Ricky Dimon

  • Semifinal Saturday in Cincinnati: Federer, Murray, Nadal, and Djokovic

    2009-08-22 17:15:57

    I'm here at semifinal Saturday in Cincinnati, which ESPN's Chris Fowler has been calling "the dream semifinals" non-stop since last night...and why not? It features the top four players in the world: Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. It also features a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup (Federer vs. Murray), a rare (perhaps unprecedented?) occurrence in a semifinal. I'll be blogging periodically throughout the day.


    Novak Djokovic quotes
    "I have to be very pleased with the way I played. This has been one of the best matches in the season so far. It came in the great moment just before the US Open."

    On playing a night match before an afternoon final: "Yeah, that's unfortunate side of today's match. But I'm not thinking about that in this moment. I'm just pleased to get into the finals, and then I hope I can recover physically and perform as well as I did tonight tomorrow."

    On the rumor that he and Nadal were going to play doubles together in Cincinnati: "Yeah, that's true. Unfortunately he wasn't ready physically to play singles and doubles, so he just decided to play singles. Maybe we have chance in the future."

    Rafael Nadal quotes
    "He played really good with very good intensity during all the match. But I think this match gonna be a good experience for me right now to try to be in this step in the US Open. My feeling on court was he always was in the middle the court and I was always outside, two meters behind the baseline. I think I wasn't 100% ready to play at this step. I know when I am playing well I can play at this level. But these matches, you only can win the matches against these top players at your best tennis."

    On his U.S. Open expectations: "You never know. I expect play really well and try to win. That's what I expect, no? I am happy for everything: happy to be here and happy to be more ready for the US Open than what I expected before came to this American tour."

    - Djokovic beats Nadal 6-1, 6-4; not at all what I expected. Djokovic played BY FAR his best match of the week and was just ruthless from the baseline. He kept Nadal on the defensive throughout the entire match, and it didn't help Nadal that he was far from at his best (too many unforced errors, too many balls short in the court). Djokovic did whatever he wanted to do all night long.

    6:45 - Kubot and Marach are done practicing. We're 15 minutes away. Weather is good and very cool. Time to go down to courtside.

    For Federer-Murray photos and others from the Masters Series Cincinnati, visit

    - Djokovic has had enough. Now time for a casual practice session for Kubot and Marach before everything heats back up again in one hour.

    - After some serious rain, the court is dry thanks in part due to sun must mostly due to squeegees. Djokovic is just beginning a practice session, for the moment with coach Marian Vajda.


    Roger Federer quotes

    "I was always looking to make the plays, and I think in the end I deserved to win just because I wasn't scared to go after my shots. It was just overall a very good performance."

    "Winning or losing for me against Murray is not the key here. For me, it's about playing well and trying to win the tournament, not the player. So I'm not going to change my tune saying, 'Now this is gonna put me as a massive favorite for the U.S. Open and now Andy is not gonna beat me next time.' That's not true."

    On who he wants to play tomorrow: "I'd like to play Rafa just because he's been hurt. It's always nice seeing a guy back at the top right away again.... I hope he's feeling well now. At the end of the day, he's a great player and an unbelievable competitor. Of course I would like to play him. He's still got some work to do. I'm there already waiting. Maybe it's gonna happen."

    "Sure, Rafa has caused more problems in the past, but I also played him about, I don't know, 12 to 13 times on clay which didn't help my head-to-head. I've had better matches with Rafa than with Novak in the past."


    Andy Murray quotes
    On his botched challenge in the second-set tiebreaker: "I looked at the mark and I knew it was in, so I knew I had lost the point."

    "I thought that was a pretty good effort, because that was not one of my best performances. I was just happy that I managed to keep it close in the second, because I returned poorly and served poorly. Against Roger, if you do both of those things, it's gonna be very, very difficult."

    An interesting one here: "If you let Roger play well, then he's very, very difficult to beat." Elaborating on that, Murray explained, "He was going for his shots because I was leaving the ball in the middle of the court. I did that a little bit in the U.S. Open (last year), too."

    On why he didn't play his best: "I had a long couple of weeks. I played--this was my ninth match in, I don't know, 13, 14 days. Every single match I played in the heat of the day. Every one of them. Not one day did I get to play a night match."

    On how he feels before the U.S. Open: "It's been perfect preparation for the U.S. Open. I'll go there this evening or tomorrow and rest up for a couple days and train hard before it starts."


    4:30 - The sky is just about pitch black right now. Almost looks like it is night-time. Would be a good time rain right now, since we have three hours in between matches.... And there it is. It's absolutely pouring. Good thing Federer saved that set point in the second and didn't go to a third!

    4:15 - Federer just finished up his press conference and (presumably) will leave through an absolutely massive crowd hanging out by the players entrance (or in this case, "exit"). For obvious reasons, he was in by far the best mood I have ever seen him in at a press conference.

    Will post all the notable quotes later. One quote to note now is that he said he wants to play Nadal in the final.

    - Federer beats Murray 6-2, 7-6(8). Federer was brilliant throughout, and after a dismal first set, Murray raised his level to take the second into a tiebreaker. Aside from two mental meltdowns (stopping a point to challenge and double-faulting on match point), Murray was in it the whole time and had chances to take it to a third.

    Murray was not in a good mood most of the time (of course he rarely is on the court). Offered multiple expletives to his coach at various times and also berated himself for not moving well (often hit his legs with either his hands or his racket). One annoyed exchange between the two players took place late in the second set when Federer told Murray to wait for a second before serving, then Murray (annoyed) asked what the deal was, then Federer (even more annoyed) explained that a ball-boy was still in the process of retrieving a ball.


    1:45 - Time to go watch Roger Federer vs. Andy Murray from courtside. Will update after the match, possibly after the first set.

    - Still 25 minutes till gametime and the area around the players entracne onto the court is already a near mob scene. Grounds crew is setting up the net and getting the court ready, camera and TV people are setting up shop courtside. I wonder if Fowler will be doing courtside commentary today or if Brad Gilbert will be back. Hopefully it's Gilbers; he's probably more entertaining to sit near and listen to his banter.

    - Nestor and Zimonjic handle Knowles and Bhupathi without too much trouble; 6-4, 6-3. Knowles and Bhupathi got an early break back in the second set, but Nestor and Zimonjic were on fire the rest of the way. Good portion of the crowd retreats to the player entrance, waiting for Nadal to arrive at the tennis center. Still 45 minutes from Federer vs. Murray.


    12:07 - Doubles semifinal begins. This is going to be awesome and worth going down courtside for (which I will do after the first set), but for now this is a good time to make some semifinal singles predictions. So here it goes:


    Federer over Murray 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

    Nadal over Djokovic 7-6(4), 6-2

    Anyone else have any fearless predictions?


    11:55 - Federer and Kubot wrap things up and head out. The fans--still in masses--of course don't get any autographs this time either; after all, Federer can't sign any because the first doubles semifinal starts immediately. Five seconds after Federer exits (along with mass exodus of fans), Knowles, Nestor, Bhupathi, and Zimonjic enter the stadium. Let's hope for the fans' own sake that they realize there is also doubles going on today, because this current match especially should be amazing.


    11:30 - Fans have been congregating--bigtime--by the player entrance into stadium court for 30 minutes (ever since Knowles concluded his practice at 11:00) and finally Federer emerges for his warmup session. Let's hope the fans were there simply for close-up glimpses and/or pictures, because they are certainly not going to get autographs BEFORE a practice. Of course, anyone who was at Federer's quarterfinal win over Hewitt and wanted an autograph, almost certainly got one. I've never seen someone sign autographs for so long after a match. Good stuff from Federer.

    Federer is practicing with...LUKASZ KUBOT. I bet 95 percent of the fans currently watching this practice session think Kubot is a random practice partner or maybe a University of Cincinnati player. Not so much. Kubot, known by some for reaching the Belgrade final before losing to Novak Djokovic, is actually having a great week in Cincinnati. He qualified for the singles main draw (lost to Jose Acasuso) and is still alive in doubles. He and partner Oliver Marach play the Bryan Brothers tonight.


    11:00 - I'm on the grounds and there's an electric feeling even though it's not exactly packed yet (three hours until Federer vs. Murray, but only one hour until a blockbuster doubles semifinal featuring Nestor and Zimonjic vs. Bhupathi and Knowles. A legion of fans is congregating by the player entrance to the tennis center (as usual), presumably awaiting the arrival of Federer.

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Yes ricky, totally agree with you. Murray can no longer attack Federer backhand the way They ( nadal, andy, djokovic) use to do, because he has improve a lot his backhand shoting with a lot more topspin, instead of trying to make flat groundstrokes that produced so many unforced errors. That was one of the key elements of his victory against nadal in Madrid. But I think that Fed has beat murray in straight sets, because if he doesnt, things can get very tricky.
Nadal is defininitely gonna kick Noles butt, he is eager to show that he is back, and very motivated, And by the highlight I have seen on youtube, he is playing at his top level. I think, the second semifinal is going to be much closer...

mdmch , 8/22/09 6:41 PM

the second semi is Nadal vs. Djoker, so I assume you mean the FIRST semi will be much closer (based on your comments). First semi is Federer vs. Murray.

RickyDimon , 8/22/09 7:24 PM

I hope your prediction comes true because that would be the most interesting final!

Ricky, what are the conditions out there? Is it gusty winds again? Humid or dry? Hot?

fuzz , 8/22/09 7:28 PM

Ricky! you are so lucky to be there! How on earth did you get the job that you have now? you must be 'living the dream'.

Yes. Federer to go for the win.

maxi , 8/22/09 7:33 PM

Conditions here are ideal at the moment. Overcast and cool, chance of rain but highly unlikely. Not windy (yet), at least nowhere near as windy as it has been the past few days.

RickyDimon , 8/22/09 7:33 PM

Ricky, please try to blog during the matches and not just in between sets!

stu , 8/22/09 8:24 PM

what do you say ricky? how are roger and andy playing? ( i dont have acces to a tv)

mdmch , 8/22/09 9:24 PM

Murray was awful in the first set while Federer was outstanding. Murray raised his level in the second set, but Federer kept his up. Tiebreaker was good from aside from those two mental meltdowns by Murray.

RickyDimon , 8/22/09 9:58 PM

Ricky - envying you and your cool job! :) Thanks for those little insider peeks. Just wondering - you picked Murray for the winner in your "Approach Shots"...what made you change your mind?

jyannis , 8/22/09 10:13 PM

jyannis - thanks for the comments, and your welcome :-)

I didn't change my mind...I had Murray winning the tournament....

RickyDimon , 8/22/09 10:27 PM

Oh, because in your semi-final predictions via live blogging above, you predicted Federer over Murray in three I'm just picking your mind on that prediction when you thought Murray was going to win (and as of fact so did I but he hasn't been playing brilliantly for this tournament).

And oh btw, I've always enjoyed reading your blog posts. Particularly Approach Shots :)

jyannis , 8/22/09 10:41 PM

Oh, my bad. I already forgot that I picked Federer in this blog. Haha.

Yeah, based on what I saw yesterday, Federer was clearly playing better. He destroyed Hewitt and Murray struggled (and spent a long time) with Benneteau. So that's why I was pretty confident Federer would have the upper hand today.

RickyDimon , 8/22/09 10:46 PM

ricky - i thought your 3.45 blog about the 'annoyed' exchange was enlightening. i was wondering what was going on there. Murray's nan gave an interview a while ago, saying that she was not happy with her grandson's attitude on court (generally) in tennis and that he had to 'put a lid on it'. I think this is something he needs to work on. He is an angry man.

maxi , 8/23/09 10:52 AM

Ricky, what did Andy said to Fed when they met at the net after the match finished? Fed looked a lil bit annoyed with what Andy said to him.

torres9 , 8/23/09 8:55 PM

torres, this is what ricky reported above - 3:45 - (second paragraph)

Murray was not in a good mood most of the time (of course he rarely is on the court). Offered multiple expletives to his coach at various times and also berated himself for not moving well (often hit his legs with either his hands or his racket). One annoyed exchange between the two players took place late in the second set when Federer told Murray to wait for a second before serving, then Murray (annoyed) asked what the deal was, then Federer (even more annoyed) explained that a ball-boy was still in the process of retrieving a ball.

maxi , 8/23/09 9:06 PM

torres - I couldn't hear but from reading lips on the replay Murray said "good match." I don't think Federer was annoyed, he simply doesn't like Murray. So he simply nodded and nothing else. At least I didn't see Federer say anything.

RickyDimon , 8/24/09 12:53 AM

but he did pat Nole on the back when he beat him today, after Nole said something. maybe Fed is joining the Nole fanclub too!

stu , 8/24/09 3:48 AM

Nadal and Soderling don't like each other, Nadal and Berdych don't like each other, Roger and Murray don't like each other, Murray and DelPotro don't like each other, Djokovic and Roddick don't like each other, it's all good fun. McEnroe and Connors hated each other so much that they would'nt play together in the same Davis Cup event. Djokovic was getting very close to not being liked by anyone with his mocking, but he stopped as soon as he realised the other players did not find it funny at all.

carrie , 8/24/09 7:41 PM

Rafa and Berdych? What happened between them? I thought Rafa was generally well-liked by everyone on tour except Soderling (who doesn't seem to like anyone haha).

Murray and Delpo? Has it always been going on or only since that Montreal final when Murray was all rawr at Delpo's medical time-outs? Am surprised by this as well as I also thought that Elf was generally liked by most. Hmm, surprising.

jyannis , 8/24/09 11:12 PM

carrie , 8/24/09 11:41 PM

Thanks carrie. I remember reading of that long ago but had since forgotten about it. People can say what they want about how Murray acts, but he doesn't talk trash about his opponents family. That wasn't right and I hope Delpo has matured enough since then to realize that. As far as the Gonzo thing, I know alot of people like him but that was definitely one of the worst shows of sportsmanship. Am I wrong, but didn't that type of incident JUST happen recently, except that the opponent urged the other to challenge cuz he knew the call was wrong? Whoever did it, should teach Gonzo a lesson.

fan4tennis , 8/25/09 3:08 AM

WHen Nadal met Berdych in the QF, there seem to be no bad blood between them except one instance where Nadal was hopping around when the umpire was duing the coin-tossing and Berdych clapped his hands+racket almost sarcastically but I dunno whether Tomas did it to be aimed at Nadal or it was just a gesture to whoever on the crowd.

torres9 , 8/25/09 9:00 AM

Of course Federer and Djokovic have had their spat as well when Roger told Nole's family to be quiet.


carrie , 8/25/09 9:26 AM

that was awful for anyone to say anything personal about a member of family. but i think that murray is a bit deluded when he says this -

I?ve only had one problem ever in all my matches on tour, because I don?t scream, 'Come on? into my opponents? faces -

he may not scream the word IN THEIR FACES - but he screams C'MON, the loudest i have ever heard on court as well as Focuusssss! and Connnceenntrrrate! - that's enough to put anyone off. It would also help him if as Ricky said - he didn't bang his racket into his knuckles/legs when he loses a point. This detracts from his game.

maxi , 8/25/09 9:40 AM

i cant remember which poster said it (jyannis?) - apologies if wrong J-but to shout that when an opponent loses a point - a couple of you said that in the fed v murray game - isn't cool either.

maxi , 8/25/09 9:59 AM

Now you said it, carrie, I remember reading something about that last year, and Delpo and Murray were surprisingly civil to each other when they met at USO2008. Yeah, thought that was really uncool of Delpo to almost directly insult Murray's mother. I'm half Chinese so I probably see it as 10 times more serious than the average Caucasian.

maxi - yeah, I said it and I think stu did, too?! Murray actually fist-pumped and yelled "come on!" when Fed makes unforced errors and I think I remember him yelling "come on" as well against Verdasco in AO08 when Verdasco double-faulted. Thought that was immensely unnecessary and bad show sportsmanship to the max!

Oh yeah - Fed and Nole. Also Nole's mum comment "The king is dead, long live the king" - probably didn't sit well with Roger, haha. But I think those two seemed to have sorted out their differences...they're quite civil to each other nowadays.

jyannis , 8/25/09 12:07 PM

I still say what Gonzo did was way worse (not that Blake would've beat Rafa but still.....). Tennis is supposedly a gentleman's game and is known for it's honor and integrity. Gonzo lost all my respect for him when he did that, which in my opinion, was cheating to get ahead.

fan4tennis , 8/26/09 12:57 AM

Anyone who is still upset with Gonzo has to be a demoralized Blake fan. It's Blake's fault that he didn't convert any of about a zillion match points.

That point had little to do with the outcome of the match. And it's debatable that it touched his racket. If it had been obvious, the umpire should--and would--have called it.

RickyDimon , 8/26/09 2:53 AM

Sorry Ricky, but I have NEVER been a Blake fan. I also never said it decided the outcome of that match. I've watched the videos just as much as the next person (even using slowmo and pause) and from what I saw, it DID touch his racket. (The speeds these guys hit the ball at, you would know if something hit your racket) From what I saw, as I said, IN MY OPINION was cheating.

fan4tennis , 8/26/09 4:15 AM

well it certainly wasn't cheating since he did not officially break any rules

whether or not it was immoral is an issue that can actually be debated.

RickyDimon , 8/26/09 4:25 AM

When Delpo said, 'you and your mom are always the same', it was actually a normal statement unless for Murray who probably is sensitive about it. LOL.

torres9 , 8/26/09 6:11 AM

you and your mom are always the same is just a normal sentence if you think about it. LOL

torres9 , 8/26/09 6:13 AM

you and your mom are always the same is just a normal sentence if you think about it. LOL

torres9 , 8/26/09 6:20 AM

torres, I don't think you should take what Delpo said at face value, obviously Murray knew what he was refering to because they had known each other from junior days, when Murray's Mum was much more involved.


carrie , 8/26/09 8:48 AM

The thing I didn't like about Gonzo was at this year's AO when playing Hewitt and the momentum shifted to Hewitt late in the match and Gonzo called a MTO at a very suspect point in the match. He apparently later admitted to a reporter he did it to throw off Hewitt's momentum. Not sure how true but but after the AO match, I lost all respect for FG. Hewitt whatever his faults would never resort to gamesmanship of that sort. So if racket touching happened and Gonzo knew it, it wouldn't surprise me if he kept quiet, but I can't say because I never re-watched the Olympics to see weather the ball touched his racket. At the same time Blake should not have made such a fuss after making his point. You say it once fine, but repeating it 100 times won't change anything other than lead others to think you're a sore loser.

jean , 8/26/09 10:55 AM

Why did JMDP bring Andy's mum into the exchange at all, if only to wind him up? You just don't diss someone's mum, in British culture it is a huge insult.

deuce , 8/26/09 8:02 PM

owhh... Anyway, I saw the Montreal Final and they were friendly towards each other again. Maybe the fight was more like a brotherly fight.

ANyway, I also watched the spat and Delpo might have said, 'you and your manners always the same' instead of 'you and your mother always the same'.

torres9 , 8/27/09 1:49 AM

Did you notice that the article said they (reporters) went by "soundtracks of the television recording" torres?

fan4tennis , 8/27/09 3:12 AM

he said mother

because Murray responded, "If you ever talk about my mum like that again..."

(chair umpire intervenes)

Murray: "No that's unacceptable."

(chair umpire says he will handle it)

RickyDimon , 8/27/09 3:19 AM


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