Weekend Round-up: Pour La Patrie.


1. While we’re due for a Spanish final over in Monte Carlo, Barcelona was overtaken by the Italians this weekend. Congratulations are in order to Franny. She needed only 59 minutes to wrap up two breadsticks for Roberta Vinci and bring home her third WTA career title.

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2. A good word also for my compatriot Sam Stosur, who’s through to the Charleston final after defeating Dani Hantuchova in straight sets. For an Aussie, Stosur’s deceivingly good on clay. Not many players would want to be on the receiving end of her serve and forehands on this dirt.

Stosur will be facing Vera Zvonareva, who overcame a manically pro-Oudin crowd, followed by a freak Wozniacki injury to reach the final.

Aww, I hope it’s “just” a sprain ankle.

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3. It is so Nole these days to follow up his best match in recent months against Nalbandian with one of his worst, as he lamented a  62 63 loss to Nando.

I wish I could say that Fernando Verdasco came out and played a brilliant match, sending forehands whizzing down the line past Djoko before turning around to his camp roaring “TALK TO THE HAND YO!” Or something that effect.

But he didn’t.

Errors gave way to more errors. Nole struggled with his serve, and when he did manage to send down a decent first serve, he seemed so surprised by the accomplishment that he could barely keep the ball in court for a few shots in a row. Nando did the one thing well to seal the win and make his first Masters (pseudo or otherwise) final: not choke.

But having lost the last 9 out 9 matches against Rafa, let there be no illusions or hopeless dreams. Go Rafa! Bring home the title baby.

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4. A win today will put Rafa ahead of five-time winner Anthony Wilding and level with Reggie Doherty, who won from 1897-1904. No player has won the same ATP Masters Series 1000 title six times since the new tour was formed in 1990.

So that Rafa kid, he’s really something on clay, huh?

A teeny history lesson: The two men with whom Rafa shares his little piece of Monte Carlo history – Doherty and Wilding – were all past Wimbledon winners.

For Wilding, his last win in Monte Carlo marked a bittersweet turning point in his life. A little over a year after his Monte Carlo victory, he volunteered for army and was killed in the trenches in Flanders. On the marble tablets of past winners lining the corridor behind Prince Albert’s Royal Box at the tournament, next to the name Anthony Wilding, it reads: “Mort pour la Patrie.”

Unlike Wilding, Rafa (hopefully) won’t ever be asked to die for the defence of his homeland. Yet in a way, Monte Carlo is his spiritual homeland. No matter how many injuries plagued him over the past year, no matter how well or badly he played during the early hard court season, Monte Carlo is the one place Rafa can come back to at the start of every clay season and turn the tables.

From now on, we’re on his soil, and he’ll defend it, not with his life, but with his body.

xx doots

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8 responses to “Weekend Round-up: Pour La Patrie.”

  1. Warwick360 says :

    I hope Stosur wins the Family Cup!!!! And I’m glad that Franchesca won her third title (although I’m surprised that its only her third).

    And I really really really hope that Nando pushes nadal to the edge….although I would be crazy to put my money on him……

  2. Jack says :

    Hope Sammy wins the final. Its good to see her playing consistently well. Plus, can’t believe someone with her skills has only won one tournament!

    Also, think Nadal will win but hope its a good final. But if Nadal gets in Nando’s head, it could be over pretty quick.

  3. srdjana says :

    So, this is the first title for an Aussie woman since Evonne in 1980?! Stosur was great.

    What a wasted chance for Nole to lose to Nando, who just rolled over in the final. Novak, I love you, but you need a shrink!

    • dootsiez says :

      “This is the first title for an Aussie woman since Evonne in 1980?”

      Nope. Unless you’re just talking about Charleston. I have no idea who was the last Aussie woman to win there, but Sam won a title last year. Alicia Molik would’ve also won a few.

      Given Nando’s fate, I think Nole would’ve appreciated not being humiliated by Rafa.

  4. A_Gallivant says :

    it is safe to say tha Nando had nothing in his head as he declared Rafa unbeatable on clay in his presser. That kind of pronouncement while you are still playing makes no sense to me. Fine for a retiree who has little chance of meeting Rafa again but why go on record saying something like that. Seems silly to me.

  5. srdjana says :

    I guess I didn’t hear the commentators correctly, and I don’t really follow the WTA. I thought it seemed a little odd, which is why I asked the question.

    Novak might not have been humiliated as badly as Nando was; we’ll never know, but at least he’s not one of those fellow Spaniards who seems to roll over for Rafa to receive a ceremonial whipping.

    Nobody is truly unbeatable on any surface – if that were the case, why bother with tournaments……

    • TGIF says :

      Nole playing to his abilities could at least give Nadal a tougher match, but given how badly he played in the semi, who knows?
      Haven’t seen him play in a while and I was shocked at the semi-final.
      Hopefully he can sort things out soon.

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