The problem with the second week of Majors is the obvious one: there just isn’t as much tennis going on. Well since I didn’t write for several days, I’ll just take this time to catch up on things.
Rafael Nadal’s surprising exit: It’s not that surprising that Nadal lost in the quarters. What was shocking was how Tomas Berdych completely manhandled Nadal in the first two sets. Berdych kept attacking Nadal’s forehand, and Nadal has no answers except spraying balls into the net. Or, more shocking, he just didn’t get to some shots.
It was a thorough demolition: 6-2, 6-0. The ESPN blokes said that the second set was only the fourth time in Nadal’s career that he lost a set at love. It was shocking that pointed to some obvious leg troubles. Nadal took some sort of painkiller or anti-inflammatory in the second set which kicked in the third, but what was done was done. Berdych won the third-set tiebreak 7-5, and it was like watching a car wreck.
Venus Williams and Madison Keys: Two of the bigger stories for Americans during this fortnight has been Madison Keys and Venus Williams. For years, it has been a waiting game to see when Venus would retire. She hadn’t been past the fourth round of a Major since the 2010 US Open, and she hadn’t looked the same since being diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome in 2011. But she looked different this year. She won the tournament in Auckland and looked just as good as during this run.
Yesterday, she ran into the 19-year old Madison Keys. The big-hitting Keys has been talked about for the past couple of years as the next player to vault into the top of the game alongside the Williams sisters. Madison has never been past the third round of a Major, yet you couldn’t tell that as she blasted Venus off the court in the first set. Despite suffering a leg injury in the second set and being down 3-1 in the third set, Madison pulled it out.
Now she gets to face Serena Williams in the semifinals. What a prize.
Semifinals: On the men’s side we have a rematch of Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka which should be magical. And there’s the Tomas Berdych v. Andy Murray match. I don’t know how much analysis can be done with these four except to say any of these four can win the whole thing. I honestly don’t think you can pick a favorite. It’s that close.
On the women’s side, there the all US Serena-Madison matchup and the all-Russian Ekaterina Makarova-Maria Sharapova showdown. I really think we have another Serena-Maria final with Serena winning. Did you see her takedown of Dominika Cibulkova yesterday?