Thursday, September 03, 2015

U.S. Open Day 3: Doubles Troubles

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

The women’s draw on the doubles side has descended into chaos. Withdrawals and injuries have knocked out several big names in what is usually one of the more consistent events. And now the top seeds have a pretty easy route to the final. If the fourth seeds crash out they will be the highest seed by a long way. The other half is the loaded one.

The Bryans lost in the first round and now may face losing the number one ranking. With no slams won this year, this has been their worst year in that regard since 2004. Johnson/Querrey edged them 7-6[4], 5-7, 6-3 and the loss was particularly bad because usually the Bryans never lose in three. They can out-tough anybody. In a very similar scoreline, Inglot/Lindstedt won 7-6[3], 5-7, 6-4. With Pospisil/Sock also going down the men’s draw for the doubles is starting to look really open. Hopefully the favourites will be obvious by the third round, but for now the doubles draws are both a little bit up for grabs.

QUESTION: Who won the men’s singles at the US Open twenty-five years ago?

...He may be the defending champion, but I just don’t feel I can open up with Cilic. No, Djokovic is the go to choice here. And he struggled for the first half an hour before he surged to victory. Coming out a little flat is nothing new to Djokovic and one always had the feeling once Novak found the right gear it would go quickly. And so it turned out to be. He won 6-4, 6-1, and 6-2. Venus taking a little longer than estimated may have thrown him out. His opponent hit 33 errors but he was obviously going for his shots, so that number is understandable. Djokovic won 81 per cent of service points and 48 per cent of return points. Apart from the 19 errors it was a clinic. And now a test of sorts --- 25th seed Seppi is up next.
...Cilic was not snubbed this time and he was imperious in a 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 victory over his tricky Russian opponent. He couldn’t repeat, could he? We’d all look very foolish if he did. He hit 39 winners in the match but he could up the second serve points won. He won just 57%, which is fine but not brilliant. Cilic is in the section of the draw that is very open. Nishikori withdrew and that combined with Ferrer’s struggles this year indicate Cilic could be set for another deep run. If he beats Kukushkin, Ferrer and possibly Tsonga are his next two opponents if we follow logic.
...Well, its goodbye to Mardy. In a thoroughly enjoyable match Lopez finally ended the Fish love affair with New York. Fish and Lopez dueled it out in a five set thriller. But the match changed when Fish served for it at 5-4 in the fourth, but let nerves overcome him. Lopez bounced back to win 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5, and 6-3 in some three and a half hours. With 34 aces and over 80 winners combined, this was an aggressive themed match. And for two big servers there were a surprising amount of breaks. Fish broke 6 times to 5. Fish came to net 37 times and his opponent 32 times. Both men had more success than failure, too. This was an old-school match with old-school tennis. It was a fitting end to a career.
...The scoreline says 7-6[3], 6-3, 7-5 but it was so much tougher than that. Diego was a break up several times including in the last set. He had the twice former champion on the ropes. But Nadal just has a way of digging in and he hasn’t lost a set here yet. Going 38-40 on the winners to errors ratio is worrying. Losing his serve thrice isn’t great, either. And winning just 52% of second serve points is poor. But this is Nadal, and he is grinding into form. Fognini is next and he has beaten Nadal on clay twice this year. So on hard he should be able to do so again. But the silver lining for Nadal is that over five Nadal is the heavy favourite. If only because there’s no way Fognini can maintain form over five sets, even if he can find some in the first place.
...Raonic hit 57 winners to the Spaniard’s 30 in the 6-2, 6-4, 6-7[5], 7-6[1] victory. Incredibly, Raonic never lost his serve. Verdasco won just 24% of his return points. But the really worrying thing is that Raonic’s health has been compromised. He had the trainer on several times and he has been experiencing problems with his leg. But the important thing was simply to get through and he has done that. Next up for Raonic is Lopez. The winner of that likely gets Nadal. So the road does get somewhat tougher here and for an injured Raonic the future does not make for pleasant reading.
...Mikhail is just one of those players you desperately hope you don’t see in your section. He’s just a horrible land mine. He’s effective on every surface and he has the kind of game that doesn’t break down. Yet somehow he is never ranked so he ends up permanently playing spoiler. But really this is the kind of match Dimitrov just has to start winning. Instead he lost 6-3, 7-6[2], 2-6, 4-6, 6-4. The fight back was good. It showed steel and nerve. It’s understandable he couldn’t maintain the effort level he was putting on. But he lost that breaker so badly and he had the momentum in the fifth. 67 errors and 9 doubles are awful numbers. He needs to work on his overall consistency. Cilic is up next and, really, the Kazakhstani isn’t incapable of causing another upset.

Casey and Yaroslava triumphed today in their opening round. They defeated Gavrilova/Van Uytvanck 2-6, 6-4, 6-0. With all the funny happenings going on in the Women’s Doubles, like the second seeds (Makarova and Vesnina, the defending champs) splitting and then the new second seeds (Mattek-Sands/Safarova) pulling out (due to Safarova's injury), the news is good for Casey. Makarova decided not to compete and that leaves Dellacqua/Shvedova as not just the fourth seeds but the biggest seeds in their half. And the biggest seeds bar one in the whole draw. The final sits there waiting for them. Up next is Tsurenko/Govortsova.

ANSWER: In 1990, Edberg sensationally lost in the first round. Fourth seed Agassi did make the final and lost to 12th seed Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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