Daily Dispatch: Murray’s Second Serve A Liability in Opener
The US Open is here!
It was a German tennis bloodbath today as Florian Mayer, Sabine Lisicki, Julia Goerges, and Andrea Petkovic all lost their openers. Victoria Azarenka should benefit from the loss of Lisicki and Goerges from her quarter of the draw.
Maria Sharapova had an ultrasound to rule out pregnancy when she had a stomach virus during the Olympics. Okay then. Also, she won her opener 6-2, 6-2, over Melinda Czink.
Andy Murray opened up his US Open bid with a customary error-fest against Alex Bogomolov Jr. The 6-2, 6-4, 6-1 scoreline was entirely deceptive. Murray’s second serve was a liability, and Murray won just 49% of those points.
I’ve often criticized Andy Murray for his second serve when comparing him to the top three players. It’s one of the areas in which he’s noticeably weaker than them, and it hurts him in best-of-five matches. While Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic win plenty of free points on their second serves, Murray rarely does, and often his opponents are able to take advantage of the sitters Murray serves up.
Per the ATP website, Rafael Nadal ranks No. 1 in percentage of points won on his second serve at 57%. Federer is Number 2 with 56%. Djokovic is ranked No. 7 with 54%. Murray? Ranked No. 46 with 52%.
If I had to pinpoint one tactical reason Murray hasn’t won a Slam yet, it would be his second serve. The reason I dispute those who predict he’ll win the US Open is because that shot still hasn’t improved significantly.
If Murray could put some additional pace and better placement on that shot, he would be a much bigger threat against the top players.
Dispatch from the press room:
Amazing. Press room announcers wondering whether anyone would like to speak to Victoria Azarenka. She’s only the world No.1.
— Alexandra Willis (@alex_willis) August 28, 2012
I have to say a few words about the commentary on ESPN during the night match tonight between Roger Federer and Donald Young. Clearly Donald Young has been struggling, and clearly the McEnroes have a conflict of interest when it comes to Young, because Young clashed with the USTA over coaching decisions.
But none of that excuses the McEnroes from their shameless commentary tonight. Rather than accepting that any top 50 player would be struggling against Federer, the match became a multi-hour discussion of all the things Young was doing wrong, and all the poor career decisions he has made.
ESPN hires commentators like the McEnroes because their involvement with the tennis world informs their commentary. But in this case, their closeness to the situation created an uncomfortable, unfair situation for Young. If only the fair-minded Darren Cahill had been able to get a word in edgewise.
Tomorrow’s US Open order of play features Agnieszka Radwanska, Andy Roddick, Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, and Serena Williams on Arthur Ashe.