With his impressive 6-1, 6-3 blowout of Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the China Open, Marin Cilic, who I predicted could make a run in the tourney, has found himself in the final against Novak Djokovic.
Cilic, who won two events earlier in the spring, has had an up and down year but had suddenly found his game and confidence, especially against the very elite players. This was the same guy who was down two sets to love against Jesse Levine in the second round of the U.S. Open, but then pulled that out in five sets and then went on to thump a lazy Andy Murray in the next round.
Cilic has always had the big game, but like Juan Martin Del Potro, it is more about confidence and belief. If Cilic can continue this, he could definitely find himself in the top ten or even top five by next year.
As for Nadal he can look forward to Shanghai and London to perhaps salvage his year. Strange to be saying that after he started the year winning Australia and cementing the number one ranking.
Perhaps it’s just as well that one needs a breather after all of the drama from yesterday on the women’s side because today’s lineup of matches at the U.S. Open doesn’t excite me too much. Unless you are a diehard fan of one the stars playing, you could probably miss these matches.
There could be some drama as Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez takes on Serena Williams which is a rematch of their notorious French Open match this year when Serena claimed that during a point the ball touched Sanchez, but Sanchez denied it, leaving Serena fuming and telling the umpire, “I better not see her in the locker room.” I think Serena will be in the mood for another beat down and win 0 and 1.
Venus Williams will get to test out her knee again against Magdalena Rybarikova while Rafael Nadal, who looks super fit, plays against Nicholas Kiefer.
In American action, I like Jesse Levine’s chances against Marin Cilic the number sixteen seed while Robby Ginepri has a shot against the number 32 seed Nicolas Almagro who Ginepri beat at the Australian Open two years ago. Taylor Dent will face off against Ivan Navarro.
Finally, comeback “kid” Kim Clijsters will face off against fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens. If Clijsters and Venus win today, they will face off in the fourth round. Let’s hope they do.
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