Monday, September 6, 2010

Memo to Bill Macatee

Try to keep it down with your CBS voiceovers from the Louis Armstrong Stadium press box. Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils are trying to concentrate.


Elaine said...

I was watching that game! Can't understand Gasquet's lack of fire-- the sine qua non, perhaps, of success at the upper levels of tennis. Monfils seems like the complete package.

Awaiting your predictions re who is going to win this year's title (both men's and women's.)

Ben said...

Gasquet hits a clean ball and his classic strokes are a joy to watch. He has top 10 talent but you never know whether he'll show up. Witness his gorgeous yet error-riddled match against his countryman in which he took a 5-2 lead in the third set, then dropped the next 5 games to lose in straight sets.

Monfils can also be erratic but his exuberance and expressiveness, not to mention his crazy skills, make him watchable and likable. With the recent retirement of "the Magician," trick shot artist Fabrice Santoro, il vaut bien d'avoir des remplacements divertissants.

You want predictions? OK, for both sentimental and practical reasons I'll go with Federer and Wozniacki. She out-toughed Sharapova yesterday, made the finals last year, and after a strong summer campaign is ready to win here.

With no Serena or Henin the women's draw is more open than usual; she should cruise to the final from here. Venus and Clijsters should play in the other semi. I'll take defending champ Clijsters to return to the final, where the top-seeded Wozniacki edges her in a dramatic three-setter.

On the men's side, the field is deep but talent will out. let's say Nadal makes his first US Open final, but a fit, healthy Federer is just a shade better in four sets. Results aside, this is the matchup everyone wants to see.

Joon said...

monfils is very fun to watch. i remember watching him play nadal, i think at the australian... you could see he had the physical tools to hang with rafa, and he was amped up to play. but mentally it was no contest. one and a half great sets, and then things kind of snowballed and rafa won it going away. of course, nadal specializes in being impossible to play against.

rafa-roger would be a dream final, but fed does not have an easy draw. soderling and then (probably) djoker in the semis. rafa's half looks a lot friendlier.

Ben said...

Monfils is a crowd-pleaser and has been since he dominated the junior circuit. Unlike many players he has more or less every shot, and his deploying them makes for a better show than many players can provide.

My parents ran into Monfils in the lobby of the Parker Meridien hotel on Friday. It was the first time they ever saw him not wearing a sleeveless shirt, or maybe he was, but he had a jacket on.

Although it feels like he's been in the top 5 forever, Djokovic is only 23 and still has the exuberance of youth. When asked about Federer's tweener, he made a somewhat crass dick joke. Then he compared his first-round win (in which he outlasted fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki in five sets) to sleeping with his girlfriend. He's entertaining whether or not he's imitating Sharapova et al.

Incidentally, I sat courtside at Soderling-Montanes yesterday. There are little things you notice close to the court that you don't get on TV, such as the eerie whistling noise of the air through the strings of big hitters like Soderling, or the way Yanina Wickmayer kept casting aggrieved third-set glances toward Team Wickmayer sitting right in front of us.

Ben said...

p.s. Forgot to mention, Monfils hit a few balls left-handed yesterday when he had to lunge. Between his condor-like wingspan and his ambidexterity, he covers a lot of ground.

Elaine said...

Speaking of wing-span, Querrey sure made it hard for Wawrinka to get things past him...but he didn't switch hands...and he didn't have enough, in the end, to prevail. Have you watched him? What is happening that he hits so many possible passing/ground shots into the net, instead? (Not finishing each swing? Bad ju-ju?) I would have preferred to see the Soderling match, but Querrey was, after all, the 'last American men's 2010 competitor'-- so that's what was on TV.

Clijsters/Stosur was miserable, but I gather the wind was driving them nuts. I kept falling asleep. You gotta be tough to be a US Open fan, I see.

Ben said...

I was there pretty late Monday night watching mixed doubles and didn't sleep too well despite the cloudlike king-size bed in my hotel room.

After I got back to Chicago Tuesday afternoon, I turned on Querrey-Wawrinka at 2-1 in the fifth set. I was happy I'd finally get to see Sam hit a few balls, plus I like Wawrinka. Whereupon I immediately fell asleep without seeing a single point and slept past the conclusion of the match.

Speaking of sleep, Stosur's previous match finished at 1-something a.m. two days earlier and she apparently got to sleep after 5 a.m. Luckily she had a day off between rounds.

Elaine said...

The announcers did mention Stosur's long day (and one interviewer asked how she was feeling for the Clijsters battle.) McEnroe went on at some length protesting the effects of the ultra-long matches on subsequent play-- (since some of the men's matches went so long in the serious heat earlier in the week, in addition to situations like the Wawrinka/Querrey competition.) McEnroe thinks they should use a tie-break instead of a 5th set.

I do find it kind of out-dated that the women's matches are 2/3 (when we all know women have more endurance, physiologically) while the tough guys have much more challenging 3/5 requirements. Well, other things have changed in my lifetime, and perhaps this will, too.

raingly Oops, I'm not in the verification box, here. In fact, it IS raingly outside today.

Elaine said...

Stayed up late to watch Federer/Soderling, expecting possibly a protracted battle. Instead, Soderling seemed to implode. Where were his aces? Djoko/Monfils was tons more interesting--but it was on during the afternoon, when most people were stuck at work. The wind is certainly unpleasant, but it's blowing for everyone... Tsk.

Ben said...

Yep, I was stuck at the office when two of the most entertaining guys on the tour squared off. Soderling was thisclose but did not get it done at the key moments. He squandered four break points early, then after breaking Federer late in the second set, immediately gave back the break.

Federer looked good and it's starting to feel like we're going to get the final everyone wants.

Elaine said...

You might have read about it: early on, Monfils was up 40-Love, and he did a fancy 'tweener' shot that went straight into the net. Who does this during an important match? I'm not usually prudish, but this seemed like disrespecting the game--at least, not something a serious contender would do. Right then I thought he would lose, and sure enough...
I also watched Wozniaki and her opponent Cibulkova (sp?); could NOT believe Caroline went out there with her hair loose. She was lucky not to lacerate a cornea before she got smart and lashed her mane into a submissive braid.

Federer/Djoko should be seriously exciting, and ditto Venus'game. I keep trying to come up with tasks that I can do with the TV on--tsk.

Ben said...

In fairness, Federer hit a tweener against Djokovic on match point during their epic semifinal at the Australian Open a few years ago; Djokovic easily put it away.

Federer would have had time to run around the ball and hit a defensive lob, which he surely came to wish he'd done after Djoko came back to win the match. Federer never had another match point.

So even the great ones can act frivolously in big matches; Federer's timing was even worse than Monfils'.

Elaine said...

Okay-- I withdraw the objection. Youthful exuberance, eh?
Must rush back to check on Wawrinka and Youzhny....

BG said...

I had thought the US Open had blown away in the wind, what horrible conditions to play and watch in.
I thought the Stouser-Clisters match was a good one. Try hitting the ball, and deep, in the conditions they were playing in is tough.
Best match in my opinion so far, has been Verdasco vs. Ferrer, the two Spaniards, talk about two men hitting the fuzz off the ball and moving each other around, wow. I thought Ferrer might win that match since he owns a couple boutique hotels and I am sure occupancy has been low,(recession and all) so he had more motivation to win. LOL. Not the case.
Has been a good tourney so far besides the wind problems. I agree the announcers, all of them, need to shut their mouths for a few moments so we can watch, I think they feel they must be talking about something all the time.

Elaine said...

I agree, that match was exhausting, even to watch. Verdasco ...did he leave it all on the court, with nothing left with which to challenge Nadal? I'm sure we'll see more of Verdasco.

Friday night, now:
Whoa! something happened to the prevailing wisdom here, and now Wozniaki and Williams are going to be spectators rather than contestants. I was shocked by the former, and a little sad about the latter, but it is hard not to be thrilled for Kim

Saturday I am supposed to be working hard to prepare for our 8 day trip (begins Sunday--bad planning!) I may need to soak my foot during one or more semifinals.... yep, that toe is definitely red and sore....

Elaine said...

Wow. I saw some of the Federer/Djokovic match--nearly took off a thumb because I was prepping vegetables with one eye on the screen. I'm kind of heartbroken for Roger Federer, but Djoko was at his peak. We may be able to view tomorrow's match if we have reached our destination in that time window. I guess this is one of those situations: the king is dead; long live the king.