Stat based men's tennis articles
by Joel Mallett | 9 Jan 2012
The most controversial match I saw on Sunday was the final round qualifying match between Americans Ryan Sweeting and Michael Russell. I started watching as Russell served out the 2nd set 6-3. Sweeting had won the first 6-4.
Thankfully the match got moved from show court 1 to show court 4 meaning I got be closer to the action. The following video was taken from where I was sitting (it is not zoomed in) and shows serves and rally shots of both players in high definition.
In the video you will see an usual inefficiency in Russell's service motion. He starts with his front foot near the baseline, but during the motion he retracts this foot. He makes contact with the ball around a foots width (say 10cm) behind the baseline. This has got to be costing him pace and will also decrease his margin.
Back to the match. Sweeting jumped out to a 3-0 lead and was frequently mumbling to himself. At 0*-1 15*-40 he clearly said 'If I don't win this game I'm going to snap'. He won the next point. But the most interesting point of the match, and very possibly the point that decided the match, came at 4-4 15-15 Sweeting serving.
During a long rally Sweeting began to take control. Russell was forced to put up a lob which Sweeting smashed deep into the court. Russell scrambled to defend again but he wouldn't have to as Sweeting's smash was called out. Sweeting complained 'You've got to be kidding me'. The ball was quickly overruled by the umpire, but as Russell had a play, albeit a dire one, the point had to be replayed.
This was no ordinary bad call. Sweeting's smash was in by a good 20cm! I know as I was sitting right in line with that baseline (as the video above demonstrates). The replayed point was, quite understandably) a double fault from Sweeting and from there he continued to self destruct and lost the last two games. Final score 4-6 6-3 6-4 to Russell.
Sweeting had some words with the umpire after he got broken but went too far when walking past the linesperson who gave him the bad call. My direct quote (written immediately after he said it) 'Great job f***ing dumbass, great job'. The linesperson, a short lady who appeared to be a teenager, was visibly upset and barely able to project her voice to make a call in the last game.
Although before the incident happened when the scores were completely locked, up until that point I felt Sweeting would be the eventual winner. He just seemed like the better player. Adding salt to the wound is the Russell's kind main draw allocation: clay court specialist Fabio Fognini.