Sunday, 7 September 2014

US Open 2014

The US Open comes to a close with the women's final today and the men's on Monday. It's been a tournament full of upsets on both sides, with perhaps the biggest being Novak Djokovic's loss to Kei Nishikori. It wasn't a huge upset in terms of ranking or gap in class. Nishikori was ranked 11 going into Flushing Meadows and will be a top ten player as of next week. He's also been more than a match for Nadal on clay this year (probably would have beaten him had he not been injured) and has beaten Federer and Wawrinka. But in trading terms, yesterday was a massive gubbing. He was 1.13 pre-match, a joke price if ever I saw one, though I won't pretend this wasn't still a huge surprise. That's because he'd come through two consecutive 5 set matches previously and in the intense heat and humidity of New York this week, not many gave him a chance against the iron-man of tennis who had played significantly less time on court. But Kei (not Kai!) gave me one of my biggest ever wins and best of the US Open, as I tweeted after the match:

In today's final between Wozniacki and Serena Williams, I really think we'll see a close match and do not see it as being as one-sided as the market seems to think. I really hope so anyway because a Wozniacki win is going to leave a lot of people rather embarrassed at the way they've been writing the Dane off (rather nastily in many cases) for years. She's been criticised heavily  for not having a big enough game or being aggressive enough, even when she was world number one. Very harsh in my opinion, as that's just not her style and it's very difficult to change your natural mentality and personality. She should be appreciated more for what she is - one of the finest athletes on the WTA, one of the most competitive players and mentally toughest on the women's OR the men's tour, probably THE best defensive female and with perhaps the most solid double-handed backhand in the women's game. Tennis isn't just about big serves and massive shot-making. That said, I never saw her winning a Grand Slam, so I will be proved wrong if she defeats the world number one today - and I hope I am!

As for the men's final, I don't think anyone saw that coming! Cilic v Nishikori won't whet the appetite of most casual viewers - it's the first time in almost 10 years that a Grand Slam final has none of the big 4 (Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray) competing. The last time was the 2005 Australian Open between Hewitt and Safin. But this time, it's much more of  surprise because neither of these two finalists are ranked inside the top 10 - Hewitt and Safin had both already won Slams. However, I'm loving the fact we get to see something different for a change and I also think it will be great for trading. Cilic was outstanding in his semi final - he completely outplayed Federer, who must be feeling he could have lost his last great chance to win another Slam. He has not won one since Wimbledon 2012 and with Nadal injured, Murray knocked out by Djokovic and Djokovic upset by Nishikori, he surely won't get a better opportunity. Nishikori might just find that this is one match too many, as all that court time catches up with him but he is the better player at his very best and I'm hoping he does the job. No other player on tour seems to be as universally liked as Kei (not Kai!) and it will be a much celebrated victory (plus let's face it, Cilic is boring!).

Quick update on my Academy. All places have now been taken for the final year, so that's it I'm afraid - Sultan Tennis Trading Academy is officially closing its doors! Any Academy members who have yet to receive the newly updated guide, please email me via the contact form on the blog for further info.

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