rd set, Monfils could barely stand. Walking through the points, puffing like a fat man on a bicycle – then couple of games later, compeletly re-energised. Strange business. Also, unusual to see Monfils berating himself, looking like he really wanted to get back in the match. What could cause such a change in attitude? Shame at last week’s performance, perhaps? A fully focused Monfils and one more and more prepared to come to the net – and it doesn’t happen all at once, after all – could start to make waves.


grendel Says:

“Booo Fedal. Maybe USO?”

Well, I’m sure all Nadal fans will hope so.Maybe two Federer fans.

What about the neutrals? People who don’t watch a lot of tennis, I mean – and that certainly consitutes a majority of the spectators at Wimbledon, is it the same at the US? Are they still enamoured of the Fedal concept? Or have they woken up to the realisation that Fedal is yesterday’s combo and lacks – what shall we say – bite.


Kimberly Says:

Didnt actually mean that, grendel although thats what it came out like. I was actually booing at their respective losses and wishing them both well at their respective USO campaigns. However, if it were to be a fedal final or even semi final I wouldn’t turn it down.


skeezerweezer Says:

re; Be @ 9:54.

We all better get used to it. And some welcome it. The prime Fedal days are over. As said earlier this year, there are changes in the winds of Tennis and Fed just turned 30 and Rafa is acting like he is 30. Meanwhile, Nole has had several years of practice at # 3 and there are more and more players playing more and more confident agains the Fedal. Either you embrace it, or be bitter about it I guess. Does this mean Fed never touches another Slam or Rafa doesn’t beatdown everyone again? NO! But…..Father time waits for no one. I for one am forever blessed in a time I saw 2 guys win 26 slams……awesome stuff.


Brando Says:

@ skeezerweezer : BIG RESPECT !!! Your post truly hit the nail on the head! If rafa plays fed in the final, semi, quarter or exhibition I couldn’t care any less I always love watching them play one another! Granted the surface, match up etc does for 1 over the other but ultimately the Rallies and play they used to generate at times- and hopefully will do so in the future- was just AMAZING to watch!!! I really hope they meet at the USO, I think most fans and commentators want that match! It’s the only arena where their magic has not been graced on yet!


Kimberly Says:

Nice post skeezer.

I still say booooooo to them both for losing today!


Dory Says:

Wow so happy Nole came through. Neither Berdych nor Fish/Murray will be easy.


Dory Says:

Btw just asking: anyone know Nadal’s win-loss match record in 2008 and 2010 years?


sar Says:

Ike, try to go to Cincy some day. It’s my favorite event although I have only been to AO, IW and Cincy. My next one will be Toronto, it’s driveable, then Miami.Can’t afford NY.


Michael Says:

Berdych gets mauled by Soderling at Bastad 6-0,6-1, but he wins against Federer. Similarly, Soderling has an awful record against Federer compared to Berdych. But he dismantles Berdych easily compared to Roger. That is Tennis. It is a game of match-ups essentially. Federer’s decline is quite obvious and I will be extremely surprised if he goes on to win another major. He is now getting beaten black and blue by players not named Nadal, Murray and Djokovic and that is a real danger sign.


Michael Says:

If I have to pick up the winner at Cincinnati, I would put Fish above others even Djokovic considering the form he is in at the moment. But you can never discount Djokovic considering the incredible run he has achieved so far this year. However, he seems somewhat tired after winning Montreal and winning both Cincinnati and Montreal is a tall order. I do not know whether anybody has done that before. Might be Federer. Murray also looks in order but he has a very bad record against Fish and considering that I feel Fish will go to the finals and may be win the trophy. Considering that Fish has failed so far winning this trophy even after coming twice to finals, may be this is his time and he must grab it. That would give him a headstart at the US Open where he might be the dark horse.


margot Says:

Brando @5.22: I’ll be very surprised if Andy beats Mardy. Mardy is playing at the top of his form eg. winning baseline rallies against Rafa, what IS going on? Andy Andy isn’t, ‘nough said.
Skeeze @6.06 Noticed Big Bird was targeting Fed’s backhand, must’ve been taking lessons from Rafa ;)
Michael @12.0: These bad match ups are what makes tennis so darned fascinating, aren’t they? Look at Simon, apparently a difficult match up for Fed, but Andy regularly spanks him.
Fish for USOpen? Hmm. Grand Slams are quite different beasties, methinks….


tennisfansince76 Says:

@skeeze you are righ on about fed’s slice. players have adapted. it is much less effective overall now than it was in the Fed heyday. players have probably game planned and practiced for it for years. alot of the players when Fed broke in were psychologically attached to the baseline. it made them uncomfortable to be pulled forward.now not so much. alot of the players now run around it and hit a big FH to punish the fed BH. Delpo absolutely murdered it in the 2009 USO final


tennisfansince76 Says:

frankly i did not see Berdych doing anything better or different than i have seen him doing before. i thought Fed’s timing was terrible all match. he missed alot of easy shots.


Michael Says:

Margot, Yes I agree with you. But they are also beyond our comprehension. Compare this, Federer has a 14-2 H2H against Davydenko while Nadal H2H stands at 4-6 in the former’s favour. In the Hard courts, Davydenko has a commanding 5-1 lead against Nadal. Similarly Roddick has a 3-6 H2H against Nadal whereas he is 2-20 against Federer. Federer on the other hand has an embarrassing 8-17 H2H against Nadal while having a 14-9 H2H against Djokovic. Like this, we can go on and on. It is rather intriguing and ofcourse makes the game more interesting as you rightly said.


Michael Says:

Berdych it seems is finding it very easy playing against Federer. It appears that the lethal pace of Federer helps his shots to get more sting out of the courts. Even the last time Federer was lucky to get the win in Miami in a third set tie breaker and Berdych is surely turning out to be a thorn in Federer’s flesh. What I am wondering is that when Federer is easily able to tame a player a like Soderling why is he finding it so hard to combat Berdych who has more or less a similar game ? Tennis is puzzling to say the least.


Brando Says:

@margot: just had a quick look at the head 2 head for Murray fish and see that it’s 4-3 in fish’s favour. Did not know that. The last match was here at cincy a year ago which fish won- it was 3 sets with 2 tie breakers. I feel the match is on murray’s racquet- if he could get 60% 1st serve in and win say 50% of his 2nd serve points then I think theatch is his. His returns have been pretty good as normal in this tourny, it’s just his serve is the concern-as ever:-(


Brando Says:

Theatch> the match


madmax Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
Alright now I’d say this match is just like the one he played against Montanes last year in Estoril.

The reality? Federer’s just not what he used to be. Can’t wait for madmax to yell at Federer and Annacone.

August 19th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Ben,

You are so ansty right now!

Of course I am going to say that what exactly is Annacone doing? Hard courts are supposed to be Fed’s best surface and Cinny is supposed to be faster than Montreal, but I don’t think going through one more round is anything to celebrate.

Fed loses a whole lotta points now which gives Murray a chance to capitalise on his poor form at Montreal.

I am a little non-plussed to put it lightly at exactly what it is with Federer. Great match against Juan Martin, solid match against Blake, and Berdych? Had a poor season after he beat Fed at Wimby…Fed got his act together and won 5 tournaments and really went for it!

Fed is either bored or mentally tired. I don’t get this state of affairs which he seem to have enveloped his game right now.

May be it is too many matches played in those gorgeous legs?

Anything to say Ben?

And yes. I do believe that Annacone needs to work a bit of magic here, because it’s not happening for me – this ‘brilliant partnership’. What has he done so far that is going to extend Federer’s career?

Are we all just waiting with bated breath at ANNACONE’S INFLUENCE.

I am patient.


madmax Says:

Also Fed beat Berdych last year, which gave him confidence to go on and win more throughout the end of last season.

I don’t know what to say. I suppose, move on to USO and hope against hope that Fed stands a chance in reaching the finals there, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

If he doesn’t have the passion to work for it as much as he used to, then all the wishes of all the fans around the world are not going to help him.

Berdych seems to thrive on beating federer more than any other player. It’s as if he has won the tournament!

He usually crashes and dives the next round by playing some mediocre tennis.

Boring.

Another tournament gone. Another week to wait.

Ben, I believe in miracles.


margot Says:

Brando, cheers for that, didn’t realise that it was so close thought much more in Fish’s favour. Though the last two have gone to Fish, since he shed all that blubber in fact..;)
As usual depends which Andy turns up, oh and that darn serve, of course…:( Though when Fish gave Rafa a look at a second serve, Rafa usually won the point…..oh well, who knows :)


Ben Pronin Says:

“Fed is either bored or mentally tired. I don’t get this state of affairs which he seem to have enveloped his game right now”

Why are these the only options? Fact is he came up against a guy playing on top of his game.

I don’t like the comparison between Soderling and Berdych. To me, Berdych is the most capable big player. I don’t know how to explain it but his game has more potential than Soderling’s or even Del Potro’s. Berdych was supposed to be the next Safin but failed miserably. I used to love the guy based on how great his game COULD be but I’ve given up on him. His fantastic display yesterday means nothing. I bet Federer breaks his title drought before Berdych.


Daniel Says:

Guys, when US Open come around, Fed and Nadal will transform, mark my words. The one succeptible for an early upset will be our fellow Andy Murray, as previous years.

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