Author Topic: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014  (Read 838 times)

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Offline euroka1

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Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« on: August 09, 2014, 06:36:39 PM »
I made my annual trip to Mason, Ohio today for the Cincy Tennis Tournament. Did it in record time, 7hour 50 minutes from home to tennis center. It was an easy drive. Even getting through the Columbus mixmaster was a breeze. I guess I'm getting to know the roads very well by now. After 6 or is it 7 visits, I still have not seen Cincinnati itself.

I wanted to get here early to see the qualies; in particular the young Australians. In the past they have gone out very quickly. This time, they seem to be doing well. I did not get to Ebden's match but was pleased to hear rhat he came through. I did get to see Tomic who managed to beat Farrukh Dustov (?) in what was a good match. Tomic plays an odd game with several beautiful master strokes followed by many rather clumsy ones. There is a good bit of theater and self-commentary, Djokovic style. He could be a top player if only he could pull all the good stuff together. But for me, he's short on charm  :(.
Matosevic took 3 sets to bear Pavic from Croatia. It was a close match, with, in my view, Pavic doing better in the rallies and in the planned approaches to the net, while Matosevic was the better server and better scrambler to get the unforseen distant ball. He was irritated at several on the line calls in an antsy sort of way. That particular match had first day problems in that, before starting, they had to look for three nets before they found one that worked. I thought the players showed admurable, good humored patience during the substantial delay. I was reminded of the standard light bulb joke, asking myself how many groundspeople were needed to change a tennis net. Many.  :)
Kyrgios was scheduled to play Chase Buchanan but for some reason was replaced by Llodra who I would not have expected to see in a qualie. Mertov, with his inside contacts, may be able to enlighten. In any case, Llodra  played surprisingly badly, losing the first set 1-6, and the second much more closely (4-6). Buchanan, as I recall, has strong OSU connections (you could tell he was a local favorite). He played very well and it will be interesting to see how he does in the next round.

Djokovic is here and on the practice court today. I understand that Cincy is the one Masters title that has eluded him although he has played 4 finals. I have memories of two of them when I don't think he was trying very hard. Maybe this time will be different but sometimes you feel that some top players here are saving their best for the US Open.

Such is life ..-) .

Offline Alex

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2014, 08:51:32 PM »
Euroka, take some pics, do not be lazy  :)>>>>
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Offline Mertov

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2014, 10:55:49 PM »
Euroka, Kyrgios had a sharp pain in his left forearm thus pulled out shortly before the match which allowed Llodra to play instead.  Llodra is pretty much done with tennis, at least in his head, so the big winner of that turn of events was Chase Buchanan, the 2013 NCAA Singles Champion.  He could not have dreamed of a better scenario so early in his pro career, in a Masters Series event.  Kyrgios should be fine for the US Open from what I heard.

I saw Matosevic practice without his t-shirt in the morning and the guy is incredibly fit. I watched him in 2011 and 2012 several times and he is a physical specimen today in comparison to those times.  He also has a great draw.  I would be shocked if he does not take out Mannarino in straight sets.

I will be there for the Tomic - Ebden match so I will look for you, although I may be a little late, because I am watching another match that starts at 10 AM on Court 4.  It's a women's match so I am not sure how much it will interest you but you may consider it as a warm-up for Ebden vs. Tomic. :) I agree with you by the way, it's hard to root for Tomic.

Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2014, 02:57:11 AM »








I have a really bad internet connection so communications may be occasional.
Thanks Mert for the information. I'll try to be at that match.
Hi Alex. I am lazy and I do not take pictures. I just like to sit in the sun. Mert does and may oblige. Check out his tennis desk from time to time.









Offline Swish

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2014, 06:55:38 AM »
OP, thanks for posting. I like to hear "ground level" news.
 
A shame about Kyrgios, was hoping to have another look at him this tournament.
 
 

Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2014, 07:18:16 PM »
I spent the day waving a virtual Australian flag at three matches.

First was Tomic vs Ebden.Tomic played a lot more consistenly that yesterday and with far fewer theatrical gestures. I expect he already knew Ebden's game well. But still, it was a good match, and it was clear all along that if it came to a tie-break, Tomic would probably get it. In the event, Ebden lost his serve late in the first set and Tomic got that 7-5. I left but noticed later that the second set went to a tie-break which Tomic won.

Mertov had no need to be shocked (see above), but the match between Matosevic and Mannarino was very entertaining. Mannarino lost his cool in a very French way with considerable racquet absuse and loud comment, when he lost serve in the first set and never really recovered. Matosevic played an exemplary game and  I was interested to note that he seemed to really appreciate the support he was getting from the stands. Hearing him up close, saying "Thanks mate" to a court official, underlined his strong Australian accent.

But the highlight of the day for me was the Hewitt - Meltzer match. From my point of view it stared very badly. Hewitt's success in matches depends on his serve being in reasonably good shape and in the first set it was awful. Meltzer, in addition, was playing a much more powerful ground game, indispersed with drop shots that Hewitt could never quite get to. (The sort that Matosevic handles magnificently). So there went the first set 3-6.  :(  Even the second set did not look good for Hewitt, The double faults continued and right until something like 4-4, it looked like Meltzer would win. But then the Hewitt serve came back and he started to fight in the way you read about. The crowd loved it :grind dance: and after a 6-4 win, it was on to the third set. Still that was a close one, with some lapses from Hewitt and it could still have gone either way. But he kept fighting and the crowd showed loud appreciation  :applause:. One felt a bit sorry for Meltzer who was playing very well. Finally, with a string of magnificent serves, Hewitt got the third at 6-4. I'd read about Hewitt's ability to fight back and win from near defeat but had never seen it and felt privileged to have witnessed it today.

I was zonked out from tennis and decided not to go back tonight. Why ruin a good day with excess?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2014, 09:19:24 PM by euroka1 »

Offline Mertov

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2014, 10:25:09 PM »
Euroka, I came to Ebden vs. Tomic at 4-4 in the second and looked for you everywhere but could not see you  :(
It was an entertaining ending to the match in the tiebreaker, although Tomic still has a way to go seeing how he tanked the two returns at 5-5 30-0 down just to get the game over with  :confused1: I could understand if he was leading 5-1 but at 5-5???  he looks often like he wants to get out of the court as quick as possible.

I also saw Matosevic's second set (but again did not see you, sigh).  You are right, it was entertaining.  At one point, Mannariono wanted to make a comment to Matosevic when the latter gave an attitude after Mannarino's let court passing shot, but his coach tols him in French to "keep his mouth shut."  Mannarino did but when he lost the next point he bursted out loud screaming "the guy talks to his corner all the time and mine won't let me say a word" in French, directed at his coach obviously (the coach gave a smirky smile).  This was also when Matosevic asked the referee if his opponent was allowed to say anything he wanted to which the umpire responded by "I don't understand what he says, so..."/  it leads me to believe that Matosevic might pick up a bit of French.

At the end Matosevic saluted the crowd showing his appreciation (see Euroka's comments above).
I was stuck writing an update during Hewitt's match so i did not get to see it live.  Maybe it was the best match of the day seeing your account of it.

Tomorrow, I will try again to catch you, assuming you follow the virtual-Australian-flag-waving pattern :)

Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2014, 04:08:32 AM »
Hi Mert,

As you know, I do not understand French, either! (I was lost without you and the girls in MC! ) Australians and Americans carry at most one other language and often not even that. Mine is Spanish. It was clear that something was being said and if I were to guess, it would have been rather vulgar  :shocking: , so I am glad of the accurate translation. The first set was pretty lively too!

Anyway, it would be wisest for Australians to learn Mandarin now.  :Teacher:

I  left after the first set of the Tomic match because I thought I could see how it was going and I wanted to see the whole of the Matosevic one. I never am sure where I am going to be but look out for the big light brown hat and there will probably be me under it. I expect to start at the Sock - Robredo match and after that to go following the flag.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 04:11:47 AM by euroka1 »

Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2014, 01:23:28 AM »
I was able to see three matches on Monday;all very different.

The first was Robredo - Sock which the former won 7-6, 7-3. The first set was pretty evenly balanced with Sock showing the stronger serve but Robredo showing the better match play as expected from his years of experience. Sock had a medical time-out, apparently for his upper right shoulder, after the first set and was never the same after that and played a very weak second set. It looked as though there might have been something like a stomach disorder well. Unfortunate, as great things were expected from that young man.

The second was Mahut - Matosevic, won by the latter at 6-4, 7-6. Basically lots of hard serving and fierce long rallies. The rallies were won more or less equally so that the match in the end depended on who  could deliver the most unreturnable serves. There were some awkward interchanges again between Matosevic and the chair umpire about line calls; one right at the end of the match which was supplemented by a couple of f* words. It will not do Matsosevic's reputation any good. Over at MTF, the "mad dog " nickname is being used again. It seems to me that the mark of a good sportsman is to ride with any chair umpire miscalls, apparent or real, realizing that, in the long term, it all balances out. We had enough of chair umpire abuse from Roddick, which was mostly in poor taste.

In the evening I met a friend from previous years and she whisked me off to a seat in the covered part of the grandstand court where we had a first class view of the Fognini - Roger Vesselin match both of whom I wanted to see. It was a long rambling 3 setter which Fognini, after much flamboyance (and a couple of smashed racquets) won 6-4,4-6, 7-6. R V played a very gentlemanly game in contrast and led for much of the third set but Fognini finally eked out the win in a closely contested match. It was all lots of fun, in contrast to the grimness of the other two matches.

I noticed that Tomic lost to Simon, 3-6, 2-6. I missed that one owing to a heavy storm which disrupted the evening schedule. No big loss for Tomic. It is Simon who now has to face Djokovic.  :)>>>>
« Last Edit: August 21, 2014, 06:28:32 PM by euroka1 »

Offline Benny

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2014, 02:08:43 PM »
OP, thanks for posting. I like to hear "ground level" news.
 
A shame about Kyrgios, was hoping to have another look at him this tournament.
Yeah. I was hoping to see Nick in action as well. Granted, he still has a way to go but he's showing promise. Regardless, Cincinnati should still be entertaining.
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Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2014, 03:28:32 PM »
Two matches so far today, one splendid   :)), one a bust  :mad1: .

The good one was Pospisil -Stepanek, won by the former at 5-7, 6-1, 7-6. You only read about these things but Stepanek had two match points, one of which was lost by a net cord ball falling unfavorably. The game went to a tie-break and Pospisil came out with some beautiful serves which gave him the match. The first set was mostly baseline to baseline. Both are powerful servers and Pospisil did not give Stepanek many chanches to come into the net where he really shines. But there were a couple which were wonderful to watch. More in the second set but by this time Pospisil had learned how to deal with them and introduced some lovely approaches, volleys, and counter volleys of his own and left Stepanek rather confused. But he recovered and, as said above, came very close to winning the match. I'm personally glad Pospisil got it. He missed out on winning in Washington last week. Stepanek had won that trophy the year before. Pospisil has a great serve, nice ground strokes, and those volleys  :lmao: . I think he will go far. To me, also he has more character than the Washington champion, Raonic, and is not just a monster server.

The bad match was Tsonga - Youznhy which Tsonga LOST 1 -6, 4-6. He more or less sleepwalked  :ZZZZZ) through the whole two sets and it was really a  bore   . Youznhy was competent at best but there were signs at one time that it was going to a tedious third set, Very little to be happy about. Tsonga just turned up, no more. When I last saw Mertov, he was on his way to Tsonga's press conference and will doubtless have something to say about that elsewhere.  He thought the French press might give him a hard time.

Tonight it will be Djokovic - Simon and I am really looking forward to that. I am hoping that Simon is in his "backboard mode" and capable of returning everything.  :)>>>>
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 03:38:10 PM by euroka1 »

Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2014, 09:13:00 PM »
That was a great match between Djokovic and Simon tonight in stark contrast to the dreadful Tsonga -Youzynhi fracaso this afternoon. Simon as hoped was in his best backboard form and consistently kept the ball in play. Trouble was that Djokovic was  making great returns almost equally well and there were many long rallies. But he had the advantage of a better serve (remember back in 2008 when this was not the case?) and had sharper responses at the net and these made the difference. Almost everyone was happy that it went to three sets, except perhaps Nole, who did look worried for a while  ;>). Just as rain was threatening in earnest, he won 6-4,4-6,6-4. He played like a real No. 1   :winner: . But all credit to Gilles Simon for staying positive and making a real match of it  :applause:.

It is encounters like this, on a cool summer evening, surrounded by friendly people, that make Cincy such a wonderful place to be!  :trampoline:

« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 09:16:40 PM by euroka1 »

Offline Mertov

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2014, 11:28:12 PM »
Back in 2012, Tsonga was asked by the French media why no players were able to break the strong hold of the top 4. His answer was brutally honest (that's how Tsonga is anyway) "I guess something's missing in us that the top 4 have."  Then, he went on to lose to Djokovic in the quarters the next day, blowing four match points.. Something missing..

Today reminded me of that quote.  Tsonga said afterwards that he had no energy, that after the first few games he knew it was going to be impossible to win, that he as drained from Montreal, etc. etc...  I was expecting one of the french reporters to bring up Nadal's performance last year, winning both.. But they didn't.  That is the "something" that great champions have that obviously lacks in Tsonga..  They come to play and grind it out, one fantastic tournament does not translate into writing off the next one.  I like Tsonga's game and the guy himself, but I have learnt a while back that you must not "hope" anything from him because he will let you down.

Offline FedFanForever

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 01:43:42 AM »
Back in 2012, Tsonga was asked by the French media why no players were able to break the strong hold of the top 4. His answer was brutally honest (that's how Tsonga is anyway) "I guess something's missing in us that the top 4 have."  Then, he went on to lose to Djokovic in the quarters the next day, blowing four match points.. Something missing..

Today reminded me of that quote.  Tsonga said afterwards that he had no energy, that after the first few games he knew it was going to be impossible to win, that he as drained from Montreal, etc. etc...  I was expecting one of the french reporters to bring up Nadal's performance last year, winning both.. But they didn't.  That is the "something" that great champions have that obviously lacks in Tsonga..  They come to play and grind it out, one fantastic tournament does not translate into writing off the next one.  I like Tsonga's game and the guy himself, but I have learnt a while back that you must not "hope" anything from him because he will let you down.

Well if Tsonga's legs were dead, they were dead. What you really mean is that the top 4 train their bodies for that ultimate level that allows them to have the legs to win back-to-back events. Think of all those times Federer won back-to-back events IW/Miami.
Then we will fight in the shade.

Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2014, 04:33:44 AM »
Back in 2012, Tsonga was asked by the French media why no players were able to break the strong hold of the top 4. His answer was brutally honest (that's how Tsonga is anyway) "I guess something's missing in us that the top 4 have."  Then, he went on to lose to Djokovic in the quarters the next day, blowing four match points.. Something missing..

Today reminded me of that quote.  Tsonga said afterwards that he had no energy, that after the first few games he knew it was going to be impossible to win, that he as drained from Montreal, etc. etc...  I was expecting one of the french reporters to bring up Nadal's performance last year, winning both.. But they didn't.  That is the "something" that great champions have that obviously lacks in Tsonga..  They come to play and grind it out, one fantastic tournament does not translate into writing off the next one.  I like Tsonga's game and the guy himself, but I have learnt a while back that you must not "hope" anything from him because he will let you down.

Well if Tsonga's legs were dead, they were dead. What you really mean is that the top 4 train their bodies for that ultimate level that allows them to have the legs to win back-to-back events. Think of all those times Federer won back-to-back events IW/Miami.

I feel strongly that performances like yesterday show disrespect towards the fans who are paying good money to a "professional" to watch world-class tennis. If the pro cannot provide, he should not be there and allow someone who can to replace him. It is the ATP after all and they ought to be aware of this. Imagine a surgeon behaving this way.  ..-)

Offline Benny

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 02:32:14 PM »
Back in 2012, Tsonga was asked by the French media why no players were able to break the strong hold of the top 4. His answer was brutally honest (that's how Tsonga is anyway) "I guess something's missing in us that the top 4 have."  Then, he went on to lose to Djokovic in the quarters the next day, blowing four match points.. Something missing..

Today reminded me of that quote.  Tsonga said afterwards that he had no energy, that after the first few games he knew it was going to be impossible to win, that he as drained from Montreal, etc. etc...  I was expecting one of the french reporters to bring up Nadal's performance last year, winning both.. But they didn't.  That is the "something" that great champions have that obviously lacks in Tsonga..  They come to play and grind it out, one fantastic tournament does not translate into writing off the next one.  I like Tsonga's game and the guy himself, but I have learnt a while back that you must not "hope" anything from him because he will let you down.
Yeah, I watched the matches and I thought Djokovic was going to win a routine match against Simon but he suffered a mental lapse and allowed him back into the match. Shame about Simon because he really tried, especially in those long rallies, but Djokovic is going to really have to produce better tennis if he hopes to win this tournament for the first time.
On the other match, Tsonga really didn't perform that well perhaps due to the quick transition between Toronto and Cincinnati. Anyway, good win for Youzhny.
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Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 07:48:20 PM »
It was a somewhat disappointing day.   :(
I stayed away fron Center Court and moved around the side courts. My impression is that the number of attendees is up this year and even the side courts become crowded. Still, with a little bit of agression, one can usually find a seat.

I started off seeing Janowicz play Dimitrov. The former has a very impressive serve and it would have been nice to have seen how fast some of them were. He easily got the first set 6-4, but Dimitrov recovered some form (it was never very good) and got the second 6-3. But he came apart again in the third to lose that at 3-6. Many errors, in particular from his one handed backhand, which rarely seemed to work. One handed backhand admirers miss Gasquet who is not here.

Then on to Matosevic - Isner. A tall order and not much was expected. On the whole Matosevic played a very respectable game. To win off Isner, you have to break his serve  :scared:, or hold your own to the tie-break, which you must then win. Matosevic lost serve only once,in the first set and got to the tie-break in the second. Score: Isner 6-3, 7-6. No unpleasant interludes in this Matosevic match. With 'shot spot' available in the Grandstand Court, there was no point in whingeing about line calls and everything went in an orderly way.

Fognini-Hewitt was a disappointment. Hewitt was not playing well. Terrible serving in the first set; 6 double faults, 30% first serves in (No way he is going to win with that, said my neighbor). A trainer was called to apparently treat his right shoulder. But the most important factor was that Fognini was playing exceptionally well; far far better that two nights ago when he seemed very lacadasical. He deserved the win. After the match, Mertov and I wondered if we would see Hewitt play again. :(

The best came last. I wandered past court 9 and saw Ferrer was struggling against Kohlschreiber; score 6-7, 2-5. Thought it worth a visit and found that Ferrer was in his famous recovery mode and was on the way to move to 6-6 and finish the set by winning the tie-break. It was truly white hot tennis from both and never clear in the third set who was going to win. Eventually Ferrer pulled the match off as he so often does, fighting every inch of the way. By a long way, this was the most memorable match I saw today. Much gratitude to both players for a spectacular show.

For dessert, I waited for the first set of the Gulbis - Johnson match. Johnson is one of the US wild cards. Gulbis was in a mildly clowning mood (asking Johnson why he had to stand so far back) and then launching a monster serve at him . I got the feeling that Gulbis did not really want to stay around. Perhaps other interests elsewhere  :cool:. Johnson won both sets 6-4, 6-4. He may be one of the few surviving wild cards. Most go early.

Having a quiet night back at the motel tonight  :ZZZZZ). Shall be fresher for more tennis tomorrow.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 08:57:11 AM by euroka1 »

Offline Mertov

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2014, 08:35:43 PM »
Nothing to add to the great report from Euroka, except that while he was enjoying Ferrer's amazing comeback, I was enjoying the only other great match of the day Cilic vs. Verdasco (Cilic won 7/6 7/6).  Cilic has an amazing tiebreak record this summer.  It showed in the match too.  The level of tennis was high throughout the match, yet in the two tiebreakers Cilic raised it further up a notch..
Great win by Kuznetsova over Bouchard.  For me it was not really an upset.
Big summer by S. Johnson when other Americans are mostly struggling.


Offline euroka1

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2014, 07:58:49 AM »
Thanks, Mert.

That means it will be well worth seeing Cilic this morning when he plays Wawrinka.  :))

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Re: Notes from Cincinnati Masters Tournament - August 2014
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2014, 11:49:39 AM »
Cilic started strong against Stan, but Stan upped his game in the 2nd and 3rd sets and played wonderfully!

Last night, Monfils plays absolutely fantastic.  I'm concerned about Roger's match against him.  If Monfils continues to play like he did last night, it's going to be tough for Roger (who lost to Monfils the last time they played).... :(  But...Go Roger!