Novak Djokovic v Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka v Kei Nishikori; US Open SF Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | September 9th, 2016, 11:37 am
  • 71 Comments

This is it! The final weekend of the 2016 Grand Slam season. Novak Djokovic made it. But several of the other top names didn’t.

Roger Federer is on the mend with a bad knee. Rafael Nadal is still dealing with nerves in pressure situations and Andy Murray might want to wear headphones during his matches going forward so he doesn’t get distracted by gong-like noises.

But Stan Wawrinka is back as he always, quietly, seems to be. Kei Nishikori has continued his strong run in North American events and Gael Monfils is suddenly living up to his potential. But can he take it further?

On to my picks.

Novak Djokovic v Gael Monfils
Both guys should be super fresh for this one! Djokovic hasn’t played much at all – just 9 full sets – and Monfils hasn’t lost a set and both have had the luxury of two full days of rest.

The problem is, while Monfils has the game to beat just about anybody, he’s never beaten Djokovic 0-12. And that’s bad news against someone who should be healthy and at this stage, with the remaining field, is going to be awfully tough to beat.

That said, it is forecasted to be hot and humid, two things that Djokovic doesn’t particularly like. So Monfils should use his defensive ability and speed to make Djokovic play a lot of balls. And maybe in an extended match some of those nagging injuries return, or Djokovic tenses up late. That’s why I’d like to see Monfils pump his serve and on return, maybe try to wear Novak down playing consistent, safe tennis.

Will Monfils play that way? Probably not. He might just end of going for winners all day and bringing out the circus act. No one really knows.

And Monfils could and probably will get tight. It’s just his second Slam semifinal and he’s going to feel the pressure. He has to.

But that head-to-head is just too overwhelming and while Djokovic has had an easy week, so too has Monfils who’s coasted through a very easy draw.
The pick: Djokovic in 4

Stan Wawrinka v Kei Nishikori
I make Kei the slight favorite here. He’s done better at the US Open and he’s had better wins this year, including a victory over Stan in Canada.

But Stan does leads 3-2 and should be fitter, which becomes a factor if it’s hot. And Kei did just win a tough 4-hour affair against Andy Murray Tuesday, though Stan finished his win over Juan Martin Del Potro after 1am.

So in the heat, a very slight edge to Stan (however, remember Nishikori drummed Djokovic in serious heat two years ago in the semifinals), however based on form and recent results, I have to lean Kei’s way.

Plus, I know Stan finally got a good win beating Delpo the other night, but still no Top 10 wins on the year. None!

The match-up itself is very even. Both have decent serves, very strong backhands and I’d probably rate Kei’s forehand above Stan’s. So the key will be who serves best and who dictates from the ground.

And I just feel for some reason that’s going to be Kei, who has been consistently sharper this summer.
The pick: Nishikori in 5

Could we see some upsets today? For sure. Remember in Canada, after a fast start Monfils was simply out of gas when he faced Djokovic in that semifinal. And with Nishikori, you never know just how healthy he is after that Murray marathon. Stan, though, should be good to go so I expect a good battle.

ESPN2 has all the coverage starting at 3pm.


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71 Comments for Novak Djokovic v Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka v Kei Nishikori; US Open SF Picks And Pans

JD Says:

Monfills Vs Kei Final….


SG1 Says:

So hard to pick Monfils in a big match. I’m going Novak-Kei…(though I’d like to see Novak-Wawa).


Cheryl Says:

Nole will take Gael in 4 maybe 5 and will triumph over Kei…end of story!


RZ Says:

Stan has survived a match point. I’m saying Stan in 4.


J-Kath Says:

RZ: I’m also saying Stan in 4 and Nole in 4.


Dapris Says:

Easy pickings for Novak. Will break many his hearts esp. his if he doesn’t make GS13. Idemo Nole


Giles Says:

I’d be very pleased with at least one upset – you know who. 😱💀👽🤖


Ha Says:

Nole in 1.2 sets


RZ Says:

@J-Kath – I’ve noticed that players who survive a match point tend to be more relaxed in later rounds and do better. So I think Stan has more momentum here.


RZ Says:

Also, I pick Djokovic in one set due to a Monfils retirement. (Kidding! Sorry, couldn’t help it)


J-Kath Says:

RZ: Also, while Kei can play extremely well, he rarely can keep it up.


RZ Says:

J-Kath – yes, to be honest I was surprised he didn’t get injured during that 5-setter. He has the stamina to pull them off but injury often gets in the way. I hope he has a long injury-free run.


Humble Rafa Says:

Mr. Underachiever will retire due to a mental injury..keeping up with the theme.


SnotNosedKid Says:

Prediction:

SF:
Djokovic d Monfils 6-0 2-0 (Retired)

F:
Djokovic d Nishikori (Walkover)


Giles Says:

Maybe joker will retire. His wrist injury might flare up!


J-Kath Says:

I think it is something in the water?


Van Persie Says:

Finally, Nole took the 1. Many UE and DF from both. Novak started well, but he was somehow influenced by Monf’s disposition (?)


Shailesh Says:

One of the most bizzare sets i have watched. What was Monfils trying to do from 5-1 in the set? It looked like he was not trying at all even when he was trying to softball Djokovic. His court position when returning was weird, it was as if he was trying to get into Novak’s head and force him to commit double-faults.


Van Persie Says:

Last game from Monf a catastrophe


Van Persie Says:

2-1 Djoko leads


Gannu Says:

Terrible play from monfils

He has no interest
Watching it live in Arthur ashe

Utter waste of money

He was so casual at the end of first set


Van Persie Says:

La Monf is ravished. Hope he will not retire


Van Persie Says:

Glad that Novak is focused now


Van Persie Says:

It is difficult to play with somwone like Monf does now…


Humble Rafa Says:

The way Mr. Underachiever plays today is a disgrace. Tennis fans deserve better. He should just retire if he has a problem.


RZ Says:

So what is going on in the match? (I’m only seeing scores). Is Novak back to his best? Did mature Monfils not show up?


Van Persie Says:

There is no rhytm in this match, RZ. Gael is very nervous, poor serve, many UE…looks like he is injured


Van Persie Says:

Feel sorry for Monf…crowd booed him..


Gannu Says:

Crowd including me is booing monfils

We want a match.. this is really unacceptable

So much for the matured monfils

He is a mental case


J-Kath Says:

Massacre at US Open – call the White House Quick.


RZ Says:

If Monfils is injured, he should just retire. I mean, why mess up a good pattern?


Van Persie Says:

Monf played better a few games. Looks like he will take the 3 set. Lol


Khb Says:

Novak is asleep after the monfils tanking & cheating.
Fedal fanboys must be desperate to nullify novak’s greatest player title with their desperate whining about cheating.


Daniel Says:

Djoko was 2-1 and suddenly Monfils 5-2 and set point.

Brave game from Monfils to come back from 0-40 and close the set 6-3. But he looks exhausted already.

Just formality and Djoko will win this set, think without much drama.


Van Persie Says:

There will be a 4 set. Djoko had the trainer earlier for massage at the left shoulder


Khb Says:

I lost respect for this nasty desperate Monfils.
Moncreep’s exhausted after playing the most quality games of all matches?


Daniel Says:

Djoko may have lost the 0-40 game but these 2 long games were great for him long term, Monfils will just not last. And when the set get closer to finish line he will faler.


Van Persie Says:

Wow Djoko. What a point :)


Daniel Says:

Wow, pojnt of the tournament, amazing touch and shots by both.


Van Persie Says:

Djoko is not able to serve…massage again


Khb Says:

Djoker didn’t bother to return easy shots. It’s too boring.💤


Van Persie Says:

WTF Djoko!


Daniel Says:

Djoko a few games to his 21h Slam final.

Only negatives for him is that he is 2-4 in USO final (he should be better and i hope he wins his third). Too great HC player to have only 2 USO.

And he lost a Slam final every year since 2011: RG and USO 2012; Wimby and USO 2013, RG 2014 and RG 2015.

This could be another year like 2011 when he makes 3 Slams finals and wins all.

Positive is that he has won last 4 Slams finals he contested.


Daniel Says:

5-2, match is his. Win as fast as possible and go rest and recover the shoulder.


Van Persie Says:

Nole should closevthe match on Gaels serve


Khb Says:

Why did he bother praising Moncreep? Ew


Daniel Says:

Triple MP, perfect ending for Djoko.


Van Persie Says:

haha, heart celebration ♡:)


Van Persie Says:

Ok, he’s in the final. :) Can now sleep well. To tired to see the other match.


Daniel Says:

Too humid, kkkkk


Khb Says:

Djoker wasted 2012-13 on crap self-pity and threw slams away.


Wog Boy Says:

I just can’t stand Monfils, he is a conman.


Daniel Says:

Yeah, some Monfils pisses me of, it’s like he just doesn’t care. Other players would kill to have his side, talent and French Federation behind and even so he is just a guy with a nice persona, nothing more.


Wog Boy Says:

Sean, so far you did better this time around, one correct one to go.
I expect next match to be the best so far at USO, to go five sets and over five hours, with great defense and lot of running.


J-Kath Says:

RZ

As we both thought Nole in 4.

I love it when Monfils gets on a roll – he can be so good and so entertaining. As Nole said he is a player he enjoys watching him play (or words to that effect). He wasn’t so tonight….but still is on his good days. It’s a bit sad that there was some negative reactions from the crowd and on the threads. He is who he is and has always been: brilliant: disappointing and/or shocking.


J-Kath Says:

“Why did he bother praising Moncreep? Ew”

Who on earth would think something so nasty and believe they had the right to post it?


Wog Boy Says:

Well JK,

Some of us see him differently and we are entitled to it, aren’t we?


Khb Says:

Saint Fredrinerer even benefited from cheating to get more
‘sportsmanship awards’ than anyone.
Kei finally has 1 of these ‘awards’.


Wog Boy Says:

Well, it doesn’t look like a five setter, Nishikori going to final.


J-Kath Says:

Yep Wogboy

But nastiness is not what Nole would want from his fans.


Daniel Says:

Wawa saving a lot of BP’s, Kei should have won this set already.


Daniel Says:

If Kei beats Wawa he would have beat back to back #2 and #3 in rankings and will face #1 in final, can he do it? It could be one of the greatest Slam runs in recent time.
The contrary is not going to be the case because due to Djoko’s opponent several retirements and him facing no Slam winners in QF, Semis and Finals would make this USO one of the easiest Slam runs ever. Nt that he needed this help but he got his share of tuff Slam in the past. He will take them anyway they come;-)


Khb Says:

Monfils made sure that novak was ‘luckiest’ ever player
by looking away & bluffing his way through the first 2 sets.
Every channel, forum & crowd has people talking “Novak’s not good. His draw!” Chris Fowler, etc. are espn muppets.
This is not how you treat the #1 player.
Look how Roddick moaned & cowered in fear of Fed!
I don’t feel sorry for Mr. Coolfils/Cookedfils at all!
He suddenly hammered screaming winners & rushed to net easily
to smack everything, and novak fell for his trick all the way through.
Novak being Mr. Friend donating points & double faults
was disastrous. He almost let him back early in the 4th set too.


Daniel Says:

What a turn of events, now Wawa 1-1 and a break up, but 15-30 on serve, second serve.


Humble Rafa Says:

Why is this forum so quiet when a Swiss man is on the verge of another slam final?

#questions


Kimberly Says:

I’m here


Kimberly Says:

is nishikori done?


Humble Rafa Says:

This years US Ope is poorly organized. I understand that the tournament is in the middle of renovation work but it has been plagued by problems – roof, clumsy officials, etc.


Daniel Says:

Djoko x Wawa it is. Wawa never lost an Slam final and third straight year he made a final.

Was not buying him with his inconsistant play, but now, anything can happen.


Emily Says:

On Armstrong, they asked Stan on court if he thought he could win the tournament. When the crowd started to cheer, he said you guys believe in me more than I do. Hopefully, he has that belief on Sunday.

So excited, only disappointed at whatever happened with Monfils


chrisford1 Says:

khb – “Djoker wasted 2012-13 on crap self-pity and threw slams away.”

Djoko took #1 back in 2012 and kept it. In 2013, he was a net touch from winning the French, possibly other majors and finished ~750 points away from Rafa’s 13,030 with no one else within 6,500 points of either guy.
Did he throw away Slams? maybe 1, the 2013 USO. The other ones he lost were to guys that played better than he did, but being depleted by Delpo, bad luck at the French Open both years.

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