Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wk.40- The End of a Love Affair

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

As a certain Miss Holiday once said, what can you do at the end of a love affair?

If tennis was a soap opera, Novak right now would be the main plot. He’s been having a fling with Rafaela for a while now. Well, more of a love affair than a tryst. He and his ex-girlfriend Frederica broke up a while ago. It was a bad break up. She didn’t get on with Novak’s parents. And the three of them had a complex love triangle a few years ago.

But now Frederica, Rafaela’s ex-girlfriend, is back in the picture. And Novak has left Rafaela for Frederica. And all this after Rafaela left Frederica for Novak many years ago. And add in to this the mysterious Andrea who hangs around. She isn’t really in the love triangle, she just has occasional flings with the three main characters but is ultimately always a secondary character.

Next week on "As The World Tour Turns," Frederica’s cousin Stanley returns. What dark secrets does he hold?

But, of course, this is not a soap. This is the ATP Tour. It’s complex and it has many different layers. Like an onion. And isn’t that simple? Well, not really. And it’s coming to a close. This season is coming to an end. And Novak is still our main character.

But it is a rare soap that happens across continents. And it is a soap perhaps more exciting than any other. Yes, it’s even more exciting than your average soap. What other soap has storylines as enduring as this one? And the characters that come in and out do so realistically?

And it never ends. Most every soap has an ending, but this one never does. The characters and storylines do, but the soap will never end. And while it’s strange to think of how this sport will outlive us, it also has a feeling of rightness, too.

Of course, the difference is it is hard to tell where the new storylines and new characters will come from. We guessed Donald Young and Dimitrov. Neither was correct. Plenty of tennis analysts, including myself, thought that Tomic was finished. Now it turns out he isn’t even Australia’s bad boy anymore.

But because I’m late we should get going. So, what happened this week?

QUESTION: In 1959, when Billie Holiday passed, who won a slam? Name any male tennis player who won a slam in that year.

Top 32 - Kyrgios is in. He rises two to 32. Sock and Bellucci lie just behind him. One-handers Kohl and Robredo sit at 31 and 30.
Top 10 – Simon falls because Shanghai moved. Blame the Wimbledon extended break. With Simon at 14, Anderson skips Gasquet to make the top ten. Welcome to the top ten Kevin. Congrats on your debut. He’s under 300 points away from Raonic at 9. But he’s above Gasquet by just 75. And Cilic is at 12 and climbing.
Top 8 – Ferrer and Nadal swap with 75 points the difference. They’re a Spanish island as they are behind the top six by 700 but ahead of Raonic by over a 1000.
Top 4 – Murray takes over at number two but Federer lost in the first round of Shanghai. This means he has a great chance to consolidate his position. Even though he is not the number two in anything but name. Wawrinka at four is 2000 above Berdych.

S: Novak Djokovic def. Rafael Nadal 6-2/6-2
D: Pospisil/Sock def. Nestor/Roger-Vasselin

S: Stan Wawrinka def. Benoit Paire 6-2/6-4
D: Klaasen/Melo def. Cabal/Farah

...When a top player dominates somebody in a slam it’s hard to find an angle. And with Djokovic there is no angle here. The 29-0 mark in Beijing says it all. His scorelines were incredible last week. He won 6-1, 6-1 in the first round against Bolelli. He dismissed Zhang 6-2, 6-1. Sixth seed Isner probably has never seen his serve so violated as it was when Djokovic beat him 6-2, 6-2. Next Djokovic wiped Ferrer out 6-2, 6-3 before giving Nadal just four games. There is nothing else to be said about that week. It can be summed up in a single sentence: and that was all she wrote.
...Ferrer was here last week and this time he is joined by Nadal. Both achieved their seeding last week. Ferrer, though, got one more game against Djokovic than the lefty did. Rafa beat Wu and Pospisil without much difficulty, though he looked rusty. He then edged Sock 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 but Fognini was possibly the favourite. Given how he has upset Nadal on clay he could surely do it on the hard-courts, too. But Nadal held firm and looked good in a 7-5, 6-3 decision. Meanwhile, Ferrer had a great week. He beat Bellucci 6-4, 6-3, then Rosol 7-6[5], 6-2. He blew away Lu 6-3, 6-1 and appeared to be getting stronger by the match. But then he ran into Djokovic. And Djokovic right now is like the Patriots. Except, thankfully he isn’t angry. Can you imagine if he was? It was a stupid decision by Goodell. He should have known what that organization would do it he failed to punish them. Another interesting thing will be seeing who rises up and takes Djokovic's place when he eventually fades.
...Muller making a run is a bigger surprise than either Paire or Fognini. Those are the kinds of names you’d expect to make runs. Especially if you don’t call it. Those are the names forever in the dark horse column when slam time comes around. But Muller has had his best day. Well, that was true up until he suddenly started to make things happen. He scared Nadal at Wimbledon and took 12 games off the Spaniard. And he has developed a solid top 40 career since then, though it started before. And the great news for him is that because the tennis infrastructure in Luxembourg isn’t great, he has a job for life. Well, he and Mandy Minella. Mandy just won in the Kirkland ITF. She took home the singles and doubles.
...BACKSPIN favourite Austin K once again takes this honour. The solid lefty made his maiden quarterfinal at the 500 level. Seeded seventh in the qualifying, he beat the Japanese Sekiguchi 6-2, 6-4 and then beat 2nd seed Mahut 6-4, 6-4. Then he defeated fellow qualifier Ebden in an epic 5-7, 7-6[4], 7-6[5]. Next he came back from nowhere to stun Sousa 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. It wasn’t just impressive seeing him steal the second set, it was impressive seeing him assert his advantage once he had the momentum. But perhaps the most impressive thing was that he refused to be overwhelmed by Wawrinka. He went down respectably 6-3, 6-4.
...Yes. He just stays in here. It should be me here for being so late with this post, but it’s the end of the year. And that break is starting to look better and better. And it’s horrible to be in a slump, but Dimitrov is a professional tennis player. That’s part of the ballgame. Tennis’ power couple Andre and Steffi both went into deep slumps. They both had periods when it looked bleak. But they went on to both win the Golden Career Slam. The fact Steffi did it all in a year is insanity and beside the point. Look at the recent U.S. Open finalist on the women’s side. Both of those ladies were in slumps. Cilic was in a slump and so was Wawrinka. Gasquet, too, has come back nicely. It can be done and there are no excuses for Grigor. The fact he went down 6-1 in the third just makes it all worse.
...Cuevas handled Berdych 6-4, 6-4. And, yes, Berdych sucks right now but just last week he was excellent. So what gives? The amount of ink written here about Berdych involving the word inconsistency is just so much. And it’s all because he can’t seem to buy consistency. So, yes, well done to the Uruguayan number one on the upset, but Berdych need to prove to us his ranking isn’t totally incorrect.

Five notes from the week...
1 – Australia have two players in the seedings for the next slam if it happened next week. And if Kyrgios can just hang on for ten weeks he could make it happen. Tomic is a certainty to be seeded and with how well he plays in Australia, a top 16 seeding is a possibility. Kyrgios with seeding protection could be very dangerous.
2 – Davis Cup draw is out for next year. Why Great Britain are seeded top is beyond me. Their team is one guy.
3 – Djokovic just keeps rising and is now 29-0 in Beijing. But hey Todd and I are undefeated there, too, and you don’t see our names up in lights. Now how is that fair?
4 – I predicated some time ago Paire would make the top ten. My call is not looking so ridiculous now, only a little foolish.
5 – F minus for the lovely Muguruza. How can you retire one week then come back the next and win a title. It’s not resilience, it’s giving up. Halep has done it before and Azarenka, too, has had these ‘injuries’. Ladies it has got to stop.

1. Tokyo Final - Wawrinka d. Paire 6-2, 6-4
...Wawrinka played a great match against a tricky guy on some serious form with a big serve. Paire is horrible to play against. He gives you no rhythm and he really doesn’t give you a set game plan on how to beat him. Your best chance is to let him beat himself. That used to work, but these days he has found form and that may not work so well as it once did. Still, Wawrinka had his measure.
2. Beijing 1st Rd. - Cuevas d. Berdych 6-4, 6-4
...Why Tomas? Why can’t you just be consistent? If you insist on being woeful, then do it. But if you wish success upon yourself then do that instead. Either way just pick one please. The only reason Dimitrov is in a worse place than you is that he has shown us nothing through the year. The fact you’ve actually been winning this year makes it all the more frustrating.
3. Tokyo SF - Paire d. Nishikori 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
...Too good from Paire as the Frenchman defeats Kei in his own backyard. It was a shock when he beat him in New York, but to do it twice is incredible. Kei came out firing and was perfect in the first set. But Paire slowly took control despite strapping on his ankle. In a 20-point game at 3-3 Benoit held on and then took control from there.
4. Beijing Final – Djokovic d. Nadal 6-2, 6-2
...When Novak started to win on clay against Nadal it seemed a sure sign the rivalry was in the twilight years. But I think this loss may be even worse. Nadal has been humiliated here. And there are no excuses. I think Nadal is only barely still a top ten player anymore. He’s not even consistently playing like a top fifteen player.

Djokovic [1] d. [3] Murray
Federer [2] d. [4] Wawrinka
Djokovic [1] d. [2] Federer

...Murray does well here usually and he will actually challenge Djokovic. But this is Novak’s to lose. Wawrinka on this form will clear out his section but he won’t beat Roger. When Federer takes a break he always comes back stronger. I believe the defending champion has got what it takes to win it. But Djokovic is the percentage pick and I’ll look less foolish if I pick him and it goes wrong.

Editor's Note: GW made this pick BEFORE Federer's shocking loss to Ramos on Tuesday.

Casey has withdrawn from playing the next tournament. But she and Shvedova are going to the WTA Finals for the Ladies Doubles, so there’s that. They are all but certain to be seeded third, too. That means they would have gotten in under the old rules. They reached the semi-final in Beijing, which is a fantastic result. They beat the 8th seeds Hlavackova/Hradecka in straight sets but lost to the ever dangerous Chinese Taipei pair (the Chan sister) 12-10 in the champions breaker. Mirza/Hingis actually dropped sets this week in what was a huge upset.

ANSWER: Alex Olmedo defeated Neal Fraser in the 1959 Australian Open. Nicola Pietrangeli beat Ian Vermaak in France. Olmedo beat Laver at Wimbledon. But in New York Olmedo lost in the final to Fraser.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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