The ATP youth continues to rise, the absence of tour heavy-weights due to injury or defeat only making this reality clearer.
This is what I said about one of our American youngsters from the aforementioned post: “For instance, I was really looking forward to a Tiafoe v Kyrgios Montreal 2R, but the American lost today to the Lorenzi 67 60 26. That just seems a lack of focus. This may be the brightest of the group, with some nice showings over the last couple of years (he played Federer pretty well in Miami ’17 early rounds losing 67 26). He’s an athlete at 6’2″ and, again, only 19.”
Tiafoe’s victory today over a weary Zverev was better than nothing. Certainly the young German is fatigued, but the American exacerbated this condition with uncharacteristic drop-shots and lobs only to extend Sascha’s exhaustion.
With a FH take-away like Kyrgios and a similar snappy top-spin, the 19 year-old showed again all kinds of potential on the court today. Brilliant stuff, no matter the context of Zverev’s form.
Unfortunately, Tommy Paul could not handle Isner, so Tiafoe now gets the big guy. Hopefully, Frances can hold serve and continue to run down shots and come-up with some interesting takes on the ball. His timely shortened ground-strokes, taking bigger angles into the shallow court, gave Zverev all kinds of trouble in the second set, as he is one who camps pretty deep behind the BL. Little tactics like that were big today; hopefully he can employ some similar smart tennis against Johnny Iz. And the youngster’s speed and power are very apparent. Watch this guy play. He has some legitimate weapons at only 19.
Think of the youth we’re seeing grace these high-stakes matches the last couple of weeks: Zverev (who’s already made a mark), Shapovalov (who stayed in the basement of Félix Auger-Aliassime), Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe, Kokkinakis, Donaldson who won today in Cincy and marches on to play Basilashvili in R16, among others. Khachanov has taken advantage of the Federer withdraw and has made the R16, as well.
Certainly, we are watching the draw with much interest.
We’ll see how Nadal responds to his ascension (on paper) to No. 1 against Gasquet tonight. He should survive.
The draw could get a little more interesting up top there if Kyrgios can keep his form, needing to get by Karlovic to potentially see Nadal in that QF. Of course, that means Nadal beats Gasquet and then Mueller, who’s knotted at a set-a-piece with Ramos.
Mannarino does continue to play well (I brought this up about a week ago and one of our readers had the same observation – only bolstered by his come-back win against Haase). The sneaky-good Frenchman has a date with Querrey, and the winner there plays Thiem.
The other match of note, in the bottom half, is Delpo v Dimitrov. I was not terribly impressed with Juan in his win over Berdych as Tomas really gifted points and games with a FH collapse. Del Potro’s serve has improved and the BH is showing a little more pace and depth as he’s mixing-in a top-spin, but the Czech really helped Juan’s cause in that TB and decider bagel.
You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit: that’s the theme here with this Cincy draw. This is the future of the tour sooner than later, folks. Enjoy. We are.