Home > Opinion, Tennis, U. S. Open > U.S. Open ’11: Mid Week Wrap Up

U.S. Open ’11: Mid Week Wrap Up

The first week of U.S. Open had everything to offer ... except Irene

The first week of U.S. Open had everything to offer ... except Irene

Biggest Upsets

It was unfortunate (or does it further proves the presence of chaos in the WTA?) that the three women slam winners of this year all were out of the U.S. Open after the very first day. Kim Clijsters already pulled out with an injury, while Li Na continued to show her inconsistent form this year. She lost five straight matches after Australian Open, and has won only a couple of them after French Open. Of course, her run to the finals at Australian Open and the maiden Slam victory at French Open more than compensates for all her other failures. The Wimbledon champ, Petra Kvitova, is still looking for solutions to her hard court problems as she crashed out in the very first round as well.

Meanwhile, the men’s side has sailed pretty smoothly, barring the biggest shocker of the tournament, as the Mumma’s boy, Donald Young, finally became a man by defeating an ATP heavyweight in Stan Wawrinka. He came from two sets to one down, failed to serve out the match in the fifth, and then dominated the final set tie-breaker which brought the crowd to its feet. While such big upsets are usually followed by tame defeats, Young avoided that by upsetting the 24th seed, Juan Ignacio Chela in a very routine manner. Is this finally the arrival of the Donald?

Biggest Disappointments

Marin Cilic was a part in both of them. First he defeated the upcoming American youngster, Ryan Harrison, in a dominant fashion. What was disappointing was not that Harrison lost, but the tame manner in which he failed to put up any fight. All the hopes generated after his successful U.S. Open series were shattered barely two hours after the tournament commenced. Cilic continued his manhandling of youngsters, by surrending a mere three games to Bernard Tomic, who had raised a lot of hopes after his success at Wimbledon.

Biggest Positives

Donald Young, in all likelihood, will fail to win a set against Andy Murray in the fourth round (even though he had beaten him in their last encounter at Indian Wells this year), but the manner in which he held his nerves to beat a top seed in the final set tie-breaker was more than praiseworthy.

On the women’s side, the American teenager Sloane Stephens reached the third round of a Slam for the first time in her career. While she did not have a run like Melanie Oudin had in ’09, she does not show signs of fading like her, either. At 5’8″, she is considerably taller than her compatriot and will go stronger with time.

Bakery at Flushing Meadows

NewYork is known for bagels and breadsticks, and for good reason. While bagels are common on the women’s tour, this time it was prominent on the men’s tour too. Novak Djokovic almost created history when leading 6-0 6-0 2-0 against Carlos Berlocq, as the latter barely avoided the embarrasment of a triple bagel by winning a couple of games. Tomas Berdych also served a couple of bagels to Fabio Fognini. The others who cashed in includes Dolgopolov, Cilic, Tipsarvic (twice), Murray, Davydenko, Gasquet, Sela, Anderson, Hasse, Ferrer, Mayer, Mahut and … suprise surpise, Berlocq himself. In fact, it was pretty ironic for Berlocq, as he himself had a dominant first round victory that included a bagel and a breadstick.

David towers Goliath

At exactly six feet, Gilles Simon is half a foot shorter than Juan Martin del Potro and a good 30 pounds lighter. Del Potro has the massive serve and forehand, while Simon is just a hapless counterpuncher. Del Potro is a champion having won here in 2009 (and how!) while Simon is a now a father, and a former top-10 player. And yet, when the giant from Tandil met the diminutive Frenchmen, the roles were reversed. Simon hit four times as many aces as Del Potro (thirteen against three), committed half the number of double faults, and hit 11 more winners as he marched towards a four set win. Del Potro was hitting bigger during most of the match, but Simon outhit him when push came to shove. David downed Goliath once again.

The Great Escape

After the disappointment at the Aussie Open, Andy Murray has been tentative throughout. He has dug a lot of holes for himself through the year, and got out of them in fine fashion as well. A lot of times he was down a set and a break, but came back to win the match. In a lot of matches, he routinely went 4-0 or 5-0 down, only to win the set 7-5 or 7-6. It seems he needs the fear of embarrassment or upset to bring out his best. Turns out, that exactly was required against Robin Hasse, as he won the match despite being down two sets to love.

Searching for Nails

The exuberance and charisma of Gael Monfils against the consistency of Juan Carlos Ferrero. The acrobatics of Monfils, the calm of Ferrero. The over-the-top winners of Monfils, the clay-feet of Ferrero. A spectacular eighty one winners and twenty one aces from Monfils. Eighty one unforced errors and ten double faults from the same guy. Only two aces from Ferrero, yet one of them when he was 30-0 up in the final game. Difference of just one point between the two players. Five tough sets over four hours and forty eight minutes. What’s not to love?

… And some Drama

Andy Roddick, when asked about how he handled criticism from the media, gave them a dose of their own medicine. Djokovic, tired of impersonations, showed some of his dancing skills. Venus Williams’ outfit did not spark a controversy. Nadal had no injury problems during his matches, but collapsed with cramps during a press interview. Roddick later clarified saying, “Every single player in there has had that happen before. Every single one. What we do—we run around, run miles and miles and miles and miles on the tennis court in nasty weather—(and) you throw nerves in there. I mean, it happens. As long as it doesn’t happen during a match, you’re fine.”

Crystal Ball

Men’s Semifinalis: Djokovic d. Federer, Murray d. Roddick

Men’s Champion: Novak Djokovic

Women’s Semifinals: Serena d. Petkovic, Stosur d. Pennetta

Women’s Champion: Serena Williams

  1. Sep 5, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Roddick over Nadal in the quarters? That’s a little tough to imagine. Completely agree with the rest of your predictions. Very nice write-up – you’ve really captured the essence of Week 1 of the US Open.

    • rjsays
      Sep 6, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      Hey Musab, nice to read a comment from you! Yeah, it is a bit far fetched especially considering Ferrer mauled Roddick in Davis Cup, and Roddick necessarily isn’t the Roddick of the past. Still, I have a gut feeling that Rafa will be ousted in the QF either by Ferrer or by Roddick. I think Roddick will up for revenge, hence a slight edge to him against Ferrer in their R16. Thanks for the compliments. Did you see Federer yesterday? One of the scariest performance from him. Reminds me of his Soderling match last year, when he demolished him easily in windy conditions.

      • rjsays
        Sep 8, 2011 at 12:07 PM

        heh…I surprised myself with this prediction! Thought Roddick had a chance against Ferrer, but the way he played today surprised me! Its been a LONG time since I saw Roddick THAT assertive on his forehand (of course, served great). Makes me wonder why he chooses to be a pusher most of the time! Nadal next, and even though he was dominant today, I have a feeling its gonna be a repeat of Wimbledon 2009 semis but with the opposite result.

  2. Sep 10, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    I guess this is why a champion like Nadal should never be counted out. Some of the passing shots he hit yesterday were absolutely spectacular. We’ll see if he can come up with a similarly virtuoso performance today against Murray. Something tells me he will.

    Speaking of Fed, after watching the Tsonga match, even I was reminded of his win over Soderling last year, but with a completely different angle. When he brushed Sod aside, everyone thought he was back to his best and that the US Open trophy was as good as in his bag. But what was forgotten was the fact that Fed has never had too many problems with the power hitters; a victory over Soderling wasn’t reason enough to anoint him the favorite over a player like Djokovic. We know what happened after that, of course. And with Djokovic having played all year at a level hardly ever seen in history, can Fed really be considered the favorite going into the match? As much as I want Fed to win his 17th Slam, I don’t see it happening this time.

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