The Last Mad Dash to the finals

Sep 11, 2010

It’s not a great excuse for being absent during this, one of the most exciting Grand Slam events of the year, but I’m afraid it’s my only excuse: I have been on holiday. During the US Open? Madness I know, but I was young and stupid and assumed I didn’t need my constant fix of tennis-related news.

I have, however, learnt a number of things after my trip around these beautiful countries. They mostly revolve around avoiding bus station toilets like the plague; understanding that just because the timetable says a bus/train is running doesn’t mean that the driver is going to bother to get out of bed in the morning to run it; and that it doesn’t take long to find some awe-inspiring cuisine in that particular area of Europe. But those are the sorts of revelations that should be reserved for a travel blog; in this blog where we live, breathe and ache for tennis, it’s tennis that’s King.

And, as it turns out, I learnt a few tennis-related facts during my travels. One; no matter how far you travel into the deepest darkest parts of Eastern Europe, you will still be able to hear at least some snippets of news from the US Open. Two; the Serbs have got to be deeply, deeply proud of Novak Djokovic, if the amount of placards and advertising boards and shop displays and walls daubed with his face are anything to go by. And three; no matter which country you are in, you will find a fan of Roger Federer and a fan of Rafael Nadal, and they will assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt that their champion will be the one to win this particular tournament over the other.

Returning from my trip I’ve been able to catch up on most of the drama. I’ve learnt with disappointment that Barack Obama hasn’t been down to Flushing Meadows for a knock around. I’ve heard that Murray flopped against Stanislas Wawrinka and many have called into question his direction and determination after a disappointing year. I’ve read that Kim Clijsters beat the only Williams sister at the tournament, ending the Williams reign at Flushing Meadows for another year. I’ve been happy to see that the Bryan brothers have taken the doubles title. I’ve seen that Youzhny has been surprising everyone with a fantastic run that has just reached the semi-finals. I can feel the excitement that beats palpably around the sports pages as everybody waits for Nadal and Federer to take to their semi-finals tasks.

So that’s what I’ve learnt both during my time-away and upon my return; so what now? What tentative predictions should I make?

Kim Clijsters to win the womens’, I say. Zvonareva is strong but not strong enough for this former champion, and Clijsters had had such a superb run it seems natural for it to be crowned with a final win*.

Now, as for the men’s semi-finals that begin imminently. From what I can garner, Nadal and Federer haven’t really faulted from the word go. They are hot favourites undoubtedly, but they face two tricky opponents and these two champion of champions tend to have the same response to ‘tricky’ opponents; they blow them apart with style, or they crumble unimpressively. Still, you get the feeling that Rafael Nadal will be out on the tennis court to win the tournament, not just this match. Youzhny will have to be very, very, unbelievable good to shake Nadal enough that he starts to let slip that goal.

Roger Federer is…well, he is Roger Federer. However; this time last year nobody knew that the wildcard in the pack Juan Martin del Potro would take that trophy away from him. What if Djokovic did the same in this round?

Talking of Novak, I casually asked a Serb in a Belgrade cafe who would win the US Open.

“Djokovic,” he replied, with a scoff, not taking his eyes off the screen as he took another gulp of hot coffee. After a good day or so catching up, I’m inclined to believe that he has a point about Novak. Again the world no. 3 seems loose, relaxed, happy. He’ll be seeking revenge for all of the previous defeats in New York at the hands of Federer, and he’s had a fantastic last couple of months. This could be his year.

So, enough rambling, who do I pick to win? I will say with some conviction that I believe Nadal can beat Youzhny *. But who he meets in the final? This tennis blogger is too conflicted to say. I am happy to sit back and congratulate whomever it may be, but who I think can win? I simply cannot say.

It’s good to be back, even if it is only for the last mad dash for the finish line. I’ll be curling up on the sofa later today with the TV on loud to keep my jet lag at bay, and will just be enjoying the final stretch in this last Grand Slam event of the year.

Until tomorrow….

- SophieG

*any mistakes in guessing who will win will be put down to my jet lag, and not my complete and utter incapability to predict winners.

Written by: SophieG

Add Your Comments

You must Sign In to post a comment.

« Back