1. Every summer, John Isner plays his best tennis in the US Open series. And then every summer, like clockwork, he turns into a pumpkin at the big tournament. Can the tennis media stop acting like he’s a serious US Open threat? He’s not.
2. While I was watching Caroline Wozniacki play against Camila Giorgi, a question occurred to me: how would people perceive Wozniacki if she had the same career accomplishments she has now, but was more of a ball-basher? Personally, I think there would be more appreciation for what she’s done, and less discussion of the weak competition she faced during her reign as World No. 1. I’m not sure that’s right, but it’s an interesting thing to consider.
Q. If Tim Smyczek loses tomorrow, there’s a chance that no Americans would be in the second week of any major this year for the first time ever. What would you make of that, and your part of that?
PHILIPP KOHLSCHREIBER: I’m part of that? I’m sorry.
4. Right around this time of every Grand Slam tournament, I get sick of the clichés I hear from commentators. Some of my least favorites:
“______ needs more free points.”
“______ is playing too tentatively.”
“______ needs to come to the net more.”
I’m sure I’m missing a lot of them.
5. Simona Halep looked dangerous in her beatdown of Maria Kirilenko today. Everything was working, as it has been lately for the Romanian. She’s the hottest player on the WTA Tour that hardly anyone is talking about.
6. I enjoyed Ivo Karlovic’s quotes in this piece about John Isner adding an inch to his official ATP height to match Karlovic at 6’10:
“You know, I don’t know if it was his back that was hunched, maybe, and now it is more straight?” he said. “But I should also do new measurements to see if I also can extend it, maybe.
Karlovic, who at 33 is five years older than Isner, then realized there could be a negative consequence to redoing his own numbers. “Or I go down now, maybe, because I’m already older,” he said.
Asked if he was taller than Isner, Karlovic wavered.
“Yeah,” Karlovic said. “I mean, I don’t know. Who knows now? Usually, yes. But now I don’t know anymore.”
1. Simona Halep has an unbelievable chance to make the US Open semifinals after her demolition of Maria Kirilenko. As if the violent 1 and 0 scoreline wasn’t impressive enough, it’s worth noting that Kirilenko was seeded seven spots ahead of Halep.
It’s truly amazing how the young Romanian has exploded onto the scene in the past few months. She was a somewhat forgotten title-less young player up until the mid year mark. Since then she’s managed to win four titles and now knows that only Flavia Penneta and either Roberta Vinci or Camilia Giorgi stand in the way of her first ever Slam semi.
Should Halep make it that far, it would be fascinating to see how her game stacks up against one of the ruling elite in women’s tennis. I, for one, am rooting for that Halep-Azarenka semi to happen.
2. Rafael Nadal is looking better and better. Today’s match with Ivan Dodig was tricky, but the Spaniard breezed by without incident. As a bonus, he now knows he’ll face Philipp Kohlschreiber instead of the always tricky John Isner. The rich getting richer, eh?
3. This graph explains perfectly what has happened to Ana Ivanovic’s career in the past few years:
Ana's toss placement… hmmm. pic.twitter.com/WYGaONt1b7
— Mr. Pigz (@MisterPigz) August 31, 2013
4. Janko Tipsarevic is into the second week of this year’s US Open. What’s sad (and telling about the year he’s having) is that this seems like one of the more unexpected developments in this year’s US Open.
5. The Dan Evans thrill ride ended today. The Brit is fun to watch, even if he has a glaring, obvious weakness in his iffy backhand. Many will hope to see more of him in the future, and I’m among them. However, I fear that this was a one-time thing.
6. Camila Giorgi hits the ball really, really hard. She ran Caroline Wozniacki ragged for most of their match today, as the former World No. 1 once again avoided the second week of a slam. I thought it was a rather sad performance from Woz, as she ended up with over twice as many UFEs than winners, something that’s anathema to the way she approaches the game. Other than waiting for Giorgi to implode, Caroline did little to steer the match towards her best interests.
About the 21-year-old Italian: there’s no subtlety whatsoever on Camila’s game, as she points out herself:
Camila Giorgi's tactics … "Just hit the ball in the corners." Which she definitely did … 46 winners. (USAT) pic.twitter.com/jy7H5TkjuW
— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) September 1, 2013
Giorgi looks at the ball, and she hits it really hard, with more or less the same spin every time. That should be good enough to reach the top 50, given that she also has a pretty potent serve. However, there are obvious issues: tactical awareness, anticipation, or the ability to adjust aren’t really visible. I’m not sure she can survive a match in which she’s forced to defend and look for ways to turn that around. At the end of the day, there are reasons why Camila had to go through the qualies to reach the main draw this year.
All that being said … man, wouldn’t it be fun to be able to crush the ball as hard as Giorgi does? If I could do it, that’s all I’d do, too.
1. If you follow my writing, you know that I’m not the most technically-minded person. People like Amy, Juan José, and others are much better at analyzing that, so I just leave that to them. But, I mean, even I could have come up with better analysis than this!
— deepfriedlard (@deepfriedlard) September 1, 2013
2. Rafa, along with the rest of the top guys, is looking really great right now. And it really seems like he was in a great mood in his press conference today:
Q. One of the papers published an interview today with Francis Roig, and he said when you were off for the year you did a lot of target practice trying to hit water bottles and knock one over. Is that an important part of your training? Roig told The Wall Street Journal start of the year you were trying to hit targets on the court, water bottles.
RAFAEL NADAL: (Through translation.) Well, we work on that all the time to try to have objectives on court, on the sides, but I never hit no one. I am not very good on that. (Laughter).
Q. You have been invincible on your service through the tournament, you know, not a single loss of serve.
RAFAEL NADAL: Will happen. No worries (Laughter).
Although, it doesn’t seem like he follows doubles really closely…
Q. What are your thoughts when you see the Bryan brothers, who are now going for the Grand Slam in doubles?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. They already won the first three? Well, I wish them best of luck for the tournament. I think if they really make it is something very difficult and will be a very good thing.
3. This is amazing:
— Douglas Robson (@dougrobson) September 1, 2013
4. Oh Fudd.
5. I’m disappointed in John Isner, and I really think he’s disappointed in himself, too. He really only needed one more win to seal a great summer–nobody expected him to beat Rafa–but this loss to Kohls really just makes it seem like it was all for nothing, unfortunately.
I’ll have more thoughts on that tomorrow.
6. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be beatdown city, but I’m still really excited for Serena/Sloane tomorrow. It’s about time that we get another on-court chapter to this overblown saga.
7. I am all aboard the Giorgi bandwaggon.
8. Get to know Tim Smyczek, your last American man standing. You know, just like we all predicted.