Archive for the ‘US Open’ Category


Men’s Semi-finals

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Yesterday we were treated to two very different men’s semi-final matches. First, Rafael Nadal made short work of Russian Mikhail Youzhny with a 6-2 6-3 6-4 win. In three hours and 44 minutes, Nadal knew his opponent: Serbian Novak Djokovic had upset Roger Federer and tossed him from the tournament, denying him his seventh consecutive appearance in the tournament’s finals.

Whereas Nadal’s match was relatively plain-sailing bar a couple of dodgy serves, Djokovic was not the clear winner until the very end of the match. The scoreline swung up and down; Federer took the first set 5-7, but lost the next 6-1. Djokovic lost the third, again 5-7, but it was in the fifth that he found his nerve to take Federer to the barest of margins and win. Djokovic hadn’t played a game like that in years; no wonder he name-checks this match as one of the best in his career. He even staved off two match points; no easy feat against a man like Federer.

Federer was simply below par and out of sorts; but it would be unfair to Djokovic to put that down as his reason for winning. Federer could have easily snatched victory at the last minute, but Novak kept him at bay and had the grit to capitalise on his own match points.

So now we have our US Open 2010 line up: Rafael Nadal versus Novak Djokovic. Some may mourn yet another non-Federer/Rafa final, but tennis thrives on its imagination and as fun as it is to see two legendary rivals go head to head, I can guarantee this final will be an enterta more »


The Last Mad Dash to the finals

Saturday, September 11th, 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 t more »


Brilliant Picks I Didn’t Make

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

It’s early, but a few things are already obvious about what picks have the potential to look very smart at the end of the tournament.

Rafa’s R16 opponent will be one of three people: #15 Ivan Ljubicic, #23 Feliciano Lopez and unseeded Sergiy Stakhovsky.  Personally, I think this will not be Ivan. So whichever of Lopez and Stakhovsky comes through to R16 will prove to be a brilliant pick. I don’t have those guys.

Unseeded Jeremy Chardy, with a nice win over Ernsts Gulbis, has an easy match before facing David Ferrer in R3.  Likewise, unseeded Thiemo de Bakker has an easy R2,  but then Soderling.  In addition, unseeded Tommy Robredo has a winnable R2 match against Benneteau, then Berdych.  Stakhovsky has a reasonably tough first match, then #15 Ljubicic and then probably Lopez in R3, but at least those are all matches he could win, and if he does, he’ll be the pick everyone will wish they made.  But I don’t have ANY of those guys.

#19 Mardy Fish was obviously a good pick going in — except for having Baghdatis in the third round and Djokovic in the fourth.  Not any more, as Bags went out to Arnaud Clement!  Now Fish turns out to be an excellent pick, especially with the Djoker having trouble breathing and serving.  But I don’t have Fish, either.

Another good pick, #22 Juan Carlos Ferrero has an easy second round and then #13 Jurgen Melzer and should be favored, then — oops — Federer.  Still, that’s R16, which isn’t bad for #22.  Obviously, no Ferrero either. more »


Men’s Draw Surprises

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

First, let’s admit it: Aiur probably has it right: the four semi-finalists are going to be Nadal, Murray, Roddick and Federer.  And, yes, probably it will be Murray and Federer in the final.  I think Murray wins that one if it happens.

But  let’s assume that conventional wisdom is wrong for a moment and consider the possibilities.  Rafa will probably have little trouble with Denis Istomin, or with the Simon/Kohlschreiber winner in the third, though both matches contain elements of danger for Rafa.  If Rafa wins those two, he has a virtual walkover in R16.  That’s when it gets tricky, friends.  He gets whoever comes through of Verdasco, Ferrer and Nalbandian.  No problem, you may say: Rafa owns the other Spaniards.  True enough, but Nalbandian is Argentine, and I think he makes it through to the quarters with a nearly even shot against Rafa.

Murray will waltz through to the quarters, where the only thing that can keep him from meeting Berdych would be a miracle recovery by John Isner followed by a great serving day in R16.  Personally, I’m hoping that occurs, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.  In all likelihood, it’s Murray over Berdych in four sets, but if Murray were having an off day serving and Berdych were able to overcome his nerves, an upset could occur.

Roddick will roll over Monfils in R3.  He has only the Davydenko/Gasquet winner to worry about before the quarters.  Once again, there it gets dicey.  He will meet the winner of Djokovic/Fish.  This is abs more »


US Open Preview

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Well ladies and gentleman, it’s late August and for a tennis fan that can only mean it’s US Open time. The last ‘Slam of the year, hosted by America’s most famous city in a time of transition. Back to school for the kids, Summer passing the torch to Autumn. In this time of transition, however, there is one constant. Every year at this time the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center springs to life for one last grandiose event of the season. One last event for someone to make history, to turn a good season into a great one or a bad season into a spark for next season. So, with the tournament only a few hours away, the questions on everyone’s minds are simple: who are the tournament favorites, who is most likely to be upset and of course, who will be the cinderella story. Well, without further ado, let’s get into those topics.

Starting with the men’s field, let’s delve into some of the favorites.

1. Rafael Nadal – Rafa will get another chance to tackle the only ‘Slam that has eluded him in his young career. Nadal comes in with a sparkling hardcourt record on the season, but he has had trouble finding his game in Toronto and Cincinnati. Is it possible Rafa is out of gas, much like he has been at the US Open in the past? Final prediction – Semis

2. Roger Federer – 5-time champion Roger Federer will look to become King of New York again after a stunning defeat last year. Federer comes in riding high, winning the more »