Monday, July 10, 2017

Wimbledon Day 7- Just Another Manic Monday, Oh I Wish It Were [Finals] Sunday

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Well. by now you have heard the news, the big news. Yes, Svetlana Kuznetsova has made her fourth Wimbledon quarterfinal. A decade after her last, she is back. And the fact that just making her seeding is a major shock is more proof of just the kind of player she is. She has dropped zero sets. She has dominated all before her. Should she beat Garbine Muguruza, against whom she is 1-3 and not the favourite, she is likely to make the final. This is, and I never thought I'd say it about Wimbledon, her best chance to win a third slam.

Oh, and Gilles Muller beat Rafa Nadal in five hours. There is so much to talk about, including the match of the year, so let's go through the dubs before we hit the singles. Today was undoubtedly the day of the year tennis-wise. So much happened, so many dreams were crushed and so many players had a career day. Angie Kerber lost the world number one ranking while Andy Murray held his. The men's doubles ranking is there for the taking, too.

Todd also got a great day's tennis. He will have to take a careful approach to discussing the demise of The Radwanska. Due to my rabid obsession with a certain Russian tennis player I might be forgiven, but Todd must be careful. We had to make our HQ and Academy monster-proof, but even so... she does know our address. The only force greater than that of The Radwanska may be the 1988 Graf. That is what old texts and lore indicate, but further tests need to be done.

The last seeds remaining in the men's doubles are the 1st, 4th, 10th and 16th. And those first three are all in the top half. Marcin Matkowski and Max Mirnyi have to be considered favourites in the bottom half now. They saw off Monroe/Sitak in four sets today. Kontinen/Peers edged Nys/Sancic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two and a quarter hours. If Kubot/Melo go one round further than the top seeds then Melo becomes the new world number one. Seeded fourth, they could meet in the semi-finals. Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus continued their excellent form by beating Dodig/Granollers 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7[7], 6-3.

Now let's dive into the singles and we'll see if we can get through some of the duller ones more quickly...

Andy Murray played some of his best tennis. He has not looked this good so far but, all of a sudden, he looks fantastic. Benoit Paire turned up, hit some great shots and played some lovely points. But his formidable attack was blunted out by the wall that is Andy Murray. Paire hit 50 winners, twice Murray's tally in the 7-6[1], 6-4, 6-4 loss. He broke the Scot's serve three times, but lost his own five times. He played the right game but he didn't serve well all day. He gave Muzza far too many looks at a second serve, far too many chances on what is his best weapon. Now, against all odds, Murray is in the quarters. With Sam Querrey his next opponent, followed by Gilles Muller or Marin Cilic he should be feeling fairly confident. If he doesn't choke he will make a fourth Wimbledon final. Paire will be ranked 37th next Monday. Well, approximately. He should use that as a springboard.
Federer now leads the head-to-head 6-0. And, no, there wasn't a close match in there, this BACKSPINNER is afraid to say. Brisbane was tight, but apart from that Fedex has never been troubled by either Dimitrov or Gasquet. It took the Swiss just over an hour and a half to win 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Federer felt his way in the first set, before taking control of the match. With five breaks and 24 winners it was an easy performance from Federer. He breezed past a slightly off Dimitrov. It promised so much but delivered so little. Had Dimitrov won that match against Nadal in Melbourne he might not be having such issues now. That match has thrown off his whole season. He has not been the same since and that combined with this mental fear of Roger made for a dull match. There were a few sparkling rallies, but not enough to give life to the match. Roger has made his 50th quarterfinal at slam level. Chris Evert had 54 and Martina Navratilova 53. That's the kind of level he is at now. He has won 88 matches at Wimbledon in his career. That is another record. Two more wins will see him overtake John Newcombe for second place on the list for grass court wins at slam level. Newcombe has won 89 matches. Overall on grass, Federer is ten away from passing Jimmy Connors. His next opponent is 6th seed Raonic. Federer will be wanting a measure of revenge for last year. If injured Federer loses by an inch then healthy Federer should cruise. He will exploit the movement of Raonic and take the net away from his opponent.
First just check this out:

That was the norm. This was a match where the 5th set lasted 132 minutes. The other four lasted two hours and 35 minutes. This was a match that we had earmarked as a doozie from the start. And when Rafa started it by bumping his head we thought there might be trouble. Sure enough the 34 year old took the first two sets 6-3, 6-4. Rafa couldn't find a purchase or his groove. But when he's down by two sets it's Rafa time. He broke early in the second and then took it 6-3. He broke the veteran for the second and last time in the next set. The Spaniard had 0-40, blew it and then won it in a breaker anyway. So there we were. All set up for the 5th set. There were no breaks for the first nine games. And nobody ever takes Rafa into 'overtime' except Djokovic and Federer. It looked as if it would stay that way when Muller got two match points with Rafa at 4-5, 15-40. But when he was denied both with big booming serves we entered into the insane territory. That's when winning by two gets so hard. It took him an age to get another match point - 55 minutes later to be exact. That was at 9-10. After 31 games in a row without a break, something which will shock you if you only ever watch women's tennis, it was still even. But, on his 5th match point, and 90 minutes after the first, the Luxembourgian triumphed. His reward is a clash with on-fire Marin Cilic. With zero sets dropped, Cilic is looking the most dangerous player left in the draw. His serve is booming and he has so much self belief. But if Muller's serve gets going anything could happen. Nadal misses out on the chance to take the top spot for now. Meanwhile, Muller's 30 aces give him 102 for the tournament, three ahead of Anderson and Querrey. Both are on 99. Raonic is fourth with 92 and Cilic 5th on 72. Expect a lot of aces and a breaker or two in Muller's next match.
Out on Court One we had another classic. In fact, there really wasn't a bad fourth rounder. Both Zverev and Raonic have looked good throughout the tournament. The German has looked like he might make his slam breakthrough here. But at the fatal moment he choked, he couldn't quite get over the line and that was it. In an ironic twist, the old 'new gen' saw off the new 'new gen'. It took everything that Raonic had, but he won 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. With five breaks to three, and 61 winners to 50, it was the tightest of margins in this match. At 5-5 in the fourth, it was deuce. It was the German's moment. But he blew it, losing his service from 40-15 up in his own service game. Yet again he has gotten within inches but been denied. The Canadian was lucky to escape with a win here. And now he gets to play Roger Federer. He just needs to hit out and try to find the backhand as much as possible. He needs to go for broke and watch tapes of last year's semi-final. For Zverev this was a good result. He needs a top eight seed to be truly effective in slams.
Berdych edged through 6-3, 6-7[1], 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The entire key to the match? Berdych won 29 percent of his return points. His opponent got 26 percent. In these situations, three per cent is the difference. In matches between two incredibly talented players it is little things. Berdych felt like the favourite coming in, with all the grass court experience and that big serve. He got 74 per cent of his first serves in. He served up a storm. Thiem only broke once. Once in three hours of play. The Austrian is set to rise a place to 7th, whilst Berdman is going to be falling down the rankings. To make the finals the Czech will have to likely get through Djokovic and Federer. The silver lining is Djokovic (who didn't get to start his match on Monday) now has to play on back-to-back days. Could he have one more deep run? This is his big chance.
The American won 5-7, 7-6[3], 6-3, 6-7[9], 6-3. 31 aces apiece. Two breaks to one. Anderson hit 66 winners to 58. Both men won just 25 per cent of receiving points. This was a big-hitting match full of quick games and physical points. It was only three hours long this match. It was quick because of just how big each of them can serve. Anderson had the early runnings but Querrey broke open the match in the second set breaker. But in the fourth the South African struck back. He saved four match points and forced it to a 5th. Anderson was serving at 2-3 in the 5th when a double fault gave Querrey 0-30. He ended up breaking to love. The American finally took it on match point number six. Querrey admirably matches his performance from last year. Now he has to go for everything against Murray. He can cause an upset. But will he?

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