Last years final featuring Maron Cilic and Kei Nishakori wasn’t predicted by many. Even less was Cilic beating Nishakori but at this time of year, in what has been a long season, these things happen. So do we need to be looking way down the betting to find our winner. Maybe but then maybe not.
I thought Novak looked particularly weary playing Roger on Sunday in Cincinatti but that might well have been that Federer was back to his brilliant best and in that form Novak didn’t want to waste energy in the week leading up to the US, running around chasing down the unchasable from a man in sublime nick. Not the normal Novak way, he is, mentally, the strongest sportsman I have ever seen (excepting Ali of course) but this has been a long season and he had an amazing start to the year, a year that might well still prove to be his best yet. Maybe though even Novak is human and he is tired or finally his body wont do what his mind is telling it to do. The mind will be ready next week but is the body. I can’t take 5/4 about him after what we just saw so he is out of the reckoning with us. He does however have the Tiger Woods bounce backability from the 2000’s. Interestingly both he and Roger have only played 18 tournaments this year and Murray has played 23.
Andy Murray has been playing well. In fact better recently than most of the rest of this season and he also, finally, has the Djokovic scalp to his name rafter what appeared to be a real glass ceiling for him. He also looked a little jaded against Roger in his semi last week and again it might be the same problem, Roger was too good and he was weary after his win the week before but I think he really tried to turn it around and the fight was too great and Rogers class told.
How about Cilic and Nishakori to repeat the dose in 2015. Well Nishakori is in fine form. He beat Cilic in the semi and then Isner in the final to win in Washington and then only fell to a rampant Murray in the Semi’s in Canada (that’s the best I have seen Murray play for 2 years) Cilic seemed to peak at Wimbledon on the faster surface with a good showing followed by the Semi defeat at the hands of Nishakori in Washington before going out at 32 and 16 in the last two tournaments. For me Kei is resting and ready, Marin might have peaked.
John Isner deserves respect on this surface and he is no doubt the best he has ever been currently and that may not be quite good enough this time. Rafa deserves a mention but its hard to feel he is at the top of his game. He has caused a few some problems but hasnt been a real contender on these quicker surfaces recently. For me he looks too short at 16/1.
Stan Wawrinka seems worthy of a name check and he hasn’t exactly stressed himself too much since his French Open win and his great Semi Final Match at Wimbledon. He was brushed aside by Novak in the Quarters in Ohio but that wont have bothered him too much. He will come out all guns blazing in New York and who knows he might just nick it but 12/1 seems tight and isn’t that attractive.
So who wins, for me its Roger. He just looks in a good place physically and with his game and I think the belief is back. I hope he hasnt peaked a week too early but I don’t think he will be defensive in his chase of this crown and I love watching him play when he is able to attack. His serve looked as good as ever and more particularly his second serve which seemed to have all the fizz I remember. He is a modern day phenomenon and at 9/2 I think he is over priced.
Our two against the field next week