Just a short one for the sake of completeness.
Tennis is hardly fun when the top seeds crush their opponents like canned tomatoes. Or is it?
He had a tougher customer than his previous opponent, but the result was the same – Roger Federer dispatched Safin-clone Korolev in straight sets – 62 64 – to progress through to the quarterfinal.
For the neurotic ones amongst you … err, us, the frazzling starts tonight as Feddy le teddy takes on Ernie Gulbis for a spot in the semifinals. It’s a match-up that many have looked forward to, as Gulbis has played everyone in the top 4 except for Poop.
In other matches, Davo had less trouble than expected with Roger’s brofriend Marco Chiudinelli, winning 6-3, 6-4. But Kolya revealed post-match that he didn’t have the best start to the year, having fallen ill during the offseason.
“I am surprised to have won the match in two sets,” Davydenko said. “I practised for only two weeks and then I fell sick. I was on medicine before coming here, so I am still struggling with my shots.”
Given that Davo is on Roger’s side of the draw, I’ll save the crocodile tears for after the quarterfinals, heh?
Like Fed and Davo, Rafa has also been in fine form this tournament, beating Potato 6-2, 6-2.
“I am happy with my form,” Nadal said. “This was confirmation that I am playing well.”
That’s nice. Highlights are nice too! Albeit a sad reminder that my youtube account is about as well-kept as my toad-infested backyard.
Give’em the old frazzle dazzle.
If you were Novak Djokovic: you’ve played two bad matches, two good ones. You’ve posted good results all year, but with a terrible record in finals. And now you are presented with an opportunity to take out Roger Federer in Roger Federer Stadium, in front of his home crowd, right before the last Masters Series tournament of the year, is that extra motivation?
Or is that just Dootsie freaking out on a finals day over some potato-nosed douchebag from Basel?
Like Stan the day before, Radek Stepanek had his chances, 3 match points in fact, and all credit to Nole for digging himself out of trouble with good serves and solid play. But he’s going to need some extra motivation … or for Roger to be off his game a little, which I’ve been waiting for all week, but it actually hasn’t happened.
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the days when Novak Djokovic was just a pain in the ass. What happened to him? He learnt political correctness. He learnt to pay lip service to the press and other players. He learnt to downtalk his own game. He’s a lot nicer a person, less spectacular a tennis player. Like so:
“I wouldn’t say necessarily it was my good shots that prevented the loss. It was luck only,” Djokovic said. “I just tried to get some first serves in and at least get that advantage. On this (hard-court) surface, it’s crucial.”
Must admit, I rather enjoyed the tensions between Jelena Ristic and Nikki Vee more than the match itself. Pumpkin-coloured and over-animated she might be, Jelena Ristic is full of win.
Some ‘Federnelli’ piccies to warm your ovaries. Unless you don’t have one, in which case, you poor deprived child.
Roger’s through to the semifinal of Basel to face his childhood friend Marco Chiudinelli, which reminded me of this great excerpt from Rene Stauffer’s biography of Roger, “the Quest for Perfection”.
After training, the two boys [Roger and Marco] sometimes played squash with their tennis racquets and played table tennis and soccer against each other. Their parents both jogged and bicycled together. When a region-wide top tennis group was formed, Roger and Marco, both eight-years-old, became members of the group, despite playing at different clubs-Federer at the Old Boys Tennis Club, where training conditions were better for him than at the Ciba Tennis Club in Allschwil, and Chiudinelli at the Basel Lawn Tennis Club.
“It was pretty loud when we were in training,” Chiudinelli recollected. “We talked more than we trained. Training didn’t seem too important to us. We just wanted to have a good time and we goofed around a lot. One of us was frequently kicked off the court.”
Federer and Chiudinelli soon became the black sheep of the group and their parents were angry to discover that one or the other was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch half of the practice sessions for disciplinary reasons.
“Roger lost to practically everybody in training,” said Chiudinelli. “He was the only one that I beat, but the difference was enormous. When it came down to business, he could flip a switch and become a completely different person. I admired that about him. I could give him a thrashing in training but when we played at a tournament a day later, he gave me a thrashing. Even back then he was a real competitor.”
The two eight-year-olds played against each other for the first time at an official event at a tournament called “The Bambino Cup” in Arlesheim. “Back then we only played one long set of up to nine games,” Chiudinelli explained. “Things weren’t going well for me at the beginning. I was behind 2-5 and I started to cry. We cried a lot back then even during the matches. Roger came up to me and tried to comfort me when we switched sides. He told me everything would be all right, and in fact, things did get better. I took the lead 7-6 and noticed that the tide had turned. Then he began to cry and I ran up to him to give him encouragement and things went better for him. It was the only time that I could beat him.”
Roger used to cry when he’s losing? Yer don’t say. Goofy practice sessions? Surely not anymore?
Some things never change.
Yes Dina, I’m a terrible person:
Cheers erupted on Centre Court in Beijing as Zhang Shuai (not to be confused with Peng Shuai) took out the “Real World No 1” Dinara Safina 75 76.
Zhang, ranked 226 in the world, has never won a match in the second round of a main draw before. She appeared to have no conceivable weapon other than her ability to absorb pace, which happened to exactly what Dina was sending her.
To be fair, it’s not like Dina knows how to play any other way. Much better players would’ve had trouble winning a match with 51 unforced errors and 13 double faults. But I guess that’s precisely the trouble with women’s tennis right now, you wish the No 1 player was “the better player”, or “the best player”. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of correlation between quality and ranking when it comes to Dinara.
Also out of the tournament is Venus Williams, who lost to Pavs for the second time in two weeks 36 61 64.
Shockingly for Venus, she committed 14 double faults with no aces over the course of the 3 sets. Colour me surprised if that knee is properly healed. I’m almost in favour of Venus just calling it a year rather than flailing physically and making matters worse.
This is, however, a damn good picture.
On the men’s side of things in Beijing, Cilic, Ferrero, and Robredo all came through in straight sets, while Kohlschreiber took out Dr Ivo in 3, breadsticking him along the way. Anyone who breadsticks Ivo Karlovic deserves a multitude of my love and affection.
And we had 3 Novak Djokovics. Basically my worst nightmare.
In Tokyo, the Swiss are showing the tennis world that they can be awesome without some potato-nosed hubby-of-Vavrinec.
Well, no they can’t. Nice try anyway.
Marco Chiudinelli “upset” Dudi Sela 46 61 64 to secure his own career high ranking in the top 100, while Stan had a good 64 64 victory over John Isner. A good word for Marco, he’s been playing a lot better than his ranking would indicate ever since the Us Open.
Not to mention, they both looked oh-so-pretty, who needs the other Swiss with these two around?
Who am I convincing?
I’ve completely neglected ATP tennis this week. Me bad. But really, men’s tennis without Federer, Nadal or Djokovic is a grim wasteland on which only the occasional wild flower is worth the pause to appreciate.
Managed to catch two of Jo-Willy’s matches this week against Chiudinelli and Gulbis. And frankly, I got enough power tennis from those matches alone to last me the year…
… and enough charisma to keep me from resorting to the 2007 Australian Open semifinal for my tennis orgy.
Don’t know how I feel about Ernests Gulbis these days. Apart from thinking that he has a far larger fan base than he reasonably deserves.
But then again, so does Zac Efron.
It’s a too familiar story: Ernie served ace bombs, whacked the snot out of the balls, and mixed in some deft drop shots that seemed to have the gravity slurped out of them altogether. It was fast, furious and entertaining stuff. Not a single break of serve on either side over 3 sets, but the result was the same: coulda, shoulda, but Ernie lost anyway.
Gulbis is one month older than Cilic and del Poop. Of the latter two, one took out the No 2 seed at the US Open and the other made me swear non-stop at Roger Federer for a good 24 hours.
Ernie, by contrast, is struggling to string two wins together. While there’s no denying that he has talent, there’s also no denying that he’s turning out to be the biggest underachiever of his generation with a disproportional tween following. What’s lacking, apart from a higher level of athleticism, is strategy, shot selection, and sheer belief.
Someone get me a permanent marker and his shoes.
Another revelation this week is the Swiss who isn’t the one nor the other – Marco Chiudinelli. It turned out that this guy was no powderpuff after all. Unlike some of his more flashy compatriots, stylistically Marco’s a stoic sort of player, a big server with a bigger forehand, not to mention an eager volleyer.
Chiudinelli reached his highest ever ATP ranking this week at 116. With his qualification in Tokyo, he’ll be in the top 100 soon, and by the way he’s been playing since he made 3rd round at the US Open (his career best), the guy is certainly punching well above his height.
Perhaps the consecutive 3 setters wore him out, perhaps the season – the longest Jo-Willy has had in his career – is catching up on him and just about everyone else, Tsonga lost in 3 sets to Victor Troicki, who promptly went on to gift the final to Robert Pattinson’s mesmerizing eyes.
And slightly dorky smile.
Oh, and utterly routine tennis.
Over in KL, I only managed to catch the final, which was a slow but sure process of self-destruction by Fernando Verdasco. Execution fail.
Go get foot surgery Nando, and rest up for next year. Spain’s got pockets deep enough to win the Davis Cup without you.
And even after all these years, it confounds me how anyone with Davo’s talent can possess less charisma than a pencil sharpener. Maybe we folks in tennis just have a hair fetish.
Hair re-growth Davo, it worked wonders on my dad.