Thursday, April 03, 2014

Wk.13- Novak is No Djoke in Miami

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Well, March is behind us. I had to wait for the Davis Cup draw before posting so that is why this is being posted late. So Djokovic won the double (IW & Miami) again after winning both back in 2011. Only Federer has won the double twice and he did it back to back. Djokovic is once more the world's best player, having dispatched an on song Nadal 6-3, 6-3 pretty handily. Is it a coincidence his resurgence occurred when his co-coach Becker went to go and have his hips replaced? I think that Becker is getting a bit of a bad rep actually. Perhaps he is showing Djokovic how to improve certain aspects of his game and we will see the fruits of his labour come the grass season. We will find ourselves on the green stuff in about two months. Less, in fact.

Djokovic, yes I know he won it, has struggled on grass previously. I always thought Wimbledon would be the one he would find toughest to win because he CAN beat Nadal on clay, seemingly at will. But then again I thought Wozniacki would excel on the clay. So what do I know?

Speaking of dominance, the Bryans have been that and then some. They decided they wanted to win Miami without losing a set. So they did but they were taken to a breaker three times. The Bryans are what it would it have been like had Nadal not played and so stopped Federer running amok. There is nobody who can consistently challenge the Bryans.

The Federer curse struck again. Federer was poor during that match. He had Nishikori several times but he was bested by the determination of the Japanese man and the condition.

But enough of my talking, stuff happened in the final week of our March madness.

S: Novak Djokovic d. Rafael Nadal 6-3/6-3
D: Bryan/Bryan d. Cabal/Farrah 7-6/6-4

...Djokovic is the best player in the world. Nadal has had a good year, winning two titles and making the finals of two others, and for Djokovic to dispatch him with little trouble was very impressive. Putting aside the walkover [CURSE!] and Djokovic has had a very impressive tournament. Actually, Mayer withdrew in the third round, too. So, really he only faced four opponents. He dispatched Chardy and Robredo in straight sets to advance to the quarters. After that he edged Murray in a tight two setter 7-5, 6-3 and then benefited from another withdrawal to reach the final where he was too strong for the Spaniard. Djokovic's run puts me in mind of the 2006 AO where Mauresmo had at least three opponents retire in her title run, including Henin-Hardenne in the final. But it was Mauresmo and she deserved some luck by that point. Anyway, Djokovic showed again that he knows how to do what Nadal did to Federer, except better. It's an ironic twist or perhaps poetic justice -- the conqueror of legends becomes legend and is then conquered. History repeats itself. Djokovic has yet to become a legend -- he's missing the French Open -- but if he does will he be conquered? We will see the Djoker in Monte Carlo next. He is the second seed behind Rafa. I hope for a rematch personally. It would be a cracker.
…He nearly won against a world number one for the first time. He was a set up before Nadal figured out his game. Nadal beat the future number one in three epic sets. He needs to play his best tennis to win. Raonic forced Nadal's hand and Nadal responded in true champion-esque style. We get to see Raonic in Monte Carlo next. He is now in the top ten, though he was seeded 12 in Miami. Sampras was seeded twelfth when he won his maiden slam at the Open way back in 1990, when Tupac was still alive and Bush was President. Could baby Sampras do the same?
...This pairing had a fantastic tournament. They knocked out Granollers/ Lopez in the first round, the former world number twos. They very nearly lost that match, needing to go to 12-10 in the breaker to edge it. Then they beat seventh seeded Bopanna/Qureshi in two before beating current world number twos Peya/Soares in straight sets. Back to back impressive wins against seeds is very impressive. They were pushed again to the limit by Harrison/Sock but still won through against the favoured Americans 2-6, 6-4, 11-9. The Bryans proved too strong for the upset kings and put them away in two straight sets. They couldn't win a third tight set as the Bryans won the opening set 10-8 in a breaker and then held their nerve in the second set for a 7-6, 6-4 victory.
...This is Nishikori's first proper 1000 level semifinal. He made one in Beijing in 2011, but it was one of the weakest fields I have ever seen at a Masters tournament. This one he actually had a hard pathway to the semi. Nothing wrong with a gift-wrapped draw -- Nadal always walks through his French Open draw. Hmmm, perhaps that's more to do with Nadal than his opponents. Anyway, Nishikori out-ground Federer after out-grinding Ferrer, but then the curse struck him. Perhaps he saw a mirror crack'd from side to side the night before? If Radwanska ever played Fed and won, would the curse be able to overcome The Radwanska? I'm sure Todd will tell me. He is the expert when it comes to Radwanska lore. But I go off topic. The current crop of young talent has arrived. How long before Dimikorinic is in the top ten? Soon. Nishikori has pulled out of Davis Cup and so that means Japan are in trouble, though they could still upset a weakened Czech side.
...Here is a scary thought - Berdman turns 29 this year. He is the classic late bloomer. He is playing the best tennis of his career but, at his age, a serious injury and it could be all over. If he gets an injury that puts him out for 6 months or he loses form and drops out of the top echelon, he will find it hard to get back in to that top four. He won his first title in 2005 in Palermo ten years ago. Once you won your first title at least ten years ago you are usually officially a veteran at that point with some exceptions -- Santoro, Federer, Hingis, Nadal, Serena, Graf et al. Anyway, Berdych will know time is no longer on his side. His chance to win a grand slam is coming soon and if he does not take that chance he knows he will not get a better one. The window is being closed by Father Time. Mind you, that didn't stop Serena at all. If anything it seemed to motivate her further.
...It is fortunate Murray knows how to grind. He can't seem to win matches any other way these days. He was out of his depth in that loss to Djokovic. If he continues like this, he will drop out of the top ten. It is poor form Murray at the moment and it won't get much better as he has to fly to Italy and play several long matches on heavy clay. Against Seppi and Fognini. Not my idea of fun.
...for beating a resurgent Fed.

Coming back from a break down too many times, the talented Japanese baseliner edged out the goat in three epic sets. Surely it won't be too long before he gets into Fed's head.
Nadal here showing that even if you have a big serve, he's not scared of you....
Somehow Berdych used consistency to win here. No, I don't know how either. I do know it isn't hard to be more consistent than Dolgopolov, though.
.The young American duo were not good enough on this occasion, try as they might. How many opportunities does Harrison need? Apparently one more.
You wanna know how to beat Rafa? Watch this match. Crosscourt lefty forehand? Useless. Spinning serve out wide or down the T? Ineffective. Backhand up the line? Attackable. Djokovic always has all the answers.

Czech Republic 3-2 Japan
...No Nishikori means Japan will lose, but I expect them to lose with dignity at least. Stepanek should be enough to steer the Czechs through.

France 4-1 Germany
...Gasquet is out with a back injury, a minor one, but he couldn't have picked a better tie to miss. Tsonga and Benny should have too much for Kamke and Gojowczyk.

Italy 3-2 Great Britain
...This was the hardest one to choose. On heavy clay, you have to back the Italians. Fognini and Seppi should be too strong. I think that either Fognini will upset Muzza or the Italians will win the doubles and that will be that. Britain cannot afford to lose the doubles here.

Switzerland 3-2 Kazakhstan
...Federinka will win three and then led Lammer and friends play the rest.

Thank you and go visit WTABACKSPIN please.

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