Serena Williams (above), happy after obliterating Victoria Azarenka last night.
Well, in short, yes. But as the betting type, we feel that some sort of case can be made for Mardy. Mind you, not with our money, but farbeit from us to stop you from taking an American flyer on this rainy Sunday. Before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga packed it in last night with an injured forearm, in the games he won, he followed an interesting blueprint which is probably the best way to attack the new king. Basically, he did just that–he attacked the new king. He struck serves at 140 mph, second serves that kicked up into the body at 110-115 mph, used his big forehand to push Djokovic beyond the baseline, and then got to the net. Now the more than casual fans out there are probably worried about that game plan for Mardy, knowing his forehand is not in Tsonga’s league. But as we are all probably sick of Killer Cahill at this point, he did make an excellent point about last night’s match, when he suggested that Tsonga had a real problem in backhand to backhand rallies with Djokovic, and that he should try to avoid those rallies, and be content to not lose points on that wing.
Fish is a backhand player, and his 2-hander, while safe, is much better than Tsonga’s. If you’ve been watching the Olympus Series, you have to know that Ernests Gulbis outhit Fish on that wing at the finals in LA. Gulbis is a high risk player, and he tees off on that backhand like he’s the second coming of Marat Safin. But Fish wins that match if he doesn’t turn his ankle, nontheless, because his game is so solid and steady these days. For guys in the top ten, aside from Djokovic’s all time great 2-hander, Fish’s is probably best. Which is why Djokovic has had so much “trouble” with Fish in the past.
You think we’re crazy. Fish is 0-6 for the career against Djokovic, and in his one matchup with the hulked up super invincible new Novak, he got steamrolled 6-1, 6-3 in Miami. The record is actually a little worse than that, because in that 0-6, not counted was another loss suffered by Fish for America against Djokovic at Hopman Cup. Here are the bright spots for Fish though. That Defensepro tacky rubber courts in Miami are total shit. Those courts are the tackiest, worst, slowest hardcourts in the world, even worse than Plexicushion, and they play slower than the red clay at Hamburg and Roland Garros. Fish is a very good fast court player, and Montreal is playing very quickly. Djokovic, playing unreal, obviously, is still a way better slow hardcourter, and really has not won much on fast hards, aside from one YEC.
That’s all about to change, obviously. But Fish has earned his bread here by going backhand to backhand himself, by packing in to the net, and by outlasting guys. He made 30 trips to the net against Tipsarevic (still looking for his first ever tournament victory at the age of 27, if you could believe that), and he totally broke down Wawrinka, whose beautiful one handed backhand usually holds up very well, even on clay, which is his best surface. Fish has always played well on moderate hardcourts against Djokovic, nearly beating him twice at Indian Wells, and in their matchup at Hopman Cup. Fish even administered a bagel to the Djoker once upon a time at Indian Wells, and has made two masters finals so far, one at Indian Wells versus Djokovic, and one last summer on the ultra quick track at Cincinnati, losing to Roger.
So we don’t like Fish here, considering him about the equivalent of a lamb before the slaughter, but at these prices, and considering that it is highly unlikely that Djokovic not lose a few matches this year at some point, and that he also entered the doubles this week, maybe you might want to put a few units on Mardy today and then pray like the Dickens.
Rogers Cup Masters 1000 Series Final — 3 PM EST (Montreal)
Djokovic: – 1200
Fish: + 600
Serena: – 360
Stosur: + 280
Lady S looked best last night when the odds makers believed in her least. She dusted Azarenka last night, who came out hard, but went out with a wimper. Simply put, she is the shizz. Serena is now 14-2 in her comeback, and today she goes for her first 1000 level win since coming back. The hard part of the week, Azarenka, is behind her. But Stosur is a tricky opponent for Serena, who is 2-3 lifetime versus the godess, which is more success than most have had. We don’t care. We like Serena in the spot. We can go with the excuse posse, but why would we? Serena played all night matches, Serena played too much tennis too soon, Serena is due for a letdown, blah blah blah. Serena is here to win. This may be the most unfavorable matchup she’s had since her return, but matchups bother her a lot less than mere mortals. Plus, Stosur has been known to come up very small in the big spot.
Serena, by our math, moves up to 28/29 with a win today. What a summer! Has anyone ever seen a guy play so out of his mind like Djokovic, and a girl go from 180 to 28 in 3 weeks? We’ve watched for a long, long time and these things, we’ve never seen.