6 Quick Hits
- Roger Federer winning the 1st set vs. Ivo Karlovic made his match fairly simple. Playing from behind against a huge server can cause some anxiety.
- Jelena Jankovic sets up a match against Caroline Wozniacki. To hammer an obvious point, both players need some validation at majors.
- Juan Martin del Potro vs. Phillip Kohlschreiber should be a great match.
- A championship rematch – Na Li vs. Kim Clijsters
- Tomas Berdych vs. Nicolas Almagro is a quietly interesting match. I am surprised both have played through to their seed to this point, but Berdych was quite consistent in 2011 except at the biggest events. Maybe he is ready to be consistent at the majors too.
- Christina McHale got a lot of TV time on ESPN. I think Jingoism at 1 AM is a bad idea programing-wise as casual tennis fans are not likely to be watching.
Bernard Tomic Wins in 5 Again
Australian tennis players have done better than their U.S. counterparts. Bernard Tomic won a tight match against Alexandr Dolgopolov 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-3. A new wave of players is starting to shake-up the tour. Tomic winning gives him a leg up over many of his peers. How he handles Mount Federer is going to be telling. Tomic took a set off of Roger in Davis Cup last year, but that was on grass and less than one week after Federer left New York coming off of a crushing defeat. I think Tomic can push the match to a 4th set, but Federer should come through. Still, Tomic’s 5th set form vs. Verdasco and Dolgopolov bodes well for how he handles pressure. Can he push Federer to a 5th set?
John Isner and the U.S.
John Isner appears to be in the best shape of his career. His return game has more purpose to it. He is pretty unflappable. Also, John Isner wins a lot of marathon matches at Grand Slam events. In 2009, he clipped Andy Roddick in a 5th set tiebreak. His 2010 Wimbledon match vs. Nicolas Mahut is self-explanatory. Isner had just beaten David Nalbandian in 5 sets so he needed a shorter match vs. Feliciano Lopez. Isner failed to break serve as Lopez served for the 3rd set despite Lopez double faulting 4 times during the service game. Isner took the 4th set in a tie break, but he needed to win the 3rd set to have a chance physically to advance. Isner has improved tactically. However, his return game overall is still mechanically unsteady and his backhand is something opponent can still exploit. I would have loved to see Isner lock horns with Nadal given their 5 set match at the French Open in 2011. Nadal will beat Lopez handily.
Having all U.S. born male players eliminated prior to the round of 16 is an indictment of player development in the U.S. Ryan Harrison played quite well vs. Andy Murray. He is young enough to give a lot of hope. John Isner is fit, and looks like he can have good results in 2012. Andy Roddick can’t be blamed for falling to an injury. Sam Querrey is healthy again and can begin to climb back into relevance. On the other hand, Mardy Fish’s mental toughness has to come into question after his loss. Donald Young’s ranking may climb due to a healthy diet of North American 250 events, but his game is not going to consistently threaten anyone in the top 20. Beyond all of that, there is a lack of top level depth among the U.S. men. Jack Sock and Denis Kudla could help on this front, but it is too early to really know. Ryan Harrison may have a lonely career as the Great Yankee Hope.