Alright, Not So Super Saturday

Written By: achangeofends - Sep• 12•10

So today started out quite predictably. Mikhail Youzhny was just overmatched in his encounter with Rafael Nadal. I didn’t envy the player who stood between Rafa and his first US Open semifinal. Nadal has played his best tennis this week in New York. Whatever he did to his serve is working wonders and he’s yet to drop a set in the tournament. Nadal was on fire this morning, storming past Misha in three sets. This was still a great run for the Russian, who will jump back into the top 10 on Monday. This was also a great step forward for Nadal, who will compete for his first US Open title tomorrow afternoon, seeking the career Grand Slam.

While the first semifinal of the day took just over two hours, the second was set to be a little more competitive. The number two and three seeds were set to do battle for the last spot in Sunday’s final. Roger Federer has won five US Open titles, appeared in the last six US Open finals, and has sixteen Grand Slam titles to his name. This kind of makes him the perennial favorite. The media had already written off 3rd seed Novak Djokovic, in some cases quite literally. I saw several Fedal previews before the match even ended. In some ways I understood this. Roger Federer is the greatest player of all time so it’s odd for him to lose, but Novak Djokovic is no slouch. Djokovic took out Federer in the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2008, ending Federer’s longtime finals streak, and later earning his first Grand Slam title. Honestly, I expected Roger to take this in four. He’s been playing great all week and kind of owns the US Open. However, Djokovic was once again ready to take the wind out of Fed’s sails. Federer won the first set and the match seemed like a forgone conclusion. But then I’m not really sure what happened. Roger gave up two breaks and dropped the second set in a rare fashion, 6-1. The rest of the match was just as crazy as the beginning. Roger broke to win the third set and I was positive he would cruise to the finish line. No go. He lost serve in the first game of the fourth and Djokovic leveled the match at two sets all after winning the fourth 6-2. The fifth set was about as dramatic as we could’ve hoped for. The commentators and fans alike were still sure Roger would pull it out. He even held three match points on Nole’s serve. Djokovic did an amazing job of holding it together and finally got the break so he could serve for the match. Try as he might, Roger Federer could not stave off Novak Djokovic and succumbed 7-5 in the fifth set. As bad as I feel for Federer, Djokovic definitely deserved this. Bad news, we’ll be seeing more of those horrible shirts that Nole’s parents wear.

After this dramatic affair, what would the women give us? Vera Zvonareva looked nothing less than inspired against Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals. ‘Bepa’ was all set to compete in her second consecutive Grand Slam final. Not bad for a girl who cried in the middle of her match last year. She’s come a long way mentally and has proven she has the game to beat top players. Bepa was set to face defending champion Kim Clijsters. Kim came into the final on a 20 match winning streak at Flushing Meadows. All the facts indicated that this should be an interesting match. Kim lead the head to head 5-2, but Vera came out on top in their last two meetings, both this summer.

If any of you actually watched this, you know where this story’s headed. Bepa lost. Alright, she didn’t just lose, she lost spectacularly. The match lasted a whopping 59 minutes, the shortest since 1980. Vera stuck with it, but Kim outplayed her, seemingly unable to miss a ball. Clijsters’ ability to return almost anything is just astounding. Kim finally put Bepa out of her misery and ended things at 6-1, 6-2. Vera did good. She held it together for the whole award ceremony. This was an unfortunate display for women’s tennis, which is generally less popular than men’s tennis. The fans seemed almost confused. Do you cheer against someone simply because they’re winning too quickly? Even Kim seemed embarrassed to celebrate such a crushing victory. All in all, this clearly wasn’t the best match of the tournament by any means, but congratulations to Kim Clijsters all the same.

On a totally unrelated note, I’ve included a pic of Sergey from Bepa’s practice last Saturday, because really, who doesn’t want a gratuitous picture of Sergey?

It’s too late for me to do an in depth finals preview for Nole/Rafa, so I’m going to get straight to the point here. Rafa’s playing incredible tennis. Nole played a five set match against the best player of all time less than 24 hours before he has to best the current best player in the world. The odds are kind of stacked in Nadal’s favor here. I think Djokovic will put up at least some resistance. Don’t worry, we’re not going to see another Kim/Vera. However, I think Rafa will keep on rolling and win his first US Open title without dropping a set. I’ll check back in tomorrow for my post match summary. Good night all!

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