Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why night tennis is awesome, Part II, and some men's previews

It’s almost two o’clock in the morning, and as usual, I’m not asleep. I’m also not watching Smallville DVDs, which, sadly, is normally what I’m doing at this time in the morning. I’m watching Rafael Nadal battle it out with David Ferrer on one of the biggest stages in sports. And it’s live! C’mon, people, who’s with me? The U.S. Open rocks! OK, I’m done. The men’s quarterfinals:

Roger Federer v. Andy Roddick: The numbers don’t look good for Andy Roddick here. He has beaten Federer exactly once, four years ago. He’s lost to him 13 times. The term “uphill battle” seems an understatement here. If Roddick has one thing going for him, it’s the fact that he’s won two matches at Flushing Meadows this year by walkover, with two opponents quitting. The American can try to raise his level against the best player in the world, or he can hope for another “walkover.” Sorry, Andy. I think Tonya Harding’s got a Celebrity Death Match set up for tonight.
Nikolay Davydenko v. Tommy Haas: Haas is enjoying a bit of a career resurgence after being derailed by injury. After edging James Blake a couple days ago, he should be brimming with confidence, even if he is taking on the fourth seed. Davydenko has looked solid himself so far, despite the gambling investigation that centers on him. Haas and Davydenko have had some battles at Grand Slams. Last year at the Open, Davydenko beat him, but this year in Australia , it was Haas who won, 7-5 in the fifth set. The edge here goes barely to Haas, only because Davydenko has played a lot this summer, and his gas tank has got to be approaching empty by now.
Carlos Moya v. Novak Djokovic: Stat of the day: Carlos Moya won the French Open … in 1998. That’s a long time ago, and he’s still ticking at 31. His opponent is 11 years younger, and has a win over both Federer and Rafael Nadal this summer. One guy Djokovic doesn’t have a win against this summer is Moya. Moya’s won both of their matches this year, including in Cincinnati a few weeks back. Can the old man continue his dominance over the young upstart? I don’t think so. It may take four sets, but Djokovic should be able to figure Moya out, especially with a Grand Slam semifinal on the line.
Juan Ignacio Chela v. David Ferrer: Physically, Chela would get an edge, since the Ferrer/ Rafael Nadal match practically ended 15 minutes ago. Seriously, this is huge for both men. Whoever wins gets to their first Grand Slam semifinal. In cases like this, an intangible like this could mean more than who has the best forehand. Ferrer could be still riding the high from beating the world No. 2, but it was a three and a half hour match. Chela also had to go the distance in his fourth-round win. Bottom line: Who would have expected either of these guys to get this far? And who could guess who’d win between the two?

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