Even if Nadal had survived Shapovalov and then beaten Mannarino, his hypothetical SF v Zverev could have been a loss, as well. Zverev is into his 6th final in 2017. Along with Federer and Nadal, the class of NextGen has clearly been one of the year’s brightest lights in these darkened days of the end of this golden age. For a year and a half he’s carried the torch for this future of tennis we keep talking about now. The Shapovalovs of the world are great theatre (and writing material), but the future of tennis, right now, is Sascha and everyone else. For us to truly Beliem in Thiem, for instance, the Austrian needs to find his HC and grass feet (especially HC). Sascha won his first Masters title on clay (beating Djokovic in the final) and he continues to find the business-end of the draw in almost every tournament he plays.
Overcoming the Canadian teen, to be fair, was no easy task. That match was tight and the second set, highlighted by the TB drama was tremendous championship tennis. Tense, guys surviving MP and SP, rallies that you rewind to watch again because of the shot-making, the beauty and power of the game on full display. I might watch the second set (especially the TB) again before I hit “delete.”
The diagnosis most of us gave Shapovalov earlier still stands: a tennis that’s raw and a little reckless. But put yourself in his coach’s shoes: isn’t this what you want in your young charge at this point? Despite these shortcomings, he’s getting by some tough opponents, finding the experience people need to improve, and fine-tuning his game.
And if you’re only looking at the stats, at the almost 50 UE, and only recalling those crucial rallies where he clearly overcooked the FH way wide, then you’re missing the meaning of this story. His ability to hang-around, save a MP or two, reach a SP in that TB, what would have been huge momentum shift, almost surviving to a third and final set. . . there was a ton of brilliance in that match still from the tennis of Denis.
A hearty standing ovation on the kid’s run here in Montreal. And like I said on Twitter, I think his game will translate well to Bo5. Let’s hope he finds the main draw in NYC, which sounds like a reach. I hear his ranking will keep him out of the qualifying tourney, so he probably needs a WC.
And I’m sure many want to see how he does with a more neutral crowd. Clearly the Canadian 18 year-old was advantaged in the hustle-and-bustle of Montreal. Indeed, lots to look forward to from this youngster. At the very least, his play, along with the likes of Tommy Paul’s play in D.C, and Kokkinakis’ in Los Cabos signal to the rest of this aspiring class of NextGen stars that the time is now. Get your games in order and take some swings at this elderly ATP!
We’ll see how Zverev fairs against one of these elders today.
Federer looked good against Haase yesterday, his form improving upon each successive round.
This is Sampras-Djokovic-like, almost stumbling through the draw, yet getting more dialed-in as the stakes rise, the opponents’ levels rise. Haase didn’t play poorly, but Federer is just finding his feet and controlling his shot more effectively. The players have mentioned that the conditions, among different elements, are causing the ball to fly, making the ball a bit difficult to control. Federer, in one interview, mentioned he was finding it the case where he needed to almost target the ball at the top of the net, or just below, for it to find his opponent’s half of the court.
Like any tournament, surface or era (extend this to different equipment, as well), players have to adjust. Those who adjust the best are the best. Sorry to oversimplify here. But again, this brings me back to fans saying that the 2017 Melbourne courts were too fast for Djokovic – don’t say that out-loud.
Federer had to bag his S&V at WB for years as the courts slowed and chunked-up the tennis. He didn’t necessarily complain: he has eight of those. Adjust to the conditions.
That’s what Fed has done in Montreal.
He should beat Zverev today.
Talk to you on the otherside.