My gut says a final between Djokovic and Isner. But give me a couple of hours, a couple of beers to confirm.
I was 3/4 on my QF picks but the riff I played on Federer’s ping-pongy tennis, spot-on analysis you only find here, elevates my play to 100%.
Addendum on Federer v Anderson
He was, really, a mess out there; that little FH flick that when hit as a half-volley pick-up from the BL that darts past his opponent and brings congregations to their knees is as risky and comical as SABR.
Credit to Anderson who committed to those shots (I’m not even talking about his serve). He out-hit and out-played Federer. The “gift” first set (Anderson had 1 ace in the first) and an Anderson misstep at 2-0 in the second set TB enabled Federer to grab that 2-0 set lead. Honestly, I thought Anderson might go away, too, but in retrospect, he was really in it all along.
And yes Anderson could clearly beat Isner in their SF match. Isner leads 8-3, but they haven’t played in about three years. Anderson was brutal today, no question.
But to be clear, this is a massive underachievement from Federer. Tough not to read into some of that “cool” body language, as well. On the one hand, he’s calm and composed; on the other, he’s not 100% (health, focus, desire, hunger, etc.). You have to wonder at this point in his career if in those matches where he needs Rafa or Djoker-like determination, he simply says fuck it.
Federer’s too good for his own good.
It’s that simple. His arrogance and/or white-collar, first world, 300 million-dollar-man altitude or relativity makes him, in some respects, almost diminutive in contrast to other legendary warriors.
To be fair (and I can argue this point until the cows come home), he “ruined” tennis as of 2015, as of 17 majors and the rest of that theme park. 2017-18 has been gravy for both Rafa and Roger. Rafa makes separation on Pete, I suppose, and Federer goes into la la land with 20.
2017 reinforced the Fedal connection and separation coupled with the Djokollapse (this has all been detailed grotesquely on this blog, dear reader).
Some of you might remember much of my discourse prior to 2017 included frequently and freshly baked installments of Federer’s farewell tour, as in he would simply act as ambassador, play brilliant tennis here and there, but not quite have enough to finish those big matches.
Then came Djokollapse and Ljubičić, two factors in the resurgence of Federer (the break in 2016 didn’t hurt, obviously).
In some of my recent random thoughts about writing for the blog, etc., I thought about suggesting before Wimbledon even began that Federer needs another U.S. Open title more than he needs another Wimbledon. He hasn’t won the former since 2008. You might also have heard me say many times that NYC is the true and greatest test of major championship tennis.
But NYC requires one’s best form: strength, fitness, and peak skill and execution.
Federer at Halle and here at SW19 looks listless. Looks a bit like WTF 2017 and IW 2018. Or really most of his tennis pre 2017 (during the twilight of his illustrious career).
Nadal Overcomes Del Potro
This went almost according to script, my script at least. Del Potro to his credit played an epic and gave Nadal everything he could handle. But to be clear Nadal could handle it. I thought going-up 2-1 might enable the Argentine to prove me wrong, but the greatest fighter the sport has ever witnessed outlasted the Tower of Tandil. Incredible match.
Djokovic Routines Nishikori
The Nadal/Del Potro match probably just advances Novak’s chances in the SF. I would like to see them play on more equal terms, but I would still probably give Djokovic the nod. Since the Edmund match, all thoughts and images revolve around Novak’s form and hunger holding hands and resolving to fight to the death, rejuvenated, rebirthed.
Novak still has those moments, like today in the second set. We collectively entertain the thought that he might stumble again ala Cecchinato or Cilic. But he gathered himself today and made pretty easy work of Kei.
Like I said last night, we have to check ourselves on overvaluing some of Novak’s opponents here at Wimbledon 2018, but he appears ready to play for the highest of stakes, the loftiest rewards. If you recall pre-Djokollapse tennis, by the way, he had quite a bit of success against the Spaniard.
Tough to bet against Nadal, especially after another epic display of competitive brilliance, but at this moment, as I have felt for over a week now, Novak looks quite the case to make the final.
Isner Takes Care of Raonic
Raonic is historically the better grass player. But I nailed this one in my preview. Didn’t see much of this at all, to be honest, but Isner clearly got to the Canadian.
I was back-and-forth between Nadal v Del Potro and England v Croatia (sure we can blame Federer’s loss on Ljubičić‘s distraction . . .and the Court 1 scheduling) 😀