Monday, September 03, 2018

US Open Day 7: Isner Stands Tall in the Face of Adversity

Hi All. Galileo here.

We haven’t even gotten to a full slate of quarterfinals in the men’s doubles and the top two seeds are already gone. They were followed by an additional four lower seeds. Even though the 9th seeded pair of Herbert/Mahut achieved their seeding they should have gone further.

In the ladies singles draw there is similar chaos. The three highest seeds left are [3] Sloane Stephens, [8] Karolina Pliskova and [14] Madison Keys. Serena is still there and so is the Supernova but once again the seeds have scattered to the four winds. In the men’s singles, the top three are all there. In fact five of the highest eight are still alive.

Well, let’s take a quick peek at the results.

MS 1st Rd: RAONIC [26] d. [q] BERLOCQ [W]
MS 3rd Rd: ISNER [11] D. LAJOVIC [W]
WS 2nd Rd: SEVASTOVA [19] D. [WC] LUI [W]
WS 3rd Rd: BARTY [18] D. [Q] MUCHOVA [W]
WS 4th Rd: KEYS [15] D. [29] CIBULKOVA [W]

...The Argentinian has been one of the players of the tournament so far. He has not dropped a set. No other quarterfinalist has done that, though Fedex could if he can avoid the upset against John Millman. The sheer power of the Argentine, particularly off the forehand wing, has been awe-inspiring. It took him just over two hours to dismiss Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3, 6-1. He hit 33 winners to just 24 errors and broke five times. The only blot on his copybook was losing his serve once and winning just 50 per cent of his second serve points. Of course that doesn’t matter when 80 per cent of his first serves are going in. He won 44 per cent of return points on the match and he will have to keep up the strong returns in his next game- he faces 11th seed John Isner. That match is going to have some tiebreakers.

...Guys know how to beat Rafa Nadal now. If you have a strong enough backhand you can follow the Nole blueprint. The Spaniard always looked like he was winning this match, but it did get tricky towards the end. He saw off the Georgian number one 6-3, 6-3, 6-7[6], 6-4. Rafa served at 4-3 in the breaker but could not close it out. Basil found himself down a break in the third but broke back...before collapsing. He was really swinging throughout the match, going 56-59 on the winners ratio. Rafa had to really gut this one out, but broke six times and managed to ride out the storm. He will play Dominic Thiem knowing that a win will secure the top spot in the rankings, but a loss will give Federer a chance to steal it. He should beat Thiem and if he can win 61 per cent of his first serves again then he will.

...After an extremely impressive win over Stan Wawrinka in the previous round, Milos Raonic was looking to continue his form. In the first set he did. He won it 6-3 and looked pretty good. His dropshot and backhand were working well. John Isner has had a revelation of late. He has transformed, overnight it seems, into a together player who knows how to maximise his weapons. He responded by taking the next two sets 6-3, 6-4. Raonic forced a 5th by taking the next set 6-3. But Isner played a perfect 5th set, winning it 6-2. He broke twice, lost just three points on his serve and won 73 percent of his opponent’s second serve points in that final set. Raonic, if not for injuries, would probably have a slam by now. He is one of the best players in the world, in terms of game and mentality. But this year the American has really stepped it up. He has hit the heights we always thought he could. He plays Delpo next and you should expect tiebreakers there. Will he be the first man to take a set off the Argentine at this year’s championship? John Isner won the aces battle in this match by 20-18 and also won 31 percent of receiving points. If he can keep it around or above that mark he has a shot at winning this year's tournament.

...It has finally arrived. The day has come at last. Dominic Thiem has had a big result off the dirt. He ousted last year's finalist Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-2, 7-6[2] in two and a half hours. Anderson played fine, his 44 per cent win rate on second serves aside, and even went 40-27 on the winners ratio. The Austrian was 42-13. He broke three times to none. The reason this match has such an unflattering scoreline is that Thiem was utterly dominant. The Austrian took his opponent to the wood chipper. After a year of mostly unsatisfying results, bad losses and lack of form Thiem has responded by having his best result at a slam not held in France. He plays Rafa next and he will have a great shot to beat the Spaniard. He is playing better than Nadal and has lost fewer sets and games over the last two rounds. He has a shot to take a huge scalp and cement his place at the WTF.

Thanks and visit WTA BACKSPIN.

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