Federer & Nadal Lead the 8 Survivors

09 Sep 2009 by Hiland in 2009 US Open

rogerfederer-jpgAs expected, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal appear to be on a Sunday afternoon collision course in the finals of the 2009 U.S. Open. But, hold it! Don’t forget that we picked impressive Juan Martin Del Potro to upset the apple cart and escape the U.S. with the Open Cup in his hands. And, you know what? We still like his chances.

On Tuesday, the possibility of a Del Potro-Nadal semi-final pairing took another exciting step forward. Rafa did his thing against impressive French fireballer Gael Monfils in an evening match that had enthralled spectators gasping for air. Nadal’s four set 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 triumph sported two of the fleetest players to grace the game.

In a display of pure athleticism, it would be hard to top this matchup. Rafa Nadal did not have time to show effects from his recent knee or abdominal issues. Monfils came out fast and asserted his will in the opening set. But, as usual, Nadal wears on opponents. He settled to the pace and gradually took charge of the match. The two showmen were most entertaining and provided a series of thrillingly deft shots.

Nadal will face Fernando Gonzalez who surprised the other great French player Jo Wilfried Tsonga with a stirring 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-4 victory. Gonzalez showed Tsonga no quarter and had answers for Tsonga’s power game. Solid groundstrokes paved the way for the upset. Gonzalez will square off with Nadal on Thursday but it seems unlikely, the Chilean can stay with the hard charging Spaniard.

Perhaps the most disappointing match of the day was a lackluster effort put forth by number two seed, Scotsman Andy Murray. Wearing his best “deer-in-the-headlights” blank look, Murray put on a Safina-like performance that should complete his over-ranked resume. In a pitiful semblance of the play that fans expect from a quality player, Murray’s tennis career seems headed in the wrong direction. Perhaps, a visit to the friendly sports shrink would help?

A triumphant 16th seed, Croatian Marin Cilic, seemed as bewildered as the crowd. He blew past the listless red-head in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in an embarrassing performance for which the U.S. Open should refund the admission price. At least Murray is done for this year. He needs a break and a new sense of commitment.

Tonight the top-seeded Federer will be center stage against a familiar opponent, Sweden’s Robin Soderling. Soderling will certainly give it his all, but Roger has the answers for Soderling’s big serve. Nonetheless, Soderling has had a strong year.

In the match of the day, Fernando Verdasco will be looking to upset 4th seed Novak Djokovic in a late afternoon pairing. Verdasco and Djokovic have both been on their games so fans expect a battle royal. After the Murray fiasco, a hotly contested match would be a welcome site.

As Nadal and Monfils played late in the night, the cameras shifted briefly to an outside court where a taped Melanie Oudin was practicing for her underdog performance against hot Dane Caroline Wozniacki. The young American has been on a constant media watch and fans wonder how she can maintain her focus.

After her triumph over Italian Flavia Pennetta, Serena Williams told interviewers she was caught up in the Melanie watch and would be cheering for the rising start this evening. Serena will go against Kim Clijsters tomorrow in a stern test against the woman who blasted her sister.

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