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    That might be the best Federer has played against Nadal, maybe anyone. He went walkies for 15 minutes in the 2nd set but other than that he was intensely focused and at times nigh on flawless.

    3rd set he had 15 winners to 2 unforced errors. Nadal looked forlorn at times but came very close to turning that round at the end of the 4th especially after Federer's botched challenge.

    Comment


      Originally posted by Rogin the Armchair fan View Post
      I did wonder, if they teamed up, the umpire would get to trust (particular) judges' calls more often, wouldn't they?
      Or not trust others. It's not like the pool of line judges is huge, though. The Umpires probably do know many of them on sight, and their strengths and weaknesses. The line judge that whose throat Serena threatened to ram a ball down at the US Open is still there regularly at all the Slams, for example (I swear I've seen her working matches involving Serena since).

      Comment


        Finals

        Womenís Singles

        Serena Williams USA [11] vs Simona Halep Rou [7]
        A Grand Slam singles final that is all about two players. Well that is pretty normal. Except in this case one of those two has been retired for over 40 years. Itís also all about a number Ė 24. Which is, of course, the all-time record amount of Grand Slam singles titles one player (Margaret Court) has to her name. Serena was two sets away from equalling that number twice in 2018, here and at the US Open. She is back in that position again.
        Frankly, this match is all about Serena. She either wins of she beats herself. That isnít meant to disrespect Simona Halep, who is a mighty fine player, but is Serena operates at her best then there is nothing the Romanian can do. Williams has too much power, too much court coverage, too much aggression for her foe. She also has a very comprehensive h2h record against Halep, 9-1. The one was in the group stages of the 2014 Tour Finals, when Halep handed out what was then the heaviest defeat Williams had ever suffered (0&2). Revenge was swift and brutal when they met again in the final of the same tournament, Williams winning 3&0. Serena has also won all five encounters since.
        Very one-sided then? Well, not quite. It may be six-in-a-row for Serena, but four of those five (including the last two) have gone to three sets. None of the recent encounters have been easy, with this yearís R4 Aussie Open clash typical. Itís just that, in the end, Serena won. And that, I think, is the important bit. Halep is good enough to go toe-to-toe to Williams until it comes to the crunch. Then Serenaís extra self-belief and determination comes to the fore.
        Halepís chances look to be around keeping it close, dragging it out and then hoping the massive pressure that Serena places on herself to hit this target overwhelms her foe. She has decent evidence that this is possible. Serena may still regard what happened at the US Open as unfair targeting, but she ignores that she opened herself right up to the possibility and also the elephant in the room of why that ranting was even necessary. Was the US Open Final really the time and place to be considering her public image and whether what some Ump or other had said might tarnish it ever so slightly (really not at all because who the hell remembers any other coaching violation)? I think this was an obvious indicator of the stress the record was creating, as it was a self-destructive focus on a very minor side issue when her thoughts and energies should have been turned solely to the main topic. There is a one word description of such stress-induced behavioural aberrations, and I really canít bring it to mind now. But whatever it is, that.
        If it happened once, it can do so again. Halep needs to create the conditions for it, though. And that means playing much more aggressively and on the front foot that her normal style. She has to step in and take on the Williams serve, and step up and hi through her own. I donít think she is quick enough to defend Serena into a tight match, because I donít think anyone is. If Simona can bring herself to take the necessary risks whilst keeping the unforced error count way down, then I suppose she can put Serena under the sort of pressure that makes her think 24 is passing her by yet again. I donít see it though.
        Williams in two.

        Comment


          My plane takes off at exactly the same time this match is scheduled to start. Even in the highly unlikely event that this turns into a tense three-setter there's no earthly chance I'll see a single moment of live action. As it is I figure that Serena will have won before we exit Warsaw Pact airspace.

          Comment


            Wowza

            Comment


              Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
              My plane takes off at exactly the same time this match is scheduled to start. Even in the highly unlikely event that this turns into a tense three-setter there's no earthly chance I'll see a single moment of live action. As it is I figure that Serena will have won before we exit Warsaw Pact airspace.
              Well, it certainly wasn't a tense three-setter. A gobsmacking thrashing, as predicted by absolutely nobody.

              Halep was magnificent, and Serena Williams was nothing like her old self. Ad Hoc, you have to watch a full replay sometime, not just highlights (and anyway it won't take that long). I lost count of the number of times Serena had won the point and then somehow didn't. Amazing match.

              Comment


                I won't have chance to watch this or Federer v Nadal for several weeks. Will legal streams be available at that point?

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                  Fantastic by Halep. I'm so pleased for her. I've always really liked her. Funny speech. I could only listen, but apparently she did everything perfectly. She's had a long, hard road to the top.

                  Romania is going to go nuts.

                  Comment


                    Satchmo, I would think that ESPN would archive them

                    Comment


                      Christ, this men's doubles match is interminable. We were hoping to see some of Hsieh and Strycova. (In all this discussion of 3 sets versus 5, and the overall shortening of doubles matches at most tournaments, how the hell is any doubles match still allowed to be 5 sets?)

                      Comment


                        Wow. Well there's a scoreline I never expected to find on my arrival

                        Comment


                          What sort of freakish individual hits the ball as hard as she can, as close to the lines as she can, maintains this for nearly an hour in a Grand Slam final, and commits only three unforced errors? That is just batshit mental. No wonder Serena looked utterly deflated and beaten by the last couple of games. She walked into a whirlwind. She was also clearly very stressed about the whole '24' thing at the beginning of the match and again at the start of the second set. At the start of the second she began to be really loud during the rallies and reacted to a couple of winners with ear-splitting screams of "Come on!". The very next point she overhit a shot wildly and it went way long. Which was followed a palms down gesture to tell herself to chill, a total cessation of grunting, and nets hit as she undercooked herself. She just can't get the balance right in winding herself up to a pitch of intensity these days, it seems. It either doesn't go far enough, or in the last three finals has gone way too far. Serena mk II (actually more like mk IV) is not the same beast as previously.

                          [puts hand on heart and looks solemn]I swear I will never doubt Halep's mental strength again![/puts hand on heart and looks solemn] Because that was also outstanding. There was never a flicker of nerves visible from her even if she was feeling it massively inside (as per her post-title on court interview), even as she played lights out Tennis on the biggest stage against the most intimidating opponent possible.

                          Comment


                            Williams just didn;t look properly fit - any time Halep hit the ball into the corners, Williams either didn't reach it, or hit the ball wildly out (clearly not in time to hit the ball cleanly). Halep played incredibly well, but Williams didn't look to be at the standard of fitness that would generally be required for a major final.

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                              Four hours of men's doubles, 2 sets all, and they're taking a break to put the roof on.

                              I'm sure it's all very practical, but one of the great traditions of midsummer sport in the UK (or similar latitudes) is playing in the twilight. Cricket matches, especially the old 60 over one-dayers, would finish in the dark, or so it seemed.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Jimski View Post
                                Williams just didn;t look properly fit - any time Halep hit the ball into the corners, Williams either didn't reach it, or hit the ball wildly out (clearly not in time to hit the ball cleanly). Halep played incredibly well, but Williams didn't look to be at the standard of fitness that would generally be required for a major final.
                                If Williams wasn't fully fit what does that saż about those she beat on her way to the final?

                                Comment


                                  They'll probably have to use the roof tomorrow as well then for the mixed if the men's singles goes 5 sets and the women's doubles three.

                                  Remember that Wimbledon is played a week later these days so twilight starts earlier.

                                  Serena is simply past her peak and can't reach shots she'd have chased down in her younger years. She's never been the quickest mover in the game. She must be starting to wonder if there will always be one player better than her in the draw.
                                  Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 13-07-2019, 19:54.

                                  Comment


                                    It may not just be age/life events and lack of conditioning following on from that, though. It's also tension, at least potentially. All the symptoms that were identifed, unexpected shortness of breath, air only being drawn into the high part of the chest instead of deep into the lungs, leaden movement and footwork and attributed to underpar fitness are also completely archetypal of a player who is tight as a drum. It's very hard to ascertain how much each element played today. Only Serena and Mouratogolu would know, if anyone does. And they may not themselves.


                                    It almost doesn't matter which it is, or which is having the greater impact if both are in play. Either issue is a massive one.

                                    If it's fitness/conditioning, then it's really not easy for Serena to simply play more warm-up events to get in trim. It was reported earlier this tournament that she was playing pain free for the first time since her comeback. But to get to that stage, she had been having six hours a day of physio. That is extraordinary. If that is what it takes, then her body is simply not going to hold together for a month of Tennis. Two weeks is pushing the envelope massively already. If that was accurate, the chances of her showing up in Birmingham next year to get an extra week on grass in to ramp up for Wimbledon (something that was rumoured as a possibility this year but never came to pass) would be very slim. Each slam would be a race against time and the body, trying to get everything fit and firing from no base to a high pitch in two weeks without overstraining something and having it all crash down.

                                    And if it's the record she is chasing, then with each passing Slam the chances of getting it diminish further. Not just because time continues to move on and the muscles and tendons keep on ageing, but because she is carrying more and more baggage of narrow misses and opportunities not taken, which was something that was generally absent from earlier in her career. It would be easy to justify this loss to herself, indeed that justification was already being enunciated on Centre Court at the end of the match - Halep was just too good today, she played lights out Tennis. There was nothing Serena could do in the face of that. However, that explanation is something she will need to row back from somewhat because it's actually quite undermining of her. It attacks the mythos she has built up about herself, i.e. that if she plays to her best that is better than anyone else can achieve, so wins and losses are ultimately only about her. And that mythos is both important for intimidating other players but also for keeping Serena's own self-belief burning. I would have that as just about as fundamental to Williams as a Tennis player as her close-to-perfect service motion.


                                    One thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that the end is near. If she hits 25 I would expect a retirement announcement in the post-match speeches. Either an immediate one if the 25th title is well timed, i.e. at the 2020 US Open, or setting a specific farewell event if it's not, i.e. hit 25 before the 2020 US and announce that in advance as the curtain call. Both Wimbledon and the US sit above the others for Serena for various reasons, but I'm certain she will want to go out on home soil. The USTA has been consistently good to her, as have been the Flushing Meadow crowds. Certainly in comparison to the ones at Indian Wells, even though that is her home state.
                                    Last edited by Janik; 13-07-2019, 20:45.

                                    Comment


                                      Originally posted by Sporting View Post
                                      If Williams wasn't fully fit what does that saż about those she beat on her way to the final?
                                      Is it really news that an 80% fit Serena is still better than all but a handful of players on the WTA Tour? That has been the case for years. There have been slams where she has turned up having not played for months, and worked her way into form and fitness across the event.

                                      It's also somewhat down to the players with the form and game to expose this prior to today getting upset along the way. I'm thinking mostly Ash Barty and Jo Konta here.

                                      Comment


                                        Uggh. Just watched the courtside interview with Simona after the match. Sue Barker (I think) asking the questions

                                        "I know you've won the French but this one with all the history is special isn't it?"

                                        Fucking English people and their arrogance they drive me insane. It's special yes. It's a grand slam it's a huge deal. But so is Roland Garros and it too has a fucking history.

                                        Comment


                                          A history that includes a win for Miss S Barker, the highlight of her career.

                                          Comment


                                            Was that before or after Simona said that her mother's particular ambition for her when Simona was considering a Tennis career was for Simona to play in the Wimbledon Final?
                                            It is hard to judge from a UK perspective as we get an effective filter, but Wimbledon does still appear to have a bit of extra cachet (and extra cash!) amongst the players. It was the first, and still seems to be regarded as primus inter pares by very many, lots of whom are non-Brits. That is another Augusta/US Masters similarity (well, not the 'first' bit).
                                            Last edited by Janik; 13-07-2019, 22:55.

                                            Comment


                                              Finals

                                              Menís Singles

                                              Novak Djokovic Srb [1] vs Roger Federer Sui [2]
                                              Turns out the seeding committee were right after all. Whoda thunk it? They have certainly done better than me over the last few matches, which should make whichever one of these I tip rather despondent. It appears to be the touch of defeat!
                                              Just like the Menís Semi in the bottom half, itís hard to find that much to say about these two and this match up that hasnít already been said countless times before. This will be their 48th competitive meeting, their 16th Slam encounter, their fourth confrontation with each other at Wimbledon and the third time they have played the final against each other. On all those metrics, Nole is ahead: 25-22 overall, 9-6 in Slams, 2-1 at Wimbledon and 2-0 in finals. Over the years, certain matches have stood out, such as the 2011 US Open Semi when Federer lead Djokovic 5-3 40-15 and serving in the fifth set, powered down a first serve on the first match point and Djokovic absolutely slammed it back past him on the return for a clean winner. A few minutes later Djokovic had won four consecutive games to clinch the match 7-5 (Nadal) won the title though. Or the 2014 Wimbledon Final where the pair went toe-to-toe for nearly four hours. In that case it was Djokovic who looked like he had blown the winning position, serving for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set but being broken, seeing a championship point on Federerís serve pass by in the next game and then losing the set 5-7. However, the match still broke Djokerís way in the end as Federer wilted under scoreboard pressure at 4-5 in the fifth, handing away a break and with it the title.
                                              That latter match was amazing for both its quality and its rally length. Djokovic went over half-an-hour at one point without making an unforced error and both players ended up with way more winners than errors, 75-29 in Federerís case. And yet still he lost. The match was also characterised by many long rallies of 20+ shots. Intriguingly, though everyone (apart from the club!) appears to agree that the grass is playing slower this year, the average rally length is likely to be much shorter tomorrow. Both playersí styles have changed in the intervening years.
                                              Federer has developed his game, because he has had to. It used to be that he would go on court against Djokovic believing he was the better player and would prevail in the majority of baseline exchanges so end up with the win in the end. Federer won the first four meetings of the players, and still led the h2h 14-9 prior to their í11 New York clash. Starting from then Djokovic has won 16/24, including all their Slam meetings since the í12 Wimbledon Semi. They have met four times since then over the full distance, all in Noleís favour, and Djoker has also won the last four over any length/surface (4-in-a-row is the longest run either player has had over the other at any point of their rivalry). That has forced Federer to accept that he doesnít hold the whip hand if he plays Ďnormallyí. He has to gamble and hit bigger and more aggressively than he might be comfortable with. The longer the rally goes, the worse his chances get. In theory (we will get to that).
                                              The case for Djokovic changing was less obvious given that he was already the no.1 and winning many Slams prior to hiring Boris Becker, but change he certainly has and the change was clearly a deliberate policy (cf. it being Becker he turned to). Back in 2011-14, there is no way he would have come to the net 50-odd times as he did in the Semi against Bautista Agut. In fact, there was no real need to do it there either, he would surely have won from the baseline. But there is a benefit to moving forwards if he is going to take on Roger or Rafa in a Wimbledon Final. If he can come get into the front court and dominate, he can force his opponent to defend and then he is playing to his opponentís weaker dimension. Federer is an attacker, Djokovic will try and push him into being a counter-puncher instead. Can Roger execute if put in that spot? That is the question that will be asked again and again.
                                              It is a mark of how dominant Djokovic now is on the Tour, by the way, that he can use a Wimbledon Semi against a strong player like Bautista Agut as an effective training session. The report card on it would read ďgood, but can do betterĒ. His mind appeared to wander for a little while before he tuned back in to race away from the Spaniard. Now he could afford to do that there, but in some ways the relative ease of his path through is a hindrance Ė he hasnít had to maintain the intensity of a Big Four encounter getting to this stage. It is presumably still there, but that is a presumption. It will have to be found.
                                              Federer knows the focus and hitting and everything associated is present and correct after his stunning performance against Nadal in the Semi. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about that (leaving aside that the guy is doing this at 37!) was how Rogerís backhand performed in the extended rallies. This is the shot we are used to seeing breaking down as the timing window is so very, very tiny with the way he swings, but time and again the shots were ripped millimetres above the tape and centimetres inside the lines. And Iím talking about the standard rally balls here Ė Federer kept Nadalís chances to seized on a short ball or a weaker shot and dictate the play to a minimum with how crisply and effectively he was hitting his backhand. This had the unexpected outcome that the longer rallies appeared to favour the Swiss over the Spaniard, which is not what anyone would have expected.
                                              We are in a similar pre-match position for Federer tomorrow Ė the received opinion will be he has to keep the rallies short, that for all Djokovicís new game style he still has that base of defence and athleticism that means 20+ shot exchanges are very much in his favour. He also needs to both serve well and be ready for his best delivers to be frustratingly neutralised by diving returns that land, plop, six inches inside his baseline. That particular aspect will be fascinating because it pitches arguably the greatest server the game has ever known in Federer, whose accuracy and variety puts him above more powerful others, against not really arguably the best returner, Djokovic, and his lightening reflexes and preternatural ability to read the other fellas mind.
                                              If Federerís serve is under regular pressure, he will have to get at Djokovicís significantly underrated delivery to keep himself afloat. That means doing something more than blocking returns, he will have to hit through as he managed against Rafa. In fact, Roger needs to play extremely similarly to the way he did against Nadal in many, many ways. And that does beg the question Ė is it possible to raise oneself to that pitch twice in three days. Will he be physically and emotionally shot before he steps on the court.
                                              I fear he may be. We are anticipating a classic, but I donít believe we are going to get it. The last few years have seen an inexorable tip further and further Djokovicís way particularly against Federer (and Murray) and less so but still noticeably against Nadal. His own case for being the GOAT is getting stronger and stronger. Wins such as a third Wimbledon Final success against Federer will bolster it further. Itís a chance Djoker will not pass up.
                                              Djokovic in three.

                                              Comment


                                                Men's singles to be followed by the Women's Doubles final, which got postponed from yesterday. The Mixed doubles has been bumped to Court #1.

                                                Comment


                                                  Federer's got to win this tie break. The tennis is fabulous, but he's missed 2 sitters he worked hard for on Novak's service points...

                                                  Comment


                                                    And now he gets it together. This is crucial for the match.

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