When I turned up for the Murray-Moya match at noon today, the two ladies in the next row asked "Who are you backing?" "Murray, I suppose" I said. "Bad choice" I was told "You're a loser" . Well the first set indeed looked like that. Murray was serving like crap (Above source, one of who is a lawyer said that is an acceptable legal term), his other shots were no better than so-so while Moya had all the mature finesse that he showed the previous day with Davydenko and later (although I did not see it) with Andreev. One o'clock came around and I was pleased to leave to find FreeBird with the score in the second set something like 2-1. Well, it appeared that just after I left, Moya ran out of gas and lost that set and the third (26 63 61). Evidently all that tennis in the summer heat had been too much for him. "Why did you have to leave?" I was asked. "Things were going fine until then" Murray evidently did not improve with first serve % less than 50%. It was all Moya. Still I'm glad Andy won.
FreeBird and I found each other and went off to lunch on a traditional Cincinnati dish (must get the name some time) along with much beer. He had a ticket to a friend's box (nicer seat than mine) and we saw Karlovic-Kohlschreiber play. Karlovic won 76(6) 76(3) and it was very similar to the match against Fed yesterday. Kohlschreiber actually played quite well when he was serving but also had problems with the Karlovic serve. Again the fatal statistics of small numbers effect in Karlovic tie-breaks was demonstrated. Karlovic's game has improved a lot in the last year or so. It's not just serve and he did some nice things at the net. I'm beginning to wonder if he might win the whole show here. I'm pessimistic about the semi against Murray from what I saw today and even Rafa/Nole might be taken by surprise.
The we watched Djokovic-Gulbis. Djokovic was much more alive than he was two days ago when I saw him. It was what hercules calls (I think) a slugfest with good serving on both sides. But Djokovic had marginally better control of the putaway points and the outcome looked pretty predictable. Gulbis, though, is a guy to be watched. He's improved enormously. After a set of this FreeBird left to go back home and I went back to my regular seat only to find that most of the Djokovic family had moved into a neighboring box, complete with serbian flag, NOLE letter boards and NOLE T-shirts. Alex would have loved it. Final score 63 64 .
There was about an hour's break before Nadal-Lapentti which started at 7pm. This was an unusual match which seemed almost to be in slow motion after all the slugging of Djokovic-Gulbis. Lapentti again played a very nice game with many nicely constructed points, clean drop volleys, and well aimed ground shots. It was a lot more competitive than the score 76(3) 61 suggests. Rafa really only came to fist-pumping life in the last couple of games. Perhaps he was trying to save energy. In any case, he will have to up the voltage when he meets Djokovic tomorrow if he is to get to the final. Should be a good one.