Tuesday, August 28, 2018

US Open Day 1: A Tale of Two Retirements

Hi All. Galileo here.

FAA was playing against his compatriot Denis Shapovalov on Grandstand when, trailing 4-1 in the third, when he began to have heart palpitations. Shappy encouraged him to keep going. The score was still close, it was 5-7, 7-5, 1-4. But the youngster could not continue and went down in tears.

On another court, later in the day, David Ferrer retired. In every sense of the word. He will probably play two more matches. He was limping at the end. It was fitting, seeing a great man, humbled, limping, at the end of a very long journey. It was extremely emotional. Nadal had only words of appreciation, as he should.

The contrast was extraordinary- two young compatriots at the beginning of their ATP journey and two compatriots at the end. Make no mistake- both Nadal and Ferrer are on the way out, world number one or not. Their rivalry spanned the clay courts of the world for five years. Ferrer dominated Nico Almagro and Nadal dominated Ferru. It is sad to see such a stalwart go. More and more we see the 2004 generation going. Only Federer is left. Nadal was not relevant until 2005 though he was around and building a magnificent career when Ferrer was climbing into the Top 15 for the first time. It feels like the end of something. And that sense of loss is nicely balanced out by the Canadians sharing their moment of brotherly love.

Even so, we will miss you David Ferrer.

MS 1st Rd: RAONIC [26] d. [q] BERLOCQ [W]
WS 1st Rd: Gavrilova [25] d. Sorribes Tormo [W]

...At the beginning of 2017 James Duckworth had surgery on his foot. He ended the year ranked 992. He is currently ranked 448th and got into the US Open on protected ranking. So did his more illustrious opponent, Andy Murray. It was the perfect match for Murray to get back into form. He edged out a tough match 6-7[5], 6-3, 7-5, 6-3. It took just over three and a quarter hours. Murray had a typically conservative W/UE mark of 31-29. Duckworth had the right tactics- his 50-64 mark was exactly what it should be. Muzza broke six times to two and took control of the match the further along it went. This was a classic match between two men coming back. It was a little sloppy, a little mistake-prone, but the quality was there still, you could tell. It gets more serious for the Brit now. He must take on 31st seeded Fernando Verdasco. Can his body hold up? Can his technique? We shall see. He has to beat Delpo in the third round and then possibly Stefanos Tsitsipas. It is a rocky road for the former number one. Tsitsipas just beat qualifier Tommy Robredo in his first match. Yes, that Robredo.

Also there might be a racket smash.

...Occasionally you look at a match and you think if that is not an upset, then it is an upset. For example, in 2012 Tamira Paszek drew Caroline Wozniacki in the first round of Wimbledon. We all looked at it and said that’s it, that’s a sure-fire upset. We thought exactly the same thing when we saw this matchup. Sure enough Wawrinka won in just under two and a half hours 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Dimitrov’s 29-42 W/UE mark is pretty poor, even worse than Wawrinka’s 30-37. The Bulgarian looks like he is finished. He just looks done career wise. All players hit this point sooner or later, the point where they just look finished. It happens to everyone. It happened to Andre Agassi and Boris Becker. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had to face it. The manner in which you deal with it shows the calibre of player you are. Wawrinka cruised here. He will face qualifier Ugo Humbert of France next. Dimitrov must go away and figure things out.

...Kyle Edmund crashed out in four to Paolo Lorenzi, so Nadal’s section is totally open. He has to play Vasek Pospisil next and he can beat anybody. He did beat Murray when he was world number one last year in Indian Wells. After that he will likely play Karen Khachanov. So it isn’t easy but he should still be too good. In 2003 Ferrer played the US Open for the first time. He lost to Robby Ginepri in 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. In that same section lucky loser Tomas Berdych made his slam debut. Todd Martin was also in his section, with JC Ferrero and Wayne Ferreira also seeded in that section. In 2004 he lost to Mardy Fish in straight sets. In 2005, seeded 17th, he got his first win in New York and made his seeding too.

So we say goodbye to Ferrer. Nobody ever did more with less but lots of bodies did less with more

...Once upon a time, Donald Young was considered the answer to men’s tennis in America. He is now ranked 232nd. His high is 38th, which he achieved in February 2012. Young is now 29. Yes, he is 29. That might be the most astonishing thing about him. Let’s not forget how successful he was in the juniors- he won three slams, though he never took the French, and was very accomplished in doubles, too. In 2012, the year of his highest ranking, he went 17 straight matches without winning. He has been the biggest disappointment in men’s tennis, probably ever. Far from being the saviour of American tennis, he was its low point. Well he has just lost 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and three quarters. The scoreline is generous. Juan Martin Del Potro was so good even his backhand was unplayable. The forehand was of course excellent, but the rest of his game was going too! He gets Denis Kudla next and then either Fernando Verdasco or Andy Murray.

...It took Kevin Anderson well over four hours but he came back from two sets to one down to triumph 7-6[5], 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. He hit 28 aces and 76 winners to his opponents 66. He did hit 44 errors, however, which was 17 more than his opponent. He also won four less points. This was a server’s match- Harrison won 80 per cent of his first serve points and the South African 77 per cent. They were also both 2 of 11 on break points. This is why the five set match is so beautiful. Only in boxing and tennis do you get such gladiatorial sport. Harrison, who is still only 26, was another bright young star who never quite lived up to the hype. He has become a perennially dangerous, often impressive, journeyman, but it isn’t anywhere near where we all thought he would be. It does not get any easier for Anderson as Jeremy Chardy will be his next opponent. Anderson does lead the h2h 2-1, the latest win coming in Cincy this summer.

Thanks and visit WTA BACKSPIN.

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