Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wk.34- But Before the Main Show...a little appetizer

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

My slam picks are in. A new BACKSPIN feature idea has been completed. It is all set up. This week we had heartbreak for Kyle Edmund, a competent Spanish performance and several long rallies in the semi-finals. We also had withdrawals, upsets and key victories. This is the week before a slam and the only rule is that there are no rules. Except that this is the ATP tour and it never gets quite that crazy over here. Indeed, the time that Soderling beat Nadal the whole tour actually shut down for half an hour. The rankings machine blew up, the world stopped turning on its axis and we all paused. On the WTA they would not have batted an eyelid.

It feels like a moment of quiet before a great tempest. It also feels like a gamble. What if you get injured like poor Julian Edelman did in his pre-season? What if you run out of energy? Even if you win, how much momentum do you really take into the next event?

Well in this, the fourth and final edition of 'mini-backspin' we'll find out. Let's head to the suicide arena and then we shall delve into the happenings of last week.

Oh, and keep refreshing the page over on WTA BACKSPIN. The HUUUGGGEEE US Open preview is going to be there in a few shakes of a lambs tail. Ah, now it's up.

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

S: Roberta Bautista Agut def. Damir Dzumhur 6-4/6-4
D: Rojer/Tecau d. Peralta/Zeballos

...The top seed in a pre-slam tournament usually wins a round then retires with a mysterious illness. “I shall have to retire - my arm is sunburnt.” “I am afraid I cannot continue - my foot has pins and needles.” Those are two classic excuses. But this week the top seed came in and dominated. Not in an exciting way or a flashy way, god forbid, but in a very efficient and intelligent manner. RBA won his first match against Lajovic 6-4, 6-3. He beat Baghdatis 6-3, 6-4 in the third round. Taylor H Fritz pushed him hard but was unable to break through, going down 6-2, 7-6[3]. 3-1 up in the breaker and the American missed a simple backhand. His racket paid the price for the error. But against the Spaniard you are only going to ever lose a point with an error. So his anger is understandable. He actually got one of the mini-breaks back, but it was to no avail. He was drawn into playing the Spaniard's game of long, achingly dull, rallies. It is beautiful, in its way, how RBA plays the game of tennis. He just hits it so deep. From 5-2 up he hung on for the win. He dismissed Struff 6-2, 6-4 in the semi-final before completing a straightforward 6-4, 6-4 win over Dzumhur. He didn't lose a set, looked good and now comes into New York with at least some confidence. He is now 6-6 in finals, but will run into Del Potro very early at the US Open, in the third round if the seedings hold. Still few men are such a mainstay of the top 15. It is another superb week for the the Spaniard who is now 2-0 on the season in finals.
...It must be nice, in a way, to be the best tennis player in your own country. Lots of pressure, but lots of fame and support, too.
...If you had to name five German tennis players currently active you would probably name the Zverev brothers, Petkovic, Lisicki, Kerber and possibly Kohlschreiber. You would not think about Struff. But he does put together a solid tournament every now and then. He is 5-12 in finals on the Challenger tour, but this year rose to 44 in the world, his highest ever ranking. Currently 54th, he is a handy player. He is also just 18,000 dollars away from being a millionaire twice over. In last week's tournament he beat Gombos in two breakers to open up his title aspirations. Then he took out Cuevas, the 5th seed, 7-6[2], 7-5. He edged Seppi in a classic 6-3, 6-7[3], 7-6[3]. He then had his big upset, over Coric 6-4, 7-6[2]. RBA spanked him in the semi-final, but sometimes a brutal loss at the end of a good run is not so bad. He should rise back into the top 40 as a result of this.
...When a slam is coming up that anybody has a shot at winning, those out of form would do well to find some, to get into a purple patch. But the Spaniard crashed out to Benneteau instead. He lost 7-6[5], 6-7[5], 6-3. So not only did he lose but he did so despite getting the momentum and despite being the better player. He also dragged it out much longer than it needed to go. Perhaps next time Busta chokes he could do it more quickly? This BACKSPINNER jests, but this was a shocking loss for an accomplished hard-court player. He had a chance to go far here.
...Sure it ended in heartbreak, but it was a magnificent run from the top seed in qualifying. He is ranked 41 but still ended up having to do it the hard way. He beat Fabbiano 6-2, 6-3. Then he just about edged past Medvedev 2-6, 6-2, 7-6[8]. He needed a second match point to do it but all that matters is that he got there. He dismissed fellow qualifier Fucsovics 6-2, 6-1 to make the quarterfinals. There he defeated Stevie Johnson 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. He has made semi-finals before, but never a final on the ATP tour. He came within inches of victory in the semi-final but could not get over the hump. It was Dzumhur's day. Wins over the Russian and American were plenty impressive, though.

1. WS R2 – Dzumhur d. Edmund 1-6, 7-5, 6-2
...Long rallies, big strokes and some dropshots. That was the first set. And the Brit sealed it with an ace. It was a dominant performance. Edmund's forehand may look funky but it is so effective. The Bosnian makes a better fist of it in the second. Ten games come and go with no breaks. It's 5-5. At 5-6 40-15 he misses a sitter of a forehand. I could have done better. At 40-30 he slightly overdoes a drop-volley and, though it is still a good shot, it gives his opponent a slight chance. It is all he needs. The next point, deuce, he misses another short ball. His head goes, he nets on set point and the match is over. Just like that. That's what you're expecting right? Well, Dzumhur gets out to 4-1. But he blows it. He cheaply hands away the break. In return, Edmund does the same, losing the service game at love. And he wins it with an exquisite drop-volley.

We finally have good news on the Dasha front. She has her maiden title. After two heartbreaking finals she has her day in the sun. And how sweet it must feel for the happy-go-lucky Aussie. She is at last the featured player on Todd's weekly update, on the big blog. She will be world number 20 tomorrow, the highest she has ever been. She lost in Moscow last year to Kuznetsova, was denied in Strasbourg by Stosur. And now she's done it. She has had to watch Ash Barty [losing finalist in the doubles in CT] have success after success. But now she has shown that, in singles at least, she is still the daddy.

1st title baby!!!

A post shared by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

Todd can tell you more, but wins over the defending champion Radwanska, in straight sets, Kr. Pliskova in three epic sets and a come from behind win in the final were all impressive. At 4-3 and then 4-5, Cibulkova's last two service games both went to deuce. Dasha went for winners during both. She is insane. And totally lovable. Our choice to follow her this year feels a little more justified.

In the US Open singles she plays qualifier Allie Kiick. Then it will be Rogers or Day. After that is the big kahuna; Elina Svitolina. If she gets there. The 4th seed must contend with Siniakova and then Bouchard. So Dasha may well have a great shot at the upset. A fourth round run after a title would be amazing, especially after the heartbreak at Wimbledon. No word yet on the doubles, unfortunately.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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