WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24- There have been, and will be, plenty of these moments in the career of Mardy Fish. The ultra- aggressive, athletic serve and volleyer is facing a big opportunity of Thursday, when he’ll confront No. 4 Novak Djokovic in the third round of Wimbledon.
Without a doubt, the Serbian is a better all around player, a more dedicated player, and a more mentally tough player. But Fish has the weaponry to punch through Djokovic on grass, if he can serve huge and with variety, slap and charge, take care of his volleys and play consistently from the backcourt. But Djokovic is 3-0 against him so regardless of the surface, Fish is going to have to keep the faith.
“I think an attacking style is nice,” said Fish, who bested another Serbian, Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. “He made the semis here a couple years ago. Other than that, he hasn’t had great results here as opposed to all the other Slams. He obviously moves great, serves real well. He doesn’t have any weaknesses at all. We’ve played some great matches over the years. We’ve played a 7-6 in the fourth at the Open, a 7-6 in the third at Hopman Cup, played the final of Indian Wells and it was (6-2, 5-7, 6-3), so we’ve gone the distance most of the time. He’s one of those guys where if he comes out and plays extremely well and plays to his highest capabilities, he’ll blow you right off the court. There’s no doubt about that. He’s one of those guys, returns really well, kind of a nightmare for a guy like me who to tries to rely on some easy points on the serve. But I’ll throw everything I’ve got at him. I don’t have anything else to do, so may as well.”
After flaming out in Paris, Djokovic reached the final of Halle where he fell to Tommy Haas, his sixth final of the year, where he won two titles. He’s largely flying under the radar, as Federer and Murray have been dominating the headlines, which is exactly where he wants to be now, far away form the pressure that took its toll on him at Roland Garros.
There are no bold statements coming from the former impersonator, only careful, scripted ones.
“I’m aware of my qualities,” he said. “It’s just that I don’t want to create an extra pressure on myself, because I know how hard it is to deal with it. And I’m happy that the people are not talking about me in this moment. To be honest, I wish for that so I can really focus on my game and try to perform my best tennis as possible.”
Djokovic is well aware of what type of threat that Fish poses and says he respects his foe’s game, but he knows exactly what he needs to do to walk way with the victory – serve smart, return well and pass like a demon. Even though grass is his least favorite surface, the ball is bouncing up fairly high this week, which pleases the Serb.
“I can’t rate myself as a favorite in that match, a big favorite, because I think he’s been playing well. I think the key on my side is going to be return, if I’m going to be able to make him play more than he expects.”
Fish, who is married to LA based actress Stacey Gardner, is now living in both Florida and SoCal. He’s been traveling with Querrey, as well as USTA Coach David Nainkin, who coaches them both, and as is occasionally working out at the USTA Training Center in Carson, as well as at UCLA. He’s also worked a bit with the USTA’s Jose Higueras, who is here keeping an eye on the Americans. “Certainly whatever Jose says you eat it up like a sponge,” he said.
Querrey Falls in 5, but revels in expereinc; Odesnik Not Pleased About Betting Tal
Sam Querrey played on one of his most heroic matches at a Slam in going down to Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. The Centre Court contest, which ended at near dusk, was full of huge blows from two tall guys who ran sideline to sideline for 3 hours and 24 minutes, combining for 103 winners. Querrey had done a great job at gaining break point opportunities during the match, earning 15, but only converted three of them, which really hurt him. The final set was all about nerves and in the last game, when Cilic broke the Southern Californian to win the contest, Querrey looked a little fearful, double faulting to hand the Croat a match point and then letting his opponent take it to him on an ambitious net charge. Querrey did have fun though. “I had a great time,” he said. “It’s great when the crowd gets rowdy. I think tennis would become much more popular if people were just drunk all the time.”
Now the question is: given that Querrey performed much better at Wimbledon than James Blake did, and nearly took down Cilic, should US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe pick him for the team that is to face Croatia on indoor clay in just over two weeks time? I’d say yes.
Wayne Odesnik told Tennisreporters.net that he had absolutely ‘No involvement” in any wrongdoing after the British bookmaker, Betfair, told tennis corruption investigators about unusual betting patterns for the first-round match between Odesnik and Jurgen Melzer. Betfair spokesman Mark Davies told the AP that Melzer’s odds shortened significantly after a TV announcer noted before the match that Odesnik had a thigh injury. Melzer won 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. On his Facebook wall today, Odesnik wrote “BS, BS, BS.”
Betfair received more than six times as many wagers as it would normally receive for such a match and suspended the betting. “It’s being reported as potential corruption, but I don’t see it that way at all,” Davies told the AP. “I doubt that there was any wrongdoing… I don’t suspect that this is going to turn out to be any kind of corruption story.”
Unfortunately for the players, their reputations are now at the mercy of the betting agencies, as any time an agency suspends betting now, their names are going to be highlighted. How this is protecting the reputation of the sport is beyond me.
Roger Federer is loving his draw and thoroughly outclassed the stiff Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-2 6-4. “I played too straightforward and maybe a little too much attack for him,” said Federer. “I could even try a few things in the third set.” Fed will face Philipp Kohlschreiber, who survived Ivo Minar 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 8-6…Michael Llodra was forced to retire when he collided with the umpire’s chair and a ball girl against Tommy Haas… American qualifier Taylor Dent gave it his all, but finally fell to Daniel Gimeno 7-5, 7-6(6), 4-6,-7(3) 6-4. Other men’s seeded winners included Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (a walkover), Fernando Verdasco, Albert Montanes and Tommy Robredo, but Dudi Sela upended Rainer Schuettler 7-6(3), 6-3 ,6-2
Schiavone Out Grunts de Brito
The colorful Italian, Francesca Schiavone, can grunt with the best of them and she showed a little more variety than the teen shrieker extraordinaire, Michelle Larcher de Brito did in a in wildly entertaining 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) win out on Court 12. Whatever you think about de Brito’s ear-piercing screams, she can really play and puts every ounce of small body into every shot. She’s going to be heard from, one yell or another, for a long time to come. She’s still needs to refine her game, but her heart is in the right place and she loves to fight. She should be left alone to prosper.
There were other notable results on the women’s side with seeds Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka (6-0, 6-0 over Raluca Olaru), Elena Dementieva, Nadia Petrova, Dominika Cibulkova, Virginie Razzano, Vera Zvonareva getting through. Some scores worth noting included the resourceful Sorana Cirstea beating Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-4, Daniela Hantuchova putting together her best win of the year in upsetting 2008 semifinalist Zheng Jie 6-3 7-5, and Roberta Vinci taking out baby teen Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6(6).