Archive for September, 2009

 

Not many left now…

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

When I saw Murray miss on what was to be his final point at Flushing Meadows, I could only roar ‘I told you so, I told you so!!’ at the television screen, pointing dramatically with all the strength in my travel-exhausted body. Unfortunately, there was no-one with me at the time who thought that Murray could win the US Open. In fact there was no-one with me at all, which was quite good because if anyone had seen the way I was shouting at the television screen, I might be writing this to you from a padded room.

In fact I realised, after I had calmed down, the age-old phrase ‘I told you so’ was redundant in this particular tournament. Even I, along with many other Murray critics, believed that Andy Murray could reach the final and – on a superbly good day with the wind in the right direction – win it. Everybody is surprised. But the Scot just did not bring any of the flair and talent that  to the table, giving Marin Cilic a game with which the Croat could mould and play according to his liking, according to his rules and according to his desire to get through to the quarter finals. Still, more about that later. First, let’s take a look at the eight who did make it through to the next stage in the US Open.more »

 

America’s New Hero

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

With every grand slam there’s at least one story of inspiration and determination. Some don’t go further than making you smile, but there are those that can make your jaw drop in disbelief. For the US Open 2009, there’s only really one candidate for the latter category, and it is the now well-known story of Taylor Dent.

Never mind that he secured victory after a five-set, four-and-a-bit hour match against Spain’s Ivan Navarro, a match whose scoreboard reads like a lottery draw. No, it wasn’t just the match itself, it was what had led up to the significance of the day. Taylor Dent went through two operations on his lower back a couple of years ago which not only left him in a body cast that reached his knees, but forced him to spend 23 hours of the day lying in bed resting. For a long time, it wasn’t even thought he would be able to walk properly again, never mind pick up a tennis racket and play a four hour match. But he has, and if that doesn’t make your heart swell I’m not sure what will.

The operations on his back left Dent with a lot of thinking time to do; apparently he contemplated becoming an estate agent, but the plummet in the Ameri more »

 

The Women’s Round Up

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

I spoke of little blips in my earlier blog post in regards to the men’s tournament, but when we turn the spotlight to the women’s side of things we get an array of crashes, catastrophes and heartbreaks. Both Elena Dementieva and Jelena Jankovic went crashing out of the tournament, the first real big names to be ejected rather unceremoniously.

Jankovic was the runner up at last year’s Grand slam, and this year hasn’t even made it past the second round; instead, Melanie Oudin took the match 5-7 6-4 7 6-3. At only 17 years old, this is the second time that Oudin has knocked out a high ranking player from the early rounds, the other instance being at Wimbledon in a third round clash with Jelena Jankovic. If she keeps up this kind of tenacity and builds it in with the required determination and strength, the sky’s the limit for this girl. I’m seeing  a new Maria Sharapova for the world of women’s tennis in the following few years.

Speaking of Sharapova, she is still plodding her way through the tournament, determined to regain the world no. 1 spot. Now seeded at number 29 she is making progress; slowly, but more »

 

A Thesis on Nadal plus Men’s Round Up

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Is it just me, or did Nadal look like a different man? Call it admiration, call it fangirl-itis, call it whatever you will, but I am convinced that Rafael Nadal looks like a changed man. It’s not just the new hair and the bright lemon shirt (what is it with the Europeans and their Nu Rave colour obsessions?). He seemed athletic, concentrated, happy. Unless my eyes deceive me, he also looked thinner, and not in a bad way. Simply well-rested, as though he had been on a long holiday and had very carefully looked after himself the whole time.

That isn’t to say I now believe he will reach the finals. I think the Majorcan still has a long way to go before he reaches his original winning streak. But the issue over his knees appears to be very much ignored by Nadal, as he threw himself from one side of the court to the other with the accuracy and abandon he showed at the beginning of the year and all of last. His knees looked bionic, not tendinitis stricken. They’re all good signs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point over the next year he hits that world no. 1 spot again.

Of course, it’s not like he doesn’t have competition. There’ more »

 

The First Days at Flushing Meadows

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

With day two over, most of the big names have played and most of them have made it through to the second round. The weather has brightened a little over Flushing Meadows and the players are getting back into their Grand Slam groove. Bear with me as I go through some of the players that have been making an impact in New York.

Whilst watching the Andy Murray/Ernest Gulbis match, you couldn’t help but harbour the suspicion that someone had been out on the court whilst no-one was looking buttering the surface. Both Murray and a ball boy came a cropper during the Scot’s first round encounter.

Murray went legging it for a wide backhand and just kept going, ending up landing with a crash on Gulbis’ kit bag. From the looks of it, the bag saved him from a potentially injury-inducing impact with the court. Still, the bag was full of tennis rackets; that can’t make for a comfortable crash landing pad.

The ball boy’s fall was even more spectacular, tripp more »

 
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