A nice mix in D.C. today.
Zverev the Younger v Nishikori
Goffin v Tsitsipas
de Minaur v Murray
Kudla v Rublev
Good blend of top players, even our token veteran great along with a couple of very talented Lost Gen boys topped with a couple of Next Genners — and for good measure, Kudla. 😉
I saw some of the highlights of the Zverevs, which disappointed — not because Sascha had his way really. This looked and felt like the two boys on a court somewhere in the middle of nowhere just hitting. Mischa employed really ZERO S&V. What was that? A surprise tactic on the guy who probably knows your game better than anyone else?
I’m not buying it. Mischa, who already faced quite the uphill battle, was DOA. Trying to exchange BL strokes with Sascha. Booooo. Not good.
Goffin took Tiafoe to the woodshed. Well done. Sure I wanted to see the 19 and 20 year-olds face-off, but Goffin, as we know, can play tennis. Likewise, Tiafoe can role-play Kyrgios. I did not see the match, but that Frances might have decided to run-away and hide would not surprise. He has all kinds of holes in his game to go with that odd behavior, but he’s young and athletic, hence my failed optimism.
Again, good for Goffin. Maybe he’s finding the form he’ll need to reach London again this year. He’s got the time and ranking points to do so.
Tsitsipas v Goffin will be assessed and reviewed. The veteran SHOULD know how to take care of this opponent. The Greek has that wild card ethos (and youthful exuberance and athleticism) to take-out the Belgian. You can see me swinging for the fences on some of these youngsters because the situation is so dire (and their tennis is still so full of hope). Goffin losing here would be par for the course for him. Tsitsipas is still designing his course.
Here here for the one-hander!
Hewitt Jr. v Sir Andy Murray is next. Murray ended his powwow with the Romanian last night after 3:00am. I watched a lot of this match, but did not see the end (fell asleep) which included the tearful aftermath upon up-ending Copil.
Speaking of one-handers, let me admit that I had not seen really any of Marius’ tennis and was immediately a fan. What a monster. The one-hander was unplayable at times and his serve topped-out at 141 a couple of times. My goodness. Really a fun match to watch. His comeback in that first set TB was wild. Down 0-5 to the Scotsman, yet pulling-out the set was large.
And, again, great to see Andy out there battling. He did look to be hobbling around a bit, but that may just be the scar tissue on his hip injury. Hopefully he continues to grind and rise.
Hewitt Jr. aka de Minaur is becoming quite the court pest. Not a lot of camera time, but I saw some bad camera angles on his win over Johnson and Chung. This guy is an absolute grind machine. We had our eyes on him in Brisbane, I think it was. Talented bloke for sure. Very serious out there, Hewitt-like.
Kudla v Rublev is your last QF. Kudla is playing well, having beaten Khachanov and Pouille en route. Rublev will certainly represent. Having a guy like Rublev, de Minaur, or Tsitsipas in a 500 SF, here at the beginning of this hard court series, would be a good look. Can at least one of them reach that next match?
I did watch a bit of the Isner v Rubin match. Two thoughts: Isner looks completely gassed — the younger American had virtually the same number of aces as John. And Asics tennis shoes took a hit in that match. Rubin was in such massive scurry mode, fetching, chasing, lining-up 20 feet behind the BL ala Nadal, that at one point, while changing directions, he broke his shoe. He got a flat. His black Asics took a shit.
But the kid still advanced. He was on every ball. Between John’s bad scheduling (plays Atlanta, clearly a favorite of his, post WB SF, with hard courts on the horizon), and Rubin’s manic tennis, the 2-seed got a much-needed early exit.
And the steady and dangerous Kei continues to chop-down opponents. I did not see the Shapo match (night job, folks), but looked pretty much dictated by the 7-seed. 7-1 in the TB seemed to remove much mystery. Sascha v Kei could be dynamite.
My quick glance sees this SF logic:
Zverev v Goffin
Murray v Rublev
The best part of a tournament like this — sans Fed, Rafa and Nole — is the massive parity. This is really a different tour, with management on vacation. Everyone of those picks could easily be wrong. 😀
To be fair, Murray or Zverev winning this week would actually coincide with the current autocratic business model (though Murray has that come-back to add a little spice if he wins this).
As for our dark horse:
Shame on me for ignoring the single one-hander left in the draw.
We are, for various and obvious reasons, pulling for Tsitsipas at this point.