Just a quick recap from me about what went down yesterday in the quarterfinals at Montreal. There were some tremendous entertainment and drama.
- Chardy Saves Seven Match Points to Defeat Isner
The weather has not exactly been playing along in Montreal and there were at least two rain break again yesterday which means the quarterfinals lasted late into the morning hours. Isner and Chardy were up first and it turned out to be a tremendous battle with Chardy saving seven match points and winning 6-7(9), 7-6(13), 7-6(4). I enjoyed this result because Chardy has an enjoyable all be it high-risk game while Isner is a boring serve bot.
Chardy showed great clutch play especially in the second set which involved an epic tie-break.
- Djokovic Tries to Lose Against Gulbis but Finds It Impossible
In another dramatic match, the Djoker saved two match points to escape a Gulbis that was so deep in the zone he wouldn’t come out if you smashed him over the head with a baseball bat. And yet Djokovic came back from 4-6 in the second set tie-break to win 5-7, 7-6(7), 6-1. Djokovic was a break up at 4-2 in the first set but failed to consolidate and paid the price by dropping the first set. Contrary to the absolute masterclass to beat Sock 6-2, 6-1, he was clearly not at his best.
But like all great players he found a way. In the second set, things went from bad to worse for Djokovic as he dropped serve with a double fault to go down 2-3. But then came the first of two strategic shirt changes which seemed to mark a new beginning for Djokovic. He broke right back and forced a tie-break in the second set. At 4-6 I thought Djokovic was just begging to lose the match with poor play but incredibly he found a way yet again to force a decider.
Gulbis was deep in the zone like I said and came up with some ridiculous tennis. Even his usual liability of a forehand was on fire. He had already won five matches this week including qualifying which is probably more than he’s won all year. The guy is too talented to have lost so many matches this year and I thought it was his time to make a really big statement by defeating the player who has been near unbeatable all year.
‘Dayum this guy is playing well!’
But Djokovic showed the value of being in the winning habit because he snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat with yet another great escape. I thought the mental strength and skill to escape a ridiculous onslaught from a very talented player showed once again how good Djokovic is. It was extremely humid out there and Djokovic looked uncomfortable right until the end of the second set. Then he made another shirt change and breadsticked Gulbis.
I don’t know how he does these things, but it’s damn entertaining to watch if you are a fan. You figure he will probably go on and win the title now, but neither Chardy nor the winner of Nishikori vs Murray can be underestimated. This match just goes to show again how easily a guy can be in the zone on any given day and cause and upset. But more than that it shows how good Djokovic is and Federer was to dominate the way they do/did.
It in incredibly difficult to do.
- Nishikori Routines Nadal
Well after having seen the way Nadal abused Youzhny in the previous round I thought he had a very good shot at defeating Nishikori, but it couldn’t be forgotten that Nishikori had just won Washington and made the US Open final last year. He can play a bit. And he was on fire last night when he defeated Nadal 6-2, 6-4. I couldn’t sleep so I watched and Nishikori was pretty much in the zone himself. Even his usual relatively weak serve was on fire.
For the first time ever I saw him serve three consecutive aces. Are you kidding me?! Granted the fourth point was a double fault but still. That is highly unusual for Nishikori and a sign that he was deep in the zone himself. He was actually 4-1 up in the second with two breaks but failed to consolidate the second time. He was just smashing ground stroke winner after winner and effectively shut Nadal out of the match. Nadal has no say.
That is just the drawback of being a moonball pusher because as we have seen time and time again when a big hitter is on their game they simply dominate him. So much for Nadal’s run in Hamburg then. Sorry Nadull but this is not clay where you can retrieve and moonball endlessly and expect to win matches. Better wait for the next clay tournament!
- Murray Eases Past Defending Champ Tsonga
I didn’t watch the final match of the day which must have started around midnight, but Murray won 6-4, 6-4 and looks to mean business himself after losing his first match in Washington. He only needs to win one more match to surge ahead of Federer in the rankings. And then in Cincinnati he only has a quarterfinal to defend while Federer is the defending champion. So it looks like he will steal the number two seed in New York at this point.
Whether he can defeat Nishikori is another question. It will certainly be a very interesting contest.
- Cincinnati Draw
The Cincinnati draw is out and as you can see Fedal are in the same quarter which is great to see. They just keep avoiding each other and they will probably do so again but one can hope. Of course, the last time they played in Cincy Nadal won but he seems to be a shadow of that player these days. However, he does seem to be finding some kind of form lately and a match against Federer may just be what he needs to find even more form.
Federer, on the other hand, must make sure that does not happen. Federer’s draw is easy until the quarterfinals, but Nadal has Chardy and Raonic, so if anyone is going to lose before they meet it is probably him. But he will also desperately want to keep improving so I won’t bet on that if I was a Fedfan. Federer may well have to face his nemesis again at long last and I for one would be delighted if it does happen.
Then you have the Djoker and Stan in the same quarter and I wouldn’t mind them facing off either. That is if Stan has recovered from Kyrgios’ sledge yet. Most of you probably know about that whole controversy by now and I don’t have much time to talk about it. But I will say too big a deal is being made about it. They are talking of banning Kyrgios for something that has always been present in sport, and yet no one is asking why 30-year old Stan is banging 19-year old girls.
The ATP would be better advised to get their sport clean which is rife with doping in the top 20 rather than trying to break the young talent which the sport desperately needs. The hypocrisy and double standards are quite sickening. It seems the ATP is making a big deal of it because the microphone picked up what Kyrgios said and is trying to protect their name. If they really cared about protecting their name they would go after the things that are not so openly going on.
Hypocrisy at its best.
- The Djoker
Gulbis couldn’t miss, but Djokovic kept smiling
The is in your court.