Monday, June 27, 2011

Wimbledon: Fish Not Dead Yet!

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American Mardy Fish has made it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. The 10th seeded Fish is the only American still left standing, male or female. He reached the quarters by ousting last year's runner-up and 6th ranked Tomas Berdych in straight sets 7-6, 6-4, 6-4. This will be Fish's first-ever quarterfinals at Wimbledon as he now carries the weight of the entire U.S.A. on his shoulders. The rejuvenated 29-year old is playing the best tennis of his career as of late and currently is the highest ranked American on either side. When told he's America's last hope, Fish said, "I'm not used to being in this position."

Well Mardy, get used to it, you're all we've got right now and for the near future.

As for Berdych--

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His ranking points will take a beating after the tournament as he was not able to defend the 1200 points that go with being the returning runner-up. His new total after the tournament will be-- 3490-1200+180=2470. His new total of 2470 will push him back to either No. 9 or No. 10 when the new rankings come out after the tournament.

Fish, for reaching the quarters, will have the unenviable task of facing the defending champion and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal next. Is Fish the guy to stop the unstoppable Rafa?

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Nadal reached the quarterfinals by winning a hard-fought and excruciating match against the Pride of Argentina, the comeback kid, No. 24 Juan Martin del Potro (7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4). Make no mistake about it, this match could have gone either way and Rafa was fortunate to escape alive. After the match, both Rafa and del Potro got a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd for their efforts.

Rafa hasn't lost a match at Wimbledon since losing the 2007 Final to Roger Federer. He won the title in 2008 and 2010 and was absent from the tournament in 2009 due to injuries.

For del Potro, he is making progress with every Grand Slam he plays in his comeback from right wrist surgery. He made it to the second round at the Australian Open, then followed it up with a third round appearance at the French Open and now a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon.

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With his fourth round appearance, del Potro will reenter the Top 20 just 5 months after being ranked as high as No. 485 due to his absence. No doubt the 2009 U.S. Open champion is well-positioned to "defend" his title at the U.S. Open, which he technically hasn't lost due to his injury-absence in 2010. I guess we can say that in the upcoming U.S. Open, del Potro (2009 champion) and Nadal (2010 champion) will be co-defending champions.

As for the rest--

The usual suspects are still alive. World No. 2 Novak Djokovic is in the quarters, World No. 3 Roger Federer is in the quarters and World No. 4 Andy Murray is also in the quarters.

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Djokovic has the most interesting match of the Top 4 as he plays the unseeded 18-year old from Australia Bernard Tomic. Many people would say that this should be a breeze for Djokovic but Tomic is raising a lot of eyebrows with his run to the quarterfinals. He first got everyone's attention by defeating former World No. 3 and 29th seeded Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets in the first round. He then stunned World No. 5 Robin Soderling in straight sets in the third round, so the kid definitely came prepared to play, no doubt about it.

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Tomic is the youngest player to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since a guy named Boris Becker (remember him?) did so as an 18-year old back in 1986. Many people are comparing Tomic's run to that of Becker's as Becker shocked the world by winning the championship as an unknown teenager. Can Tomic do the same?

So the quarterfinals look like this--

No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 10 Mardy Fish (only American left)
No. 2 Novak Djokovic vs. Bernard Tomic (18-year old qualifier)
No. 3 Roger Federer vs. No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 7 David Ferrer destroyer)
No. 4 Andy Murray vs. Feliciano Lopez (No. 8 Andy Roddick destroyer)

To be continued....

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