American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

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American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 25 Jul 2018, 10:38 am

First topic message reminder :

Bit of a lull after the French and Wimbledon but still plenty of tournaments going on. You may have heard that Federer has pulled out of the Rogers Cup in Canada. Presumably means he'll play Cincinnati.
Main interest for British fans over next few weeks surrounds Murray. He did enough in his brief grass-court appearances to suggest he can get back to something like his best, although it's going to take time. The Djoko triumph at Wimbledon has really shaken things up at the top. At the start of this year I thought Djoko would bounce back and at that stage I could see him doing well at the French and Wimbledon. But his form up to Wimbledon was patchy so it was a surprise he won it.
Djoko must be regarded as one of the favourites for the USO. Just as I had a hunch Fed would not win Wimbledon this year, I reckon Rafa won't win the 2018 USO. What I am prepared to predict is that the winner in new York this year will be at least 29 years old (hedging my bets a bit here, as Cilic and Delpo are both still 29).

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sun 12 Aug 2018, 10:51 am

Tsitsipas looks a real prospect. He is picking up notable scalps in back-to-back matches and in multiple tournaments at a young age too. Certainly, one to watch.


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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by lags72 on Sun 12 Aug 2018, 11:55 am

He sure looks the real deal.

It takes a lot of talent to beat FOUR top ten guys in a row - which is what he’s done this past week. Not many players of any age manage that - let alone one so young as Tsitsipas.

Lord knows we’ve waited and waited for new blood to make an impact ; maybe the time has finally come.

Rafa is in top form and will likely be too strong for him in today’s Final, but the experience should be invaluable for this exciting youngster.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 12 Aug 2018, 10:57 pm

Not a single post during a fascinating Masters final? Gosh this forum really has died.

Interesting to see Rafa not being penalised when the shot clock went to zero twice in the tiebreak. Shows that the shockingly poor umpiring of his gamesmanship on big points will continue unabated. Very frustrating.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by MrInvisible on Mon 13 Aug 2018, 12:21 am

@Born Slippy - indeed, I saw Nadal exceeding the shot-clock couple of times with no action taken - makes it bit of a pointless exercise having a shot-clock if they don't enforce it.

Onto the match itself - Tsitsipas looked a bit off the pace in the 1st set, making quite a few errors, but later on in 2nd set showed signs of the form that had taken him to the final. Nadal was generally v solid, but had couple of wobbles serving for the match during which Tsitsipas broke back. Tsitsipas was 3-2 up in tie-break but failed to capitalise on couple of opportunities and Nadal came back well, benefiting also from a netcord. Big celebrations from Nadal at end who looked relieved to get through what turned into a tricky 2nd set.

This was the 1st match of the young Greek I'd seen properly all the way through and from what I saw, he definitely has the shots, temperament and big-match game to prosper - also has an engaging personality too, so if he can stay injury free, v good for the game.

On Nadal, he's looking in good form to make a decent fist of defending his US Open title, and I'd be surprised if he doesn't make quarters at least.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Mon 13 Aug 2018, 9:51 am

Nadal withdraws from the Cincinnati open

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 13 Aug 2018, 9:54 am

Rafa has pulled out of the Cincinatti Masters following his win in the Montreal Masters. He said the only reason is the wish to stay fresh for the US Open.

Kyle Edmund is through to the Second Round after a straight sets win over Mackenzie McDonald and Andy Murray continues the long road back in a First Round match againsy seeded Lucas Pouille at 4pm (BST).
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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by No name Bertie on Mon 13 Aug 2018, 11:15 am

Sounds like a sensible decision from Nadal as he finally perhaps realises his own mortality. For the same reasons I mentioned after Wimbledon 2018 - I have to make Rafael Nadal favorite to win the US Open 2018. Maybe some will say backing the No 1 ranked player in the world and defending US Open champion is not the riskiest of options.

The fact that Roger Federer seems to be entering fewer and fewer tournaments and misses the clay season entirely, suggests that once he feels he is no longer competitive in the slams (Wimbledon, AO, USO) he will retire, rather than continue to play the ATP tour.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 13 Aug 2018, 10:00 pm

Murray loses in three sets to No 16 seed Lucas Pouille. I never watched the match but stats suggest Murray's serve was a little better than in previous games which is good and seems like he came through the match in one piece. I sure he would have liked another match or two here so wonder whether he will play in the 250 next week.
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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by No name Bertie on Tue 14 Aug 2018, 1:24 am

I didn't see the match neither. I think losing to Lucas Pouille is not such a big deal as I have seen others suggest elsewhere.  Pouille is currently ranked 17 in the world and is of course a very good player and aged 24 is more or less at the peak of his physical capabilities (& was ranked 10 a few months back).  The scoreline of 6-1 1-6 6-4 to Pouille suggests a bit of a topsy turvey performance but nothing too much to worry about given the state of Murray's comeback. This was the first round where his lack of acclimatisation to the court conditions would have been an added complication to issues concerning his fitness and general rustiness.

I agree I would like to see him in competitive matches at a lower level.  Perhaps he was unlucky to be drawn against such a good player and a seed in the first round, but those are the chances you take in entering such high level tournaments.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 14 Aug 2018, 9:55 am

Murray served up six DFs in the first set and his second-serve winning percentage was very low. Key game seems to have been the first of the third set which Murray lost after being 40-15 up.
Murray reasonably positive afterwards. Suppose the thing to hang on to at the moment is that he appears not to be in too much discomfort and merely lacks match practice.
Stan the Man, who had another encouraging win yesterday over Schwartzman, has taken a while to get back to something like his best form. This shows that unless you're a Federer you have to wait for the good results after a long lay off.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Tue 14 Aug 2018, 11:03 am

Federer was very different though, as it seems he was able to train for a large proportion of the time he had off. Murray won’t have picked up a racquet for months and even now has said that his training is 75%/80% recovery and 20% tennis. Understandably, he still looks rusty. Signs are promising I’d say if his body feels ok.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by lags72 on Tue 14 Aug 2018, 4:18 pm

Murray seemed very measured, realistic, and calm in the wake of his loss.

All indications are that he just needs more high-quality match practice to gradually work his way back to something close to his true level.

Notwithstanding his early exit - and Rafa’s withdrawal - we have a very strong field for this one.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 15 Aug 2018, 10:08 am

Fed thru in straight sets in first match since Wimbledon. Edmund - not having a great run at the moment - lost to Shapovalov despite fighting back in the second set.
Unsurprisingly, Tsitsipas was unable to produce heroics for the second week running and lost to Goffin. Kvitova beat Serena in three sets in good match. 16-yr-old Anisimova bt Babos - a top 50 player.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Wed 15 Aug 2018, 7:03 pm

Zverev out early again and Novak a set down. Cilic got through a tough one though.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Thu 16 Aug 2018, 8:12 am

Novak recovered and now takes on Dimi. Kyrgios thru, as is Stan the Man who is clearly showing signs of a return to form in ousting Nishi in straight sets. Bad luck on delpo who will have to play twice today if he wants to progress after rain yesterday.
Muguruza is out. So is Pliskova who is having a bad run. Caroline W had to retire in her match, but Kerber came thru in three.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by No name Bertie on Thu 16 Aug 2018, 10:20 am

Thanks for the summary SFP. I am a bit sad to hear Nishi was defeated but at least it sounds like Stan the Man is slowly returning to tournament level competitiveness.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Thu 16 Aug 2018, 9:14 pm

Rain playing havoc with Thursday's play in Cinci. Some players could be faced with playing twice a day for two successive days at this rate.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Fri 17 Aug 2018, 8:04 am

They did get some play at Cinci on Thursday- enough for delpo to get a win. Dimi and Djoko are locked at one set all as are Khachanov and Cilic. Raonic bt Shapovalov. Plenty of catching up to do on Friday.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 17 Aug 2018, 8:51 am

The rain arrived at a good time for Dimitrov, who, from a set and 3-1 up, had lost 7 of the last 8 games to trail 1-2* in the 3rd. He must be hoping Novak gets another slow start today.

Got to feel there are a few players who won’t be looking forward to two full matches today.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by lags72 on Fri 17 Aug 2018, 11:42 am

Born Slippy wrote: ..........................................................

Got to feel there are a few players who won’t be looking forward to two full matches today.

That would not be at all good if you happen to be a senior citizen (from, say, Basel ...), the oldest in the draw, whose youth is well in the past Shocked

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 17 Aug 2018, 12:22 pm

Del Potro and Wawrinka, given their injuries, were the others I thought might struggle, so an all Swiss QF could be a real last man standing affair.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Sat 18 Aug 2018, 8:23 am

Well, nearly everyone had to pull double duty on Friday. Djoko, Cilic, Fed and Goffin survived, with Djoko ousting Raonic and Rog beating Stan in three after the first two sets went to tiebreaks.
There just might be a Djoko-Fed final out of all this, although it could be that Cilic and Goffin are the fresher.
Bertens, Sabalenka, Halep and Kvitova are the women's semifinalist. Halep is putting in a good stint at number one.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by lags72 on Sat 18 Aug 2018, 10:02 am

Goffin seems to be in good form, taking out Delpo in two TB’s and he now leads their H2H 3-1.

In his earlier match v Kyrgios, Delpo apparently took a ‘bathroom break’ lasting NINE minutes, just ahead of their third set decider, and one report I saw talked about the interruption having unsettled Kyrgios.  Now .... we know it doesn’t take much to unsettle fiery Nick BUT, must say, I do question how men’s tennis got to this point. We tend to see the game as more demanding now - and yet back when Borg and Mac were battling it out over 5 sets at Wimbledon, there was no towelling down after every point, and certainly no bathroom breaks that I recall.

Good to see Stan gradually getting back to something close to his old self. It wasn’t enough to score a win over Federer, but equally I’m not at all sure Fed himself has enough to make it all the way and take the title this week, with so many U/E’s. Plus, Goffin actually won their last meeting at the ATP Finals in London. Djokovic probably favourite to lift the trophy here.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Sat 18 Aug 2018, 10:31 am

Fed appears to be not as good as last year, but still one of the best players in the world. Goffin seems to be a bad match-up for Delpo.

Agree that the long "toilet break" is hardly ideal. I don't know why in an instance like that that the other player does not leave the court as well. Probably better than hanging around waiting.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by lags72 on Sat 18 Aug 2018, 11:12 am

sirfredperry wrote:Fed appears to be not as good as last year, but still one of the best players in the world.  

........................

Nobody can dispute that - least of all those on the Tour who see their name against his in any draw. Even Rafa fell short in their last five meetings.

He’s currently 32-4 for matches played this season, which is not too shabby for a 37 year old !

All that said, I have my doubts that he will play much beyond 2019, if at all. But he has proved me (along with many, many others) very wrong before ; and proobably will do again.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Sat 18 Aug 2018, 11:53 am

Lags: Reckon Fed is just playing it by ear about how long he wants to carry on. As you say, he ain't doing too badly for an old'un.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by No name Bertie on Sun 19 Aug 2018, 11:43 am

I saw the highlights of the Cilic vs Djokovic semi-final. Up until the second half of the third set - it was a highly contested match. I felt that up to then Cilic was the more powerful, stronger competitor. Djokovic still seems fragile and underpowered but his returning and his court intelligence kept him just a little in front with Cilic playing catch-up. In the second set Cilic's power and strength ended up being too much for Djokovic. In the second half of the third set, Djokovic suddenly found power from somewhere and powered through to a victory - that was reminiscent of the Djokovic of old.

I also saw the highlights of the Federer vs Goffin semi-final. It was tight up until Goffin pulled out because of an issue with what looked to be his ankle.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by lags72 on Sun 19 Aug 2018, 11:56 am

Based on detailed match reports I’ve read, and highlights watched, it seems to me that Federer has not really impressed this week. Yes, he has won through to (yet another !) Final, and yes, he has produced some classic moments of magic - but this is not vintage Fed by any measure.

By contrast I get the feeling that Djokovic has approached something close to his former self here, both in terms of quality of play and fighting spirit. The determination and fire are back, no doubt

You can never count Federer out, for sure. But I’m calling a Djokovic win today - and it will I believe give him (uniquely ?) the full set of MS titles.

A fitting curtain-raiser for the USO, either way.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 19 Aug 2018, 12:39 pm

Djokovic has been fairly ordinary all week. Whilst his fighting qualities are intact, Dimitrov, Raonic and Cilic all outplayed him for long sections of each match but failed to take the key points.

Federer’s matches have been mind-numbingly boring. None of his opponents have been able to get any impact on his serve and Fed’s own returning has been woeful.

Novak even at his peak has struggled to do anything against Fed in Cincy and I can’t see him making an impact here. Fed to win 76 64.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by slashermcguirk on Sun 19 Aug 2018, 7:05 pm

Would love to see djokovic win tonight, to win all the masters series events would be a super achievement, first player to achieve it. However I cannot see him beating federer. This court is tailor made for Federer’s game! I hope I am wrong but I can see federer winning this in straight sets, maybe 6-3 6-4

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 19 Aug 2018, 11:19 pm

Easy for Novak. Roger fell apart when his serve came under pressure. Just had no answer to Novak’s ground game. Novak up to 2 in the race. Could still be YE1.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by No name Bertie on Sun 19 Aug 2018, 11:28 pm

It looks very much like Federer's Grand Slam winning days are over.   It is amazing that he pushed it to 20 following Djokovic's and Murray's absence.  But he is a year older, and it looks like both Nadal and Djokovic have returned to surpass him.  I still have to make Nadal favorite for the US Open.  And now Djokovic second favorite.  I didn't see the final but saw highlights of the semi-final.  I still think Djokovic has quite a bit more to go in terms of his pre-injury days, but he has shown he has reached a level where he is now a major challenger in the slams.

The issue now with Federer, is that he needs to play to get match and tournament fit, but he is too old to recover well.  It's a balancing act.  Certainly he should remain competitive for perhaps the next 18 months, and might be fortunate if all the planets and stars align for him.

I am looking forward to Murray in making a comeback.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by laverfan on Sun 19 Aug 2018, 11:31 pm

Congratulations to Djokovic on Golden Masters. clap

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by slashermcguirk on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 8:18 am

Fantastic result for djokovic, really seeing some of the novak of old out there. Surprised at how much the federer return struggled throughout. I think federer really gets thrown by Novak’s return of serve. He is just not used to seeing so many returns coming back to him. It reminded me of around 2015 when fed would go whole tournaments without being broken including at the likes of Wimbledon and us open and then suddenly when djokovic played in, he tended to panic on serve and go for too much. I suppose novak just gets a better read off the federer serve than the other players. I suppose when you play each other as much as they have you learn and anticipate better where serves are going.

Anyway super achievement for novak to have now won all the slams and all masters series and world tour finals. Hopefully he can kick in for the us open. Who would have seen this coming back in April!

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 12:36 pm

Yes, great effort by Djoko to complete the set. He's now THIRD in the year-so-far rankings and, more importantly, sixth in the rolling-year rankings. This will mean he won't have to face Rafa or Rog before the quarters at the USO. Neither of the top two will want Novak in their half.
  I said at the beginning of the year that I could see Novak coming back, but the surprise is that he's done so well having had a very ordinary start to the year.
  I do hope we don't have news this week that Murray has withdrawn. He's got to dip his toes in the water eventually, how ever cold it is.
  Something of a surprise in the women's, with Bertens beating Halep. But Halep is still having a stellar year.


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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by CaledonianCraig on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 2:38 pm

Fabulous win for Novak and adds the achievement of golden masters win to his resume. He is right back to his best now and will be licking his lips at the prospect of the US Open coming up. Roger will be disappointed but his eyes will be on the bigger prize.
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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Calder106 on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 3:29 pm

Well done Novak. A great achievement. Federer's biggest weapon in the past few years has been his serve with it being consistently in the 70%-85% first serve in range. Last night it was down to 58% and Djokovic was dominating on Federer's second serve.

I also thought that the Shot Clock might actually have aided Djokovic rather than hindered his game especially when serving for the match. A bit less time for over thinking where to serve.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by lags72 on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 5:13 pm

I’m not sure quite what the implications are of yesterday’s result in terms of Federer’s future.

One interpretation - indeed the most obvious - is that Djokovic was able to bring his A game to this Final, whilst Federer somehow managed to play his worst match of the whole tournament. A sort of perfect storm you might say ! On another day, the result could have been very different. Perhaps.  

Serving has already been mentioned, and  the standout stats I picked up are those for the 2nd serve. Up until the Final, Novak was averaging a 50% win percentage on 2nd serve but that shot up to an amazing 88% last night. By contrast, Roger had been averaging 79% - which then dropped dramatically to just 52% in the Final. A LOT of balls were coming back - and with interest.

The alternative interpretation is that Federer’s good days are well & truly behind him now, and that it is becoming harder & harder for the oldest Tour player in the top 100 to compete on a part-time basis, whilst also maintaining the standard necessary to win at the highest level. His talents are such that he can still prove a mighty obstacle for all but the very best ; but the fact is age is now against him and he cannot win consistently at the highest level in the way he did for so many years. The last 3 Slam wins which took his tally to 20 were undoubtedly impressive achievements ; but it’s very hard to see how he can add any more.

As for Djokovic : his clean sweep of all MS titles really is quite something clap  Unless some of the younger guys can begin to impose themselves, it’s looking like he can make hay for a couple more years at least.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by No name Bertie on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 7:11 pm

Djokovic has 13 grand slam titles - it is about time he equalled and surpassed Pete Sampras in that tally - just to confirm that Federer, Nadal, Djokovic are the all time grapes, grates, gripes, gropes, greats.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by sirfredperry on Wed 22 Aug 2018, 8:03 am

A welcome win in Winston-Salem for Kyle Edmund - in straight sets over Leo Meyer.

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by No name Bertie on Wed 22 Aug 2018, 11:11 pm

I am not sure that it has specifically been mentioned but Kyle Edmund first broke into the World's Top 20 mid-May 2018 and has remained there to date reaching a career high of 16 as of today.  Aged 23 this is very promising - and I think we can say he has bridged the transition from being an excellent junior with promise - to being someone who has made it at the senior level.  I think reaching the top twenty was the top of most people's hopes.   Let's hope he can stay there for a long period of time, winning the occasional ATP tournament and challenging, from time to time at Masters and Slam levels.

Johanna Konta was another one that broke the top twenty and even the top 10, but that seemed like a temporary purple patch in her career and she is now ranked 46.  I think many see Konta as a potential top 50 ranked player - and let's hope she remains there.

I think Heather Watson has found her level outside of the top 100.  There was a period of time when she was a top 100 player but that always seemed to be a major struggle for her at that level in terms of her consistency.  I have heard some say she could be fitter and is perhaps a little heavy.

Laura Robson - it can now be stated is an outside the top 200 player.   Injuries and fitness have been a persistent feature of her career following a significant injury during her teenage years - and recently she had more surgery for a hip injury.  Maybe one could look into if there were mistakes made in Laura Robson's development - maybe she was pushed too hard when she was still growing - because her body seems too fragile to sustain a professional tennis career at the elite singles level.  However, coaches have said that she had been a difficult person to work with and she has had issues with the effort she has put into training.   But I am not sure - her body must have been pushed too far too early surely?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/44647589

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

Post by Born Slippy on Fri 24 Aug 2018, 12:25 pm

Pretty shocking result for Edmund to lose so heavily to Johnson. Anyone see it?

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Re: American Hardcourt Season - Run up to USO

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