It was an enjoyable U.S. Open this year. It’s always fun when there are some good matches and a few good upsets as well. That is also good for making money when you’re betting and after all that is why we are all here.
Unfortunately for yours truly, we bet Juan Martin Del Potro on a futures bet at 14-1 and he fell a bit short. Delpo looked like he would get it done this year because as opposed to other Grand Slams, he didn’t waste too much energy in the earlier rounds. When he played his Semifinal vs Nadal, it was Nadal not him who was “running on fumes”. Nadal couldn’t even play the 3rd set because of tendinitis in his knee. The problem with the Final was that Del Potro didn’t have such an advantage over Djokovic in that Novak was also going thru the tourney with very little resistance as well, and in the Semifinals Nishikori just was no match for him. Nishikori is a great player but he when he plays guys like Djokovic he is just playing a “bigger and better’ version of himself. Counter punchers don’t like to play other counter punchers, as their main strength is consistency, so if you play someone more consistent and a little more powerful, then there is very little that you can do to win points. Kudos to Novak who ties Sampras with his 14th Grand Slam victory.
It’s a shame that JMDP didn’t win another Slam he is one of the “Good Guys” on the circuit, and certainly one of the most talented. There are many players like Djokovic who can hit the same ball as him but not many can turn defense into offense like Delpo can. Normally once you learn about the game, you learn to hit a defensive shot when you are in trouble just to get back to “neutral”, and then from neutral, you can attack again. Juan Martin can just slap his forehand so hard and hit shots on the run that very few players can. That is why I’m sure another Grand Slam title will be coming very soon. He is still relatively young.
Speaking of guys who aren’t so young, Federer showed his age against Millman in the 4th round. Roger played one bad game to open the door and then the Aussie won the second set. Roger admitted in the press conference that he just wanted the match to be over. Millman was never going to beat himself that day and Roger couldn’t beat him from him from the baseline. Millman just wore him down. The intense heat did play a big part in this year’s Open. It was hotter than normal, plus the heat usually breaks in the second week, but not this year. This is obviously better for the younger fitter players. Guys who are shot makers like Roger want a quick and clean fast match, whereas guys like Nadal, Nishikori etc. who like to “grind it out” have an advantage in the heat. Unfortunately for Nadal he had to play too many tough matches and had nothing left in Semifinals.
We also must give props for Thiem who was few points away from beating Nadal in the quarterfinals and was one reason that Nadal lost in the semis to Delpo. Thiem came out on fire and won the first set 6-0, and went all the way to a tiebreak in the fifth but shanked an overhead which was the difference in the match. Even Rafa said in the press conference that Dominic has it all and will be a champion soon. We felt the same. He always has had the shots and athletic ability, but his shot selection was questionable at best. Now he seems to play a bit smarter and picks his spots more. The “proof is in the pudding”, as shown by this match. He will be a force in the future and as it stands right now he and Zverev will be favored for a long time at Roland Garros once Rafa is done.
Speaking of Zverev, he did his usual Grand Slam fold up and lost to his countryman Kohlschreiber in the 3rd round. He needs to prove to people that he can perform on the big stage, and not just win smaller events leading up to Slams. There is a lot of work that needs to be done by Zverev. Thiem is much closer to being “the Next Best Thing”.
Another guy that is slipping down the charts is Dimitrov who got another bad draw and lost to Stan Wawrinka in the first round. Things don’t look too good for Grigor at this point, as he does everything well but nothing too great. He is a modern day “weaponless” guy like Vitas Gerualitas. That doesn’t “fly’ in 2018.
Still, it was an enjoyable U.S. Open to watch. Not the drama of this year’s Wimbledon, but it was nice to see a few players overachieve and few of the “usual suspects”, take a step back.