Rolling in Rotterdam, and etc. (by PJ)
Well, well, well. Who said old men can’t boogie? Because Roger Federer, aged 30 years, 6 months and 11 days, just ran, slid, skipped, hopped, danced and boogied his way into his 71st career title. Not to mention a 12th straight year with at least one title to his name.
I haven’t been able to catch a live match all tournament due to horrible time zones (tennis in decent time zones no longer exists for me on this end of the world post AO…weep for me, y’all) and the need to earn a living as a responsible adult – but I have been catching up with snippets of all his matches. Generally, he wasn’t by any means in JesusFed mode – a bit shanky here and there, first serve was missing now and then, and he came close to losing to Kolya in the semifinal (down a set, an early break in the second, and then was in a 0-40 hole that would’ve allowed Kolya to serve out the match if he had gotten broken). But if his game wasn’t in its top form, his grit and determination certainly came quite close to their top form.
Delpony had been in scary awesome form all week, if the scorelines were anything to go by. He allowed Troicki one measly game and blitzed Tomas Berdman 6-3, 6-1 to reach the final. Gramps, on the other, had a much tougher road and about 8 hours less rest. In all honesty, I was thinking Delpony was going to whip Fed for lunch with that forehand and gobble him an afternoon snack with a nice spot of tea.
I guessed Fed didn’t fancy that sort of outcome. In fact, he was the one that toasted himself a Delpony foccacia sandwich.
Delpony had his chances, this had to be said, but he went all Federesque on breakpoints, converting a grand total of 0 BPs out of 7 BPs. He had an early chance in the very first game, chances early in the second set, more chances late in the second set, and didn’t manage to take any of ‘em. If you don’t make full use of your chances against Federer, most of the time you ain’t gonna win. It seemed strange to say Fed served himself out of trouble when his first serve percentage for the match was an effin’ 49% but he actually did, notedly landing aces and unreturnable serves when it mattered. His groundstrokes were strong, backhand/forehand not shanktastic at all. What I noticed – in this match and in the semifinal against Kolya – was that Fed seemed to be running very, very well. His defensive game was strong – he was able to scramble and cover the court very well indeed. Old man still got legs, yo.
Federer was not content with just showing up in Rotterdam, looking pretty and collecting the cool $1 million appearance fee (which, by the way, the tournament totally recoup that with record attendance and ticket sales – dude may be old and hobbled but he still commands the ultimate PHWOOOOOAR POWEEEER to draw crowds). He showed up wanting to win, and he played all week showcasing that. He sure as hell wasn’t just there for easy cash, throw in the towel and call it a day on the job, simply because I don’t think his innately competitive nature allows for that. Which was awesome for the tournament, for the crowds and for himself, but unfortunately not so for the guys he dumped to get to the title.
And oh, it was also rather awesome for me as a fan, after that disastrous DC thingie thing.
Fed heads off to Dubai next – where Djokovic and Muzzface are also expected to be in attendance. Might regret this I know, but I am really really REALLY hoping for a Fed/Muzz match sometime in the tournament (semi or final) because these two haven’t played since WTF2010. Which is very much WTF to me.
Let’s hope Fed remains pretty and gritty and scrappy.
In other tournament news – New It Kid Milos Raonic picked up his second title of the year, defending his San Jose title by beating Denis Istomin. I may not have a very strong affinity towards Raonic – but there’s no denying that he is a future force to be reckoned with, if he stays healthy and injury-free. Am looking forward to seeing more of him, especially on the big stage of the Masters/Slams, to see how he will challenge to Top 10.
Nicolas Almagro continued his streak of dominating the clay events that Rafael Nadal does not care about, winning Brasil Open by beating Fillipo Volandri.
Over at the ladies’ side, Vika Azarenka disposed of Sammy Stosur rather brutally to win Qatar. It was an emotional win for her as it was last year in Qatar that she contemplated pulling the plug on tennis after losing in the first round. Her mother and grandmother talked her out of it, and hey, proved to be a rather awesome decision to stick around, eh, Vika?
More tennis is on the books – no Fed (yet), but interesting people and matches in Memphis (Raonic is there, and so is Tomic who managed to get out of jail (free) but please Tennis Gods, please let Roddick win), Marseille (Jo! Crazy Dolgo! Reeshie! Delpony!) and Buenos Aires (Lord F! Kei-chan! Ewok!). The ladies are hitting it up in Dubai, Monterrey and Memphis but all the big names and all the action are all hanging out in the Middle East…that’s where it’s all at.
All righty, Fed-frazzlers, enjoy your week off (haha). I’ll still be keeping an eye on the proceedings (but expecting myself to facepalm majorly when it comes to Dolgopolov).
P.S. Lleyton Hewitt was supposed to play San Jose, and also Memphis, but pulled out of both. Guess his toe is still dodgy and mangled. Poor guy. Hope to see him play Indian Wells, but my guess is he will not get far, at all. That is, if he even manages to show (at the assumption he has a wildcard). *sadface*