A lot of interesting matches yesterday, today and this should continue throughout the week. North American hard courts and the best players having to play their best. This is (let’s use this adjective yet again to get our point across) the best tennis of the year: the most rigorous and cleanest test of tennis to make real champions rise and dominate the taxed, the vulnerable or the exposed.
The courts in Cincy are pretty quick. Hopefully, New York obliges the sport and maintains this quickness at the Open. Last year’s much slower version of those NYC hard courts played into that perfect storm of Nadal (and yet here I am looking at another Open where he’s, really at this point, the favorite). Anyways, we love and want these quick hard courts. Highest level of tennis, historically.
Tsitsipas is in action today. One might see my Toronto analysis as being very critical of the Greek twenty year-old (he’s getting old). Nope. Hopefully you caught the dash of sarcasm, which helped clarify my criticism while neutralizing any harsh move on my part.
You should know that he and Thiem are both sponsored by Mcshow Blog (I wish). We certainly want these blokes, none the less, to thrive. Shapo too, de Minauer, the whole lot.
We love Tsitsips’ tennis, of course, his overall spirit of classical play and precocious fight.
Do you know what would be almost as impressive as Tsitsipas winning that Toronto final v Nadal? Backing-up his Toronto tennis with a deep run in Cincinnati. This is a deep draw. Watching the Djokovic v Johnson match (or Stan/Schwartzman, Shapo/Tiafoe, etc.) demonstrates the high athleticism needed to overcome an opponent who’s playing to kill, as well.
If Stefanos can mount another run, this would be a massive sign, huge up-side. He starts with Goffin today. One would think the 11th ranked player in the world could take-out a depleted Tsitsipas today. I’ll be watching thinking this could get pretty interesting.
Even though we have a few nice young one-handers on tour, Tsitsipas is already the more classical player. Shapo and Thiem, for instance, prefer to stay back though Shapo will certainly come-in and Thiem looks to be employing more court coverage as we speak.
But Tsitsipas is already a more attacking full-court player, echoes an earlier era, which adds sophistication to his game — and his one-hander is potentially a very destructive weapon; when that’s in rhythm (like many ohbh), the level goes through the roof.
If he gets by Goffin, he has Paire and then a potential rematch with Anderson in R16. Hopefully that gets scheduled.
Djokovic v Johnson was a good watch. Sure the scoreline makes it appear that Novak struggled. Like I said, this surface gives players with athleticism and talent a nice canvas with which to work. Stevie is the greatest American college tennis player of all time.
Johnson was a very impressive collegiate player, playing college tennis for the USC Trojans. He won the NCAA Men’s Singles Championship in his junior and senior seasons (2011–2012), and he was a part of a Trojan team that won four consecutive NCAA Championships. These accomplishments during his college career cement him as the most-decorated college tennis player ever.
He is capable of some solid form.
Wawrinka looks very dangerous. This is the sneaky insight of this post. The way he looked getting his shit together v Nadal in Toronto and the how he looked beating Schwartzman — Stanimal may be en route to NYC. No kidding. Perfect timing. He has to be as fresh as cupcake. Be ware of the five-setter Stanimal who becomes nearly unplayable. The BH looks good, the shots in general look heavy, he has a big serve and his ROS, backed way up behind the BL like he is, can be underrated. He’s a big boy and that blue moon may be rising: Stan the Man.
Murray is gone, Pouille in three. Hopefully he can finish the season well, finding his health and consistency.
Shapo v Tiafoe >> Shapo v Edmund. There are my notes. This was a good match v Tiafoe. I’m not that excited about Shapo’s serve at this point. He’s made some changes, more spin, perhaps, not quite as big (mph, etc.). He has great fight and another difficult match today. Edmund hopefully has his form — tough draw for the Canadian. Hopefully he’s up for another big hitting affair from the BL. Maybe we will seem him at the net more, trying to cut-off the angles from the Courier look-alike (facial features and FH for sure!).
Kyrgios is in a fist-fight with Kudla. They are in a three-set. Kyrgios. What the hell.
Coric just routined Medvedev. More of this younger player politics playing-out before your very eyes. The Russian is decent but the Croatian has another peak in him this year; let’s hope it’s here in Cincinnati.
Khachanov lost the first set today to Ramos but took the 2nd the decider 3 and 2/
Sock continues to get lost (get it?). Wins the first set v Chung today and just disappears 1 and 2.
OHBH Alert: Copil, the big Romanian has taken-out Kohlshreiber. This pleases our tennis senses.
Federer plays later today, as well. Sure we want to see his tennis shape-up. If he can get to the QF, absolutely should, then the fireworks begin. He gets the likes of Wawrinka or Thiem (or Nishikori). 😀
Before I go, I’ve seen some criticism of Nadal for skipping Cincinnati. I referred to it as a “bold” move in my commentary, but how are you to criticize the guy after he wins another Masters. I have plenty of criticism for the guy, which you’ve read; I’m not going to pile on the guy here. Would make me look a little hardo on my Nadalism thesis.
If you’re on the ATP (or a big fan girl of one of these guys), and have a shot at a deep run at the Open, hopefully you’re practicing hard (your favorite player is practicing hard), committing himself to good coaching and getting very, very fit. Because Nadal, in all of his grotesque two-handed top-spin, is coming hard and going to do EVERYTHING in his power (even when he’s up 5-1 in a set and has you 0-40 on your serve to stay in the set) to win those long and grueling matches at that business-end.
The fans that get on Nadal like that are GOATers; they’re playing a kind of he said-she said, kinda missing-out on a lot of really good tennis, good competition. I heard one mention he’s afraid of Novak, of H2H numbers, etc. That’s a reach, for the fan thinking that or for Nadal if he’s thinking that. I think he’s trying to stay healthy and fresh for a much more important tennis tournament. Enjoy the tennis, I might suggest.