US Open 2009 Midpoint Notes

09:29 Mon 07 Sep 2009
[, ]

The biggest story so far is Andy Roddick getting knocked out by John Isner in a battle of big servers. I was somewhat surprised, as I’d thought that Roddick would do well, and that he was a likely semifinalist. But in coming up against another big server in a five-set match in New York, he had to face a final set tiebreak against someone he didn’t have a serving advantage against. Isner took it with a single point against the Roddick serve and without losing any on his own serve, 7–5.

All of the top four are moving along without too much difficulty, although Nadal seems to have picked up an abdominal injury, while Federer looked anything but convincing in fending off Hewitt over four sets: serving at 4–2, 40–0 in the first set, Federer then dropped that game and the next three to lose the set 4–6.

Djokovic also looked rocky against streaking qualifier Jesse Witten, ranked in the 270s, but came through that in four. Andy Murray has looked solid, also dropping just a single set.

Despite Federer’s struggles against Hewitt, I still think he’s the favorite. He should take care of Tommy Robredo without that much trouble to reach the quarterfinals, where he’ll face either Söderling or Davydenko—probably Söderling given how that match is going right now. Assuming neither of those players break their losing streaks against Federer, that will put him in his 22nd consecutive Grand Slam semifinal.

He will face, most likely, Djokovic or Verdasco, with Stepanek and Isner being less likely prospects.

On the other side, a Murray–Del Potro quarterfinal looks like a good match, and I’m not sure who I’d favor there. I think Nadal will make it that far, unless Tsonga or Gonzalez really step it up against him. It’s tougher to predict who’ll come through on that side, I think, with Nadal, Murray, and Del Potro all looking like contenders.

I have a small wager going with a friend: I’ve got Federer and he’s got the rest of the field. What makes that so ridiculous is that it’s possible I might have the better side of the bet.

On the women’s side, Kim Clijsters, making her return to the Grand Slam level, is the big story—she beat Venus Williams with the completely ludicrous score of 6–0, 0–6, 6–4 to make it into the quarterfinals. Dinara Safina, the world number one, is out, as are Ivanovic, Jankovic, and Sharapova, and I think that Serena Williams and Clijsters are likely favorites; if they keep winning, they’ll meet in the semifinals. That makes me suspect that the women’s final won’t be spectacular—while on the men’s side, we have the possibility of another Federer–Nadal final, at the one Grand Slam where they’ve never met in the final.

Leave a Reply