1. Oh my god. I haven’t been that invested in a tennis match since Federer-Benneteau at 2012 Wimbledon. Kevin Anderson, currently making a big push to reach the top 10, beat Andy Murray to make his first career slam quarterfinal! With his great head-to-head record about his QF opponent Stan Wawrinka, he also has a decent shot at reaching the semifinal. (I so hope he does, not only because he plays wonderful tennis, but also because I bought a ticket to the men’s semis, and I’d love to be there to cheer him on.)
That was a heck of a match, too. Anderson played about as well as he could have, even when Murray fought back to take the third set. There was much talk about Anderson choking and so forth (I truly hate that stuff, by the way), especially after the rough five-set Wimbledon loss to Novak Djokovic, but he was rock-solid. Many props to him and his team, and of course to Changeover blogger Kelsey!
Celebrating your favourite player's victory after a hard-fought match like pic.twitter.com/qwtRjHCEnl
— ATP Reactions (@ATPreactions) September 8, 2015
I hereby declare the official hashtag of Anderson’s slam run: #Anderslam.
He hit some phenomenal shots in the two tiebreaks he won. Case in point:
My personal excitement aside, it will take something special from any non-Djokovic or Federer player still left in the draw to make the final. Here’s the lineup for the quarters:
Djokovic vs. Lopez
Tsonga vs. Cilic
Wawrinka vs. Anderson
Gasquet vs. Federer
2. All the outrage over Anderson’s bathroom break (Murray had a temper tantrum about it in the match, which I suspect was mainly because he was losing) and other bathroom breaks seems absolutely ridiculous to me. If you’re good enough to win a tennis match, you should be good enough to be able to wait 10 minutes for a break that is completely within the rules. It’s frankly disrespectful to Murray’s abilities as an elite player to think that his chances of winning the match would’ve been affected by something so silly.
I watch a lot of different sports, but this sport is the only one I’ve ever watched in which it’s considered totally outrageous for the players to take breaks allowed for in the rulebook and use them to their advantage. Bathroom breaks are not even gamesmanship in my book. Breaking: tennis players continue to have bodily functions during their matches. Some injury timeouts cross the boundaries of gamesmanship, but most don’t. And I find it especially hard to get worked up over a break in between sets for one of the players to use the restroom.
— Kevin Anderson (@kevinanderson18) September 8, 2015
3. I’m really sympathetic to the fact that most people don’t know who Kevin Anderson is, and I understand that CNN writes for a much broader audience than the tennis community. But coining a guy ranked in the top 15 as “unknown,” is pretty outrageously wrong, especially given the fact that the most dramatic men’s match at Wimbledon just weeks ago was probably the five-setter featuring Anderson and Djokovic.
You can’t call someone who is that highly ranked an “unknown,” because if you’re using people who have never heard of tennis as a standard, then Novak Djokovic or David Ferrer are probably “unknown,” too, but you’d sound ridiculous saying that. Anderson is known to anyone who has followed a couple of tournaments, and that’s who is going to read an article about the US Open in the first place.
1. I’ve long said that the best-of-five format was helping the elite men much more than hurting them, and it’s good to have some data that backs that up.
At Premier and Masters events, men and women are upset at very similar rates, while at the Slams, male top seeds are upset far less often.
2. Read Brian Phillips on Genie Bouchard and Nick Kyrgios. Don’t make me tell you twice.
I don’t know if there’s a lesson here beyond human charisma being impossible to resist when you give it a strong situational multiplier, but it was something to see. Bouchard and Kyrgios are opposite players in so many ways. She’s precise, determined, and steady. He’s frantic and impulsive. She narrows her eyes, shifts her weight from foot to foot, and hops in place between points, kicking her heels up high; you have the impression, when she’s playing, that she’s working, managing resources, adjusting mental sliders to find the right allocation of effort. He paces along the baseline like a nervous groom before a wedding, clutches his head, flicks his eyes from place to place. You have the impression that he’s acting out to keep from melting down. Where she’s intimidating, he’s uncomfortable. People always call Kyrgios “hip-hop,” but that’s a lazy comparison; his paranoid quickness, his quickened-ness, puts me in mind of a wired mid-’80s David Byrne. Against Cibulkova, Bouchard would approach the umpire to argue calls she didn’t like, and if she was angry she was lawyerly, too, focused and rational. (She’d unconsciously adjust her racket strings while she pressed her case.) Against Murray, Kyrgios lost the grip on his racket and sent it rocketing into the stands.
3. Okay, that Simona/Sabine match was a disaster of epic proportions, but you know what? It was exactly the kind of match I feel like Simona needed to get through at a major. We’ve seen her acquiesce too often this year on the big stages, allowing herself to be completely overcome by her opponent or her injury or the moment or whatever. She was close to letting that happen, but managed to fight it out.
(Sabine helped, of course. She always does.)
Let’s hope that Simona is healthy enough to make it a match against Azarenka.
4. Kudos, Kevin Anderson. What a well-deserved, hard-fought victory over Murray in four sets. You have to love that his big breakthrough to a major quarterfinal came not because a draw opened up for him, but because he busted through it in a wonderful atmosphere.
Anderson plays Wawrinka in the quarters, and don’t look now, but Anderson has won the last four matches in a row against Stan …
5. Let’s take a moment to say goodbye to Michael Russell, who said goodbye to his career today when he and Donald Young lost their doubles matches.
There were some nice tributes on Twitter:
— deniskudla (@deniskudla) September 8, 2015
— Lucille Bryan (@LuckyBryan7) September 8, 2015
Congrats @MRusselltennis on a great career and for being such an amazing person! Good luck with everything going forward and hope to see u!
— Melanie Oudin (@melanie_oudin) September 8, 2015
one of the nicest, most professional guys you'll meet…congrats to @MRusselltennis on a great career and best of luck in the next chapter!
— Jack Sock (@JackSock) September 8, 2015
— Marcus Tennis (@marcustennis) September 7, 2015
1. Simona Halep survives …
We’ve had some great matches in the US Open so far. Simona Halep vs. Sabine Lisicki will not be remembered as such. Their three-set encounter included every horror you can imagine: unforced errors in the low 70s, Simona on a hampered leg, Sabine suffering cramps, serves so slow they’d make Errani blush. It was, frankly, a horror show. Simona did not enjoy it:
When you don't like Mondays pic.twitter.com/gQaud96amY
— WTA Reactions (@WTAreactions) September 7, 2015
Somehow, having dropped the first set 7-6 and looking like she could barely move, Simona Halep managed to stick in the match both mentally and physically, eventually grinding her German opponent into submission. It was familiar territory for Lisicki, who had come through an equally ugly third round match versus Barbora Strycova, but ultimately her body and mind couldn’t maintain the energy for a second time.
Halep will have her work cut out for her in the QF, with a certain Belorussian looking in great form.
2. …Victoria Azarenka thrives
Azarenka’s fourth round match was just what she needed after the dramatics of her wonderful third round encounter with Angelique Kerber. The World No. 20 wasted no time against the USA’s Varvara Lepchenko, coming through in straight sets, 6-3 6-4.
It’s so great to see Azarenka playing good tennis and receiving a draw that actually rewards some of her hard work. She’s looking very good for her match up with Halep, and for once might be the less-injured player on the court.
That ranking should build up nicely from here.
3. End of the road for Donald Young
What a run, though! Young has made a big impact in this tournament and his progress has been a delight to follow. Stanislas Wawrinka was too strong for him this afternoon though, pushing through in 4 sets with some wonderful play on his backhand.
Given that before this match Wawrinka had not dropped a set in the tournament, this is certainly a good showing from Young and he should be pleased with this week of results. Let’s see if he can continue the momentum or if this was another classic flash of success from him.
It wasn’t always pretty (or in the case of the Halep-Lisicki, it was downright ugly at times), but we ended today with a quarterfinal that promises to be a lot of fun. Both Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka are incredible fighters — and the contrast in their styles should provide for a compelling match. However, Halep struggled with a left leg injury at the close of her match with Sabine Lisicki, and Azarenka was taped for a leg injury as well as an allergic reaction to her Nike kit (Nike, please stop torturing Vika; Vika, maybe Adidas will treat you better?) — but I suspect they will both show up for a fun match on Wednesday.
2. Can do Kando!
After his painful loss after leading Novak Djokovic two sets to love at Wimbledon, the tennis gods owed Kevin Anderson. As it turns out, he didn’t need them after all — as he played confident clutch tennis to score the upset over Andy Murray. With Stan Wawrinka looming in the next round, things are pointing towards a nice run.
3. Roger Federer is very good at tennis.
Playing John Isner requires a high level of concentration and the ability to capitalize on the slimmest of advantages. For much of this match, Roger Federer was unable to convert the rather generous number of break points he was able to earn. But with clutch play in two tiebreakers, and converting one of his thousand (give or take) break points, he was able to take this one in three. Make no mistake, Isner played well, but this match showed how good Federer can be in a close tussle, and his raw talent in handling the big servers.
4. ESPN does good promos.
That's good promo, ESPN. pic.twitter.com/O6Iss5VVi4
— Anusha R (@anushasez) September 8, 2015