Friday, 14 August 2009

Monty-real Tennis: QF Preview

This has been a strange little event.

On the one hand it's been full of the kind of box office participation you'd want and expect from an event at this level. What's more is all the top seeds have followed up, playing the kind of tennis that doesn't always amaze, but is sufficient to have seen them all safely through to the quarters for the first time since 1973.

I shouldn't be complaining.

But I really do think we've been missing the kind of rip-roarer that sets the direction and tone for the event.

It usually comes on the 2nd or 3rd day and involves one of the top seeds squaring off against a tier two player playing out of his skin.

The funny thing is, we've had plenty of matches, that should have been corkers, either blighted by injury or uninspired play.

That's fine. But if either of these mouth watering quarter final match ups fail to live up to expectation, prepare for some rather moody episodes of fist shaking on my part.

Federer v Tsonga

I said I wanted this match to go ahead right at the beginning of the event. Preferably with Jo-Willy at his slam dunkin' smack-downin' best.

Federer's been as good as he need be up to this point, coming out on top against Stan Wawrinka in straights yesterday.

And though I was hopeful of a Gilles Simon renaissance given the surface and what time of year it is, Jo-Willy quickly put an end to all of that.

I've yet to see either of those two matches as they'll be shown later today in a delayed-broadcast, but I'm not expecting anything special.

(Photo: AP)

What I do know is if Tsonga continues to play the way he has been of late, it'll be an easy straights sets route through to the semis for Federer. This is a great opportunity to improve upon my less than favourable opinion of you Jo. Do not let me down.

del Potro v Nadal

Nadal played the match he should have done in the first round yesterday. That he got past Phillip Petzchner fairly easily is encouraging but nothing to write home about. I'd rather see it as a cause for concern if he dropped a set.

Having said that, Rafa's clearly rested if a little rusty. He could certainly win it if Juan is at anything other than his very best.

del Potro in three.

Murray v Davydenko

These two met up earlier this year at Monte Carlo, when Davydenko was returning from an injury with Andy still very much in the 'finding his feet' stage on clay. Murray won.

Nikolay has won two titles since then, with at least one of them assuming some kind of pseudo-importance, despite the incongruity of post-Wimby clay court events.

Unfortunately for Kolya, Andy seems to be back to something like his form of late last year, I daresay there might even be a more acute stone-cold efficiency about him, which means I expect him to win this one too.

Don't be surprised to see it go to three though.

A-Rod v Djoko

Hmmm. Perhaps the most evenly matched of the four. With all the prickliness of US Open subplots to boot. If I was pushed, I'd go in favour of A-Rod, just because of his specially stellar form and all-round awesomeness of late. But I also think Novak's been somewhat unfairly tarnished as the 'nothing-man' recently (I've even heard him characterised as a grinder), so focused has attention been on the top two, and Murray's potential world #2 status.

A-Rod in three.

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