Doots: Alright bitches. Let’s get down to business. First thoughts on Wombly draw?
PJ: Looks good for the Old Man, looks good for Rafa, whatever for Djokovic and LOLOLOLOL for Muzzface.
LJ: I’m overwhelmed by the amount of WTFckery 1st round matchups we have.
Kohli vs Haas: WHYYYYY? Both would have made good runs to 4th round. Read More…
So you’re in a bad mood at work. You’ve been asked to stay back for 3 days in a row and work overtime by your boss without any prior notice or monetary compensation. To top it all off, the project you’ve just been working on hasn’t been going according to plan.
After spending an hour on a frustrating phone call, you’ve finally had enough. You get up off your chair and throw you phone against a wall. You managed to miss the wall, but didn’t manage to miss a poor contractor in your office, whose head starts bleeding immediately. Because, ya know … that’s generally what happens when human flesh comes into contact with harsh, sharp objects travelling at high velocity. Read More…
The day started off with 2 unfortunate retirements… Feli (Pulled muscle) and Dancevic (Lower back)…and with that the Roland Garros 2012 casualty list was off to a great start.
Our wonder boy Wogie McFudd was second out on Suzanne Lenglen…up against German Tobias Kamke. I missed the first half of the match due to mandatory nommage of birthday cake bought for Dad, but the last half which I did see consisted of:
yes kitteh…it was kinda horribleh
Semi-final stage has been set, and we all know what’s going to be on the menu. Before I go into dissecting the fine dishes for tonight and tomorrow night…some random thoughts to wrap up the events of the last few days.
1) Federer-Delpony. A match that I was excruciatingly nervous about, just because of USO09 angst. Yes, Delpony isn’t the player he was – but still, I couldn’t discount the damage he can potentially do, with that forehand. From the start, I thought this would be the quarter-final match up – helped that Mardy Fish got hooked and grilled by Falla. At first, seemed like my worry was displaced as Federer started brilliantly in the first three games to break Del Potro (recording something insane like 8 winners and 1 UE in those games). All cool if he keeps up, right? But noooo…dude got broken and I was sitting in a meeting at work feeling my stomach curling up in ulcers. But as Delpony was serving to stay in the set, a couple of great returns from the Old Man seemed to rattle him, and he tossed in a double-fault to give Fed the first set. Set 2 seemed to roll around like the first – early break for Fed but a tough service game as he was attempting to serve out the set. I was so worried that it’ll be a repeat of USO09 (NIGHTMARE! NIGHTMARE!) but Fed hung tough and served it out. Third set was pretty much kinda smooth-sailing and straightforward with Fed taking a double break and serving out the match prettily, much to my relief.
2) Nadal-Berd. Berd will be kicking himself in the head FOREVER on that flubbed volley on the second set tie-breaker…which would’ve given him the second set and a two-sets-to-none lead against Rafa. As it goes – if you let Rafa back into a match, it will most probably be curtains for you, and that was what happened with Berd…went bye bye Berdy in 4 sets. He had his chances – the second set, and early break in the third set – but just couldn’t capitalise on them. I’ll refrain on commenting on the so-call controversies though, because in the end, it is what it is. Doesn’t make a difference either way.
3) Muzz-Nishikori. Nishikori had nothing left in the tank after his 5-setter against Tsonga (which was quite brilliant, by the way. He really showed a lot of steel to outhit and outlast Jo) AND baking two hours in the sun for mixed-doubles before his match with Muzz. I expected an easy straight-sets win, and that was what happened. The general consensus was that he didn’t play that well (apparently served kind of horribly) but Kei-chan had no energy/legs left to really pose a huge challenge. Still, a fantastic run for Nishikori and top 20 is beckoning. He’s a good kid with quite a solid game, definitely one of the potential ones to break out in his career. Hope he continues to do well, and inspire more tennis players in the Asian region.
4) Djokovic-Ferrer. Oh, Lord F. I cannot believe you were straight-setted by Djokovic. You were supposed to be able to run faster and longer than gimpy old man Hewitt (who had one leg for half the match)! But as it is, Ferrer CAN run faster and harder but Hewitt had the edge over him in arsenal and shots, as well as guts and heart and spleen. Lord F had his chances in the second-set tiebreaker, but suffered mental lapses to allow Djokovic to take control and take the set. Might have been different if he had been able to take a set…but he didn’t and went down tamely in the 3rd.
So for the third time in the last 4 Slams – the Top 4 is in the semis. I honestly think the depth in the men’s game – when it comes to the Top 4 – is probably the best it has been in recent years. Of course, I still think #3 is the tops. 🙂
5) The unlikely quarter-finals between Shrieky Sharapova/Ekaterina Makarova and Petra Kvitova/Sara Errani yielded the likely results. I thought Makarova had half a chance seeing she was spectacular against Vera (I didn’t see the Serena match) but Shrieky was simply too good for her. Kvitova, however, didn’t play well, but it was enough to beat Errani in straights. But if she doesn’t pick up her game today against Shrieky…I think she’s goners for sure.
6) Azarenka outhit and outshriek Radwanska to make the second semi-final and Kimmie beat Wozniacki as expected. I know Woz was number 1, but her game just isn’t good enough to combat Kim’s power hitting and aggressiveness. In losing to Kim, she loses the number 1 ranking, thus ending the complaining and discussion of a Slamless #1…for now. When AO is over, the WTA #1 will be a Slammy one – because it would either be Kvitova, Sharapova or Azarenka. And Azarenka will have to win AO to assume that spot. Hip hip hooray – no more mocking the WTA for a while at least!
And on we roll to Semis Day 1. (Get your frazzlepants on)
This is not going to be coherent, let me warn you first. I’ve had very little sleep, I’m cranky about the fact that I have to work while there’s tennis going on, and I’m extremely SKDFJSLKGJKSDJFSKD about the fact that I cannot, for the life of me, get a ticket to go to Hewitt/Roddick tonight (EDIT: I GOT A TICKET. IT IS ON. YESSSSSSSSS!!!! Actually in the end I had two, my life is a comedy of errors…).
Unless I want to pay AUD$279.00 on Ebay but I am not that desperate or stupid. I have a TV, I’ll survive. With tears and a big bucket of ice-cream.
(Also I wrote this at work while my boss is away at a meeting, because I wouldn’t have time otherwise. I don’t know how Doots did it on a consistent basis.)
Ooooh the drama from yesterday. All from the men’s side, too!
So. Batshit Crazy Dolgopolov has apparently decided that he will start killing me early in the year. After one five-setter on Monday, he was so in the mood for another one yesterday, performing Houdini-like magic to escape from his match with Tobias Kamke.
I had a bad feeling about the match even before it began, partly thanks to Dolgo’s admission that his Gilbert’s Syndrome may have reared its head, and also because he was no show at his scheduled practice session.
I had a bad feeling when he looked both orange and also a little green in his pumpkin outfit in the first set. It wasn’t a BAD first set per say, he was a bit unlucky with his crazy to lose serve and lose the set. But then it seemed like whatever was bugging him went away, as he upped his ante and played spectacularly to serve two breadsticks and snag a 2-sets-to-1 lead.
But Crazy do as Crazy does – went completely fucking batshit insane in the 4th – played the dumbest tennis I’ve seen from him in a while. Forehand spraying wide, backhand finding the net, first serve lost on Planet Pluto. Truly horrific performance in the 4th, and I was burying my head in my hands, going “YOU FUCKER, YOU COMPLETE TOSSER OF A FUCKER.”
He got broken pretty quickly in the fifth, and my heart sank to depth of my shoes. I had none of that steely resolve I had on Monday when I was just way beyond pissed and all “IF YOU LOSE, YOU LOSE IN FRONT OF ME!!!”. I was just…sad. Sad that he couldn’t live up to his potential and his game, sad that he may just exit the tournament in the second round. Therefore I ditched him for Isner and Nalbandian…and hey, maybe he just needed a break from me cursing him, as he managed to survive a matchpoint (on his serve) and eventually win the final set 8-6.
Tough task ahead against Bratomic. I will probably be the only one backing him in the crowd.
Also, seeing Dolgopolov emotional and frustrated and smashing racquets is no fun. I take back what I said about wishing he’ll show more emotion/fire. He should go back his I-couldn’t-care-less mannerisms. That sort of demeanour and attitude seemed to work for him better.
Ahhh Isner/Nalbandian. Isner = 5 setters. That’s just the way he rolls, and yesterday was no different. 5 sets, although the final score of 10-8 is a far cry from *that* Wimbledon match. But man, you gotta feel for Nalbandian. A bad decision late in the 5th set could’ve been really costly. We’ll never know for sure, of course, but it he could’ve gotten a look at a second serve…who knows. The umpire’s decision is questionable. He did call the score and gestured to resume play, but it may have been done a tad too quick. Nalby’s time in taking to challenge was definitely much less than, say, Del Potro or Nadal. Still, the decision was made, play went on, and Nalby never really covered from that.
Other snapshots from the day:
1) Baghdatis/Wawrinka was fun. Would’ve been fun even if Baghdatis pulled a Baghdatis and play 5 sets till 6AM in the morning. But Stanley needs his Ewok sleep, and after failing spectacularly to serve out the match, came back fiery in the 4th and smashed the Baggy serve to break him three times (Baggy went one up and smashed 4 racquets). But man, those Greek/Cypriot fans were just too much. Cheering on every single point won by Bagman? Heckling Stan’s serve? Really?
2) Bernie Bratomic beat Sam Querrey. Not surprised. But definitely not pleased. He plays Dolgo next. I will probably be there trying not to kill Tomic, kill Dolgo or kill myself. On paper, Dolgo should win. They both play the same brand of game, only Dolgo plays it better. Unfortunately, he’s also way way WAY more crazy. And he hasn’t been very convincing in his last two matches. Hope he won’t be affected by the crowd in RLA – my one voice will not be enough to drown the Fanatics.
3) Fetus Fed Dimitrov nearly pulled off an upset, but couldn’t sustain the physicality of 5 sets, suffering from cramps and muscle tightness in the fourth and fifth sets. Nicolas Almagro escaped the fate of Mardy Fish.
4) Ah, Mardy Fish. Flailing and failing as (Alejandro) Falla fired past him. I do think he works very hard to get to the top 10, to where he’s at now, but his on-court behaviour was appalling. Dude, don’t be an ass to the ballkids. There is no need to give the kid a death stare just because he was half a step late with your towel. Geez.
5) Delpony – looking in form as he outplayed Blaz Kavcic. Kavcic had the upperhand a couple of times, but Delpony was never really threatened at all. With Fish fried, that quarterfinal is looking very likely.
6) Tommy Haas, possibly playing his last Australian Open, put up a credible fight against Rafa but the inevitable is inevitable. The tour will become so less hot when Tommy finally hangs up his racquet. That man is beautiful beyond belief. #shallow #perverted #haasishot
7) The women left all the drama to the men yesterday. Azarenka and Clijsters were especially devastating in their form, giving their opponents a mere game. Ouch.
Tonight could be a blockbuster or a washout. Either way, I AM NOT THERE. FUCK MY LIFE.
Till next time, if I am still alive to blog after tonight/tomorrow.
P.S. No Pants, you say? Well, have some.
He did not play yesterday as Andreas Beck, suffering from a back injury, gave him a walkover. Cosmic Gods of the Universe were pissed at Tennis Australia for putting Federer at Hisense, I understand, but Gods, don’t take it out on poor Beck. Anyway, Roger goes into his 3rd round match with Ivo Karlovic without much match play. Hope this will bode well…
You people know how I am. I worry excessively OKAY.
P.P.P.S. Photos are my own.
The Fence is flooded with blog posts today! Be sure to check out Matt’s posts just below this one, where he wrote a USO week 2 preview and looking back at Wogie’s rather defining (also known as heart-attack inducing and hair-tearing) Slam matches over his career.
I’m just going to do a quick point-form recap of the day’s happenings, just to keep the wrap posts together.
1) As expected, Dave was able to give Rafa some trouble early in the match – securing a break with some dazzling play involving the rather effective Nalbandian backhand. But Rafa always do as Rafa always does, as he broke Dave while he was serving for the first set, and from then on, it was Rafa all the way, rolling through for a straight sets victory.
Day two of AO2011 is certainly unforgettable for me.
I went around a bit, and watched a few matches, and managed to stalk a piece of yummy Swiss cheese, but I’ll delegate all of that into a wrap post tomorrow. For now, I just want to write about the match I just came home from: Lleyton Hewitt v David Nalbandian.
I bet a thousand bucks that when they got the draw, looked at it and saw each other’s names, the first thought that went through their heads would possibly be: FUCK MY LIFE.
Who could forget that epic quarterfinal in AO05? I certainly couldn’t. It was an excellent tennis match and not to mention the bitching that went on after that. There was (is?) no love lost between these two, and not forgetting that Nalbandian was the guy Hewitt beat for his Wimbledon title (although he lost really tamely).
Animosity aside – both guys knew what each other are made of. Nalbandian – massively talented, aggressive and difficult to play. Hewitt – not too shabby on the talent front, and simply does not know what the words GIVE UP AND DIE means.
It’s a pity, a huge huge pity, that this has to be a first round match. Staged on Rod Laver Arena, the match promised to be amazing and it certainly lived up to all the hype, and more (unlike the other supposedly WOWZA RLA match which turned out to be SNOOZE-ZA and EMBARRASMENT-ZA). I managed to attend this match live, I stayed for every minute of it and every second was worth staying for.
Hewitt came out swinging, breaking Nalby to take the lead, and breaking him again for the set. Nalby wasn’t playing shabby, but he wasn’t finding his momentum, netting his balls and overhitting some of them. He came alive in the second set, finding the court better and moving better, breaking Hewitt to ensure the match will at least go to four. Hewitt grinded out another set in the third, and looked to be cruising towards a win when Nalbandian lost his serve early in the fourth set, but Nalbandian broke back almost immediately, and broke again to take the lead. As fate would have it, he was broken while serving for the fourth, but somehow managed to find the fire to burn through the tiebreaker, allowing Hewitt just one point and sending the match into a fifth set.
Throughout the match, the two, both baseliners, were producing some of the best baseline tennis ever. Balls flew fast, sharp and angled. The Nalby backhand is to die for. It can create all sorts of RIDICULOUS angles that just had some of us going NO WAYYYYYY THAT COULD BE DONE. Hewitt, however, does not have a shoddy backhand either. Winner after winner blitzed from both racquets, along with their share of unforced errors (ratio of winners:UE – 65/83 for Nalby, 52/62 for Hewitt). There were points that were unbelievably unbelievable.
The fifth set saw both players upping their play, keeping the level ridiculously high as they battled it out, hitting the CRAP out of the ball. Hewitt, however, was broken early, and it seems like the match was going Nalbandian’s way, until in typical gritty Hewitt COME THE FUCK ON style, he broke Nalbandian just as the guy was serving for the match.
From 5-all onwards, it was a marathon for both guys to hold serve, and with Nalbandian serving to make it 7-all to stay in the match, Hewitt had two match points. Nalbandian saved the first with a most RIDONK drop shot THAT WORKED (unlike someone else’s at first championship point at AO last year, ahem ahem), and then saved another one, and it was 7-all.
Maybe those two lost match points weighed on Hewitt’s mind. Maybe he was thinking just a tad too much about what-could-have-been. Maybe he was thinking about how he had converted only 7 out of 30 break points to gain membership into Federer’s Aversion to BP Conversion Exclusive Members’ Club. But that one lapse was all it took. In the 15th game, Hewitt suddenly couldn’t find his serve, played a couple of loose points and with a double-fault, Nalbandian broke him again to serve for the match. And there was no hesitation this time as Nalbandian converted his match point with a beautiful overhead lob that sailed over Hewitt’s head and landed perfectly in at the back of the court.
Four hours and forty-eight minutes. That was what it took. Two veterans, two gritty players who came back from hip injury, gave us four hours and forty-eight minutes of absolutely jaw-dropping baseline tennis.
I cannot remember the last time I felt this affected about a match that does not involve Roger Federer. But walking home from Rod Laver Arena, I just felt…blah. This is not to say that if Hewitt had won, I would not feel blah. I probably would have, too. How could either of those guys deserve to lose? Neither of them did. But sport is cruel, and that is the way sport is. Someone has to lose.
In Wimbledon and AO05, it was Nalbandian. Today, it was Hewitt. And although it was a first-round match, the determination, the grit, the level of play displayed was as if it could have been a final.
To Nalbandian’s credit, he didn’t turn into a mental headcase (as he is prone to), held it together for a very deserving win. Hewitt, at the end, just didn’t have that little bit more.
Hewitt can be a total dickhead at times, and a douchebag to rather epic proportions (as evidenced by his rudeness to Mr. Pascal “I Am Infinitely More Awesome Than You” Maria last match). Although he was my tennis first love, his utterly gross behaviour and loud mouth tendencies over the years have switched off my loyalty completely. But even as an ass, there is no denying his desire and his love for the game, and the fact that he is one guy that never ever gives up. Today, he is a better person and a more mature player, and his heart for the sport remains the same. Watching him walk off court to a standing ovation, I cannot deny that there is some heartbreak involved, on my part.
Lleyton Hewitt brought me to love this sport. I started watching, and loving tennis, because of him. I guess in the end, I still have a small soft spot for that aggressive, smarmy 21-year-old with his Wimbledon trophy.
Go south, Nalby. Bring this game of yours to every match you play from now onwards, and keep winning. You deserve nothing less.
Day two wrap still to come.
P.S. I’m also kinda RAGE that Hewitt is gone after playing the best Round 1 match, and Bratface Tomic is still in the draw after meeting Chardy who was all kinds of fail. Oh Tennis Gods, your cruelty astounds me.
P.P.S. photos with credit to daylife.com. Too blah to load my own plus they’re all too tiny anyway.
Oh Nike, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?
As if Federer – with his potato nose and chocolate curls, his 11-secret-herbs-and-spices legs – wasn’t delicious enough, you’ve now gone and coated him in strawberry icing too!
You don’t play fair, Nike. I’m not having your Swooshy babies anymore! 😦
What do you want me to say about the match? Was it so squeaky clean that you could eat off it, lick it clean and use it as a mirror? Of course not. Who could forget the Furdlike way in which he shanked away a 5-2 lead in the first set?
But then again, I didn’t really notice – I was too busy stuffing my face with a strawberry milkshake after taking one look at that outfit.
Had it been a 62 63 match, you would’ve seen a very happy Doots and a crowd slightly cheated out of their bang for buck. As it turns out, the first set provided a good workout for Fed and those fans who are a little out practice with their frazzling.
The second set, on the other hand, made me realise that I’ve missed his tennis.
… So there’s that.
The numbers, for anyone who wants to crunch them.
The porn, for anyone who wants a strawberry milkshake with chocolate swirls …
… and a Federcone, made with crunchy wafer biscuit. Om nom nom.
In other matches of the day, Maria Sharapova overcame a hotmess of a serve and a hotmess of an opponent to prevail over Sveta, 64 16 62. The serve – as long as the scoreline ain’t close, it doesn’t bother her any more than it bothers every other WTA player out there. But bring out the deuces and breakpoints and watch it become such a foreign part of her game that even her immune system wants to repel it.
As for Sveta – she showed up. Not only did she show up, she took a set off a tough, mentally predatory opponent. Given the emotional and physical exhaustion she just went through in San Diego last week, that’s more than I expected from her. See you in Montreal.
In other matches of the day, Soderling continued his ominous march to No 4 today with a 3 set win over the Importance, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Only saw the last set: one giant shiftest of unreturned serves, wild groundies sailing past the baseline, Gulbis collected 36 winners and 38 unforced errors, to Soderling’s 34-33. Hardly shiny by anyone’s standards. But the reason Sodderkins has transformed himself from a top 30 player into a top 5 player in 18 months is precisely his ability to win matches on a bad day. In other words – bad match, solid win.
On a slight more off-topic note, whatever pact Ernie made with the Devil with regards to the hair? Unmake it. Scalp, face, or elsewhere.
In the battle of the Daveeds, it was the Argentine that triumphed – barely – winning 75 36 63. In stark contrast to Soderling v Gulbis, the Daveeds lived and died by their return games as they traded 11 breaks of serve. Nalbandian won the day as Ferru fell apart completely on serve in the final set, but watching him wobble over the finish line today, one wonders if he’ll have enough gas left in the tank for Robredo.
I hope so. Because Nalbandian v Soderling sounds almost as tasty as a Federcone.
By the way, what is this? And why do people find it him smokin’/endearing/anything other than downright creepy?
Tennis fandom. It makes no sense.
The most difficult thing about Monday posts is that you inevitably search for sense, for meaning, and coherency where there is none. Life doesn’t exactly fall neatly into themes, and tennis – if anything – is a microcosm of life. Some weeks produce a motley crew of winners and grinners, from veterans to youngsters, surprise finalists to players in good form.
But this week, bizarrely enough, belongs to the other end of the spectrum. It folds neatly into a single, consistent theme, running through the entire week, that is the theme of revival.
Much like the weather in Melbourne lately, both Sveta and Nalby have been through a rough winter, plagued by injuries, underperformance, questioned by the media and no doubt by themselves on a dark rainy day. For those two, the first signs of spring couldn’t have come at a better time. But as always with the first warm days of the year, you wonder if it was all an aberration. Will Mother Nature lapse back to her wintry ways? Or are we headed for gradual warmth from hereon? With Ferrer and Sharapova first up next week for our winners, the road ahead doesn’t get any easier.
And what of Jelena Dokic, whose career is more bleak than a Siberian blizzard? She won her third challenger title in 3 weeks, currently on a 15 match winning streak after taking out Virginie Razzano in Vancouver 6-1, 6-4. Good call dumping the boyfriend/coach duo then.
Other familiar faces popping up again in this week of tennistic revivals – Gilles Simon, Marcos Baghdatis. It’s difficult to string wins together when your body is the biggest variable in your game. Great to see all of them back in action, it’s almost like a high school reunion. Without the awkward judgements.
More importantly, is the man in hot pink taking note? More than anything, last week’s tennis has filled me with hope, that if Nalbandian, ranked 117 just 24 hours ago, can come back from hip surgery with a gutful of motivation and unrest; if Sveta can put her insecurities and self-chastisement aside to tough out a match against an opponent who’s far more in touch with her sense and sensibility, then surely, there’ll be warm signs of spring for Roger and Randy and Gonzo and Lleyton … and all those other players going through their own personal winters. Surely.
- Venus in yet another clay court final. Aside from Justine Henin, she has more titles on clay than any other player on the WTA tour. No one saw that coming huh?
- Nestor/Zimonjic v Bryan Bryan: the Fedal equivalent of men’s doubles.
- … There’s some other match on too. It’s not important or anything. (OH MY GAWD OH MY GAWD OH MY GAWD OH MY GAWD)
Manolo Santana (from 13.30hrs)
1. ATP: Nestor/Zimonjic vs. Bryan/Bryan
2. Singles Final: Aravane Rezai vs. Venus Williams (NB 15.30hrs)
3. ATP: Federer vs. Nadal (NB 18.30hrs)