U.S. Open: Chaos or the New Norm?

No one is safe. Death-toll of the seeds mounts with each passing round. And those who survive fear for their lives. . .

There’s a bit of chaos imagepartly, again, because of the draw. Let’s not dismiss that part of the equation.

But the losses yesterday add to the bad music and offensive color schemes. I was left to check scores through the early part of the day and made it home to catch some of Federer’s clown show. Wow.

A lot of head-shaking. It started with Dog taking-out Berdych (I really don’t want to say Berd shit, but the guy is a giant patsy. Nothing new here with this guy, but damn. Up a set and then shit the bed). You’d think the Ukrainian might’ve even been a little shook from the Winston-Salem match-fixing investigation that involves him. Nope. Good-bye, Tomas.

But to hear about (frankly, I don’t want to see it) Dimitrov going down in straights just added to the pile of debris that is that bracket. Granted, I did say this in my last post about Dimitrov, whom I thought might have a little something to offer the NYC tennis gods: “As for Nadal’s potential QF with Dimitrov, obviously there is a lot of tennis to play. And Dimitrov actually has some potential difficulty in his next match vs. the 19 year-old Russian Rublev, and then a potential R16 match with Monfils.”

So, it’s not like I’m shocked, not to mention the Bulgarian’s career of this kind of collapse. But I thought he might show a little more promise and class, take care of business and give us Nadal/Dimitrov 2.0.

Nadal now has Mayer, the big veteran Argentine, and then probably Troicki, since the Dog most likely rolls-over, suspiciously.

At the same time, who knows. Nadal had a little difficulty with Daniel last night, a match I watched in full. Nadal is pummeling the ball, the FH starting to come around a bit, but one can see he’s still not exactly comfortable. The positives are out-weighing the negatives at this point, but I was surprised the Japanese kid (who lives in Spain) was able to track so much of Nadal’s balls, stay in points you’d expect him to forfeit.

Nadal needed a definitive push in the third to really put that match away. The fourth even had a bit of pressure, but the Japanese player just ran out of gas, almost succumbing to cramps (he played a five setter the day before). Nadal has to be feeling good about the draw and about his health. He seems the healthiest of the obvious threats.

But that’s the theme here in NYC this first week. Nothing is obvious.

The Federer scoreline was bizarre. Up 6-1 and 4-2. . .probably 35 minutes of tennis played and then crazy happened. By the time I got home and found my couch, surprised the match was still going, thinking Federer would retire at some point given the massive turn-around from Youzny, the talk of the match is the Russian’s injury/cramping. I remember hearing “Youzny is at about 67%; Federer, we think, at about 80%.” Lol.

The match was weird. Federer, despite Mikhail’s failing body, could not really grab control of the match. Errors everywhere. I tweeted something about Federer needing an intervention as these UE are taking a toll on his life the likes of what heroin does to many a drug addict.

In the interview, Federer was at ease, talked about how these five setters are fun. Lol.

I see Federer had 68 UE in the match, 12 aces, first serve about 62%, BP at 50% (8/16), but I couldn’t locate the avg. mph on his first serve. The back must not be totally shot, but when one has a bad back, that seems to be enough; even a slight twinge would be enough to sink any sort of professional tennis effort, no?

Like with all of these matches and players, let’s see how they look in the next round.

Federer and Nadal should advance, but no one should be shocked if that future rendezvous is cancelled. From Federer’s end, a nice straight-set win would help and he’s had much success against the classy Lopez, but one should probably expect a pretty tough day at the office for the five-time champ. Pretty odd to see Federer so errant and so clumsy coming to net. Has to be the back, but he just seems off – which is exactly like he looked in Montreal. We said “hungover” about that form. He’s a bit of a mess at this point.

Nadal should probably be advised to establish better court position, especially on ROS. When he drifts so far back, he gives his opponent (even a tired Japanese player from the Challenger circuit) too much.

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But as tennis fans, there’s still some decent bit of ball striking and we’ve got some interesting matches on today’s schedule.

Indeed, this chaos that I advanced above might be more a peek at the new tour, one of legends-in-demise and rising stars. Instead of chaos, perhaps this is more a matter of revised expectations.

Today’s schedule:

Kyle Edmund v Denis Shapovalov. The oldest of the two is 22. These boys like to compete and bring earnest tennis to the contest. This is in Arthur Ashe, so the boys have the big stage. Should be good.

My expectations have lowered for sure, but wins from Pouille and Cilic today would ensure their meeting in the 4R. Cilic has the grinding Schwartzman this morning; Cilic is staying alive here as a potential favorite of this tournament. But I sense Pouille starting to find some form, too.

Yes, the irony. I am rooting for Cilic – to give the draw some firepower.

The night match on AA is Zverev the Elder (the only one left from that family of course) v Isner. That could be good, certainly stylistically.

Beyond those few matches, can Coric continue his run, beating another tall bloke in Anderson? And I presume that Querrey will advance though we probably shouldn’t presume a thing.

On a side note, nice to see Thiem still plugging along (American Fritz secured a set from the Austrian yesterday, a good look, but can we start to Beliem in Thiem?).

And we’re not overlooking Goffin, who toughed-out a five-setter yesterday and gets another five-set survivor in our friend Gael Monfils! Ha.

Enjoy!

4 comments

  1. Yep, this tourney goes so weird now….regardless what Roger claims I doubt he is going to make it second week safe…So depends on Nadal we may have totally unexpected new champ…but overall it feels subpar quality so far…I doubt that changes going forward…..It also seems outer courts behaves much better than AA?? Or its just my imagination?

    1. AA is slowed apparently, as is Louis Armstrong. Tough to find good info on this, but some pretty credible people on-site have said that those courts are pretty sandy. What about the Grandstand court where the clay dervish (Diego) beat Cilic? Perhaps that’s quicksand?

      The governing body of the sport might have a drug problem.

  2. Wow, Cilic is now gone as well to the little Argentine Schwartzman. So now the bottom half of the draw has lost both top seeds. It is really hard to pinpoint a theme here…other than chaos. If preparation was the theme, it applies well to Federer, Cilic, and Nadal’s case (to some extent), but Dimitrov and Zverev’s cases proved it otherwise.

    This could be the year someone outside top 10 is winning it all…or all these are just meant to open the road for the top two seeds in the top half, while both are struggling to find form as of now. It will be interesting if somehow Fedal get ousted as well. If/when that happens, are we then completely devoid of the top 10 players for USO?

    1. I think play is really affected by the courts,by the surfacing, maybe the balls too. Players may have to get used to specific conditions. That would explain some of this. Again, I think heads of the sport (hopefully these aren’t corporate executives or advertisers) have their heads you know where.

      This thing has gotten away from them. Slower courts and more power spells trouble, not to mention a one-dimensional product.

      Naturally, I’m pulling for a Thiem Shapovalov final.

What say you?