Unfortunately there isn’t much for me to report on as Roger got the walkover after Beck withdrew due to back problems. It is hard to say whether this is a positive or negative for Roger. On the positive side he will get more rest now and will be fresher in the second week of the tournament. That is obviously a good thing. But on the other hand he probably would not have had much difficulty in disposing of Beck and it would have been a good practice session. In a way it breaks his rhythm because now he has three days without a match. As the tournament progresses the competition usually gets stiffer and stiffer and if you miss one match then you are not quite as sharp for the next match. Having said that, I don’t see it being a problem. Roger could have used another match before playing Karlovic, but he will also be more rested now.
Karlovic beat Berlocq today in four sets. Roger leads the head-to-head with Karlovic 9-1. I don’t see Karlovic being much of a problem especially on the slowish hard courts. Obviously Roger’s returns needs to be good which it usually is against the big servers. I don’t see Karlovic ever breaking him. There will probably be at least one tie break, but I would like to see Roger win this in straight sets. The fact that Roger had an extra day off means it won’t be so bad if he drops a set though. The only way he would lose a set is if Karlovic snatches a tie break and that is pretty unlikely to happen anyway. Karlovic is a pretty awkward opponent since he doesn’t give you much rhythm. It usually comes down to one or two points in a set. So Roger will have to be pretty clutch. If he senses the opportunity he must shut the door in the giant’s face.
Elsewhere in the draw Nadal had another pretty comfortable win over Haas, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. From what I heard it wasn’t a very impressive performance by Nadal. It doesn’t matter. You can be sure come semi-final time Nadal will be flying like Superman across the court hitting cyclones of death. His potential top seeded opponent in the fourth round, Isner, won 10-8 in the fifth set of a dramatic match with Nalbandian today. Nalbandian got robbed late in the fifth set when he was not allowed to challenge a first serve of Isner that was out. The umpire judged that he took too much time to challenge which was ridiculous. It was break point and if he was allowed to challenge he would have had a look at a second serve. It is really a shame that such a call was made on such an important point.
That umpire should definitely get penalized in some way in my opinion. Credit to Isner though for winning yet another tough five set match. He seems to be mentally good in these situations. You gotta feel for Nalbandian who was robbed for a second time after that US Open semi with Roddick in 2003. The two young guns Dimitrov and Dolgopolov was also involved in five setters. Unfortunately Dimitrov lost to Almagro while Dolgopolov scraped through 8-6 in the fifth against Kamke. That is Dolgopolov’s second five setter now and it may cost him against Tomic in the next round who had a four set win over Querrey. The Tomic/Dolgopolov match should be a good one which I hope to see. Both play an unorthodox style. I think Tomic has the edge here. He looked good after losing the first set to Querrey.
I would also rather see Tomic against Roger. I would like to see how Roger deals with Tomic’s lack of pace. Dolgopolov is too inconsistent and can really stink up the place on a bad day. Del Potro also continued his winning ways with a straight set win over Kavcic. Fish on the other hand lost in straight sets to Falla, the guy who almost beat Roger in the first round of Wimbledon. It looks more and more likely that Del Potro will make quarters to face Roger then. During my last post Murray was still playing and was two breaks down in the first set. He got one break back but lost the first set. Harrison was playing really well and I was impressed with the way Murray came back. He looked calm as he won the next three sets, quite a bit like his new coach Lendl who was a slow starter. He often lost the first set, but as soon as he hit his stride there was zero chance for the opponent.
Lendl had so much belief in his own ability that losing the first set was nothing to him. Maybe that belief can rub off on Murray now in which case Murray can win multiple slams. Murray has always had the game to do it but he lacked the belief. Incidentally Brad Gilbert predicted that Murray would win two slams this year and become world number one. That is a bit bold and Gilbert’s predictions usually sucks. He is like the American version of Simon Reed. It would be pretty crazy if Murray has a similar year to what Djokovic had last year, but I don’t see it happening. Murray could possibly win one slam though. Looking at tomorrow’s matches the Roddick/Hewitt one should be pretty interesting and I will also keep an eye on the Raonic/Petzschner match. Murray and Djokovic should have easy wins.
Update: Check Booya’s comment below for details on what happened with the Nalbandian call. I didn’t actually see the match and Booya summed it up nicely so thanks for that. It is a disgrace what happened here and a lot of the blame must go on Isner. Isner knew the ball was out and should have admitted it. But the umpiring was just pathetic. In the 2009 US Open final Del Potro took forever to challenge, still was allowed to make the challenge, and when Roger objected he was scolded. That was yet another pathetic piece of umpiring. He told the GOAT to keep quiet when he was well within his rights to question that call. That is why I feel there must be penalties for umpires just like there is for players if they behave badly. Umpires shouldn’t be allowed to get away with blatant ‘errors’ like that.
Second update: Here is the video. It was a shocking call and apparently the umpire is from the WTA. No surprises there.