USO Day 6: Black Saturday.


There was something wild and burning in NYC today, leaving many of the top seeds singed, scorched or flat-out cremated

 

 

Black Saturday got off to an ominous start as Roger Federer, seemingly in control of the first set serving at 4-2 40-0, lost serve with a string of forehand errors and a double fault.

From then on, as Roger put it himself, “the wheels came off“. Federer couldn’t make a single winner to save his life for the next 15 minutes, and conceded the first set 6-4 with 24 unforced errors.

After all my efforts in pretending that the early hard court season never happened, the suppress memories Key Biscayne came rushing back. Roger cleaned up his game slightly in the next 3 sets, but it was B+ stuff, resulting in a relatively close 4-set win. 

 

 

Credit to Rusty though. Give the guy so much as a half-chance and he’ll take it from you in a blink and scream “C’MAWN” in your face.

I don’t know how I feel about Hewitt these days. On the one hand, it’s hard not to hold his foul behavior as a youngster against him. On the other, could it really be that I’m finally feeling something for Hewitt that I never felt during the first part of his career: respect?

I mean, the guy’s accumulated a fortune over the years. He’s won two slams, spent a decent number of weeks as the No 1, been there and done that. He’s gotten himself a soapy wife, two kids and a tax-haven nest. He shouldn’t feel like he has anything left to prove.

Lleyton doesn’t have to be out here grinding away against younger and flashier prototypes. As Wertheim pointed out this week, Rusty could’ve easily “done a Safin” and rode off into the sunset, broken hips and all.

But Lleyton Hewitt is still out there, battling away for – oh I don’t know – the sheer love of competition? How do you not respect a guy like that? 

 

 

 

While Feduruh dueled with Hewitt on Ashe, over on Armstrong, Djokovic hardly resembled the World No 4 that he is, battling past Jesse Witten, ranked 267 in the world 6-7 (2) 6-3 7-6 (2) 6-4.

You gotta give it up to these journeymen, people like Greul and Witten, for taking it to the top guys and relishing their prime time moment. At the sam time, Djokovic was just far too passive during the match, with only 31 winners to Witten’s 42, 53 unforced errors to Witten’s 62, and 8 double faults to Witten’s 11. It wasn’t exactly world class stuff. 

It’s the end of a feel-good story for Jesse Witten, whose third round performance revived his passion for tennis.

 

“This makes me want to keep playing. It gives me some money to keep playing. The biggest thing usually is I feel like I don’t belong . . . I never said it or tell people that. Just in my mind, I don’t know how good I am, so it’s good to see I can play with these guys.

 

Cinderella or Uncle Toni’s lovechild? You decide:

 

 

As Djokovic wrapped up his marathon against Witten, Maria Sharapova was being bundled out by the new American sweetheart Melanie ‘Oudini’.

Given all the upsets on the women’s side of things, I’m thrilled that we at least have a feisty little teen battling her way into everyone’s heart.

But I won’t pretend it wasn’t painful to watch Masha Fierce double fault 21 times and committ 63 unforced errors and lose the match. The serve, which had been fine during her first two matches, unravelled so spectacularly that it began to corrupt the rest of her game. 

 

Q. When you’re having trouble like you were serving, how hard is it to hold onto your groundstrokes? 

MARIA SHARAPOVA: With the amount of errors I made from both my groundstrokes and my serve, to be able to get it to three sets is not bad. So if I didn’t make those errors, those double faults, I certainly would have won the match. 

So that gives me some confidence.

 

Saddened, but not crushed. 

 

 

Just when you thought the Tennis Gods were done with the upsets, lo and behold – John Isner and Andy Roddick locked themselves into an epic ace-fest. 

Must admit I was gunning for Izzy to pull off an upset – he won me over a few weeks ago in Washington where he took ARod to 3 sets. Apparently, dude has more than just a serve. He committed himself to volleying the entire match, forcing Andy to come up with passing shots, which he couldn’t. 

Even so, when ARod came back from a 2-set deficit to level for a fifth, I thought he had it in the bag. Isner was supposed to have run out of extra gears. He was supposed to be physically ailing, nervous, and floundering in self-doubt. Except he wasn’t.

 

Q. Were you as calm on the inside as you appeared on the outside throughout that match?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I really was. Never panicked. If I lose that match, I have nothing to hang my head about. Played well. Maybe a little bit more the pressure’s on him. He’s expected to do so well here. Nobody expected me to win. Kind of looked at it that way. Just went out there and, you know, just played free. Didn’t think too much.

 Q. Did you expect to win?

JOHN ISNER: I did. Yeah, I knew I had a shot. Once I got that first set, I definitely knew I had a shot. I played really well in the second set. Obviously, when you’re up two sets to love, you’ve only got one more to go, so…

 Q. Can you articulate what this win means to you?

JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I don’t really know how to describe it just yet. It’s obviously, hands down, the biggest win of my career. Nothing even compares. To do it at the stage I did it on is pretty spectacular. Maybe it will sink in a little bit more tomorrow.

But I know I can really do some damage here. So I’m not satisfied just yet.

 

I like this kid. He can join my bandwagon. I’ll save him a mono-infested seat right next to Fed and Mario. 

 

 

Tough for Andy to lose such a close match, even tougher that he should end his fantastic slam year with a third round showing. 

So … who picked Dent and Isner as the last two American men standing?

 

The freaktastic day of upsets was then topped off by Dinara Safina, who lost to the World No 72, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-5).

And watching the match, you would’ve never known who was the top seed. Petra was gutsy from the start, firing 47 winners and 59 unforced errors. Dinara made 12 winners over a 3 set match, and never looked like she wanted to dictate proceedings.

TWELVE winners, that’s about 4 per set. Are you fucking kidding me?!  

Never mind, I’ve vented enough during the match. Thanks Petra for putting us out of our misery. 

 

 

Blackened and burnt,

xx doots

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27 responses to “USO Day 6: Black Saturday.”

  1. LJ says :

    toni nadal’s love child definetly.

    So glad I didn’t stay up to watch Fred play cause I’d probably have spent 2 hours pulling my hair and yelling to the heavens. I watched Rusty’s presser and I definitely like him now, I used to hate him but now that his got the shorter hair and become articulate instead of being petulant I’m a fan.

  2. the fan child says :

    Dent and Isner, after all the talk about Querrey and Roddick, unbelievable.

    When is Safina going to realize she needs to add a sports psychologist to her team? Until she does that I think things will get worse and worse for her. Her self-confidence is absolutely shattered. And what people fail to mention is that even if she overcomes her serving issues she still has that big clumsy body to deal with…

    Love this blog!

    • dootsiez says :

      Welcome, the fan child!

      Safina falls into the same pattern as Safin – she’s too critical towards herself. Sometimes the more self-deprecating you get, the less likely you are to succeed, and the more miserable you are.

      And you’re right – it’s not just the serve. Her movement isn’t the best either, the players who can keep her on the run are going to have a good chance against her. Needless to say, things aren’t looking so good for her, and I don’t think they’re going to look that much better next year either.

      • Tashi says :

        The thing that bothers me the most is that the media have put so much pressure on her to win a slam that she just freezes. Kvitova should’ve had no business beating Dina but she was swinging for the fences and Dina was just glued to the court. No movement, no thinking, no attacking. She looked absolutely miserable. Almost like she couldn’t breathe for most of the match. I remember this time last year she was playing so well and so confident in her abilities and now she just can’t get it together. I just want to give her hug, really.

        As for the serve, she has to change it technique wise. The ball toss is too high and she loses timing and then everything goes to hell. And she needs to shorten up her backswing on the forehand side if she wants to be successful against big hitters on hardcourts.

        Most of all she just has to chill out and trust her game.

      • dootsiez says :

        ^ serve technique is only half of it.

        When she was playing relaxed tennis as the No 2 or No 3 in the world, Safina’s serve didn’t bother her that much.

        The real problems only emerged when Safina started to tense up under pressure. You gotta think that it’s not just the technical aspect of it, but a mental thing as well.

        Same goes for Ana. The toss wasn’t a huge problem when she’s playing confident tennis. Once she starts to falter mentally, the toss goes completely wonky as well. Any higher and she’ll hit a plane.

  3. breadstix says :

    I only turned up towards the end of the second set, for Fed. I nearly freaked out anyway, it would’ve been crap if he lost: out before wk2, broken finals/semis streak, Toothosaurus potentially becoming #1… Guy needs to step up his game. :/ Give his fans something less to frazzle about.

    Hopped on the JIner/Jizzner wagon for weeks now, and boy am I glad. 😀 Didn’t know who to support though, I mean, I wanted Roddickety to make a good run at the Open, but I wanted the same for Isner as well, who played amazingly out there. Glad he pulled out a W. Squandering 2 set leads: not cool.

    LOLOL, defo Uncle Toni’s lovechild.

    • dootsiez says :

      ^ What do you mean you “nearly” freaked out?! Like you weren’t hiding in a dark hole somewhere, shivering in angst. Sif!

      I know what you mean about Roddick. I didn’t want him to go out, but rooted for Isner anyway. He was up 2 sets to love, would’ve been SUCH a pity for him to lose.

  4. SJ says :

    Melanie Oudin is officially new favourite player on the WTA, I’m not a masha fierce fan nor will i ever be, gotta admire her determination though but her shrieking has prevented me from admiring anything else about her, anyone who beats her is my new favourite player (apart from demetieva and safina- they are lost causes).

    Roddick’s improved self was too good to be true, he doesn’t serve enough aces anymore, the momet i saw Isner in his first round match i knew that Roddick was going to have to do something amazing to beat him, Isner did the play most likely the match of his life (so far) because he hasn’t been that good at net or in groundstrokes until that match. Querrey was always gonna go down to the yoker, Querrey’s forehand is big but Soderling’s in huge, he couldn’t take Soderling’s forehand away hence why he lost.

    Next seed going out is Venus and then the new justine/russian eliminator Oudin will take care of Petrova then Kuzzy or Wozzy will be next.

    At least Roger doesn’t have to face the James Blake and the J-block in the 4th round but he should play better otherwise i’m gonna make him watch the french open 08, wimby 08 and the aussie 09 finals (make him go through the suffering that we go through) then make Myla poop all over him.

    By the way what do think about the Verdasco vs Isner match? Verdasco was very streaky today.

    • dootsiez says :

      ^ if Isner recovers physically, I think he’ll take it. But Verdasco’s had more time to recover. Who knows…

      I’ve been reading a lot of Henin comparisons in the last day or so. Personally don’t see the Justine/Oudin parallel at all, except for the fact they’re both small. Here’s to hoping Kuzzy or Woz keep their head together and save that side of the draw. Almost no seeds left.

      Ditto to Venus, who needs a good result to save her year. 😦

      LOL @ “otherwise i’m gonna make him watch the french open 08, wimby 08 and the aussie 09 finals (make him go through the suffering that we go through) then make Myla poop all over him.”

      GOOD PLAN.

  5. Julie says :

    Fred the evil twin was in full force yesterday. Fed stayed with the twins. I think they may have switched bodies when Fred slipped and fell! He better be careful with Robredo or he’ll go without the twin’s poop for 2 weeks (I get the feeling he likes it!).

    And there isn’t anything to say about Safina at this point. It’s all been said before. Now I’m going to start blaming Serena. If the woman can’t manage to get to the #1 ranking by the end of the year, it’ll be *her* fault for putting us (and Safina) in this ranking misery!

    • dootsiez says :

      Trust me Julie, I blame Serena too. It’s half HER problem that her results away from slams are so crap. Can’t blame the rankings dilemma all on Safina. 😉

  6. JFK says :

    Really gutted about Maria and Roddick’s matches. Maria killed herself with the 21 UEs and every time she got a break she lost it. Roddick, I don’t know what to say. He had more winners and less UEs and his serve only gets broken 1 time and loses. Sigh.

    And how did Dinara lose that match? She had 3 match points.

    • dootsiez says :

      Dinara had 3 mps, but it never felt like she was the one dictating the match. It was always on Kvitova’s racquet. She was the one taking initiative. Guess Dina paid the ultimate price for her passiveness.

  7. Tashi says :

    Roger pissed me off yesterday. I just saw a repeat of the Tsonga match in Montreal. I was frazzling to the max. Thankfully he got back on track but he can’t afford to do that again.

    Since when do American’s play awesome tennis? I was really impressed by all three. Especially Isner because neither MaSha or Nole were playing very well but Roddick was and Isner was still able to pull it out. He played a smart match and he moves extremely well for such a big dude.

    Dina, :(.

    • dootsiez says :

      ^ Isner covered the net so well. Impressive. And a very smart 5th set – he basically took care of his own serve, conserved energy through a cramp, and came out firing in the tiebreak. Awesome stuff!

      Roger made me want to stab him in the eye with a pen. Total implosion half way through the first set but no good reason. He needs to up his game for Robredo, who was pretty solid against Blake.

  8. TopSpin says :

    Hmmm not a fan of Izzy in general, but he played impressively throughout, overcoming a bout of what seemed like cramp to stay in there.

    Not happy about Roddick, but he seems to be coping well.

    As for Safina, so predictable that its not even tragic anymore.

    I’ve long believed she needed to change something in her set up. The serves the obvious place to begin with.

    Was sad to see Pova’s demise – as great as Melanies performance was, Maria was clearly struggling out there. Something thats not being given enough recognition in my opinion. I could name half a dozen players that could beat her with those troubles.

    I daresay, It might even be the bigger story, if the shoulder turns out to be a recurring problem

    • dootsiez says :

      ^ I know what you mean about not giving enough attention to Maria’s problems. If she didn’t lose to an American, but some upstart teen from … Slovakia, I dare say the news headlines would’ve read differently. Some match reports made it sound like she was simply outplayed, which was far from truth.
      If Maria could lose in a close 3 sets with 60+ UEs and 20+ DFs, then there’s no question for me that she would’ve won it easily on a better day. Not to take anything away from Melanie and her fighter mentality of course, but Maria really lost that one.

  9. EP says :

    I am glad Roger is amused by that fall. I for one was not amused at all. I thought he rolled his ankle.. =/

    • dootsiez says :

      Ah me too! I got scared a little bit. But the way he fell kinda protected his ankles, and he got up with a little grin.

      NOT funny dude.

  10. Alex says :

    I actually didn’t tear my remaining hairs out over Fred’s 22 unforced errors in the first set. I knew he would pull it together. I mean I KNEW he would, or else…

    • dootsiez says :

      I dunno. I was watching a bit of the Rafa v Soderling match from the French Open, which somehow got me freaked out about life.

      Certainty is nothing.

  11. Blue says :

    I was blissfully unaware of Fed’s turmoils, since I was asleep. Maybe I should sleep though all his matches. I can’t believe Roddick didn’t go through, and poor Blake. I never would have guessed Dent and Isner would be the Americans who would make it to the 2nd week.

    Lol, Witten definitely looks like Tio Toni. Sorry to hear about Masha, I’m not going to say anything about Dinara. She’s probably blaming herself more than everyone.

    • dootsiez says :

      Sleeping is just about the best thing you can do during Fed’s matches. I have a feeling he hates playing 11am sessions and won’t admit it.

    • Alex says :

      But that’s the rub. I can’t sleep if I know fed’s playing!

      • dootsiez says :

        No caffeinated drinks for you!

        Hehehe I know what you mean though – I remember trying to sleep through the Cincinnati final, and then ended up WAKING UP at 4am naturally.

        Fail.

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