Sure I’m being cheeky.
This tournament has been underway a week and a half and I’ve been sitting on my ass blog-wise, but be assured I have many better things to do than watch guys (and gals) try to get their grass feet beneath them in what has amounted to a blink of an eye grass (warm-up) season. Simply embarrassing how clay is so elevated, how the French barfs its orange garbage all over the tennis landscape.
Let’s cut to the chase:
Djokovic vs Fucsovics
I’ve seen the Hungarian play a million times. Solid game, solid athlete, but does not have the form to beat Novak at SW19. Novak perhaps could use a more athletic match to continue to find his business-end tennis. But not a lot to say here. A four-setter would be surprising.
This is Marton’s first GS QF to be sure. He’s in way-over-his-head. Solid effort in beating the lunatic Rublev who’s extreme baseline hit-every-ball-a-ton style doesn’t work on the grass — and I do recall him beating Wawrinka at the 2021 Aussie in a second rounder a few months ago, in a dramatic 5-setter, but, again, this QF tilt with Novak tilts one way pretty hard.
Khachanov vs Shapovalov
Ah, the Russian invasion continues (even though Denis is “Canadian”) 😉
We all witnessed in one way or another the serve futility of the Khach Korda match. 6′ 6″ guys unable to hold serve on grass, in successive games, to close-out matches, is embarrassing.
Karen has shown promise. His 2018 Paris Masters was very impressive, dispatching Federer (SF) and Djokovic (F) in the process. We’ve gotten glimpses, but he has missed the ride his countrymen, Medvedev and Rublev, took to ATP “supremacy” (yes, I’m being both accurate and sarcastic). Karen has fallen off whatever pedestal we wanted to put him on over the last couple of years. He has a big game, potentially, has won big-time matches, but . . .
you know we like the one-hander. To be fair, Denis has been hitting the ball really well, especially from that one-handed side. Staying upright in solid rallies with this shot will make him dangerous (for many players). His serve is big and his FH, with that lovable inside-out offense, can hit guys off the court. As with so many one-handers, if he can keep that shot fairly consistent, dependable, we like chances. I’d like to say 3 or 4 sets, but this could go five just because.
Both Denis and Karen can come to net, as well, a bit, so the player that brings this B+ grass game to Wednesday’s match should have his day. We like Denis in this one.
Berrettini vs FAA
The FAA win against Zverev was an upset, but a result like this is in the cards with these two. I’ll just bring-up the serve. Sure, Zverev’s serve is abominable. Has been for years now. Did he reach 30 DFs in that match? Brutal. If you’ve followed golf or baseball, you know the discussion of “the yips.” Look it up. Sometimes players in these kinds of sports develop a mental block that forbids their success. They end-up throwing-in the towel, disappearing in infamy because of this little, often technical, glitch. Sad. Zverev has a lot of game, obviously, but this serve is a career destroyer.
FAA’s serve is just as relevant in this discussion. He has improved that part of his game, which amounted to his toss, more or less. I have been writing about this kid for years. So much athleticism. Look at his presence on the court. Very dangerous looking opponent. He is getting his serve together, which makes him scary. The FH is an issue for sure (this is a problem for many of these young two-handers, which just adds to the embarrassment of that style/approach). But his FH is definitely an issue. As BG pointed-out in the Zverev match, the Canadian’s FH is better when he’s on the run, running around the BH or running onto his FH. But a shot down the middle of the court to his FH, he can struggle.
Did Toni fix this kid? I haven’t followed this bond too much, so I’m definitely not going to applaud that Spanish Dr. Frankenstein. But great to see FAA getting his game together and play this well at this level. Remember: Felix smoked Roger at Halle a few weeks ago. So he’s not shy.
Matteo, however, should win this match. I really want to say “routinely.” What would undermine my analysis here is if this is truly FAA’s official rise to ATP supremacy. Yeah, I doubt it, too. But Felix does have that kind of athleticism.
Matteo is a big tennis entity. He has a serve, a FH, a solid BH, all of which includes some variety and he can play on the grass. We remember his rise on the grass a few years ago.
In fact, he beat FAA in the final of 2019 Stuttgart (Mercedes Cup). Look at the Italian’s run there, beating Kyrgios, Khachanov, Kudla and Struff en route to the final, taking-out this very Canadian 64 76 (13-11).
We know Berrettini has had a lot of success since then on all surfaces. But he can play the grass and he is a dangerous opponent in this draw.
He could give Novak trouble in the final if that’s where we’re headed.
But we’ll leave it here: we like Matteo to beat FAA in this QF even though the Canadian’s form looks quite the catch.
Federer vs Hurkacz
Federer looks pretty darn good despite being almost 40 years old. I actually think he has enough to beat the Pol here in this QF, but I have liked Hurkacz’s tennis for awhile now.
We wrote about the Hurkacz threat to Federer at 2019 Indian Wells. He’s a big hitting gent who thankfully came-back and beat the very overrated Medvedev (which, as you know, continues to be a theme here).
That 64 64 Federer over Hurkacz in the 2019 IW QF was close. There was a point or two that could have altered the result of that match.
This is grass and Federer with the help of natural talent, experience and fan support should advance.
The Pol is very good and could beat the aging giant any day of the week (note: Hurkacz came to net 69 times vs Medvedev, winning 72% of those points).
Other than QF Wimbledon Wednesday on the seventh day of July in the year of our Lord, 2021. 😀
Talk to you heading into the Semi-finals.