Or will Monfils get down a set and pull the plug? This is an unreal draw for Djokovic and while this is certainly no fault of the Serb, anyone watching this circus has to say the mad disparity between the two halves is almost ridiculous. Murray/Nishikori and Wawrinka/Del Potro in one half and Djokovic with a bunch of injured journeymen in the other? It’s a laugher, no doubt. Almost asterisk-worthy as the actual time that Novak has been on the court is historically soft.
We will see what the tennis “gods” have to say about this. We know how “luck” befalls certain players and teams in all manner of sports (“good” and “bad” luck, mind you). Think back to some of the huge losses to guys like Federer and Sampras and even Nadal (speaking of those who have the most majors). They “could” have even more, but for in some cases huge upsets, almost “freak” losses that have somehow made this debate still as heated as ever (I think of Roger losing what would have been his 6th straight USO to Del Po up two sets to one. Or Sampras getting run-over by a rampant Richard Krajicek in 1996 that ended Pete’s streak, which could have amounted to eight straight WB titles – and people forget about Pistol Pete, ha. Or Nadal having only one AO?). The point is shit happens. Does Djokovic really straight set Monfils (good possibility) and then get a worn-out Kei or Stan and cruise to his 13th major/3rd USO?
Of course, his minimal match play in this tournament could spell his demise. At the same time, his form is on most days (any days) too high for Monfils. I watched the first two sets of the Monfils v Pouille match and the older Frenchman’s form could be described as assault on the youngster. His serve boomed, his ball retreat was typically athletic and long and he was quite professional over all in that win. He “looks” good. But look at his draw. No one. Pouille was pretty smashed coming into the QF. In other words, tough to make the argument that Monfils is prepared for Djokovic.
But as we just said, strange things happen and this tourney has a fair share (as they all do) of the upset. Is Monfils that “inspired” as we’ve heard, with some connection to Lebron James?
Those are actually mature and thoughtful developments in the mind and spirit of Monfils. Maybe he is prepared.
At this point, we just want some competitive tennis. Will Novak have to play a SF match?
The Kei v Andy match was spectacular. Again, that bottom half is heavy-weight match upon heavy-weight match. I responded to some comments in my previous post, which I’ll just reiterate. Andy looked to have the match more or less in his possession, but as the tough Japanese player hung around, Andy started, according to what I saw, to crack. Despite the surrogate father in the stands, for whom Andy seemingly obeys and performs so well, keeping his childish antics at bay, Murray started to fidget and whine a bit, gesticulate his way right out of that match.
Great ground strokes. Brilliant stuff. Essentially, Kei appears to have done to Andy what he did to Novak back in 2014 here in NYC. Out hit him, consistently. Kei has two very good wings. He’s in to the SF and Murray has to be left wondering. Maybe he gets a good spanking from Lendl and we see the Scot break through finally at the AO in fourth months. A lot can happen between here and there (even the possibility of Lendl leaving again, I suppose, and Murray’s career taking a huge and final dive. I think we all hope Murray can pull it together, with Lendl, and carry-on).
Kei, in my humble opinion, has a very difficult opponent in Wawrinka. Wawrinka handled himself well enough in the end and a gassed Del Potro just couldn’t quite weather the five setter, even get this to five sets. Del Potro is back and the entire tennis world has to be rejoicing over this development, but the Argentinian is, at the same time, not in major championship shape. That was clear.
Still, the match remained interesting because of the big guy’s guile and championship mettle. He is a great player with a huge heart. Watching these two hit mammoth GS early in the match, back and forth, was great theater. Obviously, Stan had enough to get that early TB and then the pivotal third set.
Stan has enough. Brad Gilbert, sitting court-side, said the Swiss looked stronger in the fourth than in the first. He can go long and he looks fit. On top of that, the most brilliant backhand in the game is working, maybe well enough. On the other hand, Kei just went long and hard with Andy. Those are brutal matches, very physical, very taxing and his durability has been an issue.
Stan has two majors and this comes into play at this stage of a tourney, as well. Having said that, Kei beat Stan in five sets in the 2014 USO QF (interesting to note that Monfils took Roger to five sets that year in their QF match – should we not overlook Gael?).
As we know, this Kei v Stanimal match is a tough call. Both can raise their form and hit the other off the court. I’m going to add too that despite Kei’s seemingly high level, with which he traded masterfully with Andy, and overcame with a better BL game, Stan hits a bigger and heavier ball than Andy. You see where I think this should go. Then again, I thought Andy was finals bound.
Maybe the bigger question is what will the tennis gods do with that other SF. How many sets will they play? One, two, three. . . five?