Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wk.7- King for a Day

Hey, all. Galileo here.

We had no shortage of heart-warming moments last week. Here is Darian King’s previous claim to fame:

Now the lefty has a moment of fame, not shame, to look back on. Tomic didn’t even seem to care. He wasn’t even down by a lot when he threw in the towel. What has happened to that Australian mantra of respect? Their sporting figures used to have a kind of holy attitude. For them sport was a gentleman’s pursuit. Now, it is a joke. Across all their sports, brashness and arrogance are the order of the day. The swimming team has suffered because they have lost their winning attitude.

Speaking of losses, let’s talk about America. At the start of tennis, France and Britain dominated, with America joining soon after. From 1950, Australia joined them as Britain collapsed. France have never reached those heights again, though they have always had a large contingency. America and Australia dominated through until 1980. America had a man in the top ten every week of the Open Era until this decade.

Maybe it was Europe getting its act together. Or the competition from other sports. But America went from Sampras to Agassi to Roddick to Blake to Fish to Isner. Then to Johnson. But we thought that the youths coming through would be America’s saviour. Harrison, Young and now Fritz. All these players look good, played well. Fritz is still looking good.

But Young had one of the best documented collapses of modern times. He had a double digit loss streak. He couldn’t string together five winning points in a row. Yet he still managed to beat Murray. He still showed promise. And so did Harrison. Athletic, big and powerful he played just like Americans always have - big forehand and serve. But these days you need consistency.

It is fitting that Young and Harrison met in a must-win match last week. Harrison dismissed his compatriot. But after all this time waiting for the next American heir, it would be great if one of those boys was it.

* – M. Zverev is still 33. Kohl, Tomic and Cuevas hang on to the last three seeded spots with Troicki and Verdasco hanging around 35.
* – Goffin moves up to tenth in the world while his conqueror Tsonga moves into 11th.
* – Cilic leads Thiem by 35. They are 7 and 8, ahead of Federer at 9.
* – No change in the top five. Murray, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Raonic and Nishikori. The number one ranking is safe.

S: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. David Goffin 4-6/6-4/6-1
D: Dodig/Granollers d. Koolhof/Middelkoop

MEMPHIS, USA (Hard Indoor)
S: Ryan Harrison def. Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1/6-4
D: Baker/Mektic d. Harrison/Johnson

S: Alexandr Dolgopolov def. Kei Nishikori 7-6(6)/6-4
D: Cabal/Farah d. S.Gonzalez/Marrero

...What do we write here? Is there anything left that hasn’t been said? He is a poor man’s Kyrgios. He is just as talented, perhaps more so, but is far less consistent. He at least behaves but, unlike the Australian, he cannot string together a good run anywhere. He certainly can’t put together a great season. Well, not yet, anyway. But he can win small titles when everything clicks together. When all those little nuances fit together like a jigsaw. He saw off Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-3 in the first round before knocking out Cuevas [this BACKSPINNER'S picked him to do well] in the second round 6-3, 7-6[4]. With the upset of the second seed under his belt, he began to roll. He beat Gerald Melzer 7-5, 6-4 next. Fourth seeded Spaniard Carreno-Busta was no match either - he collapsed to a 7-5, 6-2 defeat at the hands of Dolgopolov. And the Ukrainian completed his rout of the tournament by seeing off Nishikori in two straight sets. He was barely troubled in the 7-6[4], 6-4 win. He is one of the few players outside the top 15 who can play brilliantly on all four surfaces, who can beat anyone on all four surfaces. But he can also lose to anyone.

This BACKSPINNER still remember the first time he saw the Dog play. It was in this match

...This was a week for the inconsistency brigade. Tsonga is so close to being a Hall-of-Famer, especially looking at the standards you have to meet to be one. If he had won a couple of doubles slams or maybe another singles final at that level. If he had managed to stay in the top five consistently. He has certainly been one of the driving forces behind the French renaissance. Stefanos Tsitsipas is 18. He is one of the brightest young stars coming up. He and Tsonga had a tight two setter which the Frenchman won 6-4, 7-6[2]. He took Muller apart 6-4, 6-2. Then he had his big upset - edging Cilic 7-6[6], 7-6[5]. He rolled past Berdych 6-3, 6-4. To put a cherry on the cake he then beat Goffin 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Once Goffin decided to hit to his forehand, Tsonga took full advantage and never looked back.

...It is rare to have a Barbados anything appear here on BACKSPIN. Todd could tell you if it has ever happened before. It is quite a rare occurrence, at the best of times, anyway. King beat an immensely talented player with multiple titles and a Wimbledon quarterfinal appearance. And he did it in straight sets. But there is an area he can improve in - he has to not lose his next match 6-3, 6-0. Kukushkin had no trouble in their second round clash. Backing up the big win is tricky. Can he do it next time?

...As has become our tradition when discussing the Argentinian, we must look back and remember this moment...

And the time he beat Berdych 0-6, 7-5, 6-1 in Estoril purely by hitting dropshots. He has been a stalwart in the Davis Cup for Argentina in doubles and singles. He has been a constant presence on the tour with his unique brand of tennis. He is not like Santoro. He likes to win too much. And he does win. He wins a lot. Including doubles, he has been to ten finals and won four. He is a frustrating guy to play. Nobody likes playing him, especially on the dirt. And in front of home crowds? Berlocq edged qualifier Kovalik 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round. Then the wildcard dismissed third seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2. Boy, is the Spaniard’s career on life support now. He edged Monteiro in three 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. It took top seeded Nishikori almost three hours to finally knock him out 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. That match gave new meaning to the phrase ‘daily grind’. This is the guy that doesn’t ever quit, and for someone who turned 34 this month that ain’t bad
...Harrison put on a master class. He dismissed Kravchuk 6-3, 7-5 in the first round. He beat Querrey 6-3, 6-1 in the second, which is amazing considering how big Querrey can serve. Dzumhur had beaten the 7th seed and denied Kevin Anderson in his comeback attempt. But Harrison eased past him 6-3, 6-4. Young did better in the semi-final, but it was to no avail. He was sent packing 6-4, 6-4. In the final, Basilashvili threw the kitchen sink at him. But not quite consistently. Double faulting on a crucial break point in the second. Missing routine forehands. Giving up winning positions in the rally. Not putting the American away. The Georgian was aggressive but could not put the ball in court consistently enough. Moments after Basha double faulted he blew a 0-40 lead in the next game. He never recovered from that. What won the final for the American was his defence. His backhand slice was fantastic and his forehand worked well, too. He scrambled around, not letting anything get past him. He’s shed some weight, improved his fitness and you can tell. He has earned this title.

...Well, yelling at Cilic worked. He made a quarterfinal and now it falls to Tomic. The Australian has been absent most of the year. It probably means he has found a new vice to try. Darian King qualified, winning over an injured Tatsuma Ito. He has barely played any ATP standard tennis. And Tomic, immensely talented Tomic, has lost to him. He has gone down in straight sets. This is a horrible result. The Australian has struggled all through this year. Something has to change. Last year he was comfortably top 20. Now he is struggling to stay in the top 35. It’s turning into a quite remarkable slump. Cilic is off the hook for now but Tomic is not.
...He opened up by beating Mannarino 3-6, 7-5, 7-6[4]. The French 6th seed led by a break in each of those last two sets. Young served for the match at 5-3 but blew it. He made up for it by winning the last six points of the match in a row. He has finally found some mental toughness. It is about time. That was only a warm-up for the big upset. He beat Isner in the third round 7-6[5], 3-6, 7-6 [6]. He didn’t even see a break point the whole match. He still did enough to get his first career win over his compatriot.

Abracadabra! #yimlife @memphisopen @tecnifibre

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Notes from the Week...
1 – Robredo won a match. He is probably the best Spaniard outside of Nadal since 2004. If not for injuries, just think.
2 – WTA number one on the line in Dubai. The ATP is not.
3 – For the first time in Memphis’ history none of the four semi-finalists are seeded. The last time it happened was at Nice in 2013.

1. Rotterdam QF – Goffin d. Dimitrov 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
...Dimitrov begins to look mortal again. He had looked tired at the start of the week, barely scraping past M.Zverev. Goffin avenged his loss in the final last week with a good win here. The three set match took a lot out of him but the win helped him on to a career high ranking of ten.
2. Rotterdam F – Tsonga d. Goffin 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
...It took five break points, but when Tsonga took the second set the match was all over. The Belgian had been so clever, maneuvering the Frenchie around. He had been putting the ball in awkward places and on his backhand. But, inexplicably, he decided to start hitting to the forehand. That was an error. The last set was barely a contest and Tsonga soon ran out the winner.
3. Memphis F – Harrison d. Basilashvili 6-1, 6-4
...This was actually quite a watchable final despite the lopsided score. Watching Harrison scrambling was pretty impressive, honestly. The American rises 19 places to world number 43. If he could only get a seed for Wimbledon.

4. Buenos Aires F - Dolgopolov d. Nishikori 7-6[4], 6-4
...No sympathy for Nishikori here. He did not have to gamble. He should have stayed in Memphis. The Ukrainian only needed on break to see off the world number five. When was the last time he beat a top five? Could this be the spark the Dog needs?
5. Rotterdam QF - Tsonga d. Cilic 7-6[8], 7-6[5]
...Tsonga led the first breaker 5-1, but ended up having to save two break points on his way to edging the first set. He had not beaten the Croat in over five years. So it was a great result for the Frenchie.

Nishikori [1] d. [6] Ferrer
Cuevas [3] d. [2] Thiem
Cuevas [3] d. [1] Nishikori

...Kei made a mistake last week. He should have stuck to Memphis. He didn’t and he paid the price. This week he will lose at the last again. Clay, especially in the Americas, seems to pose a bit of a problem for him. Thiem and Ferrer will both make good runs. And Cuevas usually pulls out a result in South America. Why not here? Again, Thiem’s scheduling decisions are whacko.

Monfils [1] d. [4] Pouille
Kyrgios [3] d. [2] Tsonga
Kyrgios [3] d. [1] Monfils

...Monfils Gasquet in the quarterfinals will be good. The French will do well here, but Kyrgios, well, he is the defending champion. Might that add a bit of extra motivation?

Raonic [1] d. [7] Del Potro
Karlovic [2] d. [3] Sock
Raonic [1] d [2] Karlovic

...Raonic makes his first appearance since Australia, Del Potro his first appearance this year. Del Potro is a former champion, in 2011. Karlovic has always done well here and this BACKSPINNER is not sold on Sock.

Perhaps this BACKSPINNER has missed it, but not a sign is to be found of Dasha. The Aussie has mysteriously disappeared over the past two weeks. We can only hope she is back in time for the March double bill.

NOTE: Found! (looks like in Indian Wells)

What is this reaction ??

A post shared by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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