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American hard-court season - run up to the USO 2019

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 26 Jul - 8:00

First topic message reminder :

Won't be so long til the last GS of the season. US hard-court tournaments have already begun and we have Montreal and Cinci coming up before the main event in New York.

Fed has already said he will skip Montreal and now Djoko has announced he, too, won't be appearing in Canada. For me, Djoko will again be the man to beat in New York. Can anyone outside the top three challenge him? It's now more than three years since anyone under 30 won a Slam.

As for the women, you can take your pick. Never a good idea to write off Serena but she has been hammered in her last three GS finals.

Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are thru to the quarters in Atlanta with winnable matches today. Evans finally seems to be getting properly stuck in. Took a ban to give him the kick up the backside he needed.

No doubt you've seen the news that Andy and Jamie are going to play doubles together in Washington. Should be fun.

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Post by lags72 Thu 15 Aug - 22:01

Have just watched what I felt was one of the most astonishing Bo3  tennis matches in maybe the last ten years. And I do mean astonishing.

This was not just about the fact that a 70th ranked qualifier, Andrey Rublev, beat seven-time Cincy champ, Roger Federer, in two (very swift) sets. It was much more the manner of the victory.

Federer was undoubtedly some considerable way below par, and serving poorly for large chunks of the match. But he was denied any openings by Rublev who played tennis of a truly mercurial standard - as evidenced by a paltry total of just six U/E’s (Fed committed seventeen)  

Any spectator who came to this match with zero prior knowledge of the combatants could easily be forgiven for concluding that Rublev was the holder of 20 Slam titles, and Federer was yet to win his first.

Rublev had already taken out Stan the Man before today’s match. If he could somehow maintain this amazing level (unlikely, I would think ....) then he can go a long way here. Equally, he might suddenly be put back into the real world in his next round !

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 15 Aug - 22:28

Andrey Rublev is only 21 (turns 22 towards end of October), turned professional in 2014 and reached a career singles high in February 2018 with a ranking of 31.  As a junior he won the 2014 Boys Singles Title at Roland Garros. His father was a tennis coach amongst other things.

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Post by Soul Requiem Thu 15 Aug - 22:50

No name Bertie wrote:Andrey Rublev is only 21 (turns 22 towards end of October), turned professional in 2014 and reached a career singles high in February 2018 with a ranking of 31.  As a junior he won the 2014 Boys Singles Title at Roland Garros.  His father was a tennis coach amongst other things.

Don't you mean his mum?

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 16 Aug - 17:50

Apparently this was Fed's quickest defeat for many years. Not a great lead in to the USO which has become - in recent years - his least-successful slam.

Interesting that Murray has decided to give the doubles a miss after Cinci and concentrate on getting as much singles matchplay as possible.

He must feel he's OK for singles and just needs to get rid of the rustiness.


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Post by lags72 Fri 16 Aug - 18:17

There’s a (useful) in-depth piece about Andy Murray’s mindset and strategy for the remainder of the season, and beyond, on the Beeb’s sport website
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/49367223

On further reflection, the Federer early exit in Cincy will inevitably become less and less of a rarity if he continues on the main Tour way beyond the age at which almost all top level players of the past had retired. There will surely come a point when a victory by a talented 21 year old over a guy approaching 40 will be regarded much more as something to be expected rather than a major upset. But seemingly not just yet, where the older guy happens to be named R.Federer.

That said, what was so surprising about yesterday’s match was the fact that a) Rublev barely missed a ball and b) Federer, having performed so well throughout the season, never looked at any stage of the brief contest like he was remotely capable of winning. It’s not unusual for lesser-known players, to have a red hot streak and edge a tight victory over Fed, but this was a comprehensive rout....... Shocked

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 16 Aug - 19:47

I seem to remember the BBC defending Serena Williams when she abused the umpire at the US Open - repeating her allegations in headlines that the umpire was sexist and possibly racist - and then opening up discussion articles about possible sexism in tennis and the need to investigate and change the rules. However the BBC don't seem to like Kyrgios so they produce an endless series of stories about Krygios abusing the umpire.

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Post by lags72 Sat 17 Aug - 1:38

What the BBC does or doesn’t say about Williams or Kyrgios is merely peripheral.

The real issue is this ongoing childish and often abusive language from Kyrgios who - for whatever reason - sees fit to tarnish the professional sport with a whole series of tantrums and disrespectful behaviour. It achieves absolutely nothing, but I fear he will only go on wasting his (considerable) talent in this way, until such time as the authorities take more appropriate action.

(mind you, he probably did have a case as regards Rafa being allowed too much leeway on time taken between points Very Happy )

Meanwhile the magic spell came to an abrupt end for giantkiller Rublev as he fell to earth in the all-Russian clash v Medvedev.

The only thing now that could top the shock exit of Federer would be Djokovic failing to take the title on Sunday. But that just ain’t gonna happen .......

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 17 Aug - 7:10

Amid the Murray/Kyrgios stuff, you might have noticed that Kuznetsova, now advanced in years and low in ranking, has made the semis by beating Stephens and Pliskova in successive matches.

Barty now has a chance to go back to number one. Contrast the women's top-of-the-rankings with the situation with the men, where only four guys have been numero uno in the last FIFTEEN years.

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Post by slashermcguirk Sat 17 Aug - 9:44

Amazing to think Federer won the US open from 2004-2008 and has never won it since!!! Amazing to be so dominant for 5 consecutive years and then never to have success even once after that. Reached a lot of semis and some finals since but Djokovic has been his nemesis

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Post by lags72 Sat 17 Aug - 12:39

@slashermcguirk : yes, I suppose it is a little odd when you put it like that.

It’s true that Novak has been the obstacle on 3 occasions ..... but in reality that’s only part of the story because five other players have managed to stop Federer in NY (inc. JMDP, twice) since his long victory streak ended in 2009.

In a recent low-key interview he was asked whether any particular match (at any event, and from his entire career, stands out as ‘the one that got away’. After a brief pause for thought, he cited the 2009 USO Final loss to JMDP (mind you, the interview took place just before this year’s Wimbledon, rather than after it).

Nonetheless, his USO record is still of a quality that many others would be pretty thrilled to have. You need to go back to the 1920’s - when, safe to say, professional tennis was rather different - to find anyone who has won more US Open titles than Fed.

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 17 Aug - 13:41

slashermcguirk wrote:Amazing to think Federer won the US open from 2004-2008 and has never won it since!!! Amazing to be so dominant for 5 consecutive years and then never to have success even once after that ...

lags72 wrote:... five other players have managed to stop Federer in NY (inc. JMDP, twice) since his long victory streak ended in 2009 ...

All entirely explicable by the theory put forward by that small lassie Kyra otherwise known as the Wee Kyra theory.

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Post by lags72 Sat 17 Aug - 14:53

Ah yes, that old chestnut. Totally believable.

And in next week’s programme we’ll be explaining why the world really is flat. ....... Whistle

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 17 Aug - 15:48

It was largely the coming into dominance of Del Potro (briefly), Nadal (off clay), Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka (short period) and Federer getting older.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 18 Aug - 0:57

David Goffin beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 to reach his maiden masters 1000 final

Daniil Medvedev beat Novak Djokovic 3-6 6-3 6-3 to reach his second consecutive masters 1000 final. Magnificent display by the Russian.

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Post by lags72 Sun 18 Aug - 2:27

Djokovic looked to be heading for a straight sets victory until everything changed at 3-3 in the second. Medvedev went on a very impressive run, taking total control of the match from a set down. Towards the end Djokovic seemed shell-shocked, with Medvedev breaking him twice in the decider to wrap up a superb win. He showed a lot of courage with some very big second serves.

So a Goffin v Medvedev Final on Sunday.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 18 Aug - 6:20

The loss of dominance that the big four (now big three) had over the masters tournaments is a harbinger of things to come in the slams. Father time can only be held back for so long until the demons of geriatria come galloping in for ya.

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Post by lags72 Sun 18 Aug - 10:32

There’s no doubt that we have seen a growing threat from a nucleus of younger players during the season.


- Djokovic has suffered defeats by Medvedev and Thiem

- Nadal ...... by Thiem, Tsitsipas and Kyrgios

- Federer .....by Thiem, Tsitsipas and Rublev


But overall it has to be said that consistency is still much more  the hallmark of the top older generation guys  than of the new, young pretenders. The ‘Big Three’ still have superior W/L numbers on Tour this season when measured against all other players - with the notable exception of Medvedev.

The real breakthrough is yet to come where Slam titles are concerned.  It will inevitably happen one day ; but just when exactly remains to be seen ......

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 18 Aug - 11:59

Medvedev should have been exhausted after his efforts over recent weeks. Very rare for Djoko to lose from a set up. When was the last time it happened?

I take the point about the young guys having good wins against the Big 3 but still having it all to do in the Slams.

I see there's still no stopping Kutznetsova. She's beaten Stephens, Pliskova and now Barty.

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Post by lags72 Sun 18 Aug - 13:49

sirfredperry wrote:....... Very rare for Djoko to lose from a set up. When was the last time it happened?

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

I don’t know what his record would be at all events .... but certainly when he gets to the SF of a Masters and takes the first set, then it is indeed pretty unusual for him not to go on and take the match. Back in 2013 he won the opener when playing Del Potro at the SF stage of Indian Wells ; but he went out after dropping sets 2 & 3.

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 18 Aug - 23:14

Daniil Medvedev wins the Cincinnati Masters 1000 7-6(3) 6-4, beating David Goffin.

Rather an incredible performance by the Russian considering he looked out on his feet for large portions of the match.

Medvedev could be a big contender in New York.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 18 Aug - 23:43

Medvedev should rise from #8 to #5 with this win.  So come Monday 19th Aug we should have:
#1 Djokovic
#2 Nadal
#3 Federer
#4 Thiem
#5 Medvedev

I think Rafael Nadal has a good shot at the US Open title this year. Nadal won in 2017 while in 2018 he retired injured in the semi-final.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 19 Aug - 7:38

A Rafa win in New York could mean a return to the top of the rankings at some point.

However, a Djoko triumph would increase the chances of his eventually overtaking Rog's total-weeks-at-number one record.

Great effort from Medvedev. But has he done himself in for the USO?

Andy Murray in singles action today - against Sandgren. This is the sort of match he needs to win to show that he's got a shot of making something of a comeback.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 19 Aug - 9:10

Medvedev should be fine - he has a week to recover from his recent physical exertions.  Nadal and Djokovic have both "warmed themselves up" for the US Open and now have a week to prepare for the US Open.  Federer less so. Nadal seems to have come out best in terms of the warm up, but I expect Djokovic and possibly Federer to be more or less fit and ready.

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Post by laverfan Mon 19 Aug - 12:48

Congratulations to Medvedev on his first MS1000!

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Post by slashermcguirk Mon 19 Aug - 13:26

Fair play to Medvedev, he has really stepped up recently and he will be one to watch in New York. The challenge for him will be the early rounds and ensuring he keeps the momentum going. We have seen it time and again (Eg. Tsitsipas at Wimbledon) where the next gen show good form in the lead up only to come unstuck early in a slam.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 19 Aug - 16:52

As Federer used to say to a youthful Andy Murray - best of five set matches is a completely different ball game to best of three set matches.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 19 Aug - 20:22

For those waiting for the younger players to step up to challenge the Big Three/Four, at least some of the 1,000-pointers are being won by some new names.

However, consistent Slam runs seem beyond them. Thiem has shown good form at the French in the last two years but that's about it.

Would anyone like to put money on someone other than one of the Big Three winning the USO? I wouldn't.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 19 Aug - 23:40

Learning about the severity of Murray's hip injury and his still desire to return to men's singles - has convinced me he has a certain desperate madness to him.  And I can see this type of desperate madness in Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic too.  With Roger Federer I had a sense of brilliance about him - but the fact he is still going beyond 36 and he is now 38 - certainly reveals an iron determination and maybe he is a little bit mad too.  

What I mean by madness is their absolute commitment to compete at the highest level for so long under all conditions.  Murray's misfortune was that he had Federer, Nadal and Djokovic just ahead of him - but he clearly was not that far behind them - but enough to only have won three slams compared to their haul.  Also I don't think he was blessed with their physicality - Nadal was a bit like the Hulk and Djokovic was a bit like the elastic man (of the fantastic four).  Federer was full of grace in his movement - power and grace.  Surely we will never see their like again - the sport has moved on, the money comes quickly and satiates, the culture has changed.

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Post by laverfan Tue 20 Aug - 3:04

No name Bertie wrote:Learning about the severity of Murray's hip injury and his still desire to return to men's singles - has convinced me he has a certain desperate madness to him.  And I can see this type of desperate madness in Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic too.  With Roger Federer I had a sense of brilliance about him - but the fact he is still going beyond 36 and he is now 38 - certainly reveals an iron determination and maybe he is a little bit mad too.  

There is a long line of such madness that I have seen for the last 50+ years - from Pancho to the current generation.

IIRC, Nadal, has said that professional sport is injurious to public health. Some athletes are better at managing this then some others.

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Post by No name Bertie Tue 20 Aug - 5:32

Tennys Sandgren beats Andy Murray 7-6 7-5 in 2 hours 10 minutes.  Tie break went to 10-8.

Sandgren is 28 years old ranked 73 but was ranked 41 in january.

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Post by Oioi Tue 20 Aug - 8:39

Just caught highlights of the Murray Sandgren match. Thought Andy looked much better than he was against Gasquet and am actually very optimistic about him getting back to something closeish to his best. His movement didn't look much different to what I remember it being at his best. His serve needs work though - he's said that his current motion is one he used to compensate for his hip pain which is no longer needed, so perhaps he's thinking about changing it.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 20 Aug - 10:02

Really thought Murray could win this match but the important thing is that he reckons he is improving and, even better, he's feeling OK.

Rather than stay in the States and possibly play in Connecticut the week after next, he's now flying home and may play a Challenger in Majorca next week.

Just needs the matches now. It looks as if he's confident he can make a real go of his comeback.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 20 Aug - 11:34

Yes for Murray, at the moment, it is about getting through matches unimpaired and feeling good at the end of the match. Obviously, it is then a case of shaking off rustiness and getting back to full physical fitness and regaining court speed. At present (it would seem) though it is very early days, he is unimpaired by pain which is very good news. The rest will come naturally you feel.
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Post by lags72 Wed 21 Aug - 14:51

I respect Murray a lot for his realistic approach to this attempted comeback on the singles main Tour.

He is clearly putting in a lot of effort. And judging from reported comments following his loss to Sandgren, he seems a little more harsh with himself than we are to him !  IMO, that can only be a good thing because it shows a determination to work his way back the ‘honest way’ and without expecting any special treatment purely because of past achievements.

I recall that when Lleyton Hewitt had fallen way down the rankings he considered it beneath himself to play challengers (in contrast to Andy ........ ), and had no shame in taking wildcards here, there, & everywhere. An occasional wildcard is of course fine, but I got the distinct impression that Hewitt went round virtually begging for them. Rarely were the Hewitt w/c’s rewarded, as illustrated by the regular pattern of successive R1 exits during his last 3 years or so on tour, until he finally decided to call a halt to the embarrassment once and for all.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 22 Aug - 18:01

Draw has been made for the USO. Fed and Djoko are in the same half, which is good news for Rafa who might have had to play them both if he was to get to the final.

Serena faces Sharapova in the first round, while Coco Gauff has got teenager Potopova first up.

Not sure much of a case can be made out for anyone outside the Big 3 winning the men's. As for the women, it's really open again. Few would have picked Osaka to win last year.


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Post by lags72 Thu 22 Aug - 18:15

Am disappointed to see that progress of the #nextgen players is compromised right from the start. We will instantly lose two members because of the way the R1 draw has fallen : Tsitsipas meets Shapovalov, and Felix A-A meets Rublev.

Not convinced that Federer can go all the way (would need significant improvement vs. sub-par performances in ‘17 & ‘18) - thus leaving standout favourites as Djokovic and Nadal. I would actually rate Medvedev’s chances a little higher than Federer’s, if I were inclined to place a little wager ......

The USO trophy has seen a greater variety of winning names, over recent times, than the other Slams. Maybe  this is the year we finally get to witness a breakthrough new champion (or maybe not ....... Shocked )


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Post by sirfredperry Thu 22 Aug - 18:30

Lags72. Yeah, but two of them are bound to reach the second round!

Thiem and Zverev are both in Rafa's half. Anderson and The Man are in Djoko's quarter, with the defending champion also possibly meeting in-form Medvedev. Roger could meet Goffin and Nishi.

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Post by lags72 Thu 22 Aug - 18:38

@ sfp - this is true, yes !

Thiem and (especially) Zverev have shown a fair bit of inconsistency this season ...... maybe they can turn it all round here in NY. On a good day Thiem would definitely be a real threat to Rafa.

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Post by slashermcguirk Thu 22 Aug - 19:01

What a dream draw for in form Medvedev in his first few rounds. He has a waltz of a draw as far as Djokovic (if Novak makes it that far). Novak could get Querrey in round 2 and Stan or Anderson in round 4. Then possibly Medvedev and Federer

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 23 Aug - 19:41

When Kyrgios abuses a tennis umpire, Kyrgios is roundly condemned. When Serena Williams abuses a tennis umpire the umpire is forbidden to umpire any of either Serena Williams or Venus Williams tennis matches. The BBC in reporting this also uses Serena's words to repeat the allegation that the umpire is a liar and a thief.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/49452628

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American hard-court season - run up to the USO 2019 - Page 2 Empty Re: American hard-court season - run up to the USO 2019

Post by JuliusHMarx Fri 23 Aug - 21:06

As the report says, it's not the first time. E.g. (from that link) when Nadal argued with the umpire, that umpire was forbidden to umpire his matches.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 24 Aug - 8:47

Konta won't be the only British woman in the main draw in new York. Harriet Dart has qualified.

Back to the Serena umpire row. Umpire Ramos has had issues with not just Serena. He's not high on Andy Murray's popularity list either. Murray has described him as wanting to be the centre of attention.

Fed reckons that he's in very good shape and although not the outstanding favourite, he believes he's among those who can win it. You can't really argue with that, although I can't see him beating Djoko if they both get that far.

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