Down Under: Last Minute.
What’s your strategy for the night before exams? Do you do an all-nighter: cram, do practice exams, memorize last minute tidbits that you think might be relevant?
Or do you flip through your notes half-heartedly – feeling insecure enough to have a book open in front of you, but at the same time, not bothering to waste too much effort on late night revision?
We saw a bit of both at the AAMI Classic in Kooyong, the leafy Melbourne suburb which got its name from the indigenous Australian term for ’where the wild fowls gather‘.
A wild fowl he certainly was. Fernando Verdasco was obviously a person who believed in last minute revision.
Having watched his wins against Gonzalez, Djokovic and Tsonga at Kooyong this week, Verdasco looked focused, athletic and unhindered by the injuries that bothered him late last year. Against Djokovic, he played dominant and smart tennis given the windy conditions. Likewise with Tsonga, who was competitive for most of the first set, before bizarrely conceding his serve when serving to stay in the set at 6-5. From then on, Verdasco took full control of the match and wrapped it up 7-5 6-3.
It was a good bit of last minute revision before the Australian Open starts next week. But how much will this win come into play next week at Melbourne Park? The last man to win both Kooyong and the Australian Open is Andre Agassi in 2006, can Nando break the curse?
He’s certainly on the right track with the hair. For once, I’m not overcome with the desire to barf at the sight of greasy strands coming out of his scalp.
If Nando believed in last minute revision, Novak Djokovic progressed through the week with the mentality of taking it easy.
He was utterly demolished by Verdasco in their Kooyong semi, scraping a mere 3 games as he struggled with the wind and unforced errors.
Against Bernard Tomic today, Nole remained relaxed and friendly. A little too friendly perhaps as Tomic managed to beat Djokovic 6-4 3-6 7-5. While no one would take this defeat seriously, there was nothing to be gained in losing to a 17 year-old either.
Although, the people in the corporate boxes got a surprise visit.
For Tomic, the victory comes a day after he took down Stepanek, Ginepri and Gilles Simon to finish his run at the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide.
Not sure how I feel about him yet. Dude’s 17, ranked 289 in the world, and already has an “official website“. Can he not?
Over in Sydney, Elena Dementieva crushed Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2 in just 75 minutes. Is there anyone on the women’s tour as simultaneously dangerous and harmless as Elena Dementieva?
If you followed women’s tennis, you’ve probably put Demmy on your contenders list for every slam in the last 2 years, expecting her to break the slam drought at last. And yet she’s walked away with zero slams, zero finals.
Can you trust her one last time and pen her down as the champion for the Australian Open 2010?
It was bad news for Serena Williams, who appeared to be experiencing some pain in her left knee. Serena downplayed the injury in defeat and gave due credit to Demmy.
Q. How much were you hampered by your knee in the final last night? Can you give us a percentage of how you felt?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I don’t know if that would be very nice. I definitely wasn’t at my best.
But, you know, I feel like it’s very comforting to know that I wasn’t at my best on that particular match. But, you know what, I never want to make excuses. I think Elena played well. She always plays me well. I think we always have really fun, tough, tough matches. With that being said, I thought she played amazing.
What athlete really is at a hundred percent every time? Probably never, so…
At the same time, Serena cancelled her practice session at Rod Laver Arena today, citing that she has had enough match practice and didn’t want to “push it”. Make of that what you will.
Random trivia: Serena Williams has never won the Australian on a even-numbered year. Should 2010 be any different?
And the plot thickens for the Australian Open.
Of course, I forgot the last type of people on the night before exams. The ones who just don’t revise. Period. Be it confidence in their earlier revisions, or resignation to the fact that nothing so last minute will help.
30 odd hours to go.