Custom Search

Monday, September 8, 2008

Comment: Brains vs Brawn & Brains Christy Simson dissects the US Open final match-up between the defending champion Roger Federer and upstart Andy Mu

Christy Simson dissects the US Open final match-up between the defending champion Roger Federer and upstart Andy Murray.
Novak Djokovic hits an earlier, cleaner, harder, flatter ball than anyone else in the world.

In short the 6 foot three hunk of athletic muscle is a pain in the neck to play against. He rushes you into shots and into mistakes.

In Saturday's semifinal, Roger Federer was feeling that pain - He'd just been steamrollered by Djokovic in the second set and the young Serb was calling the shots. It was almost embarrassing to watch the great man scampering from one side of the court to the other.

But, using his brain as much as his racket, Federer found a way through. He slowed things up with that slice backhand, and he served brilliantly when it mattered in the closing games of the third set.

But tonight's final is going to be even harder. Like Djokovic, Andy Murray is a young physical specimen on a mission. But unlike Djokovic, Murray can change his game to suit any circumstance.

He won't be bothered by Federer varying the pace, in fact he's got just as much variety himself.

And he's confident enough not to take unnecessary risks. The Scot is very happy sitting back, drifting it over the net and then hitting it hard on the counter. He's also much more comfortable than Djokovic at the net. That's why some aficionados reckon he's going to win more Grand Slams than the Serbian.

Times have changed - Do you remember the way Federer used to blast his opponents off court in grand slam semis and finals? The likes of Hewitt, Agassi, Nalbandian, Philippoussis, Moya, Henman, and Davydenko just did not have an answer to his all-round brilliance. But Nadal, Djokovic and now Murray are a different breed. They are fitter, younger and quicker than Federer - Murray's serve in particular has come on leaps and bounds.

I noticed in his semi-final against Djokovic, Federer was trying to hit an ace with almost every serve - a sign that he's low on confidence - his volleying was also way below par.

But there is one thing that Roger is still the best in the world at - and that is defending. He won that semi-final by hanging in there and breaking Djokovic's spirit.

There was one shot in particular that I will never forget. He was about two feet from the court's backdrop - with no options as Djokovic connected with a smash. Somehow Federer got a racket too it. A lob would have almost certainly spelt doom, a pass attempt was also very low percentage. So he came up with a third option. You could have heard a pin drop in Arthur Ashe stadium as the fans realised what he was attempting. I can only describe it as a 'slob' - a mixture of a serve and a lob. And it was delivered with serious side-spin, which is what confused Djokovic because the ball went over his head at real pace and looked like it was going to be long. But inexplicably it curved in a right to left, downward arc before dropping a couple of inches inside the line. The youngster had been made to look stupid and Federer saluted a crowd in awe.

No one else (bar perhaps Murray) could have played that shot and it was part of a masterclass from Federer.

Who's going to win tonight? I have absolutely no idea. But if we're talking about self belief then Murray is your man (he's no Tim Henman) and the Scot has of course beaten Federer the last two times they've met - both on hard court.


No comments:

Football Livescore

Tennis Livescore

Basketball Livescore