by James A. Crabtree
Whenever Federer, strangely, doesn’t make a grand slam semi-final there is a collective sigh of regret from the majority of the world’s tennis faithful. On the flip side, of the players still standing, there is a genuine sigh of relief.
Suddenly there is a chance, a real chance, a fresh face could hold aloft a grand slam trophy. Apart from Juan Martin del Potro’s 2009 U.S. Open all the slams since Roland Garros 2005 have been dominated by either Roger, Rafa or Novak.
Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer all believe that this could be their chance at tennis immortality. They are smiling on the inside.
The only guy to possibly spoil an all-out ‘Thank God They Are Not Here’ party is, of course, Novak Djokovic who is the only member of the big three present. Also noteworthy is the fact that the Serbian world number two has been looking scarily good, just ask big Jaun Martin del Potro.
David Ferrer versus Novak Djokovic
Is this a forgone conclusion?
I really hate to say this, and I don’t want to believe it but yes, it looks to be all Novak. In almost all aspects he is a better version of his opponent.
What David Ferrer/young Emilio Estevez fans have to hope for is Djokovic to have one of those apathetic meltdowns that we used to see from him pre 2011. We need Ferrer to out grind to the backhand, keep the ball deep , return exceptionally and break late in sets. Trouble is it just doesn’t look likely. Tennis is all about current form and confidence. The Djoker is riding high on both after blitzing through the draw including that sensational win over Juan Martin del Potro.
Okay, so Ferrer’s record against the Serb isn’t bad, he has won five of their thirteen meetings. Noting that three of those were in round robin play, but none in grand slams.
Although it would be a real treat to see the other Spaniard gunslinger in a grand slam final, a true gambler wouldn’t bet against Novak now, especially in Gotham City.
Andy Murray versus Tomas Berdych
This should be a really testy encounter. A Highlander taking on the pride of Skynet, the T1000. These are two really volatile baseliners who can either bring brilliance or boredom.
Andy Murray is perhaps the best second-serve returner on tour. Now, Berdych does have the ability to serve big when he is on his game but when he gets nervous this is the first part of his game to falter, much in part due to that absurdly high ball toss.
We should expect to see Berdych start strong with that power game of his; riding high on his Federer victory but the Murray monotony will undoubtedly wear him down. Unless Berdych can hit flat out winners Murray should have him beaten from the back of the court using his superior fitness and consistency whilst lulling him into errors and a state of mental anguish, that cyborgs generally aren’t programmed to deal with.
Before you know it, it’s game, set and match to the golden boy. FREEEEEEEDOMMMMM!
The only question now is whether destiny is on the side of the Scot, the 2008 finalist? Without both Federer and Nadal to contend with, and ultimately some revenge on Djokovic, it would be hard to imagine Murray losing five grand slam finals in a row.
But that is a whole other conversation. Bring on the FINAL!
by James A. Crabtree