It’s Friday

Written By: achangeofends - Aug• 13•10

You know what that means, it’s quarter finals day in Toronto. I feel like I just left the lovely city and all the big names were still confined to the practice courts instead of the stadiums, but that was already a week ago. A number of favorites have passed us by and we’re into the meaty part of the tournament. I would argue that quarter finals day at any tournament is the biggest bang for your buck. Today is particularly good as all of the top 4 are still in action.

The day will start with what I believe to be the most interesting match-up: Andy Murray vs. David Nalbandian. Nalbandian is fresh off a title in Washington DC after returning from injury. He has played on and off all year, but has not participated in a Grand Slam even since the 2009 Australian Open. People tend to underestimate Nalbandian’s abilities, but he has been to the semi finals at all four majors, including a Wimbledon final. He was also ranked a career best of number 3 in the world. His current ranking stands at 45, but is likely to rise again on Monday. Murray is 4th in the world and took home the Rogers Cup trophy just last year, so he’s got lots of points to defend. While players like Nadal and Djokovic have ended up with slightly less challenging opponents in the quarter finals, Murray is in for a test. Nalbandian is absolutely on fire at the moment. To reach the quarterfinals, he took out David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, and world number 5, Robin Soderling. Murray on the other hand, got a bye, Xavier Malisse, and Gael Monfils, who bageled him in the second set. Clearly he’s not exactly in top form yet. Nalbandian already beat number 5, who’s to say he can’t take care of 4 too. I think Nalbandian will prevail in three.

Next up is Rafael Nadal vs. Philipp Kohschreiber. In the first round, Kohlschreiber played just four games before Janko Tipsarevic was forced to retire due to an ankle injury suffered during the match. Next, Kohlschreiber faced Viktor Troicki and Yen Hsun Lu, not exactly a draw full of superstars. So far Rafa’s biggest test has been the first set tie-break against Stanislas Wawrinka, which he won 14-12. Since then it’s been smooth sailing. He shouldn’t have much trouble today either. My guess is Rafa in two.

The evening session will be headlined by the match we’ve all been waiting for, a re-match of the Wimbledon quarter final that shocked the world. Yes, we’re talking Roger Federer vs. Tomas Berdych. Berdych’s road to the quarters has been comprised of two bracket busters, Sergiy Stakhovsky, who took out Richard Gasquet in the first round, and Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Philipp Petzschner and Mikhail Youzhny. Berdych hasn’t really had an issue disposing of these guys, although Dolgopolov did take him to three sets, but he also doesn’t look quite as good as he did on his dream run to the Wimbledon final. So far, Federer has faced Juan Ignacio Chela and Michael Llodra. Roger gave me quite a scare yesterday against Llodra. I wasn’t real pleased to see him down 4-1 in the first set, but in typical Roger fashion, he managed to fight his way back and win the first in a tie break, going on to dominate the match. It looked like Llodra must’ve expended most of his magic in those first few games, because the second was a bit of a walk for Fed. Although, at one point int he second set, Llodra threw in an underhand serve. This is something he, like most pros, had never done before in a tour level match. Somehow, this actually stumped Federer, who’s return went wide. Apparently they both laughed at that one. Finally all was said and one and they shook hands at the net. A few minutes later, Llodra returned to the net, shirt in hand (I’m starting to think he just doesn’t like wearing one) and asked Roger for an exchange. Roger complied, tugging his baby pink polo over his head and handing it over. He quickly returned to his racket bag and donned a replica. Llodra later said that Roger is a legend and the shirt would be a great gift for his kids. See, ever the other players what mementos from Federer. The guy truly stands in a league of his own. Anyway, I digress, I can’t say for sure, but I think Roger will come out on top of Tomas under the lights tonight. I’m not completely sure if this prediction comes from my utter admiration for Federer or a true belief that he will win, but I said it, and I’m sticking to it.

The final match of the night is Jeremy Chardy vs. Novak Djokovic. Chardy has managed to take out some hard hitters so far, but I don’t think he’ll be able to get it done tonight. I know Djokovic’s health was a concern in his last match, but that was a day match, in the heat. Heat is really Djokovic’s big problem and that shouldn’t be an obstacle tonight since his match will likely start around 9pm. I’m going with Djokovic in straights.

So, there you go, all of my predictions for the day. I’ll check back tonight or tomorrow with some thoughts on the day’s action and our semi finals preview. I’ve DVR’d today’s coverage, so I might actually have some comments on the tennis this time. Look forward to it.

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