Tuesday, September 08, 2009

US Open 2009 Women's Quarterfinals Preview

So here we are. In the order they will be contested:

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06:  Kim Clijsters of Belgium reacts to a point against Venus Williams of the United States during day seven of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 6, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Getty

Li Na, who's been enjoying some of her time in Chinatown, can beat Kim Clijsters. But I don't think the best Chinese singles player is going to excuse Comeback Kimmie. Unless, of course, the Belgian undoes herself, which remains a strong possibility. I know Venus Williams is Venus Williams, but the tour's newest mother champion allowed a woman on one leg to bagel her after she delivered her own. That betrays an inconsistency a player with Li's speed and firepower can take advantage of. If she, of course, doesn't undo herself. Comeback Kimmie in 3.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06:  Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia during day seven of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 6, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Getty

Flavia Pennetta survived 6 match points. That makes her more dangerous than she might otherwise be. Serena Williams has been known to lose many a head-scratcher in the quarterfinals of a Slam. I won't bother to list them, but you know what they are. One, a nightmatch on Arthur Ashe stadium five years ago. The defending champion is trying to successfully defend a Slam title for only the second time in her career and not since Wimbledon 2003. She might be particularly nervous. The gutsy Italian doesn't have a serve, so if Serena's return game is on point, this is going to go fast. Serena in straights.

Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine celebrates her win over Gisela Dulko of Argentina at the U.S. Open tennis championship in New York, September 7, 2009.
Reuters

Kateryna Bondarenko would be playing Jelena Jankovic, but since the Serbian's grandmother died, she'll face Yanina Wickmayer instead. In the top half of the Tier III event, the younger Bondarenko sister should use her experience in winning a doubles Slam to subdue the the young Belgian, whom I haven't even seen strike a tennis ball, so what do I know? Who would've thought this year's final eight would feature two Belgians? Bondarenko in 3.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 07:  Melanie Oudin of the United States celebrates her defeat against Nadia Petrova of Russia during day eight of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Getty

In what I called the most intriguting quarter of the draw, we get the fortnight's best story. 17-year-old Russian killer Melanie Oudin will play the propagandists' queen Caroline Wozniacki. As Lan said, Melanie slayed the entire Russian Fed Cup squad -- past, present, and future. Almost had a chance to oust another one, but alas the headcase that is Svetlana Kuznetsova couldn't get out of her own way to take out the counterpunching Dane clad in a potato sack with ruffles. I speak of her appearance because that's about the only thing making the media propagandists salivate all over her. This is a player deep in the third set of a second-week Slam encounter posting 5 winners to 4 unforced errors. Not my cup of tea. Oudin has a forehand she can call a weapon, but she's also a counterpuncher. Still, her attitude, her ability to make midmatch adjustments -- her guts -- endears her to me nonetheless. As one of her hometown friends said in an article that made CNN.com's front page, "It's still so surreal. She sort of wins no matter what happens. She's there going for it and not giving up." I think she's going to give the propagandists heartburn. Melanie in 3.

::

No matter what happens we are guaranteed a first-time finalist, perhaps even a youngster who storms through the draw out of nowhere and wins her first Slam against all the odds.

58 comments:

Pamela said...

Petra didn't win, Craig. Yanina Wickmayer did.

oddman said...

Can't argue with any of those calls.

'Potato sack with ruffles' - Best. Description. Ever.

I like Melanie's story. Her fire and guts remind me of young Rafa in '05. Let's leave out the leaping fistpumps, though.

Vamos, Mel!

Craig Hickman said...

Duh, Pamela. LOL

Karen said...

Well, well, well. The comeback train continues. Why am I just not enamoured of these victories? I must be a real curmugeon (sp?) as I am just not impressed with this so-called comeback. However, what a statement it would make if she actually gets to the final. Come on Serena, you have to save the WTA. You cannot go out to Flavia tonight, you just cannot

Karen said...

Hello, can I get a match call on the Murray match please. I see that the score has Cilic winning the first set. Seems to be playing very aggressively.

oddman said...

Murray looks to be favoring his left wrist.

oddman said...

Right now everything's gravy for Kim. All the old injuries, aches and pains are gone. The mental fatigue is long gone. She hasn't been battling on the tour all summer.
She got herself in shape, found her tennis hadn't left her, and here she is. I suspect, should she *stay* on the tour, things will not be so rosy as they look right now. IMO, she's got way more mental strength now than she ever did before the time off. Really, what has she got to lose here? Nada.

But, if she faces Serena (and I'm 99% sure she will), I doubt she'll get past her. Serena has that 'look' in her eye here in NY.

Karen said...

Oddman, that is so true. Do you think Murray has an injury of some sort. My goodness I cannot believe that Cilic is about to serve for the match. This is just unreal as I thought Murray had a real shot this year. My goodness.

Michael said...

Andy Murray is being dismantled by Marin Cilic. Cilic is hitting EVERYTHING hard and almost everything is going in. He won the 2nd set 6-2 with only 31% of his first serves going in. WOW.

Karen, have you tried the USOpen.org "watch live" links? No registration, good quality.

pompelmo said...

Missed him at Wimbledon, hit him here.

Dapxin said...

loooooooools.

looooooooooooooools.

the 'cynicism' per this post.

I have a feeling Craig is now enjoying the Tennis;

Yes you are! lol

Karen said...

Craig, did I not call it. Andy Murray, best, best of 3 set player ever. I still cannot believe that Cilic actually took him out. Talk about improving in leaps and bounds.

Karen said...

Michael, unfortunately the uso.org website is not available in my country. Stupid website. I watched it on fromsport

Michael said...

Karen,

I'm sorry to hear it. I hate that sort of crap. The whole website is blocked?

edma1022 said...

Now why can't I supress a chuckle at that Murray-Cilic match?

edma1022 said...

The entire ESPN Ashe booth team and Armstrong booth team did not give Cilic a snowflake's chance in hell of winning against Murray.

*teehee*

Another chuckle unsupressed. Sorry.

pompelmo said...

Karen, check opendns.com

It shows you how to change your dns settings, so you don't get blocked.

Basicly you should put in

208.67.220.220
208.67.222.222

as your primary and secondary dns numbers, instead of default. I don't think it is illegal.

Karen said...

Pompelno,thanks very much. Hopefully I will be able to do that tomorrow. I am home now. Why are they making excuses for Murray? He lost. He was out hit on the court. Clearly a lot of people think that if you beat the best players in the world then you can win a major. Does not work like that. It takes a strong aggressive game and the mental focus to do it. Training all year round etc is not going to cut it.

Dapxin said...

where's everyone?

Craig Hickman said...

Did the other Andy really lose that badly?

Craig Hickman said...

Serena's lucky Flavia is completely overwhelmed right now.

This is a terrible match. They're both playing like shit.

Dapxin said...

why do you say so professa Craig?

Craig Hickman said...

I'm just too cynical right now. I admit it.

It happens sometimes.

Karen said...

Ah Craig, welcome to my world. The world of cynicism. I have to say though that I have been feeling much more confident. I think it is the weather. Cheer up man. I think the end of the season does that to everyone or the change in seasons.

Craig Hickman said...

The McEnroe brothers appear depressed.

"The genius of Andy Murray" came out of my television so often today. Well, the genius is out of the tournament and I hardly hear anything from the propagandists about it being the biggest upset of the tournament.

Dapxin said...

interesting take on the womens game. Is it this dire ?

http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blogs/opencourt/archive/2009/09/07/it-s-lonely-at-the-top-of-the-women-s-game.aspx

Craig Hickman said...

Oh, so now Murray overtrained?

Have mercy.

Beth said...

Can I just say that Monfils is a pain in the ass? I hope Rafa takes him OUT.

Matt said...

What is that wound on Kim's face?

PeytonAllen said...

Beth,

Must have set for Rafa, can't believe he just gave the break back. If he can win the second, Gael will go away, physically if not mentally, but man alive Monfils can cover some ground.

Michael said...

Monfils is out-Nadaling Nadal. Can he do it for 3 sets?

PeytonAllen said...

Monfils is shot.

Rafa is running him like one of Agassi's Vegas hills.

PeytonAllen said...

What a match so far.

Don't see Gael winning 2 of 3. By the end of the 3rd set he's gonna be ready for bed. But, its nice to see him raise his level of play.

As far as Murray, didn't see the match, but so much for the next big thing. Murray has to go back to the drawing board. He's still young, but I was annoyed a couple weeks ago when he tried to justify his #2 ranking. There is none. Nadal was hurt, period.

I think he has a bright future. Fed kicked around at the same age. But, yeah the Murray hype wagon takes a major hit today.

Helen W said...

Beth I have the same reaction to Monfils as you do. He's an incredible athlete, but his on-court demeanour just gets under my skin somehow.

I doubt he's coming back after losing the second set. Nadal uncharacteristically let that first set tie-break slip away, but I doubt he will make many mistakes now.

Helen W said...

BTW, if Rafa wins tonight, he gets back the No 2 ranking.

Craig Hickman said...

Monfils can go jump in the East River.

PeytonAllen said...

Helen, nice to know about the ranking. I think you have to earn breaking up the Rafa/Roger show by winning a major.

I thought Monfils reacting as if he just won the Masters after the first set was a bit much, but I like him as a player.

He's physically about ready to check out of this match. I think he has to let some balls go.

PeytonAllen said...

Craig lol

Beth said...

Slugfest extraordinaire. This is going to come down to endurance. Monfils is ALL over the place. The guy can cover court like nobody's business but he seems to get more winded doing it than Nadal. This match has been running, running and guess what? MORE running. Now that Nadal has broken Monfils in the beginning of the 3rd, I hope Monfils just goes away. Man, I can smell the testosterone from my living room couch.

Tennis Vagabond said...

So great to see Nadal back like this, especially the attitude. I actually enjoy Monfils' exuberance and swagger, but he's got nothing on Nadal's running fist pump. What a fun match. Nadal shows why he's special, and what fitness means.

I thought Serena was great, I really don't enjoy her matches when she's hot-and-cold but when she's on, she's a real joy to watch. Her post-match interview was great too.

As for Murray: I wouldn't get TOO excited about Cilic yet. He played a good match, but Murray really was off today. I certainly don't think this makes Cilic a favourite against delPo. Is it wrong to point out just how much ugly was on the court in that match? On the other hand, Murray shows that he is not the real #2. Nadal and Fed just do not lose these matches at slams. Watching Monfils fade, it seems we will have the right #2 soon.

How funny would it be, after all that's happened and been predicted over last year and this, that we could end 2009 with Fed #1 and Nadal #2?

I am really hoping for a Nadl/Fed final, but I'd be happy with Djoker or delpo as well. Watching Nadal tonight, I expect it will be the former.

T. Vag
www.TennisVagabond.com

Karen said...

Monfils can go jump in the East River. - LOL - Oh Craig you never fail to make me laugh. What I cannot stand (or rather dislike) about Monfils is the dance he does when he wins a match. I understand the umpire gave him a soft warning for delaying in order to rile up the crowd.
You know when someone mentioned that as a result of Nadal's injuries they had benefitted the Murray fans were of the view that it was more Roger rather than Murray who had benefitted. Well, how true those words were. I only saw snippets of the match with Murray today, but from the uso.org radio announcers, he got beat. Simple as that. He had absolutely no answers for Cilic. Just as how everyone figured out Hingis' tactical game, so they have figured out Murray's tactical thoughtful analytical game. Players may be ball bashers, but for some reason they seem to know the game of tennis and able to take advantage of weak second serves and players who only know how to play 10 feet behind the baseline. Now they are speculating that he may have over trained or that he had a wrist injury. Whatever.

Beth said...

Yes, Monfils' reaction after winning the first set was definitely a bit of overkill. Hey, I guess some guys just love to feed off the crowd and we certainly know he's one of them. He can SLAM that ball too. He has hit some rockets that left me wondering how the cover stayed on the ball. I do think his level is coming down and he will fatigue but he has pulled out some surprises in the past and he seems to do a good job of 'self talk' and getting himself jacked up when necessary. I just hope Rafa can capitalize on any hint of fatigue coming off of Monfils and close this out as quickly as possible.

As for Murray, didn't see the match, don't much care that he is out. His matches are rarely anything that gets me excited about watching tennis. Not sure exactly what it is or why, but I really just don't care about watching him.

So glad to hear that Rafa could regain the #2. Would be nice to see.

Beth said...

Craig, what don't you like about Monfils?

Karen said...

There is a reason why Nadal and Fed have been winning these majors. They know how to play the game. They have the game, the talent, the resources. They have everything. Everyone else is just going to have to stand on the sidelines and watch these 2 until one or both of them leave the game through either age or injury. We should really just sit back and enjoy it. It will force the others to improve their games entirely. Maybe the reason why Murray played poorly was because Cilic took it to him. Murray is not an aggressive player. He plays a counterpunchers game, similar to Hewitt, but with more power. He has to do something about that second serve in particular. When Federer who is not known for pouncing on weak second serves makes mince meat out of your second serves, you know you need to do something about it.

Karen said...

Beth, you and me both. I recall during Wimbledon during his matches he basically had to be begging the crowd at his home tournament to give him support. His matches have nothing to them. I recall during Cincy when he played this 53 stroke rally, it was the most boring thing ever. I have seen Nadal play 10 point rally that had more excitement than that stupid 53 slicing rally. Ridiculous.

Tennis Vagabond said...

I believe Del Potro will be the next #1 when the Federer/Nadal hold is broken. He is just improving so fast its incredible.

T. Vag
www.TennisVagabond.com

Beth said...

Rafa has that look on his face like he's going to give Monfils a good spanking. Smile. Something tells me there's no love lost between these two....at least tonight....at least on this court.

Beth said...

Go Rafa. Kick some ass baby! Only one more set to go....anyone in the mood for a bagel?

PeytonAllen said...

This looks to be worthy information now:

Nadal vs. Gonzo

6-3. Winner of 6 of the last 7.

Tennis Vagabond said...

BTW, Nadal's arms are back to freakishly huge. During his first couple years, as a clay court maven, he was like this, but the last couple years as he played so much tennis and probably lost time for other physical training, his left arm went down to "normal" super-muscled tennis levels- like Safin or Verdasco. Looks now like he didn't spend the last 2 months just sitting on the couch.

PeytonAllen said...

If in the eyes of Mats the tour sat back and cracked open a beer when Soderling took out Rafa at the French, they're not much int he mood to eat right now.

Dude's back.

PeytonAllen said...

Obviously the Mac/Joker thing was staged and probably suggested by Mac to get Djoke some love in New York, and I don't mind it.

Beth said...

Finish it Rafa!!

Tennis Vagabond said...

What a difference in the Monfils/Nadal hug compared to Murray/Cilic. Murray didn't even look at Cilic or say a word, just threw his hand out, touched Cilic's, and walked away.

oddman said...

I'm sure AndyM was a bit chuffed at his own play. As for the hug from the night match guys, yeah, Rafa loves a fight. Makes him happy.

On that note:

WHOOOO-HOOOOOOOO!! Vamos vamos vamos!! Is he back? I didn't get to see it but the last few games - is he back? I'm SO happy he made the quarters - Odds is dancing here, getting weird looks from the canines, LOL.

Aziz said...

"Kateryna Bondarenko would be playing Jelena Jankovic, but since the Serbian's grandmother died, she'll face Yanina Wickmayer instead."

ha ha ha.
This is priceless, craig!

Mad Professah said...

Federer-Nadal final for the first time at US Open?

I call that one for Nadal.

But will Nadal get past Del Potro?? Doubtful.

b said...

Craig.... what was it you didn't like about the Serena-Pennetta match? I quite enjoyed it...... nice to see the fight by Pennetta, the great rallies, as well as vintage serena....

Monfils is one of my favorite players - was really torn during the bits of the match I watched..... At this point in his career I can't trust Monfils to perform consistently bthrough the final.... so was hoping for Nadal, esp as I'd like to see him get the CGS..... If the Monogram wasn't on the other side of the draw I'd care less.....
And yes, I love the "showboating".... Monfils can probably jump OVER the East River.... how's that? (hehe)