First of all let me get back to day 7 action at the Oz Open. All the top seeds won, accept for Delpo. He was upset by Marin Cilic, one of the dark horses of the tournament, in a tough five set encounter, 5-7 6-4 7-5 5-7 6-3. Delpo has been a disappointment in this tournament for me, after I picked him as the second favorite to win the tournament. He has not dealt well with the pressure of expectation after winning the US Open, and was really a shadow of a player he was in New York. It just goes to show that winning slams is no joke. Roddick himself was involved in a titanic struggle with Gonzalez, winning 6-3 3-6 4-6 7-5 6-2. There was some controversy in the fourth set when Gonzalez let a ball go and it was called out.
Roddick challenged the the call and hawk eye showed that the ball landed in. The umpire gave the point to Roddick, because he said that Gonzalez didn’t have a play on the ball. Whatever the case may be, Gonzalez should not have left the ball. It was kinda controversial, but Gonzalez was 40-0 up in that game and was serving, so he didn’t really have any business losing that game anyway. In the end Roddick has a good record against Gonzalez and I think he was the better player. Rafa took care of Karlovic in four sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, looking pretty good in the process. Murray on the other hand looked really impressive in disposing of Isner in straight sets, 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2. The Murray/Rafa match will be one of the matches of this tournament, I’m sure of it.
I’ts actually really hard to pick a winner. Murray looks sharper than Rafa, but Rafa has the experience and has done it before. Murray will have t0 be more bold than he has in the past though. Rafa is the best defensive player out there and if Murray does not play enough attacking tennis, he will lose I think. As for Cilic against Roddick, that one is pretty hard to call itself. Cilic could be tired I think from a lot of court time, so for me Roddick has the edge. So lets take a look at day 8 action then. First up it was Davydenko against Verdasco. Davydenko took control of the match as he took the first two sets. However, when serving at 4-5 in the third set, he served a double fault at 40-40, after which Verdasco tookhttp://ruansfedererblog.com/wp-admin/post-new.php advantage of the set point.
That was a key point in the match, because up to that point Davydenko was cruising while Verdasco was really struggling. Verdasco then won the fourth set as well, but in the end Davydenko was too good. He won 6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-3. Then as expected Djokovic took care of Lukaz Kubot 6-1, 6-2, 7-5. From what I’ve heard he looked pretty sharp as well. The other match which result I did not quite expect, was the one between Tsonga and Almagro. I though Tsonga would win, but not in an epic five set match. It was a high quality affair, with Tsonga winning 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7, 9-7. We have had some great five set matches in this tournament and this was certainly one of the best. Finally we get to Roger’s match against Hewitt today.
It was a vintage display from the GOAT. Everything aside from the volleys was working really well today. The thing that I was most impressed with was his backhand. I’ve always said when his backhand down the line is working well it’s a sign that he is confident, and that was the case against Hewitt. The forehand was working very well again, and all of this was made possible by very good movement from the champ. Roger’s first serve percentage was healthy at 63%, while the winners outnumbered the unforced errors 49-27. So it was a clinical performance from the master. The only thing that wasn’t so great was his volleys, because he only won 54% of net points. That could be due to the fact that Hewitt makes it difficult for his opponent at the net, by hitting dipping passing shots to their feet.
I was very pleased by this performance from Roger, especially now that he has to play against Davydenko. We are now at a crucial stage of the tournament, the quarter finals. What happens now will tell us whether all this talk of Roger and Rafa’s demise is for real. Both Roger and Rafa have very tough opponents now. We know Davydenko can give Roger problems, while Murray has beaten Rafa in a slam before in the semi-finals of the US Open. The match against Hewitt was obviously impressive. I thought it could be a much tougher match, bu this was Roger close to his devastating best. I thought Hewitt actually played really well, and got better as the match went on. So to beat him by that score was really good stuff from Roger.
Davydenko on the other hand looked vulnerable for the first time. So as far as I’m concerned Roger is going to beat Davydenko. I just think Roger has stepped up and showed what a force he is in the slams, while Davydenko wasn’t as convincing. The time of day they play could have an influence however. If they play during the day I think that could help Davydenko, while if they play at night it would favor Roger. Either way this will be a very interesting match that I can’t wait to watch. As far as Rafa and Murray is concerned, I find that a bit harder to call. Murray has beaten Rafa in a slam before and he looked more impressive than Rafa in their previous round. On the other hand, this surface is slower than the US Open where Murray beat Rafa the last time, and Rafa has been more successful in slams.
Djokovic against Tsonga will be yet another classic encounter, with Djokovic probably the slight favorite. Djokovic has had a very easy draw to the quarter finals though, so the lack of any tough matches may count against him. Well all the top seeds except for Delpo went through in the previous round then. This time it’s harder to call. I’m gonna go with Roger, Djokovic, and Roddick going through, while this time the Rafa vs Murray match is the hard one for me to call. I would like to see at least one ‘upset’, so I’m gonna hope for Murray. That would also remove a major threat from the draw for Roger, although I wouldn’t mind seeing Roger overturn the result of last year against Rafa in the final. Enjoy the action!