PostHeaderIcon Roger, Big John, Venus, and Sam: A Long-Overdue “Shock or Not?”

Reuters

Reuters

It’s been a few days since my last post while I recharge my batteries post-Stanford, and prepare for a week in Mason at the Western and Southern Open. So in order to ease myself back into the swing of things (as well as clear out the lingering results of the past few weeks), I figured it was time to catch up with a long-overdue version of “Shock or Not”.

Let’s start first with some multiple questions for Federer, Isner, the elder Williams, and Stosur before we head back over a few results from the past month.

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Roger Federer tries new racquet – Shock or Not? Shock

Federico Delbonis defeats Roger Federer – Shock or Not? Shock

Daniel Brands defeats Roger Federer – Shock or Not? Shock

Roger Federer withdraws from Rogers Cup Montréal – Shock or Not? Not, but troubling!

Roger’s place as the “Greatest of All Time” is still pretty secure, but that’s about it for him these days with his tennis. He’s in the “George Bastl” phase of his career (a Sampras reference for those who may not know the name), and it’s tough to know what will happen when he hits the court.

He’s (shockingly) testing a new racquet for more power after years of resistance, but I’m not sure if it will be enough to stave off the decreased execution and “body breakdown”. Losses to Delbonis and Brands are shocking as well, and unfortunately becoming more frequent. His withdrawal from Montreal and questionable status for Cincinnati are less of a shock, and certainly don’t bode well for his US Open chances.

We all knew it would happen sometime, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be any easier to watch.

Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Vasek Pospisil defeats John Isner Anderson – Shock or Not? Shock

John Isner leads US Open Series standings – Shock or Not? Not, but…

Yes, John has played a ton of tennis over the past couple of weeks in winning Atlanta and making the finals of DC, but this still rightfully ranks as a shock.  Hopefully it will be a lesson learned for the big guy. Bret Haber made a point of saying that John doesn’t get tight in the tiebreaks because he spends his time “living there”. But maybe that needs to change if he ever wants to go deep in a Slam. NOBODY can play that many tough tiebreak matches and go deep in a Slam!

As for the US Open Series points lead, it’s not shocking when you look at the players that have “come to bat” so far.  However, all of that changes when the big boys come to town. So “NO”, I don’t expect a $1M bonus for the big guy. Sorry John.

Kirsten Flipkens defeats Venus Williams – Shock or Not? Not

Venus Williams bagels Kirsten Flipkens in 1st set – Shock or Not? Shock

Admittedly, my expectations were low for Venus in her first match back on two after over two months. I’ve written previously (The Agonizing Decline of Venus Williams) that it’s going to continue to be tough – near impossible – for her to compete at an elite level while suffering from a chronic condition that won’t allow her to train at an elite level.

Flipkens might not be Sharapova, but she is a Wimbledon semifinalist with a decent game. So am I shocked that she beat Venus in three? No.  Am I shocked that she gave up a first set bagel along the way? Heck yes. (To be fair, it can reasonably be chalked it up to post-Wimbledon injury rust.) As for Venus, I can’t imagine how she keeps this going beyond 2013.

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Sam Stosur defeats Victoria Azarenka in Carlsbad  – Shock or Not? Not

This was Sam Stosur’s 4th WTA title – Shock or Not? *facepalm* Shock

I’m not shocked that Sam beat Vika because she has the game to beat everyone in the Top 0, Serena included. And though match-ups are virtually the entire story in tennis, it’s mind-boggling that she would have 8 straight losses to Vika. I’m incredibly shocked that this is only her fourth title, and her first since winning the US Open.  She’s simply too talented and athletic for that dismal stat. It says a ton, and not a good ton, that she and Magdalena Rybarikova, the DC winner, both have four titles.

Juan Martin Del Potro defeats John Isner in DC – Shock or Not? Not

I’m really NOT picking on Big John, but it’s hard to deny the difference between his level and that of the guys in the Top 10.  Juan Martin possesses all of the weapons that Isner possesses along with a great return of serve…even if it was from the front row of the backstop. There’ll be a further separation of the pack when Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Berdych, et al start playing in Montreal and Cincy.

Dominika Cibulkova defeats Aga Radwanska at Stanford – Shock or Not? Shock

It was a shock, but definitely a well-earned win by the diminutive Slovakian. She’d never beaten Aga and, in fact, had never taken a set off of her before that final. And how can one forget the embarrassing double bagel she received from Aga in Sydney? I don’t know how she did it, but she did, coming from a set down and behind in the third. Win or lose, she went for her shots, and gave us a much-needed dose of “courageous” tennis to start the summer. (A first round loss in Carlsbad doesn’t dim her Stanford title in the least.)

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Nicolas Mahut wins 1st career singles titles on grass at s-Hertogenbosch and Newport – Shock or Not? Kinda Shock but…

…it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Nicolas, along with fellow countryman Benneteau, is one of the “hard luck guys” on tour. Nothing comes easy, and he usually ends up on the losing side of the equation.  Not so in 2013, with two singles titles on grass, and an historic double at Newport in winning both singles and doubles.  Now if we can just get Benneteau over the hump!

2 Responses to “Roger, Big John, Venus, and Sam: A Long-Overdue “Shock or Not?””

  • David says:

    Yayayayayay!!! We super heart shock or nots!!! Here we go…

    Roger Federer tries new racquet – Shock or Not? Shock SHOCK (and troubling)
    Federico Delbonis defeats Roger Federer – Shock or Not? Shock SHOCK (and troubling)
    Daniel Brands defeats Roger Federer – Shock or Not? Shock SHOCK (and more troubling)
    Roger Federer withdraws from Rogers Cup Montréal – Shock or Not? Not, but troubling! YIKES!

    Big questions for Fed. You’re right – we all knew this was coming, but man is it tough to watch.

    Vasek Pospisil defeats John Isner – Shock or Not? Shock SHOCK (and disappointing)
    John Isner leads US Open Series standings – Shock or Not? Not, but… MEH

    Yes this begs the question of how mid-level players translate to the big stage. Super great to win a title and get to another final (during which he pooped out in the 2nd set). BUT you can’t do that and then lose in the FIRST ROUND at the following Master’s. This further proves (a) the top guys are incredible to win this much day in day out (b) Isner’s not a top guy, nor will he be.

    Kirsten Flipkens defeats Venus Williams – Shock or Not? Not NOT
    Venus Williams bagels Kirsten Flipkens in 1st set – Shock or Not? Shock SHOCK

    For Venus, see Roger, only more so. The Venus who won 7 slams showed up in the 1st, but then the “back to reality” Venus showed up afterwards. She just needs to hang it up. Hang, it, up.

    Sam Stosur defeats Victoria Azarenka in Carlsbad – Shock or Not? Not SHOCK
    This was Sam Stosur’s 4th WTA title – Shock or Not? *facepalm* Shock MORE FACEPALM

    Sam lost her one match at Bank of the West, and then magically claims her fourth title. Talk about streaky! Vika was rusty etc, but Sam has got to remember how to catch lightening in a bottle more often. (like she did to win the 2011 US Open). Even the announcers were SHOCKED when they found it’s only her fourth title. Now watch her crash out early at Toronto, cause that’s how she rolls…

    Juan Martin Del Potro defeats John Isner in DC – Shock or Not? Not UM, WHAT?

    Your point about the tiebreaks, the lack of belief in the importance of the return game.

    Dominika Cibulkova defeats Aga Radwanska at Stanford – Shock or Not? Shock SHOCK

    After getting double bageled earlier this year? Yes, it’s a shock it even went three.

    Nicolas Mahut wins 1st career singles titles on grass at s-Hertogenbosch and Newport – Shock or Not? Kinda Shock but…SHOCK

    Injuries almost ended his career, then he comes back and almost beats the Bryans in the French final, and then wins his first title ever, and then his second title ever? And he’s 31? Give this man a medal for the SHOCK factor. Of course, it’s debatable whether Stan purposefully folded in the Top-Shelf final to his very good friend (they Instagram and tweet together) so that he could win his first title. Suspicious, but only Stan will really know the answer.

    Here are some of mine…

    Almost all the Americans crashed out in the first two days of play. SHOCK (and yikes)
    Vika loses in a final and then petulantly bows out of the next tournament to lick her wounds GROAN
    Tennis Channel really does make the Canada tournaments seem like a joint event AWESOME
    Kuznetsova loses in the qualies, to Lauren Davis, then gets picked as a lucky loser and ends up playing, wait for it, Lauren Davis to whom she loses AGAIN! YOU MADE THIS UP, REALLY?

  • Rick May says:

    Fed losing at this moment in his career is, sadly, not a shock. I hope he can figure it out and have a good autumn of his tennis career. If not, he owes it to himself to just stop and go on to the next thing.

    Isner losing a shock? No. But then I’m not a Big John fan, although I do think he’s cute in his Anatabloc commercials.

    My hopes were so high for Venus. I thought maybe with that time off. She’s a great champion and lady.

    And what about Janko Tipsarevich? He’s my main man and he can’t win a match this year. His decline is as precipitous as Fed’s. Ok, Fed’s is a steeper angle but they’re both sudden and deep.

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