The first match today between Nadal and Ferrer was, of course, a dead rubber because Nadal had already qualified first in group Nastase. Nadal ended up winning 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-4 after dropping the first set.
He and Federer had very similar paths to the semi-finals with both winning all their matches and struggling in their final group match, but they could both lose in the semis as well. Stanimal was in beast mode again today when he straight-setted Murray 7-6(4), 6-4.
He was hitting some ridiculous winners out there and prevailed despite some ridiculous defending from Murray as well. It was a great contest with Stan getting the first break in the opening set but losing it again which resulted in a tiebreak.
Murray led 4-2 in the breaker, but Stanimal then reeled off the next five points. In the second set, Stanimal raced to a 5-2 lead with a couple of breaks but Murray brought it back to 5-4 and almost broke serve again but Stanimal wouldn’t be denied.
It was just immense power and shotmaking from Stan like we saw at the French Open. These courts suit his game to a T and he is a serious threat for the title.
- Semi-Final Preview
I am very excited for both semi-finals tomorrow. It promises to be one of the best days of the 2015 tennis season. Djokovic and Nadal will play the afternoon match while Federer and Stan will play the evening match.
Obviously I expect Djokovic to raise his game tomorrow after a couple of mediocre showings but nothing is guaranteed. Some people think that Djokovic is injured, burned out, etc.
That just tells you what a standard the guy has set if people try to make excuses for him after losing just one match. Obviously I am smarter than to buy into any of that. Is it just a random coincidence that Djokovic lost a match when it happened to be the case that he could afford to?
I don’t think so. Think about it. He has had an absolutely brutal season. It would make 100% sense to play one poor match if it allows him to end up winning the title. We know he plays some less than peak level matches in slams to save himself.
The difference is in slams he can’t afford to lose so he just scrapes through. With the round robin format in London, he can actually afford to lose a match without it costing him a place in the semis.
It doesn’t get any better
And given the season he has had it would be a smart ploy to play one poor match and get some mental and physical rest in the process because he only needs to win the title. A round robin loss would mean nothing to Djokovic as long as he wins the title.
So don’t ask me to subscribe to the idea that Djokovic is in trouble before he actually loses again. Knowing him, he will salivate at the prospect of playing Nadal and crush him first thing tomorrow.
But who knows. That’s why we watch tennis because we just don’t know.
The same thing could happen to Federer. He could get crushed by Stan this time after that classic semi-final last year. For one thing, I don’t think Stan would be as nervous as he was then and hopefully this time Mirka will restrain herself.
Stan is a different player these days than he was back then. He seems way more at home in the top five after a second slam this year and he has found consistency.
Whatever the case may be, I think we are in for two terrific battles tomorrow because Nadal has been playing very well too. He looks really close to his best again. No doubt both Djokovic and Stan have their work cut out tomorrow.
Should be epic!
The is in your court.