Not sure if you saw my Live Blog last night during the Federer v Tsitsipas R16 match. Yeah, it is what it is — my live blog. I don’t do Twitter really, so this was just some mid-match “commentary.”
The tone, if you think it too caustic, then either you’re new here or you need to recall that Mcshow Blog is a one-hander discourse base of operation — an installation built to clarify the detailed read and analysis of the ATP and to champion brilliant and lasting tennis — which is becoming a search for the one-handed game.
I have so many thoughts about yesterday’s matches that getting these organized for a post this morning, with a lot of other things to do today, just seems like quite a long-shot (my Sunday agenda includes setting-out this evening to witness the triple lunar event, or the super blood wolf moon eclipse. Please note: I am not an astronomy geek, though I have nothing against those interests. I’m simply fired-up for a night hike with some friends to a little mountain top for a beer and a proverbial howl at the moon).
Back to the tennis.
I watched a lot of the three matches (Tiafoe v Dimitrov, RBA v Cilic and Federer v Tsitsipas).
Writing those names there above, it just dawned on me how yesterday was a brilliant day for the sport in more than just the dramatic competition of the matches. Most “bettors” or people who “follow” the sport would have Dimitrov, Cilic and Federer winning those matches. They would be the solid favorites based-on the past, some current form and loads of conjecture.
You saw this even in my preview of the matches — I’m not betting, nor providing such a service, but even I leaned Dimitrov, Cilic and Federer.
However, there was this in my preview:
Dimitrov/Tiafoe: “Frances is one of the most athletic players on tour. If he’s focused, composed, Dimitrov has his hands full. This could be a very entertaining match.”
Cilic v RBA: “Cilic should win this given his authority in this format, on these big stages. We’ll see if RBA can continue to complicate the narrative, however. The win over Novak, the Doha title, the R16 at the AO: love the run from such a class act.”
Federer v Tsitsipas: “Here we are. This should be a very interesting match between a couple of one-handed warriors (Tsitsipas has that old-school ferocity that most of us recognize). Federer appears to have some solid form (I have been especially weary since he, despite some form, will have a drop here and there). He did beat Tsitsipas at the Hopman Cup exhibition, but that was quite close. This will be must-watch. In Fed’s current form, over five-sets, I like him here, but a drop in focus and execution against this kind of fighter (and winner) would not be a huge surprise. Tsitsipas is for real.”
Ha ha, my entire preview of Fed/Tsitsi . . .
If you read my blog, I have been waiting for this kind of performance from Fed all tournament. Listening to the ESPN knuckleheads spew their garbage is almost too much. Pam Shriver, who’s a mess on many tennis discussions, called the likelihood of Tsitsipas winning last night a huge upset, etc. She doesn’t have clue, at least in how to talk about these kinds of things.
Part of the Federer loss was Federer — he’s old, folks. The time has maybe come and gone but for the life of this god forsaken tour, not many can step-up and beat the old man, especially with the still effective skill-set he maintains.
But a big part of that loss was Tsitsipas going out and winning that match. Even the first set was tough-and-go for Roger. The little irony there is that Tsitsipas looked the slight favorite throughout the first set (after that odd first game) and even some of the TB; of course, he lost that set. Fed looked to be starting to grow in that second set, settle-in and start to pull-away . . . but could not manage a break of serve in that second set despite many many chances, while his serve was almost four and out everytime.
Huge turning-point in that second TB. But don’t miss this: Tsitsipas was really with Federer in just about every exchange and really had more on the ball from both wings. The constant comparison rang-out from Brad Gilbert and others throughout: Stefanos is a bit of a young Federer in his variety and attacking tennis in general.
Not a baby-Fed, which, I’m afraid has as much to do with looks as anything. Tsitsipas is mature beyond his years. Inspired, a proud Greek playing with the love and support of his passionate fanbase beneath his wings. Great stuff here, folks.
His ability to finish at the net is perhaps the most impressive of his weapons. Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou has a tennis academy from which Tsitsipas refined much of his young game. Someone close to that experience says Mouratoglou reached-out to the Greek mainly when he saw how the kid could finish at the net, in his young teen years.
This kid is a beast, with touch, class and so much warrior spirit that we need, naturally, for him to emerge from this bottom-half and play the dark knight from above. That would be a classic. Remember: Stefanos got the better of Novak in Toronto where the 20 year-old beat four top-ten players to reach the final where he lost to Nadal.
Great stuff from the Fed/Tsitsi match that kept me up most of the night (started at midnight here, so you do the math. Uhg). I was a little early in my prediction of Federer seeing a drop in form, leading to a potential loss, but I knew it was coming.
He could not, for his tournament life, make a pass on the constantly approaching Tsitsipas or, as we know, break serve. That was tough to watch. Tsitsipas created much of the carnage, but Federer just didn’t have that depth. The FH went away, as well.
None of this is very surprising, at least here at Mcshow Blog.
The RBA story is remarkable. He outlasts the Croat in true RBA fashion: brilliant fighter is the Spaniard. Inspired. I guess the career stat there is RBA has been in 9-10 major R16 matches in his solid career, but never made a QF. There was some talk of how difficult his draws have been over the years. Just a brutal luck of the draw. And he had to beat a big boy to reach this QF. I’m so happy for him. I like his tennis, period. But his story hits home, too. He lost his mom last year; his dad has battled health, as well. Losing a parent relatively early like that is no bueno.
Speaking of luck of the draw and no bueno . . . cue the gif . . .
By the way, how about all of those shots of Dimitrov’s box yesterday where an absolutely distraught Agassi, sitting next to Vallverdu, practically crying in the wake of that performance. Missed the memo that Andre was in that camp. Lol.
And Tiafoe is probably pretty much debris at this point. If he’s got the legs to stay with Nadal, he could do some damage, but this young American has played some long matches (two five-setters) and looks a bit cracked. We can hope he has it in him to bring carnage to that QF, but the chair of that QF or maybe even the tournament director will likely step-in somehow and get Fraudal through, either way. Look at that draw, folks. Embarrassing.
I’ll be back later.