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November 17 02:23
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Day 7: Player of the Day

2nd Week Predictions (Men and Women)


September 03, 2011 | 09:33 PM

Pennetta, again, for persevering through on court episode of sickness?

Gilles Simon for rope-a-doping the Big Argentine a la Santoro, upsetting the #18 seed, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3)? (only at the Open could #12 beating #18, or #28 not winning the title, be an upset)

Kirilenko, for fighting off 5 match points in the 2nd set tie-breaker and taking it the longest tie-breaker in Open history (for women), 17-15 over Stosur?

The Chase Review for saving the match 3 times for Kirilenko in the 2nd set tie-breaker?

(likely a record streak in a breaker, certainly on match points)

Note: Stosur finally beat Kirilenko 6-3 in the 3rd set on her 8th match point.

NO. The Donald (Forever Young) upsetting the #22 seed Chela, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3!

Next up for The Donald will be Ashe stadium no doubt, for a tete-a-tete with a hard court man of the world, Andy Murray, who just took care of another lefty serve-and-volleyer, #25 seed Felciano Lopez. Andy may have served up a personal best 1st serve percentage (over 70%), sacrificing his ace count (only 2), 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

For our Andy, A-Rod, the next round pits him against a nearly impregnable, seemly indestructible part of the Armada, the wind-up Bot, #5 seed David Ferrer. Next to David, Rafa seems a frail flower in NY, destined to wither before his beauty has seen full bloom.

Before the sound system went awol at night, pouring anthems into the grandstand during critical moments of the Stosur match (arguably causing her to double-fault her serve and her 5-4 lead away in the 2nd set, and recurring in final game of the match on Kirilenko's serve), there were some routine results today - and NO retirements in spite of the sickening heat. True, Delpo looked like he needed an ice bath by the 3rd set, and would surely have been warned for time had the heat not already impacted stalwarts like Rafa and Pennetta. Delpo may be leaving NY with a bad taste in his mouth this year, if you catch my drift:

MEN:

- Roddick took care of another under-matched opponent, Julien Benneteau (in only his 2nd ever 3rd round in a Major), 6-1, 6-4, 7-6

- Isner man-handled little Bogie-man (with a foot of height on him, let's say he was competing out of his class), 7-6 (9), 6-4, 6-4. He'll face the Simon in the 4th round in Murray's quarter.

- The little David thrashed #26 seeded German Florian Mayer, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6

- Rafa made news with his leg cramping in his post-win press conference - hiding a grimace better than he does on court, he slid slowly below the table, out of sight in an eerie 'now you see 'em, now you don't' live tv moment. Later he seemed blase explaining that this happens to him. Good thing he wasn't still on court against #76 David Nalbandian, whom he had beaten 7-6 (5), 6-1, 7-5. Also good for him that he next faces another unseeded player, #68 Gilles Muller, a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 winner over #62 Igor Kunitsyn.

PREDICTIONS: (MEN)

Bottom Half: At this point, it's getting easy to see it being what's been in almost every major this year: Rafa v Murray. Unless we have Rafa in a business as usual Open dither, Ferrer or Roddick will not stop him, but Ferrer will tire him, and whatever he says, he does not have last year's mojo or heat on the serve (he's been broken 9 times in 3 matches, versus 5 times in the tournie in 2010). If Rafa is in a real dither, Muller may pull off another Open upset as he did in '08 when he became the first qualifier to reach the quarters by beating #5 seed Davydenko and Almagro. Nor will Isner or Simon bother Murray.

MURRAY WILL TAKEOUT RAFA (OR WHOEVER) IN HIS HALF AS HE'S SIMPLY FITTER.

Top Half: Joker can put on a blindfold and beat any of the 3 players left in his quarter. In Dolgopolov he's got a joker without the necessary experience. In Tipsarevic, he's got a Serbian punching bag, and in Ferrero, he's got yesterday's Ferrer.

So once again, it looks like Rog is the weak link of the foursome, assuming health for all. Monaco in the next round will be a good confidence builder, unless Rog wins playing badly again as he did early last week. His best hope against Tsonga or Fish is that they nearly kill each other in the heat today at 2:30. I think both men are one tough 4 hour match from the point of no return. Rog would survive a long one better because he manages his energy (meaning he just doesn't run for wide balls any more on hard courts).

FISH WILL TAKE OUT TSONGA AND FEDERER, IN THE SEMIS JOKER IS GOING TO RUN OUT OF GAS AGAINST HIM - AND - THANKS TO ANDY, MARDY WILL BECOME THE FIRST AMERICAN TO WIN A MAJOR IN 8 YEARS, AND ONLY THE 2ND PLAYER NOT NAMED ROGER, RAFA OR JOKER TO WIN A MAJOR SINCE 2004.

(there is a $64 return on a bet for Mardy right now, so this is a LOONNNNng shot; Andy earns you about $6, and Joker $2).

WOMEN: PREDICTIONS

Top Half: #10 seed Petkovic or Wozniacki could provide some good tennis with Serena, but really...

Bottom Half: #2 Zvonareva should once again show why she has the ranking and beat Stosur and whoever emerges from the random assortment of low seeds and non-seeds in the other quarter, probably Pennetta.

Final: Need we say it again?

On a sad note, Bud Collins left his 57th straight Open on a stretcher to have emergency surgery on a patella tendon after a swoon on the grounds (he'd have been fine bare-foot on grass). Good luck to Bud - he'll have the finest surgeons in Boston, no doubt advised by friend and former Davis Cup doc, Robert Leach. He'll be watching, even if from a bed at the Brigham...

Rick

Open 2011-Monday am


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