Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday 'Nati Analysis

James Blake over Sam Querrey 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Querrey won the first set 7-5 but it felt more like 6-2. He was serving well, hitting a heavy forehand, and basically just played really smart. Blake was having an awful time with his forehand and Querrey kept the ball in play and let Blake miss, while going for his big shots at the right times. In the second and third Blake basically just completely turned things around. He made 24 errors in the first set and just four in the second. Querrey played one loose service game in each of the last two sets and that was the main difference. He didn't play much worse than he did in the first two sets, Blake just turned up his game a level - or five. You probably know that when Blake's forehand gets on fire, it really gets on fire.

Nikolay Davydenko over David Ferrer 6-2, 6-4
Well Ferrer finally came back to earth today. I almost picked him in this one due to his run in Cincinnati (highlighted by the win over Roddick) and Davydenko's relatively poor play of late, but fortunately I thought better of it and sided with the better hard-court player. Basically these two have similar games, and on slick hard courts, Davydenko can do everything Ferrer can do and do it better. Ferrer just never sank his teeth into this match, and his mental game quickly followed the downward spiral started by his physical game. It's nice to see Davydenko playing well again (and being able to put the gambling issue behind him - what happened to that story being news, anyway?) and perhaps giving us another real contender to make a deep run at the Open.

Lleyton Hewitt over Carlos Moya 6-2, 6-4

I had Hewitt with a decent amount of confidence in this one, but I thought it would be a little bit closer. The Aussie had a few things going in his favour even before this one. First, while Moya is fine with this kind of fast hard court, Hewitt absolutely loves it. Furthermore, Moya had to go through Nalbandian, Djokovic, and a 7-5 in the third win over Del Potro prior to this match, while Hewitt - after a thriller in round one against Wawrinka - played an injured Gasquet and then rolled over Melzer. Hewitt's playing well right now, but I don't see him beating Federer tomorrow, even though Fed is by no means playing great.

Roger Federer over Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Almagro came into this match playing great tennis (three straight-set wins over Mayer, Ljubicic, and Nieminen) and Federer has been playing uninspiring tennis in Cincinnati, but I still didn't give the Spaniard much of a chance in this one. Of couse, I didn't expect Federer to continue to play this bad, but I guess he did. He should not lose a 6-3 set to Almagro on hard courts; I don't care if Almagro is at the top of his game or not. Nonetheless, Federer has always owned Hewitt and I expect it to be no different tomorrow. As for Almagro, I have higher hopes for him at the Open than I did heading in to Cincinnati.

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