Masters 1000

Shanghai Rolex Masters 2017

shanghai

Man, the rich get richer, no? Even the name of this week’s Masters event, the title of this post, makes me a little queasy. So, what are Fedal up to this week?

Who has the bumpier route to that tight hug at the net with his BFF in the proposed final followed likely by a hug on his wrist of another Rolex watch?

Nadal
Donaldson
Pouille/Fognini – the Fog beat the Frenchman who had a couple of MPs on Rafa in Beijing.
Querrey/Tiafoe
Dimitrov

Then Nadal meets the winner of this ________________.
Cilic
Kyrgios/Johnson – Kyrgios crashed and burned again, against Johnson. Sad? Here’s my analysis of the Kyrgios collapse. Redundant? Of course it is.
Anderson
Spaniards

Federer
Schwartzman
F.Lopez/Dolgopolov
Gasquet
Goffin – solid run from the Belgian, for sure. Need to see him beat Fedal before we can get too excited here, though I am very happy for that country’s tennis fans.

Then Federer meets the survivor of this four-top. Yum.
Zverev/Del Po
Thiem/Isner

Should be some decent tennis on these quick hard courts, supposedly the fastest on the tour. But even that discussion just seems so pointless at this point.

Nonetheless, enjoy the tennis.

Miami Looking Like Indian Wells #Fedkyrinka

The boys that played well in IW are more or less still doing damage in Miami. Just at a glance you have Federer, Wawrinka, Kyrgios, and Sock looking good along with others like Zverev and Nishikori. But that top four are definitely not missing a beat.

I’m pretty sure I mentioned in my last post the legitimate hype around Frances Tiafoe. He played Federer in the 2R and did not disappoint. He is 19 years-old. Athletic and wants to win. First set was worth watching.

He’s the Americans’ most promising future talent right now (Sock is the current go-to).

I lobbed a little prediction at the end of my last post, saying Wawrinka looks to secure in Miami his 2nd Masters title, first on the hard courts. If you look at the IW final, you’ll see not a huge separation between Federer and Wawrinka. Then again, there is.

But Stan looks good, setting-up that big FH. The FH is definitely his biggest weapon right now. He’s playing solid tennis and the later he gets, the tougher he’ll be. Think of how that 1-seed must feel. Pressure for sure, but anyone with a brain wants to represent that distinction. The Murray and Djokovic-less bracket has to put a little extra step in a top 5 game.

He has Zverev next and then most likely Kyrgios in the QF to try and find Federer in the other half of the top SF. If Stan can put both of these big hitting youngsters to rest, look-out. Definitely some must see tennis for Stan coming up.

StanSmartHowever, Federer continues to routine everything on the other side of the net. Granted, the IW final was a tight match, but he never looked really vulnerable. One has to recognize that if that first set in IW goes to TB, and Stan wins a big point, boom, trouble.  However, Federer just continues to out DEFEND, hit, serve, BH, i.e., diversify everyone. He is in absolute attack mode in just about every point. This is really the same kind of offensive-minded Federer we should be used to. Remember SABR? Federer has been looking to re-establish the attacking style of tennis each year because that’s what has always characterized his tennis.

Federer is so much trouble right now for anyone he’s played. He has a tough match today vs. Agut, but the surging Federer (in 2017?) should reach the SF, the winner today getting Berdych in that QF.

And Del Potro is still a #30-something level player right now.

Here’s a quick history of the Del Potro hysteria: He played pretty well last year (2016), with a few glimmers of form, but his Olympics success and Argentina’s Davis Cup triumph were the two biggest highlights. Just having him back on tour gets everyone, even me, pretty stoked for some tennis from this gentle giant.

The Olympic win over Djokovic in early tournament action freaked people out because they saw the Argentine as becoming a monster. But Djokovic was falling. No question.

Beyond that, there was some Del Potro excitement from Acapulco and then a little over-reaction to a draw that involved him and Djokovic again in Indian Wells. People read way too much into the Djokovic matches in Mexico and California. We talked about that a lot over here. Del Potro is a limited player right now, one-handed.

I said in my last post that Roger having not much trouble is very likely the outcome. Federer routined JD. More splendid tennis from Federer, hitting the ball ALL OVER the court. He’s all-court on both sides of the net. Tracking stuff down, and hitting it between your legs. Good luck with beating that kind of fluent genius. Really a pleasure to see Federer playing this well at this point in his career. So glad I got to see him live: the 2017 Federer is what this part of the legend is called.

I like a Sock v Nadal match very much if Nadal can beat Mahut today. Nadal will have his hands full as the American continues to play well. Sock is 15-3 on the season with two titles, one of which was to Federer in IW SF where he made a respectable showing. American tennis fans should be watching this part of Jack’s year/career; he’s trying to make a move with consistent play at a 1000 level tournaments helping make the case. Sock is developing some fitness, too, so the Nadal match could be interesting.

In closing, I particularly want to see the Wawrinka v Kyrgios QF happen only because of the potential fire-works there 😉 That would be a great match-up to anticipate (build Mcshow Tennis readership).

And we would be another step closer to perhaps the Kyrgios v Federer we’ve been anticipating.

The winner comes out of that top half. No one wants anything to do with Fedkyrinka!

I’ll be getting shirts with that hashtag. Start it now all of you social media heathens:

#Fedkyrinka #McshowTennisBlog

😀

Update: Stan looked positive, taking the first set from Zverev, but then went away, 2 and 1. Zverev won his first title in St. Petersburg last summer over Wawrinka in the final. This today is a bad loss. He had a miserable draw, having to beat Zverev, Kyrgios (most likely) and then Federer just to get to the final. But he’s got the seeding and the form right now; he should have at least stayed in the third set. Enjoy the breadstick, Stan.

Federer needed two TBs to beat the ever-present RBA. The grinding Spanish tradition carries-on. Good match, Federer had to work, and the shot-making was stellar.

I have written favorable words about almost every player (even Nadal). I am quick to congratulate and quick to wax poetic about a game in high-flying form. I am quick to call-out, as well, as you know.

If you are not enjoying Federer’s run, at 35 1/2 years-old, I call you to the floor to articulate your case; you know: test your tennis IQ. He’s continuing, as I have said, to ruin tennis.

Wawrinka is testing all of our intelligence and patience. In the end, he had a nice little early hard court season. With his one Masters title coming on clay (Monte Carlo) and one of his three majors (RG), let’s see if he can earn a little interest on this decent AO/IW/MI run over the next several weeks, leading to Paris (SF/SF/R16 – two SFs losses to RF).

So, he laid an egg today in Miami, but applause for Stan the Man from Mchshow Tennis.

Nuts.

Folks, I might be burned-out on tennis. Okay, not really. But, what in the hell happened last week? Happened quickly. Is everyone okay? I sense people feel a bit trampled upon, feelings were hurt, confidence compromised, doubt perhaps deflating some of that late winter/early spring hope that had started budding on those flimsy limbs.

A bit dramatic?

Acapulco and Dubai 2017 were like too little circuses that rolled into town and a bunch of crazy shit happened. Sure, the tennis was great; there were upsets and confirmations; the rise and fall of several tour regulars and virtual rookies. That’s tennis, right? Still, I’m gassed, need a few days to recover. . .

My last post, I guess, tried to make some sense, but that was before the Acapulco final, which I thought could be interesting if Sam kept it in, kept it coming. I watched the highlights and heard Nadal’s few choice words afterwards. Querrey was, essentially, unplayable. That was the case in the Kyrgios v Querrey match, as well, which I mentioned. Kyrgios was completely out classed in the 2nd and 3rd. To think that Kyrgios was out-of-reach for Djokovic. Just some nutty circumstances.

Del Potro and Tiafoe. . . then the Slovak/Gentle Giant rematch. Kyrgios incinerates the Serb and then gets dismissed by the Californian, who happens to, on his march to the finals, make short work of Goffin and Thiem. Then he beats Nadal in the final. Are you kidding?

The Federer loss in Dubai is only surprising given the way he failed to close. There’s just a lot of talent out there, so such a high flier isn’t that surprising. But still, several MPs, giant leads in sets, in TBs. . . not sure how this plays-out for Roger in IW. I suppose the lesson we learned last week is don’t be surprised; keep your expectations in check.

andy-murrayI did touch on this one huge point, so let’s reiterate, especially in light of the circus metaphor. The one champion left standing, the leader left unfazed by all the madness, after last week’s heroics and melt-downs, is the world #1. To reiterate, again, this is what we needed from Andy.

Big tennis is on the horizon. Given the train wrecks (multiple) of last week, the survivors are scrambling, getting cleaned-up and readied again for a battle royale, in the desert, Indian Wells, to be exact. Some are coming with desperation in their eyes – what you can see; and fear in their hearts – what you can’t see.

And some players are just excited to be on tour, playing in this golden hour of a golden age, amongst the winds of change, where hope and youth arrive hand-in-hand.

You’re at the helm, Andy. Godspeed.

So, pick yourself up, reader. Last week was nuts. But next week is Indian Wells. Indeed, wake-up.

Speak-up!

(Now you know what I sound like talking to myself)

Pre-Shanghai Rolex Masters

Congrats to Murray on his China win and Kyrgios on his win in Tokyo. The only tennis I really tried to watch when I could find the time was Pouille v Dimitrov Beijing R16. I thought this would be good given Dimitrov’s current play and his now mythic ceiling. He has been a massive disappointment career-wise; but his athletic tennis is a good watch when he’s found some form. I wanted to see the juxtaposition of Dimitrov’s athleticism and Pouille’s.

This, for me, is some of the best kind of tennis: guys with all-around games (right, I’m not striking insight gold here). Dimitrov was called baby Federer for a reason. His game is athletic and the OHBH can be a thing of beauty. He was compared to the guy with probably the best all-around game of all-time. The Bulgarian made the SF at Chengdu last week and the finals this week in Beijing. He’s playing well.

So I was hoping to see him play the new kid on the block who also has nice athletic approach to tennis. I don’t buy the arguments that guys like Monfils are the best athletes in the sport. Maybe his length can out-play other players on an obstacle course, or in a 100 meter dash, or mile or something. Tennis is shifty, requires tremendous skill and brain power. Pouille, many of us have noted, has a solid, low-to-the-ground footwork literacy and racquet touch that makes the observant tennis fan a bit giddy about this Frenchman’s future.

All this to say, I watched about four games of this match, couldn’t stay awake because it was quite late, so I acknowledged the score (which I’d learned earlier, before watching my recording) and went about my way. Of course, I saw that Grigor routined Nadal next, got a W/O from Raonic and was beaten, fairly predictably, by the Brit in the final. Sounds like this was Andy’s 40th title, something to that extent, so this is a big win for the big bloke.

Hopefully his win in China keeps Murray motivated to carry that form into this next week in Shanghai for one of the big end-of-year Masters.

Andy has the likes of Pouille in the R16 and Del Potro or Monfils in the QF.

Stan and Raonic are in the above bracket that will complete that bottom SF.

The bottom of the top half has a little bit of Cilic, Zverev, Tsonga and Nadal.

The top includes the Djoker, Kyrgios, Berdych, and Dimitrov (if he has any lunch money left).shanghai

The Djoker starts with Fognini, then gets Gasquet/Dimitrov/Karlovic, then Kyrgios/Berdych before making his way to the SF, if he’s feeling up for it. Tough little draw for the Serb, imo.

The Nadal dismissal in China might have surprised a few. Remember my 2016 predictions. There were some “esteemed” tennis commentators that said Nadal would get back to #2. He’s struggling to stay in the top-5, which is quite predictable.

Indeed, I was not necessarily looking forward to the Pouille/Nadal “rematch” in China. Needlesstosay, that never came to pass. Nadal’s much better in the longer format, as he so eloquently hinted (and here I completely agree with the Spaniard; I’ve touched on this debate already. More to say for sure on the changes some of these knuckleheads are discussing with regards to the ATP).

I still might go watch the Dimitrov Pouille barn-burner. If only Dimitrov had lived-up to some of that early hype in his career. Still, you get glimpses now and then (on the rare).

It’s little match-ups like this that keep me interested.

PS I should say I was looking forward to seeing that early Zverev v Thiem match (Beijing R1), as well. Different kind of tennis there, but the future for sure. Not an upset as some would write. Zverev’s huge breakthrough in St. Petersburg makes him even more of a threat.

PPS The Kyrgios win in Tokyo is not necessarily news, either as we already know he has this in him. He needs to show that kind of poise at a 1000. The future is now, Nick. Good luck in Shanghai.