I just can’t get it out of my head that Evgeny Donskoy remains the only defeat for Federer this season, if you exclude the Hopman Cup where he lost to Sascha Zverev. It’s still causing me confusion now! Donskoy the goat anyone? Federer rode his luck at times in Miami, Berdych having match points and Nick frightening the living daylights out of him the following night. Kyrgios again showed how he has come back a different player so far after the Ozzy. Credit once again should go to him here for his application and long may this continue. I wouldn’t say Federer was at his best throughout the fortnight but against Nick, he had to be (he was also superb against Del Potro). Even in the final against Nadal, he wasn’t at his vintage best but he didn’t need to be. Aside from an early going over from Kohlschreiber, Rafa had eased his way to the final with wins of Mahut, Sock and Fognini but he will be disappointed by his performance in the final. I bet he can’t wait to get on the clay and try and turn the tables on this rivalry again. Elsewhere Sascha Zverev ousted Stan in 3, though it has to be said Stan put in an absolute horror show in the last 2 sets. The match against Kyrgios gave us insight into one of the potential long-term rivalries of the game. Two good mates off court and you could see that by all the banter that was going on out there. The more I watch Zverev the more I like him and this match ended up living up to its billing. The Ozzy really taking Petch (Mark Petchey) off it at the end of the second set by losing it with an attempted hot dog! Fognini made the Semi’s and as always was good value, making use of a favourable draw in taking out an injured Nishikori in the quarter-finals. So as the hard court swing comes to an end, Federer is adamant he is going to be having a rest in the run-up to Roland Garros. So don’t expect to be seeing too much of him in the next few weeks, maybe a couple of the master series at best, so some of the experts have surmised!
I actually nailed the Women’s so was pleased about that. The Konta/ Wozniacki forecast turned out to be bang on the money. The Brit claiming the biggest win of her career by far here and the second title of her season. I also wouldn’t say Konta played inspired tennis, she should and could have easily gone against Simona Halep. The Romanian having a very bizarre conversation with Darren Cahill(coach) at the end of the second set, which is worth a blog in its own right. There seems to be a lot of insecurities there right now though and Cahill is certainly earning his corn. Halep even asked Cahill if he thought she could win the match? This was after he had to calm her down for what can only be described as a toys out the pram moment. Konta dug deep though and then edged out Venus and Wozniacki. The Dane suffering from what seemed like both an ankle and back problem during the final, surely she will ‘can’ Charleston off this week? In the build up to the final, Wozniacki had outplayed Karolina Pliskova after losing the first set, dropping just two games and looking pretty aggressive from the baseline in their semi-final encounter. But the acclaim goes to Jo Konta. I’ve heard some pretty disparaging remarks made about her in the past, but this will be a sweet victory for her, it also boosts her ranking to the 7 mark. Afterwards, she talked about her road to the top, highlighting life experiences and maturity as two of the reasons for her turnaround, both on and off court. I actually don’t think she gets the exposure she deserves as our top female tennis player. She can look forward to the fact that she has few points to defend on the red stuff from last season, so her ranking will only go one way from now until the grass court season. The encouraging news for her is that she will know she has more in the locker. I still think she was playing at a higher level over the Ozzy hard court swing when winning in Sydney and her performance at the Australian and that can only be a good sign. When being aggressive she can start missing a fair bit at times during a match, but she sticks to her guns and that is the key.
The Women’s tour now turns to the hard courts of Monterrey and the green clay of Charleston as the Men have a Davis Cup weekend to look forward to.
Andy Del Potro