Evo wins, Djokovic shows mental edge & Bertens’ huge improvement continues in Cincinnati.

A less thorough analysis of last weeks draws than usual but it might be more to your liking.

I was so pleased to see Evo take the Challenger in Vancouver. I think I saw he is now up to 226 in the latest rankings. That is some going considering he only started playing again at the end of April. Let us not forget he hasn’t been given much slack here, as I said in my blog Evo still paying a heavy price for going too close to the lines. He suffered fatigue from too much tennis going into the Wimbledon qualies and after his loss to Bachinger his form had looked to be dipping, but it was just a matter of time until it came good again. This was a good effort in Canada, having once again made it through qualies including a 7/5 in the decider against American Tommy Paul. In the main draw, he beat Ernesto Escobedo and then four seeded players in Thomas Fabbiano(3), Ilya Ivashka(7), Vasek Pospisil(1) and Jason Kubler(4). Match point was saved against the Aussie in the final, who has been handed a WildCard into New York. Impressive stuff from Evo though and loving the reaction after the ace. Go on lad.

 

Novak Djokovic put down a marker for the US Open and it looks like he is, probably rightly, going to go off a slight favourite for the Open over Nadal. Rafa withdrew from Cincy with fatigue after winning in Canada. Fair enough, it is a big ask to play these two weeks and then get prepped for New York. Nole once again showed his mental strength by bouncing back from the rain delays that gave the event all kinds of problems. After beating Steve Johnson, he came from a set down against Adrian Mannarino and a set and a break against Grigor Dimitrov. The Serb was also a break down in the decider against Milos Raonic and despite not being at his best all week he then took out Marin Cilic in three. Roger Federer was his opponent in the final, the Swiss also not at his best all week but his serving stats were decent. It is not enough against Nole there and Djoko ran out a 6/4 6/4 winner in the final for his first title in Cincinnati. Sascha Zverev lost to the relatively inform Robin Haase and Del Potro fell to David Goffin in the last 8 having taken out Kyrgios hours earlier. Stan Wawrinka posted another good week, beating Schwartzman, Nishikori and Fucsovics before taking Federer the distance, also in the quarters.

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Kiki Bertens has improved so much, there is no doubting that. The ability has always been there but she has improved all round and the confidence and composure are two areas that have notably improved. She saved a match point against Simona Halep in the final in Cincy. A list of Vandeweghe, Wozniacki, Kontaveit, Svitolina, Kvitova and Halep should sit pretty nicely with Kiki. The words ‘controlled aggression were used’ throughout the week. Decent. Wozniacki actually pulled out after losing the first set to Kiki with a knee injury. It is a bit worrying for Woz as she causes some real damage at this time of year but she has had a thigh, shoulder and now a knee injury this month. Angie Kerber lost to Madison Keys, looking jaded by the end, more proof that the rain caused havoc with recovery times in Cincinnati and Sloane went out to Mertens, probably also fatigued. Good effort again from Aryna Sabalenka who made the semis, losing to Halep. She continues to rise rapidly up the rankings, she is now at number 25, the 20-year-old Belarussian.

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I actually wasn’t too disheartened with Serena’s loss to Petra Kvitova. After hammering Daria Gavrilova for the loss of just three games, she was edged out in a high quality, high hitting contest against Petra. I always find it a huge positive when you know there is a lot more still to come. You never want to lose but at least Rena is playing at a standard which is more than competitive. Just a bit more fine-tuning now.

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Andy Del Potro

 

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