Sunday, July 05, 2015

Wimbledon Day 6: Down But Not Out

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

First things first.

Now secondly, apologies for missing two posts. I missed them as I was attending Wimbledon. I think that's a good excuse. And on the day of rest, Sunday, there will be another post. But for now the spell of fabulous weather remains unbroken. And so do the fabulous matches. Wimbledon is putting on a bumper show this year.

It happens every now and then. Well, even more frequently now. A lower ranked player will suddenly rise up and steal a set off a big name. It's still rare but it happens. And when it does it invariably makes the match more interesting. Sometimes the bigger player panics and they lose it. Sometimes it makes them more determined.

But for that other player, perhaps a surprise package, the boost they get it is great. They start to believe, start to even think they could cause an upset. Of course, this rarely happens unless Nadal is on court. Today both Federer and Murray dropped a set. They both had a difficult match but came through in the end. Both faced talented opponents but with a different set of weapons. It may not look like Seppi can hurt Murrray, but he does have consistency. Whereas Groth lacks consistency but has weapons.

But on with the festivities. There's still so much going on. And some of these third round matches have been fantastic. Like the Monfils/Simon duel. It showed us that grass court tennis can be played by baseliners, too. Their French clash even lasted five sets. We start, as usual, on Centre...

Question: Can you name any two years the Americans have had three semi-finalists?

*Suicide Picks*
MS 1st Rd: Dolgopolov d. Edmund (W)
MS 2nd Rd: Lopez [15] d. Basilashvili (x)
WS 1st Rd: Wickmayer d. Kulichkova (x)

...Groth is ranked around 70 in the world. And it's becoming clear he is top fifty material, if not more. He has that big serve but he also has a good forehand and he has game. Since divorcing Jarmila, he has gained some form. But then so has she. Both have come out of the dip, though Groth has the better form right now. Federer faced another big server but this one had confidence. Querrey did not have the same amount of confidence. Federer edged through 6-4, 6-4, 6-7[5], 6-2. The way the commentators talk about Roger, you would think he is about 1000 and the 20th seed here. He's the world number two. The second best player in the world and he has proved that this season, though not in the slams. The extraordinary thing was that Groth never saw a break point. Fed saw eight and took four. In fact, Groth only won 19% of return points while Fed made just eight errors. Yet Groth still took a set. Isn't tennis funny? Bautista-Agut is up next for Federer. He won't do as well as the Australian did. He will rise in the rankings, too, but Federer will be too much. He isn't quite as good on grass as he is on hard-courts. But Federer will not be taking his first match against a seed lightly.
...The draw which looked so punishing has not come to pass. Murray has escaped with a very easy draw. Karlovic is tricky but that's a match Murray should win every time. His quarterfinal opponent is going to be a surprise. But should he win the British media will gloss over the fact he got a manageable draw. Murray doesn't look forward too much but he has to be watching and hoping for a Federer upset. The Italian acquitted himself well in the 6-2, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 dog's dinner that was this third round match. The only reason one would watch this match was if they were an ardent tennis fan, or if they particularly liked Murray or Seppi. A combined 65 errors and ten breaks turned this into a four set WTA match and not one of the good ones. One of those WTA early slam matches between two players who can't serve but can return very well. This match belongs in the archives, forgotten. And it's a good thing it will be. Seppi may take the opportunity to play in the last few clay events of the year. Hamburg offers a good bounty. He has recovered from the slump and is now looking set to crack the top twenty again. He has had a good Wimbledon and the fact he took a set off Murray was fantastic.
...Simon is 1-7 in fourth round matches. It's nothing on Gasquet's horrendous record in fourth round matches, but it isn't a good record. He has a chance now to improve to 2-7. And the 2009 Australian Open, his last quarter, is so long ago now. Just ask Verdasco. It was always going to be five sets. Simon out-ground Monfils 3-6, 6-3, 7-6[6], 2-6, 6-2. Monfils went 60-67 on the winners and was broken five times despite serving 20 aces. Simon hit just 27 winners but his 30 errors was one of the reasons he did so well. Incredibly, Monfils won only two points less than Simon in the match, winning 157. Neither Frenchman can play on grass particularly well, but it is a surprise that Simon has advanced further than Tsonga. France have two men left. Can either progress further? Berdych should beat Simon. But rule out the Frenchman at your peril. If he can return well and frustrate the Czech, anything could happen. The crucial thing will be to try and lessen the effectiveness of that serve.
...I am not writing about Cilic again unless I have to. It's the same old story. Cilic is outplayed by opponent but using a mix of luck and a big serve escapes in five long sets. So we go instead to the section where the tennis gods decided to interfere. There's always one section like this. And with Nadal losing this would be the section. Home interest put this on a show court. Credit to the Brits though -- they didn't put it on Centre. And in the end they were right to put it on One. Pospisil edged through 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 8-6. With 30 aces and 88 winners in total the crowd, favoring Ward of course, had a good show. These two battled it out for three hours and five minutes. There were three breaks apiece despite the fact out of all the service points, 71 per cent were won by the server. Pospisil could well make the quarters in both disciplines if he wins here. And that in itself would be quite an achievement. The Canadian number two has slowly found his singles form again and it may well have something to do with his doubles form. Confidence can be found in the doubles and it is as good a place as any to find some of that magic dust.
...This is one of the upsets of the tournament. Incredibly, Karlovic has upset Tsonga. It just seems like the mismatch would be too much to overcome. Tsonga's big serve combined with his return game should be too much. But once more Wimbledon has thrown a curve ball. And this time it wasn't one of Rafa's. Karlovic triumphed in just under three hours 7-6[3], 6-4, 7-6[2], 7-6 [9]. 41 aces to 14. 83 winners to 52. Three break point chances total. Tsonga took his only one, but Karlovic went 0 for 2. Karlovic won 23% of returns. Tsonga just 16%. Should Karlovic replicate that percentage against Murray, but with a slight increase he should take a set. Karlovic matches up poorly against Murray, too. But if he can attack that second serve and get Murray nervous he could sneak a set. He may even be able to sneak two sets. He is headed back into the top twenty almost certainly.
...The Georgian's tournament ended abruptly and in just an hour and a half. The more experienced Spaniard needed a set to find his feet but then swept through 7-6[4], 6-0, 6-1. It's the scoreline I expected in the Lopez match. Breaking six times, the Spaniard was never in any real danger. The Georgian will always remember this edition of Wimbledon with fondness. He came so close to playing Federer on Centre at Wimbledon. But now those dreams are gone. Till next year anyway.

Any other notes?
* - Murray's section of the draw has completely opened up. He'll get to Federer in the semi-finals completely fresh. Unless, of course, he blows it.
* - This is the first Wimbledon in a long time that play has been ahead of schedule. Heat has actually been a factor, too.
* - Four of last year's eight semi-finalists have gone.
* - John Tomic is awful. The worst thing is that Bernard will get the blame for this. But it isn't his fault. No, it's John. He's been interfering and making this worse. It's disgraceful.
* - Casey Dellacqua has gone out to Radwanska 1 and 4. But in the doubles she beat Stosur three and love. And they now play Knapp/Vinci. The quarters surely beckon for the ninth seeds. And if they do get there, they are likely to meet Hingis/Mirza.

ANSWER: The American's have never had four semi-finalists in the open era. But they have had three in 1975, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1992.

Well, I'm out for now.

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Blogger Eric said...

the whole Tennis Australia thing is really puzzling...i almost wish they would go through it point by point (as I feel the USTA should re: Donald Young)...bc from my perspective, it seems like the big bad wolf (Tennis Australia) is beating up on little old Bernie. Even if Bernie's family has been hard to work with (and Bernie hasn't been a paragon of tennis virtue), it seems like Tennis Australia needed Bernie and now that they have other options, they're throwing him away.

And for Tennis Australia to take credit for a player's results...that seems ridiculous. If you take credit for good results, then you have to take credit for the bad too. You have had a part in the souring relationship.

Tennis Australia seems like a bunch of old talking heads and if things don't go in their vision, they start casting aspersions. Seriously, after Bernie, they're going after Kyrgios.

Sun Jul 05, 08:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Galileo Sutherland-west said...

I see where you're coming from totally. But now Kyrgios is in trouble too. And Kokk's sympathies appear to lie with his peers though he doesn't wish to offend TA either. So he's kind of stuck. Don't be too harsh on them. Pat Rafter is one of the nicest guys ever. He is beloved everywhere by everyone, And he can sort this out. They aren't going after Bernie or Nick. This will all soon be sorted out.

Mon Jul 06, 05:55:00 PM EDT  

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