Monday, September 03, 2012

2012 US Open QF Preview, Pt.1

Please welcome Galileo West to ATP Backspin. He'll be providing some content in an attempt to try to keep things a little more up-to-date around these parts...

Hello to the ATP's faithful followers, the tennis fans who only follow the slams and the rest of you tennis lovers. I'm Galileo West and I'll be writing weekly, or at least every two weeks, for the ATP Backspin blog. A quick intro to myself: I love tennis, rugby, football and listening to classic rock. I'm also a sucker for a good movie too. I'm living in London, but was born in Darwin, Australia.

But enough about me, I think we should move on to what y'all came here to read about -- the 2012 U.S. Open men's quarterfinals.

A few final things before I dive into Berdmans versus the Fed-express. Firstly, to check out the WTA Backspin blog because I just know you'll love it, and its written by the amazing Todd Spiker. Also, I wish Mardy Fish all the best in recovering from his heart troubles, which forced him to withdraw. We all really like you, Mardy, and please get well soon.

And, lastly, I will be using nicknames. If you cant figure them out, then comment below.


Federer leads 11-4, and the reason people remember all the ones Berdych has taken is because they don't happen very often. Full detail here, from the amazing ATP website.

=Berdych Route Through=

R1: def. Goffin

There was so much tennis on in the first week and I was away -- he says, making excuses -- that I missed this, but the 7-5 6-3 6-3 scoreline is very impressive considering Goffin went through to the 4th Round at the French as a Lucky Loser and then challenged Federer in a tight four-setter that was very entertaining. But Berdych outserved him by 17 aces to 6, and only 1 double compared to Goffin's 8. His fastest serve was 134 compared to Goffins 120 (mph). However their FSP (first serve percentage) were roughly the same at about 55 percent. And he hit 40 winners to the Belgian's 28, whilst only hitting 30 errors to the Belgians 39. Hmmmm, those are impressive stats. It sounds like Berdych really manhandled Goffin in his impressive victory, which was closer than the scoreline suggests. 70 minutes for the 1st set, 44 for the 2nd and 49 for the 3rd (and that’s pretty long for a three-set match).

R1: def. Zopp

If rankings were based on cool names, perhaps Jurgen Zopp would be higher ranked then #80 in the world. But with his opponent 74 places higher than him, was the result ever in any doubt? A 6-1/6-4/6-2 shellacking later and he'd been on court for just an hour and a half. Not even troubled, and hitting 13 aces along the way. Next Please!

R3: def. Querrey

Berdman didn't get an easy run through by any means, but most of his trickier opponents didn't quite show up on the day or fell away. After an amazing opener, which Querrey won 7-6 (8-6), the Berd rallied for a 6-7 (55 mins), 6-4(47 mins), 6-3(45), 6-2(49) victory. And that was under the lights with the crowd against him in a match that was over 3 and a half hours long. That's impressive by anyone's standards. Querrey was last seeded at the 2011 French Open. It's great to see him on the well worn comeback trail. The same one a certain Kimberly Clijsters -- someone I've always admired -- has just stepped off for the last time, sadly. But I digress, Berdman was out-aced for once (20 aces to 10) by Querrey. And he also hit 4 doubles to Querrey's 3, but that's just one a set, which isn't too bad. He hit only 42 errors to Querrey's 56, which is good, and he also hit 51 winners to 48. It was an amazing match and I really enjoyed it, although Querrey has always been someone I've loved to watch. But now, a big test for the Berd.

R4: def. Almagro

Ever since that fateful Aussie Open clash, more details here, I've not been such a fan of either of these two, although especially Berdych. But to be fair , some of the stuff Berdman pulled against Nadal, etc. has turned me a little against him, although I think he's got a big game. But anyways, this match was a disappointment. Once Almagro lost the 1st set in 48 minutes, 7-6(4), some of the wind left his sails, and then when he lost the next 6-4 in 42 minutes, his proverbial mast came crashing down, condemning him to Davy Jones locker. Ahem. Basically he completely folded 6-1 in the 3rd. He out-aced the Almond 17-9 and no doubles to Nico's 5. Only 16 unforced errors to his opponent's 31 and out-hit his opponent 39 winners to 31. Wow. He's very dangerous. Having watched bits and pieces of this -- it's a slam, I can't watch every moment of every match -- sorry guys -- it seems Berdych is playing brilliantly. As one commentator so succinctly and brilliantly put it after Almagro missed one last ball to hand Berd the win: "He's duffed Almagro up. Lovely."

=Federer Route Through=

R1: def. Young

The talented but mercurial and mentally weak Donald Young snapped a 17-match losing streak the week before before losing again straight away. When he drew Federer he must have wanted to smash various things in frustration. It was the player in the least form against the player in the most, with Federer having just bageled the second-best male tennis player on the planet (I still maintain Serena could take Djokovic). What happened was a 6-3(27m), 6-2(33m), 6-4(34m) drubbing. Just an hour and a half on court in what was a fairly entertaining match before the handshake. 7 aces to none and 2 DF to Young's 3, although one of Young's came on a crucial Federer break point point, at 1-1, 0/40 in the 3rd set. Basically, it was a precession.

Also, if you're reading this, Young -- please pull your act together or take a break from tennis. It worked for the Belgian ladies.

R2: def. Phau

Phau beat Federer in 1999. That was a long time ago. Still, he can say he once beat Federer. THE Federer. But this 6-2(32m), 6-3(29m), 6-2(29m) spanking from the Swiss maestro showed everyone why he's so good at tennis and the best player ever to hold a racket, except maybe just maybe Rod the Rocket. Sorry, guys -- Sampras didn't win the French. 15 aces to 2, and only a single double where Phau had 7. And an amazing 44 winners to just 16 with a measly 18 errors to Phau's 17. That's dominance, folks.

R3: def. Verdasco

Perhaps the ever-dangerous Ferver could dent Federer's perfect start. Nope. Despite sporting a Gaston Gaudio hairstyle, there was nothing Verdasco could do against Federer. As Robbie Koenig regularly says, "This guy's so talented it's beyond a joke." Though Verdasco improved, he couldn't stop the Fed from taking a 6-3(34), 6-4(46), 6-4(42) victory. An enjoyable match where both players played well with some fabulous rallies but Federer's win was never in doubt. Despite only 7 aces to 6, he hit only one double whereas Ferver hit 10. Ouchies. With only 19 unforced errors to Ferver's 35 and 30 winners to 27, Ferver lived by the sword and then died by it, too. Federer ended up winning 102 points to Ferver's 75. By the end of it, Federer looked amazing and Verdasco looked finished. Done. Dusted. Kaput. Well, you get the picture.

R4: walkover Fish

As mentioned above, I wish Fish a speedy recovery. And Fish is just such a nice guy. Sigh.

=Why Berdych Beats Federer=

This dude has a big serve. Really big. If only he was this strong mentally, perhaps he would have won something really big by now. He will bombard Federer's backhand and then when he gets the short ball smack it to Federer’s forehand. Also, he's clearly in form and has beaten Federer before, and this year nearly had Fed's number in the Madrid Masters. So he can definitely beat Federer. He has a big serve and a big forehand and has increased his skills in the movement department, as well as his skills up at the net. He is very talented, too , and he and Petra Kvitova are bringing tennis back to the Czech Republic (and fine, not just them, but them in particular). A lso, due to the withdrawal of Fish, Federer won't have played for four days. Rusty or rested?

=Why Federer Beats Berdych=

Because he's Roger Federer? No? Ok. Name a player with outrageous skills. Gasquet. Easy. Name a player with a big serve. Isner. Easy. Name a player with a big forehand. Tsonga. Easy. Name a player that has a smart thinking tennis brain. Ermm, Murray maybe? Tomic? Now name a player that has all those things. Roger, Rafa and maybe Djoko, too, now. I think that in this match, Roger is a smarter tennis player than the Berd. He also won't go away mentally and he can even outpower and out-finesse him. Also, that serve doesn't break down and the forehand's solid. Also, that slice backhand is the best in the world and his backhand is the weaker wing, yes, but it's not a bad shot overall, just bad by Fed's lofty standards.

=What I think will happen=

Federer will be challenged for a set and a half, maybe more, but he has too much game for Berdych, to be honest. He has a plan B and C, and I think he'll outsmart Berdych like he outsmarted Murray in the Wimbledon final this year.

Federer: 6-2 6-7 (3) 7-5 6-3

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