Nadal, Murray Friday Favorites at US Open; Federer Gets Revenge
Roger Federer even beat the rain. With mist and light drizzle all around the US Open grounds last night, Federer got revenge on JW Tsonga blasting the Frenchman 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
The match, which was heldover from Wednesday night, was delayed another 90 minutes or so early in the first set, but Federer was hardly troubled by Tsonga who wasn’t on his game. It was the Swiss’s best performance of the summer giving him a win he had to have.
“I played great,” said Federer who had lost to Tsonga twice this summer. “I’m very happy with the way I’m playing and the way I’m moving. I’m enjoying myself out on the court. Being here in New York and having the support of the crowd is an amazing feeling. I’ve been here for many years and all of the hard work seems to be paying off.”
Federer’s hard work is no where near done. Next he’ll face the Serbian juggernaut Novak Djokovic who advanced when countryman Janko Tipsarevic retired with a leg injury.
After the two grueling tiebreak sets, Tisparevic got his leg taped and that seemed to do it as Djokovic went through 7-6(2), 6-7(3), 6-0, 3-0 ret.
“Physically, unfortunately, he couldn’t hold on,” Djokovic said. “You could see that he could not move as well as he did in two and a half hours. I support anything he does because he’s my friend and I know him well, and I know he’s somebody who doesn’t like to retire.”
He may have lost a set but Djokovic is still the guy to beat right now. And I think the extra day between the semifinals and finals helps him more than it does Federer. Of course the two now get a bonus day of rest before their big showdown tomorrow.
As for today’s revised men’s quarterfinal schedule, it’s a good one. Andy Murray and John Isner start up on Ashe at noon followed by Rafael Nadal against Andy Roddick.
First, after spending over three-and-a-half hours yesterday beating Gilles Simon in four sets, Isner now has to comeback at noon and play Murray, who, at his core, is just a better version of Simon. That’s not a good situation at all for Isner who would have had trouble with the Scot even with fresh legs. So I think Murray’s variety and return game should overcome a fatigued Big John relatively comfortably today.
The two played only once before at the Australian Open and Murray won that in straight sets. I expect similar this afternoon. Murray in three.
In the marquee match, Nadal finally looked a little like the old Nadal yesterday thumping Gilles Muller 7-6(1), 6-1, 6-2. The match began Wednesday with an irritable Nadal going down 3-0 early. But upon resumption yesterday Nadal dominated losing just six more games to his fellow lefty.
Meanwhile, Roddick was taking it to David Ferrer out on court 13. Roddick and Ferrer’s Davis Cup rematch was scheduled for Armstrong, but a freak water bubble on the surface forced closure of the court. As he often does, Roddick erupted and bullied Ferrer into playing on a little-used outer court, court 13 where Andy’s power reign continued. Ferrer made some noise late but in the end Roddick was too strong compiling his best win in a year 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Unfortunately for Roddick, I don’t think he can bully Ferrer’s countryman Nadal today, on the court or off it. That’s not going to happen. But what Roddick can do is serve through Nadal. Though I don’t think that’s going to happen either.
That said, for the 29-year-old Andy this could be he last salvo. The expectations are low so why not go for broke, hit out on the serve and forehand? I think, I hope, he will. And it sounds like that could be the gameplan.
“Well, it’s tough,” Roddick said. “I’m gonna have to play pretty aggressively now, similar to what I did today. He’s one of the greatest ever, so I’m gonna have to, you know, have a repeat at least.”
Nadal has won six of nine and four of his last five against Roddick, and unless he’s misfiring, Rafa’s forehand to Roddick’s backhand should pay dividends all day long. Rafa in four.
Looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, in the face of a player uprising it was a noble concession by the tournament to push the men’s final to Monday. Having to play four straight days of best-of-five would have been a serious disadvantage for someone like Nadal. Still, the schedule is uphill. Nadal will have to win four 5-set matches in five days, with a break Sunday before the Monday final.
For someone like Roddick it’s even tougher. He might have to beat Ferrer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic if he wants to win another US Open! And similar for Isner.
Fittingly, we are in for a crazy climax to a crazy US Open.
Weather and courts permitting, CBS will have live TV coverage of both men’s quarterfinals live at noon.
Arthur Ashe Stadium 12:00 PM Start Time
John Isner (USA) v. Andy Murray (GBR)
Andy Roddick (USA) v. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Mixed Doubles – Finals
Melanie Oudin (USA) v. Gisela Dulko (ARG)
Jack Sock (USA) Eduardo Schwank (ARG)
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