Tennis 2012: It Has Started…Sometime Ago (by PJ)
Well, hola to y’all, from PJ.
Belated Happy 2012 to all Fence-readers on the behalf of our beloved Fence-keeper Dootsie (who is currently lying on a Portugal beach, living out of a suitcase and living the hell of a dream life…am I jealous? HELL YES)!
The tennis season has officially begun…like 5 days ago. There’s always some sort of buzz, I feel, to these tournaments. As a prelude to Australian Open, these tourneys – all at a modest ATP250 level – don’t seem like the biggest deal. But they represent the players’ ground to test their game and test their fitness after the holiday season of food and fun (except if you’re Murray, then you don’t have fun). They allow players to suss out their opponents/rivals, and perhaps stamp some authority going into the first Grand Slam of the year.
And so, as we reached the tail-end of the year’s first few tournaments, I just want to quickly blog and share some thoughts as the Happy Slam approaches (I will be there. Federbear ala PJ will be there. And I hope I will not be dying).
Qatar ExxonMobil Open – Doha
The final four as they stand: Rafael Nadal v Gael Monfils, and Roger Federer v Jo-Wilfrid Tsonga.
First of all, let me say that if Federer and Tsonga never play each other again in the next 10 years, I don’t think I’ll have any problem with it.
By now, most of you would know that Pants suffered a muscle-spasm-crampy sort of thing in his second-round match against Grega Zemlja and was uninspiring in his three-set win against Andreas Seppi. He decided to play today – but didn’t think he would really stand a chance against Tsonga.
I haven’t been watching because of the time-zone thing and the working for a living thing, but up till the Seppi match, I have been told that he was all kinds of gorgeous despite The Zit on his face…so this muscle pull thing? Really sucks.
All I can say to that is…DUDE, DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU, OKAY? DON’T BE A FUCKING STUBBORN DONKEY AND PUSH IT.
Rafa, from what I heard, was lucky that he was playing someone so Headsmashy in Youzhny. He’s come into the tournament looking…well…a little suspect, if I may say – with reports of a dodgy shoulder needing February rest, a wheelie bag (which he claims is because he forgot his usual bag) and not exactly stellar play.
All the same, he IS playing Monfils who will eventually beat himself, so I think it’s safe to say Rafa will be in the final.
Don’t really care if we don’t get Fedal in Doha. The Boyfriends already had their fantastic candlelight romantic times in the warm Arabian night anyway.
Brisbane International – Brisbane
For the men, the final four: Andy Murray v Bernard Tomic, and Gilles Simon v Alexandr Dolgopolov.
MAndy, ah MAndy. Coming off a year-end season hampered by injuries to nether regions, he didn’t begin the tournament well – playing like crap against Kukushkin and slightly-better-but-still-like-crap against Mueller. In both his openers, he frequently clutched at his left
ass cheek hip, suggesting discomfort. However, he was in full-flow against the Bagman today to check into the semis, moving well and playing well…so he probably shook off the rust and stuff.
The semifinal against Bernie the Hoonie (note: this is not a cute nickname – Wikipedia “hoon” and you’ll get what I mean) is much anticipated, I will have to say. Bernie is still an immature ass personality-wise, but game-wise, he has matured a lot from last year. His game is sharper, execution in tactics sharper, and he’s definitely a lot less lazy when it comes to chasing down certain balls. Does he have a chance against Murray? I absolutely think he does.
Gilles Simon, he who nearly killed me in AO last year, has been progressing through steadily and without much hoo-haa, recording straight-set wins over…well…opponents of no great calibre. Dolgopolov, however, has been staging comebacks from one-set deficits, break-deficits to get to the semifinal, beating Worm Stepanek along the way.
Ponytail is still batshit crazy as hell – but I’m liking what I’m seeing from him in this tournament. Many a time last year when he was a set down and a break down, he just sort of decided he couldn’t win, and go all out crazy to lose in the most awful fashion. In his comebacks against Andreev and Stepanek, he had a lot more self-belief in his shots and most importantly, had belief that he still could win, hence toning down the crazy just enough to pull off the wins.
I don’t know if he has the patience to withstand Simon’s grinding game of long rallies, given his propensity to try the cute but insane crap when he gets bored – but he has a chance.
A Murray v Dolgopolov final would be SUCH a treat (even though Crazy will most probably lose but whatever).
At posting time, the women would have commenced their semifinals – Kim Clijsters v Daniela Hantuchova, and then Franny Schiavone v Kaia Kanepi.
Kimmie is looking awesome when she isn’t mentally imploding (see Ivanovic match) – commies already pegging her for AO – but Hantuchova is one of those players that can surprise you anyday, anytime, so it still remains to be seen.
(And before I hit POST, Kimmie retired due to injury…and she is hardly the first. It is only January 6th, Tennis Gods. Give ’em all a break.)
Franny and Kanepi…FRANNY FOR THE WIN, PLZ.
Also, Sammy Stosur, you make me cry. Losing to BENESOVA? In STRAIGHTS? I mean, really? REALLY?
And Serena Williams. Busted her left ankle, pulled out of the tournament, and also told the whole world she doesn’t really love tennis (surprised? Not me) and basically also making me cry.
Gee man, I need to find a hobby that DOESN’T make me want to cry/bang my head/ulcerate/die.
Aircel Chennai Open – Chennai
Quarter-finals are underway in Chennai – and notable names according to seeding includes Janko Tipsarevic, Nicolas Almagro, Roge’s Friend Stanley Wawrinka and Kid-Of-Year-2011 Milos Raonic. They’re all facing opponents that they should not be losing to, so look for the top seeds to check into the semis comfortably.
Call it my Swiss-biasedness, but Ewok to retain his title, plzkthx.
ASB Classic – Auckland
The final has been set for the laydees in Kiwi-land…Flavia Penetta will take on Zheng Jie for the title.
I had such hopes for Svetlana Kuznetsova…but she has to go cray cray as Kuzzy does, losing to Zheng Jie after being a set up and a break up…SIGH. Also my heart goes out to Sabine Lisicki who is like the female version of her German compatriot Tommy Haas when it comes to injuries…was so happy with her Wimbledon run last year and so hoping for her to make more of an impact this year, but she was waylaid by a back injury. Hope she’ll be healthy for Australian Open!
Also – one of the best things to come out of Auckland. Chinese Jay Z. Yes.
Till tomorrow (or later),
P.S. I’ll be keeping the Fence maintained throughout January/Australian Open with help from familiar faces. I’ll try to blog as much as I can – especially during the Happy Slam (when I’m not too busy getting BBQ-ed by the sun, that is).