Two days back we had a post on our site, looking at the status of the Big 4 and their plans moving ahead [in the tournament and otherwise]. Now, another member of the Big 4 has been ushered out – in straight sets, no less. Ironically, the player who brought about this latest upset of the Big4 clan is a Swiss player with a Single-Handed-Back-Hand. (SHBH). Step forward, Stanislas Wawrinka. Wawrinka or Wa-Wa or Stan THE Epic-Man, as he is fondly referred to has definitely done what he has been threatening to do since the last 2 years. He has, for once and all, stepped outside the colossal shadow of his more popular countryman. [as John Mcenroe would say ‘to put it mildly’]
What Stan has done at this tournament is awe-inspiring stuff – He has used his booming serve and sizzling backhand to put up an impressive array of players he has conquered. Stepanek, Karlovic, Baghdatis, Berdych and Andy Murray! He has lost a combined 2 sets to this talented group of players. I was fortunate enough to watch all the 4 quarterfinals in person and I am absolutely won over by how easy Stan makes it look. [Most single-handed backhand players do that, check the other semi-finalist Gasquet]. I was convinced like others that, Andy Murray has turned the corner with last year’s US Open final, but unfortunately, Stan’s effortless pounding of the tennis ball confused Andy so much that he brought out the bad Andy we all do not want to see on a tennis court. EVER!
Can single-handed Stan add double-handed Djokovic to the players-he-has-beaten-here list and put the icing on this wonderful tournament Wawrinka is enjoying? Let us answer that from the King of the hardcourts [Prince?] perspective. Watching Novak and the other quarterfinalists from my fortunate position in Arthur Ashe, I am positive Novak is yet to play his very best tennis. If he loses this match, a big factor will be because he is not able to find that metaphorical phone booth that transforms a tennis legend into Super Man. He found that against Wawrinka at the Australian Open earlier this year [ to me the greatest match of this year-to-date].
Will the World No.1, Novak Djokovic, see off the threat from Wawrinka? My answer is yes. I am going to go ahead and pick Novak to make it to the final without losing more than 1 set in this, sure to be entertaining, semi-final.
Bottom Line: No-1-e to end Stan The Epic Man’s run in an epic 4 setter.