Sunday, August 31, 2008

Commentary USO 8/30/08 Day 6

by Savannah

I'll start by saying I didn't see any of the day matches that completed during the day. I was out until about 6:30p so I missed seeing the television matches featuring Venus Williams, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. They're on my DVR and I had hoped to get up early enough to see them before making this post but didn't. I did hear the talking heads falling over themselves to explain why Venus and Serena landed on the same side of the draw - again. If you have to keep explaining it's like the straying spouse denying having intercourse with whomever ad nauseaum. You did it. Now it's time for you to deal with the consequences.

All of the featured matches today are intriguing but I am especially looking forward to seeing Caroline Wozniacki against Jelena Jankovic. The match I'm looking forward to on Monday is the Anna-Lena Gronefeld vs Dinara Safina. Dinara had quite a scare last night from Timea Bachinszky of Switzerland put pulled herself together and won in three sets.

Nishikori Kei of Japan pulled the biggest upset on the men's side so far taking out David Ferrer, the number four seed, in five sets. Kei, all of eighteen, would be the one you'd expect to fold under the pressure especially after losing the next to sets after winning the first two 4 and 4. Ferrer won the next two sets 3 and 2 and looked to be on cruise control coming into the fifth set.Instead it was Ferrer who was cursing up a storm and mumbling to himself in that fifth set while Kei remained centered and focused taking the fifth set 7-5. I'm not a fan of Ferrer but I expected him to win this match in four. Instead of Ferrer it will be Nishikori facing that other teen sensation Juan Martin del Potro in the round of sixteen.
Del Potro has been the hottest man of the US hardcourt season, something I'm sure that hasn't gone unnoticed by the USTA or the Argentine tennis federation. Del Potro also took five sets to overcome Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
With neither player coming in with an advantage in terms of how long they played this should be a really good match. Both have something to prove. Both have the weight of expectations weighing heavily on their shoulders and both have good solid games.

Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray both played five setters yesterday as well. They'll face off in the next round. This should also be a good match. I just hope the talking heads don't ruin it with their inane chatter. I can't listen with the sound off because I like to hear the sound of the ball coming off the players racquet and hitting the court. It's caused me a lot of grief but that is part of tennis. I'm also one of those people who won't use one of the free radios provided by American Express at the US Open to it's card members. If I wanted to hear them I could stay home. I like to see the match being played not hear about so and so's fiancee thank you very much.

Sorry about that. Back to the tennis.

There were some straight set victories yesterday. Some were even by the men you would expect to move through in that fashion. There are two matches that were straight set victories that bear some scrutiny though.

The first one was Gael Monfils straight set win over
David Nalbandian. Dare I say it was easy? What do you think? Gael won 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. And he did a little dance to please the fans at the end. David has not played much or well so far this year. Tennisheads know he loves the European indoor season but this loss yesterday is remarkable for the quality of tennis Gael played, and the lackluster tennis David played. It was almost as if he didn't care whether he won or lost. As for Gael, we're all happy that you finally seem focused on tennis and not trying to be the "Atomic Dog" of men's tennis (you P-Funk fans know what I'm talking about) but it does behoove you to be a little more sedate after a victory. Just sayin'. If you want to be The Man of French tennis and steal some of the thunder of Jo-Wilfried so be it. I think the French can tolerate two big personalities don't you? I think the US wishes they had that problem.

Speaking of the United States keeping with their policy of featuring American's at night tennis fans were treated to a match between James Blake and
Mardy Fish. As was repeated over and over and over the two men are best friends. James is going to be in Mardy's wedding next week, yada, yada, yada. Maybe James wanted to give Mardy an early wedding present since he never really showed up for this match. James played unfocused, uninspired, brain dead tennis and to this viewer there was no reason for him to do so. Best friends have played before and we've had good play. It's not as if they're related after all. James played inspired tennis against Donald Young and had split the first two sets with Steve Darcis of Belgium before Darcis back forced him to retire. Why so blase in this one?

As for Fish he came to play. He was so focused that he asked the chair to stop the J-Block from taunting him when he was about to serve. The commentators said later that tennis fans have probably seen the last of the J-Block. Thank you Mardy. It was a lousy marketing idea to begin with and it should have died a natural death a long time ago. Fish will play Gael in the next round. He's already defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu who is a tricky customer. Will he have to watch Gael do his little dance at the end of their match? Both men have a lot riding on winning this one. Let's hope they both show up.

End Notes

Amelie Mauresmo defeated Julie Coin 4&4. I expected Amelie would win, not wanting to give up her crown as top French woman just yet. She will face Flavia Pennetta next.

I'm sure someone somewhere gets palpitations seeing Andy Murray do this otherwise he'd stop it.

Tommy has the same look on his face I had when I first saw this pic. Sergio Roitman of Argentina is obviously channeling his inner biker.

Lucky Loser Flavio Cipolla of Italy had a nice run in New York.

Agnieszka Radwanska eased Dominika Cibulkova to the exit.

Li Na strikes a touristy pose in front of the Unisphere.

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