Miami Second Week


Two quick observations before I get into this write-up:

  1. Streaming tennis on the web has several benefits, one of which involves the viewer not having to listen to TV commentary (of course we can always mute our devices). Granted, I like me some Jim Courier or Annacone or a few of the boys from Sky Sports, but along with access to several courts you don’t get with most TV coverage, we often get just the genuine feel of a match when we stream on a computer. This convenience of access is also just a click from my blog or real work. Speaking of my “blog” . . .
  2. This blog has become more like a column. Blogs involve, usually, throngs of commenters; blogs often serve a certain purpose that’s described as a kind of community where discussion involves several different perspectives, the blogger initiating the conversation. On this blog, on the other hand, though some of my commenters are pretty consistent (good work, folks!), one or two perhaps notorious and quite engaging in their astute tennis observations, more and more I have the sense that people primarily just read Mcshow Blog. I could spin this and say I am the Editor-in-Chief/CCO/Overlord with a handful of staff writers, and a solid readership.

    Sounds like I should turn this more deliberately into such a site, with subscriptions and everything! I know, I’m smart. Let’s see how smart I get in the next few months with MASSIVE tennis theater and competitive hostility coming our way, Fedal in full bloom or the possibilities of other tennis personality giants rising to the occasions.

I watched a lot of the tennis from the last couple of days in Miami and not too much has stood-out although yesterday’s Coric v Shapovalov was predictably quite good.

In R32 play these two future greats set-up their R16 clash by beating a couple of decent Americans, Coric outlasting Sock in three and Shapovalov doing the same in a tight one against Querrey. The 21 year-old Croatian and 18 year-old Canadian have the goods; their clash certainly highlighted yesterday’s tennis.

Verdasco beating Kokkinakis might have been the most predictable result, only because the Spaniard is a tough out and Kokkinakis had perhaps a bit too much on his plate: A) Federer hang-over and B) this kid’s predisposition that makes him vulnerable to losing his mind, talking shit and leaving his match-focus in his bag, under his chair. That little scuffle with Verdasco would have been forgiven had he won, but he lost (his cool and the match). And sure Kyrgios chiming-in on Twitter only makes this more meaningful. The Aussies are still a mess at this point, whether that’s just the way the planets and stars line-up or has something to do with their leader’s similar mental weakness (Hewitt). People have been talking about their young talent for years now with the Kyrgios, Tomic and Kokkinakis banter. Tomic’s career pretty much has a tombstone already and Kyrgios and Kokk continue to struggle, obviously Nick having a lot more success of these three. But the theme and results are consistent, in the end.

I watched a bit of the Kyrgios v Zverev match, but this was decided early with Nick’s body language (bad back?) and Zverev’s BH. The German does have his form again, which is great to see. But Nick continues to slump around the court and actual injury does appear to be in the mix. Bottom-line with Nick and Co., it’s a mess. Really too bad as there are absolute flashes of brilliance, speaking here of Nick and Thanasi. Add de Minaur to the mix and there continues to be real talent down there.

You want to see what young talent should do, how such youthful potential should perform under these lights? This sport has massive popularity right now because of the legends’ wake and the ATP marketing machine; there is no plausible justification to act like an asshole and throw-away one’s talent and opportunity in this context.

Coric and Shapovalov are good examples of how to act and play. Again, Shapo is 18. Other than his slightly vulnerable one-hander and his FH abandoning him a bit (there’s just that loose quality to his tennis), he’s a competitor with a very bright future. Yesterday’s R16 match that Coric ended-up winning is a future major SF or F. No doubt.

Coric’s ability to grind, to impose his athletic tennis, his ability to retrieve and return from both sides with interest make him very difficult. Just ask Federer. Indeed, the Croatian’s ability to back-up his IW SF with a run here to the QF in Miami is great news.

Here in the QF we have Chung, Zverev and Coric, three of the final eight at a Masters 1000 from this Next Gen. IW included 2 of the final 8 from this group. Let’s just call this progress. Shapo is knocking at the door, as are guys like Rublev, Tiafoe, maybe Khachanov and with others like Donaldson, Fritz, and Medvedev, there are stars out there to shine (also not forgetting about the Aussies). Tiafoe v Berdych was interesting, no? Not really. Tiafoe got frustrated with his opponent’s chirping at his box (Kokkinakis-like a bit, no?). And raised his level and beat-down the big Czech. Poor Berd.

Chung v Isner today has to favor the S. Korean, but if the American’s serve finds that dominance, even in this wind, Chung will have his hands full. I like Chung here.

Isner vanquishing Cilic is another reason for me and others to focus more on this next gen. If you’re over 25 years-old and you’re not Federer, Nadal or Del Potro, you’re washed-up and drying-out. Sure that’s a rough estimation, but you know what’s up.

Del Potro should beat Raonic today in a tighter affair compared to their IW SF. The Canadian does look like that spanking from Juan Martin last week did him some good, but the sunshine double committee is on full-watch with DelPo. He looks unchallenged so far and we know he can actually dig pretty deep when he is challenged. The coast looks clear down there in Florida for Juan Martin to consolidate his rise before moving-on to bigger and better things this spring and summer.

Tomorrow’s second two QF matches give us Anderson v Carreno Busta and Coric v Zverev. The S. African and Spaniard are regulars on this opportunity-rich tour. No surprises they’re here, especially with the Federer loss opening-up that draw.

The Coric v Zverev should be a beauty. Zverev gets the nod in the odds, but the Croatian is a fighter and if his tennis is all on-board, his 1st and 2nd serves solid (as they were v Federer in IW), and both wings stay positive, he should take this deep into a third. His FH broke-down against Federer, but based-on his match v Shapovalov, he looks pretty solid.

The way that R16 match ended might give the Coric clan some pause. He’s broken serving-out the match, potentially letting the Canadian back to reverse that result, but he was able to break back on the lefty to advance. He let down, but made amends. Has to be seen as a positive. This kid is dialed-in. Zverev should have his hands full unless his ground-strokes and serve are Toronto-like where he simply hit opponents off the court.

Having updated Miami, I’ll turn to the Federer French (mis) Connection and heap some more dirt on the lost generation in my forth-coming piece, “Six Degrees of Dimitrov.”


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