Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wk.11- Fed Wins Despite Losing

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Miami is upon us. The tournament which signals both the end of the hard court swing and the beginning of the clay court swing. The tournament which is the second half of tennis' very own March Madness. With players out injured, favourites in poor form and old hands resurgent anything could happen. This is already very long as an update, so I will try to cut it down a little.

But enough of my talking, stuff happened the last week of 'Wells and it went like this:

S: Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer 3-6/6-3/7-6(3)
D: Bryan/Bryan d. Peya/Soares

...Yes, you're right. He didn't win but he still gets my player of the week award. That is because he was the best player. Were the Patriots the best team in the NFL in 2007? Yes. Were the Capitals the best team in 2010? Yes. Were the Dallas Mavericks the best team in the NBA in 2007? Yes. 9 times out of ten, those teams would have won the title and the same goes for Federer. Faced with tougher opponents than Djokovic up to the final, Federer did not drop a set. He outclassed the likes of Tursunov, Haas, Anderson and a flaming hot Dolgopolov. He looked almost like 2007 Federer. Almost. He lost to Djokovic, but like the 2012 WTF, he lost to Djokovic despite being the better player. Djokovic is a counter-puncher and a defender and he spent most of the match on the back foot. If not for Federer's error and a misplaced drop shot at 3-3 in the second, it would have been a straight sets victory for Federer. And that says a lot about Djokovic, too. It shows his resilience. It shows us yet again just why he is the second best player in the world. However the match also showed us how close Fed is to getting back to the top.
...All you need is a serve apparently. Isner has built his career around that shot and last week he used it to great effect. However, it was not his serve which really made his run, it was ,amazingly, his return game. Djokovic served for the match twice in their match in the second set, but Isner broke twice. The American with the best breaker record in history proved again he can take on the best anytime. If not for an injury, who knows what would have happened?
...Who else? The Ukrainian -and the most unpredictable, annoying, frustrating, marvelous and talented player on the ATP- found his Mojo in 'Wells. When he finds his Mojo, you better hope he isn't in your half of the draw. If he is, then you're in trouble. He faced a tricky test against Fognini in the fourth round. Often after beating big players, the upset causers crash and burn. Not this time apparently. Fognini is exactly the kind of opponent who can disrupt and confuse anyone. Not Dolgopolov, though, not this time at least. The Ukrainian won with relative ease 6-2, 6-4. Afterwards, he disabled Raonic's serve in the quarterfinals in a surprisingly efficient display. He was too good and had too much variety, like all those slicey things he does, for the Canadian. His run came to an abrupt end at the hands of Fed, but it was still a great run. If he keeps this up, expect him to start and then keep on hitting career highs.
...Bautista-Agut made his maiden 1000 level fourth round. He beat Berdych, who is always ranked about five spots higher than I think he is, in the first round. This is particularly impressive considering Berdman won the opening set. Bautista-Agut came back to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. It shows great mental toughness, too. He followed this up with a 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 win over Nieminen. He won that break 8-6. In the fourth round he lost the opening set to Gulbis 7-0 in the tiebreaker but still managed to make it go three by nicking the second set 6-4. He has arrived fully now.
...He was a late bloomer, arriving in his mid to late twenties and that means he is only about half way through his career now. He turns 33 this year, however. He played well this week till he got smashed 6-1, 6-3 by Djokovic. He beat La Nava 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 and then beat Tsonga 6-4, 6-4 in Tsonga's opener before beating Thiem, with that dashing one-hander, 7-6, 6-3 and then Lopez in the fourth round 6-3, 7-6. He played that consistent aggressive tennis he is so well known for.
...Cilic is second in the aces count behind Karlovic so far this year. Ivo has 287 whilst Cilic has 272. Cilic has played 25 matches, eight more than his compatriot Karlovic. Cilic hits about 11 aces a match, which is very handy. He gets about three free games a match, though Karlovic hits an average of about 19, which is almost a whole game more than Cilic. But anyway, Cilic was again playing great tennis last week. He dismissed Lorenzi 6-2, 6-2 and then beat Robredo 6-4, 6-3 with little trouble. He even took the opener against Djokovic 6-1 before crumbling to a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3. It is very impressive from the Croat and being ranked 22 or so belies how good he really is.
...Wawrinka was so strong in the first few rounds that it came as a shock to me when he lost to Anderson. Actually, it was more the manner in which he lost. He lost 6-1 in the third to Anderson. The South African has a great serve, but he doesn't break all that often. Wawrinka usually serves well.
...Yes, he wins two awards. He really deserves them, too.

1. IW 4th Rd. - RAONIC d.MURRAY
Raonic returned well and beat Murray in the mental game. Combine those factors with that serve and the young Canuck was always going to win in the end. He played tennis rather than ice hockey because he preferred the individuality of tennis. I think it is fair to say he made the right choice.
2. IW QF - FEDERER d. ANDERSON 7-5/6-1
An absolute master class from Federer. It took Fed ten games to break down Anderson's serve, and once that happened, it was one-way traffic. Fed had too much game for Anderson. The low slice to the Anderson backhand did a lot of damage, as did Fed's new and improved return of service. Dolgopolov tried to out-hit Fed. Didn't work. Tried to be more cunning and tricky. Didn't work. And so on and so forth. His inability to solve the Federer puzzle, as well as the wind, did for the Ukrainian.
The second seeds only faced a single seed in this tournament, but that did not mean they didn't have a tough time of it. The British/Filipino pairing was not strong enough to win, but they did push them all the way in this tough match, which came down to the wire.
The young American duo fought hard, but in the end were undone by the experienced Bryans who also only faced one seed on the way to the title. I find it surprising they dropped a set as Isner is fifth and Querrey eighth on the ATP aces board. They have a combined 372 aces in just 27 matches.
Federer and Djokovic played out a tight match which was brilliant in parts and of questionable quality in other parts. It was Federer's errors and Djokovic's grit which eventually swung the match in favour of the world number two.

Nadal [1] d. [14] Fognini
Raonic [12] d. Harrison
Wawrinka [3] d. [22] Dolgopolov
Isner [10] d. [7] Berdych
Federer [5] d. [9] Gasquet
Dimitrov [15] d. [4] Ferrer
Kohlschreiber [24] d. [6] Murray
Djokovic [2] d. [21] Gulbis

...the ATP is very unpredictable right now, but form is obvious at least.

Raonic [12] d. Nadal [1]
[3] Wawrinka d. [10] Isner
Federer [5] d. Dimitrov [15]
Djokovic [2] d. [24] Kohlschreiber

...Nadal looks injured to me, or at least not playing at all well currently. He can struggle against the big servers and I think Raonic is on top form at the moment.

Raonic [12] d. [3] Wawrinka
Federer [5] d. [2] Djokovic

Federer [5] d. [12] Raonic

...Yes, I am going picking riskily. If I'm going to be wrong anyway, and I will be, I may as well be wrong in style. Raonic has a workable draw and I don't know if Djokovic can win back-to-back. I think Federer will get the better of Djokovic in the semifinal and in the final he will win because there is no better returner of big servers anywhere.

Williams [1] d. [23] Makarova
Sharapova [4] d. [20] Pennetta
Bouchard [18] d. [29] Williams (V.Williams)
Jankovic [7] d. [2] Li Na

Williams [1] d. [4] Sharapova
Bouchard [18] d. [7] Jankovic

Williams [1] d. [18] Bouchard

...I like Bouchard's draw here. And I am picking Williams because that pick is solid. It cannot go wrong. As we welcome back Williams, I thought I would share with yall a classic Williams moment:

In the ladies doubles, I believe Pen/Hsieh will beat Black/Mirza in the first semifinal. Makarova/Vesnina will beat Huber/Raymond in the other semi but lose the final. I think the Bryans beat Llodra/Mahut in one semifinal and Peya/Soares beat Nestor/Zimonjic in the other, but the Bryans win the 'Wells and Miami doubles like Peng and Hsieh will on the ladies side.

Well, thank you and go visit WTABACKSPIN please.

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