Sunday, August 19, 2007

Let's go streak-bustin'!

First, congrats to JB for making it to the Cincy finals. Maybe he read my last posting telling him he had to make the finals here! Nice wins against Querrey and Davydenko. His summer really hasn't been too bad. And he's guaranteed to get back to at least 6 in the rankings.

In the much-depleted Rogers Cup, at least the top two seeds came through: Justine Henin and Jelena Jankovic. This tournament has really cast a lot of attention on something I thought has been running pretty rampant in the women's game for a few years now: withdrawals. I get kind of confused by this because WTA tournaments usually give first-round byes to the top seeds, which of course means fewer matches. Is the damage being done on the practice court? This is a bigger issue than I can figure out, but hopefully something can be resolved because the quality of play is better than ever and it'd be a shame for the game for it to be getting negative attention caused by the withdrawal syndrome.

But what I really wanted to do is talk about the head-to-heads in these finals and give my opinion on what can be done for those on the wrong side of the winning streak.

Federer is 6-0 against Blake, which considering who Federer is, it really isn't too much to hold your head down about. But the matches I've watched them play against each other, Blake has never deviated from his game plan, which it looks like to me, is to try to blast Federer off the court. I know he's an aggressive player, but today, why not do something different? And my suggestion is to use more topspin, meaning loop a few shots and keep more balls in play, a la Guillermo Canas in Indian Wells and Miami. Blake's just as athletic as Canas, but does he have the patience? His power game is not powerful enough to take out R-Fed. He should just really try to give him some different looks.

And Henin is 6-0 against Jankovic, which when looking at the scores and some of the matches I've watched, the mental factor plays a big part. First, Jelena, keep your head in the game if Henin fights back! She's a Hall of Famer, that's what they do! And Jelena has to stay dictating the points, but not really run her side to side because I think Henin hitting on the run is one of the best at doing that in the past 15 years or so. Blast a lot of shots at her down the middle. At least when they used to beat up on her, that's what the Williams sisters would do.

Anyway, there's my winning tips. I think they're pretty good for an out-of-shape 4.0 player!

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