Thursday, August 30, 2018

US Open Day 3: Angry Murray Burns Out

Hi All. Galileo here.

All tennis players lose their tempers. It is impossible to play the sport and not get angry, even once. Usually it is justified to a certain extent, or at least understandable. Serena Williams got understandably angry when she blew a point against Sam Stosur in New York seven years ago. John McEnroe also got angry, again understandably. Jeff Tarango was not one you could relate to but his temper tantrum is still one of the best we have ever seen.

And then there is Andy Murray. He once told Lukas Rosol nobody on tour liked him. He also insulted del Potro, and possibly his mother, during a match on European clay courts in one of their first meetings.

Murray again got angry in his second round clash with Ferver. He was irritated that the Spaniard got coaching during the 10-minute Heat Rule break. It is a brand new rule, made up on the spot. Of course he should be angry - it is a violation. But once he got flustered, combined with his already being hot, he lost it and shortly afterwards the match. We are watching the end of Murray here. His time as a force is gone. He has a great record in New York and he looked like a ghost of his former self. The old Murray used rage positively, to fight back, but this injury-damaged version has none of that bite. Will he be able to overcome his difficulties? Will the ATP and WTA finally sort out this coaching during matches mess? Only time will tell. Now let’s move on.

MS 1st Rd: RAONIC [26] d. [q] BERLOCQ [W]
MS 3rd Rd: ISNER [11] D. LAJOVIC
WS 1st Rd: Gavrilova [25] d. Sorribes Tormo [W]
WS 2nd Rd: SEVASTOVA [19] D. [WC] LUI [W]
WS 3rd Rd: BARTY [18] D. [Q] MUCHOVA

...No worries for Nadal as he blasted Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in exactly two hours. He blasted 26 winners and broke five times to one. If not for that break it would have been an immaculate performance from the Spaniard. His forehand has once again emerged as the kind of weapon that can wreck players singlehandedly. When he is serving at 73 per cent first serves in and winning 44 per cent of return points you know you’re in for a short match. Karen Khachenov, seeded 27th, has not dropped a set yet and will be Nadal’s next opponent. He has already experienced Nadal’s power and will know what to do. The good news for Rafa is that there wil be an unseeded player waiting for him in the fourth round.

...Ferver overcame a 2-13 h2h deficit to defeat Murray in the second round. All their best matches have come at slams. Ferver’s two most recent wins have both come at hard-court slams now. It took the 31st seed three and a half hours to triumph 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. He overcame the heat, Murray’s swearing and his own mental demons. Muzza’s 35-46 winners ratio is indicative of his lack of form and match play whilst Ferver’s 52-48 was world class. That is perfect aggression. If he can reign in that forehand just a little, which he does struggle with, he can be unbeatable. It was a really tight match across the board. The Spaniard’s 43 per cent return win rate was only one higher. He won just five more points. This was a great match for the crowd, filled with long rallies and plenty of breaks. It was big on drama, despite compromising a tad on quality. Verdasco deserved the four set win. For Murray it will rankle.

...The Argentinian giant continues to roll. He smacked Denis Kudle 6-3, 6-1, 7-6[4]. He blasted 20 aces and 36 winners in the 116 minute contest. He never even faced a break point but he broke the American four times. The most astonishing stat though? He won 65 per cent of his second serve points. Kudla wasn’t terrible- a 31-32 winners ratio is perfectly acceptable. When it came to diffusing the bombs del Potro was throwing him he had no clue and no answers. That he forced a tiebreaker in the third set is a remarkable achievement. Delpo moves on to face Fernando Verdasco now. That is the kind of match where you would hate to be a ball.

...It did not take Niko Basilashvili long to get on top of Jack Sock. He won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6[3]. The Georgian only got 41 per cent of his first serves in but won 71 per cent of his service points. That makes no sense. That shouldn’t happen. He did very well in the winners department - he hit 45 and only made 30 errors. But Sock’s 37-41 is a solid stat too. The American has been plumbing new depths of woeful this season. He has been poor all year. He might be seeded 18th here but he is playing like a world number 180 not 18. This BACKSPINNER has no idea how to fix Jack Sock but he does know the American needs to fiddle with his game or his attitude or something. Perhaps he is injured or perhaps he is suffering from pressure. Either way something is not right here. The Niko will play Guida Pella for a shot at Nadal, assuming he can get past the Russian. Sock didn’t play terribly today he just doesn’t look like winning.

...The young Canadian has been playing a lot of emotional matches lately. Denis Shapovalov survived an upset bid by winning 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6[2],6-4 in just shy of three hours and 50 minutes. How they did on the stats side is up to you - do you prefer 55-76 o 31-52 as a winner to error ratio? This BACKSPINNER personally is more impressed by Shapovalov’s 55 winners. Similarly his 21 of 28 points won at the net is excellent, especially against a great passer like Seppi. But Seppi’s 9 of 10 is better in percentage terms. This was a classic clash of styles. The fiery youngster with huge weapons took on the steady baseline and knocked him out in five epic sets. He was mere points from defeat but pulled out an astonishing comeback. That's where you can best tell how a youngster will do - his performance under pressure. He will next play 5th seeded Kevin Anderson. The South African smacked Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Thanks and visit WTA BACKSPIN.

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