Montreal Day 4: the Fabulous 8.
For the first time ever, the top 8 of the ATP tour are through to the quarterfinals. Clap clap, well done guys.
Federer def Wawrinka 6-3 7-6 (5).
Vintage Federer in the first set, 2009-hard-court Feduruh in the second.
Credit to Stan though for some massive serving towards the business end of the second set – I have no idea where that serve even came from. The backhand was as sizzling as it was erratic.
But as always, Federer fought back from being down 0-3, hung on to the set and found a way to win. Much less rust than his first round performance. He’s got a step it up for Jo-Willy, and most likely Murray, should he make it past the next round.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson
Tsonga def. Simon 6-3 6-3.
Did I declare at the start of the tournament that I’d be okay with Jo-Willy beating Federer?
Well, I am a friggin liar.
Jojo had a solid performance against Simon to kick the top 10 pretender out of the tournament.
Simon hasn’t been playing stellar tennis for a while now, so I wouldn’t regard the match as a good litmus test for Jo-Willy’s form.
What is clear is that Tsonga has a lot of trouble with massive servers, but not so much with the counterpunching types. What’s also clear is that he likes his little “happyjump”.
Murray def Ferrero 6-1 6-3.
Barring a “be quiet please” styled performance from Federer in his next two rounds, Murray’s going to win this thing.
Tough luck for JCF, he has managed to draw Murray in the last 3 tournaments they’ve both contested. And it appears that Ferrero is just a terrible bad match up for Murray – offensively not strong enough, and defensively, he’s never going to outpush Muz.
Nadal def. Petzchner 6-3 6-2.
Petzchner is not the hardest competition, but Rafa won comfortably, as he should’ve, which is a sign that the knees are holding up just fine.
Roddick def. Verdasco 7-6(2) 4-6 7-6(5).
Didn’t watch the match at all, but from the score line, it could’ve gone either way. Tough luck for Verdasco, as always, he comes up short on the big points.
Oh yeah, Novak Djokovic won his match against Youzhny in straight sets. Can’t be bothered pretending that I care.
Learning to scrape through
I’m on a self-imposed “Love-Thy-Djoker” campaign. No more Djokovic-bashing, Top 10 Quotations of Mama Djokovic, Fugly Drop-Shots Mocking Squad or the Djokovic Retirement Watchdog on this blog. They say you never know what you got until it’s gone, and the same can be said for the top 4 of the men’s game right now. If any of them performs under par, or becomes MIA, the dynamics of the game is just not the same. And unfortunately, with 3 out of the top 4 MIA this week, there is very little choice for me but to love thy Djoker.
So I guess it’s good news that Djokovic has made it (finally) to his first final of the year after barely scraping past Gilles Simon. I do feel for Simon though, he had his chances, and it’s gotta hurt to lose a close one like that. But the fact it was so close and ended up going Djokovic’s way can only be construed as good news for Djoker fans. Mentally it seems that Novak has been in a funk ever since Wimbledon last year. I know he won the Masters Cup in between, but the highest ranked player he played there was Davydenko, so I’m not sure how much weight I’d give to that. Learning to scrape through these close matches is a sign that perhaps he’s getting some of his mental groove back. To be able to pull yourself out of a hole in deciding set is no easy feat. The Novak Djokovic who lost to Nieminen or retired against Roddick in Australia couldn’t have done that.
Djokovic was broken early in the deciding set, but he broke back in the sixth game and then closed out the match with another break in the final game.
“I feel a bit lucky, but I think you have to work for luck,” Djokovic said. “It doesn’t just fall through the sky. I think I fought my way through the match, really believed until the end, and mentally, this is very important win for me.”
In the true spirit of “love thy Djoker”, I’m going to say that this is probably the most positive thing I’ve heard Novak Djokovic say for a long, long time.
And Ferrer made it into the other semifinal after defeating Reeshie 62 62. I’ve forgotten about Ferru this year. He had a breakthrough 2007 and seemed to have freaked out a little over his own successes, so it’s certainly nice to see him score what must be his first significant victory for many months. While I’m not a huge fan of the man’s style, I am a huge fan of his doggedness and work ethics. But oh Reeshie!
Here’s the deal – how about we take Ferrer’s mindset and determination, and add it together with Gasquet’s talent? But then we’d probably get a second Federer…
No wrap-ups this week due to uninspiring tennis and sleep deprivation (in no ways induced by the uninspiring tennis). Have a great weekend everyone.
Week 1 Wrap Up – Part 1: Ready? Setty? Go!
I’m starting my weekly wrap-up early this week, mainly because I’ve watched a lot of tennis over the last few days. With so much tennis played over different time zones from Qatar to New Zealand this week, according to my calculations, on Tuesday, Planet Earth clocked about 21 hours of non-stop tennis. Personally, the TV in my room’s being left on for about 6-10 hours a day while I’m on holidays, eating watermelons and watching tennis. Forget about easing your way into a new year – let’s start it with a bang.
So what’s Week 1 of 2009 tennis bringing to the table?
For starters – 3 dominant themes of this week (hopefully not of 2009 as a whole)
1. France, France, France – Viva la France!
A commentator (Fred Stolle I think) pointed out this week that France has almost 30 men and women inside their respective Top 100s this year, the most out of any country in the world. But if you were watching tennis week, it probably felt like more than that. At the Brisbane International, out of the 16 men’s and women’s quarterfinalists, 6 of them were from France alone. Over in Perth, Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon are treated like rock stars as the No 3 seeds at the Hopman Cup. And in Qatar, Monfils makes headlines as he upsets Nadal, while Santoro makes them for just hanging around to win a game. Needless to say, the French must be doing something right with their juniors, because it’s the Golden Age of French Tennis, folks. America and Australia, take note.
2. The Welcome Back Party
The great thing about Week 1 is that no matter what happened in 2008, 2009 is at least full of optimism and hope. That hope, of course, can be quickly dashed as voices of doubt arise and things quickly settle (or unsettle), but for at least a few brief days, 2009 lives up to its promise of being better than the one before.
Another great thing about this week is that all the players who went out early last year because of injuries, mental implosions or just sheer tennis irrelevance are back in action. Want names? Rusty, Casey D, Gasquet, Safin, Safarova (remember her?), Baghdatis, Hrbaty, Jelena Dokic, oh, and did I mention – Rafael Nadal? With the exception of Rafa, I have just one question for the rest of those I mentioned – are you back? or are you back?
3. And the top seeds go tumbling out….
Remember the good old days when the top seeds stuck around for the semifinals and the final? But not this week. Rust, injuries, bad form, new racquets, problems adjusting back to life on tour were all cited as causes of their subpar performance, but really, I don’t hear their conquerors complainin’. It’s not like the top seeds were the only ones who went for an 8 week break. The highest seeds still left in the draws on this beautiful Saturday morning – Hot Sauce (Verdasco), No 3 seed at the Brisbane International, Marin Cilic, No 3 in Chennai, Murray and Roddick, respectively No 3 and 4 in Doha.
A few honourable exceptions – Victoria Azarenka (Baby Sharapova) , and Elena D, no 2 in Brisbane and no 1 in Auckland respectively – did hold up under pressure and make it all the way to the finals. More on the top seeds later, but it was a disappointing effort from the group of them. Go hang your heads in shame.
The Hot-or-Nots of this week
Hot: the Hopman Cup
I have a confession to make: I’m in love with the Hopman Cup.
A little OTT perhaps, but I’ve always thought of the Hopman Cup as a bit of a useless tournament. The only reason I started following it this week was because of the extended tennis drought in the offseason. But in time, I grew to love this unique tournament and everything about it – the format, the mixed doubles (where else can you find almost 10,000 people watching a mixed doubles match?), the way it brings out some of the less noted players and give them a chance to play in front of a big crowd. I love the Hopman Cup ball, the off court goss; I love its underdogs (read: Slovakia, Chinese Taipei); Lucy Hopman, the widow of Harry Hopman, who flew from the US to London, London to Singapore and Singapore to Perth just to come to the tournament, I even that little old lady who apparently turns up to tennis each year with her knitting needles. Oh, and did I mention those gorgeous diamond encrusted trophies? There’s such an amazing atmosphere at the tournament and I can’t believe I only gave it a chance this year. I’ve never been to Perth, but I might just go for a holiday there towards the end of 2009 and catch a bit of action after all the sightseeing.
A little disappointed that Russia did not get its fairy tale ending, but who would’ve thought Slovakia would be such a great competitor. They thoroughly deserved their win.
Not Hot: the US of A joins the top seed hit list
Seriously, sif getting cleansweeped by Slovakia first tie. Just goes to show the strength of American tennis without the Sisters. As for James Blake, he did look like he was getting back into the rhythm of things by the end of the week. Do I think he’ll be able to defend his quarterfinal at the Australian? Yeahhhummmmmn…no.
Hot: Don’t knock on the Dok
Uhuh, Jelena Dokic, she’s back… kinda, okay, not quite.
Those who watched her match against Mauresmo this week probably thought she deserved to win that day. The familiar pattern of the match was that Jelena dominated most of the baseline rallies, at times even overpowering Mauresmo. But the problem was that Dokic was still the same neurotic player that she was back in her teens. As soon as she got into a lead, she started double faulting, going for too much, and making a ton of unforced errors to give back the break. Whether that’s matter of match fitness or mental fitness remains to be seen.
Going back to my previous question? Is she back or is she back? Let’s just say that I do expect her to pull an upset sometime this year, but beyond that is really up to her.
Not Hot: “Aussie” Ana Mania
On with the top seed casualties…
Branding Ana Ivanovic as “not hot” is always a little strange, especially after we’ve been inundated with her Rolex ads, magazine covers and Anando paparazzi photos this summer (winter if you’re reading in the Northern Hemisphere). It might be a little hypocritical of me to criticise Ana here, after all, I’ve always defended Sharapova when it came to similar criticisms, but Sharapova’s always competed at the highest level, hardly ever exiting before the semifinals of a tournament when she’s healthy. Ivanovic on the other hand, has made one semifinal after her Roland Garros win last year. She’s still ranked No 5, but if she doesn’t pull herself together right about now, she’s going to drop even further down the rankings.
Oh, and seriously get over it! She’s not Australian.
Hot (or maybe just lukewarm): the Importance gets a win
I hesitate to put Ernie Gulbis in here. Sure he got his first big win over the Big … Four, and careeerwise, it’s gotta give him a lot of confidence, but like he said so accurately himself, he’s had a lot more “beautiful losses”. So while this was his biggest win to date, it was by no means his best tennis. Still, a win’s a win, and this was probably the biggest story of the week, and that’s hot.
The strange thing about Gulbis is that while he’s relatively unknown outside the Tennis World, he’s practically achieved boyband lead singer status within. I guess having a baby face helps. He’s due to play Auckland next week, after pulling out of Kooyong (boohoo Ernie).
“It’s not the end of the world, it’s the first match, so I’m still trying not to be very pessimistic.” Sure Djoker, but you’re not trying very hard.
Not Hot: rust, dangerous opponent, new racquets, jetlag…not my problem
Above are the reasons Novak Djokovic cited for his loss – it couldn’t possibly be because he just sucked. Okay, let me rephrase – I’m aware that I can be a little harsh on the Djoker – it couldn’t possibly be because Novak Djokovic did not look like he wanted to win the match that day, nor did he look like he was ever prepared to fight for it. In short, Djokovic behaved like he didn’t give a damn. Disappointing to say the least. Many players who are lower ranked, more injured or physically tired this week put in epic efforts to try and win their matches (Julie Coin for example).
My adversity towards Djokovic isn’t due to all his talks, his impersonations or even his family, it’s because of his tendency to just give up when things aren’t going his way. Monte Carlo last year was an example, US Open was another. Perhaps he’s feeling the pressure of having the most points out of the top 3 to defend up to the clay season this year, who knows? I certainly hope he starts to look like he cared sometime soon.
Hot: Rusty back in action
Yup yup, he won 2 out of 3 singles matches at the Hopman Cup, in the third match which he lost to Blake, there seemed to be some sort of ear problem affecting his balance, which reminded me eerily of Alicia Molik. But overall, I think it was a great week for Rusty considering he’s been out of action since August last year.
There was a time when I used to hate Lleyton Hewitt for all his antics, but I must say, the guy’s really mellowed out with the whole “family man” thing, and there’s something endearing about a player who’s completely focused on really making the last leg of his career count.
Not Hot: Nadal in sleeves
See Nike? Give Rafa back his sleeveless shirts and piratas, he’s no longer scaring people!
Frankly, even though Nadal lost to Monfils, there was very little to it. Not that Monfils didn’t play brilliantly, but to put it in perspective, Rafa hasn’t played since Paris (Abu Dhabi not withstanding), his first two rounds were both easy beatdowns, which I think actually hurt him. Those first two matches didn’t take him out of his comfort zone, nor did they help build up his match fitness, so when he came up against Monfils, he was ill prepared for the level of play that Monfils brought with him that day.
On a different note – Federer and Nadal entered 5 tournaments together from Monte Carlo to Wimbledon last year, and played each other 4 times in the finals, but since Wimbledon, they’ve entered 8 tournaments (the exho included) together, and haven’t played each other once. It’s almost painful.
Hot: the MaraNara
Marat and Dinara are just gorgeous together. As I said, it’s a pity they couldn’t win. Safin actually looked like he was in relatively good form until I commented on his two straight-set wins. From then on, he lost two matches in a row, relatively close both times, but that’s Safin for ya.
In any case, I don’t know where I got the idea that Safin and Safina didn’t get along, they looked great together at the Hopman. Dinara clearly adores her older brother, and she’s growing on me, that girl.
Not Hot: Roger Federer who?
I don’t want to talk about you. Mr Let-me-win-the-first-set-Mandy-then-you-can-have-the-rest. You played like crap.
Feel my contempt.
(the only thing more worthy of my contempt is the reaction of some of the fans, it’s either utter denial or doomsday prophesies, feel my contempt there too.)
Hot: Flavia la Flabulous
I thought Flavia Pennetta really shone this week in the mixed doubles at Hopman, the girl took on Safin during the mixed tie against Russia and won the majority of points with a wry smile. Take that Marat!
Not Hot: Jo-Willy Tsonga
Tsonga’s fast becoming my second favourite player after that Imploder who lost to Murray for the fifth time overnight, but his form this week was just not hot. He should’ve had easy wins against Calleri and Nieminen, but he didn’t. And last night, he lost to an ex-fave of mine, a guy who I’m secretly observing but openly ignoring this year (can you blame me? I lost too much hair over him last year). And in case anyone cared, his conqueror is still in the draws, so I’m refraining from commenting. Fingers crossed I didn’t just jinx him.
But back to Tsonga, he’s due to play Sydney next week with the Djoker. Are they both wilting a little bit under the pressure of last year’s success? To quote Rafa, “we gonna see.”
Other hots or nots of the week
- Hot: Lisicki’s fiest
- Not: Davyenko’s injury
- Hot: Nishikori’s second big win
- Not: Kiefer’s freak accident
- Hot: Alize Cornet, period.
- Not: Gilles Simon’s hair, but he’s dealt with that already.
- Hot: Hrbaty changing retirement plans, says he’s prepared to play til 2012, oh, and run a few marathons along the way
- Not: uncertainty over Masha. 😦
Part Two coming re the guys and gals still left in the draws. On with my rant!
Fashion: Pssst… what are they wearing?
With the Australian Open just around the corner, I thought I’d take a moment to investigate what the players are wearing for the Australian Open and US winter hard courts – the hits, the misses and the downright fugly.
Starting with the posterboy for tennis fashion, Federer and Nike got it right again for the Australian Open this year by going with purple for the day outfit, and Darth Federer Take 2 for night. I said before that I’m quite sick of Federer in navy blue, so purple is a welcomed change, and something that he hasn’t done before. I also have a thing for white shorts, so I think the whole ensemble looks fantastic. And the purple details down the side of the shorts prevent them from looking too simple.
Unlike Nadal, Federer has kept his AO outfit relatively mysterious by wearing his Masters Cup outfit to Abu Dhabi, but the photoshopped pictures look promising.
Somewhat less enthusiastic about the night outfit. While I liked the all black Darth Federer US Open outfit in 2007, I’m not too sure about the fabrics used for this one, especially for the shorts. The whole thing looks a little mismatched.
Like Federer, Maria Sharapova almost always gets it right with her outfits, especially at the slams. Assuming that she plays the Australian Open, this is the outfit she’ll be wearing – not a fan of this particular shade of yellow, but the design is gorgeous, especially the dark coloured frills.
Adidas gets it right, at last
Just when I thought Adidas is incapable of making an outfit that I like, they come up with something quite special for their boys. This is what the likes of Simon and Tsonga will be wearing for the Australian Open. I love the contrast between black and yellow. Adidas has come up with some quite funky colours for the men’s shorts – yellow this year, as well as the fluro green shorts last season. Good stuff.
Depending on her performance this year, Woz could easily become the new It-girl for Adidas, and it seems that Adidas has already realised that. I have a feeling Wozniacki would look good in a plastic bag, but this is actually quite a good outfit, the design suits her body, and the colours suit her skin tone without being too boring.
The Lacoste Girls
Lacoste probably takes out the Best Skirt award for the girls. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but I just love the colour.
What were they thinking?
But what fun is fashion when people just get it right all the time? Here as the fashion misses of Australian Open (so far).
Shock? Horror? Disgust? Or just strategically wrong wrong wrong? Rafa does sleeves.
What was Nike thinking? Seriously? This is actually worse than the sleeved polo Rafa wore to Arthur Ashe Kids Day. For starters, the colours are just revolting, it’s like Nike couldn’t decide which particular colour scheme to go with Nadal, so they opted for bright blue, white, pink, and fluro green (wristband, bandana and shoes) all at the same time. The design isn’t too bad, as I said, it’s just not Nadal. The equivalent crime would be if John McEnroe of the 80s started straightening his hair, or if Federer went sleeveless, and Pete Sampras got dreadlocks.
Both the night version and the version Nadal wore to Abu Dhabi looked slightly better colour-wise, but all in all, Nike tried to do too much.
Serena the Pink Panther?
Serena Williams is not a “pink person”. Red? Yes. Black? Yes. Fluro? Purple? Deep striking colours? Yes! But pink? And this particular “strawberry lollipop” pink? God save Serena Williams.
And the colour is not the only thing wrong with this dress, afterall, there is a yellow version of the dress which looks much better. But the design itself is doomed to fail. It looks alright on the model, but on Serena Williams? With her broad shoulders, big biceps, bust, hips … she would just burst through the dress. This is a dress made more for a smaller build, the Alize Cornets and MariKiris of this world.
I personally don’t know what do say about this dress. On the catalogue pictures, it didn’t look too bad. The asymmetrical cut certainly looked interesting. But this is another case of something looking better in theory than in practice, because when Ana turned up to Doha last year in this, the biggest flaw of the dress was revealed – it had no shape. It didn’t hug Ana’s body, it just sagged around it.
I have mixed feelings about what Novak Djokovic is wearing. The top is fine, though I have my theory of Novak Djokovic’s form when he’s wearing white. But the shorts are about the same colour as my mum’s dead pot plants. Horrible colour matched by equally saggy looking fabric. The night outfit looks the same, but it’s all black, with yellow lining around the v-neck collar, much safer option.
Dinara Safina: Get Yer Own Clothes
This is the picture that Adidas released for Safina for the AO season, looks familiar?
Give us some creativity Adidas.
2008 Year-End Wrap Up: ATP Pt 1, the Matches
Just goes to show how much more emotionally invested in the ATP I am compared to the WTA. What a year it’s been, and I’ve decided to separate it into different posts. So here’s the first one, matches of the year. And a little disclaimer before I start – neutrality has no place on blogs, so feel free to disagree/agree with my terribly biased opinions.
Match of the Year
Do I need to spell this one out? Can anyone really pick another match other than this one? No, I’m seriously not going to mention it by name, if you can’t figure out which match I’m referring to, there’s something wrong with you. Not only did it have high quality tennis, Shakespearean rain delays/acts of divine intervention, and two players who both epitomise what the Wimbledon Champion should be like, but it was also a watershed moment in 2008. The man who won would go on to take over the World No 1 in a month’s time, but really, the moment he reached for the trophy at SW19, he already was the unofficial no 1.
That’s probably as much as I’m going to write about THE match, though I think it deserves many posts solely dedicated to it, I do feel that it’s been theorised enough already, and frankly, I’m still too traumatized by match to talk at length about it (I have the HD version of the match on my computer, and it’s ZIPPED with the password “cardigan”. Maybe one day in 10 years time, I’ll meet a stranger at a pub, or on public transport, and smilingly nod when he/she asks me if I remember this match, but for now, to quote Federer “it hurt”, and it still hurts).
But one last thing I will say about this match was something that came up when I was talking to a friend of mine (also a tennis fan) the other day – what would’ve happened in an alternative universe, if Federer had won the match? 1) it would have been the best come back in the history of tennis. 2) as Federer fans, we would’ve all been a happier bunch. 3) Federer probably could have held on to his no 1 spot instead of subjecting us to his existential crisis from after Wimbledon right through to the doubles gold in Beijing. But think about the other side for a moment – Rafael Nadal would have been the imploder who served for the match, double faulted, and lost in 5 sets. If you remember Nadal’s face after the 2007 final, you would not wish that on him. You would not wish that on anyone. So maybe it was only fitting that Federer be the warrior who “almost” came back from a 2 set deficit than Rafa the imploder who double faulted and lost perhaps his last/only (I hope not) chance to beat Federer on grass.
Non-“The Match That Shall Not be Mentioned” – Matches of the Year
Because The Match was so significant that it just overshadowed every other match, let’s take that aside for a second. The non-“Match” matches of the year (the ones I’ve watched anyway) are –
Best of Five
- Gasquet v Murray Wimbledon: what can you do about Richard Gasquet, on the one hand, I give Murray full credit for coming back from a 2 set deficit, but on the other, it is so Gasquet to lose the match after being up two sets and so close to victory. From another perspective, both Gasquet and Murray (until recently) were at the time, what I would call “the tortured artists”, exceptionally talented, but with the mental fortitude of a stick insect. But since that match, how their lives have diverged – Murray’s gone on to establish himself as a strong contender at major tournaments, and Gasquet ended his year miserably titleless, and injured. *sigh* Had it not been for THE match, this would’ve been match of the year for me.
- Federer v Tipsarevic Australian Open: Tipsarevic came out of nowhere to push Federer to the absolute extreme, and he did play some phenomenal tennis. Federer had some brain dead moments too during the match that probably cost him in the first 3 sets, but once Tipsarevic took that 2-1 lead, Federer clicked into that extra gear, and didn’t give Tipsy much of a chance in any more of his service games. And the game where he broke at 8 all in the fifth was just sheer brilliance, from both ends of the court. Yet (and maybe I’m only speaking from hindsight), there was this ominous feeling after this match, that perhaps, the 10 finals in a row streak was about to end, and that perhaps something else is wrong.
- Federer v Andreev US Open: I’ve still only watched half the match (downloaded to 90%), and from what I’ve seen so far, lots of unforced errors from Federer, but he wasn’t playing badly, Andreev was just playing the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play. I was scoreboarding the match during Constitutional Law, needless to say I didn’t hear a single thing about executive powers, all I heard was the buzzing in my ear from the general lack of oxygen. To add to the drama, I always thought New York was the last city to really warm to Federer, clearly I was wrong. Years of service from Federer was repaid with interest by New Yorkers at the US Open this year, and that was beautiful to see. Can we do the same down here in Melbourne for Australian Open 09? To be really sick and quote everyone’s favourite politician right now – “YES WE CAN!”
- Nishikori v Ferrer US Open: I’ve still not seen the entire match either, plan to download in its entirety during the off-season. Ferrer I’ve always liked for his speed and doggedness, there are those who possess incredible talent, but only make use of a fraction of it (Gasquet, Safin), and then there are those who you wonder how on earth they even made it into the top 10, let alone top 4 for Ferrer at some point this year. But that is because Ferrer made 110% of the talent he does have. As much as I love Nishikori, I did feel quite bad for Ferru after the match. And how about Nishikori, I think we finally have a promising young talent from Asia. All hail Special K!
- Haas v Gasquet US Open: REESHIE! *tears chunks of hair out* But this is another match between two “tortured artists” who really could’ve accomplished more in their careers with the talent they possess. I haven’t quite given up on Gasquet though, and I won’t until he gets to the age of 25 at least.
- Those that never made it to five sets: who says you have to make it to 5 sets for it to be a fabulous match? matches I loved this year include – Gulbis v Roddick US Open, Federer v Gonzalez Roland Garros, Federer v Monfils Roland Garros, Nadal v Murray US Open, Djokovic v Federer US Open, Murray v del Potro US Open
Best of Three
- Federer v Murray Masters Cup: it’s still fresh on everyone’s mind, so it suffices to say that I think it’s “the” best of 3 match of the year.
- Before the Federer-Murray match, I thought the best of 3 match of the year was Nadal v Simon Madrid, again – the sheer drama, the Spanish fans, the unfreakingbelievable shots Simon was pulling off that had me pointing at my computer screen screaming “GET OUTTA HEYAAAA!” I finished the match at 4am AEST, that’s how enraptured I was.
- Nadal v Djokovic Hamburg – it’s funny to think that Nadal is now safely in command of the No 1 spot when way back in May, he was one match away from dropping to no 3 (the position Federer, to my dismay, is in right now). Again, only watched bits of the match but it looked like high quality stuff, many thought it was the best match so far at that point in the year, until it was outdone by the match a day later.
- Federer v Nadal Hamburg – aka the match next day – Federer shouldn’t lost the first set, but he did. Nadal shouldn’t lost the second, but he did. Therein lies the drama of this match, plus this match conned me into a false sense of security that the Roland Garros final was going to be a competitive match, until Nadal showed up in Clay Monster mode and Federer showed up… well Federer never really showed up.
- Roddick DEF Federer Miami – Roddick’s had a pretty disappointing year even by his own standards. But he can walk away from this year thinking “hey, I WON ANOTHER MATCH AGAINST FEDERER”. That almost counts as a grand slam in Roddick’s books these days right? Given that it was not long after Dubai (where Roddick beat both Nadal and Djokovic), there was every reason at that point in the year to think that Roddick was going to be relevant again. Until he lost to Davydenko the next day that is. Don’t you miss the days when Andy Roddick was making grand slam semis and finals, coming up with some classic presscons and acceptance speeches along the way?
- Federer v Nalbandian Monte Carlo – both players played out of their mind, and Federer prevailed in 3 sets, but that was the sharpest Federer had looked since the Australian Open. In fact, it was positively TMF/JesusFed. I had my doubts coming into the match, I hit the panick button half way through, and I ended the match back to being the Zen Master that I really am. Kool-Aid Drinker? Me? Never!
- And that sinkin’ feelin’ continues…I don’t want to remind everyone but just think of what we had to live through this year – Fed the Dead v Simon Pt 1/Pt 2, Fed the Dead v Ginepri Cincinatti, Fed the Dead v Murray Dubai, Fed the Dead v Mardy-Fish-who-rhymes-with-Dish Indian Wells, Fed the Dead v Blake Beijing, Fed the inexplicable vs Stepanek the Worm in Rome, Fed the inexplicable vs Karlovic Cincinatti. The only thing I can say about that sinkin’ feelin’ is that old sayin’ – “what doesn’t kill ya makes ya strongaaaa”
- Non-Masters Matches deserving of a mention: Cilic v Fish New Haven (Marin wins his first title, and I hopped on the bandwagon); del Potro v Gasquet Stuttgaard (del Potro started on his four titles streak, I lose more of my hair over Richard Gasquet); Kei Nishikori v James Blake Delray Beach (Kei wins his first title at the expense of my second favourite forehand in the game)
What’s Hot and What’s Not in Shanghai
I’m sick, and it’s Sunday here in Aus, and being sick on a Sunday means that you get to stay in bed all day with English Breakfast tea and your beloved Macbook. Hoorah! Still thinking about the Masters Cup and what a farce it turned out to be, at least for me anyway. So here’s the hot or not list from my sickbed.
Davydenko, aka Davo
This is just plain weird for me. Davo’s never been on my hot list before. To me, he’s one of those players who I do enjoy watching, but at the same time, hate because he just never seems to have the belief that he could win against some of the top seeds. When you look at his game, there’s not much wrong with it, he has good movement, good weapons, a great attacking game, he’s quite comfortable at the baseline and he’s quite comfortable at the net. So why doesn’t he win any slams? I have a feeling that the answer to that question lies more in his head than in his game. In any case, I was watching his match against Tsonga last Sunday and it hit me just how entertaining a player he is. Unfortunately, while I’ll be rooting for him in a few hours time, I am also unconvinced that Davo’s self-belief is where it needs to be right now. So I’m picking Djoko for the Cup, but then again, who expected Davydenko to win Miami?
Roger “Thou-Shall-Never-Retire” Federer
When is Federer NOT on my hot list? But then again, I’m still thinking about the Murray def Federer match, which could most probably turn out to be match of the tournament.
I know a lot of fans are disappointed with the result of that match, but ever the Zen Master, I’ve actually taken it quite well given my FedKadism. Here’s why: Federer could’ve lost the second set 6-2, he could’ve lost the 3rd set by an even more pathetic scoreline given the 0-3 break at the start, he could’ve been finished off at 6-4 in the 3rd, but the final scoreline stands are 4-6, 7-6, 7-5. Now you can “tut tut” and say that a loss is still a loss. But this is an injured, exhausted man, who’s played a hell a lot of extra matches this year outside the normal Masters Series and grand slam schedule, and all these matches alongside a debilitating illness at the start off the year.
Coming into this match, I didn’t expect Federer to win, I didn’t even expect the scoreline to be so close. Even Federer himself thought he needed “a miracle” to get through to the semis. Had he gone through to the semis, he would’ve been too burnt out to play anyway.
So for me, given his physical condition (and compare that to Murray, who hasn’t had a grueling first half of the year), I saw enough in the match to assure me that when healthy, if Fed and Murray met 10 times, Federer could come out with a win on more than half those occasions. You can proclaim me to be in denial/rationalising as much as you want, and maybe we all find what we subconsciously seek. But that’s just my gut feeling from what I saw in that match: It was great tennis, and had Federer been healthy, we might well have had a different winner.
And one last comment re Federer – 766 career matches and not a single retirement. Perhaps he was thinking about this record when he needed to sit down in the linesman’s chair to wait for his opponent to serve. I was reading a Chinese interview of Federer’s driver for the tournament, and the guy told the media that at the start of the third set, he was told by the organisers to get the car ready because they half expected Federer to retire. But at the end of the day, here’s a guy with moral principles that he is prepared to push himself to the extreme to uphold. In the future, all the youngsters in the game will be going after and breaking many of Federer’s career records, but I think this one will stand forever as one of those statistics that speaks volumes about the player and the person that is Roger Federer. As always, I’m full of fangirly admiration. Hot.
Down a set and a break, Simon had Federer exactly where he wanted him to be. Watching the Federer v Simon match was like living through Federer’s post-Wimbledon nightmare all over again. Last year, it was Canas that Federer should have never lost to, this year, it’s Simon.
But all the credit to Simon though, while I’m not an admirer of his style of play, I do admire the player himself: powerful, undaunted, rock solid, almost dogged. Consistently producing “How on EARTH” shots and looking like he didn’t mean for them to happen. Like Federer said, the better you play, the better Simon plays. I was rooting for him to get to the finals and do it for all the underdogs of the sporting world, and it did actually turn out to be a surprisingly close affair. Too bad Giles – you’ve already had both Federer and Nadal’s scalps this year, let’s save Djokovic for 2009.
The Shanghai fans
I just love the way Shanghai fans “oooh” and “aah” during the point. Love their unabashed support for the top dogs as opposed to the underdogs. Love their appreciation of aces. Love their cowbells and crazy signs. So glad the city is getting its own Masters Series next year when the Masters Cup move to London.
And lastly, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the high percentage play is totally hot. Although he only won one match in his RR, I thought he played beautifully, save for a few minor brain dead moments, this Frenchman has flair and I flove it.
EDIT// I can’t believe I forgot to mention Andy Murray. But kudos for not tanking the match against Federer, I know beating Federer means a lot to him, and probably he didn’t expect Federer to put up such a fight either, but by going all out in RR, he deprived himself of a decent chance against Davo in the semis. It’s not strategic, but it’s admirable.
Tennis Masters Cup semifinals without Rafa, and Fed (and Tsonga for my own preference). The tournament organisers must be wondering what on earth they did wrong to be punished like this – Djokovic and Davydenko for the finals. I blame it on dodgy ATP scheduling this year that tired the top seeds out, how are you meant to go through such a grueling season and still remain healthy and fresh for the Masters?
Andy Roddick – pulling out of a tournament is never that hot, even if Andy is growing on me a little. I’m sad that we didn’t get to see another Andy/Roger match this year after Miami. I do like the match-up, not even because Federer usually wins. And now that I think of it, it’s sad to see Andy end his year on such a disappointing note too.
The Spanish Davis Cup team – I still don’t know who is actually playing. I’m assuming Lopez and Verdasco are both in? They’re my favourite Spaniards. What a country of beautiful men Spain is. Gotta visit one day. Wait, this is meant to be the “not hot” section – well not having Rafa and Robredo is just down right cold for Spain. I feel for them. =( Now can’t we put Granollers in there somewhere? Please?
Novak Djokovic’s failed drop shots: there’s a few guys on tour who can do some fineee drop shots, Ernests Gulbis and Andy Murray come to mind. Novak Djokovic on the other hand seems to do some pretty fugly drop shots that backfire in his face. And I just hate watching drop shots backfire.
Ever wonder why Davydenko isn’t so popular in Australia? It’s the name. A little word of advice to Koyla – drop the “ydenko” and tell the Aussies to call you “Davo”, we’ll loveya.
But seriously now Murray, sif kick Federer out and then lose to Davo. And Giles-Beautiful-Eyes-Simon, *almost*, you make all of us underdogs proud.
Djoker v Davo it is!
And I can’t believe Federer is still down for that exho in Malaysia. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! After all of Borg’s snide little “predictions” this year, I can’t believe Federer still wants to play nice. If I were him, I’d suggest a few places for Borg to stick his tennis racquet the next time he feels an urge to make a few predictions, but then I’m not as big as the Fed.
What’s Hot and what’s Not
Zvonareva: a friend of mine who doesn’t follow WTA tennis asked me who qualified for the year end championships last week, and I named 7 easily off the top of my head. The one I needed to think hard to remember was Zvonareva, who’s also been the most unstoppable this week, winning against Jankovic, Dementieva, Ivanovic, all of whom she has had losing H2Hs to.
I thought Ana Ivanovic’s troubles were over when she beat Zvonareva a couple of weeks ago in Austria. Clearly I was wrong. Having won none of her matches, this week, she pulled out, citing illness. Not to mention she’s got my favourite ATP eye-candy in her box. Not hot Ana, NOT. HOT.
Venus Williams, beating, no, thrashing, no… 3 sets over your own sister can’t be counted as a thrashing can it? I don’t get Serena, she completely blitzed through her match against Safina, but looks downright confused in her match against Venus. In any case, Venus Williams is a total anomaly to me, she can play mediocre tennis for the most part of the year, or just simply not bother with the minor tournaments, and just turn it on for the majors ones. So glad she decided to play the YEC this year.
I love Jankovic. I really do. But whatever she might say, she doesn’t “deserve” to be the year end No 1. I know the age-old argument is that it’s not necessarily about the majors, it’s also about consistency throughout the year. Tell that to someone who cares. I know Jankovic has had an amazing winning streak since the US Open, and certain those back up her claim to the Year End No 1, but without a grand slam win, there is just little legitimacy. She at least needed to win in Doha this week to substantiate her No 1, and kudos to her for making it to the semifinals, the last set against Venus, I’m aware, took an hour. And yes, I’m aware also that she had 5 chances to break back in the deciding set. A loss to Venus can’t be seen as bad loss, since Venus, despite being ranked lower, is clearly the best in the business, along with her sis. But Jankovic is the no 1, and we require our no 1s to be better than that. Again, the point is, she fell short, and it didn’t seem to matter, not rankingwise anyway. Well it does, as it should.
“We’re not dating”, replied Federer with a chuckle, as he was asked about Nadal’s absence. I don’t know about you, but I really floved this air of defiance emanating from Federer this year. This thought bubble visible above his head sometimes that just spells “O.H. Y.E.A.H?” as he serves up an ace, or smilingly retorts in a presscon. Don’t get me wrong, Federer’s the epitome of a class act, but sometimes, it’ll be nice to see him tell the media to stick it, not in those words, but “we’re not dating” is probably as catty as the Fed is going to get.
Dementieva: if I were that hot, I’d just walk around naked. Or dressed top to toe in armani. Classy ain’t I? But seriously, the girl has so much undiscovered potential fashionwise.
The ATP Mafia
First words that come to mind when I say
Roger: the God Father, no, just God. Period.
Dojokovic: the Sulky Second Guy (in a shiny suit)
Andy Murray: going to his first prom
Davydenko: needs hair
Tsonga: suspicious hand in pocket
Simon: *sighs dreamily*
Del Potro: unibrow, ousted mafia guy
Andy Roddick: latest victim
The ATP Mafia Gone Wrong
Seriously, the suits, the shiny, wrongly coloured, badly fitted suits! Poor Simon looks tiny. Del Potro looks like a tall poppy. Federer and Murray clearly own the house. Djokovic needs to relax with the buttons. And the doubles players need to be a little more than background accessories.
Not hot. Not hot at all.
Other Hot Pots of the Week
1. Roger in warm fuzzies, Mirka with flowers
2. Simon’s eyes. *dreamy sighs*
3. Tsonga: “The Year of Living Dangerously”, *elicits more dreamy sighs*
(The man clearly knows how to dress himself, thumbs up for the outfit.)
4. More of Roger.
Key words: the chatterbox, dashing in suits, nice hair, nice skin, nice smile, cleanly shaven. Way to goo Fed. Nice to see a bit of love between him and Djokovic, this whole persona grudge thing between the two is most likely a figure of fangirly imagination. At least until Djokovic’s next outrageous comment.
Don’t know if it’s hot or not….
Verdasco in Ana’s box. Verdasco’s hot. But is he still hot in Ana’s box? One pissed off, jealous, catty, bitchy lady right here. I mean, the eyes. The hair. The tan. Seriously. Can’t even form a coherent sentence.
Madrid Early Wrap Up: DANG!
I was going to write a post mourning the defeat of the Might Fed in Rafalandia, but recent events put a new light on things, I’ve found my zen… for now, which is hard for any self-respecting Fed fan. Instead, here I am writing an early wrap-up post for Madrid. But in any case, the tournament is as good as over by now, so here we go…
The (Fallen) Warriors
Marcel Granollers: my heart cried for you when you lost to Tsonga, but this is not the first time in recent weeks that I’ve had a “WTF”-Moment when it comes to players I don’t know. Why have I never noticed Granollers before? What a funky player! I look forward to player-stalking him in the future.
Juan Martin del Potro: the unibrow aside, I see an urge in his game that I don’t see in many of the other players. This is one ambitious guy, motivated, driven, relishes on the big stage. Didn’t play badly against Federer, but at times suffered the “HOLYCRAPIT’SROGERFEDERER” Syndrome. While I don’t find his game admirable, I do find a “champion’s mind” in him. Wayyy to gooo Unibrow!
Ernests Gulbis: I just saw his draw for St Petersburg, the poor kid has talent, but c’mon he needs a bit of breathing room as well! Andy Roddick R2 at the US Open? Rafael Nadal R2 at Wimbledon and Madrid? Now Andy Murray R2 at St Petersburg. I actually thought Gulbis had more than a chance at beating Nadal in the first two sets of their Madrid match, but Nadal, the more experienced and tactical player came through in the end. Gulbis’s only meeting with Murray came at Queens, where Ernie took him to three sets. But that was before Andy Murray announced himself as the No 1 hard-court player in the world. I see Federer fans opening their mouths in protest. It’s okay. It’s not over yet.
Gael Monfils: One of FIVE Frenchmen that I love. Seeing someone actually ENJOY running around, chasing the ball down, doing cringe-worthy slides makes me laugh. Makes the crowd laugh. In this respect he’s a little Santoro-esque.
Feliciano Lopez: I will forever remember him from his US Open match against Federer last year. Even as a die-hard Fed fan biting her well manicured nails out, there was a part of me that was gloating in a “dang! That’s how you play the Fed” kinda way. Of course I gloated even more when Federer eventually came up with the magic to win, but then again I just like gloating. Period.
Oh and Feli played well this tournament, he’s full of funk when he’s on.
Ivo Karlovic: c’mon give the guy more credit. Even with the world’s best serve, you can’t win against Novak Djokovic without something extra. I happen to think he’s got some fine volleys.
Marin Cilic: the dude can play. To put it simply, but inadequately. Can’t believe he lost to Murray, almost surely out of the race to Shanghai, but mark my words, barring mental implosions and physical injuries, the kid will make it to London next year, and have pieces of Nadal/Federer/Djokovic’s scalp by that time too.
Jo-Willy Tsonga: barely made it past Granollers, lost meekly to Roger, so why is he still a warrior. One because I saw some of his “DROPPAH!”s that I so dearly love, and two he tried (and failed) to distract Federer from hitting one of his overhead. Some players might’ve taken offence, but I thought it showed the flair of this Frenchman and I know from Fed’s little smile that he appreciated it too. Better draw next time darling.
Rafael Nadal: yessssss he secured the Year-End No 1 just in time to crash out to Giles Simon. And can I say, what.a.match. Absolutely the best 3 setter this year. Nadal had 22 break points and 5 breaks of serve, and still lost to Giles “I win the last point, but you can have the rest” Simon 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(6). This is literally the first time I’ve seen Rafael Nadal being outslugged, outlasted, outmagicked by a mentally stronger guy. And a mentality stronger than Rafael Nadal’s should count as a groundstroke, in a Federer-forehand kinda way. Third set tiebreak, 6 all, I think I might have suffered from hypertension, at 4am in the morning here in Aus. Tennis takes years off my life-expectancy. And as for the Year End No 1 part, a part of me wanted him to lose before this round (or for Federer to have made it one better this year), just to keep distant hopes alive, to have some miracle (however remote) to look forward to. But alas no, even a true Federeralist recognises that a guy who wins 2 grand slams, Olympic Gold and secures his country a spot in the Davis Cup finals deserve to be the Year End No 1.
And on a site note, there really is no such thing as a cupcake draw. I thought the Simon match was going to be a practice session for Rafa.
Roger Federer: originally, this post was meant to be dedicated to his loss to Andy Murray, which was surely a disappointing end to what would otherwise have been a brilliant tournament. But you know what? I’m actually strangely at peace with this loss. Sure Roger could’ve won, it was close, he shanked forehands at critical moments. The loss came at a bad time too, his recent US Open victory just managed to stop some of the negativity surrounding his game, his mental state, his ability to dominate the current field. But this tournament has actually been Federer’s sharpest performance since Wimbledon, and I mean “sharp” as in a 2007-hard-court-season sense, his forehand’s been mostly lethal, his serve always reliable, his timing and footwork, some things that had been half a step off pace all year, is back. His shotmaking goes without saying, and Federer has generally been, even in defeat, moving like water. Can you blame commentators for forgetting that he’s now the World No 2? If he continues to plays like this, it’s only a matter of time before he clicks into his Superman-Invisibility mode again.
No doubt the haters, the media and trolls of other kinds will restart the ExFed debate, but to me, Madrid seemed more like the FedEx chugging nicely along than anything. What impressive performances given such a terrible draw! Take all the positives from this tournament and race through the rest of the year Rajaah.
The Weak, the Meek and the general Non-Warriors
Players I did not admire this week
Novak Djokovic: those who know me will roll their eyes, do I ever admire Novak Djokovic? Well in my defense, every time I get close, he or his family comes up with a WTF statement that turns me off again. I like my sportsman … sportsman. If I liked theatrics, I’d go to Broadway.
Richard Gasquet: Gasquet is actually almost my second favourite player, and of the five Frenchmen I mentioned. But the man is an absolute headcase. He’s either breathtakingly brilliant or just a shanker. *shakes head* but then again, that’s part of the fun of waiting for him to pleasantly surprise you.
BTW extra from what Steve Tignor wrote about Gasquet this week, which I thought was accurate of Reeshard at his best
If Murray is the half of Federer who owns every shot, the Frenchman is the other half, the one that can do anything with the shot he’s forced to hit—it’s less about choice with him that it is about instinct. Against Mardy Fish, he would routinely let one of the American’s approaches get on top of him, and then flick it for a sharp-angle passing-shot winner at the very last second. At the moment, Murray is proving that conscious variety is more reliable and effective than the instinctive version. Federer has already shown us what it’s like to have both.
Radek Stepanek: easily one of the best volleyers in the game, but the Worm is just such. a. showman. And a wacky one at that. Someone explain to me how the hell did he get the likes of Vaidisova and Hingis?
Andy Roddick: is now at the point where he’s losing to lesser Tier II players. Not cool man.
Davydenko and Ferrer: the former Mug No 4s are getting outshone by lesser players too. To be quite honest I’d rather some of the borderline guys take their Shanghai spots.
The Last Men Standing
The last two men standing also happen to the only guys on tour who has beaten both Roger Federer as the World No 1 and Rafael Nadal as the World No 1, which makes them part of a pretty exclusive club. But if we were going by beating Federer and Nadal in the same year, that group would increase to Nalbandian, Roddick, Gonzalez and Djokovic. Can anyone think of the last time none of the Holy Trinity made it into the finals of a tournament they all played? We’d be going back to 2006 at the very latest right? Or have I missed something painfully obvious.
Giles Simon, let me pray at thy feet. *feigns worshipping motion* Hell the guy has 9 lives. No matter how many break points, set points, match points his opponents muster against him, he remains the guy who win the last point. And don’t get me wrong, he’s no claycourt grinder either, sure he has some pretty incredile defence, but the guy also has that little bit of magic that I so admire in players. Needless to say, if I was already on the bandwagon anyway, now my rear-end is firmly glued.
C’mon. Shanghai baby.
Andy Murray – had he been playing Nadal or Djokovic, I probably would’ve rooted for him, love his game, and loved the fact that he came out with a little bit of strategy today to beat Roger in the second and third set. But you can’t watch a worship-worthy performance by an underdog like Simon and not want to donate your ovaries to him. Sorry Muzzah, I’m in the Giles “Match points are meant to be erased like a distasteful memory” Simon camp for the final.
Final prediction: Muzzah in two. Think Simon’s just about used up his 9 lives by now.
Isn’t it a beautiful thing…
When Feliciano Lopez goes on a roll? Flove this guy whenever he decides to turn it on, he sure has a beautiful game. A Spaniard who volleys… surely you jest.
What happens when you put the most aggressive player versus the most defensive player on the tour? We found out today (yesterday) with Roddick v Monfils. And the defensive player won. Love Monfils though, he’s such an entertainer, in a Santoro-but-with-longer-limbs kinda way. What personality.
I’ve collected yet another bandwagon – Giles Simon. A friend of mine hasn’t forgiven him for depriving Federer the chance to defend his crown in Toronto. How is that Simon’s fault? If Federer couldn’t get past Simon, then it’s obviously more in his head than in his game. And even so, Tennisnation is a meritocracy.
Richard Gasquet still holds the title of being the game’s most talented and versatile player, but also its biggest imploder. The match against Rafa ain’t pretty. I’m giving him one more year before I’m off the bandwagon, mid-match implosions (or full on mental absense) is a fugly thing, even if the perpetrator is a beautiful man.
Off to download Tsonga v Federer, it was a tight contest for most of the first set, until Tsonga suffers a massive brain cramp and gives away the set with a few double faults, then gives away a break in the second with one more. I dub it the “holy-crap-I’m-playing-Roger-Federer” syndrome. I thought Tsonga was past that after victories over 3 of the top 4 this year. All credits to Roger though, the forehand’s clicking and the backhand making guest appearances a little more often. Too early to start any sort of celebratory foxtrot, but after a few weeks of tennis draught, this is a nice nice way to quench my thirst.
Federer fans take a deep breath – a stunning rally from the Tsonga match, and as Federer wins it, Commentator: “what a point from the World No 1!” Glad to see I’m not the only one. Old habits die hard.
Over in Zurich, I’m majorly missing Justine Henin as Ivanovic actually wins a match.
Jankovic’s run has finally ended, while it’s not surprising given her schedule for the past 3 weeks, it’s still sad to see her lose after taking the first set. In any case, she’s proven that she’s capable of winning titles back to back and playing consistently. Bravo.
Federer v del Potro (purely, sadisticly angst-inducing)
Nadal v Feli Lopez (poor Feli)
Djokovic (I’m assuming, even though he’s down a set) v Simon
Andy Murray v God-Knows-Who (read: can’t be bothered checking the draws)
EDIT// Just to prove my point that writing about draws is never wise, Novak Djokovic just lost to Ivo Karlovic, bring back traumatic memories of Roger’s loss at Cincy this year. Must be tough being Nole these days, a few months ago in Hamburg, he was on the verge of being No 2 over Rafa. I contemplated on him reaching No 2 over Federer a few weeks ago with Federer’s withdrawal from Stockholm, but now maybe Murray’s not too far from the No 3 spot either. Good news for Djoker is that he only has FIVE points to defend for the rest of the year.
I wanted one Croatian and one Serb to go through today, I got what I wanted, but pity they were the wrong ones.
Your thoughts …