Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday 'Nati Analysis

James Blake over Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-2
Davydenko came out hot, picking up right where he left off with his destruction of David Ferrer in the quarters. After his early 2-0 lead, however, it was all Blake all the time. I'm not sure what the deal was with Davydenko, but his game fell off a ton the rest of the match. Obviously there's not a lot most guys can do when Blake is on - and Blake was definitely on tonight - but Davydenko still could have at least made it a match. In any case, a combination of Blake's overwhelming power from the baseline and Davydenko's surprising frustration level (he rarely shows emotion) brought the Russian down. There were several great baseline slugfests during the match, but Blake's monster forehand pretty much controlled play throughout the night. If anyone saw the match, you know that was one of the most ridiculous match-clinching shots in history. If you didn't I suggest watching SportsCenter because it's hard to describe in words; but Blake hit an on-the-full-run stretch forehand slap cross-court that blew past an outstretched Davydenko, who had just hit a nasty approach shot. It was an appropriate way to end the day for Blake.

Roger Federer over Lleyton Hewitt 6-3, 6-7 (9-7), 7-6 (7-1)

While this wasn't quite as amazing as the score would indicate, it was still a very good match. Both players stunk it up in the first set, but both the second and third sets were high quality, for the most part. Hewitt was more consistent and I thought he deserved to win the match, but you know how Federer turns things up at the right times. Hewitt, though, also played some incredibly clutch tennis. Among other huge shots, he saved a match point in the second-set tiebreaker with an incredible drop-volley. Hewitt got up a break early in the third to take a 3-2 lead, but Federer - as he always does - got it right back with some stellar, aggressive play. Really the only to periods of the match where Federer really played great were that game in which he broke back and the third-set tiebreaker (Hewitt also folded in the 'breaker). Other than that, Federer was only decent at best. At most tournaments, Federer traditionally wins ugly in his first few matches and then really heats up, but that hasn't happened yet and I don't see it happening. If Blake can get past Davydenko tonight, I think he has a real chance to beat Federer, or at least make it closer than he usually does. As for Davydenko, he would also have a chance, but I just don't think he has the belief necessary to beat Federer (or any of the other top three players), whereas Blake does.

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