Monday, September 14, 2015


Here we are, finally at the men's final at the US Open! We have top seeds Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic battling for the crown.
the official site
Everyone knows by now the outcome, but how did Novak Djokovic win?

I saw this intense 3 hour + match, firstly delayed by three hours besides, due to rain and a very soggy court.  So what, you say? The court was dried, after all, no big deal, right? Wrong! I really think that Roger lost due to the court conditions besides not being present enough to close out crucial opportunities presented by Novak, and ultimately defended brilliantly by Novak.
photo courtesy of Susan Mullane/USA Today
The scores~ 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. So close, but no cigar for Roger! 

Back to the court conditions. In the first set, Novak slips and really bangs his side, and cuts his knee and arm.  This throws his game, but although Roger remains squeaky clean, his playing is tight and his so well rehearsed and highly effective serve and volley game is non- existent. He only pulls out the 'saber' move in the second set, which he won. The 'saber' is his sneak attack as a return of serve tactic to throw off and distract the server by moving up to the service line and attacking the serve, usually a second serve.

The 'saber' worked well in the second set, but I did not see it much thereafter. Roger played so well in the second set, the crowd was behind him and he could do no wrong.  He is comfortable with the drier court, and although windy the wind worked in his favor.

The third set came and went. So close, it is hard to tell what actually went wrong except that when given the break point opportunity against Djokovic, Federer could not convert the point.  This scenario happened multiple times, and Djokovic was simply too strong to allow Roger to take the advantage of a break.

The fourth set shows Roger trailing at 2-5, an absolute horror to his fans.  Earlier it was 2-2, then again with some unfortunate plays for Roger, Novak dominates.  But Roger is not to be denied. He is a champion, and comes back at 4-5. There is a chance. But Djokovic prevails, he is too good. And a worthy opponent winning a championship so well done.

This match is a study in match momentum. The shot making was so equal most of the time, and then opportunity knocks for Roger. It was apparent that Novak was nonplussed with his own playing, but he is also a champion and knows that even if in a bind, he himself has the opportunity to survive. And that he does. He hits a second sooner, and a tad harder. He passes Roger who is now attacking the net in subsequent points. Brilliant tennis, revealing that even when all appears equal, there will be gaps, opportunities, and for those you must be most ready.

At the close of this grand slam tournament, I have to say thank you to the commentators who made this such a fascinating two weeks. You can learn so much from listening to the commentary, and many times what is being said is what I have been thinking or questioning.  Kudos to Mary Joe Hernandez, Chris Evert, Pam Shriver, Brad Gilbert, John and Pat McEnroe, and Darren Cahill. Even John McEnroe had great admiration for the chair referee, who correctly called balls out within inches of the lines. There is a first!

Congratulations, Novak Djokovic! 
Your 10th major championship!

You are a true champion, and earned this slam from the first day you stepped on these courts in Flushing Meadows, New York.

courtesy of The Guardian

                   And so we take a break from the slams till Australian Open 2016.

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