US Open Day 10: Wawrinka and Federer Claim Remaining Semi-Final Spots

Contrary to the top half, yesterday’s quarterfinals were one-sided blowouts. Both Wawrinka and Federer had easy straight-set victories after Anderson and Gasquet disappointed. But in all honesty it is not that unexpected because it was Anderson’s first slam semi-final and the Murray match obviously drained every ounce of his physical and mental reserves. He won the battle with his demons, but it came at the price of a semi-final spot.

Stan bageled him 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 in 107 minutes. Stanimal mode: On. But how effective will it be against a player who can keep the points short on a slippery surface? More about that later. Anderson was clearly flat, but I think the people who kind of just assumed Anderson would win because of the 4-3 head-to-head in Anderson’s favor were lacking tennis knowledge. This is a slam and like I said before Stan is vastly more experienced on this level.

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In the last couple of years, he is the most successful player in slams behind Djokovic which included two slam titles. This was, on the other hand, Anderson’s first ever slam quarterfinal. In the other match, Gasquet was a huge disappointment with the way he played but I’m sure Fedfans are delighted. Sure Federer played a great match but Gasquet is one of the biggest mental midgets on tour.

It took just a couple of inspired points from Federer for Dickie to wave the white flag. The word fight is not in his vocabulary. But he is French after all so it doesn’t surprise me in the least. I gotta hand it to Federer though. You can keep saying his opponents played like losers, but he is in the semis without having dropped a set so he has to be doing something right. It’s been the ideal run for Federer so far, but the true test starts now.

  • Semi-Final Preview

We are now getting right into the business end of the 2015 US Open. This is where things really start to heat up. Like I said, Federer has looked completely untouchable so far and for the first time I can actually see him winning this thing now. He came into the US Open fresh compared to last year and he has played better overall this year. He also hasn’t dropped a set so far which means he is still very fresh.

And he will need to be because if he is to beat Stan and Djoker in succession it’s gonna take a lot of physical and mental reserves. Djokovic may still lose to Cilic of course, but I think most people expect him to win. Federer could lose to Stan too. I don’t think he will, though. If this was Melbourne or Paris Stan would be the favorite every time, but the Decoturf is actually quite slippery and that favors Federer for me.

He can use his serve and variation to make life difficult for Stan. Stan likes the ball to sit up a bit and to take big cuts at it. But of course, he has a pretty big serve himself and when he is in Stanimal mode he just tees off on everything and hits winners so this is still a tough one to call. I think Federer needs to win in no more than four sets. If it goes to five Stan is probably the favorite and it wouldn’t help Federer if he is to make the final.

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That brings me to the other semi-final. As I said before the head-to-head is 13-0 in the Djoker’s favor but that doesn’t guarantee anything. I do think Djokovic is the favorite, but after what Cilic did last year there are just no guarantees. Not that there is to begin with, but Cilic is no doubt a dangerous player. I don’t think tiredness should be much of an issue either as Cilic had two rest days now.

I’m looking forward anyway. I’d like to find out if Djokovic raises his level more like he did at Wimby to straight-set Cilic. He hasn’t really played a clean match so far, but the guys he lost a set to were playing very well. And he probably won’t peak before the final. He will try to keep something in reserve for whoever he has to deal with in the final. But he’d also want to save energy and make a statement before the final.

If he wins in straight sets without having to play his best tennis, that would be perfect. Four sets would be fine too. As long as Federer and Stan beat each other up he’ll be happy. I think either one of those two would be equally dangerous to him in the final. People are talking about a scenario similar to Wimbledon if we have another Djokerer final, but I am not quite convinced that would happen.

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Djokovic is better on grass than on Decoturf. He only has one US Open title compared to three Wimbledon titles. That said, I’m not excluding the possibility of a Wimbledon repeat. There is a sense that when Djokovic sees Federer across the net he starts to drool. His return game, defense, and depth of shot make it difficult for Federer to impose himself. But let’s wait with that until it becomes a reality.

Stan would be a very difficult opponent for Djokovic too as we saw at the French. We now have a similar situation as Wimbledon in the sense that Federer has to get through two very good players if he wants to win #18. Can he do to Stan what he did to Murray at Wimbledon? I think he probably can, but that would require him to peak. And we all know how that worked out for him at Wimbledon.

No wonder when Federer was asked about his semi-final he said he doesn’t want to think about it. It is a kind of cache-22 situation for him. Does he peak and risk not being at his best in the final again? Or does he peak and hope he plays Cilic in the final? He needs to keep something in reserve for the final but then he opens the door for Stan to beat him or at least make it a long and draining match for him.

The next few days will be very interesting indeed….

  • The Prediction Game

Congrats to Charlie, Denis, and Tyler who all predicted the winners correctly and the number of sets for Federer’s match as well. You are the winners of the last round with 12 points each. For the semis, I will again take predictions for both Djokovic vs Cilic and Federer vs Wawrinka. Not easy matches to predict and I can already see people predicting Djokovic and Federer both winning in four.

Those aren’t really brave predictions though and to win this game you have to take some chances. Good luck!

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, US Open.

58 Comments

  1. In my opinion the situation is like in 2012 Wimbledon: Roger should win vs. the best two players left in the draw in order to get the title. Fair enough.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Or like 2015 Wimbledon? I agree if he wins the title by defeating Stan and Djoker he deserves it. I want Djokovic to win but if Federer does that then you just have to applaud and say too good.

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  2. Hi Ruan, good write up as always. First, I’d like to offer some insight into Federer’s recent run and see what you think:

    As you said, he played a very good QF match, but Gasquet was also not up to the task. Now my view is that Federer seems to have run through 5 opponents without really getting out of 2nd gear, so to speak. I think his re-invigoration since 2014 does have something to do with this – on slightly quicker surfaces, he has proved that he’s still got great movement and presence of mind, and this in a way has helped him regain some of his old “aura” against lower-ranked players in particular. The exceptions to this are Djokovic, Wawrinka and possibly Murray (who struggles against Federer for different reasons). There’s less belief from players like Gasquet who are, quite frankly, surprised that the guy’s still able to play so well.

    Next: Stan. He’s only really psyched up for the Slams and has once again prepared himself very well to reach the last 4 here at Flushing. Anderson was not quite the test I thought he would be, though, so he’ll need to really elevate his level for the semi-final.
    Novak Djokovic has looked ok, but even he’s hardly out of 2nd gear. I’m impressed that Cilic has made it back to the SFs – admirable attempt at defending his title, but he’s played 2 5-setters and 1 4-setter just to reach Novak. Still, you never quite know…

    I’d like to be bold and suggest that we won’t see a “double-upset” like last year, nor could we see Djokerer 42.0. My gut feeling is either a Djokovic-Wawrinka showdown (RG-style) or a Federer-Cilic rematch of last year, just not convinced that both of the top 2 seeds can make it through.
    (Now I’ve said this I bet I’ll be wrong :))

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Krish. I’d like to think Stan will put up more resistance than Murray did at Wimbledon, but he could lose in straights without Federer peaking. I hope not because I’d like to see Federer involved in a competitive match for once. It seems a bit ridiculous to me that he is 34 and hasn’t lost a set so far.

    It’s not much of a compliment to the field. Federer has shown some vulnerability at times and I’d like to see someone take advantage of that. I don’t want him to just walk into the final. At least he should have one match that tests him. And if he does win I hope you’re wrong and Cilic won’t defeat Djokovic.

    That would really suck after what happened last year to Djokovic. I want to see him win this slam because I think he is better than one USO title and I want to see him in the GOAT debate.

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  3. I think both Roger and Stan have a good chance at winning tonight, I don’t see Roger as a huge favourite, and definetly don’t see him winning in straigth sets. Probably not been truly tested yet, like you said. Never had any problems with big servers like Isner, and Gasquet was just a sparring session. So it’s hard to know for sure how good he is playing at the moment. I fear that Stanimal shows up and turns Roger into mincemeat from the baseline, but that’s less likely in these conditions. Probably. It’s easily the most open of the two semis anyway. I can’t really see any other outcome than Djokovic winning in the other match, but we never really know. I’m not gonna think much about the final, both finalists have to get there first. Justing taking one match at a time.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nice to hear from you BE. I wish people like you would comment more. You summed it up well. Federer has not been tested at all and we don’t know how he will react once he gets tested. He may be undercooked for a match with Stan. I also agree that Fedrinka is the most open of the two semis. I totally expect Djokovic to win as well. He may even do it like at Wimby where he routined Cilic. But you just never know.

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  4. Good analysis as usual, Federer not tested yet for sure. I do think that Stan can handle the fast slippery surface, thinking back to the 2013 US open final where he played Djokovic and took him to 5 sets while Nadal had a joke SF match against Gasquet (Gasquet is pretty good actually, making it pretty deep twice before cracking at the tough end). Anyway the point is Stan can handle fast surfaces too. I don’t know how he makes the ball change direction so easily . This matches up against Fed well, because Fed is hiding in his backhand corner . Stan just hits monster down the line backhands to the deuce court and that’s it.

    The slice bites more on this surface than clay, so I think Fed’s plan is to slice mid court in an awkward place. But Stan is a pretty good volleyer and can hit winners anywhere. I like watching Stan because of the sound the ball makes when he strikes it.

    I of course cheer for Federer and I figure he’s not making it this deep in Slams anymore soon. After Federer retires I don’t think apart from Stan there is anyone to even challenge Djokovic for 2-3 years except maybe Murray when he’s not in a negative mood.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Great to hear you weighing in on these two big matches today as well Bharata. It’s interesting that you think Stan can handle the slippery surface. I think it probably suits him better than grass anyway. Like you said, he already made SF here and gave Djokovic a very tough battle in 2013. He may just be ready to take the next big step.

    I’m not really sure who I want to win if Djokovic wins the first match. I think both guys would be tough to handle. But playing Federer would give him another chance to beat him in a slam final and to improve the h2h, while playing Stan would give him an opportunity for revenge for the FO.

    I agree that Federer will use variation and slice a lot, but yes it won’t necessarily bother Stan. I hope we see Stan in full flow because like you I love to see him take huge cuts at the ball. I don’t want to see another straight-set beat down from Federer anyway. That would be boring and anticlimactic.

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    rahan Reply:

    I would dream for a double revenge of Roger, but I know that this is only wishful thinking.

    Nevertheless, sometimes dreams come true even in tennis :

    Roberta Vinci, the world number 43 , a 300-1 underdog, age 32 the oldest first-time Grand Slam semifinalist in the Open era WILL PLAY THE US FINAL (and not Serena)

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  5. Such a great news from the women’s draw. Serena ousted by Vinci. Tbh, Serena is the worst thing that happens to women’s tennis. Ever wondered about Nadal using magic potion? Serena’s stuff would be way stronger.

    Talk about attitude? Nah, I shouldn’t because most words will be expletives. And to think she’s on the verge of eclipsing the greatest female player (Steffi Graf)? Revolting. Pity that there is no anti-Serena. What can bring her down is her own implosion. In all likelihood, she will eclipse Graf’s record. Sheesh.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    #Gangsterena #Thugrena

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    Krish Reply:

    Pathetic celebration – was that during the match? I was actually hoping for Serena to win the Grand Slam but after watching her behaviour in this match (and throughout the tournament really), I’m kind of glad she didn’t. Well done to Vinci, may the best Italian win in the Final.
    In Steffi Graf’s historic 1988 run, not once did she behave like this and pysche herself like Serena has done here – she handled the immense pressure of the Grand Slam with great poise and maturity, despite being only 19 years old.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well said, Krish. And yes, that was from the match.

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  6. What? I can’t believe it…I didn’t check the score, I was assuming another beatdown. I wonder if Vinci is the one who plays with all the off-speed stuff and slices…

    I was just watching highlights of Wawrinka-Djokovic at the FO and their 2014 match at the AO. Stan is a big game player, no doubt about it. Effortless power.

    It all depends on whether Federer can hadle the power. In that London semi final last year it looked like Federer had a pea shooter compared to Stan’s cannon…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I watched the last bit Bharata. Vinci played well and relaxed. She was just having fun out there. Yes she did play with slices. She is a doubles expert I hear.

    That was quite a win for Stan at the AO vs Djoker. I didn’t watch, but maybe Djoker still hung over from the 2013 FO and what followed? Who knows but Stan is a big time player now for sure.

    ‘pea shooter compared to Stan’s cannon…’

    :))

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    Bharata Reply:

    Hey thanks for that. I will have to watch highlights of the Serena match.

    Yes there are not a lot of guys who can outpower Federer consistently: Del Potro could do it, Wawrinka, Berdych, Tsonga, not too many others. We have discussed it before here but Federer doesn’t like being bullied and sometimes tries to outhit those guys which is not going to work at his age.

    Well Djokovic Cilic first…it will be a cracker.

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  7. I’ve made a pretty risky prediction over on the predictions page that Djokovic will lose to Cilic in 5 sets, it was tempting to do it for Fedrinka as well but I don’t think both Federer and Djokovic will lose, so I thought I’ll pick that one of them will.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Pretty risky all right…

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    Charlie Reply:

    Wow that prediction is now failing spectacularly, 6-0, 5-1 Djokovic.

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    Charlie Reply:

    WOW! I can’t believe what I just saw in those two semifinals. How easy and straightforward was that? For Federer and Djokovic! Sunday should be a great match if they both bring their A-game.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, pretty crazy Charlie. Two more blowouts. Federer not tested at all so far. Djokovic looking pretty decent after his SF win too, though.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    At least you took a risk :-) Still not as big a fail as my Wimby prediction :))

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol big mistake.

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  8. So, it is your old love verses new love. May the true love win! :-*

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha thanks, Jiten. I’d like the new love to win but I’m sure the old one will.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    You said that at Wimbledon Ru-an, I don’t believe you anymore!

    Seriously though, I’m saying Djokovic is the slight favourite by say 60-40 but Federer has a very good chance. Looking forward to Sunday.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    These are entirely different conditions to Wimby Charlie. Different crowd, different atmosphere, different surface, altogether a different scenario. It’s the same surface as Shanghai where we all saw Federer destroy Djokovic. I can pretty much guarantee you Federer will win this time. And it’s fine if you don’t believe me. I can totally understand that.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    I just trust Djokovic a lot in clutch situations. However, I think his talents are in close matches, not necessarily comebacks from hopeless situations. So in order to win on Sunday he absolutely must avoid a set and a break down situation. If he lets Federer get to that stage it’s over. However given what I saw today I will revise my prediction a little: too close to call, Federer or Djokovic in 5 extremely close sets. I previously was thinking Djokovic in 4 in a potential final.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Look, I think Djokovic has a better chance than at Wimby. But given that I thought he had zero chance at Wimby, that doesn’t say much does it? I agree with you about going a set and a break down, though. If Djokovic wins the first set he obviously has a good chance. If he wins the second set probably too. But I don’t see that happening. I think Federer will do what he did to Djokovic in Shanghai. He just overpowers him with first strike tennis.

    The surface makes that possible. Look what he did to Stan and Stan is much more powerful than Djokovic. If he can overpower Stan he can do it so much more against Djokovic.

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    Nambi Reply:

    my 2 cents opinion, there would be lot depends on Roger’s Serve games i think…In Wimbledon he didn’t get any free service games and tied town with shoe lace returns…but he managed few vs Stan Today easily…. Other than that of-course second serve returns matter as all of their matches…

    between, on court interview with Vinci, that was real fun….

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha, yes it was a funny interview Nambi. You make a great point about the easy service games. That is something I noticed too. Stan was allowing him too many easy service games which put too much pressure on his own service games. Stan’s first serve was atrocious too. After Federer did the SABR in the opening set he lost the plot completely on his first serve.

    He should have slowed down his first serve and upped his percentage, but he wasn’t thinking clearly out there. He seemed rattled all the way through. Somehow I can can’t see that happening with Djokovic.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah it depends if Federer manages to rattle him again with the SABR like what happened in Cincinnati. Djokovic also has to not let the crowd get to him. It does have a feeling about it that this match is more about how Federer plays than Djokovic. Djokovic will do his best to come out and play like a world no.1, and we will see if Roger can stay with him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes the SABR is a factor. Federer used it to completely rattle Stan who never recovered. Just unreal. I’m sure Becker and Djokovic between them have enough experience to think of something. Somehow I don’t see Djokovic getting as rattled about it as Stan. But it can certainly play a role because it is a very difficult thing to deal with, especially since things have change from the old days where you could just tee off at the guy without the crowd holding it against you.

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    Charlie Reply:

    And also people underrate Federer’s reflexes at the net. Even if he couldn’t volley the ball back over the net he could certainly avoid being hit most likely. And even if he did get hit, it wouldn’t discourage him, he’s been hit before with a tennis ball. But you are right that there are some things people are way too touchy about. If you close off the net and are covering all the passing shot and lob options then sometimes going at the opponent is your only option, so there’s no reason to whine about it.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Federer is very difficult to lob. Nothing less than perfection is needed. He covers the net extremely well. So going straight at him is often the only option. And you are right about the reflexes. Teeing off at him doesn’t even guarantee you anything. But you need to try to hit him and intimidate him because that is what he is trying to do to you. To hell with clueless and sensitive people. No one is obliged to tolerate intimidation. In fact, I’m not much of a fan of this tactic from Federer. It seems a bit below the belt to me.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah it is a little bit sneaky, but as you said earlier the opponent has a way to respond (namely: going right at Federer), so TBH I don’t really see the issue. I’m sure Federer has thought it through and it is a legitimate tactic, just the same as hitting someone if they try it. The only thing I don’t like are people with double standards. Both views are legitimate. Either hitting at your opponent is bad sportsmanship and so is the SABR, or neither of them are. I don’t mind people who make up their opinion. The issue I have is with people who are biased and use double standards (which fortunately is not you otherwise I would have left ages ago as I have left/stopped reading many other blogs/ tennis websites). So good point again Ru-an, I would expect nothing less from an expert tennis writer like you!

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    mat4 Reply:

    Ru-an,

    although it seems that the courts are faster this year, Shanghai was in average much faster than FM, and Wimbledon, because of the lower rebound, was in average much “faster” too in the last three years. The few last years, the speed of the courts at the USO was about the same like at the AO,

    If Novak plays the way he played at Wimbledon, serving and returning well, and if he manages to win one of the first two sets, Fed has no chance whatsoever. And the result in Cinci should be “calibrated”: Novak, although tired from Montreal, was time and time again scheduled to play in the hottest part of the day, in conditions of very high humidity (against Stan, a man who has won 2 slams in the last two years, the no 1 player in the world was scheduled to play at 11 a.m.) It impacted the final very much, especially since Federer’s level started to fall down from the middle of the second set, but Novak was too spent in the previous rounds to be able to use it.

    Federer just can’t overpower Djokovic, he never could. If he plays a Novak at his best, the deal is done. His only chance is to face a subpar Novak, but we have seen that in the best of five, where Novak knows he can outlast Roger, Novak is less nervous and plays a notch better than in the best of three.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Fair enough comment Mat. I remembered 2010 and 2011.

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  9. Ru-an, I don’t think it’s just like Shanghai. Roger played incredible there and his level may not be that high, so I don’t think it’s all about the surface.

    Djokovic will put much more pressure on his service games, making him uncomfortable and possibly making Roger’s first serve % lower.

    Not to mention Novak always plays better in finals. I’d still favor Djokovic in 4-5 close sets. Even if Roger goes up in the score, I don’t think it will be by that much, which could trigger a scenario similar to 2010-2011, when Novak saved several match points.

    Also, look at what happened in Wimbledon. Federer’s best surface and he didn’t manage to bring his best level,while Novak did. I always expect Djokovic to play exceptionally well in finals, especially at grand slams. With Roger, I just expect him to play at a solid level, which wouldn’t be enough. I only see him winning if he plays at his absolute best.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello, Davikia. Welcome to my blog. I think Fed’s level was as high as anything I’ve seen from him vs Stan. And I expect him to play the same in the final. At Wimbledon, he lost a set to Groth. No way that would have happened here. He just seems extremely comfortable and confident on these courts, while historically it has not been a very successful surface for Djokovic. But at least he did beat Federer in those USO semis so I guess that does help his case.

    [Reply]

    Davikia Reply:

    Thanks, Ru-an, I’ve been reading your blog since April and enjoy it a lot.
    I agree Federer played at his best against Stan, but the same happened with Murray in Wimbledon and then he couldn’t keep his level up for the final, so that’s what I’m questioning, whether he can bring his A game against Novak. He did so in Cincinnati and is looking more confident here, so it’s most likely he will play well.
    Even though I’m a Federer fan, I appreciate Djokovic and just wanna see who wins with both of them playing at their peaks. Hopefully, it’s a thrilling and close match!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Very glad you enjoy my blog and grateful for the following! I like your last two sentences. I am just the inverse. I am a Djokovic fan but I appreciate Federer and want to see who wins with both at their peak. I don’t think Federer peaked too early this time. He has been playing very well all week. The Stan match was not that different from the rest. So I can definitely see him bringing his A game.

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  10. I think a lot us are understanding Djokovic here. Something which we should have realized by now is that all the top guys raise their level depending on the person on the other side of the net and Djokovic is the best at that. Seeing Federer always brings out the best out of Djokovic and this time he is completely fresh as well. I think it is 60-40 to Djokovic and that is what the odds say as well. Having said that, if Federer manages to somehow win the first set I think he will somehow bring it home. I think if he loses the first set, he loses his belief while if he wins it I think he will even be prepared to go 5 sets. For a change I think Federer has enough freshness to go 5 sets. Also Federer has never lost 3 slam finals in row in his career and he will be desperate not to let that happen now. All in all I think it is an even more fascinating match than at Wimbledon. Also according to my calculations Djokovic will both secure the world number 1 ranking for the year as well as break Federer’s 2006 points (which was 15495 which is the all time record by the way https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Roger_Federer_tennis_season) total record and be the first guy to breach the 16000 mark which would be a crazy achievement. A lot on the line.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    *underestimating

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yep, a lot on the line Ajay. The first set is important like you say, and let’s face it Djokovic did play extremely well vs Cilic. He was classy enough to bring up Cilic’s injury at the end and take credit away from himself but his level was unreal vs Cilic. If he wins the first set vs Federer his dreams will be shattered again.

    [Reply]

  11. I guess for Fedfans it’s best to expect the worst. I can totally see Djoker putting up another solid performance like Wimby and contrary to what everyone is thinking, he can win it in 4 sets of maybe 3 in the worst case. I remember you considering the possibility of Fed not winning any sets at all when he next faces Djoker in a major, after his Wimbledon loss.
    As far as the surface and the match time is concerned, I think those are the least influential factors. If Djoker just plays his solid defense and ball-retrieving, no matter how aggressive Fed plays, this being a best of 5, Fed can’t run away with it. One thing might be for sure. Fed likely won’t make the mistake of blowing up a 2 set lead like he did in 2011

    [Reply]

    Bharata Reply:

    Yes I agree with this. Djokovic has a plan B if his usual game plan is not working. Dig down and just retrieve. I am not putting him down or calling him a negative player, but he can just neutralize , neutralize, neutralize, and wait for the mistake which will come off the bkachand of Federer. The stragety worked well in the 2011 AO semifinal.

    Well if Fed can’t beat him at age 30 with a 2 sets to love lead, I don’t see a big chance here.

    It’s all about who is relxed out there. I sense that Roger was not relaxed at Wimbledon. He had that 4-2 lead and then played a weak service game and failed to consolidate.

    Given that he will get fewer ‘cheap’ points on a hard court tat doe snot look good for him.

    I just hope for a good match, and if he’s going to lose, I hope Federer doesn’t kill us with a 5 set heartbreaker like 2010 and 2011 :-)

    You know Ru-an, i recall once you said Federer had ‘unfinished business in New York’. So I’m hanging on to that…

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Well I definitely think Fed is a better player now than he was in 2011. I’m pretty sure he won’t lose a 2-set lead this time around, although with Djoker you just never know. In the 4 finals which Djoker lost, he lost the first set in all of them. So if Fed wins the first set tomorrow, history is against Djoker. I know all this hardly matters on that day, but still it might be a huge psychological advantage for Fed.
    As Ru-an had pointed out earlier, the 2 SFs in 2010 and 2011 were worthy of being the final. I’m sure he agrees that Fed has ‘unfinished business’ at the big apple, although last year he was talking from a Fed-fan perspective. Now that he roots for Djoker, same can be said about Djoker actually. He too has unfinished business there. But it’s just that Djoker probably gets more chances than Fed to complete the ‘business’ from now ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good point about the unfinished business Nakul. That is certainly the case for Djokovic as well. I think he has more unfinished business than Federer. I mean come on it’s 5-1 ffs. Djokovic lost four finals compared to Federer’s one.

    Fed may be better than in 2011 but so is Djokovic. Much better offensive player. I wouldn’t worry too much about the first set either. If Djokovic wins the second set he is probably the favorite.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, Bharata Djokovic has many options. But I’m not sure he wants to be on the defense much against this Federer. I saw Federer mishitting several shots vs Stan and that is even more likely against Djokovic’s depth and accuracy. When Djokovic paints those lines there is nothing anyone can do.

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    steve Reply:

    I expect Federer to do his best to win the title, and whatever happens will happen. I don’t understand the point of despairing before a single ball has even been struck. If he listened to the pessimists, he wouldn’t have won a single title in the last seven years, ever since he lost Wimbledon to Nadal.

    He’s 34 and he’s made the final of the US Open for the first time in six years. What’s more, he’s done so without the loss of a set and dropping serve only twice–something that he couldn’t accomplish even in his salad days. Indeed he has not lost a set since stepping onto the hard courts this summer. That is really incredible.

    Djokovic is playing great and defending great, but that doesn’t mean his victory is guaranteed.

    The surface means comparatively little; the fact that Federer is well-rested is definitely a good thing, but it will come down to how well Federer is able to serve and return. Once he gets that going, he can implement his aggressive game plan. Otherwise Djokovic will slowly strangle him in the long rallies.

    Djokovic will bring what he always does to the table: his relentless retrieving and speedy movement, heavy groundstrokes and vicious return game, and try to drag the points out and make them physical and punishing. It’s up to Federer to figure out how to penetrate that.

    Djokovic got a lot of cheap points off his serve in the Wimbledon final, and Federer was unable to consistently make attacking returns. But Federer’s made an effort to be more aggressive on the return during this summer HC run and if he can do this for one more match, he has all the chances to win. Another serving performance like the one he pulled off in the Wimbledon semis would definitely help, but I don’t think we should count on that.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, since you put it that way it does seem like Djokovic is the overwhelming favorite. The way he played against Cilic makes it hard to believe Federer will just win the first two sets. Djokovic may even win the first two sets. Thanks for making me feel more optimistic about Djokovic’s chances :-)

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  12. Wow. Great tennis, indeed. The level of discussion here is pretty high, pretty spot-on, imo.

    Both are playing at a very high-level although Cilic looked a little in-over-his-head. Either way, Djokovic seems to have risen his game for these last couple of matches.

    The first set and a half of Federinka was must-see. Brilliant tennis, countrymen respecting each other’s games, pounding the ball, head-hunting, etc. Exceptional hard court tennis.

    I think Fed’s level is championship bound, but, as so many comments have suggested, he will probably have to win the first set. I see his offensive approach almost unbeatable right now, but Djokovic’s defensive game (that becomes offensive) is equally as untouchable.

    So, what gives? Should be a great battle. I will just say that Fed needs his first serve % high. His serve and volley on these courts is even more critical than the grass. That will wear on Djokovic. Rog must serve well, which will trigger the offensive all-court attack.

    If Djokovic sees a lot of second serves, and play becomes more of a base-line exchange, longer points, not sure Fed wants any of that.

    To the best man.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’ve never thought that much of Cilic. His USO title was good, but he didn’t have to play Djokovic. Djokovic exposed him again yesterday and let’s not forget it’s 14-0 now.

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