Tuesday, August 29, 2017

US Open: A Day 1 to Remember

Hi All. Galileo here.

Andy Murray had no choice but to wait until the last minute to withdraw. You cannot criticise him for that, but it does mess up the seedings a little. It gives Zverev and Cilic a big chance, if they can take it. And if Cilic does take that, and wins in the final, we might have to start considering his Hall of Fame credentials. It also means the two highest ranked players are now in one half. In fact, that top half is so heavy, lously even, with possible winners, that the bottom half is going to give one lucky guy a chance at a slam.

Just look a the 2004 edition of Roland Garros. All the big names went out early and that left Gaston Gaudio free to win. Well, he actually stumbled into the title more than anything else. So if Dimitrov goes all the way to the final, or if Del Potro wins it again, don't be too surprised.

But that is all ahead of us. Right now we have to look at what happened on the first day. And that was actually quite a lot.

U.S. Open Suicide Picks:
WS: Garcia [18] d. Martincova [Q]
MW: Dimitrov [7] d. Safranek [Q]

...Imagine a man called Tennys losing at the very thing he was named after. Marin Cilic, seen here playing the role of Andy Murray, has barely played a match since losing the Wimbledon final in the devastating fashion that he did. Indeed, there was nothing to indicate he'd be any good. When Seles came back she was very good for a spell but never actually excercised her demons. The best test is time. It is really hard to tell how trauma affects any person, sporting or not. Anyway, Cilic's 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory was as straightforward as a four-setter can be. He looked good, the forehand was working well and he hit 55 winners in the two and three quarter hour contest. If he cuts down on his 57 errors he will be in excellent shape to go on a nice deep run here. Florian Mayer is up next. That should be a good test for the Croat.
...In these early rounds there is rarely a truly great storyline or upset. I wouldn't even call Sharapova's win an upset. She was the favourite and she played like it, mid-match blip notwithstanding, but that doesn't make it not a great storyline. So even though you have great, exciting players, like Darian King, they rarely go anywhere. They usually draw a really good player and we don't get to see their tennis. He set the tone when he held in a five minute opening service game. With his unorthodox strokes and enthusiastic style, he managed to give it back to Zverev. The German, looking a bit Bjorn Borg with that headband on, responded well. He absorbed his opponent's attacks, learned his game style and edged him out 7-6[9], 7-5, 6-4, breaking four times to two. The opening set lasted 81 minutes and King used the crowd in it superbly. Zverev had three set points in the opener, one of which came on his serve. But he was denied thrice. Finally, at 8-7, King had a chance, earning it with a huge forehand winner. But he blew it and the next one, at 9-8, he double-faulted on. The German won the next two points and slowly took control. But for two hours he bugged, irritated and frustrated the German. Next up is Borna Coric. He just dismissed Jiri Vesely in straight sets. He could take a set from the German, maybe more.
...Isner always looks so wobbly at slams. He just looks ready to be upset at any given opportunity. Against Herbert, who has one eye on the doubles, anyway, he got through 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. It was another fairly comfortable four-setter, like in the Cilic match, but Isner shouldn't have dropped that middle set. He should have hung tight. The NY crowd are going to be vital for Isner in the coming weeks. The 59 winners are good but he should be hitting more than 22 aces, he should be drowning his opponents in service winners. Anyway, up next is Hyeon Chung.

Using that high tech scale, the danger level is very high but not extreme. He needs to not let the rallies go beyond four shots.
...This is the big one, the upset of the day and probably the upset of the first week. Jordan Thompson has battled past Jack Sock in his own backyard. Sock had a huge opportunity to go far but could not hold on for the win. Thompson won, in four minutes shy of four hours, 6-2, 7-6[12], 1-6, 5-7, 6-4. Last year he lost from two up. But this year was different. He was a double break down in the first set but came back from 4-1 down. They each had four sets points in the tiebreak. He won the set despite the noise and his opponent's huge forehand. And he managed to find a way back into the match when he fell apart. He even managed to take the momentum back in the fifth set twice. In the final set, the Aussie lost 11 points on the bounce, looked hurt and out. But at 4-3 the American's forehand collapsed. And that was the match. It is Fabbiano up next for Thommo. If he wins another match he will climb into the top 60. But lefty Gilles Muller is lurking. But it looks like all that hitting with Lleyton is working wonders, but he will still need to improve on the ten double faults he hit. That's a huge number.
...Moved around to replace Cilic, who replaced Murray, Sam Qurrey now has a great shot at a another slam semi-final. He opened with a nice, easy 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over Gilles Simon. There were 11 breaks in the not-quite two hour match. Neither player hit more winners than errors and it was a pretty ugly match overall. But Querrey has come through it. Just winning is so important in Grand Slams. This is not Miss America. This is not cheerleader camp. It doesn't have to be pretty. And so what if it's gritty? The American has the best chance of all the yanks to go far in this tournament. If Zver jr. Chokes before the quarters then Querrey is the best player left in this quarter. Yes, it's crazy. But it's still true.
...This BACKSPINNER just feels sorry for Tomic now. Muller won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The Australian should quit for a year. He should get his body in tip-top shape. When Ferrer wasn't enjoying it he worked as a bricklayer for a time. Tomic should try hard manual labour. There nothing else I could suggest. It's just regretabble. Muller is through and is another one with a great chance to make a semi-final. But the Australian is just in deep trouble.

I want that back. The desire, the drive and the weapons.

Third up on court five, during the late afternoon. Qualifier Allie Kiick takes on our Dasha. She should win that.

For the Dashas, plural, they have Begu/Olaru in the first round. That'll be difficult. But after that is Peschke/Groenefeld. Peschke is 42 and still kicks butt. She has played with everyone. The partnership she had with Srebotnik was formidable. Since 2010 she has only played with Srebotnik or Groenefeld.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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