Roland Garros Preview: A Conference of Anti-Experts. Pt 2
Doots: Interesting thing when I mentioned the women’s draw, PJ said the field is “wide open”. I feel as if we’ve gotten used to saying this in the past few years, but actually this is the least wide open slam I’ve seen in the past few years.
PJ: Really? How so?
Doots: The women’s tour has been dominated this year by Sharapova and Azarenka. We’re literally looking at a Big 2 situation – with Serena occasionally popping up on the radar because she’s that awesome.
LJ: but it’s clay, I think therein lies the problem.
PJ: I guess for me, I feel like it’s “open” in the sense that there are no sure favourites despite domination from Azarenka and Shrieky. Not like how Rafa is for the men’s.
Doots: Well, I still don’t know. Sharapova has had her best results this year on clay: Rome, Stuttgart, and lost to Serena by the same scoreline as Vika in Madrid. She comes into Roland Garros with by far the best clay season record of the women, which is incredible considering how bad she was on this surface a few years ago.
PJ: That is true. I was rather impressed with Sharapova’s clay showing this year. I know clay isn’t her forte but going by recent form and results, I’ll peg her as one of the favourites. Historical showing otherwise.
LJ: I think Shrieky, Azarenka and Serena for me, but hey if previous results are to be followed, it’ll be a crapshoot for the win.
Doots: They do tend to be the “Big 3” these days, which was precisely my previous point – it’s not as open as in previous years where you just knew that Wozniacki or Jankovic or whoever was up at the top couldn’t do it. But looking at the draw quarters again –
Frazzle Post: Indian Wells
We have a blockbuster Saturday coming up in Woop Woop. Wafa faces off first match against a resurgent del Potro. Normally, I would not worry, but given Rafa’s performance in his last two matches, del Potro seems to be in with a chance to win.
In a dystopian world, my anticipation of a Fedal final would be completely derailed by both delPo and Satan.
BUT IT IS OKAY.
Unlike every other tournament, this time in Woop Woop, we get a second chance to reach Dootsie’s ovarian happiness. FEDRINKA plays Dolgopolove and Xman in some kinduva alternative dream doubles final.
Either way, the firelog routine – IT HAS TO HAPPEN. I WILL DIE OF A THOUSAND SQUISHY PENGUINS IF IT HAPPENS.
OOP – STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
 R Nadal (ESP) vs J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  R Federer (SUI) – ATP
Not Before 3:00 PM
 B Mattek-Sands (USA) / M Shaughnessy (USA) vs S Mirza (IND) / E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA – DOUBLES FINAL
Not Before 4:00 PM
A Dolgopolov (UKR) / X Malisse (BEL) vs R Federer (SUI) / S Wawrinka (SUI) – ATP – DOUBLES FINAL
The Frazzle Post: US Open.
SPECIAL EDITION FRAZZLES – Served by yours truly.
On the menu: cupcakes, muffins, bricks, perhaps a few asterisks too?
Which one would you like to take? Because folks: Andy Murray is gone, GONE. And NO ONE CARETH. *Sally Draper lisp* In related news, Ahndee Mooray apparently 62% Scottish as I write this, whadaya know.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR FRAZZLE-FILLED LIVES?
Why I’m glad you asked!
- It means that the top half of the draw is smashed into James Frey. In a Roland-Garros-09-parting-of-the-seas kinda way, only swap Roger Federer for Rafael Nadal, Paris for New York.
- It means that there are too many of Rafa’s playstation mates left in the draw. Some of you share my boredom. Others don’t. That’s okay, since none of it will change the outcome.
- It means that it is very unlike that Murray, a “pre-tournament favourite”, will ever be a “pre-tournament favourite” again. That’s what you get for rocking the US Open Series, then flaming out early at what should’ve been your best tournament, TWO FUCKING YEARS in a row. Am I complaining? Why yes. But more on that later.
- It means that there are two Swiss in the second week of a slam. Coulda been three if Nutty Patty had survived Wicky. They make ’em good in Switzerlandia. They make ’em real good.
- What does this mean for the bottom half of the draw? ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOTHING. The 3rd seed? Still in. The fifth seed? Lurking just around the corner. Second seed? FRAZZLE. Only perceptions of loadedness has gone up.
- How unfair! How cupcakey! Now Roger has the bitchiest draw of all time – Melzer, 5th, 3rd, and top seed – if he wants to win. OH SHUT IT. When the draws came out, Rafa had the tougher half. It’s beyond the control of everyone except for Murray how that pans out. Besides, I’m a firm believer in Dootsie’s Principle of Cupcake Equal Opportunity: eventually, everything evens up. So cut the crap.
- Jurgen Melzer is the bane of my existence right now. NOTHING ELSE. We all need to put our tunnel vision goggles on. *hands out tunnel vision goggles*
THAT IS ALL UNTIL LATERS ALLIGATORS. Frazzle away!
ARTHUR ASHE – 11:00 am
Newsreel: the Agate-stone Queen.
1. Excuse the lack of bloggage. Not only are work and my Bachelorette degrees owning my ass right now, it’s the clay season, and my mind wanders (mind you, not to snooker), but it wanders nonetheless.
2. She may be diminutive in height, but Justine Henin was a colossus in Stuttgart, winning her first title since returning from her ‘retirement’. It also puts her at No 1 in the Sony Ericsson Championships race ahead of Venus and Serena and raises the million dollar question: can Henin end the year as No 1?
“I thought about a comeback when I saw Roger Federer win the French Open (for the first time last year). This brought back the fire,” she said.
Shocker of a second set aside, it was vintage Henin on all the big points, as she ended Stosur’s winning streak 6-4, 2-6, 6-1. I see no reason to nitpick her tennis, not when she’s just taken out Yanina Wickmayer, Jelena Jankovic and Sam Stosur back-to-back in a tournament that featured 7 of the world’s top 10 player.
3. As for Sammy, to be honest, a slight let-down at this point was exactly what she needed. Winning Stuttgart might’ve actually sent her quiet, introverted self into freak-out mode over the possibility of something grand. Grand and slammin’, that is.
And we wouldn’t want that.
With a title and a final to start her clay season, Stosur has pulled out of Rome to rest her sore arms. Good girl.
4. Rafa won Rome. Yay!
3. Oh wait … Were you looking for “commentary”? Umm, were you?
Didn’t watch a single point of the Rome final.
As far as the tournament was concerned, Ernie was the wild card, Wawrinka might’ve, could’ve but ultimately wouldn’t have. But you’d have to be delusional to think anyone from the so-called Armada is capable of pushing and then closing out a match against Rafa. Not unless Rafa was going into the match on one leg.
So the narrative of yesteryear ensues – Rafa and Justine reign supreme on clay. And frankly, after the frightening tennis plots of last two years, we could all use a little stability.
4. Notable mentions of the week: Iveta Benesova won her second career title in Fes, defeating French junior champ/breast reduction girl Simona Halep 6-4, 6-2. I say ‘notable’, because it was only Halep’s third tournament in the WTA main draw and her first ever WTA tour final at the age of 18. Someone’s star is rising.
5. Not to be lost in the fine print: Iveta’s 63 46 75 semifinal win against Alize Cornet was a welcomed sight. For these two “could’ve beens” of the WTA, good weeks are now few and far between.
6. While I’ve barely had time to review last week’s actions, the WTA tournament in Rome has realdy kicked off, with Sveta Kuznetsova becoming the first major casualty in her 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 loss to MariKiri.
With this loss, Sveta descends onto a shiny 7-7 win/loss record in 2010, and has yet to win 3 matches in a row since the Australian Open. But then again, neither has Fed. The Roland Garros voodoo has struck.
7. In other first-round action, local hopes Flavs and Franny both progressed into the second round – Schiavone with a bit of a struggle against Daniela Hantuchova, eventually wining 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Ana Ivanovic made news by actually winning a match, and winning it easy -sailing past E.Vesnina 6-1, 6-3. She faces Vika next.
With injuries stalking Azarenka these days, I say Miss Muffin is overdue for a much needed scalp.
8. Things not to do while drunk: watch Roger Federer play tennis in 3D.
MEO, the cable channel from Portugal Telecom, will broadcast for the first time a national event live in 3D.
It will also be the first 3D broadcast from an ATP World Tour event. Roger Federer’s first singles match is to be broadcast in 3D on Wednesday, in what will be a historic day for Portuguese television and tennis broadcasting.
Homes with 3D television sets and spectators on-site at the Estadio Nacional, will be able to also watch the semi-finals and final.
Source: Estoril website
Right … that’s exactly what delusional monkey-loving Fedophiles need: Roger Federer sashaying around in their living rooms with his moobies and swirly hair.
It’s not so much an assault on the senses as a cold-hearted murder. Oh my poor ovaries. 😦
Monday Musings: More than the fireworks can give.
1. Only saw the last 2 games of Nadal v Nalbandian, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on this, except to say that it was a good effort by Nalby just coming back from a hip surgery.
I’d say it with more gusto, except I’ve been saying “good effort” about Daveed Nalbandian for his entire career, and at this stage of things, I’ve grown tired of his quick-combusting fireworks leaving me wanting, hoping, lamenting for more.
2. 2010. The year of “falling out of love” with Caroline Wozniacki.
It’s hard not to warm to an upcoming player striking the ball with so much heart and playing the game with mind-boggling resilience and craft. But when you’re No 2 in the world, and – excuse the clichés – “has no major weapon”, or more precisely – no “money shot”, the tide of public affection turns on you, fast.
Caroline Wozniacki’s game is everything opposite of her looks. To put it mildly. Had Kiri been able to capitalise on a few more breakpoints, she could’ve walked away with a win today. But that’s the essence of Woz’s game – force the opponent to surrender, take the opportunities that come your way. Carpe diem.
As hard as it is to love her game, it’s equally difficult not to admire her Hewitt-like and maturity beyond her years.
3. After the Indian Wells madness, normalcy has returned to the WTA. For now anyway.
Mama Clijsters was the Kimpossible once more, as she gave Shahar Peer a royal whupping, 60 61. She sets up a mouth-watering clash against Vika next, who also had no dramas against giant-killer-turned-Baby-Spice Safarova (64 62).
This dress, however, looks like it’s been ripped straight out of an Anta catalogue.
Janky and Stosur will face off for the second time in two weeks, as Stosur advanced past Razzano in 3 sets and Lady JJ scored her fifth consecutive win over Elena Vesnina, 76(3) 63.
As for Justine, despite the continuation of her serving woes, Domi Cibulkova proved no match, it wasn’t as close as it looked, and it didn’t look close – 64 64.
Oh, Jizzy’s out. Le sad. I’d do a sad face, but my colon broke.
Miami: The Frazzle Post
Congratulations to Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick. Miami Champs for 2010.
Down Under Day 9: A metal cup named desire.
How badly does Andy Murray want to win a slam?
He gave you the answer in his clinical deconstruction of Rafa’s game in their quarterfinal encounter.
Murray played the most aggressive tennis I’ve ever seen from him for the first two sets – flatting his groundstrokes, particularly high off the backhand, charging to the net, throwing in the odd S&V every few games. Tactically and execution-wise, it was a lesson on how to beat Rafa.
That’s not to say Rafa didn’t have his chances. With early breaks in either set, Rafa simply could not hold onto his lead. Part of it was because of the pressure Mandy was putting on his service games, part of it was the lack of confidence from Rafa in his serve and forehand. When the second set rolled into a tiebreak, Nadal – perhaps distracted by his knee – was uncharacteristically loose on his forehand, winning only 2 points to concede the set to Muzz.
From then on, it was smooth sailing for Toothface, still yet to lose a set in Melbourne, and dare I say it – looking ready and … desperately desiring to win his first slam.
To add to the pain of the loss – quite literally – there are now questions over Rafa’s right knee, which sustained an injury in the second set and deteriorated in the third, forcing Rafa to retire.
With this loss, Nadal will drop to at least to No 3 and possibly No 4 post-Australian Open, with a whole heap of Indian Wells points still to defend.
Q. Could you let us know what the condition is, what the latest story is with the knee. It’s very unusual for you to stop during a match.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, well, is not a lot of history because was during the match. Was in the end of the second set in one drop. And I feeled similar thing to what I had last year.
And, yes, after that I can’t go down after that, no? So was impossible to win the match. When I have the chance to play, I never retired. Anyway, like I know I going to lose like I did in Rotterdam like last year. I say sorry to Andy for that.
I felt pain still there without no one minimum chance to do nothing, the same time is hard for me be five more games there without try nothing, no? So I don’t know if I still playing can go worst or something. So I said, well, no repeat the same mistake like I had last year. I go to the limit, but not cross the limit, no?
Earlier in the day, the desire was evident on Marin Cilic’s face, as he fought off a valient Andy Roddick in his third 5 set match of the tournament. For the majority of the first two sets, Cilic was consistent in his aggression from the baseline, reeling off winners with his typically risque game.
Roddick, hindered by problems in his shoulder and knee, was forced to change tactics: he began to look for ways to end the points more quickly, take charge of the points, flatten out his forehand …
Bizarrely, the injuries forced him to adopt a winning strategy. Andy came back strong to win the next two sets, while the fatigue of the last week seemed to catch up on Marin at last.
But at an age when his contemporaries are starting to make splashes on the big stage, Marin Cilic did not want to wait for another chance at his first slam semi. Admirably, he fought off nerves and Roddick’s momentum in the fifth set, and returned to his consistent aggression of the first two sets. At 3-1, Cilic finally broke Roddick for the final time, and held serve for the rest of the set to close out the match for his place in the semi.
Q. Why are you playing such good tennis?
MARIN CILIC: ‘Cause I’m a good player (smiling).
That. You are.
At this stage of a slam, it’s all about how badly you want it. Justine Henin wanted it, and she wasn’t joking when she said that the competitive fire was rekindled in her.
It wasn’t the cleanest of matches from her, but the sudden rise in her level during her first set tiebreak against Nadia Petrova was frightening. Equally frightening was the way she dug herself out of a double break hole, and broke Nadia for a 76 75 win, her first straight sets victory since round 2.
Fault her serve during the match, fault her timing, fault her physical wear-and-tear. But there was one thing that you couldn’t fault Henin on during the match – her competitive instinct.
Boy, am I glad to see her back.
Bizarrely, the higher quality women’s quarterfinal today came not from Henin v Petrova, but from Zheng Jie v Kirilenko, who put on a display of shot-making and variety in women’s tennis.
The two were rather polar opposites – Zheng: short, compact, fast, flat-hitting, takes the ball impossibly early like a female version of Nikolay Davydenko. MariKiri: tall, lanky, hits with top spin, and rallies from the baseline with the ability to charge to the net.
Kiri will be disappointed that she lost what could possibly be her only chance to make a slam semi. But there was very little she could’ve done better – Zheng Jie made 9 unforced errors and 16 winners for the entire match. In women’s tennis, you depend on your opponents to give you something.
Zheng gave Kiri absolutely nothing.
How lovely is it to see two small gals who rely on their timing and shotmaking rather than brute power in the semifinal?
But I’m not giving it to Henin yet. One thing is for certain – whoever wins this won’t win on talent alone. Grand slams, they’re all about desires.
And we’re about to find out today just how badly does Nikolay Davydenko want it?
Australian Open: Week 2 Frazzle Post
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Reasons why Mandy will beat Fed tomorrow
- New aggressive attitude shown in the past two weeks
- Confidence – Murray still leading 6-4 in the H2H
- As usual, my retarded theory: Federer’s complacency after a strong semi. Roger has the tendency to play a hot match followed by a cold match. We’re due for a cold one.
- Form – Murray has served more aces, lost fewer sets and played the best tennis I’ve seen from him at a slam. Ever.
- Ferd the turd might turn up: Federer’s serve hasn’t been totally on this week.
- Fluoro armpits. Scary.
- Desire to win a first slam. To win a first slam beating Federer. To help the Brits win their first slam in 150,000 years by winning his first slam while beating Federer. Lastly, to earn Roger Federer’s respect.
Reasons Fed will beat Mandy tomorrow
- Big match experience, he’s done it 21 times before.
- The match may or may not be in Federer’s hands, but what matters is that Roger believes the match is in his hands
- The pressure on Murray: from his country and from himself, as a slamless 23 year old “heir apparent”
- By contrast, Roger has zero pressure: he defended his points, secured the No 1, looks happy and laid-back, and to be quite honest – he wouldn’t be crushed if he lost. BUT I’LL BE YOU FUCKWIT.
- TMF is in Melbourne. So is Ferd the turd. So who’ll stay home tomorrow to take care of the kids?
- The key to the match is Roger’s serve, which has been on and off all tournament. But that’s within his control.
- Hit for Haiti karma
Down Under Day 1: Smothering Shriekie.
My first time seeing Maria Sharapova live turned out to be some sort of vision of dystopia.
Between the bizarre wintry weather in the middle of summer and excessive rain delays turning Rod Laver Arena into a circus, Sharapova and Kirilenko managed put on a match that exhibited everything I hate about the WTA merry-go-round.
There was shrieking. There were double faults and chokes. There were a third of the spectators leaving mid-match. And there was the uninspiring, awful tennis accompanied by the groans of a tortured crowd.
To make matters worse, Sharapova turned up to the match wearing seaweed.
Sometimes, you just have no excuse.
If Maria Sharapova was the sort of player that lived by the sword and died by the sword, she certainly committed tennis suicide today. I saw a 3 hour match that was ultimated decided by unforced errors rather than winners – 77 unforced errors from Sharapova to 45 winners. Kirilenko wasn’t exactly shiny either – 41 errors to 26 winners.
Sharapova had no business losing the first set, having led by a break, had multiple chances to go up a double break, and lead through most of the tiebreak. But she did.
Kirilenko should’ve served out the match. She should not have played so conservatively through the second set and at 5-3 in the third set. But she didn’t know how to win any other way.
The crowd came back for the final games and sided with the babydoll-looking MariKiri. It probably bolstered her fight. In the end, it took a shocking game of errors and double faults from Sharapova to end all our misery, and MariKiri pulled off the first “upset” of the year – 76(4) 36 64.
Eff off. You don’t get a free pass from me for being pretty.
In her prodigious career, I don’t remember Sharapova ever disappointing me. I’ve never watched a match of hers where she didn’t walk off the court with her head held high. Win or lose.
Today that slate is no longer clean.
Having said all that, kudos for handling the press conference with class. If the world wants to hate a successful young woman with guts and talent, the world has problems.
But you didn’t need me to tell you that.
Q. Where is your level of disappointment, or do you just chalk it up, It’s first round of a Grand Slam, that can happen first round of a slam?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: I mean, I could be disappointed or I could just take it as it is and just go back on the court and just keep working.
I choose option two (smiling).
Q. What do you say to yourself now in order to recover, let’s say, psychologically from a defeat which is painful, I guess?
MARIA SHARAPOVA: Uhm, that it’s a bad day and you have to get on with your life. You know, there are many worse situations in life. There are people that don’t even know what a tennis match is in the world.
You know, just a bad day. A bad day’s not going to stop me from doing what I love. I’m still gonna go back on the court and work hard and perform. I’ll be back here on a Saturday of the second week, so you’ll watch.
Back to the practice court for you, girlfriend. That serve, the lateral movement … just work on everything and make my tennis universe normal again, okay?
In stark contrast to the first match, the second match on Rod Laver Arena had spectators trampling back in herds. Kim Clijsters bonecrushed Valerie Tetrault for her afternoon tea, 60 64. Mama Kim loves them young and inexperienced.
While Tetrault took a bagel to get used to the flashing lights of Rod Laver Arena, she eventually settled down in the second set and pulled off some well-constructed points. Until 4-all was all she could hang on until.
Kim was just too solid, too immune to the errors, double faults, brainfarts, and utter mediocrity that plagued the Kiri v Shaz match. The crowd appreciated it too, cheering for both players through the second set, and sending Kim many an adoring gaze.
Oh yeah, I saw some Scottish player blitz through his match too. Forgot the name. Can’t give you a picture either because he had fluro armpits.
Your thoughts …