My tipping is on the improve, Nishikori just got over the line against Stan but Murray went down in 4 , I thought he may have pushed Novak to 5. I am still going with both Federer and Berdych to win their quarter's in 4 sets.
Some interesting statistics came out of the epic match between Nishikori and Wawrinka, some things that decide the close matches;
Stan won 4 more points than Kei yet he lost the match
Stan hit 27 more winners than Kei, he still lost
Kei made 27 less unforced errors than Stan
Stan hit 10 more aces than Kei but served 8 double faults in his quest for a solid second
Stan went to the net just 15 times , he won the point on 9 occasions
Kei went to the net 37 times and won the point on 29 occasions
So who are these guys ?
Stan hits a big ball from the baseline, we all know that as he destroyed Nadal in the first set of the Australian Open final this year before Rafa's injury. With groundstrokes that good however it is a surprise that he doesn't follow a few more of them into the net to finish the point .
Nishikori is playing a brand of tennis that is not unlike his Coach Michael Chang when he was one of the game's best in the late 80's and early 90's. Kei however is prepared to come in off his big groundie's , a tactic that may just have got him over the line in this particular match.
A match that lasts around 4 hours will take something special to get one player over the line and the player who is prepared to ask the question of his opponent can quite often prevail. In a tight match a tactic such as pressuring the opponent can pay dividends for two reasons. If you are feeling tight yourself then the tactic of coming in can take away the tension of a long rally and asking your opponent to hit a winner is the ultimate question . It can make or break some players.
As good as Nishikori is from the baseline he is also a player who can force the issue at the net because his approach shots are so good. To win 29 out of 37 net approaches is quite remarkable from a player who is not known for his volleying expertise.
There is very little between the best players in the World, sometimes just a few points in it , after all Stan did win 181 points to Kei's 177 in losing the match.
Fascinating game is tennis. As a coach of the game it is wise to concentrate on the error count rather than the winners as most times less errors will beat more winners. I love analysing tennis as it's a game that requires a mind just as smart as the shot making. A thinking man's game.......