NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 08: French Soccer Player Thierry Henry (R) attends day ten of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 08: TV personality Star Jones (L) Musician Rob Thomas (2R) and wife Marisol Maldonado (R) attend day ten of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
French soccer player Thierry Henry (C L) sits with his girlfriend Andrea Rajacic and watches the match between number three seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia and number 17 seeded Gael Monfils of France at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center September 8, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
Just Verdasco’s presence instead of Murray’s is good enough reason for birth of the classic syndrome. Add the five setter Verdasco just got done playing and you have a chronic case of classicvitis. Isn’t it similar to the semifinal encounter the two had at the ’09 AO?
Need more? Nadal has defeated Verdasco ten straight freaking times – last one in straight sets – with a bagel and a bread stick. More? Verdasco has managed just three sets in those ten encounters.
All that adds up to a massive trap match – with a potential juicy match against Federer in the finals waiting in the wings.
Translation: Nadal chances of losing to Verdasco may be greater than him losing in the finals – against anybody.
While the conditions impact both players, it’s logical to conclude that the player with superior talent should overcome the variable far more comfortably. But can that be true under all conditions? Maybe not.
When conditions are so windy, it may come down to who is playing closer to the basics, don’t you think? I mean, the one with more flowery verbage to his repertoire is likely to feel greater resistance to his natural game than one relying on basic fundamental tennis. Or the one requiring greater precision on timing is most likely to falter first.
With Soderling relying near solely on power tennis he may be hoping for current conditions to continue to level the playing field as close to even as possible. Federer, still recovering from the season long funk, may end up feeling the need to adjust far more drastically than his opponent to make this move his way.
Either way it seems serve will be the major factor determining the outcome in this match with far fewer rallies.
Nadal enjoys H2H 14-7 (sounds familiar?) but Djokovic has won the last three matches – all on hard courts – in straight sets – all in 2009. The next three matches – on clay – were won by Nadal BUT all three were very very close – one of them went to two tie breaks – one of the tie breaks coming in the deciding set.
And Djokovic enjoys the winning 7-3 H2H on hard courts. Last time Nadal won on hard courts against Djokovic was @ Olympics in 2008 – Nadal’s best year as a pro.
But as things stand today, as Djokovic finishes off Monfis, he has Federer or Soderling to contend with before facing Nadal. That line up may be just too much for him to compete against when facing a ‘full tank’ Nadal – unless of course he meets a beaten up and fatigued semifinal opponent. If he does, chances of him beating Nadal may not be that remote.
Nadal enjoys the winning H2H 5-2. But the two wins Soderling has had has been on hard courts AND some place called Roland Garros. That should be good enough to place Soderling as a legit contender to halt Nadal’s march into the history books. But wait, there’s more!!!!!!! The friction between the two that became quite personal at Wimbledon has added another dimension to their rivalry. It has to come into play here despite what anybody says and Soderling cannot ask for any better revenge than halting Nadal from reaching a milestone that has eluded him all his career – specially now that the draw has suddenly turned soft on him allowing Nadal his best chance EVER to win here.
Besides, the high shoulder ball that irritates Federer no end, falls perfectly into Soderling’s wheelhouse to turn it into a liability for Nadal – leaving Nadal with very few options to turn things around.
Despite the massive mental advantage and the 14-7 stat edge Nadal enjoys over Federer, Federer cannot be taken lightly as he appears to be hitting his stride just in time for the big stage. But it’s hard to imagine Federer suddenly coming up with an antidote for that high shoulder ball – Anaconda or no Anaconda. This is Federer’s personal jigsaw to solve independent of outside help.
o.k. this is what round Federer and Djokoic have to win to be safe from losing ranking if Soderling wins:
Federer now has 7,215 – 1,200 + 180 = 6,195
Djokovic – 6,665 – 720 + 180 = 6,125
Soderling – 4,910 – 360 + 180 = 4,730
Given that Federer and Djokovi will definitely have 6,125 and 6,125 points after winning round of 16.
Now Soderling can’t even lose in final to take Federer or Nadal’s spot. He would have to win the uso. 4,910 -360 + 2,000 = 6,550 to surpass Federer and Djokovic to become #2.
If Soderling loses in Final = 4,910 – 360 +1,200 =5,750
In other words if Federer and Djokovic don’t win they next match they will have 6,195 and 6,125 points. As you can see if Soderling loses in final he still won’t pass Fed and Djokovic! He needs those extra 800 points by winning uso to go ahead. Any thing less than final he will not get # 1 or 2 spot because Federer and Djokovic have already secured their #1 and #2 spot by winning in round of 16.
Even if he makes loses in final – 4,910 – 360 + 1,200 = 5,750
Even if you discount the falling flat after the last point, given how close the match was and he did come from behind after losing the first two sets, there was still something more that more than adequately demonstrated Verdasco clear intention of not being a good sportsman and friend – to a fellow countryman.
When he sat up Ferrer was right in front of him waiting to shake hands. Instead of getting up and embracing his fellow countryman, Verdasco deliberately looked down to avoid Ferrer and make sure Ferrer felt it a little longer. Ferrer was already in uncomfortable zone ever since Verdasco’s over the top celebration and after shaking the umpire’s hand. This delay only added to Ferrer’s injury – something Verdasco orchestrated on purpose.
-He has beaten Federer in his prime. Even though it was an exho, Sampras’s age of 35 years, he feels, more than compensates for Federer coming off a full season or it being an exhibition. Until Federer beats ‘Federer-like’ opponent is his 35th year, he is holding on to it.
-Sampras may have lost the Slam battle but he feels his winning H2H against his arch rival Agassi 20-14 balances that disparity more than adequately to give him an edge.
-Has won 7 freaking Wimbledon titles – place Federer calls his home – but the key is still held by someone else.
-Still enjoys the most weeks at No. 1 rank lead. Even though Federer is still active the likelihood of him bridging that seven-day gap appears slim if not none.
Other than the obvious opening up of the draw, there was another effect that may have benefited the big cats in a big big way. Have a clue? No, you don’t!!!!!!
Even though no one at that bracket takes anything for granted, there’s always room for improvement no matter where you are at what you do. So the early exit was like a mild to moderate shaker for the big names to tighten up their games even more to ward off even the slightest chance of an upset.
Could that be the reason for the scoreline not changing much from the early round matches for the top players despite the degree of difficult moving up with every round? Heck, for some it has gotten even better.
It’s like you suddenly becoming more conscious of your driving after witnessing an accident – or seeing a cop car. But now that the tomato cans are through and the cop car is long gone, will that lethargy bounce back as losing now comes with a very reasonable and logical excuse – a top seed?