Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wimbledon Day 12: Different Andy, Same Result

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Apologies for being absent a lot during Wimbledon. A virus struck down my computer, but I have fought it off. And before we get to the men's final, let's look back at the semi-finals to see if there is an indicator as to who the winner may be.

But first let's reflect on another boring, forgettable slam final. Right now, as I remarked to a friend recently, the WTA is like the Presidential race. Serena is Hillary and the rest of the candidates are, well, the rest of the WTA. They aren't bad, they just look very average next to Serena. Though, of course, Sanders is gathering momentum. Can he stop Hillary? If he could he would almost certainly win the presidency. But once again I digress. Unfortunately, discussing politics is far more interesting than discussing yet another unremarkable final.

It's now two Serena slams. But Graf won the Golden slam in 1988 and that is something Serena will never achieve most likely. Still, Serena looks set to overtake Graf, though her era has been noticeably weaker than Steffi's. Unfortunately for Serena, success is not always the best thing.

And it’s true. There's something about the way that Federer dominated where he wasn't disliked the way Serena and Novak are. Because the fact of the matter is they are disliked. I had no horse in the final but even I found myself, almost without thinking, cheering for Garbine. I was cheering against Serena. I think I've just had enough. And it isn't just me. A lot of tennis fans are getting to the stage where they've just had enough. And that's a pity. The depth of quality and the intrigue of the ATP is just better than the WTA at the moment. And time and again, at each and every slam it seems, the ATP runs the more interesting event. And that isn't right. But it is understandable, sadly.

The scoreline was 6-4, 6-4. There's a proper recap over on WTA BACKSPIN. Kudos to you, Serena.

Question: In which year during the Open Era did a Swiss man win the Gentleman's Doubles?
Bonus point if you can get his name.

Right let us get started.

...These two made a foregone conclusion entertaining. And, honestly, Gasquet played the better grass court game. He serve and volleyed, he half-volleyed and did drop shots. He sliced and diced. He even fought really hard. He gave Djokovic everything he had but Djokovic is just a cut above the Frenchman. Gasquet had to win the first set but could not. Djokovic broke three times to one in a 7-6[2], 6-4, 6-4 victory. Djokovic needed two hours and 20 minutes to get past Gasquet. Federer was quicker against the world number three. But, then again, is Murray really the third best player in the world? Number four, I suppose, but is he better outright than Wawrinka or Nishikori? But I digress. Djokovic blasted 46 winners on his way to the win and also won 40% of returning points. Gasquet had no chance but he did play the best match I have ever seen him play. It just wasn't enough. But he is having a great third, or is it fourth, career now. Djokovic was not imperious and the Frenchman even hit 36 winners. But the Serb was always going to win. Djokovic has to return well. Federer has lost his serve once since Halle. And, yes, Djokovic is one of the best returners there is. But isn't Murray as good as, or even on this surface maybe better, than Djokovic at returning? Muzza had one break chance. Djokovic will struggle to get many. He also has to drag out the points. But it's harder to drag out the points when your opponent refuses to. And he has to be aggressive, but not too much. And if he doesn't take his chances he will lose. He should attack the backhand, but it's looking nigh on impregnable right now. And he has to serve at 65 per cent first serves in at least. So, serve well and take his chances. Don't drop shot unless there's no way Federer can get it. Because Federer at the net will not end well for Djokovic.
...This was a lesson. Federer was on court a shade over two hours and showed Murray a different level. Murray looked outclassed, out-thought, out-gunned and out of ideas. This is why he has only two slams and has never been a world number one. He isn't really at the level of Federer or Novak. He hasn't beaten either of them in a long time. He didn't play badly, but he can't match Federer or Novak's highest level. And he knows it. 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 Federer won, losing just 21 points on serve. He served 16 games. Who the hell is this guy? Federer hit 56 winners and 11 errors. 20 aces. 76% first serves in. And 35% of receiving points won, too. It's beyond ridiculous. There will not be another grass court performance like that one... possibly ever. And we should cherish it. Federer is number ten on the aces list at Wimbledon with Djokovic just three behind him. He hit 20 against Murray. 22 against Djokovic sees him crack the top five. Federer must serve big and keep the points short. He is the favorite coming in here. He will be aggressive by serve and volleying and by using that forehand. That is right. On this surface offense should beat defense. Federer will win in four sets. And one of them will not be close.

Any other notes?
* - Djokovic is now in a strange position. His legacy is secured. But he can never be a part of the greatest of all time conversation. Not until he actually wins the French Open or matches Pete Sampras' amount of slams. And both are unlikely. He may not even be the world number one next year. Anything could happen. Djokovic needs that French Open. If he loses the final tomorrow against some old guy questions will be asked. He has a chance to respond to the worst loss of his career. Can he take it?
* - Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals have both won the mixed and doubles at one Wimbledon. The last person to do it was Cara Black. She did it with Wayne Black and Rennae Stubbs. Hingis and Mirza edged the second seeded Russians in a three set epic. Hingis now has the chance to repeat that.
* - Same final as last year, but different set of semi-finalists. And actually all four have got a decent chance of returning barring injury. And will Stan finally be able to solve the mystery of Wimbledon? I know who could help him solve that but, hang on, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?

* - Who can stop Serena at slam level? I'm actually asking. I have no clue, let alone an answer. It used to be she would sometimes beat herself. It's not happening anymore.
* - Casey Dellacqua and her partner Shvedova are out. She is gone in everything now. But in singles she will rise around ten places to be on the cusp of 50 again. She went 1-1 in the mixed, 3-1 in the doubles and 2-1 in the singles. An overall 6-3 record is solid but can be improved upon in New York. She should break the top fifteen in doubles, up from 19 in the world now. Hopefully Indian Wells, and maybe Miami, introduce mixed doubles.

ANSWER: Heinz Gunthardt won in 1985. He and Balazs Taroczy of Hungary beat Australia's Cash and Fitzgerald.

Well, I'm out for now.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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