After being away for a few days camping, I am now back and ready to get back to blogging! I managed to access the internet while I was away so I kept up on the scores and the upsets, so I wasn't too disappointed, but I was not able to watch any matches, which did leave me a little depressed. From what I heard though it was very windy and all in all not that exciting, and surely the second week will pick up considerably. Now, to get down to business, day 6 of the 2011 US Open, the first full day of tennis I have been able to watch of the year's final major tournament:
Starting off, Federer had a difficult third round match with the always dangerous Marin Cilic. Roger started out on fire, winning the first set 6-3, but then Marin upped his game and took the second 6-4. It was a very close match overall and Roger ended up winning in 4 sets, 63 46 64 62. I was pleased with Roger's efforts considering the windy conditions, which are made even more difficult in New York on Arthur Ashe Stadium with the way the wind swirls. Cilic played better than I have seen him play in a long time, but his serve let him down, serving under 50% I believe. Still, he gave Roger a good mid-tournament test which I like to see because it keeps the Maestro's blade sharp. His next round will be against Juan Monaco, who defeated veteran 33-year old Tommy Haas 67(3) 63 62 63. That is a disappointing result for me as I would have loved to see Roger and Tommy square off one last time before Haas retires, which will surely be soon you have to think. Assessing Monaco, he has no big weapon to hurt Roger and Feddy should win in straight sets.
Staying in the Federer quarter, Tsonga defeated Verdasco in straight sets and meets Mardy Fish in the 4th round. It should be a firecracker match that can easily go either way, possibly 5 sets too. Or at least 4 tough close sets. That would bode well for Roger if Tsonga and Fish tire themselves out so they are less effective in the quarterfinal meeting. I'm sure Roger would love to play Fish more than Tsonga given the two losses to the Frenchman this year, but I wouldn't bet against Roger being extremely motivated if they were to meet, and be out there to set the record straight. We will just have to wait and see what the Tsonga/Fish match brings.
Novak Djokovic beat Nikolay Davydenko rather easily, although Davy really gave Nole some headaches in the second set and had his chances to make it a 4-set match. Nole faces Dolgopolov next, which should be pretty routine if Novak is in the vicinity of his best. Then, looking ahead, a potential match with countryman Janko Tipsarevic would be interesting. Troicki gave Nole a huge scare last year and should have beaten him so maybe Tipsy would come out and try to take Novak out. But I seriously doubt it and that would put Nole in the semifinals, hopefully against Roger. But more on that later in the week when the results have come in.
A few other notes on the day/looking ahead to tomorrow:
- It is a real shame that Serena wasn't seeded in the top 8 because to see a marquee match like Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka wasted on a 3rd round encounter is downright cruel. Both are title contenders and I compare it to a Roger Federer vs Andy Murray 3rd round US Open matchup. As for the match itself, Serena proved in the first set why she is the most dominant woman to ever play the game, and in the second, Vika showed some real heart and grit in coming down from 5-3, saving match points, and almost pulling out the set. It was great tennis from start to finish and gave the WTA a good name. Women's tennis needs more compelling, aggressive matches like that that will make people's jaws drop.
- Tomas Berdych retired against Tipsarevic after being down 6-4, 5-0, and after losing 8 straight games. I have a huge issue with the amount of retirements that are happening on the men's side now, but I will talk in depth about that problem later, because it deserves it's own post. All I will say for now is that people pay great money to see the top guys and too many of them are retiring for their own selfish needs.
- Donald Young plays the veteran Juan Ignacio Chela tomorrow, and if Young can win it would be huge for his confidence, and could potentially set him up with a match against Andy Murray, which would be interesting as Young beat Andy earlier in the year at Indian Wells when Andy was in his slump. I'll be personally pulling for Donald as I like him and his Blake-like game.
- Nadal vs Nalbandian should be interesting but it's only my hope that Nalby gives Rafa a challenge. Nadal will probably win easily in straights.
- Murray vs Lopez should be entertaining, but Andy should come through.
- One last thing, Sloane Stephens, the 18 year-old American who upset Shahar Peer in the 2nd round, lost to Ana Ivanovic, but I think she has incredible potential and reminded me a little bit of the Williams sisters. I hope she becomes a star one day and perhaps a future Grand Slam champion.
Overall, it was a great day of tennis and I hope it only gets better as the days go on. Cheers!