Another absolute head-scratcher masterpiece from the Carlos again. That drop shot on his first MP in the fourth set! Uhg. But Frances came-up with the goods there too, so I can’t give Alcaraz too much grief.
This SF wasn’t nearly as taxing as the Sinner QF though I could be mistaken. I think the Spaniard finds enough recovery to be able to have enough for the final against Ruud.
Quick couple of thoughts on Tiafoe. I have been writing about this kid for years. Like I said yesterday, this sea change of sorts in the business-end of the tournament sans the Big 3 took too long to get here. This has been a big part of my inelegant and even insipid approach to watching and writing about tennis. We have been charting the rise of the replacements for a long time. No need to go into that at this point.
This article from the 2019 Aussie Open sheds some light on both my thoughts on Tiafoe, even then, as well as a reference to that Dimitrov v Kyrgios comparison I referenced recently. A short passage on Tiafoe’s tennis, as he was preparing to play Nadal in that tournament:
More on Tiafoe tomorrow. What an enormous talent. His game has grown. He’s not one-dimensional. He can get a little careless, “lazy” perhaps, but he is a monster and should become an absolute terror on this tour. Rest-up, my fellow American.
The note on how Tiafoe can get a little careless is spot on with that kid. He’s coming (loved his comment at the end of yesterday’s match about winning the USO one day, sorry for letting down the fans, etc.), but he has that wayward FH on occasion and the DFs really affected him (actually, looking at the service numbers of both players yesterday did not seem to bode that well for Alcaraz: Tiafoe’s serve was pretty bad, yet still a topsy-turvy five setter).
Still, the respect shown by both Carlos and Frances for each other and the crowd and the game was such a pleasure to watch. We have loved the American’s game for a while and listening to Johnny Mac suggest that he and Kyrgios have similar styles — I said that years ago too. Ho hum.
I nailed the Ruud v Khachanov call and am emboldened in my frustration for Khachanov’s unplayable game in the QF against Kyrgios. There is some history between those two, so the Russian had a little extra motivation — I will give him that. But clearly that was a one-off. He didn’t have any big wins coming into that QF. That was purely a one-off. Watch Karen go away for another year or so.
As for the Final, we have to like the Spaniard (maybe I get more Spanish readers now — there are always a couple, most likely checking-in on my latest installment of Nadalism — ha ha). Tough not to like this kid’s game, demeanor, the whole bag. Unreal resilience. He has survived some big tennis from some big hitters. What he has to deal with against Ruud is being more effective at closing-out games, sets and the match!
We have certainly seen Carlos get a little tight (if you want to call it that) in these last two matches. The Sinner and Tiafoe matches should have been four setters. But that’s tennis, and these are competitive guys putting everything on the line. Still, Ruud’s claim to fame is his professionalism. He’s got that Nadal gene: he consolidates the break, he doesn’t make many errors, he’s good at what he does, plays a clean, unspectacular game and it works.
In short, Carlos should win tomorrow’s U.S. Open Final. No question.
Looking forward to this match, actually — trying to stay positive and optimistic about this sport, during this changing of the guard (slight hint at the change now taking place in the British monarchy).
Enjoy the Final!