Day 10: Destiny v Reality

The bottom half SF is set with Anderson v Carreno Busta. Yikes. I did not see the death of Schwartzman yesterday, but did watch a bit of the night match. Querrey looked weighted down by expectation or something. He looked awful with no urgency on his ground stroke, his second serve coming in around 100 mph, etc. Not a good look from the American. Even the crowd wanted to get behind their guy. But he was flat. No visual energy, body language, and his ground strokes were sitting up, short, safe which the S. African destroyed.

Between his monster serve, his attack of Querrey’s second serve and his missile-like ground strokes, I joked that he’s playing the best tennis ever. He pumped his fist after EVERY won point, pep-talked himself constantly. . . the difference in energy alone was massively one-sided, like the tennis.

Even Querrey winning that second set TB couldn’t get the American rolling, losing the next set 2-6. To open that third set, coming off the dramatic TB, Querrey had looks at a BP, which could have really propelled him in that third set. Didn’t happen.

Huge difference between that and his demolition of an in-form Zverev. One win from a SF with Carreno Busta. Either of these boys last night would be favorites against the Spaniard, meaning probably a trip to the final with a win. Anderson played like he knew the stakes and knew the lifetime opportunity. Querrey shrank.

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The way the top-half of the tournament should play-out is a good HC player should survive. Nadal, as discussed, looks uncomfortable even though the surface has been slowed quite a bit. As slow as AA is this year, the flatter more versatile player should still advance.

Federer has his hands full if Del Potro is healed. That was an amazing match v Thiem; he should have been dismissed, but simply rose to the occasion and put it to the young federer1-master675Austrian. Brilliant tennis. All of you (probably who don’t read this blog) who advocate some kind of Bo3 in the majors, should back away from whatever’s causing you this lunatic garbage. Go get your brain restrung. Del Potro, like I said, is such an inspiration.

I’ve been wanting to say this for a few days: I don’t trust Federer’s back. As clean as these last two matches have been, he just doesn’t seem quite right. The MTO after the second set against Kohlschreiber wasn’t a good look. He’s playing it off, but he just seems a string or two off.

This QF and SF will test the back. I think reality could set-in here; that’s a big ask: to beat Delpo and Nadal back-to-back. If he’s not bothered by the back, he should be too much for anyone, but his next two opponents are the type to really test his health. Delpo and Nadal will go five sets fighting until death. The reality of Federer’s back will be determined now.

Nadal should be way too much for Rublev despite the youngster’s form. Or is he on some kind of historic run? I watched a little replay of that first set of Rublev v Dimitrov. Dimitrov should have been many people’s dark horse here at the USO. He served for the first set at 5-3 against the young Russian and lost that set 5-7 (and the next to sets). Pretty remarkable, really, even if Grigor is a bit of a wanker.

No way should Nadal lose this match. Question: how many matches has Rublev played on AA? I would love to see a good match, but suspect this could be a similar to the Dog match. Nice draw for the No.1 seed, no?

Is it destiny, folks, for Nadal to finally face Federer at the U.S. Open? Or will reality set-in on one’s aging body and the other’s surface difficulty?

I’ll be keeping watch on the teenager and then the back as the two factors that could crack the case. You have to think tonight’s match should be massive tennis theater.

Get your popcorn ready.

PS
Of course I see what’s happening on the women’s side. Will it be four Americans in the SFs? The Vandeweghe v Pliskova match today should be a doozy as I think they don’t like each other, Pliskova defending her No.1. Sounds good to me.

12 comments

  1. IF Del Potro is healthy, I see him taking it in four sets. I think Roger’s run will end very soon. But I say that every tournament and he surprises me. I am hoping for a good match between Nadal and Rublev, but I wonder if the occasion is going to get to be too much for Rublev? Either way, some good tennis ahead!

    1. If Del Potro is healthy, this could be a very tough match for Fed.
      I suspect, however, that Ivan the terrible has made this very clear for Roger,
      which could enhance his position: Serve well and pound the big man’s BH.

      Could be a classic and I hear where you’re coming from, Frazier.

      1. As I write this, DelPo is 2 sets to 1. Even if Federer manages to win this, he is not looking good enough to beat Nadal. In baseline rallies, Del Potro (and perhaps the surface) is making him look impotent. He’s not attacking first serves and second serves like earlier in the year and the backhand looks like it has regressed.

        Not very good, overall, I’m afraid.

      2. Are you seeing how far back Federer is standing here? Astonishing, and far cry from his play earlier in the year.

  2. And just like that, Rublev is getting demolished by Nadal. I think this is a study of uncontrolled aggression. He tries to hit through Nadal all the time. While one can hit through Nadal occasionally, “all the time” just will not work even for the best players. What will happen instead is Nadal will suffocate you. Signs of nerve all around, he just couldnt handle the big stage. Rublev may have the tools but he just doesnt have the right mentality and it really shows. The way he is destroyed reminds me much of the way Thiem was ousted in FO: uncontrolled aggression begetting UEs, then Nadal completely suffocates him.

    1. When I wrote about last year’s Open, one concern for Djokovic was the ease of his draw.
      His route was a mess of retirements, soft competition; the SF is remembered as Monfils’s shitshow – embarrassing disaster.

      Not exactly the same situation here, but Nadal is going into that SF virtually unchallenged.
      Lajovic – Daniel – Mayer – Dolgopolov – Rublev . . .

      But this may be his year.

  3. Aaaand Federer is out. It seems predestined that he never meets Nadal in USO. It also seems preordained that Nadal is going to win it all. I think Federer didn’t expose Delpo’s BH enough and got burned by his FH, and Delpo also tried to run around the BH to hit the FH. After 2 tough matches, Delpo may be gassed out, clearing the path to the final for Nadal. Not to mention Nadal may be more keen to expose that BH. To note, Nadal’s been doing that for a career — exposing Federer’s BH. Just a singular tactic that will bring him to the final.

    And the one waiting at the final is his own poor man’s version or a big hitter he has always owned.

    1. Bravo Frazier on the call. Look at my response to Frazier.

      Federer FED Juan’s FH all match long. And his serve failed him big time.
      6-4 in the third set TB with (I’m pretty sure) both serves. Not meant to be. The whole tone of the match was Delpo Delpo. Did you get a look at Fed’s box. They knew what was up.

      And let’s face it: Federer was off. How about that running volley (he was late) at 30-30 in the final game. Wow. That would have been BP. Just wasn’t meant to be.

      I have a lot to say about this match, the next one and other crap.

      Let me just say Congrats to the gentle giant. He is a brilliant big match guy.

      Trivia: what was the scoreline of their last USO meeting?

      1. In some ways, I find it hard to say Federer was off, Matt. For the large parts of his service games, he was untouchable. But on those particular service games, he just imploded, e.g. last game of 1st set. In summary, yes I agree he was off…but it’s hard to pinpoint which part of his game was off, other than mental. I mean, if there was a problem with the back, he couldn’t have stayed that close to Delpo. Serve, FH, BH, net play all working normally, just not on those clutch points. If Delpo had been slightly off, Federer could have taken the match.

        Feeding Delpo FH was another thing (or symptom of something) that was off. It’s like he was back to his young, stubborn days where he played to opponents’ strengths and expected to beat them (he actually did, bar Nadal). He has got to be smarter these days, with his limitations.

        For the trivia, I just remember it was close in the 3 middle sets (or at least 2 of the middle 3) while 6-2 in the 5th. Could have googled it but I’m testing my memory here.

What say you?