Toronto/Cincy: A series of unfortunate events.
This is not a fair game.
For all my dislike of Ana Ivanovic and the trend of mental infantility on the WTA she represents, no one wants to see a pretty girl crying on a tennis court because Lady Luck, the Tennis Gods or her own body (depending on your tennis religion) wouldn’t let her play. Nobody deserves to have the story of their career turned into a Lemony Snicket book.
Ivanovic barely made it through 3 games in the open set before calling a trainer on her left food and retiring after returning on court and being aced by Clijsters.
“I was very scared. All of a sudden on that one shot, I felt something crack a little bit,” she told reporters.
“Just on that one forehand when I went to step around it, I just felt like pain all of a sudden, so much pain in my foot and I couldn’t step on it anymore.
“I tried a bit of tape, but I could not put any weight on it and there was no point in me continuing.”
Get well soon, Ana.
In the other Cincy semifinal of the day, Maria Sharapova maintained her perfect record in semifinals this year with a win over Nastya Pavs, 64 36 62. Only saw the last set when Federer v Djokovic wrapped up and what I saw was torture – Pavlyuchenkova could barely get a serve in, Sharapova could barely get a return in play. At the end of the day, the lack of a working serve is much more fatal than the lack of a working return game. Just ask Ivo Karlovic.
Maybe it’s just because they’re my “dogs” in the fight. Maybe it’s pure coincidence. Sharapova and Federer have had parallel weeks. Both led today early on, looking untroubled as they closed out the first set and went up an early break in the second. Both failed to maintain their lead, getting drawn into dramatic slugfests all the way into the final set. Both played messy, ugly, yet disgustingly compelling tennis to win, knowing that it significantly diminished their chances the next day.
Stats to cry over:
Federbear deserved a round of spanking for failing to keep the momentum going in the second set, despite having chances to go up a double break. Of course, credit goes to Novak too, for making this match anything other than a flat, underwhelming beat-down.
For a few games in the second set when he loosened up and began to swing for the fences, he reminded me of the player he used to be. The guy I once liked back in early 2007, before personality and off court dramas got in the way, before ‘dropshits’ and squash shots and mangled serves turned him into some form of clay-hard court hybrid, strong defensively, consistently mediocre, with momentary flashes of his early promises.
Golly, do I sound nostalgic or what?
It’s just as well then that Federer was playing Djokovic, the only guy in the top 5 capable of out-imploding Furd. Djoko had his chances to take the match at 5-5, Roger Federer held on by the skin of his teeth while a few continents away, inside Dootsie’s house, Federbear dangled precariously above a cup of steaming hot water. Even Monkey breathed a sigh of relief when it was all over.
At the end of the day: happy, relieved, exhilarated to see him through. No expectations for tomorrow: the only word to describe Murray’s performance over Nadal would be stunning. I got what I wanted from Roger this week. Federbear clemency looking like a probability.