Indian Wells: Of course I saw it coming.
Of course I knew that Rafa would lose to Ljubicic but win doubles in Indian Wells. Papa Ljubs has barely lost sets this week, and let’s face it, Rafa hasn’t exactly been high on confidence lately. And Soddercakes was always going to have a huge letdown and lose to Randy. The guy’s not quite ready to win an ATP 1000 tournament yet.
No Belgian would make it into the quarterfinals? So what? Did you expect them to win all the time now or something? Sheesh!
And the women’s title to be decided between two of the most defensive players on the WTA? Err … hello? Where the hell have you been for the last decade? Aggression is so passé.
Dootsie, of course, knew all of this would happen in Indian Wells. ‘Cause she’s smart, and a forward-thinker. Evidently.
She’s also referring to herself in third person, because she has an ego too big for Roger Federer and despite various references over the history of this blog to female reproductive organs with a tendency to melt, many members of cyberspace continue to assume she also has a penis. Or they’re too lazy to put an ‘s’ in front of third person pronouns.
So … Indian Wells, what’s going on? Explain yourself! ‘Cause otherwise, you are dead to me. DEAD.
With Soderling and Nadal heading into their respective semifinals toting a 2-0 H2H against Randy and 3-1 against Papa Ljubs, you and I can both forgive ourselves for prematurely salivating over a ‘Naderling’ final.
But who woulda thunk it? By the end of the day, Ivan Ljubcic and Andy Roddick would be the last men left standing in the desert. Remember those good old days when top 4 players won the tournament? Those were good times…minus Farty Dish.
Not only were the upsets stunning in all senses of that word, both semifinals went the distance, filled with tight spots, see-sawing momentum, tentative shot-making and serves sent down not with authority, but self-doubt.
Rafa should’ve won his match, but played probably the worst tiebreak of his career. Soderling could’ve won it, but had neither the intensity, nor the energy that he brought against Mandy the day before.
So we’re left with Randy v Ljubs. Both men played somewhat scrappy tennis – Ljubicic overcame 51 unforced errors while Roddick let Soderling back into a match he had no business winning in the second set.
But kudos to both for toughing it out, especially Ljubcic. The guy didn’t reach No 3 in the world for nothing, a less experienced player would’ve never had the presence of mind to take it to Rafa in a third set tiebreak.
For Rafa, it must’ve been disappointing for his fans to see a perfect opportunity to break a title drought slip by. The draw opened up for him and for a few days, I really thought this was the ‘break’ he was going to get from the Tennis Gods.
“That was an accident today. That’s my feeling, because I was playing enough well to win the tournament. It was important accident, and I have to learn to try to play more aggressive next time and try to convert the opportunities.”
But as they too often say, tomorrow’s another day. And next week? It’s a whole new tournament, and doesn’t Rafael Nadal know that.
Q. What happened in the tiebreak? It seemed like you were a little passive almost in the tiebreak.
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I wasn’t passive. That’s for sure, no? I was more nervous than passive, no? Because I never had to arrive to this tiebreak. That’s my feeling, no?
You know, when you arrive at that tiebreak of the first set with a serve like Ivan, he was serving really well, no? I know that it’s gonna be very dangerous. The second point of the tiebreak was very important.
You know, it was tough for me be in that situation, because I was playing amazing all the week, playing really, really good, and an important match for me, semifinals.
Anyway, the result is good. But after coming an injury and, well, everything, everything is positive, because I probably played at my best level another the time, but today I played bad. I played bad match.
Anyway, I had lot of chances, break points in the second with one passing shot with backhand on one of the breakpoints with Love 40. But he serve well, and he played good forehands. First shot winner, so difficult to do something there.
I played unbelievable terrible game the first of the third set with my serve. I had more mistakes with my forehand in that game than all the week.
Yeah, after that, you know, in the third, I fighted it all the time, but I only had the breakpoint in the third. He had amazing serve, so nothing to do there.
Yeah. That’s tennis. I played bad. I gonna try to win in Miami.
As for the victors, they’ll both need a win tomorrow.
For Randy, he needs it to reestablish his presence in the men’s game, which has been negligible since Wimbledon last year. I can’t even remember the last time he won a Masters Series title, but I’ll take a stab and say it would’ve been at least back in 06. One of the ones the Swiss Potatohead didn’t win that year.
As for Ljubicic, back in the day, before all the injuries, personal distractions and the loss of foot speed set in, he was way too good not to have won a Masters Series.
Anyone remember the Miami final a few years back featuring 3 tiebreaks against Roger? Good times, before Farty Dish came and ruined everything.
So … does Ivan Ljubicic have a chance? Or is this in the bag for Randy? Who’s team are we on? Team Randy? Or Team Papa? Or perhaps Team I’m-a-tennis-fan-get-me-outta-here?
Dead, Indian Wells. That’s what you are to me. Hmmph!