2012 post US Open happened in a blur. Full time work, training, admissions and life in general caught up with me and through it all, I lost the apetite for tennis. But there’s nothing like an Aussie heatwave to bring back happy memories of getting sunburnt on a tennis court.
And just in the first week of tennis for 2013, Toothface monotoned his way into the hearts of Brisbanites after defending his title there; Serena showed why it’s just too easy when you are the Queen S of the WTA; Vika suddenly found it quite convenient to be a woman; Ashley Barty, who I saw for the first time last week, proved to be a totally different player to the stereotypical young hype that I imagined (she could, however, do with a post-pubescent growth spurt). Monica Puig popped onto my radar for the first time in her 3 set loss to Angelic Carebear to remind me why I should (as always) watch more women’s tennis. And instead of actual match analysis, Channel 7 told me for the 573926th time that Grigor Dimitrov “modelled his game on Federer’s” for an entire week.
The real hype of the week Down Under though, was Bernard Tomic, who has managed to make the good people of Oz pee-pee themselves with excitement by winning an inconsequential match against B-grade Djokovic. But even the most inconsequential wins go some way towards redemption, especially when backed by a week of solid tennis in a nation starved for a modicum of talent.
Aaaand then … there is the anti-hype. Surely Sam Stosur is on some sort of quest to break the record for most number of consecutive matches lost on Australian soil? Watching Stosur’s 3 set loss Zheng Jie today, I am forced to come to one of those cliché conclusion that “God is fair”. He gave Stosur the power and weaponry to beat any player on the WTA tour, but none of the instincts and court-savvy. Zheng Jie on the other hand …
In amidst the hype and anti-hype, there are the notable voids. Where is WOGER? Where is WAFA? As much as I refuse to be yet another person to proclaim the end of the “Fedal era” (oh honey, that ended 3 years ago), what’s clear is that the Fedal party clearly ain’t gonna be on for the early hardcourt season this year.
But don’t despair, Woger has plenty of worthy frenemies to party with Down Under. And he’s even brought out the Pink Panther for Melbourne Park!
6 days til the Aus Open!
Day 1 of the US Open 2011, and there was something palpably missing in the air. The OOMPH of Slam excitement carried away by Hurricane Irene perhaps. The crowd was subdued and the players mostly went about their business, the seeds not finding much rhythm but then the unseeded found even less. Basically everyone was a bit mopey having walked out of their caves for the first time in a few days.
Wogie Mcfedpants made short work of Santiago Giraldo, 6-4 6-4 6-2, so says the scoreline but those who watched felt the uneasy moments as Mcfedtastic lost momentum and started showing poop for brains at crucial moments. Leading 5-1 in the first, he was broken serving for the set and then got broken to love in the next service game. Worrisome? Probably not but there was enough frazzling on my twitter timeline to suggest that peeps were a little agitated. Save the agitation for later folks, we’re in for a tough road ahead.
Fed’s next round will be up against Dudi Sela whom dispatched a clearly hobbling Thomas Belluci in 5 sets.
Red- perhaps-not-so-hot-Cilic-Pepper took out Ryan Harrison in ugly fashion. Harrison could have easily taken the match to a 4th and squandered it with his padawan youth. Back to Bollitieri academy m’dear. Cilic will play Tomic in one of the best matchups in the 2nd round on paper. Hope it won’t turn into the Aus Open 2010 meeting, where I stayed for 2 sets and decided to leg it back to the hotel before I fell comatose to boredom.
Tomic showing clear signs of his talent and form, downed US journeyman Michael Yani in comfortable straights. Like it or not, IMO the kid has the goods and his style is good for tennis and Australian tennis in particular.
Don’t-Call-My-Name-Falla defeated Troicki in 5, in a match that Troicki should have won. But Troicki is an ass so whatevs. Llodra and Petzschner also came through in 5.
Kei Nishikori retired injured once again. I wonder when the kid will catch a break. He was 1 of 3 Japanese players to retire hurt today.
I’ll leave you with my favourite picture of the day from the men’s side. My BB Greegor forgot to face the net and thus lost in straights to Le Monf.
Biggest upset of the day was earned by Petra Kvitova, going down in straights to Alexandra Dulgheru of The Ukraine. Kvitova is clearly going through her post-slam slump but Dulgheru, ranked top 50, is no easy opponent for a 1st round and Kvitova was clearly sluggish and her timing was completely off.
Shreiky needed 3 sets to get past GB up and comer, Heather Watson. I like Watson, like Laura Robson I think she’s got a good head on her shoulders but experience took over as she faded in the 3rd.
Speaking of Robson she was leading Ayumi Morita before the latter folded to shoulder injury. Bad day for Japanese players.
Nadia Petrova struggled through in 3 and the rest of the women’s matches played out according to script.
So that’s that, first day down, 13 to go.
To leave, I’d like to address this fashion faux pas of the day:
WHAT IN THE FUCK IS THIS????
They look like those Korean tube socks people used to turn up in in high school…like…WHUT???? PLS EXPLAIN!!!!!
Till tomorrow, adios amigos
A bit of a catch-up post, because I’ve been mindfuckedly busy this week I haven’t had time for “Fence Maintenance”.
1. I’ve never seen a killer in Stanislas Wawrinka until this week. Maybe it was the double chin, or the neck beard that makes him slightly resemble Ewok. Or the fact that he had always been “the other Swiss”, the guy that Woger once made a campfire out of, quiet and slightly “Fat Dave”-like in his build.
And I’m not sure why I see it now either: I’d like to say that it has nothing to do with the going-ons in his personal life (his recent separation from his wife and child), but at the end of the day, it has. There is a kind of ruthlessness in Stan’s character that I hadn’t realised before, and he’s certainly playing with a sense of ruthlessness, yet to lose a match this year, or even a set this tournament.
Watching him against Dimitrov (live) and Monfils (on telly), it struck me that Stan Not-So-Man is a bit of an anti-Gasquet. Whereas Gasquet came into the game being hailed as “Baby Fed”, with the high expectations of his country riding on his young talented shoulders, Wawrinka floated under the radar for years as the shadow of Federer, “that-other-Swiss-guy-that’s-not-the-One”. Whereas Gasquet’s in his comfort zone when he rallies from a full meter behind the baseline (is Reesh the only guy who actually takes a step back when he receives serve?), Not-So-Man is more Federersque in his attitude, with perhaps even more aggressive shot-making than Federer. (Lundgren’s work?)
All this is a rather long-winded way of saying that I’m not so sure about that projected Federer v Roddick quarterfinal. And Stan is a quarterfinal opponent I’d worry about far more than Roddick.
2. Grigor Dimitrov. Is he legal? ‘Cause like … a friend wanted to know.
3. Mentioning Dimitrov, Stan and Gasquet: we can make a pact that we NEVER call any dark-haired boy with a single-handed backhand “Baby Fed”, ever again?
Perhaps one day, a young boy will come along who can hit a forehand like this, and then it won’t matter if he has a single handed backhand, or has Lundgren as a coach. It just won’t matter. Until then, I think we can do more justice to both Federer and his baby counterparts by not comparing them falsely.
4. I watched most of the completely bizarre match played by Wogie McFed on Rod Laver Arena yesterday. He was agitated for most of the second and third set, groaning at his errors, screaming “c’mons”, fist pumping a point at 15-all like his name was Ana Fistpumpovic.
There was a period where he went through a fixation with drop shots, as if to say “Imma gonna keep playin’ this until I kick yo ass wit it“. He didn’t manage to kick Malisse’s ass: X-Man’s movement was fairly spectacular. Yet despite all of Wogie’s frustrations and annoyance, he won easily 63 63 61, and kicked up the charm in his post-match on-court interview with Jim Courier.
It’s one of my favourite things about Federer in Australia. He seems so relaxed, so at ease with Jim Courier and Todd Woodbridge that a completely human side of him comes out. When asked about his mindet in the fifth set against Simon on Wednesday, Federer drew rounds of laughter from the crowd as he half-jokingly answered: “I hope Gilles doesn’t play so well … I hope he gets tired … because then plays Sydney, then he comes here and badly prepared …”
And when Woody asked him about the 4 Swiss flags on the side of his shoes, McFed protested like a little girl, “but it’s gonna sound cocky mum, you’re making me sound cocky…” and with that, he had the crowd wrapped around his little finger. One moment, the 16 time enslammed champion, next – just a curly-haired man worried about sounding too up himself.
5. This has to be a first – Tony Godsick gives an interview about Federer to a Swiss paper (in French). Interesting last question: “Why did it take so long for Federer to impose his presence in the United States?”
No predictions from me, as promised. I dare say you’ll read enough of it in the next few days anyway. Some thoughts on the draw and just a little shoutout to a notable first round match – Roger Federer v Lu Yen-Hsun.
Of all the people Roger could’ve gotten for round 1, he gets “mono guy”. Yup folks, Lu came down with mono just before Roland Garros, where he had to retire against Mathieu Moncourt. I’m not sure how well he’s recovered, but when fit, he can be a tricky and talented opponent. I’ve only seen Lu play a few times. No big weapons, but doesn’t make a lot of errors either, and volleys wells. You might remember him bringing down Bandy in 5 sets at the Aus Open earlier this year, or ending British hopes at the Olympics last year against Murray. Not to be underestimated.
Can we get a Gavin Rossdale cheerleading team this year?
So – the Wimbledon draws are out! Let meaningless overanalysis begin.
I’ll say this much – cupcakes turn into muffins, which then turn to bricks. Never dismiss any section of the draw. I certainly thought Rafa had a dead easy path to the final at Roland Garros. Look how that turned out.
Meaningless Draw Analysis: The Fab Eight
1. People Rafa should be scared of – errr everyone? Hewitt second round, what? This is what happens when you don’t seed Lleyton Hewitt. Shame on your Wimblydondon.
I’m not dismissing Nadal though. Why would anyone be that stupid? Even with those wobbly knees.
2. People Roddick should be scared of – Davydenko, Mathieu. Foetus Fed – Grigor Dimitrov? I don’t think so. Jeremy Chardy first round ain’t exactly a cupcake either.
3. People Andy Murray should be scared of – so should Andy really be scared of Ernests Gulbis? The guy who lost to Alberto Martin on GRASS last week. Unless Ernie pulls a hat trick, it’s beat-down time second round, if he even makes it that far. Murray’s ability to avoid land mines in the first week will depend on his return of serve, with Kendrick and Dent both in his section of the draw. Yes, and the heartbreaker Marat Safin as well.
4. People Gilles Simon should be scared of – ummm … himself?
I’d say Gonzo is coming through this section. But how’s Blake v Santoro for a first round match?
5. People Juan Martin del Potro should be scared of – Tommy Haas and Marin Cilic.
6. People Novak Djokovic should be scared of – himself, but otherwise a relatively easy path to the quarters. Except for maybe Mardy Fish.
7. People Fernando Verdasco should be scared of – let’s face it, Verdasco ain’t gonna go the distance. At least not given his recent performances.
Tsonga on the other hand is one guy we should all be scared of. Especially Roger Federer. As much as I love the Frenchman and just want to eat him with chocolate pudding, his ability to just catch on fire and burn only half way through the draw is truly fearsome and frustrating at the same time.
Ivo Karlovic too? Surely the guy wants an annual payday?
8. People Roger Federer should be scared of – everyone. At least according to Dootsie. According to the rest of the world – no one.
But really? Kohlschreiber, potentially a third round opponent, just beat Novak Djokovic 3 weeks ago, and made semi in Halle. It’ll also be interesting to see how Sodering follows up his Roland Garros run, or not. Theoretically grass is more suited to his game than clay.
As both Rafa and Fed withdrew from their respective grass court warm-ups this week, I was faced with the bleak dystopia that is the world without Fedal, a world dominated by Toothface and Stinkface.
What? You don’t know what I’m talking about? How about a visual demonstration?
Dystopia = worldly fugliness
Utopia = otherworldly beauty
See? I can be neutral and unbiased and all that shit … I just wouldn’t mean it. Why bother?
Fedal Dystopia aside, this week in tennis:
1) Andy Murray becomes the first British man to win Queens in 71 years. See guys? British tennis doesn’t suck at all.
Sorry Brits. If it makes you feel any better, you know all my banter about British tennis stems from a deep and profound insecurity I have for the future of tennis in my own country … like, if we wanted to get all psychoanalytical …
Or you could just say that Toothface doesn’t rub me the right way.
2) It’s a good week for home favourites. I was rooting for a Djokovic v Tsonga final Halle, but who saw Tommy Haas coming? And what a run he had – taking down the two top seeds as well as a dangerous Kohlschreiber en route to the title.
In hindsight, given Haas’s performance against Federer at Roland Garros, this was hardly surprising. But really? It’s Tommy Haas we’re talking about here, hardly the beacon of sustained consistency.
But you know what was the best thing about Haas’ run? He did it playing old-school 90s grass-court tennis. Huge serve, attacking play – coming to the net even on second serves. The highlight of the tournament for me wasn’t so much the final, but the semifinal between Haas and Kohlschreiber – tennis on a pornographic scale. The only match-up that could possibly trump that would be Haas and Federer.
So yeah. A big hurrah for Tommy Haas, and this time I really do mean it – for his run at Roland Garros and Halle, for still going at it at 31 years of age, and for bringing back a bit of old school this week on a surface that was supposed to be just a little old-school.
3) Novak Djokovic admitted after the final that he was still emotionally drained from the Madrid semifinal. He also took himself off the “Favourites for Wimbledon” list, and told the press that he was only “lucky” to have won the second set tiebreak against Haas. I hope this is actually Djoker’s way of taking pressure off his shoulders going into Wimbledon, because the alternative is just too defeatist.
Is it possible that the semi-final in Madrid is still in your mind a little bit because you haven’t played your best tennis since then?
DJOKOVIC: Probably. That match has been really emotionally exhausting me. I think I was really empty after that match emotionswise and mentally. I’m still trying to get back and recover. But playing finals here is a good achievement, coming back from five match points down in second round and playing two quite good matches in quarter finals and semi finals. You always have to look on the bright side. Wimbledon is coming up and I hope I can be ready.
Having played five matches here – you talked about the difficulties of adjusting to grass – do you think you will go to Wimbledon feeling that you are one of the top four, five favourites?
DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. I’m not playing on my top level. I will try to get ready for Wimbledon. I haven’t done a great job there last year. I lost second round. So, I wouldn’t rate myself as a favourite for that tournament.
4) I’ve read several negative articles about Maria Sharapova this week in the British press – that her comeback is a failure, that Sharapova’s “stars are waning” and she’s headed for retirement. Seriously? Maria Sharapova has made 2 quarterfinals and a semifinal in three tournaments since her return from a 9 month injury layoff. Of those 3 tournaments, 2 of them were on her least favourite surface. Half the girls in the WTA top 10 can’t replicate what she’s done in the last few weeks without injuries. Instead of giving her a huge pat on the back for the effort and the fight, we’re predicting her imminent demise? The audacity of bullshit.
Feel my disdain Daily Mail, my sheer unadulterated hatred for you, the Times.
5) According to Fed’s trusty facebook page, he returned to Switzerland after Roland Garros, basked his joy and GOATliness, and is now practicing on grass again in preparation for Wimbledon. So for all this talk about expecting a loose and free swinging Federer from now on, is there such a thing as being too loose?
I just like to fret. What’s your problem, Rational Thought?
6) A tiny stamp sized image for Foetus Fed – Grigor Dimitrov, who took a variety of inspirations this week in his styling choices – all black a la Darth Federer, knee tapes a la Rafa, socks a la Bethanie Mattek, headband and hair in stark resemblance to Fabio Fognini.
He generated a lot of interest this week because of the parallels between Dimintrov and Federer (read). Come back to me when he’s won a slam or 14 I say. How do I know this guy isn’t going to turn into another Richard Gasquet? *heartbreak*
7) Anyone noticed the prominence of the single-handed backhand these last few weeks? Ouanna beat Safin, Kohlshcreiber downed Djokovic. Robredo made a Roland Garros quarterfinal, Gonzo in the semi. Federer of course with wins in Madrid and Roland Garros. Haas in Halle. Dimitrov announced himself with a loss and now James Blake in the Queens final?
But James, can you like, SHAVE?!
8. ) Li Na, Li Na, Li Li Na Na … hasn’t Rafa’s loss taught you anything? No one is scared of players who look like bubblegum wrappers. Neurotic.
9) The theme this week seems to be “old school”. Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick locked in a showdown, that’s like … so 2004. Props to the pair of them.
I kinda cursed ARod this week by fearlessly predicting him to make the Wimbledon final. Of course no sooner had I said it than he decided to go and roll his ankle. But word is that he’s gonna be good to go by Wimbledon.
Except now I want to eat my words for reasons entirely unrelated to his ankle. Can I official withdraw my prediction now?
Stupid, stupid Doots.
And can we get Federer and Nadal back next week please? In cute robot practice tees at Wimbledon perhaps? Yes yes.
So I never did my usual 10,000 word tirade for the Australian Open. Truth be told, the tournament’s taken a bit more out of me than expected. To go from not knowing anything about what happened after Round 2 to images of Roger Federer sobbing his nose off on TV was a bit like diving into a whirlpool of angst. So instead of trying to sort through the emotional haystack, I gave it two weeks of rest. But it’s back to business as usual at Picket Fence and here’s the Hot-or-Nots of the week ending 16th February 2009.
Muzza hits Title No 10
Gotta love Tennis.com’s headline captions: “Andy Murray became the first player to defeat Rafael Nadal in over a month…” Correct me if I’m wrong, but Rafa’s only played Rotterdam and the Australian Open in the last month? I’m constantly amazed at journalists’ ability to create sensationalism out of nothing.
How do I explain this? A win’s a win, and being the last man standing is always hot, but this is obviously not one of Murray’s best wins, primarily because neither Muz nor Rafa played their best tennis during the match, in fact, neither of them played particularly well the entire tournament save for their respective semifinals. Don’t know what more to say really: 10 titles at his age, not bad. Pity none of them are grand slams.
Rafa plays on.
Rafael Nadal doesn’t have the cleanest record when it comes to retirements and withdrawals, but not a lot of people would hold it against him. If he thinks he’s still got something left in him, he’ll play on, and when he does retire, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be a legitimate reason for it. Someone send a tape of the match to Novak Djokovic please?
The Record lives on
If Rafa gets few thumbs up for playing on despite his injury, so should James Blake, who chose to play against Mardy Fish even though he rolled his ankle in his previous match against Querrey. Blake and Federer are the only two guys in the Top 10 to have never retired mid-match in their careers. It doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it means something.
MoMo’s back. Shhhhh…
Like I said in the previous post, I’ve long put Mauresmo in the same basket as my other “tortured artists”, namely Safin, Nalbandian, and Gasquet. The general policy for the T.A’s is to pretend to ignore them, but quietly enjoy when they do find the art within. Without raising expectations, I must say that I do appreciate the effort Mauresmo’s put in with her new-ish coach to get her game back to a good level. MoMo can be quite “Federer-esque” when she’s on, and it’ll be a sad day for women’s tennis when she decides to hang up her racquets.
Foetus Fed serves notice
Dimitrov had a few tennis purists purring this week with his spirited performances against Berdych and Nadal. I did manage to youtube the first set of his match against Rafa plus a few more highlights and from what I saw, the guy moves very well for a 17 year old, big serve, even bigger forehand, not to mention that single handed backhand which has become a rarity in the men’s game these days. Some have compared him to a Federer junior. I myself dubbed him “Foetus Fed”, but maybe Mikhail Youzhny is a better comparison. In any case, best to forget about this one and let him develop in peace. It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon in 2 years time if it looks any good. God knows too many junior champs never quite make it in the “real world”.
The Quiet Russian
It’s tough being a female Russian tennis player these days. Compared to the Dementievas, Kuznetsovas and Sharapovas of this world, Vera Zvonareva often fades into the background. But whereas Dementieva and Kuznetsova can be classified as the underachievers of the women’s game given their potential, Zvonareva is their exact antithesis. Every time I see her name in a semifinal, final or as the winner of a tournament, it seems to take me by surprise, as if at the back of my mind I expected her to fall to some minor floater long before she even makes it to the tail end of a tournament. But as in life, often it’s the quite ones who overachieve. Congratulations to her on winning her first title of 2009.
The Worm wins his second title… THIS YEAR
Generally, having the Worm’s name displayed anywhere near the vicinity of the word “Hot” should be made a crime. But Radek Stepanek has four ATP titles so far in his career, 2 of them won just this year, and in case you needed a reminder – it’s February. I’m a little disturbed.
Actually a familiar pattern is beginning to emerge here. I happened to have livestreamed 5 of his matches at two tournaments that he’s won this year – against Soderling, Gasquet and Verdasco in Brisbane, and against Roddick and Fish in San Jose this week. The common theme in all those matches is that each time Stepanek has gotten completely blown off the court in the first set, each time, he’s managed to inch his way back into the second set and win it by a narrow margin. And each and every time, he went on to stepped up the antics in the third set – Tipsarevic-styled grunts, fist pumps, worm dances and celebratory fox trots – until his opponents’ body language began to wane. They started to complain to the umpire, to yell at themselves or simply to smash perfectly good racquets in frustration. Here’s a guy who knows how to get into his opponents’ heads, and he’s not bashful enough to restrain himself from resorting to his demeanour and body language to win a match.
I generally prefer simple good tennis over all on-court antics, and I certainly don’t consider it “honourable” I suppose to purposely resort to demoralising or intimidating your opponent to win a match. But Andy Murray is the only other guy on tour with two titles this year, so what do I know?
I’ve already written about it this week, but YAY again!
So here’s the thing about Dubai: it’s a modern, metropolitan city full of people from all over the world. The city has a very clear vision for itself – it wants to be the sports mecca of the world. It wants the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to go there each year for an ATP 500 tournament that pays almost as much in prize money as some of the ATP 1000s, or people like Tiger Woods to build world class golf courses in the city to attract big names and their bigger sponsors. But all it takes is one denial of visa to remind us all of what lurks underneath its liberal capitalist facade.
Of course, a country is perfectly entitled to determine who they’d like to invite in or keep out, but you can’t cast yourself as a world class city determined to host big ticket sporting events, only to exclude people of certain nationalities from entering your borders. We go around hearing things about how sport brings humanity together, regardless of race or country, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes sport is a cruel reminder of the fault-lines we’ve drawn among ourselves. In the case of Shahar Peer, it’s a conflict of interest that the tournament organisers should’ve worked out with their government way before they gave the all-clear for Peer to enter the tournament. You gotta feel for Peer.
Rafa’s knees are definitely not hot. I don’t get why Rafa played Rotterdam this week to start with. I know it’s not advisable for players to just withdraw from tournaments the week before they start, but Rafa, dude you played 10 hours of tennis back to back in Melbourne, you know your knees are particularly susceptible to injuries, Indian Wells and Miami are just around the corner, don’t you think your body deserves a bit more than a week to rest up? It’s not like you needed the points.
On top of that, Rafa got taken to 3 sets every single match at Rotterdam save for one. Is it any wonder the guy’s knees bailed out on him?
Jelena’s words continue to speak louder…
Louder than her tennis that is. She had a great run after the US Open last year, but seems to have lost her mojo when she changed out of that daffodil coloured dress. 2009 hasn’t quite been the same, and truth be told, it hasn’t quite been the same for her compatriots either.
And still no hope for the WTA
Here I was, thinking and hoping that Caroline Wozniacki might be the exact thing to generate some life back into the WTA field. But since her epic with Serena in Sydney, she’s been struggling to find her 2008 form. Losing to Dokic at the Australian Open is one thing, losing 64 61 to Rybarikova in Thailand is quite another. Back to some hard training for you.
(On a side note, I drew a sigh of relief when I saw that Wozniacki has drawn a qualifier first round in Memphis next/this week. Little did I know that the qualifier went by the name of Jelena Dokic. Ooooh the deliciousness.)
Urgent Message for Greg Rusedski:
+61 03 XXXX XXXX
And for anyone who hasn’t seen this yet… hot or not? You decide. For what it’s worth, Michael Clarke looks damn fine and I got a good laugh out of it.
I’ve yet to see the match, but I must admit, I didn’t see a 3 setter coming for Nadal vs Dimitrov, or Foetus Fed, as he is known to me since Gasquet has taken the title of Baby Fed. Dude’s definitely got a giant-killing streak in him, whether he’ll become a giant in his own right remains to be seen. For the next 2 or 3 years, Giants of the ATP, watch out for your lives.
Will try to track down the match, or at least highlights of it later. But it looks like Rafa’s had his hands full in his last two matches at Rotterdam. 75 36 62, time to tighten up Rafa. I’d rather you get the title instead of Scary Teeth.
Other results: Scary Teeth is also through after a rather close one with Seppi. By “close”, I mean he won in straight sets. Gilles ranked-too-high-for-his-own-good Simon is out after losing to SuperMario, but the other two Frenchmen – Monfils and lucky loser Gicquel are both through to the QF.
Over in San Jose, things have been rather boring compared to the minor thrills of Rotterdam, but they’re are about to heat up for Nishikori v Del Potro, and Gulbis v Roddick. As a non-fan of one-dimensional games, I’ll be rooting for Kei and Ernie.
Edit// The youngsters … are still youngsters. Both dispatched in straight sets. Ernie Ernie Ernie, when are you going to back up all the hype?
A couple of months ago, I did a very rushed, badly-written entry on Grigor Dimitrov, who had by then won both junior Wimbledon and the US Open, and scored his first ATP victory as a wildcard in Basel.
Yesterday, he backed up much of the hype by upsetting Berdych in Rotterdam 46 63 64. Fedophiles may notice a slight resemblance between this junior World No 1 and a certain Swiss No 1. Rafael Nadal up next for the youngster, if he’s anything like his Swiss idol, the Spanish lefty should give Dimitrov and his single-handed backhand fits.
10 years ago, a certain junior sporting a single handed backhand by the name of Roger Federer won the Junior Wimbledon title. This year, a 17 year old also sporting that same groovy species of backhand by the name of Grigor Dimitrov won both Wimbledon (without dropping a set) and US Open, rose to No 1 on the juniors ranking, and has now ended his junior career to focus on his ATP rankings.
After the US Open, Grigor won two futures back to back and last week in Basel, he won his first ATP win over Vanek in the quallies. Now on a career high of 480 in the world, just how far can the Bulgarian youngster rise? *eagerly looks for new bandwagons*
And here’s the guy that won 10 years ago – who woulda thought?