Will It Be Nadal v Djokovic In The US Open Final? Men’s SF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | September 6th, 2013, 12:57 pm
  • 217 Comments

It really looks like we are headed to another Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic Monday in the US Open final. Doesn’t it? That is if one-handed wizards Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet don’t get in the way.

Yesterday, my pre-tournament pick Andy Murray flamed out tepidly to a red-hot Wawrinka who all but destroyed the Scot 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. The 15-minute or so 10th game of the first set which Murray lost giving the set to the Swiss spelled doom for Murray who played so well in the major tournaments the last 14 months.

With a set lead, Wawrinka unloaded from all departments – serve, forehand, net and of course that vicious, versatile backhand of his.

Murray hadn’t looked up to par since his Wimbledon win, but I thought Ivan Lendl and his team would get him right in this his first Grand Slam title defense. That just didn’t happen.

Murray slogged through the early rounds and on Thursday simply met the better player. And when Wawrinka redlines, he’s that tough to beat.

In the late match, things went as forecasted. Mikhail Youzhny plays Djokovic tough and he did get a set last night in a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 win for the No. 1.

Youzhny, like Djokovic’s two prior foes, had just won a tough 5-set marathon over Lleyton Hewitt on Tuesday and maybe he ran out of gas late in the match.

Cush draw or not, Djokovic has to be feeling a lot of confidence right now. But will it be enough? Is he lacking a real test?

On to my semifinal picks.

Rafael Nadal v Richard Gasquet
I still cannot believe I picked Richard Gasquet to make the semifinals. And I really cannot he actually did it! But what a performance by the Frenchman who managed to show some heart, some guts in winning back-to-back 5-setters over Milos Raonic and David Ferrer.

With two full days off I think Gasquet should be in tip-top shape for his next test, and he’ll need to be because on deck is Nadal. Rafa, as we know, has been his ruthless, dominant self this week. He blew out Federer-beater Tommy Robredo Wednesday night in a total mismatch, and he also scored a good win over Phil Kohlschreiber on Monday. And what of Rafa’s weak serve? Well it hasn’t been broken since the Cincinnati semifinals!

Wow!

In this series it’s been all Nadal winning 10-0. And it’s understandable. Rafa is physically and mentally far superior to Gasquet and Rafa’s high, heavy topspin forehand to Gasquet backhand will be the difference. Gasquet has one of the great backhands in the game, but that stroke of his just doesn’t hold up well against Rafa’s weight of forehand. And Nadal will break it down.

Just six sets from the finish, Rafa’s not going to let Richard stand in his way.
The pick: Nadal in three

Novak Djokovic v Stanislas Wawrinka
A peak at their head-to-head tells me that it’s 12-2 in favor of Novak with the Serb winning 11 straight including that 5-set epic in Australia earlier this year. So everything points Novak’s way here. Well, almost everything.

Stan’s playing some of the best tennis of his career. The stocky Swiss quietly beat Tomas Berdych then buzz-sawed Andy Murray. And really he’s been in form for most the year.

“In the past we all knew that he has the quality to play that well, but not in a consistent basis,” Djokovic said of Stan. “And now he worked on his I think movement a lot, and, you know, some variety of his shots in the game. He’s a very complete player. He can play equally well on any surface. He had one of the best seasons I think in his life. Today he won straight sets against defending champion on Arthur Ashe. That was quite impressive. I’m sure he’s very confident and he has nothing to lose now. He’s going to go for the win.”

The question mark for Stan is, will the moment, the setting of playing a first Grand Slam semifinal against the World No. 1 be too big? I think in the end it might be.

As I’ve been saying all summer, Djokovic isn’t quite the player he once was. He’s had the fortune of an absolute dream draw which continues Saturday against Stan who replaces Murray in that spot. But as we saw last night with Youzhny somehow stealing a set, Novak’s still vulnerable and if Stan, who’ll be fresh for this one, gets those powerful groundies going, which I think he will for a bit, things could get tricky.

That said, I think Stan will get a set. Maybe two. I just don’t believe he’ll have enough between the ears to close the deal should that opportunity present itself. Stan might be the better tennis play than Roger Federer right now, but mentally he still has a very long way to go. And this is largely uncharted territory.

So I’ll lean to Djokovic to rely on his experience and guile to get through this. In an almost replay of Australia, it’s likely going to be long, going to be physical but once again Novak pulls through.
The Pick: Djokovic in five

CBS will have live coverage of the men’s semifinals starting at noon.


Also Check Out:
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217 Comments for Will It Be Nadal v Djokovic In The US Open Final? Men’s SF Picks And Pans

Steve 27 Says:

Rafa in 3 and Stan in 5. Vamos!


the biggest fan Says:

vamos rafa you can doit good luck


Sirius Says:

“Stan in 5″

and fed fans are called delusional. Heh!


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa!


Nativenewyorker Says:

I really like Sean’s analysis of the semifinals. The espn commenators said that Gasquet has been working very hard on his fitness and it paid off for him in those tough five set matches against Raonic and Ferrer. He seems to be playing some of his best tennis with the fitness and mental belief added in for good measure.

However, I just don’t see Gasquet being able to hang with Rafa the way he is playing. Rafa has too many weapons and his forehand will destroy Gasquet’s strong backhand. I have seen Rafa look like this before. He’s a man on a mission. I see Rafa winning in straight sets, although I do not think it will be a blowout like the quarterfinal match with Robredo.

I also have to agree with Sean’s take on Djoko/Stan. I think Stan is in his best form right now. I sensed it when I saw how he beat Berdy. Then to take out Murray with some stellar play in straight sets, must give him real confidence going into this semifinal. He’s going to need it. I wonder if that tough loss at this year’s AO will be in the back of his mind. Can he avenge it? I don’t think so. Djoko got a bit of a wakeup call after going walkabout in the third set of his match with Youzhny. I think he knows what to expect and will be ready. But I do not think it’s going to be easy. Stan has nothing to lose and should come out going for his shots. Maybe the occasion of his first semifinal in a slam could cause a bit of nerves, but I just see Stan going for it.

In the end I do believe that Djoko will win this in four or five sets.


Tennis Fan Says:

The Djoks nthinks hes better than he really is. … Stan in 3 or 4 ! Shud have had him in Australia but let his foot off the gas … wont happen this time.


Polo Says:

By the way, Bernard Tomic’s dad was handed a guilty verdict by the Spanish court a few hours ago.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/court-rules-tomics-father-guilty-132356634–ten.html


James Says:

Great write up, Sean!

Agree with Sean, Rafa to win in 3. Gasquet has the best single BH imo but I don’t see him giving Rafa much trouble. Nadal will come to play his best tennis.

Djokovic vs Wawrinka is a bit more tricky to predict. Novak should win in 4 or 5 sets. Stan will need to serve very well to have a chance to reach his first Slam final.

Novak has been very dominant so far in the tournament but hasn’t been tested much either. His service game is still not that solid which is why I thought Youzhny would take a set which he did. And despite his amazing ROS Novak can also be vulnerable against big/good servers, eg Isner in Cincy, Murray at Wimbledon served really well in final. Mikhail doesn’t serve in the 130s mph which is why I didn’t think he was gonna trouble Novak that much. But Stan has been serving in the 130s the whole tournament with his fastest being 139 mph.

Novak is the favorite and better player and should win the match, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Stan pushes him to 5 sets. An upset can also happen.


M Says:

I think Novak has been playing possum — some of his fans have even been talking about his play being tepid, but I think he’s been playing just well enough to win each match, and conserving his energy — and I think he’s going to unload on Stan. I don’t think he’s forgotten that semi of theirs at the AO this year.

Sean, don’t you jinx Rafa now.

#VAMOS

P.S. Is nobody else upset about the Williams sisters’ scheduling except me?? They’re a set down right now in the doubles, and Serena had to play Li Na today, and hers was the *second* semi. And they started the doubles at 7:15. I don’t think it was fair of the organizers to schedule it like that, and I think it’s jeopardized Vee and Serena’s chances at the trophy.

#unfair
#protest


SG1 Says:

When you bury someone 6-3, 6-0, 6-0, you can’t claim his play is tepid or that he’s playing possum. Novak is playing well. He hasn’t come up with the goods in the big matches over the past 5 or 6 months. He just hasn’t lived up to the standards of the previous couple of years. He has a chance to change the momentum at the USO. A win over an in-form Rafa could swing his confidence in a big way. I just don’t see how Stan gets through Novak right now. Does he give him a tough match? Sure he does. Stan is an outstanding player with a huge game. There’s just too much at stake for Novak to lose this one.

As for Nadal, I agree with Sean. He beats Gasquet in 3 close sets.

If Stan makes a great match of it with Novak, I’d immediately consider him for an AO break through. I think the AO surface suits him better than the skiddy USO DCII.


Okiegal Says:

Please …..please don’t make predictions, I hate it when tennis fans are picking winners before the fact!! One word comes to mind…….JINXED!! Lol I don’t want anything to come between Rafa winning the US Open…..Richard, Stan, Novak or Jinxy!! Lol VAMOS RAFA!!!!! Take a bite out of crime……cause it will be a crime if anybody other than you wins…plus that trophy will taste mighty good!!


Michael Says:

I will go with Sean picks except that I expect Novak to get through in four sets against Wawrinka with two tight sets in the offing. It should be a Novak Vs Rafa final to be competitive. On the other hand, if accidentaly Wawarinka gets through, then it would be a disastrous final where I expect Rafa to beat him in straight sets. So, for a fitting finale, it should be Rafa Vs Novak. Regarding Gasquet Vs Rafa, well there should be no major surprises here and may be can Gasquet can break Rafa’s serve at last ?


metan Says:

Sean,
Wow, this is great wrote up.. if wawa wins, it should be great for him. A big present for himself since he become a new dad , all his sacrifices will be paid for. But I prefer nole for final…Rafa is in the good form, and I wanted so badly, he could show the world once again that he could do it..

Vamos Rafa!!!!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

It’s a pity that Novak does not get the kind of respect he deserves. The guy has been playing decent tennis and beat the guys comfortably. I’m sure Stan would play well, but I doubt he would be able to take 2 sets off Novak.


Michael Says:

Metan,

I think even Rafa would prefer to win over Novak than Wawrinka which might undermine his win in a way, not taking anything away from him. The same applies to Novak too. I hope for a Rafa Vs Novak final and may the best man win.


M Says:

@SG1 & Nirmal –

Sometimes I really wonder whether people read thoroughly, before they rush to give their opinion in rebuttal.

I said some of Novaks’ own fans were criticizing how he was playing. I also would say to SG1 that he may well have double-bageled his opponent in the match you reference, but that same opponent had just been through a five-setter in his previous match, and might have been able to offer a different level of play had that not been the case.

In addition, if Novak plays at a certain level to beat an opponent playing like that, he still has room to raise his level in order to challenge and perhaps beat higher-ranked opponents who are also playing well. This isn’t a binary analysis – playing well v. not playing well. It’s a multilevel analysis, as to whether he’s playing sufficiently well to challenge a given opponent at a given freshness and skill level. It has little to do with respect.

*sigh*


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

I think Novak’s excellence is shadowed by the obsession and adulation of immortals in today’s Tennis World namely Roger and Rafa. Sure, he is not getting the respect and attention he truly deserves. Infact it was he who took the initiative of dislodging the hegemony of Roger and Rafa who were proving difficult to topple. He is endearing himself to the crowd in every possible way by his entertaining antics. Despite all these, relatively he still lacks the crowd support which makes me amused in a sense.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

M – I don’t think you said anything wrong about Novak and neither i had rebutted your point.

But in general, Novak has not been getting the kind of attention and respect a World No1 should be getting. That was my point.


Jaq Shivam Says:

I have Seen in this US Open 2013 (Novak & Nadal) play great tennis. In this Tournament Start we say that Nadal face IInd Round V.Pospils but he lose, after That N.Devyodenko than he falls, after that J.Isner he also falls, than R.Federer he also falls, & last we aspect that D.Ferrer will meet into s.final but he also Falls, at here all Player were big challenge for R.Nadal & they are Lose without face to Nadal than why we can’t Guess that In the final Novak Dokovic may be but sure S.Wawrinka happen into final.

wait
wait
wait may be it’s 55% chance that Wawrinka wait into final because his match first than R.Nadal


metan Says:

Michael, Yes, let’s see what will happen on semi final…
Remember 2009 , Delpo beat Rafa in semi and Roger in final. Was it fluke??? I thought no, it was Delpo best ever moment so far .


Tennis for Life Says:

That is because novak is not so great. Being the world no.1 and playing on his favorite surface he should have been THE strong favorite to lift the USO. But he is not the favorite according tp many experts and himself.


Tennis for Life Says:

This is my reply to NK


Michael Says:

Metan,

Sure. Anything can happen. It is the suspense element which makes sport engrossing. Although I am a little bit sceptical about the outcome of the first match, I am pretty certain about the outcome of the second match. I do not think Gasquet has the goods to test Rafa. Unless Rafa’s level of play falls appreciably which is a rarity or he suffers from physical discomfort, I am not able to convince myself that Gasquet can overcome him in a five setter ? It is pretty much given in my opinion. Rafa is in the finals. The only uncertainity is with regard to Novak. The overwhelming sense is that he should get through if everything goes well. But Wawrinka is dangerous and is capable of causing an upset. As regards that Del Potro win in 2009, true he beat both Rafa and Roger back to back to clinch the slam which is creditable. However, I wish to add a caveat not to undermine his win in any manner. Del Potro was lucky in a sense that Rafa came after a long lay off and was not playing his best. Moreover in the finals, Roger was indeed cruising through having won the first set and leading by a break in the second set as well. A bad line call where Roger was at the receiving end changed the contour of the whole match. Not to take anything away from Del Potro who played splendidly and deserved to win. But facts are facts and cannot be wished away. Del Potro was a bit lucky. But you need luck and lots of that to win slams.


Eric Says:

I think Stan will win in four or five sets. The way he dismantled Andy? Well, Novak won’t implode after losing a set, but still. Djokovic hasn’t been tested at all yet, and tomorrow’s the day. It will certainly be a close match – don’t look for a whole lot of bagels or holds at love from either guy.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

But he is not the favorite according tp many experts and himself.

I understand with the success of Rafa, but I believe he is one of the favorites along with Nadal. That’s not a bad deal.


Michael Says:

The critics are vertically divided on the outcome of Novak Vs Wawarinka match. Although my sense is that Novak should cruise through barring some hiccups. Wawarinka was greatly helped by an error prone Andy in their earlier match, while he may not enjoy that liberty with Novak who would prove to be a tough customer. Their H2H is a lopsided 12-2 which means Novak has dominated him throughout their face-offs. But, still nothing can be taken for granted.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael,

It’s understandable that Novak is not enjoying the fandom like Roger or Rafa. Infact it took many years for fans to warm up to Roger. I remember people started to support him vocally post 2008, when he lost his No 1. Even in his hometown he did not enjoy much fandom during his peak time. I remember reading his many interviews before, how people have not warmed up to him in his country.

But knowledgeable fans seems to have completely forgotten his success for past 3-4 years.


Milan Says:

Nirmal Kumar, look at the latest bookmaker’s odds and you will see that Djokovic is HUGE favorite against Wawarinka
http://www.oddschecker.com/tennis/us-open/mens/novak-djokovic-v-stanislas-wawrinka/winner


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/jyph4
Rafa fans.
Vamos Rafa!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Milan,

Yes, it makes sense.


Daniel Says:

Nirmal,

I think you are mistaken regarding Fed fanhood. By 2006 he was already worshipped by many. Critics and fans. Already had some huge endorssments deals etc…

At least my impression. Maybe younare right re his home country.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

Do you mean to say that only post 2008, Roger became popular ? I politely disagree. I tend to agree with Daniel when he says that he was already an icon right from 2006 and even much earlier. He hogged the Tennis World attention when he upset Sampras at Wimbledon. I had the opportunity to watch that match and was convinced that a new Star was on the horizon.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Daniel, I agree people were in a awe with Roger, but people thought he is someone unreachable. He was considered more like an artist than a tennis player. It was only when he started losing people really warmed up to him and understood that he is not a machine. If you compare the support he got in USO 2008 and USO 2007 you will come to know. Same with FO 2009, poeple sort of willed him to success post 2008.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael,

Maybe I should word it differently. Roger was a champion always. But I personally thought people warmed up to him more from the time he started losing in 2008. Till then he was an unbeatable machine.


the DA Says:

@ Margot- Yes, I read that. Good perspective and I totally agree with McEnroe & Cahill. Not sure about the month off but maybe cancel Bangkok/Tokyo and focus on ending strong at WTF.


James Says:

So in less than 2 hrs, Novak takes on Stan for a place in the final. You better play really well, Novak. We want another Nadal-Djokovic US Open final.


Legend Says:

Nole is not a great layer under the mid day hot sun.
When was his last great win under the hot sun ?
Anyone, please help me.


Gordo Says:

M wrote earlier in this thread, “Is nobody else upset about the Williams sisters’ scheduling except me?? They’re a set down right now in the doubles, and Serena had to play Li Na today, and hers was the *second* semi. And they started the doubles at 7:15. I don’t think it was fair of the organizers to schedule it like that, and I think it’s jeopardized Vee and Serena’s chances at the trophy.”

You are joking, right? Venus had not played all day and Serena had a walk in the park in her singles match, losing only 2 games. They get equal pay, the women. They also play by the same rules which dictate ‘after suitable rest’, which is easily what Serena got. They didn’t lose because Serena was tired (which she wasn’t); they lost because Venus is a shadow of her former self. Plain and simple.


van orten Says:

nole is still very very good..always in tge semis of a major..


the DA Says:

Tentative start by Nole and Wawa gets the break. His BDTL has misfired a couple of times already – always an indicator of how he’s playing. Hopefully he’ll settle in soon.


Daniel Says:

Layely seems Djoko is pulling the trigger too soon. He is making some mistakes trying to be agressive too soon. He is having more errors but also hen he wins the score is loopsided. But this last Wawa game he was 0-30 and make 3 easy errors.


Daniel Says:

And he definitely doesn’t like the sun;-)


the DA Says:

And then a DF to set up a BP, which Stan converts. I think the AO match is in the back of his mind. Early days.


Daniel Says:

Djoko can’t serve under the sun anymore?! WTF


James Says:

@Ben Pronin, remember what I said about Novak’s service game not looking solid enough? Stan is eating Novak’s 2nd serve right now.


squirrel Says:

what’s up with Djoko??this Djoko can’t and won’t beat Nadal…


Daniel Says:

Lost serve 2 out of 3 with DF. 36% of first serves in and week


Tennis Fan Says:

Like I predicted yesterday Wawrinka in 3 or 4. This match was lost by Djok before he got on the court. he knows Wawrinka is the better player right now. I think Wawrinka will be 1 or 2 by next year same time. Last starter but one of the best in the world.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t know what’s wrong with Novak’s second serve. I also don’t know what’s wrong with Novak’s backhand.

Overall, horrible performance.


James Says:

Wawrinka 32% first serve in play yet winning the set. Interesting.
Stan takes the first set 6-2.


Tennisfan Says:

Tennis fan….lolz


C!P! Says:

Djoko looks like a man that just woke up!


C!P! Says:

one of the worst sets of tennis i’ve ever seen!


the DA Says:

To win with only 32% 1st serves against Nole tells you something about that first set. Nole seems so rattled and tentative.


Daniel Says:

Second serve return in the net when going for break, c’mon djoko


Daniel Says:

2 games already that Djoko had chances. This is becoming a mentally wearing match for Djoko and he has to hold his games and wait for a Wawa drop becuase Wawa is going for all e shots and it’s paying off


Daniel Says:

A thing of beauty this DTL BH


the DA Says:

As Mat4 pointed out the other day Wawa is playing magnificently. Up a break in the 2nd.


C!P! Says:

maybe Djoko should open that gluten bottle ,looks like he needs some , he looks soo spent at the moment


Eric Says:

Looks like I might have been wrong, maybe it’ll just be in straights.


Eric Says:

(Probably not. This is Djokovic, after all.)


Slice Tennis Says:

It look likes the king of hardcourts Rafael Nadal is just 2 days away from becoming the world number one again.


James Says:

Stan is playing the big points so much better.


Daniel Says:

If Djoko survives this it will be an excelent prep for Nadal because I’ve never seen Wawa defnd o well. He is making Djoko hit one more shot all the time.
The levl of the second set is very high and the match got some fire


the DA Says:

Nole got a code violation for coaching? Who was coaching, Marian or Fibak? At least he’s broken back.


queen Says:

Rafa has the title in the bag!


Eric Says:

Didn’t see the first set, but this is pretty good. Djokovic’s shots seem a bit weak overall (until that hold for 5-4, anyhow), and Stan’s strategy is not exactly…well… multifaceted? But still, some good points for sure.


queen Says:

la Bufon needs coaching that’s how great he is playing…


Daniel Says:

Djoko and his magic returns at US Open;-)
Similar to AO. Let’s see if Wawa can keep the level but his UR increased a lot in set 2.


James Says:

Novak takes the 2nd set. Stan won the first set with just 36% first serve in play. He needs over 60% to win the 3rd. Novak’s back in the match.


the DA Says:

Nole back on track. Strangely Wawa was winning a higher % of 2nd serve points compared to Novak. Shows how tight that 2nd set was.


the DA Says:

There’s a Serb tweeting translations of what Nole is saying to Vajda:
“what the hell am I doing out here”? and “”shut up, don’t say anything to me”. hehe


Slice Tennis Says:

I wouldn’t say Nole is back. Stan let him back in the second set by playing poorly.

Sun is still bothering Nole. If Stan gets his first serve right it will be very tough for Nole to continue his upper hand in this match.


Daniel Says:

WTF. After a 15-30 game on Wawa serve and now Djoko broken for love. Wawa serving for third set


Polo Says:

Come on Wawrinka! Hold and take the third set and the whole match!


queen Says:

Don’t blow it Stan!!!!!


squirrel Says:

noooooooo..wtf??what happen to my Nole??


Polo Says:

WooHoo!!! Keep it going Stan!


Eric Says:

shakalaka


Slice Tennis Says:

I expected this. NOLE becomes nole under the hot sun. Nothing new.


Tennis Fan Says:

Wawrinka winning over 2/3 of any court rally points. His serving and volleys have been atrocious … but he is so much better in basic play that he is winning fairly convincingly. One set left to go.


James Says:

Wawrinka takes the 3rd set to lead 2-1. Expect Stan to be more aggressive in 4th set. Novak really in trouble here. Needs to raise his game quickly or it’s over for him.


the DA Says:

Well well. Stan is definitely playing the big points better than he ever used to. Magnus Norman take a bow. It’s far from over but Nole looks the more vulnerable. At least he’s hitting with more purpose now.


Pitchaboy Says:

Planets aligning for Rafa.


James Says:

If Stan gets more than 60% first serve in play, it’s hard to see Nole coming back. This match looks like is more on Wawrinka’s racquet.


ja Says:

i’ve never seen nole play this bad. FH is so weak, he is scared to hit the ball close to the line and to hit it hard. serve is at 2010 level. even thou i’m a serb and a nole fan, i hope wawa destroys him in the 4th set. these days nole is more model than a tennis player.


the DA Says:

Now Wawa cracks, figuratively and literally. That’s 2 code violations. A third will get expensive.


andrea Says:

c’mon stan!


Eric Says:

What’d he do?


James Says:

Stan is again leaking too many UEs like in 2nd set. Serve well, cut down on those UEs and the set and match can still be his.


the DA Says:

@ eric – He smashed his racquet on the court and then cracked it in half over his knee.


mat4 Says:

Something is wrong with Wawa. Pity, because he has the match well within his grasp.


the DA Says:

It’s something to do with his legs. He had to leave court to take his shorts off (according to tweets courtside).


the DA Says:

Official word is that Wawrinka has an upper-right-thigh strain and has it taped up. Pity for him and the viewers. He won’t last in a 5th.


mat4 Says:

Anyway, Novak still isn’t playing well. He had a good start of the fourth set, then he started to wait for errors. He won’t last long in the final, if he makes it, of course.


the DA Says:

^ Agreed. Playing like this the final will be over quick (providing Nadal makes it…sorry I have to laugh that I wrote that…of course he’ll make it)


queen Says:

Stan is trying really hard to lose the match.


James Says:

This game is going on and on…and as I type this it’s deuce again!


James Says:

Love Wawrinka’s BH DTL! What a shot!


the DA Says:

Somebody win this game! 11 deuces.


Eric Says:

if Stan could actually get a first serve in on game point…


Eric Says:

HOW WAS THAT IN?? ARGH. THIS IS KILLING ME.


Eric Says:

I’m pretty confident that Djokovic is using black magic. Also, this game has now lasted approximately as long as Novak’s preceding five rounds combined.


Daniel Says:

Damm. 21 min games. Audience loving it


Eric Says:

Finally. Phew. Now go on to break, Stan! Too bad there’s a changeover first.


James Says:

Stan the man holds that 21 min game! The crowd loving it.


Daniel Says:

Djoko x Nadal match is a different match up, Nadal delay some ball with Spin and usually they are not souch on the running as this two here. When the camera lower we can see how flat thy are hittig and hard. Nadal is playng flatter but he will never hos as flat as this 2 are today. He may hot hard hos forehand but the pace of the macth is different. Djoko always has a chamce against Nadal on Hard courts. He is the player with the best HC record versus Nadal.


Eric Says:

Well that’s that. Good effort from the Swiss. Novak ridiculously lucky to escape. (Let’s be real – he will. Stan has only earned a single break point since the second set, which he won, but still – one break point.) Pretty clear Wawa would have won this if he hadn’t developed that injury or whatever.


Eric Says:

Hopefully Stan proves my pessimism undeserved.


James Says:

Novak breaks! Stan needed most of his first serves to go in which hasn’t happened yet.


Eric Says:

Here’s hoping Gasquet gives Rafa a good match too…


James Says:

Eric, this match may not be over yet. But yes, I hope it’s good match between Rafa and Reeshard too.


Eric Says:

It’s effectively over. Yes, it only takes one slip from Novak and Stan can be back in the match, but it would be shocking to me if Djokovic can’t hold twice when he hasn’t faced a break point for like two hours now. In fact, was the 3rd set break point the only one he’s faced since breaking back in the second set? Maybe there was one more after that in the 2nd set. Point is, Djokovic is in the saddle and closing out matches is where he thrives.


Slice Tennis Says:

Nole serving 4-3 in the fifth. This is exactly when Rafa broke him back in the FO semis.


Eric Says:

(I would love to be wrong, though, if that weren’t clear. Love Stan, and what a heartbreaker for him to lose in the 5th to Djokovic twice in a year when he coulda,woulda,shoulda won both…)


James Says:

Novak holds to lead 5-3 in 5th set. Hard to see Wawrinka coming back.


Eric Says:

Moment of truth…


mat4 Says:

It is not over yet.


Eric Says:

Now it is… :(


kriket Says:

Now it is.


andrea Says:

awww. stan tried. good win for novak. nadal probably breezes thru in straights against gasquet.


Eric Says:

Good effort from Djokovic, who looked pretty much like his best of 2012-2013 after the first set and a half. Good effort from Stan too. Disappointing result, but…


mat4 Says:

Let’s see now if the tradition holds: every time Novak wins in five against Stan, he wins the tournament.


James Says:

Congrats Nole fans! Sean’s prediction came true. Novak in 5 over Wawrinka! Djokovic’s 4th straight US Open final!

Sorry for the Swiss, but he’s had a good tournament.


Eric Says:

Well, I guess this is why Novak is no. 1 (for now). Congratulations to all Djokovic fans, he fought back with spirit.


squirrel Says:

hope so mat4!


Slice Tennis Says:

He will hold on his no.1 ranking irrespective of the result in the finals.


Teeg Says:

No.1 is secured for Novak regardless of the final outcome. He will now more than likely surpass both Agassi and Rafa who are ahead of him for total weeks at No.1.


Eric Says:

That’s true. But even if Rafa doesn’t end the year at no. 1 (which he well may if he loses in the final, and certainly will if he wins), he’ll be no. 1 after the Australian Open in January. (All assuming he plays the top level events through then.)


James Says:

If Nadal reaches the final, which he should, I don’t see him losing even to Djokovic. But that’s for another day. Right now it’s Reeshard to deal with. Vamos Rafa!


Giles Says:

Rafa time.
Vamos Champ!


the DA Says:

“every time Novak wins in five against Stan”

LOL, every time? Anyway, that was a tough one. Again Nole demonstrates the characteristics of a champion. Wawa is playing on another level now and deserves to be in the top 10. I’ll wait to see how Rafa plays in the other SF before making a prediction. Bet the players are glad super saturday is history and can get rest up now.


Teeg Says:

@Eric

I dont know Rafa’s schedule, but he will more than likely play in either Tokyo or Beijing before Shanghai. Those events are about a month after the end of the Open. So, Djokovic will likely hold on long enough to surpass Rafa in total weeks. However, if Novak doesn’t defend his points (500 from Beijing, 1000 from Shanghai), Rafa will most likely surpass him before the AO, and end the year ranked No.1. If Rafa makes the final today and wins, he will only trail Novak by less than 200 points.


Eric Says:

Also, how sick is it that Rafa has basically no points from two of the slams and is still 2k points ahead of the field in the race?


Teeg Says:

@Eric

Right? So, Rafa still has plenty to gain next year. Also Miami, where he didn’t play


Eric Says:

If Rafa makes and wins in the final, he’ll obviously pass Novak with pretty the next event he plays since, as you said, he’ll be 200 points down (or, actually, 220, I think). I mean it could take two events. But certainly after the WTF (even if Rafa doesn’t do very well) he should be no. 1.

If Djokovic beats Rafa in the final (or Rafa fails to make the final), obviously, his lead will be much larger, but Rafa will still cover it by the end of the AO — obviously, all on the basis of assuming that Rafa’ll play these events and not flame out early.


Eric Says:

I forgot to say that I didn’t mention (or care about) total weeks at no. 1. I was just saying that Novak is only the no. 1 for now, which is basically a mathematical fact unless someone pulls a Nancy Kerrigan on Rafa.


Slice Tennis Says:

Contrary to popular opinion I feel that the ideal player who can beat Rafa should have a single handed backhand with which he can just change directions at will. Gasquet comes closer to that. Federer does that extremely well on low bouncing surfaces (indoors).

Djokovic is doing well, he can hit stronger BH, but he cannot change directions so easily with his BH. Changing directions is easily possible only with SBH. Federer’s SBH is a great weapon with which he has dismantled many great players (Roddick, Safin, Nole, Murray, etc). It doesnt work only on high bouncing surfaces against Rafa. On lower bouncing surfaces he gets the better of Rafa mainly with his flexible SBH.

If Reeshaard’s SBH is firing today he can trouble Rafa.


Slice Tennis Says:

Troubling Rafa doesnt mean he can take it fourth or fifth set. LOL.


the DA Says:

Broken in the first game.


James Says:

BP for Gasquet! Is he gonna be the first to break Rafa?


Slice Tennis Says:

The reel Bond has come to watch the real Bond on the tennis court.


Polo Says:

All I want from this match is to see an occasional exquisite backhand from Gasquet.


James Says:

Slice Tennis, Gasquet is the real Bond?
Gasquet playing aggressive.


Slice Tennis Says:

James,
LOL. If Gasquet gets a strong FH he can be Bond too.


Slice Tennis Says:

Gasquet is winning some fine points with his beautiful SBH. Kohlschreiber also troubled Rafa with his SBH.


Slice Tennis Says:

If Rafa keeps playing like this, Nole will not have a chance in the finals.


Daniel Says:

Eric,

Actually if Rafa only reaches quartes on AO (360 pts) there is no garantee that he will be #1 after AO. If we look at point sin Slams Djoko is leading regardless of final result: 2000 + 720 + 1200 + 1200 = 4120
Nadal has 2000 + 10 + 2000 (assuming he wins USOpen). So basically what happened this year is that Nadal won more master than he ever did in his orime years, 05′, 08′ and 10′.
But the final of this US Open beyong having #1 and #2 it will decide #1 for the year and can change the status of Djoko and Nadal’s career at this point. It will be huge.
Djoko going for his 7th Slam, secnd US which he deserves after 5 finals and can help him keep #1 for the whole year entering a select group of players who hold the ranking for a whole calender year. Plus, get back on track with Nadal rivalry as he will have the edge on HC back and in Slam finals.
For Ndal will be a second US Open finishing once and for all any denate regarding him ot being a one surface wonder, a clear upperd hand on Novak rivalry and vurtually giving him another Year end #1 and getting back to #1. If he loses he will have less than 50% record in 2 non clay Slams as he is 1-1 in AO; 2-3 in Wimby and 1-2 in US Open. It will vanish all effort he had to win montreal and Cincy because he didn’t win the big prize, similar to Djoko winning Monte Carlo and losing RG.
Epic final with imense histrory for this two players. If Djpko loses another close match (US Open 2012, RG 2013 and Wimby) it may be too much for him for the rest of the season


Teeg Says:

1st set Rafa 6-4


Daniel Says:

I think you guys are underrating Djoko v Nadal too much. This is the guy who best handle Nadal spin shots and so far in this macth Nadla is htting hard to Gasquet BH. But what Ndal is doing fantastic is his movement, as usual. And he is more into finishing points.


Teeg Says:

@Daniel

Novak vs Rafa almost always ends up being a nail-bitter. I expect it to go the distance ( assuming Rafa wins). The key for Rafa is how he starts. He is always nervous serving against Novak, and rightfully so as Novak is perhaps the best returner. So, if he starts well, it could be very competitive. But if Novak’s jumps on him early, he could be in trouble.


Daniel Says:

Gasquet can’t hurt a secondnserve on his forehand so…. That goes the match. Ndal served 3 second serves and Gasquet won 1 point.


Daniel Says:

Nadal is serving a lot of second serves thsi last few games.


Daniel Says:

Finally!!! And in an UE


James Says:

Reeshaard the first to break Rafa Nadal in the tournament.


Eric Says:

Daniel, technically, you’re right. Rafa will be 1720 points back in the standings from Djokovic if he loses in the final. Frankly, I think he would quite likely be able to make that up and end the year at no. 1 anyway (by doing very well at the WTF). But it is possible that he would still enter 2014 more than 720 points back, in which case he would indeed have to do very well at the AO before claiming the no. 1 spot. My point is simple: Rafa will be no. 1 again, and soon.


Eric Says:

Of course, I am writing Gasquet out prematurely, bad form especially for one of my favorites. I shall stop the speculating and watch tennis.


Daniel Says:

Eric,

Too me Nadal will only be number 1 again ‘soon’ if he wins this Open. Eventuayy his knees will hurt again. He plaued more than 60 matches and there is still asia swing, Paris and WTF, potentially more 20 matches. In the past he didn’t do so well. This years is a one of and Djoko always do well. With Murrayiut of the equasion and his interest gone as well I still think Djoko will win more points than Nadal the remain if the year. That is why this Open is crucial. I don’t know excatly but if Djoko beats Nadal in the final How the race will stand? Tis will be a best indicator for is to evaluate.


Daniel Says:

Out of the 3 maon tourneys left Nadal never won neither (Shangai, Paris and WTF), if he wins one of this 3 I consider it a great result. I know he never wn Cincy before but we can’t expect him to win 2 out of those 3, as for Djoko is perfectly doable as he has done before and we don’t know if Fed will have a decent indoor run or if Murray will find some fire to play back.


Eric Says:

Rafa will still be way ahead in the race even if Djokovic beats him in the final. I mean I think it’s very likely that Djokovic will win more points over the rest of the season, but it seems like you are overlooking the fact that Rafa has zero points to defend until March or whenever exactly he came back, while Novak won basically every tournament except Paris. Rafa doesn’t have to do BETTER than him, he just has to get points. I will be profoundly shocked if Rafa is not no. 1 between, minimum, Feb. and July next year, no matter what happens in the rest of this week and even season. It’s just math. (Unless someone dethrones him at the French, of course. And, yes, barring injuries. All predictions are implicitly based on the idea that the guy isn’t going to stop playing…)


Daniel Says:

Damm, Gasquet is playing unbelievable tennis this last few games. Double BP whoch could have him serving for the set.


Eric Says:

GASQUET!


mat4 Says:

Rafa hasn’t won that semi yet. Nor has he won the USO yet. Meanwhile, Gasquet plays well.


Eric Says:

Or not so much… anyway, I’m through the math discussions, certainly didn’t mean to start it.


Daniel Says:

Eric, it is simple amtch but I need to check the race. Next year is irrelevant beause what counts is who wins more points. Rafa didn’t play AO but he make up those points playing 3 tourneys he never played before. So, I agree wi you that Post AO is his best shot. But if the gap between him and Djoko after Djoko winning US Open is thin, Djoko winning more points could be enough to be #1 this year again.


mat4 Says:

Rafa doesn’t play well. How would he have done against Wawrinka, playing like he did in the QF?


Eric Says:

It’s a long match still, if Richard wins this set.


Daniel Says:

After being broken in this set Gasquet is pretty solid on serve. Nadal survived last game, let’s see if Gasquet will be able to pressure again, he seems to have a ipper hand this set but Nadal can string 2 awesome points and that will be it for him.


Daniel Says:

Gasquet could win at least 1 set just to be more fair to Djoko for the final, at least for this match to pass 2 and half hours


James Says:

It would be a remarkable achievement if Djokovic ends the year at #1. I don’t see it happening. Nadal will end the year #1. Before AO.

As for this match, Rafa isn’t playing bad but Gasquet is really making a match out of it so far. Expect Rafa to raise his level tho


James Says:

Another love game from Gasquet. Up 6-5.


mat4 Says:

Gasquet is too nervous now. A DF to start the TB. Not a good sign. If he loses it, the match will be virtually over.


James Says:

DF bad start from Gasquet in the TB.


mat4 Says:

The match is over.


Eric Says:

Uh oh…


James Says:

Good rally there, 26 shots. Nadal 5-1 in TB. Not good for Richie.


Eric Says:

Disastrous.


Daniel Says:

This toebreak was excelent for Nadal, broke Gasquet serve rythim and tire Gasquet who showed clearly he is tired. All this matches in fibe is catching him. He had his chance in this ser when he was 4-3 40-15 Nadal serving. Don’t expect much resistence this set.


James Says:

Gasquet started with a DF and ends with another DF in TB. Nadal 2 sets up. This ends in straight sets.


Alex Says:

Typical melt down by Gasquet, I wish he could play a little more like Wawrinka and make this more competitive!

Nadal looking sharp. Gonna be a hell of a match tomorrow if it goes by the books.

Think its gonna be a close 5-setter, not sure of the outcome. For Brando I go for Nadal. :)


James Says:

Nice drop shot from Rafa to save the BP.


the DA Says:

This match has been closer than I thought it would be.


metan Says:

I thought Richard would take set 2. Lets see he can play the same at set 3. I think he is down now after losing the TB. Rafa needs to rise up his game. He made lots of unforced errors.


Slice Tennis Says:

Rafa is taking a lot of balls on the rise, some almost as half volleys.


Daniel Says:

I don’t know why Gasquet hasn’t teied to hit flat to Nadal back hand cross coirt eventually?! He is doing a fine job keeping the ball high in that corner but of he doesn’t unleash a huge orehand crosscourt flat Nadal will just keep returning.


James Says:

Alex, I don’t think Nadal and Djokovic will be playing tomorrow, unless you were talking about Serena-Vika final.


James Says:

metan, well Rafa has made 12 UEs so far in the match.


Polo Says:

Gasquet will lose, but I am happy I saw a bunch of great shots from him, backhands (of course) and forehands. Most importantly, he showed a lot of guts in fighting as hard as he can. He even broke Nadal’s serve, the first in this tournament. I hope he continues to demonstrate this character in all his future matches.


Alex Says:

@James

“about Serena-Vika final…”

Yes, my bad.

Serena match will probably be an Ace demonstration (yawn).


James Says:

Nadal breaks to lead 2-0 in 3rd set. I’m afraid, it’s over for Gasquet.


James Says:

A win here takes Rafa to 10,210 points in the ATP race to London.


Slice Tennis Says:

James,
Thats a massive number. Another 1000 to 1200 points would seal the yr end ranking.


Slice Tennis Says:

Something like this would be enough for Rafa to take the yr end ranking:
SF at Shanghai by winning 3 matches: 360 points
QF at Paris by winning 2 matches: 180 points
F at Basel by winning 4 matches: 300 points
2 wins in RR at WTF: 400 points.


Eric Says:

Well that was fitting. Ah well. Order restored to the tennis universe, 1 v 2 in the final, etc.


Slice Tennis Says:

The match looked a little promising for the fed fans during the middle of the second set. Now its all over in straights suddenly.


Eric Says:

For the Fed fans? Trust me, as a Fed fan, right now I’m more worried about whether Roger will ever again get far enough in a tournament to lose to Rafa, not whether he’ll get past him at a slam…


Giles Says:

Vamos Rafa! Well done! Onto the Final!


James Says:

And Rafael Nadal wins the match and gains 10,210 points in the points race. Winning the title on Monday will take him to 11,010 points! Novak next.

Vamos Rafa!


metan Says:

Vamos Rafa is in the final. Good Win, no. And good luck for the real battle..


Polo Says:

I’m impressed! Nadal is the best player this year. He looks destined to win this Open and end the year at number one. It will be well deserved…and he did not even play the Australian Open.


mat4 Says:

I am sorry for Richard. I think that Rafa doesn’t play the way he did two years ago. He made 22 UE in the first two sets. His second serve wasn’t good, and he has problems moving from right to left. Richard had a good chance, but he didn’t make enough with his FH. Against a power player like Del Potro, Rafa would have had a lot of problems today.

Hopefully for him, Djokovic played even worse in the semi. He didn’t hit a flat FH in the court for four hours, nor did he struck a BH DTL.


Giles Says:

@James. Please explain to me how the points race and ranking points intermingle with each other. If I understand correctly don’t the ranking points determine the YE no. 1?


Eric Says:

Giles, players have points for their results over the entire past 12 months. The “race” points are simply those earned so far this season. Rafa is 2000 points ahead of Djokovic in the season’s points right now. But Djokovic is ahead of Rafa in the standings because he makes up that deficit and then some with his points from the remainder of the season.

So at the end of the season, the “race” points and the official rankings points will be the same. Thus, when we point out how far Rafa is ahead of everyone else in the race points, we’re highlighting that he doesn’t have to do better than Djokovic (or the rest of the field) to end the year at no. 1, only avoid doing so much worse than them that he falls behind in the points race. Now, against that you have the fact that Djokovic usually has much better post-USO results than Rafa, so the question is just how MUCH better he’ll do this year.


Eric Says:

If Rafa wins on Monday, he’ll be more than 3000 points ahead of Nole in the race. There’s basically no way Nole can scoop up over 3000 points more than Rafa in the rest of the season.

But if Djokovic wins, Rafa will be only 1,440 points ahead and Djokovic might will beat him by that much in the rest of the season. (In 2012, Djokovic earned 3000 points after the USO, while Rafa obviously got 0 because he was out. I think he usually earns only about 500-1000 or so, depending largely on his WTF performance. But this summer he’s looked so good…)


Giles Says:

@Eric. Thanks.


mat4 Says:

If Novak wins the USO, I think he won’t care that much if he doesn’t finish the year as number 1.


Eric Says:

mat4, that’s probably true. :)


mat4 Says:

@Eric,

what do you think of Richard’s game?


James Says:

@Giles, Eric has explained it well how the ATP race to London works.
To add to what he’s already explained:
Novak currently has 10,980 ranking points. If he loses the final, he ramains on 10,980 points because he defended his USO final points from last year. If he wins the title, he gains 800 more points which would be then added to his 10,980 points. He’d then have 11,780 ranking points. But if he doesn’t play or win a single point at China Open where he’s the defending champ, he loses 500 points. Now you minus 500 from his 11,780 ranking points. If he wins China Open again, he remains on 11,780.
You just add or minus the points they gain from a tournament. If they do only as good as last year, their ranking points remain the same. Hope this helps.


Dc Says:

Nadal hasn’t played against a good defender on hard courts this year . He has been doing well against attackers- it’s going to be tough against Nole – Nadal will have to run a lot on the hard court, which he hasn’t been doing much with his new attacking style.

Though Nadal has improved his offense, his defensive skills seem to have declined as he is not running like he used to.
It will be interesting to see if the attacking Nadal fares better than the defender Nole.

I have a feeling Nole will hold the trophy in 4 sets.Nadal will need to run a lot , a lot, if he has to win and it seems he may not be able to do so on the hard court.


Dc Says:

Correction to my above post- Nole did lose a tight three setter on hard courts this year in Canada,however Nole is playing much better than he was in Canada


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Great champions are the ones who can win matches when they are not playing their best tennis. Novak showed today he is one.


Giles Says:

@James. I know how the ranking points work but couldn’t fully understand what bearing the race points had on the ranking points. At the end of the day it is the ranking points that count, no?


Slice Tennis Says:

Giles,
Race points:
Points accumulated in the present calendar year till now (Jan to till date).

Ranking points:
Points accumulated during the last 52 weeks.

Race and ranking points will become the same at the end of the year.


Giles Says:

@Slice Tennis. Thanks. I understand now.


Chico Says:

Slight correction/nitpicking:

Race points: Points Accumulated from the end of the Tennis Masters Cup until the next Masters Cup.

E.g. Challengers are played between the Masters Cup and the end of the year.

Those points will show in the next calendar years race points, but practically it is hard to imagine it would affect the players in the Masters Cup field.

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ATP - Jul 21 WTA - Jul 21
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Agnieszka Radwanska
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