Saturday, September 06, 2014

2014 US OPEN: Men's Semifinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the men's semifinals at the US Open for 2014. Last year I correctly predicted  4 of 4 women's quarterfinals2 of 2 women's semifinals2 of 2 men's semifinals and 2 of 4 men's quarterfinals. This year I have correctly predicted 2 of 2 women's semifinals2 of 4 women's quarterfinals and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [3] Kei Nishikori (JPN) [10]. Djokovic handily won the quarterfinal clash between U.S. Open champions when he beat Andy Murray in four sets, demonstrating again why he has been in the final in New York for the last four consecutive years. Nishikori has had to win not one but two epic 5-set battles in a row to reach his first major semifinal over two Top 5 seeds (Milos Raonic and  Stan Wawrinka). The fact that he has to face World #1 Novak Djokovic who has shown again and again that he is willing to do whatever it takes (i.e. stay on court for nearly 6 hours) to win a major title is unfortunate. It's somewhat interesting that both of these players have "celebrity" coaches, with Djokovic working with 6-time major champion Boris Becker and Nishikori working with French Open champion Michael Chang. It's hard to believe that Nishikori will have the resources to hang with Djokovic for much more than 3 or possibly 4 sets. However if you look at their head-to-head record the two have only played each other twice (in 2010 and 2011) and each won once. The two were supposed to have played in the semifinals of Miami this year after Nishikori had a breakthrough win over Roger Federer but Nishikori's body betrayed him and he had to default. I doubt Nishikori will default such an important, historic match, but I seriously doubt it will be much of a  match. Mad Professah's pick: Djokovic.

Marin Cilic (CRO) [14] vs Roger Federer (SUI) [2].  Despite the fact that these two players have met five times with one player winning every time does not mean this match will be a blowout for that player. Federer recognizes this fact in his commentary on this match because Cilic is playing tennis at a quantum leap higher than he did before his questionable suspension from last year. He finally earned a win against Gilles Simon in the 4th round (after 4 consecutive losses on hard courts) and he sprinted past Tomas Berdych in a straight sets quarterfinal win despite a 3-5 head-to-head deficit. So, Cilic (and his celebrity coach Goran Ivanisevic) will take the winless record as a challenge. The two played a few weeks ago in Toronto and Federer barely prevailed after blowing more than a fistful of match points in the second set. If Federer is not sharp from the first ball in, he will not be getting opportunities to mount an amazing comeback victory like the one he pulled out against Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals. That five set win after losing the first two sets  in the quarterfinals demonstrates the burning desire that Federer has to reach another (his 26th!) major final. Federer thinks that Cilic's game is reminiscent of Monfils' (big serve, tall guy with long reach and powerful forehand) but the better comparison might be Juan Martin del Potro (very tall guy with huge serves, and a great mover with devastating power on both wings). The truth is that Cilic is probably somewhere in between Monfils and del Potro, but Federer probably has the tools to deal with whatever the Croat brings to the court today. Mad Professah's pick: Federer.


steven said...

All the commentators were knocking Kei for being 5'10" but shame on all the haters! as he knocked out someone almost a foot taller than him. He also beat someone I think has the biggest ground strokes overall, Stan the man. Kei is a shot maker with his precision, kinda like me LOL. If tennis mainly had to do with power serves, the top 4 players would be other players i.e. Isner, Karlovic, Anderson etc... My pick is Kei over Novak but I think it will be difficult for Kei to overcome the nerve involved in being in the final no matter who he faces. Btw, I abhor racist comments made by the tennis commentators as they referred to Kei as the Lil Jap and Monfils as an "animal."

carter said...

Now that BOTH predictions were wrong, what do you think of the finals - Marin vs. Kei?!
I asked a tennis fanatic friend of mine the day before the semis what do you think the odds would be in Vegas to parlay Kei and Marin in their semi matches? He was stumped that I would even ask such a question, yet I had an inclination that something big could happen, but both something bigs was a distant thought that eventually came true.
A great day for tennis. Will be ecstatic for whichever player wins on Monday.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin