Tennis Server ATP/WTA Pro Tennis Showcase - US Open 2010 - The Word - Murray, Lacko, Williams, Marino, Monfils, Andreev
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September 1, 2010

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US Open 2010, Flushing Meadows, NY, USA
September 1, 2010
Editorial by Jane Voigt.

Jane Voigt Photo
Jane Voigt

The Word
 
September 1, 2010 -- Word around the courts at the U. S. Open is 'the women's draw is wide open.' But what about the men's draw? After some of today's results, you have to wonder.
 
Take Tomas Berdych's loss to Michael Llodra in straight sets. The seventh seed Berdych had high expectations for the Open. Many thought he would dash to the quarterfinals without a hitch. He was the finalist at Wimbledon, having ousted Roger Federer in the quarters. An almost unheard of accomplishment, especially on the lawns of The All England Club. Berdych seemed to have grown into the player many had expected to see years ago. He could maintain his game, his mind, and beat the top dogs.
 
So what happened to the tall Czech? The matchup on paper seemed somewhat cut and dry. They hadn't met in a match since Roland Garros in 2008 when Llodra won in five sets -- a formidable battle. Before that, Berdych triumphed twice.
 
For answers you have to take a look at his opponent. At 30, and married with children, Llodra probably doesn't have an oversized desire to crack the top ten. (He is currently ranked 35.) He also plays an uncharacteristic game compared to heavy-hitting power baseliners like Berdych. Llodra predominantly serves-and-volleys.
 
In fact the Frenchman approached the net 75 times today. He was successful on 64% of those attempts. In other words, he dictated play. Berdych was forced to defend by passing him, lobbing him, or going straight at Llodra's six-foot frame.
 
Llodra also plays lefty -- serving wiggy whacks that no matter how proficient the player is, trouble could be right around the next point. There just aren't that many left-handed players.
 
From the match stats, both men served well and returned well. Berdych didn't convert any of the three break point chances, and Llodra took advantage of two out of eight. Those were the only two breaks in the match -- one in the second set and one in the third set.
 
With a clean error to unforced error ratio, Berdych must have succumbed to the pressure from Llodra's net game and then couldn't find his way clear to a plan B.
 
John Martin from the New York Times said it best when he wrote today that, "Llodra's victory was proof that an aggressive attacking game can succeed against a successful backcourt player."
 
It's a tactic that's widely debated, especially with the trend to use strings such as Wilson's Big Banger ALU Power, a polyester that can create more spin and trajectory power than the formerly used multifilament strings. The game is all about power... right?
 
The jury remains out on that one, for the moment. However, Llodra's day on court was a highlight in recent memory. At least in singles. His career in doubles, though, is stellar. He has three major titles, two from the Australian Open and one from Wimbledon where he and Arnaud Clement defeated the American twins Bob and Mike Bryan.
 
Maybe Clement's surprise win yesterday over Marcos Baghdatis paved a path in the metaphysical world for Llodra. But that's impossible to rationalize and who would want to?
 
With that said, Berdych's quarter of the draw explodes. Andy Murray is perched pretty as the #4 seed, and advanced without trouble today past Lukas Lacko. Stan Wawrinka is there, as are Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner -- always threats with those monster serves.
 
Two qualifiers punched holes in their sections of the men's draw, too.
 
Yesterday, Canadian Peter Polansky drubbed Juan Monaco (#30 seed) in straight sets. Today, American Ryan Harrison -- the youngest on the men's side -- ended Ivan Ljubicic's (#15 seed) hopes of salvaging a season that started with a bang and a Master's 1000 title from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
 
Ljubicic admitted that he struggled with the weather. He complimented Harrison on his game, but conditions affected Ljubicic to the point that no matter what tactic he attempted it failed.
 
"I just feel really bad," Ivan said. "I mean, I can't move. It's just it gets to me really quickly actually. Already in the first set I was struggling with it. Throughout my career I struggled with the heat."
 
Asked if he would be in favor of the 'heat rule' Ljubicic's answer touched off laughter in the media room. "I would be in favor of indoor tour altogether, if you ask me."
 
(The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour heat rule/policy allows women a ten-minute break between second and third sets, if both players agree and the temperature on court has reached a range considered dangerous.)
 
Ryan Harrison was pretty pleased with himself today. His nerves stayed steady on this big stage and he took advantage of his transition game and big serve.
 
"It's definitely the biggest one of my career so far," Harrison began. "To win on this stage here and to take out a top 20 player in the world is the biggest win of my career. I've always believed in myself. I have always had confidence, so obviously I'm extremely excited and really pleased with what happened."
 
With pundits such as John and Patrick McEnroe on the lookout for the next great American star, Ryan Harrison appeared like a dream after the win he posted today. Harrison has no problem being thought of in those terms.
 
"Absolutely... I want to be that guy."
 
Both Harrison and Polansky face stiff second-round opponents. Polansky will meet sentimental favorite James Blake; and, Harrison is scheduled to play the newly crowned Pilot Pen titleholder -- Sergiy Stakhovsky.
 

 
[4] Andy Murray (GBR) {white cap} d Lukas Lacko (SVK) 63 62 62
 
Andy Murray US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Andy Murray US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Andy Murray US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Andy Murray US Open 2010 Tennis
Lacko Murray Scoreboard US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Andy Murray Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis
Lukas Lacko US Open 2010 Tennis

 
 
[3] Venus Williams (USA) {white visor} d Rebecca Marino (CAN) 76(3) 63
 
Spidercam US Open 2010 Tennis
Marino Williams Scoreboard US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Rebecca Marino US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Rebecca Marino US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Cameraman US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Rebecca Marino US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Rebecca Marino US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis
Venus Williams US Open 2010 Tennis

 
 
[17] Gael Monfils (FRA) d Igor Andreev (RUS) {horizontal stripe across shirt} 63 64 63
 
Andreev Monfils Scoreboard US Open 2010 Tennis
US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis
Igor Andreev US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis
Igor Andreev US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis
Gael Monfils US Open 2010 Tennis

 
Earlier Coverage from this Event:
 
August 31, 2010 US Open: What's Age Got To Do With It? Arnaud Clement, Marcos Baghdatis, Novak Djokovic, Mardy Fish, Jan Hajek, Viktor Troicki
August 30, 2010 US Open: And Away We Go - Melanie Oudin, Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick, Olga Savchuk, Greta Arn, Stephane Robert
August 29, 2010 US Open: Who's In, Who's Out
 

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