Talking Points ahead of US Open Men’s Tournament

Tennis’ final Grand Slam starts tomorrow as the best players battle it out to become US Open champion. Here I preview the action in what promises to be an action packed two weeks of tennis.

Nadal gets a favourable draw

Although Nadal will not admit it, he must be quietly pleased with his draw for the tournament. Te defending champion is on the opposite side of the draw to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. He may have to face Karen Khachanov, Kyle Edmund and Kevin Anderson or Dominic Thiem. Nadal will feel that he can outlast those opponents and he will be determined to defend the US Open for the first time.

Rafael Nadal
Will Nadal win his second Grand Slam of the year? Photo By: Getty

Tough Draw for Federer

Roger Federer has not enjoyed a happy few months of tennis by his own high standards. He was knocked out of Wimbledon by Kevin Anderson and was comfortably beaten by Novak Djokovic in the final of the Cincinnati Open. The 20 time Grand Slam champion is projected to face Benoit Paire in round 2, Nick Kyrgios in round 3 and Hyeon Chung or Fabio Fognini in the last 16. That is before a potential semi-final with Djokovic. A tough draw indeed.

Novak Djokovic
Can Djokovic win back to back Grand Slams? Photo By: PA

How far can Murray go?

Andy Murray will play his first Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2017. Murray’s return is great to see but question marks remain over his movement as a result of his hip injury. Murray is keen to quash any talk of him being a dark horse but if he is fully fit then he could be a dark horse. He could face Juan martin Del Potro in round 3 in what could be a titanic tussle.

Dimitrov v Wawrinka Part II

Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka were paired together for the second Grand Slam in succession after being drawn in the opening round of Wimbledon earlier this year. The unseeded Wawrinka won that day and he has enjoyed an excellent hard court season – reaching the quarter finals in Cincinnati. Dimitrov has endured a difficult season but a win here could reignite his season.

Britain Wimbledon Tennis
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland plays a return to Taylor Fritz of the U.S during their men’s singles match on day two of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Can Zverev make the breakthrough?

Alexander Zverev is a force to be reckoned with but he has not proved himself on the major stage yet. He reached the quarter finals at Roland Garros this year. He holds three Masters 1000 titles but if he is to progress deep in this tournament then he will need to show greater mental fortitude than he has in previous Slams. To his credit he managed to win five set matches on the French clay but he faces a tough draw. He has the potential to beat anyone as he has one more chance to go deep in a Slam in 2018.

The 2018 US Open promises to be an action packed tournament filled with drama. May the best player win.


Galway v Clare Talking Points as the Tribesmen march on to final showdown with Limerick

Galway reached their second All-Ireland final in a row after overcoming a stubborn Clare side in another excellent game. Here we discuss the key talking points as Limerick discovered their All Ireland final opponents.

A Carbon Copy of Last Week

The replay was similar to the first game as Galway started strongly and surged into an early lead before Clare came roaring back. The Tribesmen were 1-9 to 0-3 ahead after 20 minutes but Clare ultimately left themselves too much to do. The wide count for both teams was high, similar to last week while Galway once again lost a big lead. It contributed to another cracking game of hurling in the summer that keeps on giving.

Micheál Donoghue gets his tactics right

Galway were caught cold tactically in the drawn match but Micheál Donoghue and his management team got their tactics right, especially in the opening period.  Galway varied their puckout strategy which reaped a rich reward especially when Joseph Cooney collected James Skehill’s short puckout and drove the ball into Johnny Glynn who slotted home Galway’s goal. Conor Whelan played a roving centre-forward role which freed up space down the middle for Canning and David Burke.

Micheál Donoghue
Michel Donoghue got his tactics right against Clare. Photo By: James Crombie/INPHO

Clare miss their chance

The Banner men showed terrific character throughout this Championship but their Achilles heel of poor shot selection was their downfall. They shot 19 wides while Peter Duggan missed a relatively straight forward free to draw the game level. Aron Shanagher missed a double goal chance when he scooped the ball onto the post after James Skehill saved his first shot. Clare will be left to ponder what could have been. It really is a game of inches.

Aron Shanagher hits the post late on
Aron Shanagher missed a glorious gal chance. Photo By: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Quality Goals

After the epic All-Ireland semi-finals last weekend, some complained that goals were becoming too rare. The three goals scored in this game were top class finishes. Johnny Glynn’s one handed finish was excellent while Peter Duggan’s goal was top class. Shane O’Donnell hit the goal of the year so far as he withstood fierce pressure from Daithi Burke and John Hanbury before dummying a shot and then striking it on the half volley. The Championship has lacked goals but these three were worth the wait.

Shane O’Donnell celebrates scoring a goal
Shane O’Donnell celebrates his epic goal on Sunday. Photo By: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Galway get extra motivation from the doubts

Joe Canning made some interesting comments immediately after Galway’s victory. Speaking to Sky Sports, the Portumna man remarked that he felt his men were not given enough respect coming into the replay.

“We felt as a group, we didn’t get too much respect. Clare only led last week for only one time in the match, and they didn’t lead at all today. We had five of our key players missing in extra-time last week as well, and they couldn’t finish it off. We thought ourselves that we didn’t get enough respect coming into today.” Galway and Canning used this perceived injustice as motivation.