Hi, folks. I hope you have been enjoying the tennis. I certainly have. Yesterday was quarterfinal day in Cincy and so far the top three seeds have all survived. The Fedal match which I so hoping would happen was spoiled by Lopez when he defeated Nadal in a third set tie-break. Nadal is still a shadow of his old self and I am convinced he is done after Djokovic broke his spirit at the French Open.
I thought he was showing improvement since Hamburg, but he has now failed in both Montreal and Cincy and he is not even close to being one of the favorites for the US Open. The least you would have expected of him this week was to make the quarters in which case we would have had a very interesting Fedal quarterfinal, but I guess that rivalry is well and truly dead. And so is Nadal’s career.
- Djokovic Destroys Wawrinka
The first quarterfinal was between the Djoker and Stan. Djokovic played ok in his first match against Paire but then was 0-3 down in the third set against Goffin which included two service breaks. Goffin showed hesitation in finishing Djokovic off and that was all Djokovic needed to see to awake the killer in him and reel off the next six games to win the decider 6-3. I haven’t been convinced with his form in Cincy(or Montreal for that matter), but he keeps winning.
Then yesterday he destroyed Stan 6-4, 6-1. It reminded of Wimbledon where he almost lost to Anderson and then destroyed Cilic in the quarterfinals. It’s like Djokovic uses up his poor form in the early rounds so that he only has good from left for the tougher matches. He is a genius in this regard. He is extremely good at knowing which matches are really important and at playing his best tennis when it matters most.
It’s like he is always one step ahead of the rest of the field. Like he’s toying with the rest of the field almost. Probably he wasn’t even trying to play his best tennis in Montreal, leaving it for Cincy where he wants to complete the career Masters. It is also closer to the US Open which means he should now be playing closer to his peak. It is yet to be seen whether he will win the tournament, but he certainly played well against Stan.
He was asked before the match if he was looking for revenge against Stan for the French Open and said that he doesn’t believe in revenge and that it is a negative thing. I thought that was a nice touch and he showed what a good ambassador he is for the sport. Stan was such a good sport at the French that it wouldn’t have made much sense to look for revenge anyway. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Stan when Djokovic breadsticked him in the second set.
It was brutal and if Djokovic wanted to get revenge then this would have been the best way to get it. But there was no such vibe going on as they warmly embraced at the net when it was over. After still looking hurt by Kyrgios’ nasty psyche job in his first match against Coric, Stan pulled himself together and had a good win against Karlovic. But then he ran into a player who simply outplayed him in all areas.
Although I felt sorry for Stan, it was nice to see Djokovic winning convincingly after the French Open and shutting down one of his main rivals so clinically. After using up some of his poor form early on Djokovic is looking lethal again and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the title.
- Murray Tires Himself Out Before Federer Rematch
Murray played Gasquet in the quarters after needing three sets to get past Dimitrov in the previous round. He was also a match point down in that match. Then against Gasquet he lost the first set before winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. I guess he just wanted to make sure Federer has to win the tournament to get the #2 ranking back by making the semis. He must be putting all his faith in Djokovic to do him the favor because he must be knackered.
Montreal was already brutal for him. I think Federer will defeat him in straight sets not unlike what happened at Wimbledon. It is similar conditions and Federer seems to have Murray well under control at this point.
- Federer Defeats Disappointing Lopez
Watching Lopez play against Federer just made me realize again how far Nadal had fallen. Lopez hardly has groundstrokes and yet he defeated the player who made a GOAT claim out of baseline tennis. The only chance for Lopez was in the second set when he had Federer 0-40 on his serve but failed on all three occasions and proceeded to drop serve in the next game, handing the match 6-3, 6-4 to Federer.
Of course, Federer played well, but it was a boring match other than a behind-the-back shot from Lopez which resulted in him winning the point. It was pretty much just a serving contest with interesting rallies few and far between. Federer had defeated Anderson 6-1, 6-1 in the previous round, a match that I missed, and I couldn’t figure out how Anderson could only manage to win two games.
I’m pretty sure he has a bigger serve and more solid groundstrokes than Lopez. Anderson just keeps being a disappointing player. How on earth do you allow a guy to hit returns just outside the service box and win the point when you have a serve like that? Just terrible from Anderson.
- The Semi-Finals
So today is of course semi-final day and this is where things really get interesting. Djokovic had the tough draw with Stan in his quarter so he deserves a slightly easier match against Dolgopolov who defeated Berdych. It’s only easier on paper, though. Dolgopolov is a very talented player who on any given day can beat anyone. Then Federer has a tired Murray to play against and like I said I expect a straight set win.
Not a routine win but something like 6-4, 7-5 perhaps. We are now in a similar situation than the Wimbledon semis. It’s also a similar surface and favors Federer. Obviously Djokovic would love to win this title to complete the career Masters and it would also be ideal preparation for New York. But he has a lot of work left. Dolgopolov is dangerous and Federer would be very difficult to deal with on this surface.
Djokovic already got bageled in the final by Federer in 2012 and you’d figure if they meet again in the final Federer would be the favorite. But we are not there yet and maybe Dolgopolov and Murray can both pull off the unlikely.
The is in your court.