Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Wk.43- Happy Fed-oween

Hi All. Galileo here.

Do you ever look at a player and wonder if they will make the Hall of Fame? It is something commentators love to say; great shot from the "future Hall of Famer." If Roger Federer is playing, then that’s fine. If it is Andy Murray, that would be fine, too. If it’s Stan Wawrinka you’d feel comfortable saying that he's in.

On the WTA, it gets murky. There are several players who have never been number one in singles who would get in for sure. I’d say Sam Stosur is more likely than Caro Wozniacki to get in, though they’ll both be fine, of course. But then she has all that doubles experience and is the only player outside a Williams to have won a slam in all three disciplines and be currently active (now that Martina Hingis is retired again). Both are likely to be inducted.

But what about Juan Martin Del Potro?

Andres Gomez is not in the Hall of Fame. There is no Michael Stich (though he is a nominee for the upcoming Class of 2018). But surely Del Potro would get in, right?

Well, he won the Davis Cup. He has had about four careers. He has that slam. When he beat Rafa Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to win that semi-final in 2009, well, he played the best match of anyone to beat a top three player that decade. His forehand is a legendary weapon and his mental strength is an underrated attribute.

His 20-9 record in finals isn’t good. He should be up around the 30 mark to have a shot. He is 0-3 in Masters finals. He has, however, got two Olympic medals, a good record at the Finals tournament. His career has been full of ups and down. He has played like a world number one before and he would have been a top ten mainstay if not for injuries. If he can stick around for another year, win a few more titles and take a second slam he should be good. But right now he won’t get in and that would be a real shame.

Wawrinka doesn’t have his flashes of brilliance, but he has three slams and the Davis Cup. He has been to four slam finals, and has been a solid player for five years. He should get in. If Delpo hadn’t been injured he would have been a lock by now, as well.

Oh, and during the offseason, Todd and I will talk about a little mini Martina Hingis featurette. Top five female player in the Open era? She is up there. We’d just like to wish her all the best in her new life.

S: Roger Federer def. Juan Martin del Potro 6-7(5)/6-4/6-3
D: Dodig/Granollers d. F.Martin/Roger-Vasselin

S: Lucas Pouille def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1/6-4
D: Bopanna/Cuevas d. Demoliner/Querrey

...Only one man has ever won one tournament eight times or more on different surfaces. Federer has won nine times in Halle and eight in Basel. He also has eight Wimbledon titles, but that’s an obvious one. This man has 1,378 matches under his belt. He has 1,129 wins. His 81.9% win rate is the second best of all time for those with at least 1000 matches. Nadal is 82.6. Jimmy Connors is 81.8. If you play Roger Federer on an even footing you have a one in five chance of winning. He has 144 finals, just two behind Ivan Lendl. He has 191 semi-finals, two more than Lendl. This guy’s longevity, ability to win and weaponry is, if anything, even better than it was before. He wins for the same reasons that Venus does. It is like clockwork. The shots have a rhythm. The forehand feels like an old friend and the serve is still the same basic motion. The opponents change, sure, and your movement isn’t what it once was, fine. But if it worked against Canas and Agassi, why wouldn’t it work against Goffin and Kyrgios? And if it worked against Mauresmo and Graf why not against Halep and Garcia? This week he beat Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 in his first match. The youngster was born in 1998, the same year that Federer made his first tournament main draw. Next Federer beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3. In the quarterfinals he was pushed to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Adrian Mannarino. In the semi David Goffin made a brief cameo in his 6-1, 6-2 loss. In the final, Del Potro actually managed to challenge him. Federer recovered to win 6-7[5], 6-4, 6-3. Federer was awesome. He has never looked better.
...Out of nowhere we had a classic Tsonga run. He edged Karan Khachanov 6-7[2], 6-4, 6-3 to open up his campaign. The key for the Frenchman has always been finding consistency. The aggression he has, but he cannot always find the consistency to match. In the next match he should have lost. Instead he survived Damir Dzumhur 6-7[5], 7-6[7], 6-1. Dzumhur should have found a way in the second set but he couldn’t even get a match point. This happened at the tail end of the match and it really is a good call from the umpire.

Having escaped twice, Tsonga was looking for better form. And he found it as he upset top seed Alex Zverev 7-6[6], 6-2. He was starting down the barrel at 0-3, 30-30 but recovered, forced a breaker and then clung on to nick the first set. But Zverev responded with an immediate break. The German, very strangely, then fell apart. Tsonga kept himself in the hunt for London. His 7-6[5], 7-5 nervy win over Kohl put him in another Vienna final. It is his second in a row. He also won the event in 2011. In the final he was denied again. He was very limp in a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Lucas Pouille. Still it was a good run from the Frenchie.
...Have you heard of Stefanos Tsitsipas? Of course, you have. Well, what about the guy who beat him in the final of the Brest challenger? Have you heard of Corentin Moutet?

He looks 12 but is actually 18, and his lefty forehand is enormous. He also has a pretty nice backhand up the line. At a tournament where none of the seeds achieved their seeding, he started off with a solid 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Norbert Gombos. In the next round he saw off French qualifier Tristan Lamasine 6-4, 6-7[6], 6-3. He spanked Gleb Sakharov, also of France, 6-1, 6-3 in the quarters. He edged past Yannick Maden of Germany in the semi-finals, taking four of 11 break points and scraping a tight set second set to win 4-6, 7-6[2], 6-4. And in the final it was a massive upset, as he beat the Greek wunderkid 6-2, 7-6[8]. And if you want to check out that one you can.

Moutet rose 64 places to 160 in the world. It is a career high. One day these two might meet in the latter stages of a slam. You never know.
...The Frenchman is coming to the end of a charming, if underachieving, career and we should enjoy the shot-making and upsets while we can, because he is still effective and he can still produce extraordinary things on occasion. That backhand still sings and stings. He has a unique game-style which is starting to die out. This week he beat Feli Lopez 6-2, 6-3 in the first round. There are over 900 wins on that court and more than 1100 matches worth of experience, too. He outgunned Domi Thiem 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the second round. Down early in the first set he recovered and dominated the second set but couldn’t seem to take any of his myriad of opportunities to win it. Despite being in front of a home crowd Thiem crumbled to a 6-1 loss. He is assured of a spot at the WTF, but it is still a poor effort on home soil. In the quarters, Gasquet went down extremely quietly to compatriot Pouille 7-6[5], 6-1.

...We have another one of these mystifying, incomplete, overly talented, unpredictable, brilliant Frenchies. Who knows when they’ll turn up? Who knows if they can keep the form up from point to point, let alone set to set. Tournament to tournament? Forget about it. Unseeded in Vienna he opened with a win over hometown favourite Ofner 6-4, 6-3. Then he beat Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 7-6[8]. He spanked Ritchie Gasquet 7-6[5], 6-1. And in the semi-final he came back from a set down to beat Edmund. He saw six break points come and go in the first. He got a 4-0 love lead in the breaker only to see it disappear. He has multiple set points erased and then he lost the set. But he responded by taking the next two fairly routinely. He shrugged and went right back to it. And then in the final he, of course, routed Jo-W Tsonga 6-1, 6-4. It was such a French performance. With the French nothing seems to faze them or bring them down. This is a weakness, too, but sometimes it can be their biggest strength. The ability to just get on with it is so valuable.
...Diego Schwartzman, ranked outside the top 25, is in contention for the WTF. Isner, Sock and Ramos-Vinolas could also qualify by winning Paris. All Querrey and Anderson had to do was win a couple of matches in Austria. Do that and they had a great chance. But they couldn’t. It is disappointing to see two very good players not wanting it enough. Anderson lost 6-4, 6-4 to Garcia-Lopez while Sam Querrey choked. The American cracked 26 aces and a racket during the match. He held two match points during the second tiebreaker. And he got another one on his opponent’s serve in the third set but still couldn’t close out the match. It’s insane that he couldn’t find one of those match points when he was fighting for a spot at one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world.
...Ending the year both on a high and a disappointment, Edmund capped off a good season with one last run. He started off with a great win over Ferrer, taking out the Spaniard 6-2, 7-6[5]. He met Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak in the second round, and he edged him by the slightest of margins. He was up a break in the first but lost it when he served for the opener. He won the breaker but lost a break [again] and then the breaker in the next set. With no breaks in the third it went to ANOTHER breaker. The Brit clung on to move through. In the next round it was straightforward against J-L Struff, Edmund winning that 6-2, 7-5. But in the semi-final he choked. He went down to Pouille 7-6[7], 4-6, 3-6. He wasted a good comeback and the momentum. The difference between the top guys is the mental strength. Edmund didn’t have it when it counted. He should finish this year at about 50 in the world. He finished last year knocking on the top 40. So whilst he’s gone backwards a bit, at least he hasn’t totally lost ground.

1. VIENNA R1 – Ramos-Vinolas d. Querrey 3-6. 7-6[7], 7-6[3]
...Have you ever seen Sam Querrey smash a racket? Nope, neither have I. But he is frustrated because he knows you probably only get one or two shots at the WTF in your life if you are the American. And he just blew one. He didn’t just blow all those match points, he blew break points and had a mini-break in the third set breaker, up 2-1. But he lost four points in a row. The crowd enjoyed two hours and 52 minutes worth of drama.
2. Basel Final – Federer d. Del Potro 6-7[5], 6-4, 6-3
...Del Potro took a lot of momentum from his 6-4, 6-4 win over Cilic in the semi. And he dominated Federer throughout the first set. But Fedex slowly began to come back. And when he won the most epic of points at 4-5 30-40 in the second set the whole thing turned on its head. The Swiss began to roll and roll and soon had the title won.


Del Potro [13] d. [1] Nadal
Tsonga [11] d. [17] Pouille
Del Potro [13] d. [11] Tsonga

...Funny things always happen at the last tournament of the year, and Delpo and Tsonga both know they need a big result to get a big reward. They are both capable of it. Nadal doesn’t do well here, generally. And Zverev has already gone. I like Pouille to finish in the top 15 in the world again. He did it last year too, right?

Dasha is finished, but if you want Aussie action then you can watch Ash Barty. She is a set away from reaching the semi-finals at that funny WTA "Elite" thing. If she can take a set off Kerber she should win through to the final, though it all depends on games and stuff.

Thanks all.

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