Monday, August 24, 2015

Wk.33- It's Better to Be Over the Hill than Under It

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Last week Seattle and this week Portland. But not that Portland. Unless you were thinking of the correct one. Were you?

This week is another shorter update, but regular service should be resumed soon enough. Possibly there may even be a draw review. But enough of me and my life.

Djokovic has five finals. Federer has seven titles. Will this be the Masters that eludes the Serb? It makes no sense for it to be this one, but in five finals he has won no sets. Sharapova is 0-5 in Miami finals. The tournaments are rich hunting grounds except for that final round. Federer has thrice defied Djokovic in finals there. He leads the head to head 21-20. Murray has benefited from a walkover against Djokovic, but did beat him in 2008 in a pair of breakers. It would be a great anomaly were the Djoker to never win this title.

Federer beat the top two in the world back to back, including holding his serve 49 times in a row. It's not often a guy beats the best returners back to back and doesn't drop serve. This Federer guy was supposed to be old and past it. Apparently he isn't and he made sure that Murray's third stint at number two was very brief. Federer seems to be rested and on form simultaneously. And that is a dangerous combination. If the U.S. Open draw puts Murray on Djokovic's side it may put Federer as the favorite. Djokovic should win but he could get a very nasty draw indeed.

Driving out of New York there are four posters advertising the U.S. Open. One had Serena. One had Sharapova. One had Federer. One had Nadal. The top two men's players were absent. Why are Federer and Nadal still the big draws? Why are Djokovic and Murray unmarketable? Or at the least not as marketable as the old[er] guard.

Well, the final slam rapidly approaches. Are you ready? Are you prepared? After the U.S. Open, football comes in. Following that is the World Series and then the hockey and baseball. Are you ready for the sporting season to begin?

QUESTION: Who was the last non-slam winner to beat Federer in Cincinnati?

Well, some other things happened. Shall we have a look?

*Rankings Watch*
Top 32 - Fognini, Garcia-Lopez and Bellucci are the three lowest seeds at the U.S. at 32-30. Mannarino just misses out as does Mayer, though the Argentine did rise two places.

Top 10 - Little change. Raonic holds off the Frenchman in 11 and 12 as Gasquet rises a spot. Richard is still down 500 from Simon. In the race, Isner is at 9 and Gasquet at 10 just ahead of Simon.

Top 8 - No change here. Berdych at 6 is out of sight. But the Spaniards at 7 and 8 are ahead of Cilic by under 200 ranking points.

Top 4 - Federer takes third in the race and second back from Murray in the rankings. Kei is building a lead on Wawrinka in fourth position, but I'd back the Swiss to win the slam over Nishikori. Where do Nadal and Murray land? It's possible for Federer or Djokovic to get them both.

S: Roger Federer def. Novak Djokovic 7-6(1)/6-3
D: Nestor/Roger-Vasselin d. Matkowski/Zimonjic

...Deja vu has struck Backspin. Federer still wins a lot. And the thing about his season is there is still room to pick up points. If Djokovic falters Federer can make a run at the top ranking. And the fact he even has a chance is shocking. What he is doing is as impressive, if not more so, as what Serena is doing. In a game where he is no longer at his physical peak he is still making finals of slams and winning Masters events. He is fighting off old father time. It is improbable that Djokovic or Murray will still be around at the Swiss man's age. Federer was too good for Agut, winning 6-4, 6-4. Anderson and his big serve were useless against Federer and the South African lost 6-1, 6-1. Federer edged out Lopez 6-3, 6-4. Lopez had edged out Nadal only the day before. We will have to wait for the classic rivalry to renew. Federer was too good for Murray in a 6-4, 7-6[8] victory, and the next day a 7-6[1], 6-3 victory in the final was sealed with a big serve. Forget dropping sets, Federer barely dropped service games. Federer now has to hope for a decent draw. The draw is likely to stack heavily on one side. If he can get a kinder draw he could well win it. But there are so many land mines and so even an easier looking draw could have pitfalls. But this is the man who was around before and after Rafael Nadal. The comparisons between them and Evert and Navratilova practically write themselves.
...There were a few candidates for this, really. Making the quarters of a Masters just before a slam is a great way to find one's mojo. Gasquet and Berdych also found some magic. Gasquet was especially impressive in dismantling Kyrgios. But Stan [the man] is more than capable of winning this slam, of winning any slam. He could be the first player to win three slams and never ascend to world number two or above. It was all about the daily grind for Stan. A 3-6, 7-6[3], 6-3 victory against Coric was just the start of a grueling week. He edged Dr. Ivo 6-7[2], 7-6[5], 7-6[5] to make the quarterfinals. Djokovic sent him packing 6-4, 6-1, but that's irrelevant. The important thing is he has wins. He has found wins. And that is like nectar from the gods. Wawrinka has form and even though he lost to Djokovic the signs are good. He fooled us in Australia last year. He fooled us in Paris this year. Will he fool us in New York? We're expecting it this time, but he could still surprise us all. He was so close last year to making the semifinals again in his third quarterfinal appearance in New York. And, of course, who could forget his memorable five set loss to Djokovic at the semifinal stage just two years ago?
...Whenever Dolgopolov pops up on this blog in a positive aspect or in the slam pick [usually as a dark horse] he is accompanied by a video of him doing something ridiculously flashy and this week is no different.

Every stroke was perfect. And it was his week writ small. Djokovic is excellent at escaping out of holes and so the loss in the semifinal in three very tight sets is admirable. Both he and Goffin had their boot on the Serb's throat but neither pressed down hard enough and so he escaped. Dolgoplov qualified by beating Ward and the higher ranked Giraldo. He took the spot of Nishikori, who withdrew. So technically he was the fourth seed. And he made the semifinal. He dismissed Tomic in two easy sets. Then he edged Janowicz in three tight sets before ousting Berdych 6-4, 6-2. It should worry the rest of the field that he is finding form right now. He's up 27 to 39.
...Cilic is 18-13 on the year. He has no titles. No finals. He just lost to Gasquet with a whimper. He is looking in very poor form but for some reason is still ranked ninth. He is 21st in the race. And he is the defending champion which means his ranking is going to drop unless he can summon a miracle out of thin air. Marin Cilic, undeservedly at ninth, is going to crash and is going to burn.
...Nadal has an excellent record against lefties, Spaniards and one-handers. Lopez is all of those things. On no surface should he beat Nadal. On no surface should he even trouble Nadal. But he outlasted the Spaniard in a war of attrition. That shouldn't be possible. But he did so 5-7, 6-4, 7-6[3]. And to win in the third set breaker 7-3 is particularly impressive. Lopez really showed his abilities in the win. He deserves his top 20 seeding at the U.S. Open, though how much it will help him remains to be seen.

*New Haven*
Simon [1] d. [3] Tsonga
Anderson [2] d. [4] Troicki
Simon [1] d. [2] Anderson

...The seeds will play out here if there are no withdrawals. Sadly there are always withdrawals in pre-slam tournaments. It is a part of life. Simon should be just too consistent for the heavy hitters. Anderson should find some form. Losing badly to Federer on that surface is an acceptable loss.

Casey withdrew from the New Haven Open because she was still in the doubles in Cincinnati. She and Shvedova lost to the Chan Sisters after beating another Chinese-Taipei pair in the semifinals. Chan Hao-Ching is her partner in Connecticut this week and they are seeded third. Srebotnik/Vesnina are the top seeds and are their projected opponents in the semifinals. First up for them is King/Savchuk.

ANSWER: In 2011 Berdych beat Federer 6-2, 7-6. Murray won the title that year when Novak Djokovic retired in the final.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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