What do Mohamed Lahyani, Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer have in common?
They looked like garbage today in Day 4 play in and around Flushing Meadows.
We’ll start with Federer (to be fair, we’re not questioning his character). I clarified how the end of his R1 match was near fatal, having a chance at a BP to go to 5-0 and serve-out the match. He ended-up winning the third 6-4.
Keep in mind, this kind of “almost” dominant Federer has been, oddly enough, a striking characteristic his entire career. As dominant as Federer has been, he can be described as a bit of a choke artist or a stage frightened schoolboy, as well.
Today he found some more sink holes out there on Arthur Ashe. I tuned-in in the first set, serving at 4-2 I believe, playing that nutcase Paire. Federer proceeded to look like an absolute septuagenarian. He’s off, that’s for sure. Injured? Maybe, but like I said last year — the trouble with saying someone has a bad back, yet can play a professional sport like men’s tennis doesn’t pass basic biology or common sense.
If you’ve ever had a bad back, how in the hell do you play 60% or 80% in a tournament match? We’re not talking about bumping around a court with your pal, wife/hubby or kid, sorta taking it easy with the bad back.
A bad back will render you a stiff, or a bed-ridden corpse. One who is still able to fly (okay run) around a court in a men’s professional tennis match with a bad back seems like a half-truth.
I have argued that the ping pong does represent some kind of physically limited, or stiff-backed Federer. But the other side of that coin is playing at this level with a bad back is bullshit.
In the third set of his match today against Kyrgios’ kin, Paire, the Frenchman acting like a complete imbecile out there, I returned after a short errand to see Federer up 4-1 on Paire’s serve. I believe he had a BP or two here. Finishing this chump off at 6-1 would be quite the reprieve of his R1 third set disaster. Punishing this nut case Paire at 6-1 in the third, Federer playing really just okay, would be a nice touch. Nope. He doesn’t secure the break and ends-up winning the set 6-4.
He hasn’t dropped a set, so it’s not like Federer is out there for three hours a match, barely getting by, but this inability to really shut the door seems a bit sloppy and a bit telling.
This reality of Federer’s tennis is partly what made 2017 so remarkable. He was much better at the business-end of games, matches and even tournaments. Doing what he did to Nadal, at the AO, then at IW and Miami and again in Shanghai (three of those were finals) puts the exclamation point on my analysis.
Tuesday and today in NYC seem more like the brilliant but (almost) fatally flawed Federer. Obviously it’s not fatal, but one watching a guy with that kind of weaponry simply shit the bed at those points in the match, a stronger finish seemingly reinforcing the win in a more dominant fashion, boggles the imagination.
The other side to this, a more optimistic side, is that he’s winning playing really flawed and uninspiring tennis. Maybe. This is the Sampras and Djokovic tournament approach; play well enough to get into those deeper encounters and then raise the level to destroy the more dangerous opposition.
Federer will need to raise his level, I’m afraid, in his R3 match. Yep — the organizers got their first maybe match of the tournament in the 3R of the U.S. Open as Federer is set to face Kyrgios.
Kyrgios and Lahyani
As people have pointed-out, that is way over-the-line for a chair to get involved like that with a player, essentially coaching him back into the match. Nick was down a set and behind 0-3 in the second, in the process of tanking the match. Herbert should be furious.
Here’s the flip-side. Kyrgios might very well beat Federer in their 3R match. If you know Nick, that’s his game. He tanks most matches, makes an absolute shit of the place under normal, mundane match circumstances.
Be that as it may, put him on court with a Federer, Nadal or Djokovic and he’s a world-beater.
Go look at his H2Hs with those three (he’s 0-5 v Murray, which probably says everything you need to know about Murray — that’s irony and sarcasm, folks). He loves to be the underdog.
His game is demonic, nasty and lethal. But his mental stability is infantile.
This is probably what Federer needs at this point. If Kyrgios shows-up, and he probably will, Federer will probably need 4 or 5 sets, unless Nick’s psyche implodes (or Roger’s body gives-out) before that.
Bad look today from that flamboyant chair (he loves him some limelight).
Terrible look from Kyrgios, though pretty typical. Kick him off the court and fine him, or ban him until he gets professionally cleared and/or the right medications to continue in a more normal capacity.
Lastly, Federer’s play was very ambivalent. Still not sure what to make of his form or his health. 3R might clear-up some of this uncertainty.
The way some of these brackets are going, let’s see what we have.
Nadal has the big hitting Russian Khachanov next. May be the toughest opponent (potentially) he’ll see in days. I hyped their Toronto match a bit. This kid is finding some consistency and he can hit the tennis ball. Let’s hope for at least a decent match.
The other half of that quarter has Thiem, Shapovalov and Anderson (along with the American Fritz, coached by Annacone). Nice to see Anderson spank Chardy. Thiem had a five-setter with Johnson, who isn’t cream cheese. Nice to see Kevin and Dominic finding, hopefully, a little rhythm. Shapo v Anderson could be a gem, the Canadian with all kinds of fight, which he’ll need against the S. African’s tall composure and offensive tennis.
That next quarter, as we previewed earlier, is a monster. These matches are tomorrow:
DelPo v Verdasco
Coric v Medvedev
Isner v Lajovic
Wawrinka v Raonic
My dark horse has this to get to the SF and play Nadal: Raonic/Isner/Del Potro. Of course, most people have Del Potro. Tomorrow will tell me a lot about Stan. If he takes care of that experienced huge serve, and decent HC game, we’re on our way. If Stan isn’t quite the Man this year, Raonic ends the Swiss’ run.
But given that Stan’s biggest weakness is his ROS, a Raonic/Isner/DelPo line-up looks pretty tall, indeed. Tomorrow’s match will tell us a lot. We like Stan.
Verdasco of course beat Murray. This is a tough quarter, my friends. I still don’t like Del Potro’s BH at all and think he’s just too far removed from 2009, but I would love to be wrong. Some big-time firepower in that draw there.
The power of coaching. Kyrgios needs a daddy. He’s a mess. He needs professional help, and probably a nice little ban from the sport. And he needs a coach. Instead, we get him taking a shit on the court today, some baby-sitter cleaning-it-up and telling him he’s a good boy . . . and he’ll probably beat Federer in the next round. Just a disaster.
Kyrgios needs Lendl to slap him around (after the psychotherapy and sport ban). Zverev looks like he’s benefiting already from this old-school genius.
There is no doubt of his genius. Murray would have ZERO majors without Lendl.
Keep your eye on Sascha. He’s looking pretty business-like marching through his first two matches. His draw looks good. We could see the coming-out party here if this “confidence” is for real.
Yes, we have our eyes on the 2014 champ, too. He’s moving along nicely, up 2, 0 and 3-0 in the third against the the Pole Hurkacz.
Djokovic looks like he’s rounding into massive form, late business-end of the tournament form.
Like I said in my “What the 2018 U.S. Open Means,” Djokovic has the most on-the-line here. He needs this major more than any of the Big 3. And that’s all you really need to know.