Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wk.32- Rafael Nadal: The Story of One Man and His Knees

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Last week, Nadal's knees were not injured or otherwise damaged and he swept to the title, defeating the world number one and defending champion in the process. Nadal allowed Levine just two games, then edged Janowicz in a very tight 7-6, 6-4 decision. He then put away surprise quarterfinalist Matosevic in straight sets to set up the semi we had been waiting for. It did not disappoint and even included Nadal hitting a ball into Djokovic's face.

In fact, below are some famous examples that I can remember happening off the top of my head. Mostly, it is a shot that is used to win the point quickly or if there are no other options.

In the Huber clip, I believe there were other options and that shot should not have been played, but she overreacted.

Murray also had other options and I don't know why he opted for that shot when the down the line was open and was a less vicious alternative.

Whatever your take is on this play, it should not be allowed to overshadow a final that was filled with quality. Nadal finally won after dominating a final set break by 7 points to 2.

The Canucks also proved their sporting merits off the ice with the first all homegrown semi there for a very long time. Raonic won that in an epic three setter that had to be settled on a breaker, but he then collapsed completely in the final losing 2 and 2 to Nadal, who is the big favourite to finish year end number one.

S: Rafael Nadal def. Milos Raonic 6-2/6-2
D: Peya/Soares d. Fleming/A.Murray

...Nadal beat the number one, but before that he had to go through Levine and Janowicz, the talented youngsters. He lost just 12 games in four sets, including a bagel against Levine. Aussie Matosevic had come through qualifying and then beat Becker before benefiting from the retirement of Haas to reach the third round. He then edged Paire in three epic sets to reach the quarters. It was a noteworthy performance from the Aussie and the qualifier of the week surely. Nadal beat Mato 6-2,6-4 but Djokovic smashed Gasquet by an even bigger margin winning, easily 6-1, 6-2. It was not a fun match to watch and Djokovic didn't break a sweat, but predictably the Frenchman still made the shot of the day despite only winning 20 points or so in the entire match. The Fedal rivalry was the greatest rivalry we have had in our sports on the male side -Navert still has my vote on the other side of the fence- but the Djokal rivalry is an intriguing one, though admittedly one with less variety between points and matches than the truly memorable Fedal rivalry. Anyway, this latest installment of that rivalry didn't disappoint and Nadal edged it after a late surge to make the final where he sent Raonic packing.
RISER: Milos Raonic, CAN
...Being the highest seed in the bottom half of the quarterfinalists made him the immediate favourite to progress to the final and he didn't disappoint. He beat Gulbis in three sets before beating Vasek Pospisil in three big sets once more. Thanks in part to Gasquet's inability to defend his points from last year -and tendency to crumble under even the very slightest of pressures- and his finalist points means that he has reached a career high of ten whilst Gasquet moves to 11 and Wawrinka is at 9. With Tsonga withdrawing from the Open, the seedings in NY will be very interesting.
SURPRISE: Vasek Pospisil, CAN
...Vasy came back from a set down to beat in-form Isner 5-7,7-6,7-6 and then followed that up by beating talented Czech Stepanek 6-2, 6-4 to go through to the third round where he faced off against fifth seeded Berdych. It was an incredible match which he eventually rebounded to win 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 in truly jaw dropping fashion. The way he won that breaker 7-5 was truly remarkable and kept me on the egde of my seat throughout. When Davy retired during their match, he had made his first Masters semi, where it took an amazing effort from Raonic to finally stop Vasek's run.
VETERAN: Nikolay Davydenko, RUS
...Unfortunately for the talented Russian, father time has finally caught up with him. It happened to Roy Orbison, it happened to Aretha Franklin and it's happening to him just as it must happen to everyone else except Serena Williams and Tommy Haas, of course. When I'm down in the cold cold earth, Haas will still be competing and Serena will be serving bagels out to anyone unlucky enough to end up in her section of the draw. But anyway, Niko looks finally to be past it and grinding out wins over Simon, Andujar and Bogomolov will do little to inspire him to greater heights.
...The third seeds and eventual champions looked down and out on a couple of occasions but both times came back and then dominated the championship breaker. They beat Berdych/Llodra 3-6,7-6,10-6 in the second round after a bye then beat Dodig/Melo 4-6,7-5,10-1. After beating Frystenberg/Matowski in the semis, they edged Brits Fleming/Murray 6-4, 7-6.
NEW FACE: Marinko Matosevic, AUS
...Mad Dog Matosevic made his first ever Masters quarter. Apparently that is his nickname, well, at least according to his official website. Anyway, Mad Dog is based in Melbourne and he has been around the top 50 mark for a while now but is yet to take that next step up and it will be interesting to see if he can do that.
DOWN: Andy Murray, GBR
...He edged Granollers in two tight sets 6-4, 7-6 but was completely flat against Gulbis and succumbed to the flamboyant Latvian in two easy sets 6-4, 6-3. His forehand was way off for long stretches and he looked a little off, which is forgivable after his Wimbledon victory.

1. Montreal SF - Nadal d. Djokovic
Mere words would do this match no justice, but it was something akin to the final action scene in a film starring Stallone or Willis. Lots of explosive shots and ridiculous things that can't possibly happen in real life and at the end you gotta sit back and take a breather. An experience, rather than just a match. The numbers don't matter just the clash of styles and the quality on display.
2. Montreal 3rd Rd. - Pospisil d. Berdych
Pospisil put on the glass slippers this week and went on a fairy-tale run.
3. Montreal QF - Raonic d. Gulbis
A nice tight three setter involving two of the biggest young guns around at the moment, and it did not let down our expectations. It turned out to be an excellent match with both games on display for the eager crowd to enjoy.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN.

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