Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wimbledon Day 9 Results: Berdych Trounces Fed; Rafa, Murray and Djoko Advance

This historic Wimbledon of surprises stuck to the storyline for the men's quarterfinals, as Roger Federer went crashing out to a dynamite Tomas Berdych in 4 sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. The 12th seeded Berdych dominated play from the baseline and out-served the top seed, handing the Swiss his 2nd consecutive Major quarterfinal defeat. Berdych hit 51 winners to Fed's 44 and converted 4 of 6 BP chances, while his opponent was 1 of 8, most notably letting a 0-40 game in the 4th on Berdych's serve get away.

It's clear that Federer just doesn't have the ability to flip the switch and turn his game on when he needs to, like he did in his dominant 2004-2007 reign, and I'd be surprised if he ever wins another Major title (I know, bold prediction), but the lack of credit given to his conqueror in his presser afterwards makes me think that perhaps Roger himself is the one person oblivious to this thing called aging.

"You know, I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue. That just doesn't quite allow me to play the way I would like to play," Federer whined, also referring to 'luck' as a key reason for the loss. Berdych had the balls to fire back and say that Fed was "searching for excuses."

Yes, Roger may be my favorite player and a personal hero, but can't he walk in Berdych's shoes and realize how life-changing this win is for the 24 year-old? Guess not.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga entered his match with Andy Murray saying he had "nothing to lose", as the man on the other side of the court had all of England's hopes to bare. Well, turns out that mindset wasn't the right one to have. Despite a valiant effort in the first two sets on the part of the Frenchman, Murray later figured out the 10th seed's game to dominate the final 2 sets and win in 4, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-2.

Both men finished with 14 aces, but Tsonga threw in 8 double faults to match, while Murray ahd just two. A key factor, though, just as in the Federer/Berdych match, was their break point conversions. The Scot was 31% at 5 of 16, while Tsonga, a first time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, was an unimpressive 1 of 6.

Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling a quite familiar with each other, as their rivalry began 3 years ago on the same court they contested their quarterfinal match on yesterday. Since that 2-day, 5-set epic a few years ago, in which Soderling first started the trend of mocking Nadal's famous yanking-at-the-behind move, both players have improved immensely. Soderling lost to Rafa in the French open final 3 weeks ago but looked headed for revenge after a quick start. The Swede won the first 5 games and took the opening set 6-3. Rafa won by that same score in the next set, and the 3rd was a nail biter. The world number 1 lost serve at 5-4 and the set went to a tiebreak, which the Spaniard won 7-4.

After that it was all Rafa, as Soderling was never able to regain his form from the beginning of the match, dropping the fourth set and the match 6-1. Soderling cracked 35 unforced errors and was erratic throughout the match, while throughout 4 sets Nadal hit just 12 UE's, reaching his 4th straight Wimbledon semifinal.

Rafa will take on Murray in the semis, a match many predicted and will surely have tennis fans glued to their tv screens.

Novak Djokovic's semifinal was less thrilling than the other 3, as the Serb made quick work of Yen-Hsun Lu, who beat Andy Roddick 9-7 in the fifth set in the 4th round. Lu hit just 13 winners to the Djoker's 29, and was completely overpowered throughout the 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 loss. With the win the 3rd seeded Djokovic reaches his 2nd career Wimbledon semi, and will face Tomas Berdych for a spot in the finals.

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