Tuesday, September 15, 2009

US Open Championship Weekend Provides Great Theatre

US Open Day 15

Last evening, Juan Martin del Potro completed a huge upset, defeating #1 seeded and five time defending champion Roger Federer in a dramatic five set contest. The night before, Kim Clijsters capped an amazing 5-week return to the pro tour after a 2-year hiatus with her second US Open title. Both championship runs were considered upsets for different reasons, although the tennis world surely recognizes the capabilities of each player.

Del Potro has played excellent tennis all year to move up to the #6 ranking, including in this summer's US Open series tournaments played on similar hard court surfaces. After breezing through the semi-finals against Rafael Nadal, del Potro had to face the Fed, who had won 40 consecutive matches and the last five title's at the US Open.

Federer took the first set 6-3, and was serving at 5-4 for the second set when he appeared to become a little unnerved over a "Hawk-eye" reversal. Del Potro's shot was originally called out and Federer pointed out the mark, but the animated system showed the shot hitting the line. Del Potro came back to break serve and win the set in a tie break. Federer, who clearly disagreed with the replay result, indicated after the match that the call cost him the match. He also had an profanity laden exchange with the chair umpire on a change-over when del Potro was allowed to challenge a call after a long delay and getting instruction from his box.

Fed rebounded to take the 3rd set 6-4, and had two match points in the 4th set, but del Potro battled his way through to win again in a tie break. In the 5th and final set, del Potro broke Federer twice, using a combination of blistering forehands and Fed's uncharacteristic serving problems to command a decisive 6-2 victory.

In the women's final, Clijsters fell behind 4-2 in the 1st set, but came storming back by winning 11 of the next 15 games. She showed her great versatility in doing so, adjusting her style to survive long rallies with the counter-punching Caroline Wozniacki. This was a marked contrast to the hard hitting, aggressive style played a day earlier with Serena Williams.

The tennis world should expect to see a great deal more of the two champions over the coming years. Clijsters has clearly recaptured her game and will be a force in women's tennis once again after injuries led her to "retire" to start a family. The 20-year old Del Potro should be on the upswing of a promising career built on the power generated from his 6'6" frame.

No comments:

Post a Comment