Monday, August 27, 2018

Wk.34- Carolina in Their Minds

Hi All. Galileo here.

Welcome to another mini-Backspin. We’ll be talking about retirement, a challenger called the Rafa Nadal Open and doing the suicide picks before we have a very quick run through of Winston-Salem.

We will have four major retirements this year. They are Feli Lopez, David Ferrer, Gilles Muller and Mikhail Youzhny. They have some 2000 wins between them. Ferru will retire after one of the Spanish clay events next year. His final slam match, almost certainly, will be against Nadal on Ashe. It will be emotional. If he wins a set expect the crowd to go mad. Muller and Youzhny are going this year, the Russian in St. Petersburg. Lopez has not set a date yet but he will be the Madrid tournament organiser. We will talk more on these men and the highlights of their careers, but Ferrer is the only one you could describe as great.

There was no challenger action this past week, possibly due to the qualifiers taking place in New York. Next week, however, we have the Rafael Nadal Open. It is in Mallorca and the winner will get about 43,000 dollars. Thomas Fabbiano and Pablo Andujar are the top seeds. Sergiy Stakhovsky is the 4th seed and Bernard Tomic is the 6th seed. This is quite an important step in the Australian’s career. To have the guts to play Challengers is impressive. He has managed to overcome his ego. It is worth noting that this is the first time the event has been held.
The similarities between Tomic and Johnny Manziel continue to grow. Tomic has an excuse but the quarterback does not. Still, the Challenger circuit is similar to the CFL. So much wasted talent in both men, but they still have time. Tomic could do with spending time at Nadal’s academy.

*US Open Suicide Pick*
MS: Raonic [25] d. [Q] Berlocq
WS: Gavrilova [25] d. Sorribes Tormo

S: Daniil Medvedev/RUS def. Stevie Johnson/USA 6-4/6-4
D: Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau def. James Cerretani/Leander Paes

...He has just hit a career high of 36. He has moved on from the temper tantrum boy, although this BACKSPINNER thought the coins episode was hilarious. Todd and I should compile the silliest tantrums of all time. Richard Gasquet throwing his socks- oh who am I kidding? The top ten is all Jelena Jankovic. She could be up 6-0, 4-0 and still find something to moan about. Anyway the Russian did not drop a set on the way to his second title. He is now 1-2 but has won the two finals he has contested this year. His first tournament win came in Sydney. Unseeded, he beat Mirza Basic in the first round. Then he shocked 15th seed Alex De Minaur 6-3, 6-3. Lucky loser Guido Andreozzi was next. The Russian beat him 7-5, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, he beat Ryan Harrison 7-6[4], 6-4. In the semi he smacked Taro Daniel 6-1, 6-1. Eighth seed Steve Johnson was waiting in the final but Medvedev cruised to the title, winning 6-4, 6-4.

The tournament before a slam is always a little funny, but it doesn’t matter. The Russian was dominant. He eased to victory. Evgeny Donskoy is his first opponent in New York. He may have to play Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round. But a fourth round run is not out of the question.
...We shouldn’t forget he was a semi-finalst at the US Open last year. He has not won a title this year, has only a 5-3 mark at slams and has been inconsistent at the Masters level. He reached the semis of Indian Wells and just made the quarters in Cincy. His form is on the up at the moment, but this result right before the slam is a good one. He can go in with confidence, knowing his game is getting there. He landed in Nole’s section and that means he will probably go out in the fourth round. If he does he will drop an awful lot of points. Busta was seeded second but struggled in his first match, edging Franko Skugor 6-3, 6-7[3], 6-3. In the next round he beat 16th seed Peter Gojo 6-2, 7-6[5]. In the quarters he beat 6th seed Hyeon Chung 6-3, 6-4. Johnson was in control from the start in their semi-final and the American got the win 6-3, 6-4. The Spaniard should still be delighted with that finish.
...He is now the world number 42, a career high. His breakthrough has been a slow burn but he is finally coming of age. He currently has a date with John Isner in the second round of the US Open. He beat Peter Gojo in four sets in the first round. He made his first final this year, in Brazil. Seeded 14th in Winston-Salem he beat Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-3 in his first match. In the next round he eased past J-L Struff 6-2, 6-2. He took the first set against Taro Daniel but faded to a 6-4, 2-6, 1-6 loss. Nicolas Jarry might finally have arrived. He should finish the year inside the top 40 and that would be a tremendous result for him.
...Hyeon Chung has re-emerged. He can no longer be considered anything but a veteran. Once you make your first slam semi you have been around long enough to be considered experienced. Seeded 6th he saw off Garcia-Lopez 7-6[4], 6-2. Then he knocked out Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. He couldn’t get any further, going down to Pablo Carreno Busta, and that has been the story all year. He builds a nice run but he can never extend it, never get it going. He needs to win a big title or two to show he can play and win in those big matches. It is the next step in his career.
...One of two Italians who did well at the French Open, Berrettini won a couple of matches in North Carolina last week. He has already won his first title this year and he has been adding to that success all year. He beat Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-3 in the first round, then took out 10th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5, 6-3. He lost to Hyeon Chung in the third round but it is nice to see a pulse, even if just for a moment.
...The first Sicilian to win a title, he has disappeared since his slam semi-final. Seriously, where has he been? The Italian won hearts and minds with a darling run in Paris but it can be so hard to back up. If he can’t build on that he will find it hard to defend his clay points from last year. His sparkling game has been a breath of fresh air on tour and it would be good to keep him in the 30.
...What a run. He opened with a 6-3, 7-6[4] win over John Millman. Then, in the second round, he ousted 9th seeded Querrey 3-6 7-5 7-6 (7-3), Because of the rain he had to come out and play again later that day, but seemed unaffected. He beat Dominik Kopfer in the next round 7-6[4], 7-6[3]. Then he upset 14th seed Jarry 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to make the semi-final. It was a glorious run for the Japanese man even if it did end in a 6-1, 6-1 loss. Daniel is currently world number 64, his highest ever ranking. He also won his first title this year, in Turkey. The journeyman is having quite the year.

1. QF - JOHNSON D. EDMUND 6-1, 6-2
...The American blew by Edmund, blowing up the Brit’s serve and winning in a little over an hour. This was a consummate performance from Johnson, whose best we have not seen for a while.
2. 2nd RD. - DANIEL d. QUERREY 3-6, 7-5, 7-6[3]
...In the middle of a rainstorm the Japanese man gutted out a fantastic comeback to beat a big seed. Querrey should have done better but it is still an impressive result from Daniel.

Thanks all.

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