Federer-Nadal showdown in U.S. Open final suddenly seems possible
For years, fans have fantasized about a
The notion didn't sound too plausible this spring, when Federer developed such an annoying knack for losing finals, but suddenly it seems possible, even
I wouldn't put much stock in Nadal's sweat-soaked loss to
As for Federer, let's just say he's playing the best tennis in the world right now. He got a number of breaks in Cincinnati, including a relatively easy draw and two withdrawals, but he looked fresh, masterful and inventive in his 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 victory over the resurgent Mardy Fish in Sunday's final.
Put it this way: Would you dare favor anyone else in New York the way Federer is playing?
Every signpost suggests a healthy, wildly motivated Nadal heading into Flushing Meadows, where injuries and fatigue (after the tour's long grind) have beaten him down so often. He needs this title in this worst way. It would significantly elevate his case as the game's greatest ever, a notion held by some, although Federer,
As for the U.S. prospects in its showcase event, it's difficult to recall a more bleak outlook -- men or women. For my money, Fish is the only player capable of making big noise in either draw.
To review, on the men's side:
Fish, clearly, is the man right now. He's got more game than Roddick. Andy has always been aware of that, dating back to their high-school days, but Fish finally realized that he needs to be in shape (thus the 30-pound weight loss) and truly attack his career, not just let it unfold. He came within a tiebreaker victory of knocking off Federer on Sunday, and if you saw the match on ESPN, you know Fish's performance was no fluke. He was
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Let's just hope it doesn't turn out to be Kuznetsova, Petrova, Zvonareva and Dementieva. Good grief, would that be a disaster.
It's ridiculous to even attempt to pick a favorite -- chances are, you'd be wrong -- and downright disheartening to consider the number of players heading into New York without a trace of momentum:
As for Serena, you have to give her credit. She didn't want anyone knowing how she hurt her foot, whether she actually had surgery (the time and place have not been identified), or what the surgery was for. This is a hell of a trick. Can you imagine
At first I thought WTA officials were just sloppy, or incompetent, the way they've kept this vital information from the public, but I've concluded they must savor the intrigue. Serena is the tour's only authentic rock star, and this makes her even more enigmatic, so they've collaborated to keep everyone guessing. I'd consult Serena's well-publicized tweets, but every time I see "LOL," I run for cover.