U.S. Open R4 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber, Murray vs. Tsonga

Tsonga 2Novak Djokovic will be bidding for a quarterfinal spot at the U.S. Open when he takes the court on Monday against Philipp Kohlschreiber. Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also in action.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (22) Philipp Kohlschreiber

Djokovic and Kohlschreiber will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers when they clash in round four of the U.S. Open on Monday. The head-to-head series stands at 4-1 in Djokovic’s favor, including 2-0 on hard courts. They most recently faced each other this spring on the clay courts of Rome, where Djokovic prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Kohlschreiber’s lone victory over the current world No. 1 came via a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 decision in the third round of the 2009 French Open.

Kohlschreiber booked his place in the last 16 with a third consecutive U.S. Open third-round victory over John Isner. The 25th-ranked German, who preceded that triumph by taking out Facundo Bagnis and Michael Llodra (second-set retirement), is 33-20 for his 2014 campaign. Djokovic has apparently regained form and focus in the aftermath of early exits in Toronto and Cincinnati. The top-seeded Serb may not be at his very best level, but he looks more like the Wimbledon Djokovic that the one that was on display at the two hard-court Masters events. As such, he should be able to fend off a stern challenge from Kohlschreiber.

Pick: Djokovic in 4

(9) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (8) Andy Murray

It will be a rematch of a recent Toronto showdown when Murray and Tsonga meet again on Monday in Flushing Meadows. Tsonga recovered from a break deficit in the third set to beat Murray 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, but the Frenchman is still just 2-9 in the head-to-head series. Murray has won five of their previous seven hard-court encounters, including a 6-4, 6-1 rout earlier this season in Miami.

Tsonga eventually captured the title in Toronto, where he posted four top-10 wins in succession (also over Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, and Roger Federer). It has been an otherwise disappointing season for the world No. 10, but confidence from that triumph seems to have remained. So far this fortnight, Tsonga has rolled over Juan Monaco, Aleksandr Nedovyesov, and Pablo Carreno Busta. Murray has not been as impressive while getting past Robin Haase, Matthias Bachinger, and Andrey Kuznetsov. Struggling down at ninth in the world, the Scot is generally a bad matchup for Tsonga but may not be able to capitalize on it based on the way he has performed of late.

Pick: Tsonga in 4

42 Comments on U.S. Open R4 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber, Murray vs. Tsonga

  1. The Eurosport commies accused Murray of gamesmanship and play acting that he was having some problems. Doh.

    Like you said: it was brutal conditions for the players. Tsonga could barely toss the ball to serve by the end.

  2. Without his 1st serve, Raonic is a sitting duck………….Kei breaks to serve for the set and take this to a decider. If Raonic’s power on this 1st serves wavers then Kei will take the match because he is so much better on the groundies…..

    Interesting that both players have ex Pro-players as coaches.

  3. I think we are seeing who the real deals are, and it’s the young players who are left in the tournament:


    We are into a 5th………..

    Vamos Kei!!

  4. This match is something else. I just love how Nishi is hanging in there and not giving up. Finally he breaks Raonic and serves it out to win the fourth set! Good job!

    I had a feeling this was going to be a good win, but didn’t expect this marathon. I really want Nishi to win this. It’s been exhausting just to keep watching it. I took a few breaks. It’s just a shame that a lot of people won’t see it because it’s on so late.

  5. RT @SecondServeHack: “So, Wawrinka gets the winner of this match (or possibly a walkover if Nishikori wins) and then the winner of Djokovic/Murray in the semis?”

    Déjà vu, anyone??

  6. RT @linzsports: “Nishikori has called the trainer. If you’re not already drunk, drink.”

    Looking at Raonic right now, he is no longer chasing balls, meaning he is feeling like chopped liver out there. Meaning, technically, Stan has a walk-over whoever he faces next. After this marathon, none of these guys will be fit for dinner, never mind another Slam match.

  7. I can’t believe this! It’s like a war of attrition out there. Kei has been just so tough. Love seeing Michael Chang in his box cheering him on.

    It is unfortunate that whoever wins this probably won’t have anything left for Stan. Sometimes life and sport is unfair.

    • My guess is Kei will be in better shape than Mr. Walkover. He has the advantage of living and training in Florida so is well acclimatised to the heat and humidity whereas Stan looked like somebody had left him in the pressure cooker for two long.

      Everybody suffered from the extreme conditions yesterday. Djokovic and Murray played in the afternoon when it was even hotter but both won in straight sets so you could say it’s a level playing field although I am concerned Andy appears to be struggling with the conditions more than Nole.

  8. RT @juanjosetennis: “The cameras have caught Raonic with a weird expression on his face a few times since Nishikori made his move at the end of the 4th set. Kind of like a kid who’s terribly afraid of something bad that’s about to happen. Just a very honest expression of fear”

    RT @juanjosetennis: “Qué cosa tan bonita, carajo! Take a bow, Kei Nishikori!”

  9. I like Raonic, but I am rooting for Kei because I like to see these big servers/hitters humbled………….

  10. RT @usopen : “#Raonic relying almost entirely on big serving in the 5th set. Holds to stay in touch with #Nishikori 3-4. #usopen ”

    Vamos Kei!!

  11. RT @juanjosetennis : “Not having a decent return game really hurt Raonic in this match. Kei was there for the taking in set 4. Raonic didn’t put him away.”

  12. Kei wins.

    Kei withdrawal watch………….

    Commies say, tennis (the returner, the retriever, the guile) won the match, not the hard-banger. Ouch!

  13. RT @juanjosetennis : “Fantastic from Kei. At one point, he just said “Screw You” to his endless injuries and fought to the death. Respect.”

  14. I actually watched the entire match. I’m on the west coast, so it’s only 11:30 pm for me instead of 2:30 a.m. Very happy for Kei. Hope he has something left in the tank when he meets Stan on Wednesday.

  15. Once Raonic is behind in a match he loses confidence in his serve and because that’s 90% of his game he’s there for the taking/ I wouldn’t like to see the game dominated by the likes of Raonic, Isner, Karlovic and Krygios.

    • Tommy and kei showed us the play book on how to beat the big hitters: bide your time, DO NOT DROPYOUR SEVE, stretch the match because they will tire and their only weapon, the serve, will become soft and then you can toy eight them.

      One could almost read Kei’s mind in the 5th set: stretch Raonic to one corner and just concentrate on placing the return because Raonic was cooked, couldn’t follow up anything.

  16. ed251137 says:
    September 1, 2014 at 6:39 am

    I had Murray to get the win in 5. Never thought for a moment he would do it in straight sets. Tsonga seemed flat from the go, was leaking unforced errors, and didn’t have any answers to a stubborn Andy.

    • But that is typical Tsonga ed251137. He blows hot and cold, always. In Canada he was smoking 1st serves, yesterday he couldn’t buy a 1st serve to save his life. This is why I find predictions based on Tsonga’s recent successes laughable……

  17. Raonic didn’t lose because of his serve. He lost because of lack of movement and fatigue. That’s why the serve went. If the body goes, then the big serve goes. Raonic did have a chance when Kei seemed to be on the ropes in the fourth set, but he couldn’t get it done. When Kei got treatment for a blister on his foot, that seemed to help him.

    Kei showed heart and guts out there. He just wouldn’t give up. But I also think that Raonic played some great tennis and it was more than just the serve. Kei showed that you don’t have to have a big serve to get the win.

    I have no idea if Kei will have much left in the tank after this battle. The ESPN commies said that his match with Stan will be in the afternoon on Wednesday, with Novak and Murray at night. So he has less recovery time. Hopefully his team can work on him and help him recuperate and be as ready as possible.

    You never know how these things work. A win like this could really give Kei the confidence and belief to get the job done against Stan. Also Stan isn’t in the best shape either after having the trainer come out and work on him during his match with Robredo. I think Robredo played poorly in the third set TB. He had his chances. So Stan is far from invincible.

  18. Is this the Amélie Effect do you think? If (that’s a big IF) he were to get past Djokovic then then there’s no reason why he couldn’t make it a second USO title.

    • For me, the Lendl effect was very evident: the improved FH. I haven’t yet cottoned onto the Mauresmo effect, which is normal, they have only been a team for how long, 2 months? What I have noticed this far is that Muzza is blowing hot and cold: he will have ablisering set where he appears to be on a mission and next taper off as if he was bored! My sense is the current “issue” with Muzza is mental more than anything else: suspect motivation and this translates into what appears to be physical problems.

      Well, the match against Djoker will be very revealing, I cannot wait………..

      Vamos Muzza!!

      • ^^^^

        As a Murray follower of many years standing I can assure you it has forever been thus. Just ask Deucy and Alex. I don’t know if there is such a thing as the tennis equivalent of ADD but if there is he has TADD 😀

  19. I quite fancy Thiem’s chances against Big Bird although it will be a tall order given his relative lack of experience and the amount of tennis he has played this week. Incidentally, he will be playing this match on the eve of his 21st birthday.

    To date he has proved extraordinarily level-headed and able to cope under pressure. Let’s hope he continues to handle the glare of being in the limelight on the big stage with the same aplomb.

  20. I kind of think that Murray may have regressed just a bit since Lendl departed. Lendl’s mental toughness was legendary back in the day. He would never give his opponents the satisfaction of letting them see that they got to him. I thought that Murray got his emotions and frustrations more under control after he started to work with Lendl. I think Lendl kind of put some of the missing pieces together and got it all working well.

    I can’t say anything about Mauresmo because it’s too soon. I think that Murray has had trouble getting back to his best form this year. He is kind of up and down and inconsistent. However, I do think that in the match with Tsonga he played quality tennis. Novak is not Tsonga. He’s not going to choke in the big moments. But Murray has the game to take it to Novak. If he is ready, then this could be a classic.

  21. I haven’t seen much of Muzza but from what I have seen, he seems to be much calmer on court (in a good way). None of the negative body language, hitting himself with the racquet, yelling at himself and his box. Much more even tempered. This could very well have to do with Mauresmo.

    Should be a great match tonight. Glad it’s an evening match.

    My heart is pulling for Muzza but my head says Nole has the better chance vs Fed so I will be ok with either outcome.

    At least if Muzza wins, I can let up on the Becker hashtags! Otherwise…


    • Hawkeye63 has finally persuaded me: even though I want Muzza to win, the consequences of a Fed win are too dire to contemplate. Not just the 18th Slam (which I can live with because Rafa can overhaul this) but the prospect of him overtaking Rafa in the rankings and becoming #2. Can you imagine the field day the establishment Federazzi will have with this in the draws? Rafa will forever be in Djoker’s half, all the better for the two to pummel one another so that Fed only plays chopped liver in the final, all the better to pad his Slam resume beyond reach.

      Federer must be stopped. I confess my faith in Muzza doing this is thin.

      Vamos Nole!
      Bamos Nole!
      Adje Nole!

      Let’s do this. (Borrowed from Coach BB, whom I am bestowing with my affections for this week only)

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