So we had today’s finalists, Anderson and Matosevic yesterday, and we said that we expected Anderson to pick up his 2nd career title here today, in his 3rd trip to a final ever on the ATP’s main tour. Matosevic first. We have not seen a more unworthy finalist in some time. We regretted going with him almost immediately, when in the 1st set, he blew a 4-1 lead and dropped that set 7-5.
When we picked up the match later on, we were as surprised as any to see the guy up 4-1 in the 3rd. And then he proceeded to throw that away, before winning in an unlikely tie-breaker on his 6th match point. We thought he had a solid serve game, but Dudi Sela broke him something like 6 times yesterday, and on the biggest points on his serve, he was missing the box by a mile, and even double faulted away one of those MP’s.
We just don’t like his tennis. His forehand is loopy. Too much air. He was laying the forehand in play, and every ball, you felt like was going to float long because the kid hits floaters. Almost every approach was one where he netted the volley or one where he hit a tentative volley that sat up for Sela. Honest to God, this match was atrocious. Imagine my horror, when returning to the set in the evening I had found that I had accidentally deleted Federer-Murray instead of Matosevic-Sela.
Well, Marinko…thanks for the memories. We would not bet on you again with other people’s money. No wonder this guy didn’t win a match prior to this week on the year, and in watching him, you really get to see what world #173 looks like. He has zero chance today. Zero. This is going to be a one sided affair, and so even though Anderson is a healthy favorite, he is the only play. Here are the odds:
2012 Delray Beach International Mens Tennis Championship — 3 PM EST
Kevin Anderson: – 450
Marinko Matosevic: + 325
Take Anderson and run. This kid has real promise, unlike his counterpart today. There’s a lot swirling around in the Isner-Anderson matchup, and Anderson showed us the things we thought he would. Anderson is the better mover, and he really had his feet going last night. We see this as a problem for Isner against guys who can hold serve well enough. Anderson, for a 6’8 guy, does have a tennis build. Isner is too big, and he lumbers too much. Also, these guys know each other very well. While Anderson is South African, he played his college tennis at Illinois, where he was an NCAA champion. He and Isner were college rivals and are pro rivals, and we really don’t see how there is so much difference between them in the rankings, though that gap will be narrowed come tomorrow. Isner is not a good bet against guys who hold serve the way he does. Those matches are toss ups, decided by tie-breakers, and Isner should never be a big favorite in that situation because a tie-breaker is often decided by the smallest of margins.
Now a word on the Abierto final, in which Fernando Verdasco, a true dog’s dog (a comment about his character, not his underdog status) did not even show up, thereby costing us a very handsome four team parlay (Federer, Matosevic, Anderson, Verdasco). Novak Djokovic once lost to Verdasco at the US Open. That’s got to be a worse loss even than retiring due to heat exhaustion in Melbourne against Andy Roddick. Verdasco, against a fellow countryman, completely mailed it in.
We said here yesterday that he’s poorly coached. We’ll say it again. Cahill is best known for his shoddy commentator gig on ESPN. Federer hired him to coach him after splitting from Tony Roache, and then fired him one week later. The guy expects guys to grind, and yet, against a grinder in Ferrer, Verdasco did not even compete. As we said, it was a tired Ferrer as well. All credit to Ferrer, now with 3 titles this season. He really is a tremendous player, and he rarely if ever loses to people who shouldn’t beat him.
But for Verdasco to lose a 6-1 first set in 25 minutes, and to only get 3 games total? It’s no wonder Verdasco has gone from near a top five player to a guy who is barely in the top 30. Really a shameful effort. Very telling as to Verdasco’s will, which is non existent. Ferrer even had the shorter turn around time, as Verdasco got done early Friday and had an extra 7 or so hours to rest and plot.
So that’s just a pitiful, disgraceful display. We’ve shaken our heads before at Verdasco, especially when he complains, which is often enough, but we really thought he had a big opportunity that he was ready for yesterday.
We won’t be betting him again either.