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American men second week at US Open
Going into this week, John Isner, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and Don Young made it among the final 16. The charge quickly fizzled out. Fish had a two set lead over French player Jo Wilfred Tsonga and was ready for his first US Open quarterfinal but Tsonga came back to win a five set thriller. Tsonga repeated what he did against Roger Federer in Wimbledon early this year when he came back from a two set deficit to win and his power wore the game Fish down.
Donald Young came into his match confident against Andy Murray since he has previously beaten the British hope this summer. Young showed skills and potential predicted for him but against Murray, he suffered a rain delay that lasted a day or two and then lost to a Murray who wanted not just revenge but a shot at wining his first major. Young had a good run but alas, the golden slippers came off.
Roddick came out against David Ferrer possessed. Whether it was the anger of going out the day before to start a match that everyone knew wasn’t even going to get through the first set due to weather or trying to tell the officials that Louis Armstrong was not ready for a match next day. He won an easy battle as he looked like the Andy of old with the powerful serve and forehand swept the number fifth rank David Ferrer.
Isner defeated French tennis player Gilles Simon by winning three tie breaks in a tight four set victory. The big powerful serve allowed Isner to win his service games and gave him the advantage in the Tiebreak and he played his usual, “you won’t break my serve and just try to overpower you.”
It has been a long time since there has been two Americans in the quarterfinals, with Roddick facing Nadal and Isner challenging Murray. Murray found a way to break Isner and won a four set match. The final set was a tight affair decided by a tiebreak before Murray marched through the tiebreak 7-2.
Roddick never got his rhythm as Nadal came out fast, returned the Roddick power serve and often forced Roddick on his heel. Roddick seemed one step slow compared the energetic Nadal. By the semis, it was the big four of Tennis and the American men watching.
Roddick has had a good career but many were looking for more after Roddick won the US Open as a 21 year old eight years ago. Fish, like Roddick, is of the same generation of players and is just one year shy of 30. Both Roddick and Fish are top ten players and Roddick has the talent to make a run at a major but they are not part of the top four elite. Roddick was for years been part of that elite but injuries have slowed him down and Fish is finally making his appearance in the tope ten.
Donald Young has the talent to make a future run for he has the skills and enough pop in his serve to be competitive. John Isner is starting to come into his own and he has one of the powerful serves but he does not often break other serves. He depends upon his power like Nolan Ryan use to depend upon his fast ball. Jack Sock may be the one player that joins the elite as he showed skills that Roddick showed at the same age, a powerful serve. What he also showed was court awareness and mobility.
On the women side, it is Serena and Serena and Serena. Serena Williams is American women tennis and while there are some solid prospects, no American woman made it to the second week except Serena as she marched into the semis against Caroline Wozniacki. Serena looked like the Serena of old with a powerful serve backed by that vicious forehand and foot movement that tracked down other passing shots.
Unfortunately, Serena Williams ran into a buzz saw, Samantha Stosur, who out played Williams in the finals. What proved to be the most shocking is how Stosur broke Williams repeatedly throughout the match and the dream ended. For two weeks, Serena Williams reminded everyone why she was the best woman tennis player for the past decade but in the final, Williams looked a step slower than her opponent and ran out of gas. For American women, there is little to back up the Williams sisters and who knows how long they will stay on top.