Surprise surprise. Mister Anderson finally broke through on the big stage when he caused a shock upset last night and defeated Murray 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(0). Or shall we call him Neo now? I say shock upset because that would have been the case for most people, but I thought Anderson had a chance after I saw him against Thiem. He was very clutch and dominant in that match.
He had already come close against Djokovic at Wimbledon which is why I thought he could finally make the breakthrough here. It was the first time he made a slam quarterfinal after having made several fourth rounds. So I’m really happy for him that he could finally exorcise those choking demons which he has been battling a lot in his career. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy either.
I played tennis with him and he was always a nice guy. Too nice probably because he doesn’t have that kind of nasty streak which you need to be a killer. But it’s good that he showed you don’t have to be an asshole to win big matches. I’ve often criticised him in the past because of his lack of killer instinct, and in the second set he was very close to choking again. But I want to make it clear that he did extremely well and that he is also a very nice person.
South Africans tend to mature later compared to other countries due to our culture too. He had to battle a long time with his nerves but he didn’t give up and it finally paid off big time. I always thought he had a game that could do serious damage to the best players, but mentally he was just way too fragile. Now I look forward to seeing where he can go from here. He has a very good serve and a good all round game.
‘My name…is Neo’
He is not as naturally talented as Federer for instance, but who is? He can do everything pretty well and moves pretty well for a big guy too. But he has a big game which is a threat to anyone on a good day. It is just a matter of keeping it together mentally. There wasn’t much more Murray could do, other than stopping his usual bitching and crying on the court and being more offensive. But I guess that will never change for Murray.
Anderson was hitting too big and kept Murray under too much pressure until he finally bageled him in the fourth set tie-break. A player with a great offense is always going to defeat that kind of tennis from Murray on a good day. That is the price he pays for his negative, defensive game. Anderson now plays Stan where he leads the head-to-head 4-3. That’s gonna be interesting.
Clearly Anderson likes to play against Stan, but how much does he have left in the tank? It was a pretty brutal battle with Murray and I think he will be flat against Stan. He put everything into not choking another big opportunity away and I think it has taken a lot out of him. At least he will be relieved now and won’t have as much to lose but I think he will be flat and Stan could take advantage.
Or Anderson will win and Federer will have the best possible draw to the final.
- Elsewhere in the Draw
So like I said Stan won after defeating Young in four sets. He is becoming a danger again and if he defeats Anderson he could move into Stanimal mode which neither Federer nor Djokovic wants. Stan has already made the semis in New York a couple of years ago and gave Djokovic a very tough match. He may be ready to take the next step. Then Gasquet beat Berdych in four sets which I suppose is good fortune for Federer given his history with Berdych.
But I don’t think Berdych was such a big threat and Gasquet may put up tougher resistance than is expected. I don’t think he has a chance to win but if he draws Federer into a long match that won’t help his cause. Federer played Isner of course and won 7-6(0), 7-6(6), 7-5. Isner was a mini-break up in the second tie-break and had a volley that he could have put away and didn’t, but Federer then came up with the goods.
He hit two very good shots which shut Isner out of the match. That is just how small the margins are and if Isner wanted to win a set he had to do a better job with that volley. In the end a pretty predictable outcome and I see Federer faced 5 break points again. Isner is a poor returner and I am still not convinced about Federer’s service games. Not that Gasquet is a great returner either. Federer may have to wait until the final before he faces a good returner.
Or maybe he won’t have to at all. So far his draw has worked out pretty well and maybe he will play Gasquet/Anderson/Tsonga for the title.
- The Prediction Game
We still have one match to go in our current round of predictions for the Cilic vs Tsonga match today but it seems quite a few of you have already gotten Federer correct as the winner yesterday as well as the number of sets. I kind of wanted to take the Anderson vs Murray match, but I started my post a bit late and it wouldn’t have given people enough time. So in case that happens again let me pick a match for the quarterfinals in the bottom half so long.
Come to think of it I may as well let you predict for both matches, Federer vs Gasquet and Anderson vs Wawrinka. I’ll update the rankings tomorrow for the current round and then again after the bottom half quarterfinals are concluded. So get cracking!
Why there is a big three plus Murray:
The is in your court.