Jonathan Newman and James Rogers are the hosts of The Body Serve Tennis Podcast. This diary entry comes to you from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.
JR: Hi Jonathan, did you know it’s your birthday tomorrow?
JN: Why are you louding up my business all over the place?!?!
JR: I thought you’d be happy to celebrate but I guess not. You’ll be watching tons of semifinal matches on your birthday. The men’s are allllllmost decided.
JN: As I type, Nadal has just been broken by Kyrgios to start the final men’s quarterfinal. Nadal and Kyrgios are both pulling double duty today, having both won their Round of 16 matches earlier today.
JR: Rafa took out Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6, 6-2; NK beat Karlovic in 3. If Nick is motivated, which he normally is against the top guys, this could be bad news for Rafael. He just held very easily to go up 2-0.
JN: Rafa hasn’t looked especially sharp in his two matches so far, so we shall see. Nick has been struggling with his hip injury for quite some time now, so conventional wisdom would dictate playing two matches in one day to be too much, but nothing with Nick is ever conventional.
JR: Earlier on Grandstand, David Ferrer upset Dominic Thiem pretty convincingly. Daveed served incredibly well, looked to finish at the net surprisingly often, and forced Dominic back on returns. He lost 9 - NINE! - points on his serve for the entire match. Thiem for his part was just so underwhelming. Lots of negative emotion out there, and a total lack of patience. Tried to crush way too many balls when it wasn’t the right time.
JN: Welp, double break 3-0 lead for Kyrgios. Back to Thiem, we talked earlier how he has quite a long way to go before he can take that next step like Zverev has, and it boils down to how much he goes for ALL the time. But, this is not news. I’m really surprised by how many players pulling double duty today got the job done.
JR: Pliskova went 3 against Giorgi, and then came back a few hours later to stun Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2. Sloane Stephens started slowly against Makarova but took her out in 3, and then got past streaking Julia Goerges to reach the semis. Oh, to be young. Sloane has now re-entered the top 100 off the strength of 4 events.
JN: Halep was the other quarterfinal on the women’s side; she beat Konta 6-4 7-6 after squandering a handful of match points before taking the tiebreak. Feels like that was a mightily important win for Halep...can you imagine if she wasn’t able to close that one out? Yikes. So, the two women’s semis are set: (1) Pliskova vs (4) Muguruza and (2) Halep vs Stephens. Not bad, right?!?! The women have been delivering the goods for a while now.
JR: I think Mugu-Pleesh will be great; both are feeling themselves lately, and Muguruza has had to fight in her last two matches. Based on those performances and her pressers, I think she feels she has something to prove at WTA events. I believe Halep will have her hands full with Sloane, especially if Simona gives her opponent chance after chance to get back into the match.
JN: I’ll leave you to the predictions game. All I’ll add is that Muguruza and Pliskova have both seemed really confident in press; I think that bodes well for them into the U.S. Open. As for the other men’s matches: Isner beat Donaldson 7-6 7-5 to set up a semi with Grigor who beat Sugita handily 6-2 6-1. The other semi will be Ferrer against either Nadal or Kyrgios, and Kyrgios just served out the first set 6-2.
JR: You know what, I was being unfair to Simona. She handled Konta, who is pounding the ball, even if it took her a few tries. Back to the men: are you saying that Isner broke serve? Omg. But you may be right in your prediction that we’ll have an American finalist; it’s even possible we’ll have an American winner. Oof. I hope that Grigor puts together a great performance, because Grigor has a beautiful game and well, you know.
JN: Isner’s been breaking serve all summer! Someone needed to call Bette Midler because this men’s draw needed some serious wind beneath its wings. I almost feel like we’re bound to have a real surprise winner, which would point to Ferrer or Isner. With all the injuries on the ATP and withdrawals, nothing should be considered a given. Nadal holds for 1-0 to start the second set.
JR: This is normally when I would predict Jo Tsonga to win, but alas, he lost long ago. With that, let’s say goodbye and get me a damn margarita.
JN: Shouldn’t you be getting ME a margarita since it’s MY birthday eve?!?!