Tuesday, September 04, 2018

US Open Day 8: The End?

Hi All. Galileo here.

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Well that’s it. Roger Federer is finished.

He served for a two sets to love lead at 6-3, 5-4, 40-15. At 5-6 he had 40-15. He had a break in the fourth set he threw away. He hit 49 per cent of his first serves in. Just 49. He won only 47 per cent of his second serves. He hit 22 errors in the second set and went down 6-4, 5-7, 6-7[7], 6-7[2]. It isn’t the stats. It is the fact that at last he looked old. He looked tired.

He has since admitted he couldn’t find air. Kudos must go to his opponent who stuck around and played a great match, and some great shots. John Millman had a career night but that just doesn’t seem important now. The camera panned to faces in the crowd, and all the Federer fans seemed despondent. It’s no wonder, really. Their hero was reduced to trying to win a match by hitting dropshots. In order to keep the points short Fed ended up hitting only droppers and volleys by the end. It was a sad end to a great career. The greatest career. It looks impossible we will ever see him genuinely compete for another major title. We have said this before about both Federer and Serena Williams, but it seems so final today.

Retirement is officially coming in the next six months. After a performance like that an announcement will be made soon. His serve was off, the forehand down the line missed at crucial moments and the backhand was off-key. This was one of the worst performances we have ever seen from Federer. He has fallen off a cliff. It has been at best a mixed year. Father Time gets you in the end and it has finally gotten a-hold of Federer. The question now is where does he want to end it? Does he end it in Basel? Or Wimbledon? Maybe he ends it at the WTF? My guess is that he goes into semi-retirement and tries to hang on long enough to go to the Olympics in 2020. He wants one more shot at the title. If he chooses not to then Wimbledon would be the next logical spot.

Todd. If you were Federer where would you pick to retire? [Ed.note: hmmm, if I had to choose, the Olympic notion seems good. Unless you'd want to go the Pete Sampras route, and after one final slam title. And, of course, it should be noted, that Djokovic looked down and out for good about this time last year, as well. I think the heat had a large assist last night, so unless a run of bad results comes next I wouldn't rule out another slam contending year or two, at least at SW19. - tds]

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 Serbian cruised to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win. It took him exactly two hours and four breaks of service to get by. He looked listless and down six months ago. Now he is reborn and the massive favourite for the tournament. He has two straightforward matches before the final and then it will get tricky. Joao Sousa is not bad but he does not have the one big weapon that is usually needed to take down the best players. He managed a very poor 21-28 winners ratio and barely even threatened the former champion. The day was filled with forgettable matches and if not for Millman who knows how dull it could have been? The Naomi Osaka match was pretty good. Anyway Djokovic gets to play Millman next and he should ease by the Australian.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG: NISHIKORI D. KOHLSCHREIBER ...The German hung on in the third set to push the match to two and a quarter hours but the result had an air of inevitability to it. The 21st seed loves the US Open. It is by far his best tournament and he has found a serious vein of form. He won the match 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. It was a typically controlled performance- he went 29-18 on the winners to errors mark and broke six times to two, while winning 44 per cent of receiving points. He soaked up the German’s offense and then responded. He outlasted him in the long rallies. Kohl only won 42 per cent of points on his second delivery. With his ground-game working beautifully the diminutive star now has a chance to exact revenge on Marin Cilic. I don’t know if Todd will agree. but personally I feel like Nishikori and Elena Dementieva have a lot in common. Average serves, immense ground games and bad luck at slams. Or am I crazy? [Ed.note: Although, Nishikori has the injury/retirement thing that was never really Dementieva's "issue," and she put herself in position to win (SF+) far more times. Their best slams results: (Dementieva) 2 F, 7 SF, 3 QF vs. (Nishikori) 1 F, 1 SF, 7 QF so far - tds]

...If only David Goffin had been given a weapon. If only one of his wings had a fearsome shot. Jim Courier dominated the tour for two years off the back of one shot. The Belgian played a very long three set match but still lost 7-6[6], 6-2, 6-4 in almost two and a half hours. It may not sound close but the Croat had to grind and earn all of those points, games and sets. There were 195 points in the match, in fact. The Croat broke five times to two and had a great 43-48 winner ratio. Goffin was an abysmal 19-35. He could not consistently hit the offensive shots he needed to and you cannot win a match on defense alone on this surface. Cilic only got 46 per cent of his first serves in and that will have to be improved upon if he is going to go far. The Belgian will head into the Asian swing, where he does very well, with momentum and an uptick in form. Cilic is still in the hunt for that elusive second slam. He has to defeat Nishikori and then probably John Millman [just kidding] before the final. It is going to be tricky, but probably doable.

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