RG2011 Day 9 (by PJ): Setting the other stage
How do you lose a tennis match when your opponent is playing rather craptastic tennis on all counts? You play even crappier tennis. And that was what happened to Papa Ljubs yesterday. Rafa was, on all accounts, missing yesterday and Ljubs could not capitalise on it.
As for Rafa…I don’t even know. The Nadal fire, grit and the amazeballs clay-court game, usually present from point 1 of any match in any round, has gone curiously AWOL. Dude’s burned out, this much is quite obvious – although I think his realism was more of pessimism. But what remains to be seen is the ultimate effect of this burn-out, and that will be the outcome of this Slam. Burned out and being totally funky (in a bad way) aside, he lives to play another day, and he meets Bobby Sod next.
I was expecting at least a four-setter with the Sod/Simon match. I was even thinking perhaps Skinny Legs can pull off an upset. Not even close…as Sod closed the match in three straightforward sets. Even the tiebreaker at the end of the third was comfortable and he was never really threatened.
Therefore, I can has my Rafa/Sod quarter-final. But if Rafa plays the way he did last match, we say hello to Soddy in the semis. I want Rafa to BRING IT, though. I want a completely awesome and amazeballs match.
I had an interesting snippet of a convo with FortuneCookie on Twitter this morning though – which would be the loss to have the worst effect on Rafa? Losing to Bobby Sod in the quarters, or losing to Djokovic (again) in the final, or losing to Pants in the final? (You can see we were totally discounting poor MAndy and Troicki as any kind of threat to Rafa, muhahahha)
I think most people would say a Djokovic loss. To be honest, it’s pretty much given.
Anyway, I don’t think this RG is a sure-fire Rafa deadlock anymore. At the same time, I still DO think Rafa probably still has the strongest chance to take the title. Don’t ask me why. It’s a gut feeling and I can’t explain my gut.
(Of course I know who I REALLY REALLY REALLLLYYY WANT to win it. But I won’t say it.)
Juan Ignacio Chela prevailed over Alejandro Falla for a spot in the last eight, and his opponent was only decided today as Andy Mooray and Viktor Troicki completed their match a mere 30 minutes ago. That match was stopped at two-sets-a-piece due to darkness, although it’s interesting to note that Troicki was TWO sets up.
On resuming play, Troicki was the first one to break – amidst a very dramatic game where an over-enthusiastic ball-kid accidentally ran out to the court before the point was finished in Troicki’s favour. A let was called and the point to be replayed.
If looks could kill, the poor kid would’ve died ten times over – despite the fact that Troicki DID get the break.
So dude was up a break, serving for the match, 2 points away…and then…guess what??? YES. HE GOT BROKEN!
Excuse me while I go laugh really hysterically in a corner.
I mean…seriously. That is serious, SERIOUS brain-cramping, considering the fact that he was serving for a place in the quarterfinals. But hey, it worked to Murray’s favour, as he managed to function on an ankle with a torn tendon, keep his cool and the zillion pills in his Ozzy Osbourne blood stream (quote post-match) to pull a win out of his rabbit hat.
But…a torn tendon? And he’s still playing? Not the wisest decision, truly? And will he pull a Fab Fog (should say that I highly highly doubt this)?
So there we have it, the stage is set for this half: Rafa v Soderling, Murray v Chela.
On the ladies side, Victoria Azarenka really proved to be a giant too much for Ekaterina Makarova, outplaying the latter in comfortable straight sets.
In an AO rematch, her opponent in the quarters will be Li Na, who proved herself to be as tough as her nickname NAILS as she stormed back from being steamrolled over in the first set to take out Petra Kvitova in three sets. She’s in her first quarterfinal in Paris, yay hooray! And this is her best result since her final appearance in Melbourne – in which she managed to lose subsequent first-round matches and be completely irrelevant in between. But now she’s back, and fierce, and fighting.
Fiercer still was Shrieky Sharapova, taking out a spirited Agnieszka Radwanska in two tight sets. I know all the top seeds are toasted, and the one person I really want to win was also dumped from the Parisian clay (WHY SAMMY WHYYY) but more than a couple of my favourites are still in with a fighting chance to win. Me likey. And me will likey if Shrieky shrieks her way into the semis.
To get there, she gotta scream her way past the Andrea Petkovic, who beat Maria Kirilenko in three sets.
I’ll put my money on Shrieky, to be honest. And I hope that I didn’t just jinxed her.