It looks like we have witnessed the match of the tournament today. But before I get into the Murray/Verdasco battle, I will summarize the other quarterfinals first.
Novak Djokovic held an 13 – 2 record going into his quarterfinal match with Tomas Berdych, so you could say he was going in with some confidence. However, Berdych beat Djokovic the last time they played so he was ready for the big stage. The first set was very tight, with Djokovic having multiple opportunites to break, but Berdych hitting that massive serve and forehand to keep him in the set. As the first set went to a tiebreaker, each player went back and forth in the breaker. Berdych had a chance at 5 – 4 in the breaker but missed a pretty easy return. Djokovic quickly took advantage of that and won the breaker 7 – 5. Even then though, Berdych broke early in the second set, but that was all Berdych had going for him the rest of the match. Djokovic quickly broke back and took the second and third sets by the score of 4 and 3. Djokovic has still yet to drop a set in this tournament. But he will have a very stiff test in the semis.
Juan Martin Del Potro was an absolute stud today. This is the best I have seen of him since the US Open last year. Del Potro took on grinder David Ferrer and Ferrer has given Del Potro in the past. However, Del Potro looked a lot like the old Del Potro, like the one that won the US Open a couple years ago. His running forehand was absolutely enormous today. You wouldn’t think that he could create so much power on the run, but that forehand is like a hammer waiting to come down on its victims. Del Potro will take on Djokovic in what should be an epic semifinal on Friday.
The surprising all Polish quarterfinal was pretty straight forward for the most part with the talented Jerzy Janowicz advancing to his first grand slam semifinal. Janowicz looked pretty spectacular again against his countryman Lukasz Kubot as he hit another 30 aces. Kubot wasn’t in any control of this match. Although the first set was close, it was Janowicz dictating with his serve and variety. I have never seen a player so tall with so much variety in his game and am really looking forward to watching this kid progress throughout his career.
Now I knew that Fernando Verdasco was playing good ball, but not as well as I saw him yesterday. He pushed Andy Murray to the absolute limit yesterday in what may very well be the match of the tournament. Verdasco’s forehand was on in the first 2 sets as he took both of them rather easily by the scores of 4 and 3. However, as most expected, Verdasco’s quality went down just enough for Murray to claw his way back into the match. Murray won the third 6 – 1 and the fourth 6 – 3. The fifth set was an absolute grind with Verdasco crushing his groundstrokes and Murray just playing defense the whole set. What I wanted to see from Murray was to take it to Verdasco, but that did not happen. Nevertheless, Verdasco finally broke down at 5 all and Murray broke him and then held for the match. The home crowd was thrilled that their man escaped, but he will need to pick up his game big time as he takes on Jerzy “Jersey Boy” Janowicz.
Joey will preview these semifinal showdowns today.