Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wk.37- One Man Band

Hey, all. Galileo here.

Ramos-Vinolos is clinging onto his ranking of 32. Ahead of him are Querrey, Kohlschreiber and Klizan. They are all within 60 points of one another. Not much change around the top ten. Thiem at ten is ahead of Cilic and Tsonga. With so few points to defend it is Kyrgios, ranked 15, who could make a move up the ladder.

The average age of the top four is 30. It just shows how the current era is trending more, on both sides of the tour, towards veteran dominance. Thiem, Raonic and Nishikori are the only three players under 30 in the top ten. Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka and Nadal are your top four. But expect Nadal to be overtaken by one or both of Nishikori and Raonic. Both are less than 200 behind him.

Now we can go into a more in-depth look at what happened in the Davis Cup semifinals...

*WEEK 37*
Argentaina def. Great Britain 3-2 [at Glasgow, Scotland]
Croatia def. France 3-2 [at Zadar, Croatia]

...Well, this does not happen very often. This tie was lost in the very first rubber when Murray lost in five hours to Del Potro. All of the Brit’s success depends on Murray winning his two rubbers and then teaming up with his brother to hang on and win the doubles. But if one can upset Murray, the most fallible of the big four, you crack the strategy. Ditto the doubles. And Del Potro defied the heavily partisan crowd on indoor hard to take the Argies through.

Despite hitting 35 aces Murray went down 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 [5], 6-3, 6-4 in the longest match of either man’s career. The rallies were long and arduous, the determination and will to win was plainly visible in their body language and the anger with which they hit the ball. The rallies invariably consisted of Murray going to the Delpo backhand until he mistakenly hit to the forehand. When he did that the point was over. The umpire had some bad calls and the crowd didn’t help - they cheered on set point when they thought a Delpo shot had crept long. But it was in and it threw the Argentine off.

And team Argentina doubled their lead later that day as Pella used his lefty serve and general trickiness to undo Evans. He won going away 6-7[5], 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Going into the doubles the defending champions were on the ropes.

But the Murrays once again showed their class. Jamie Murray is one of the best volleyers in the world. Combine that with the familiarity of his partner and you have a great combination. Though they were tested, the Murrays came through 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. The Argentines pushed hard, but Delpo was exhausted. Emotionally drained from the Glaswegian crowd, the away team nevertheless pushed the favourites hard. Pell’s lefty serve barely troubled Murray. He played at a high level but backed by his home fans the Scot was not in the mood for trouble. He dismissed the player ranked forty places below him pretty quickly, winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. But it was far from easy. His opponent hung around and made things hard before Murray moved up a gear. Five breaks for the world number two and the fourth rubber.

It was not to be, however. Delpo was too exhausted to play, but swapped out for Mayer. You thought he was out of form? So did I. Well, he came back from a set down to record a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory and send the Brits home. In the end, Evans had not enough. And Delpo’s first victory proved the difference.

...The favourites, the nation with the most blown chances to win this Cup, choked once again. Individually the French are no strangers to mental collapse, shock upsets and somehow it translates into the Davis. It is a team competition and that means a team effort. But the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Mahut and Herbert.

Gasquet, who cannot seem to play more than three matches in a row without injury, pulled out a superb performance to see off Coric 6-2, 7-6[5], 6-1. He showed the vestiges of the top ten player that he still is. The backhand clicked and he kept his younger opponent frustrated all day long. He did his job, hitting just 13 errors on the day.

Cilic at home was always going to have a blinder. He was too good for Pouille, too consistent and too focused, in his 6-1, 7-6[4], 2-6, 6-2 victory. Up 6-5 and 40/0 in the second set he faltered, but it would not be a fatal slip. It gave his opponent a little momentum which saw the contest extended to four sets. Cilic kept breaking the Frenchman’s serve and soon saw off the future of French tennis.

Abysmal. The world’s best doubles pair and defending champions at Wimbledon, where the only five set doubles competition takes place, collapsed dramatically to a four set loss. They couldn’t even make it go five. Cilic and Dodig came through 7-6[5], 5-7, 7-6[6], 6-3. And despite the exertion Cilic went out the next day and dismissed Gasquet. But this doubles match was supposed to be Frances ace in the hole. But as soon as Mahut and Herbert choked it was all over.

Cilic routinely saw off Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Injuries came back to haunt France, sure, but the doubles rubber should never have been lost. So after back to back chokes from their opponents the Croats are in the finals. And with it being at home they have to be the favourites. Can Del Potro use his magic to get Argentina victory? The whole clash hinges on Del Potro facing off against Cilic.

In the other tier of the Davis Cup, Switzerland needed Antoine Bellier to secure a 3-2 victory to move into the World Group. Goffin kicked off Belgium’s battle with Brazil by beating Monteiro 6-2, 6-2, 6-0. It set the tone for a 4-0 victory. There really was no point playing the 5th rubber. Kyrgios and Tomic won in straight sets, before Groth and Peers clinched the tie against Slovakia by winning in four sets. Kyrgios and Tomic got on noticeably well and nobody misbehaved.

Jarry and Garin are Chile’s upcoming talent and they both lost in four but showed promise. Keep an eye on those names. Shapovalov played a dead rubber for Canada in their 5-0 route. Russia saw off Kazakhstan 3-1 in a mild upset. Kuznetsov continued his marvelous year. Spain rode Ferrer, Nadal, Lopez and Lopez to a thrash against India.

Germany edged Poland 3-2 while Japan, without Nishikori, saw off hapless Ukraine 5-0. Well, Kei did play the doubles.

In Moselle, defending champion Tsonga withdrew with a knee injury. He leaves behind a field headlined by Thiem. The top seed will defeat seventh seed Paire and then see off number two seed Goffin. Pouille may be on form, but losing the tie like that could have an effect on him.

Big event in St. Petersburg. Well it is for Wawrinka, anyway. We shall see how he goes from such a big title and three-fourths of his Career Slam dream. But this BACKSPINNER believes he will defeat 4th seeded Bautista Agut in one semi-final. In the other Raonic, seeded second, will beat third seeded Berdych. But Wawrinka will be victorious here.

Remember Kumkhum? She beat Kvitova in Melbourne a few years back. Well, she has qualified for the Korean Open and faces fourth seed Mladenovic in the opening round. Kiki has refused to do the doubles, as Garcia is not present.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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