Citi Open Saturday RundownWritten by Mariya Konovalova
While in London Roger Federer and Andy Murray were preparing for their Gold Medal match, two players that have “been there, done that,” Tommy Haas, who lost the gold to Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 2000 in Sydney, and Mardy Fish, defeated by Chile’s Nicolas Massu in 2004 in Athens, were playing Olympics-quality tennis in their Citi Open Semifinal. Haas said he never expected still to play at 34, but he was inspired by Andre Agassi to stay in the game.
Haas, who will be back in the Top 30 by reaching the final, showed near-flawless form, beating the American 6-3, 7-5. Haas needed only one break point to take the set but only let Fish win two points on his serve and delivered no unforced errors. The second set was more closely contested, with Fish earning a set point at 5-4, but losing a long rally with an impatient attempt to change pace. What looked like a badly placed and timed drop-shot was “actually a failed attempt at a slice,” Fish said, lamenting the lost point and set. Haas went on to hold serve and break Fish in the top seed’s next game.
Even the crowds got into the Olympic spirit, shouting “USA” at some points. Mardy is the “true American,” said Haas, who has dual German and U.S. citizenship, unsurprised Fish had the upper hand in getting crowd support.
Fish did not always return the crowd support, getting frustrated at some points and yelling, “What are you yelling for?” at a spectator and also firing up at an overeager cameraman moving onto the court to film Haas as Fish was serving at 5-all, “What are you doing here? Get off the court!”
On the other hand, Haas says he is now “wiser” and no longer lets his emotions take control. In his heyday, Haas was known for delivering explosive tirades at his coach (then Thomas Hogstedt) that would go on for several games. Now, Haas says, when he wants to “have a conversation” with his coach or “tell him he’s an idiot,” he’s learned to let go of the negativity within a game.
Saturday’s Parallel Reality
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova’s result today also called back to Olympic tennis, as she was pummeled in the Women’s Singles Final, 6-1, 6-1, by Magdalena Rybarikova. Rybarikova said she was thinking back to the game showcased by Serena Williams in the Gold Medal match in London, where another Russian, Sharapova, lost badly. “I was thinking, ‘It’s not possible to win a final, 6-0, 6-1,’ then I won 6-1, 6-1,” said the Slovak with a smile after the match. “It’s not even possible, the way [Serena] was playing,” she added.
Saturday’s When a Win Is a Loss
Don’t expect to see Rybarikova atop the Emirates U.S. Open Series standings, however. By reaching the weekend match rounds this week, Rybarikova missed qualifying play in the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, her previous ranking was not enough to get her into Cincinnati qualifying, and she will not be contesting the New Haven Open because of playing qualifying for the U.S. Open.
Saturday’s Walk On
Fish is happy to have reached the Semifinals this week, as he is just two weeks away from an ankle injury suffered in Atlanta. Fish says he struggled with the injury and “couldn’t walk well without pain for a few days,” spending a lot of time getting rehab. But he is fully recovered now and looks forward to playing in Toronto next week, where he has a bye, followed by a match with either a qualifier or local wild card Peter Polansky.
Saturday’s Service Error
Sam Querrey’s seven-match winning streak was snapped on Saturday by Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov. Dolgopolov, who also beat Querrey in early 2011 in Sydney, played his usual risky low-percentage shots to break Querrey in the first game of the match and once again at 4-4 in the second set. It was enough, as the Ukrainian saved all five break points he faced and won, 6-4, 6-4. Querrey said he could not read Dolgopolov’s serve well, while Dolgopolov told the media that he tried to pressure Querrey into hitting bigger serves, drawing errors.
Saturday’s Not Over Yet
Although Querrey admitted to being somewhat “exhausted,” his run here is not yet over. On Sunday, he and partner Kevin Anderson will face Britain’s Dominic Inglot and Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines in the Men’s Doubles Final. Huey and Inglot began their run in the capital by beating tomorrow’s singles finalist Dolgopolov and partner Xavier Malisse in the First Round.
- Photographer: Mariya Konovalova
Mariya Konovalova is the Editor-in-Chief of TalkAboutTennis.com content. When not watching, photographing, writing, and editing material about tennis, she enjoys buying books she won't have time to read and films she won't have time to watch, as well as not getting enough sleep. Mariya is a graduate of Columbia University and the London School of Economics. You can contact her by e-mail (mariya(at)TalkAboutTennis.com) and follow her on Twitter (@MariyaKTennis).