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.
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.
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.
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.
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!