US Open -- Super Saturday (spoilers)

US Open -- Super Saturday (spoilers)

Post by Charles L » Mon, 14 Sep 1992 14:40:26

     OK, I caught bits and pieces as usual.  As I had expected, Chang was
a better test of Edberg's volleying than Lendl.   Lendl did a better
job of holding serve then Chang did, though Chang was able to partly
offset the number of breaks he had by breaking Edberg quite a few times.

    The first set started off with Chang getting on top and breaking
Edberg early.  Edberg got the break back, and this went to a tiebreaker.
Chang had not beaten Edberg in a tiebreak in four previous tries, but
he did win this one.   Edberg then ran off with a 4-0 lead with brilliant
volleying and approaches, and Chang had a hard time passing as consistently
as he had to.  However, Chang then got momentum and broke back all the
way to 5-all.  Edberg held, and Chang was broken.  In the third, Edberg
again broke early to take the lead, only to have Chang come back
and force it to a tiebreaker.  This time, Edberg took a 6-1 lead, and
despite a game effort by Chang to come back in the tiebreak, Edberg
took the tiebreak, and the two set to one lead.

   Chang took a break in the fourth set to lead something like 4-2 or 5-3,
but I assume he was broken back, and then broke again.  At this point,
I had left home, and I assume Chang (from Edberg's comments) had broken
early in the fifth, but again was broken back, and then Edberg took the
lead.  Edberg said it had been three consecutive matches of five sets
and a break in the fifth.  Edberg had numerous double faults, but again
it was near impossible to lob him, though Chang was a bit more successful
with the lob than Lendl.

   I think despite the numerous breaks, this was a better match than the
Lendl.  Better played, that is.  There were fewer errors, from what I
could tell, and Chang gave Edberg a lot more trouble on his serve than
Lendl did, though Edberg pressured Chang a lot more on Chang's serve.

   Edberg was able to do something in common with Sampras, and that
was to pressure the other man in baseline rallies.  Against Lendl,
and Chang, sometimes Lendl and Chang would go for a lot more on
groundies to prevent Edberg from charging the net.  This create more
pressure on hitting groundstrokes than either Lendl or Chang would like
to have, and may force them to make more errors.   The main problem
Edberg has faced is numerous double faults.  What has kept him in the
matches is hia ability to pressure the opponent on their serve, and
that he is still bold enough to go to net on second serves.

   In the following match (the Edberg-Chang went 5 and a half hours),
Seles played Sanchez.   Sanchez came out with a strategy very similar
to Fernandez.  Namely, hit a few rallies, but go for winner as soon
as the opening sets itself up.  Seles is used to this strategy but
neither Sanchez-Vicario nor Fernandez was.  Mary Carillo, commentator,
said that Sanchez's game was precise, but I think that's not exactly
the word.  She tried for preciseness when her game doesn't have that
aspect.  Sanchez ran down some great shots, and hit some of her own,
but because neither Sanchez nor Fernandez are used to having to
go for winners, they made lots of errors.  Sanchex would make an
incredible play just to win a point, but then hit a shot long or
deep.

   It is still quite amazing how Seles can hit with such power and
such accuracy time and again.  The 6-3, 6-3 win was closer than
it looked, and I think it took a lot out of Seles to play that match.
She had reportedly not felt too well early on.   The interesting
aspects of this match, as opposed to something like Capriati or
Pierce is that Sanchez does not hit so much with power, and so
drop shots were also being used as well as approaches to the
net.  Fernandez tried a similar strategy.  The commentators felt
that the players should not try to play Seles's game, and overpower
her, but I can udnerstand why players feel the need.  Players like
Sabatini, who really doesn't have the power to bother Seles,
can't seem to pressure Seles enough by trying to let Seles make the
error.  With Seles's power, it's hard enough just getting the shot
back.  And, oh yes, the grunt is back!

   This match was followed by the Courier match.  I think Courier
gets nerbous playing Sampras.  He makes more errors than he normally
does.  Sampras represents both a ground threat -- someone able to
keep up with Courier on groundies -- and a net threat, someone who
can pressure Courier.  So, Courier has to be careful not only to
keep the shots deep, but to hit them hard.  One strategy he tried was
to play to Sampras's backhand, and take his chances there.  However,
this didn't seem to work as Sampras was content to rally, and push the
ball back deep and wait for his opportunities.

    Sampras won the first set 6-2, lost the second 6-3, then took the
last two 6-2, 6-2.  Actually, Courier had a chance.  Sampras had started
walking around in the last few games of the match, and it was apparent
that something was wrong.  I had thought it was leg cramps, and the
commentators mentioned pulled muscles all over.   Courier managed to
eke out his service game to get it to 5-2, and had to be thinking that
if he could just break Sampras and keep him on the court, he could
wait for Sampras to collapse, because that was about th only way
he was going to win it.  Sampras, trying to hide the fact that there
was a problem, did not call a trainer out.  He also started going
for big serves and winners to close it out fast.  Courier tried to
break, but Sampras prevailed.  When the match ended, Sampras ran
off the court, and promptly to the restroom or elsewhere.

   It was later determined that Sampras was getting stomach cramps,
and therefore ought to be ready to play tomorrow.  If Edberg is to
win, he will have to serve a bit better, and pressure Sampras on
the return.  I think Sampras looks quite strong, but it will all
come down to how well Edberg pressures Sampras on Sampras's serve
and how well Samrpas is returning.   Edberg is volleying pretty
well these days, and he is returning well, too.  But Chang is
no Sampras when it comes to serving.  Edberg did face Krajicek,
but Krajicek started faltering on his second serves toward the
end.   I favor Sampras, but it's a hard call.

   You would also think that Wilson ought to bring back the Wilson
Pro Staff as three of the four semifinalists are using this racquet.

   On a side note, there is a guy named Pat Echeverria who is
currently the strength/fitness coach for Pete Sampras and
Jennifer Capriati.  Sampras attributes his fitness and more
recent successes to Pat's work (which includes tossing a
medicine ball, a very weighty ball the size of a soccerball or
so).

--
Charles Lin