ATP Tennis 360

September 7, 2009 2:44 PM

Us Open first week – Ups and downs

Roger Federer – Not extraordinary, not so bad anyway. He managed his energies remaining on court enough to find his form. Devin broke him twice, he lost a set to Hewitt then but Roger defeated the Aussie for the 14th time in a row. He’s the main candidate to win the title. Vote: 6.5

Rafa Nadal – Not so bad. He’s in the third round despite an abdominal injury against Almagro, who has to learn the difference between playing a series of beautiful strokes and playing a match. Rafa was broken five times, really too many, but the Spanih derby was exactly what the new, leaner Nadal needed: a straightforward three-setter that tested him enough... but not too much. Vote: 6.5

Andy Murray – The Scotster fall asleep for a set against the Chilean Capdeville, but found the usual variety and effectiveness of his game against Taylor Dent, apart for the under 50% of first serve in the first set. Now he’ll face Marin Cilic: the Brit has won all three of their previous meetings and will be confident of making the quarter-finals. Vote: 7

Andy Roddick – For the second time he lost without evident guilts against big bombers. Andy demonstrated again to suffer this kind of player capable of maintaining high standards on his serve, to erase any shadow of rythm from the match. Like against Querrey in Cincinnati (Andy lost 76 76), against John Isner (vote: 8), defeated some weeks ago in a dramatic three setter in Indianapolis, Roddick fought hard but there was nothing to do – vote 6

Taylor Dent – The serve-and-volleying panda was extraordinary. He came back to win a match in a major after four years after three back surgeries and 11 months passed immobilised in a bed for 23 hours a day. He tried to reach a real estate license, studied politics and religion, played to World of Warcraft videogame. But finally came back to tennis. Against Feliciano Lopez (vote: 5.5), a great talent wasted, he won a great match but completed his masterpiece against another atypical Spaniard, Ivan Navarro (ex Navarro-Pastor, who decided to cancel his second surname), who plays with two racquets (one to serve, another to return, forcing the ballboy to change it every two points in the tiebreaks) 255 net points in 252 minutes of incredibly enjoyable tennis, with the game suspended for 7 minutes because a 138 mph service by Dent unseated the net. A match who saw Dent celebrating shouting “You guys are unbelievable!” to the crowd and and emotional high-five to all the viewers in the first row. The successive defeat against Murray didn’t ruin his unforgettable joy. Vote:9

Italian tennis – The worst performance ever in Flushing Meadows for Italian guys. Five men in the main draw, as many defeats with only one set won (by the player with the most unfavourable odds, Flavio Cipolla against Benneteau). More than the results, Italian fans are concerned about the way these defeats arrived, without signs of reaction, without fighting, like Starace who lost 76 76 60 by the Swiss journeyman Chiudinelli (losing 7 points in a row in the second set tiebreak). Not the best way to head towards the Davis Cup playoff against Federer and Wawrinka. Vote: 4

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