A mystery bug/illness wiped me out on Friday (a day feeling sorry for myself in bed with zero energy, i’ll spare any further details) and the rest of the weekend saw a family event take precedent over tennis waffling.
Anywho, here then is a recap of the remainder of what has been a dramatic narrative worthy of any Hollywood blockbuster.
It is one of the shoddiest posts written in recent memory, trying to summarise four days of action having seen nothing more than a couple of highlight reels is not easy.
Alas, I’ve seen precious little as the week has progressed; a relinquished TV package – thus losing Eurosport – has made sure of that.
It is the same every year, the fourth and final slam proves mostly illusive to me and most other Sky Sports-less Brits – the only solution I can think of is to spend a fortnight in NYC.
Might take some convincing the missus but worth a shot.
Midweek, during my last write up, the biggest name to fall from the 2014 Open was the indifferent Agnieska Radwanska, it is safe to say that the list of seeded casualties has increased somewhat.
The women have provided all the talking points so far. Stosur and Kanepi delivered a hum dinger, with the Estonian prevailing. Before long we lost Ana Ivanovic, Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys – the other young American starlet Catherine Bellis also bowed out but will be back in a big way. The stars of that half of the draw are surely Casey Dellacqua and Victoria Azarenka who have both made big big strides from their own respective wildernesses.
You’d still fancy Serena and Bouchard to emerge from this half, the former has (and I say this tentatively given her 2014) been back to her best in the last month, whilst Bouchard’s year speaks for itself.
The other half has hosted even more stories: Angelique Kerber, Alize Cornet, Roberta Vinci Andrea Petkovic, Venus Williams and Simona Halep are all no more after an amazing couple of days in the Big Apple.
Belinda Bencic and Shuai Peng who conquered Kerber and Vinci respectively are two very fine players from different generations – no real surprises there. But Halep’s exit stands out most of all – Mirjana Lucic-Baroni who’s career has been all at sea since a 1999 Wimbledon semi-final has rediscovered some major mojo this week. Although the Croatian has also now exited proceedings, the scalps of Halep and Muguruza will do very nicely.
The resurgences of Wozniacki, Jankovic and Sara Errani has been another story, with yesterdays action adding another thrilling chapter.
In a ding-dong contest the former world number one Dane Wozniacki gave the world and her opponent a lesson in controlled hitting, mental strength and consistency and athleticism. The much fancied and much loved Sharapova – who the Americans treat as one of their own it seems – looked tired and understandably shell-shocked at Caro’s rediscovered form. It was a slow and absorbing three setter, extinguished with aplomb by another down-the-line screamer from the former finalist.
But Jankovic’s serene progress was halted by the 17 year old Bencic, a player who has made waves all year and after this impressive and tight victory is the youngest player to reach the Open QFs since one Martina Hingis in 1997.
Peng Shuai has also progressed, like Bencic somewhat against the odds despite her form, defeating Safarova, the Czech herself one of the dangerous lurkers after a fine year.
The men have followed the script somewhat, but the reward for such by-the-book formalities is some mouthwatering match-ups.
Last night, Simon vs Ferrer and Monfils vs Gasquet delivered much quality and one surprising victor in Simon.
Both Federer and Dimitrov had early scares in their four set victories over Granollers and Goffin, the Swiss looking far from ready losing the first seven points and only one in the first thirteen. The tennis gods smiled on the titan soon to join them and supplied the rain halfway through that erratic first set.
Marin Cilic also had to work to progress with a four set slog over the dangerous Kevin Anderson, but things were easier for Berdych and Bautista-Agut who prevailed in three but Feliciano Lopez crashed out in straight sets to Gulbis’ conqueror Dominic Thiem.
The other half sees a star-studded half with every match a must-see (or in my case a see-none). How about Djokovic vs Kohlschreiber, Tsonga vs Murray, Wawrinka vs Robredo and Nishikori vsRaonic sound?
(Remainder of) Week 1 Seeds to fall
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova
Week 1 Heroes: Tommy Robredo and Sara Errani
These two veterans have had a stonking tournament – the Italian has looked all at sea for some time and a permanent slide down the rankings looked probable, but has found her voice and her confidence to silence both Venus and the other star of the first week Lucic-Baroni. Robredo? well we all remember his headline-grabbing defeat of a sorry Federer last year, but it has been the perhaps unenvied ‘marathon-man’ monicker this year after several victories from the point of no return.
Midweek victory predicitons….. Genie Bouchard and Roger Federer
A daring and foolish midweek prediction for the title sees my choices of a first-time and six-time champ. Yes, Serena and Novak have looked very commanding but we all know how Serena has wilted from nowehere this year and Djoko has had a lacklustre U.S Open Series, not to mention the tougher half of the draw.
Who knows, maybe i’ll get to see some action en route to discovering how wrong I am come Sunday.