The Reuters global sports blog
The U.S. Open final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was one of the most physical battles ever seen on a tennis court.
The sheer speed of their groundstrokes and length of the rallies were incredible. Djokovic dominated Nadal in the first two sets, to win them 6-2 6-4. He was on top of the baseline forcing Nadal to play well behind the baseline and not allowing him to play inside the court and dictate. Nadal though is tenacious and was down a break three times in the third set and broke Djokovic while serving for the match to end up winning the third set in a tiebreaker. Unfortunately, Nadal had nothing left in the fourth set.
With Djokovic taking an injury time out for his back at the end of the third set, Nadal’s momentum was gone and Djokovic cruised 6-1 in the fourth set to win his first U.S. Open title.
He became the sixth man in Open history to win three majors in a year. From my vantage point in the Sky Sports studio I could see the look on Nadal’s face at the end of the match – he still has no idea how to play or beat Djokovic. There is no clear weakness in Djokovic’s game and he does everything better than Nadal at the moment. Djokovic has raised men’s tennis to another level.
Week two of the U.S. Open had many stories. Would the weather destroy the momentum of the event? How would the courts hold up? Will the U.S. Open finally make plans to build a roof? Who would be the men’s and woman’s U.S. Open champions?
On the woman’s side Serena Williams made the finals easily and was the big favorite to win the title against Sam Stosur. Stosur had the longest match in US Open history and played the longest tie breaker in U.S. open history as well, to make the finals. Nobody except Sam Stosur thought she would win. If she won, she would become the first Australian woman to win a major since 1980. She played the match of her life and won 6-2 6-3.
The first week of the US Open is always interesting. It’s easy to get a sense of what is going to happen, who is playing well and who is struggling. The weather conditions have been warm but not as humid and hot as last year, no major issues for the players – with the exception of Rafael Nadal and his cramps post match during his press conference.
On the men’s side Novak Djokovic has been sensational and has appeared to have had no issues with his shoulder that was worrying him in Cincinnati. Djokovic still looks like the favorite and is hitting the ball better than anyone in the tournament. Roger Federer has looked good as well, but had his first test against Mario Cilic. The big question mark around Federer is how will he play the big points if he plays Djokovic in the semi-finals but before getting there he has a tough section.
The men’s side of this year’s US Open is going to be very interesting.
Will Novak Djokovic’s shoulder hold up and can he win his third major of the year? Will Roger Federer win another major with one of the toughest sections of the draw? Can Rafael Nadal get his form back to defend the title? Will Andy Murray win his first major? And finally, who are the dark horses?
Djokovic’s first two rounds look comfortable, then his route gets interesting with a possible match up against Nikolay Davydenko in the third, Richard Gasquet in the fourth and Tomas Berdych in the quarters before he most likely meets Federer in the semi-finals, if Federer gets there! Berdych could be the danger man in the section if his shoulder recovers from Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati Masters became a very important event before the US Open because a lot of the big names lost early in Montreal and needed to get match play before the Open started.
How would Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray perform? Could Novak Djokovic continue his amazing run of only one match lost all season, having just won Montreal a week earlier?
This year’s Wimbledon Championships had a lot of interesting stories. On the men’s side it was all about the top 4 players in the world. On the ladies it was about Sharapova, the Williams sisters, and whether or not any of the young pretenders could win the Championships.
All of the top 4 cruised into the men’s quarter-finals. Only Rafael Nadal was a bit of a worry hurting his foot against Juan Del Potro in the first set. After the match he said he would have to take painkillers for the rest of the tournament and possibly miss the next 6 weeks after Wimbledon finished. This brought hope that possibly Andy Murray could beat Nadal if they both reached the semi-finals which they both did easily. Expectations were reaching fever pitch now with a real belief Murray could make the finals.
Djokovic even took a shining to the hallowed Wimbledon turf, describing his post-win snack as “well kept”, but in all seriousness the Serb is winning fans left right and centre and on Monday will be confirmed as world number one for the first time.
from Photographers' Blog:
Rafael Nadal is hurt. A physio and a doctor have arrived on court to inspect his left foot. I scramble to position myself directly across the court from his chair to capture what could be a crucial moment in the match. It is towards the end of a tense first set. Temperatures have only cooled slightly from a sweltering 33 degrees C (91F).
In my haste to capture Nadal's injury I had left my original position with just a 300mm lens and Canon Mark 4 body, knowing I had to be agile as I joined a crush of photographers.
The Williams sisters found the going tough and their so far impressive comebacks hit the buffers, while women’s number one Caroline Wozniacki’s route to a first grand slam title also came unstuck, but in the men’s draw there were no real dramas as the top four all hit their straps and made the quarters.
With Wimbledon starting on Monday, all eyes turned to the event in Eastbourne. It became very interesting because of Serena and Venus Williams participation. Serena has not played since winning Wimbledon last year because of a freak accident in Munich, were she stepped on broken glass while walking to her hotel room after a night out. She was walking bare foot and cut ligaments in her feet as well as cutting her feet up badly. It took her nearly a full year to recover.
On the other hand her sister Venus hasn’t played much due to a hip injury this year. I believe this is only her third event of the year. Serena played really well considering her lay off and beat Pirokova in the first round in 3 sets after starting very poorly. Pirokova was a tough match because she has made the semi-finals at Wimbledon and plays well on grass. Due to the long layoff Serena was not seeded at Eastbourne, because she has lost all her ranking points from last year. The ranking works on a 52 week calendar and if you don’t defend your points, your ranking disappears.