Half of the QF round is set and, yes, this is the infamous 2017 bottom half.
But I’m not here to downplay any of this solid tennis – I’ve been doing that in earlier posts and on twitter (not a big twitterer but during majors, apparently).
Just got done watching Sam absolutely scold, ground and dismiss Zverev the Elder in their R16 match. I won’t go into this too much, but we all need to recognize the upper-echelon level of tennis Querrey has played over the last year-plus. I’m not going to write a history of Sam Querrey here, but we may as well start with this latest run that has carried him tonight to the 2017 U.S. Open quarter-finals (simultaneously becoming top-ranked American) with his win over Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon 3R match that pretty much began Djokollapse (since that name will don the front-cover of one of my infamous Ebooks, Sam will be one of the minor characters in that stellar drama).
Jump to 2017. He wasn’t very notable early in the Australian stretch, Brisbane or Melbourne, but had a fine tournament in Acapulco that you all should remember.
From that post: “Did anyone else see the Kyrgios v Querrey? Sam is playing good tennis. His ball-striking, aside from his world-class serve – is very impressive. He lost his serve in that first set, but then pretty much put it on Kyrgios, pretty dismissive. Early in the second he smashed a ball into the stands, got booed, got a warning and then proceeded to breadstick the Aussie and out class him in the third, as well. His FH, BH and, of course, his serve provide quite the arsenal. I give the nod to Nadal because he’s brimming with confidence, but Sam – SO LONG AS HE DOESN’T TANK BECAUSE HE’S PLAYING NADAL – should be very tough. The proof is in the pudding – go ask Kyrgios how that tastes.”
That was during Kyrgios’ rampant taming of Djokovic, early spring 2017. Sam put it to Kyrgios there, from both wings along with the serve which were all on display tonight as he took care of Zverev on Arthur Ashe 2 2 and 1 in one hour and sixteen minutes: 55 winners, 8 errors, 18 aces. Seeing what Mischa did to Isner in the 3R, this shows the kind of tennis that Sam is playing. He had very little trouble keeping the S & V almost a distant memory.
As Querrey prepares for Tuesday’s QF match with Kevin Anderson with the chance to play the winner of Schwartzman v Carreno Busta in the SF, he has some recent experience with these players. Although he’s never played the Spaniard, he played Anderson recently in Montreal during the S. African’s run of decent N.A. HC, losing to Anderson in R16 4 and 1. I think we can agree this is an entirely different set of circumstances, but Anderson has to be buoyed by that experience.
Querrey actually opened 2017 in Brisbane where he lost to Schwartzman in the R32.
This bottom half is wide open.
I saw a bit of the Shapovalov v Carreno Busta match. The Spaniard was just the more consistent, more mature player, playing with less risk and more control. He looked the veteran that he is at 26, a player whose found some deep draws all year. Denis had the fight in him, but just couldn’t navigate the three TBs. We’ll have fun watching this guy grow in the sport and cause plenty of havoc in plenty of draws.
Another note on the bottom half’s bizarre circumstances, Carreno Busta has played, I believe, four qualifiers in his march to the QF.
I said the same thing about Nadal: the likes of Daniel and Mayer, as brilliant as they were in that first set, they didn’t have the reinforcements, at all, to go long with Rafa.
Carreno Busta hopefully gets a good test Tuesday from the Argentine.
Schwartzman, despite my bias, has been his stubborn and steady self. Good for him. I hear there is a bit of leg issue, but perhaps this is behind him come Tuesday where he can go toe-to-toe with the Spanish 12 seed.
As for tomorrow, we have to expect the No. 1 and 2 players in the world to advance. Dolgopolov, though dangerous, can’t really be trusted here or ever, as far as I’m concerned. I could see a retirement from the Ukrainian. He could surprise us and make a match out of it, but Mr. Business-end should get the job done.
The other two matches could be real classics, with Del Potro seemingly raising his level big-time and squaring-off against the Dom. This should be a good battle as neither player is prone to throwing-in the towel. DelPo hasn’t dropped a set, Thiem only one. I beliem in Thiem even though Juan’s resurgence is one of the most inspiring stories of the ATP.
Although I do love the run from Rublev, only 19, I am pulling for Goffin to find some QF form. He deserves more tennis fortune, if you know what I mean.
Talk to you tomorrow.