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08/20/2012

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Rick

Also, interestingly enough, Williams is largely silent today -- except occasionally AFTER a put away shot goes out.

Rick

Sheesh, Azarenka shut out to love on her own serve to lose the first set 6-2.
Merciless.

Jenny

Totally agree. There's just a handful of culprits emitting the high pitched screams, I bet they don't screech in practice sessions.

Rick

K, we have a match on our hands -- Azarenka pulling ahead by virtue of her defense as Williams' level drops (missing her first serves, UE count going up).
If women's tennis was like this all the time, I might watch it....in fact, I guess I am. :-)

Rick

Yeah, Azarenka goes up 4-1 in the second set, breaking Williams twice (mostly based on Williams' UEs).

Ever since their 2009 AO match (when Azarenka had to retire because the heat got to her), I've always felt that Azarenka is one of the few women with the mental fortitude and the game to not let Williams intimidate her off the court. Dementieva used to be another one.

Wow, now she's up 5-1.

Rick

Apparently talking to myself here (not the first time :-) but if you're not watching this, it's worth it: each of them has now taken a set 6-2.

Rick

Serena currently having a case of Federitis, broken to do down 1-2 in the third.

Rick

Federeritis?

Rick

Williams breaks after a hard-fought game, back on serve, 2-2.

Tennis Planet

Azarenka is clearly the better player and deserves to win the title. Serena is barely surviving - on her aces.

Rick

And plays a really sloppy game at 3-3 to get broken again and go down 3-4.

Rick

Does Anna Wintour always sit in the Williams box??

Dom

I Like and support Serena, and actually don't enjoy watching her all the time, but Azarenka better? I don't think so, she is good and I enjoy watching her too despite the grunting, but as Rick said abov(mostly based on Williams' UEs). Compare the way Serena play with the 2nd and 3rd sets. Vika always give a tight matchs (or at least a tight set). UE's count for her during the tournament was 15.2 or something so, look a this macth, she is probally over 30 already.

Rick

Azarenka couldn't serve it out at 5-4 so now she's staring down the barrel at 5-6.

Tennis Planet

If Azarenka NOW loses the match she wouldn't believe it - for a whole freaking year. She was serving for the title and has now allowed Serena another opening. WOW!!!!!!!!!!

Rick

Nope, her current UE count is 25, but her UE/winner ratio is actually far worse than Serena's for the match: Serena is about 1:1 (i.e. a lot of each) while Azarenka is 1;2. And they're both 1:1 in the third set, but Serena has twice as many of each.

Rick

Serena prolonged that "I'm gonna take my time lying down here behind the baseline" celebration just a little too long for my taste -- not very respectful/considerate of Azarenka, who played a fantastic match and was left waiting at the net.

Bettyjane

Did anyone really think she'd serve out the match at 5-4?

Rick

Um, no.

Bettyjane

You're better than I am. I know and hate these post-match celebrations and turned off the set before I had to watch it

sperry

RE: Screaming. I have heard some really silly things said... IE: "Well... there is nothing that can be done about it now." Huh? I would be for giving them some time (like a month or something) to change that habit... but after that, it's warning, point, match. Jenny... no screaming in practice... at least for VA. I saw her at Indian Wells. Quiet as a mouse. RE: Serena. What a competitor. With Azarenka serving for the match, I would have bet on Serena winning.

Rick

OK, she made up for it somewhat in the acceptance speech, admitting that she had been preparing her runner-up speech because Azarenka had been playing such a great match, but....could have elaborated on that a little bit more. That said, she did go out of her way to support Azarenka during her speech and make sure that she shared the spotlight for the photo op. And Azarenka handled the trophy ceremony really, really well, hats off to her, I'm sure it wasn't easy.

Rick

Yeah, that's what all the reports say -- neither Azarenka nor Sharapova scream during practice or warm-up. So it can't really be an irrepressible habit.

Rick

I have to admit that I watched it specifically to see to what extent it would be about me-me-me....

Bettyjane

Well done to Serena then. I do like how she will applaud an opponent's great shot. Don't see that very often, although Nole does that doesn't he.

Rick

Oops, I meant winner/UE ratio -- or were you talking about Serena's UE count???

Rick

Yes, redeeming qualities of two players I don't exactly <3 very much....

Tennis Planet

Azarenka was COMPLETELY gracious in defeat - more so the kind of defeat that stings the MOST. Besides, she held it together. Serena SHOULD have reciprocated (and more) the respect Azarenka sent Serena's way. She deserved it. The win highlights the mighty influence of intangibles - once again. You HAVE to be MENTALLY strong(er) to finish it off - at this stage - and against an opponent like Serena.

Tennis Planet

Didn't realize until Carillo pointed out that Serena won the singles AND the doubles title @ Wimbledon AND Olympics. WOW!!!!!!! She lost in the semis here @ doubles, I think. AND she is what 80 years old? Geeeeeezzz!!!!

Dom

Nope TP, she lost in the Third Round in Doubles.

Dom

Did you guys know?
*This is the first three-set final to be decided since 1985? I didn't even born yet!

Dom

Oops! since 1995, my mistake.

Rick

Yeah, I was thinking about this some more.
Here are some really obvious things Serena could have said:

(1) She's just really a great competitor.

(2) She's had a great season, already winning a major, so congratulations to her on her successes this year.

(3) She had me up against the ropes and made me earn the win the hard way.

(4) It just came down to a few points here and there, and I'm sorry it didn't go Victoria's way in the end.

(5) I admire her fighting spirit - it's great to play someone else who just won't give up till the last point is over.

Is this so hard to figure out? If *I* can come up with this why can't she?

These are mostly all presser cliche's anyway, and Serena claimed to have been working on her runner-up speech during the last set, so....

Rick

Well, so far my prognostications have been right in two out of three cases (Djokovic, Williams, Bryan brothers). Not that this is rocket science or took a crystal ball exactly.

But here's why I think Djokovic has the edge over Murray.

(1) After I saw his first two sets against Cilic, I still don't believe that Murray is mentally tough enough to win a major yet. He was down one set and 5-1 at one point. Yeah, he came back, but mostly it was Cilic who folded and let him back into the match, so Murray was in part lucky. And yeah, he beat the pants off Federer at the Olympics, but Federer was debilitated at that point (as he was here at the U.S. Open, for different reasons) and clearly nowhere near his best form. And players like Berdych, Soderling, Tsonga, and even Wawrinka can take out Federer when he plays that poorly. Moreover, Murray has beaten Federer plenty of times, but never in a Grand Slam. The bottom line for me on Murray is this: how many Grand Slam finals has he been in, and in how many has he been a contender?

(2) Djokovic seems to be on fire again. Yeah, when conditions won't allow him to play his game his way (e.g. because of blue clay, tornadoes, gluten, a sore throat, his contacts, his mama :-) etc.), he is vulnerable. But I don't think any of those factors are going to be bothering him Monday. And he's shown the mental toughness to take down Federer at the U.S. Open two years in a row, something that Murray has never been able to do. Also, consider the question this way: how many Grand Slam finals has Djokovic contested, and how many has he won?

I may still be wrong, but I'll be surprised if I am.

kitty

Two stats that shocked me last couple days
1. This year Sharapova, Azarenka were 13-0, 11-0 in 3 set matches for 2012. wow! shows how tough mentally they are..both lost that record however with their recent losses
2. Ferrer has never won a atp1000 event in his career? this was a real shock to me. I don't know if it is good/bad -- good in the sense he maintains no.5 even without grandslam,atp1000 wins -- or bad that he never really made an attempt in terms of his style of play or change of coach but always seemed sort of content with where he is and never sort of believed in himself that he is better than the top4. Atleast I never saw a conscious decision making in terms of his choice of tournaments and required focus for big events.

Jenny

Kitty, David Ferrer has always aspired to be in the top 10, but didn't become a pro until 2000. I first saw him play all those years ago in Stuttgart on clay, that final was a right old blood and sand marathon against the Argentine Jose Acasuso, a big tall gifted guy who could play on clay.. In those days he really was just a clay court specialist with a weak serve. Now he can play successfully on all surfaces, so his clay court mentality has stood him in good stead. He and his coach Javi work well together, he regards him as a second father, they understand each other, no way in a million years will he change coaches, it wouldn't work. Also David is only 5'9, weighs 70kgs, the shortest man in the top ten, possibly the top 20? he doesn't have the power of the bigger guys so he has to find other ways to win, ie speed, footwork, returns, guile, and why he works so hard to hold his ranking. He enjoys playing DC, considers it an honour to represent his country.

He's also honest and realistic about what he can do and what he can't do against the top 4, but he'll make them earn their victory, although I'm pretty sure Murray won't beat him on a clay court. I think he's content with his achievements, maybe possibly disappointed he couldn't win the French which is his favourite slam. Mentally he wasn't ready while in his prime, lacked belief, confidence, got nervy, and then along came Nadal. Overall, a successful player with high profile sponsors and respect by his peers. He has 16 titles which is more than the big boys Berdych and Tsonga have combined.

kitty

Jenny, you are Ferrer's no.1 fan on earth, isn't it :))
I agree and respect his work ethic. But don't you think he should have made some conscious effort to improve? You saw murray bringing in Lendl and also change his natural defensive game, fed bringing in annacone and make changes in his game, nadal change his tactics -- but what disappoints me is that Ferrer never seemed to change his game. Yes, his size is a factor but I wish he has atleast atp1000 on clay for his abilities.

Jenny

Hi Kitty, I'm probably his no 1 fan on this site, but not so elsewhere, he has a big following in Spain and South America, my tennis watching friends in the UK enjoy watching him, plus I'm also a clay court fan. I think he has improved by adding variety to his game, it's plain to see imo, his serve is so much better, rarely used to serve aces to get him out of trouble, he volleys with finesse and rushes the net, he never used to do that either, and I have seen him change from defence to attack. Would have been left behind and not remained in the top 5 had he not improved. I too would have liked to have seen him win a 1000 on clay.

Enjoy the final.

Gary Moser

"Also David is only 5'9, weighs 70kgs"
------------------------------------
So was Michael Chang,
and he made it to FOUR different Slam Finals.

Or, is this a TOUGHER ERA, dare I ask? :->

Jenny

Laver was only short in tennis terms too. Who did Chang face reaching those slam finals?

Jenny

Nole not handling the wind so well, getting too frustrated, d/f's. Neither have settled, Andy has been playing better, but too early to call the result.

Rick

That match is exhausting (and actually not that captivating) to watch, like the AO final.
One big griiiiiiiind.
I've temporarily tuned out.

Jenny

I've had to tune out too, only because the stream keeps freezing. I've got livescores running. Nole will need to turn this around pretty quick if he's to win the title. Yes Rick, it is exhausting.

kitty

It looks the basement dweller has a daytime job :)

chipnputt

Murray is doing what he needs to do. Nole is simply out of it -- maybe it's the wind, but he is simply not getting in position. Poor footwork means poor shotmaking.

Tennis Planet

Djokovic, despite this showing, is still a better player based on sheer shot making and it is starting to show.

Tennis Planet

Plus Djokovic STILL believes MORE than Murray.

Tennis Planet

Near-five year TOC disparity should begin to 'play' right about now.

Tennis Planet

Murray winning the first set is like Murray holding a winning H2H against Federer WITHOUT winning a Slam. Here could it be without winning the Slam too? Know what I am barking about? No, you don't!!!!

Tennis Planet

Murray's baiting tactic has worked so far for obvious reasons against Djokovic but that's like fooling all the people ALL the time. It's impossible to carry you all the way in a five set - at a Slam.

kitty

Djoker was the better player for most of the second half of 2nd set but Murray is just cranking his forehands in this last game before tiebreak

Tennis Planet

Murray winning the second set makes winning this match an ABSOLUTE necessity. Not winning NOW could make just reaching another Slam final an impossibility, forget about winning it.

Rick

Didn't Djokovic come back from two sets down to Federer in the USO semi-final last year?

I'm not rooting for him (his mother and trophy girlfriend more than make up for [perceived] lack of support from other quarters), but somehow I still can't believe that Murray can actually pull this off.

However, I did not watch the Olympics. At all.

So what do I know?

Seems to me that Djokovic is making crucial errors at crucial times, however. So maybe the wind is throwing his game off (since, as I said yesterday, he easily gets thrown off)....

Tennis Planet

Thoughts running through Djokovic's and Murray's mind: Djokovic's record after being down 0-2, Lendl's record at Slam and at US Open, Azarenka melt down, TOC stat.....

kitty

Why do I feel this is going to 5 sets for sure

Tennis Planet

Here's something that's 'interfering': Murray's average first serve percentage after six matches was 59. It's nearly 70 now. Djokovic? 64 to 64.

Rick

You're not alone....

kitty

Murray conserving a lot of energy trying to chip so many balls with djoker doing all the work to put pace of the ball

Gary Moser

Interesting that Laver's main rival was even shorter.

And older.

Gary Moser

"Didn't Djokovic come back from two sets down
to Federer in the USO semi-final last year?"
--------------------------------------------
Yes, Novak "Already-Won-3-Slams" Djokovic
did do that... :->

Tennis Planet

Possibilities if this goes to five sets: Murray retiring from the match, retiring from sports in general including video games may not be too far either, bagel, Lendl pushed from player's box in an attempt to end his life, Kim voluntarily abdicating for Robson, if she is even willing...........

Rick

And.....here we go.....
This is likely to take FOREVER....

Rick

I just can't see Murray closing this out. At all.
Just dropped serve to start the 4th.

sperry

I'm thinking that the moral of this story is that you can't just get the ball in (Wozniacki) and beat the best. Murray's "strategy" seemed to me to be: hit it deep, any speed you want... as long as you keep it in.

kitty

Djoker looks to be 'locked-in' tunnel view

Tennis Planet

If you are a Murray fan or his camp, how can you freaking NOT start thinking of this: Lendl's curse? Two finals and counting?

Rick

Yeah, mentally he just doesn't have effective strategies for dealing with adversity. He's still up two sets to love ferchrissake.

He gets frustrated and, what's worse, shouts it out for everyone to hear (especially his box, as if it's their fault, just like some of the Slavic women players). And it's not like this helps to get it out of his system (like when Djokovic smashed his racket in the first set and told the ball boy to leave it on the chair) -- if anything, it seems to drive it in deeper.

All that said, he just dug himself out of a 30-40 hole on his serve, so there's still something clicking inside.

Bettyjane

Did Lendl ever blow a 2 set to love lead before finally bagging HIS first major?

Rick

Two sets to one, I meant....

Rick

Cue overwrought hyper-emotional responses from the trophy girlfriends....

Rick

Djokovic's parents still seem to be under the mistaken impression that tennis is a blood sport.

Tennis Planet

What umpire revealed from his time violation against Djokovic? He is a Murray fan?

sperry

I'm wondering if Andy is the best defender in the game.

Rick

And why does Djana Djokovic still look totally stressed out of her mind after years of sitting on millions and millions of dollars in prize money? Google "Family Sport", or read "Investments" on Djokovic's Wikipedia page.

The best factoid? "On Monday, 4 July 2011, one day after Djokovic won Wimbledon, Family Sport organized the homecoming reception in front of the National Assembly building with more than 80,000 people gathering to greet him."

"You are my chosen one, my darling boy, and the nation will celebrate your glory.
And I will pay for it."

Tennis Planet

There's a real threat of Djokovic's father morphing into a charging Rhino if umpire makes ANY move towards his son.

kitty

how many times will djoker try that poor drop shot

Haya

Hello everybody! :)

I'm just wondering, since when did Murray become a baseline player? He's hardly visiting the net! Or I might be missing something!

On a different note, I don't seem to enjoy a GS final without Roger in it :( Anybody here feels the same?

Haya

LOL Rick!!!

Haya

True! He needs to realize that he's not Federer!

kitty

As TP said, this is going to be a BIG BIG BIGGG blow to Murray camp if he manages to lose this in this 5th set

Rick

We've been lamenting that for days, Haya.

Engaging match because of the scoreline turnaround, but mostly boring tennis, lots of long baseline exchanges till one of them commits an error.

Rick

If Murray does not break Djokovic on his first service game in the fifth set, he is toast.

sperry

I swear..., Lendle told him.,,.,. "I don't care if you hit it 6 feet over the net... GET IT IN! 25 MPH ia fine... just GET IT IN"

Rick

Huh. He did it. With a little help from the net cord.

Rick

Yeah, Djokovic doesn't quite control that overhead backhand smash of Federer's :-)

Rick

Djokovic needs a first serve at this point....

sperry

Andy is going to take it

kitty

wow..who exepected that...djoker down 2 breaks
doesn't it feel like on these slow courts serving first is a drawback sometimes

Rick

And fewer UEs.
Yeah, I think sperry's right, unless Murray chokes.
But the Wimbledon semi-final and the Olympics final will probably have given him enough experience not to do that now.

Rick

Well, he's started down the road to choking with that service game.

RIck

Who's the enthusiastic blonde with the big 80's hair in Djokovic's box?

Rick

God, but the tennis is boring....waiting for the error.

Rick

That service game, on the other hand, was perfect. 4-2.

sperry

I think it's more than that from Andy's side... It's like this: Novak is great... he's going to mash a bunch of un-hittable shots... that's fine. MAKE HIM WORK BEFORE HE DOES. Exhaust him. Novak just held, but Andy WON that game. Novak had to work too hard.

Tennis Planet

Murray realizing the implications of NOT winning this is attempting to put in his BEST effort in the hope it will absorb some of the flack in case he loses.

Rick

How can Djokovic be cramping??? He lives in his oxygenator....

Rick

Right. Djokovic calls for the trainer.

sperry

MTO... BULLSHIT... outlaw them

Rick

And reverts to baiting the crowd, as in days of old. Hasn't really changed at all. What a tool.

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