Tuesday, September 2, 2008

US Open Update

Here are some thoughts on key players in the tournament.

Roger Federer - Well, I'm watching the match vs. Andreev right now. Fortunately, he pulled of a win (solid 6-3 in final set). Federer has been on one smooth ride until today. He was playing like he did a couple years back when nobody could slow him down. He hadn't dropped a set, had some great winners, and he played like he wanted to win it all. Today in his match against 23rd seeded Andreev, he has struggled since the start. The first two sets went to a tiebreaker, and he lost one and won the other. Then they split sets, and now here we are in the magnificent 5th set. I'm noticing that Roger is showing a great deal of emotion, something very uncharacteristic of him. Normally, Federer is able to withold that anger/frustration during a match, but today he screamed at himself after a couple points. I'm not sure if this is from the mono he suffered from earlier this year, but something has gotten in his head (and it all came out today). He's up 4-1 in the set, and the only thing that can stop him is some sort of mental lapse(which I doubt will happen). Regardless of the match today, I'm going to Federer wins the US Open.

Rafa Nadal - There's something strange about Nadal. Every shot he takes has tremendous top spin that overwhelms most players. I think the tremendous spin he is able to put on the ball gives him an edge over shorter opponents. He cruised through all his matches, but (just like Federer) had trouble with the red hot 20-year old American, Sam Querrey. Boy, when I saw Sam pick up a set against Nadal, I was ecstatic. I thought he would pull of a tremendous upset, but then I remembered - he has only played one 5 set match. And (as I have said several times before). Anyways the match turned out to be 4 sets, but the American has a lot of potential. Standing at 6' 7'' he proves to be a threat on the tour in the coming years. As the commentators were saying, Nadal lost his "kick" or in my opinion his "spin advantage" during the match. Another potential reason for his depressing shotmaking was because of the Olympics. Querrey's height enabled him to return most of Nadal's powerful spin shots which gave the Spaniard a tough time in the beginning. Eventually, fatigue and relentless smashing overcame Querrey as Nadal pulled through. Once again, Rafa will make it to the finals as he is truly at the top of his game.

Novak Djokovic - I have not watched a Djokovic play during the US Open. Statisically, he has struggled with Cilic(4 sets) and Robredo(5 sets). Personally, I can't say much, but I hope he can get his act together and pull off a miracle because he's going to have to face Roger(or someone red hot) to get to the finals. I favor the Serb, but I'm not sure if he's going to win.

Andy Roddick - Andy. Currently America's (second) best player. James Blake is the best American (obviously). If you have checked out the courts, everyone is saying that the hardcourt is playing extremely fast. This has proved to be a great advantage for most of the hard-hitting Americans, especially Roddick. He has not struggled much throughout the Open (he skipped the Olympics to train). His strokes are actually really clean and crisp. His aggressive game has pulled off some easy victories, but his next round match vs. Gonzales will be tough. He'll have to count on his serve and some powerful backhand shots to win. Eventually, he should learn to develop a strong net game(something he definitely lacks). Roddick has been one of the big surprises this year.

Mardy Fish - Another surprising American, Fish, has played some phenomenal tennis during the US Open. All of his important/difficult matches have been 3 sets. He struggled a little bit in the beginning of the tournament, but a W against James Blake(in 3 sets) gave him the necessary confidence boost he needed. I saw some really nice net play with Fish and some solid baseline strokes. Combined with the power and accuracy he is hitting with, he poses to be a formidable threat against Rafa Nadal. Probably my favorite Cinderella story of this year's tournament, I am hoping for an upset to avenge fellow American Querrey's crushing loss.

Surprises in this year's open:

  1. Mardy Fish - Just out of the top 50 (rankings), Fish has proved to be a shining light for the American tennis players.
  2. Gilles Muller - pulled off upset against number 5 seed Davydenko - some spectacular tennis (from the clips).
  3. Sam Querrey- hasn't played very much on the ATP tour and to make it this far is quite an accomplishment.
  4. Kei Nishikori - Brilliant upset against David Ferrer in an epic 5 set match. However, he fell to JM Del Potro.
  5. Del Potro - Argentina has continued to provide some great tennis players, and Del Potro adds to the list. Going strong in this years open and playing some of the best tennis of his life, I wouldn't be surprised to see an upset against Murray.
  1. James Blake - I don't know if it was the Olympics or something else. Blake was playing some mediocre tennis resulting in a mediocre performance.
  2. JC Ferrer - He gave the crowd a brilliant fight against Nishikori, the surprise Japanese star. I think he was a tad bit unlucky this tournament since the Japanese brought his A-game.
  3. N. Davydenko - Can't say much as I didn't watch him or Muller.
  4. S. Wawrinka - Federer's Swiss teammate has been playing the tennis of his life. I wouldn't call him a big disappointment, but I thought he would be able to upset Murray.
Potential Winners
  1. Rafa Nadal
  2. Roger Federer
  3. Andy Murray
  4. Novak Djokovic
  5. Andy Roddick
  6. Mardy Fish