Archive for August 23rd, 2011
All good things must come to an end. But for many, and I among those, this wasn’t the end we were hoping for. Serbian Novak Djokovic had up to this point been the only force capable of menacing the extended dominion of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the ATP Tour. On a sport dominated by two players in what’s now been the better part of a decade, Novak Djokovic was a breath of fresh air. And what the Djoker, as he is known, is nothing short of spectacular. The end, however, was a bit disappointing, unfortunate.
The world’s top-ranked player was forced to retire in the second set Sunday because of a sore right shoulder, giving Andy Murray the championship at the Western & Southern Open. This was truly his first truly bad moment in what had otherwise been a perfect season. Ok, perhaps not perfect, he obviously suffered a hiccup against Roger Federer in the Roland Garros semifinal; but heck, since that sole lost of the season in june 3rd, Novak Djokovic had won 16 games, and before he retired against Murray, he was 57-1 for the season. That’s just an amazing performance, but at the end, the winning streak took a bit too much from Djokovic, both mentally and physically, and the symptoms were showing on Sunday.
Djokovic had mention that he was starting to feel a bit tired. He seemed a bit talked exhausted in Cincinnati. Let’s not forget that he was coming off his record fifth Masters series title in Montreal last week. Before the final match against Murray, Djokovic said his serving shoulder had been bothering him for the last 10 days. Still, with some physical therapy and certainly a good deal of courage he’d been able to manage the pain and keep on winning.
From the very start, we knew that it wasn’t the same Djokovic we had been used to. He was certainly showing signs of fatigue and pain in the title game against the fourth-seeded Murray. It didn’t take too long for Murray to take advantage of the situation and he won the first set 6-4. Murray kept the momentum and took an early 3-0 lead in the second set when Djokovic decided just before the rain came that he couldn’t continue. With his serve registering only in double-digits and his forehand limited by the pain, Djokovic realized he couldn’t compete.
The big question now is what Novak Djokovic’s performance going to be like in a few more days, when he faces the last Grand Slam of the season, the US Open at Flushing Meadows. The good news, if you will, is that one of his strongest contenders, and the defending Champion, Rafael Nadal, Rafael Nadal also has got some physical issues that could keep him from playing at his best. Truth is that Nadal is struggling with burned fingertips on his right hand that bothered him in Cincinnati.
On the press conference after the game Djokovic said: “Dear friends and fans, I want to apologise to all of you who expected a better and longer match today. Shoulder could not take it anymore, and it didn’t make sense to continue. Congratulation to Andy Murray for successful week.”
The NFL preseason is underway. After a long summer, filled with the news and the fighting over the NFL new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it is quite a relief to finally have some football this season. And it’s without a doubt a good feeling to once again take a look at the New York Jets and what could be one heck of a season for Mark Sanchez and his new all-star receivers, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress. As a matter of fact, Sunday was the first NFL game for Burress since spending little over 20 months in prison for assault and gun possession charges.
Overall, we could say that this was a good comeback. Burress caught three passes on his first game back in uniform for 66 yards, including a terrific 26-yard reception for a touchdown, in his first game since 2008. Mark Sanchez guided the offensive strike and with 12 of 20 passing for 173 yards for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions helped the New York Jets beat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-7.
Burress signed last month a one-year deal with the Jets. Many fans were a bit skeptical about his performance, wondering that if at 34 years-old and after serving 20 months in prison after shooting himself in a bar in New York City back in 2008. And yes, it is certainly a bit too early to say if this good performance during the preseason is going to capitalize into anything significant once the regular season kicks in and the games actually count. Still, after his first performance we could go on to say that he has certainly inclined the scale on his favor.
Burress promised his fans that once again, despite what had happened, he would work his way back into top shape. After missing the preseason opener at Houston because of the ankle injury, Burress backed up his bold words against the Bengals (0-2).
We were able to get a good look at what the Jets can offer in the offensive end. Most of the Jets starters came out during the first half of the game, and quite frankly, the Bengals never were up to give much of a fight. Truth is that Mark Sanchez was very accurate on his air game and didn’t disappoint. On the other hand, there is plenty of work to be done to the Jets running game. Without starter Shonn Greene, the Jets stalled during the first two quarters, gaining just 17 yards under the heavy rain. LaDainian Tomlinson had just 16 yards on nine carries.
Not much can be taken out of this match. It’s still very early to say how the Jets will do against higher caliber teams down the stretch. We are not undermining the Cincinnati Bengals, but we have to put thing straight for the record. The Bengals had to play the game with a very lousy hand. Playing on the road against the Jets and with a rookie quarterback is not an easy task. Andy Dalton, the second-round pick out of TCU, threw two interceptions that resulted in scores by New York. Dalton was 4 of 11 for 29 yards after one quarter. Not the most motivational start by any means. Things got a little better after a while and Dalton finished 8 of 19 for 86 yards, but he had already dig a very deep hole in the first quarter to ever really get thing back in shape.