Wimbledon Day 4: The Championships Comes Alive

I had a feeling that Wimbledon came alive today. The first three days seemed kind of pedestrian. It lacked excitement and inspiration, but there sure wasn’t any lack of that today. Not from Dustin Brown anyway. But it wasn’t just Brown that made me feel that way. There were several five-set matches of which the Karlovic vs Dolgopolov match went to 13-11 in the fifth.

  • Brown Sends Nadal to Mallorca

This was, of course, our prediction match and Brown managed to pull off the upset 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. These days with Nadal we are so used to him losing to a low ranked player that you can hardly call it an upset anymore. I don’t get the same rush I used to when Nadal loses but Brown was very entertaining and refreshing nonetheless, and I’m not complaining that Nadal lost. This was the first time I watched an actual match from Brown and I didn’t quite know what to make of him at first.

He seemed erratic and quickly dropped serve to love. It looked like he was going for too many drop shots and teeing off on too many balls. But then he seemingly out of nowhere broke Nadal back to love and broke him again at 6-5 to win the opening set. Now he had my attention. It was amazing how he flat out teed off on some of those backhand returns which flashed by Nadal before he was hardly able to move. I’d never quite seen some like it. Really unconventional and refreshing stuff.

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Are you feeling pity yet?

There hardly seemed to be any middle ground. He was either teeing off or hitting a drop shot. He has a terrific serve as well and his game seems cut out for grass. He certainly seemed to enjoy the spotlight and wasn’t holding back. That said, Nadal quickly fought back and leveled things at a set all. Things were in doubt again, but in the third set Nadal played an extremely nervous game to get broken. It reminded me an awful lot of Federer when he was in that 2013 confidence crises.

Nadal couldn’t have played a more uncharacteristic game which included several double faults and an awful lot of self-doubt. In the fourth set, I kind of expected another revival from Nadal but Brown was on fire now and broke straight away in the opening game after another uncharacteristic unforced error from Nadal. He almost broke Nadal a second time at 5-3 and 40-15 but let a volley go which he could have hit for a winner and it dropped in. Nadal sensed his chance and held serve to put the pressure right back on Brown.

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Yes he can!

You could sense a disaster brewing especially when Brown also lost the first point on his next service game, but to his credit he won the next four points and the match. It was the biggest win of Brown’s career who is 30 years old, ranked #102 in the world and spent most of his career playing on the challenger tour. I’m really happy for the guy and hopefully this win will propel him to bigger things so he can entertain us for a long time to come. Like I said, I’ve never quite seen something like it.

  • What Does This Mean for the Draw and Nadal?

Joe already asked the question what this means for the draw. It is a good question because this can make things considerably easier for Murray who had a brutal draw to begin with. Brown could even make the quarters now in his section. That section is very open now. And if Brown does make the quarters I doubt he will have much left in the tank for Murray. Murray will already have to deal with the winner of Tsonga and Karlovic if he beats Seppi which you’d think he would.

So he could use an easier match before a potential semi-final with Federer. So even though Nadal’s loss could potentially have benefited Federer, it could also count against him if he plays a fresh Murray. Murray looked quite clinical against Haase today dropping only five games. He could probably beat Seppi in straight sets too. So he can still arrive in the semis in good physical shape. As for Nadal, I don’t really know how to feel about him anymore. He just keeps losing.

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Murray looks like a big threat once again

So much for uncle Toni saying he can win Wimbledon! That said, who knows what could have happened if he passed Brown. At least this time I was right to say that Brown could upset Nadal as opposed to the Bellucci mistake. Although I never saw Brown play a full match, my gut feeling said he had the kind of game that could upset Nadal. If Nadal passed Brown he had the likes of Troicki and Ward/Pospisil up ahead. He would almost surely have made the second week and then he becomes hard to stop.

So thank you Brown(especially on behalf of Fedfans). Nadal’s woes continues and who knows where he goes from here. Well, after Mallorca anyway. His tennis career seems in ruins at this point. He is at that point where Federer was, but it is going on for longer. It has been more than a year now since he lost to Brown the first time in Halle. But who knows with him. Maybe he can start turning things around at the North-American hard court season. All I know is every loss like this makes his confidence crises even bigger.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

I haven’t even gotten to Federer. Sorry, Fedfans! I don’t mean to neglect your player! He played Querrey today and won 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. I could only watch the first two sets, but it was great to see him looking confident and crisp out there. As I expected after what I saw in the Halle final, where Federer appeared to find his forehand at the end of the first set and in the second set, his forehand looks more solid and confident. This bodes well for his chances of a record eighth Wimbledon title but, of course, there is a long way to go.

He played some entertaining tennis as usual today and basically invented a new stroke when he sent a lob over Querrey’s head through his legs while facing towards the net. I mean it’s not an entirely new stroke, but you don’t see it pull off like that very often. He won in straight sets as I expected, but it was a convincing victory. He did the Djoker one better by breaking twice in the final set too. He now plays Groth who is another big server which is something he has always dealt well with.

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Master at work

His draw is easy because Lopez was also upset today by Basilashvili who plays Baustista Agut now who is a poor grass court player himself. So Federer should arrive in the quarterfinal without having dropped a set and being very fresh. There he is still on course for a meeting with Berdych who made short work of the recent s-Hertogenbosch champion Mahut. But I am getting ahead of myself. Coric lost to Seppi after being two sets to love up and then getting double breadsticked in the last two sets.

Not sure what happened there. Then I told you about the Karlovic vs Dolgopolov match which went to 13-11 in the fifth set in favor of Dr. Ivo. I just checked in right at the end when the light was starting to fade and The Dog was complaining constantly about it. Not surprisingly he dropped serve to lose the match then. The guy really is an enigma. Why get to 11-12 in the fifth set just to toss it away by losing concentration over something that is affecting both players?

  • The Betting Game

Ok, now that business is settled let’s get to the fun part. There were twenty predictions for today’s match and only four people chose the correct winner! So first of all respect to those people who had the courage to pick the underdog again after Bellucci disappointed. To the rest, you ain’t gonna win if you don’t take calculated risks! If there was one guy I thought could upset Nadal in the early rounds it was Brown, so I would have chosen him. Of course, it is easy to say in hindsight, but I did say in my last post that Brown could cause the upset.

Anyway, this means only four people received any points for this round. The rest have to regroup and try again. There were three players who predicted the right winner, the right amount of sets, and in the right order today, and one guy who got the winner, amount of sets, but not in the right order. The top three spots are taken by Jiten, Saim, and Father Toni who all predicted very similar scores so hopefully they didn’t copy from Jiten. Anyway, congrats folks. You took a risk and it paid off.

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Still have high hopes for this kid!

As for the rankings, Joe is hauled in by Father Toni in the top spot while the rest of the winners all made big moves. Now to tomorrow’s match. Tomorrow there is a fair amount of good matches again. Djokovic vs Tomic, Isner vs Cilic, Stan vs Verdasco, and Dimitrov vs Gasquet are all interesting, but the match that really catches my attention and intrigues me is the Kyrgios vs Raonic match. They have actually met on two previous occasions of which one was last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinal which Raonic won in four.

Back then Raonic didn’t just come off an injury though and Kyrgios had the biggest win of his career against Nadal in the previous round which could have affected him. I think Kyrgios can win and I hope he does, but I am not part of the game and I will leave the predicting to you!

Please leave your predictions on the predictions page again and have fun! ;-)

  • Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soXxD2XhXlM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5ONAqAUDe0

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

23 Comments

  1. Unfortunately I didn’t watch the Nadal vs Brown match, but I watched some highlights, and wow, that was just spectacular. Kind of looked like a predator toying with its prey. Haven’t seen anyone do this to Nadal before. Played without respect and utterly humiliated him. If Dustin Brown is capable of playing like that it’s a real pity that he hasn’t managed to break into the top. I hope he can get further here and have good tournament. If Nadal is to bounce back into the top I think he needs to make some significant changes to his game, maybe hire some new people in his team and get some fresh ideas.

    Though as a Fedfan I actually have some mixed feelings about this Nadal loss, just like I did last year. Nadal is always a huge obstacle and I’m a little relieved he’s out of the way, but I was also kind of hoping for a match between them. How long has it been since they met on grass now, has it been seven years or something? On grass, the matchup handicap doesn’t matter as much, so I think it would have been a great opportunity for Roger to get some revenge, especially considering both players current form. That is of course assuming he wouldn’t collapse mentally. I honestly think he would stand a better chance of beating Nadal here than to beat Djokovic or Murray, but we’ll see.

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Hi eirik, you are not alone. The way Brown stared down Nadull, was almost doko level. No fear. Even when his serve was broken, Brown didn’t lose his nerve. Ballsy performance! As for facing fed in a match, I’m ok with current situation… Fed continues to go deep while Nadull gets ousted early by nobodies (no offence Brown! In your fan now). Fed beating current Nadull will come with a ton of asterisks anyway, so why bother?
    @ru-an, enjoyed this recent post most. Not bec of Nadull loss, but your way of summarize what went on with detail yet stays succinct. As for Nadull loss, I’m shocked how little enjoyment came out of it. Probably enjoyed most uncle Toni’s “rafa to win Wembley this year…”. LOL. Honestly, I expected Nadull to cruise all way to QF (nope, didn’t think Brown had a chance), and can’t bring myself to join the prediction game. That was a brutal article… Esp, the point where, is it time to pity Nadull now? Wow. Never expected that to hit home… I don’t like teasing a player who is down and out. Nadull is a rare exception… But if he continues to slide so fast, it’s no fun.
    As for Federer, he is looking so strong ! He is milking the net and his returns have more pop as I have seen recently. Yeah! Hope his form continues to go up. Nadull lose + Federer win is always a good day! Till later, #rafa-zero-zero

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I should probably look up the last time Nadal dropped two in a row to anyone other than Djokovic. But dropping two to someone outside the top 100?

    I’m sure that’s never happened to Nadal, and I couldn’t bring myself to forecast it this time. But I’m glad it happened … except that Roger may eventually have a more difficult match against Murray now.

    Of course there’s plenty of tennis to play before that would happen…

    [Reply]

    Ben chia Reply:

    Hi Joe,
    Nadull has always been a player of extremes. Anyway, he is out of pic now. Fed on the other hand is looking very good. And not peaked yet… This is bec of Nadull’s loss? Sometime back Ru-an mentioned this, and I think it adds confidence to fed knowing his “rival” is out. There are plenty more threats left but just feel that fed has to feel good seeing Nadull hit the low point he went through… Time will tell if he can reinvent himself like Federer. But I won’t get my hopes too high on that…haha!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yup, your Nadal prediction is still on track! You should play the prediction game you seem to be good at it! Glad you liked the post BC. I’m trying to keep my articles succinct even though there is a lot to report on so it’s good to see someone appreciating that. So you are pitying Nadal now? Not me. I just can’t get the same enjoyment out of his losses after what Djokovic did you him at the FO. That was as it good as it gets. So it’s difficult to get high from his losses now.

    [Reply]

    Ben chia Reply:

    Hi Ru-an,
    All it took was to watch Nadull’s defiant post match interview to erase any pity for him. Dunno why, but I sensed this smugness somehow. Probably just me bring bias. You shd see the message boards at ATP world tour pouring words of encouragement to brave fighter Rafa… The anti-Nadull are having a field day replying those message boards. Some bloody hilarious.
    As for your prediction game, I think it’s a wonderful addition to your blog. You should keep it going even after wembly. I just enjoy reading your post and missed the deadline too many times.
    Still, it will be fun to see who emerges as the ultimate winner. Btw, fed is playing great. Baby fed (shd he even be called that still?!) already out and birdy’s (yr fav whipping boy) playing good since posing nude. Marin gonna do another god-mode on us? Ah… Wonderful world of Tennis!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi BC, dunno if Fed is playing so great. Played a poor tie-break vs Groth today and shanked a lot of fhs. But he has an easy match vs RBA next.

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Hi Ru-an, This is where our expectations greatly differ. For me now, any Federer win = playing great. regardless of how many sets he dropped. So long as he continues to advance, I’m a happy fed fan. Gone are the days he goes through without dropping a set. In fact, I rather see him fight through these situations now than later in the draw. Some of my most memorable fed moments are from him coming from brink of defeat. What doesn’t kill him, makes him “betterer”… Haha!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I am a happy Fedfan too BC. I have no expectations at all.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi Ru-an, can you give me some bonus points for not showing up in the second round (I didn’t make prediction the Theim-Verdasco match) of your prediction game? :-P :bz I don’t have any proof though to show that I was injured. I was completely healthy in the second round, still gave the walk over! I know, had your prediction game been a knock-out one, I would have been done and Dustined by now. I am grateful to you that you are still allowing me to compete rather than throwing me off to Mallorca. On a serious note, till now, whatever I have seen, I have been impressed only with Djoker and Fed (have not seen much of Stan). In my opinion, all the +2 seeds are susceptible to upsets on any day.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Afraid not Jiten, gotta play of you wanna win! ;-) But you are doing well do keep playing!

    [Reply]

  3. I just love Justin Brown.He is fearless and its no nice to see him serve and volley. Why did he come to d scene so late? He is a perfect grass court player and he defeated Nadal twice . I m hoping he reaches d quartes now. And nadal, surely he is deciling. I am sure he wont win any major or masters this year.

    At least Fed is looking good. And that shot he made..hehehe..he is sometimes too flashy but I like that he only can invent those shots..May he keep us his level and win his 18th major

    [Reply]

    Denis Saikia Reply:

    And yaaa!!!. Brown sends Nadal to Mallorca was just too funny.. LMAO

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Yes! Ru-an is definitely a consummate artist when it comes to generating quotable quotes!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Joe!

    [Reply]

  4. Isner and Cilic are tied at 6-6 in the fifth set.

    If you have time to check it out …. it might not take much more time.
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Joe. I watched some in the end. Play suspended at 10-10. Another Isner/Mahut tomorrow?

    [Reply]

  5. I find it so amusing that Nadal is 0-2 lifetime against Dustin Brown. Brown’s game plan reminded me of Rosol a bit, taking huge cuts at the ball, especially of the return of serve, and giving Nadal no rhythm. Of course Rosol wasn’t into drop shows like Brown was. I was sort of expecting Nadal to start playing well at Wimbledon because the pressure of defending points is gone, and I thought he could play more freely after the clay court season ended. That made sense to me when he went and won in Stuttgart. But then he’s won just 1 out of 3 matches since, losing to Dolgopolov and Brown. Now it seems to me like there’s a realistic possibility that Nadal is really just mentally and maybe physically burned out after all those years of grinding. He has basically no points to defend from now to the end of the year, so we should expect his ranking to be on the upswing, but it’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact he has at the US Open.

    As for Federer, his forehand finally seems to be getting close to what it was before the new racquet, and to me he has really started to improve his return of serve– especially learning to put more power into it on his backhand side. Also his volleys, especially forehand volley has improved and he seems more confident at net. I’m not sure he can pull of the title here, but he looks sharp.

    [Reply]

    Ben Chia Reply:

    Hi Albert,
    Thks for sharing this nugget:
    “… Nadull has basically no points to defend from now to the end of the year” if this is true, then technically Nadull has no where to go from here but up. Unless all other 9 players above him continues playing well, Nadull might slide past top 10… Oh, the horror!
    Then again, Nadull might not gain another title till end of the year. Why not? :-) #rafa-zero-zero

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It would be funny if he doesn’t make the WTF. But I hope he does so he gets straight-setted by everyone like 2009 :))

    [Reply]

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