Tag Archive | Marin Cilic

Frankly, I blame the ad board.

So you’re in a bad mood at work. You’ve been asked to stay back for 3 days in a row and work overtime by your boss without any prior notice or monetary compensation. To top it all off, the project you’ve just been working on hasn’t been going according to plan.

After spending an hour on a frustrating phone call, you’ve finally had enough. You get up off your chair and throw you phone against a wall. You managed to miss the wall, but didn’t manage to miss a poor contractor in your office, whose head starts bleeding immediately. Because, ya know … that’s generally what happens when human flesh comes into contact with harsh, sharp objects travelling at high velocity. Read More…

USO2011 Day 4 (by PJ): Oldies rocking socks.

Hola and hello to all! I hope you’ve been enjoying the lovely LJ’s posts, and now it’s back to yours truly for a bit. I have to admit I’m doing this wrap post without actually watching any tennis – only livescoring (at work – and that is no easy task, trying to maintain a balance between not tearing my hair out and pretending to work).

I, however, did set an alarm at 4AM, just to check the score of Federer/Sela, and he was seemingly cruising and I was definitely half-dead so I crawled back to bed, feeling somewhat assured. From the Twitter timeline and the stats, Pants played a good, solid match – losing only 8 points on serve and a 45% BP conversion (which is quite spectacular for him).

How lovely and also, how very hot of you.

Read More…

US Open 2011 (by LJ): Day 1 wrap

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.

ATP

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.

Other notables:

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.

WTA

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:

DEAR NIKE,

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

LJ

Aus Open Days 7-8: Weekend Blues

The end of Week 1 always makes me a blue.

The first week of the Aus Open has a village fair atmosphere to it, so full of youth and vibrancy. People come for the tennis, but also for star-gazing, freebies, amusement park-styled stalls, and a little rock-and-roll with the live bands.

By the second week, the smell of sausages is gradually replaced with the smell of gun-power … or Dootsie’s hair on fire. This is serious business bitches. So serious, that it must be spelt SRS BSNS.

DSCF4181.JPG_effected


DSCF4179.JPG_effected

Anyone heard John Isner’s Barmy Army at the Aus Open?

Here they are. In their own universe, it all made sense.

DSCF4173.JPG_effected

So getting down to the SRS BSNS: I spent my entire weekend right where I spent the last one: at Melbourne Park, making it 9 consecutive days of dawn to dusk tennis, and by close of play on Sunday, I was bleeding yellow fuzz coming of my nostrils.

There is such a thing as tennistical overkill, after all.

1. Canadian tennis. It like … exists or something.

DSCF4110.JPG_effected

As of Sunday night, when Andy Roddick was whipped off the court by the Wawrinka backhand, Milos Raonic became the only “North American” left in both the men and women’s draw. He eventually ran out of steam today against Ferrer, losing in 4 sets after taking the first emphatically, but I saw him earlier, against Youzhny, where he clobbered the Headclobber with icy power.

Not much not to like – massive serve, attacking, purposeful baseline game with a good affinity to the net – an unfortunate resemblance to Mark the Poo. Let’s hope Milos has more motivation and less of a penchant for reality TV than Scud.

The only thing I’m sure I’ll grow to dislike: hearing his migrant family story over and over again in the years to come.

2. New balls, pwease.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen one day when I lose my Swiss muse. As much as I love tennis, words just flow more when I write about McWoger – or rather – they burst through a dam of angst, anger and adoration.

But new faces are focussing out of the blur too – faces that I think I could get used to:

  • Cilic Peppers, despite losing erratically to Rafa last night, is looking less like an empty shell and more like the shot-twisting stick insect that he was one year ago.
  • Dolgopolurrrve seems to have caught the annual Aussie Open giant-slaying bug, literally slaying the gigantic Tsonga and Soderling. I remember the first time I ever saw his name at last year’s Brisbane International: “how on earth did Bernanrd Tomic lose to someone named Oleksandr Dolgopolov Jnr?” I asked. I don’t think anyone would be saying that after the spirited performance he put on against Soderling yesterday.
  • The Petkorazzi, newly crowned Miss Popularity of the Aussie Open, danced on the grave of Maria Sharapova after defeating her in straight sets. As much as I hate to admit it, Shazza has completely lost the zinging presence she used to have on court – her movement exploited, her power matched, but her mind and spirit as eager as ever. As a fan, it’s been a hard journey watching her attempt to rediscover her slam-winning form pre-injury, a journey that del Potro fans will take in the coming year.
  • Petra Kvitova, shotmaking brilliant in its sheer randomness, eyes shining with desire and determination. Sam Stosur couldn’t have done much more to neutralise the deluge, and mercifully, most of the Australian media have picked up on this assessment.
  • Bernard Tomic, almost universally disliked in tennis fandom, deserved a lot of credit for the pressure he unexpectedly exerted on Nadal. I wonder if sometimes, it takes a little bit of brattishness to be nonchalant to the occasion of playing the top seed and one of the great guys on the ATP tour. As for his style of play, until he moves with the kind of cat-like court coverage that Murray brings to the game, I think we can stop with that comparison. If anything, Tomic plays like Marin Cilic with greater variation.

None of them stirs up the kind of dam-bursting desire to blog that Wogie McFed does, perhaps I won’t find another muse like him for a long time, but they are reasons to keep watching and keep returning to the moving tides of tennis, to see if these tiny ripples converge into tidal waves of awesome further down stream.

3. THE MATCH.

I could come up with a wittier tag line, but I think CAPSLOCK suffices to express my awe. You know you’ve just witness something that transcends tennis when your non-tennis following friends ring you to let you know, “I just saw the most amazing tennis match …”

There is a difference (or so I’ve always felt) between fearlessness and bravery, being not just the mere absence of fear. Sometimes, it is precisely brave to overcome your fear, to play through it and live dangerously. To paraphrase a well-known truism, “it is better to have fought and lost than to have never fought at all.”

And third set between Schiavone and Kuznetsova epitomised this sentiment to poignantly. Neither wanted to lose, both struggled physically and mentally to hold and to convert match points. Yet neither relied on the other to hand the match over on a silver plait. Neither stopped making their shots, swinging for the fences. Neither stopped attacked, or fell back into their comfort zone. The longer the match went for (the clock finally stopped at 4:44), the more they put on the line. Winner takes all, loser is left with nothing but the tale of a lifetime.

Unlike the Petkorazzi or Kvitova, there was no merry dance to celebrate this fight to death; there was no youthful, eager spark in the eyes of either woman, a desire to prove oneself on a big stage for the first time in their career. Sveta and Franny played with such bravery, maturity and hearts of steel that they made the contrast between girl and woman on the WTA tour an incredible sight to behold in a single tournament.

Perhaps the best moment after the match was when Svetlana Kuznetsova logged onto Twitter after the match with this tweet:

i was worryed that i gaig one kg…i think i ve lost it)))

It takes a giant well of optimism to joke about your own heartache.

4. The Outsider

The amount of Wawrinka-hate I am being exposed to in tennis fandom these days is making me sick.

Such is the absurdity of human existence, that when a man decides, for whatever reason UNKNOWN to us, to end a relationship and inform the world of it, our first reaction is to judge. Our second – to hate. Our third – to wish a fellow human being ill. As my nan would say, if you haven’t got anything nice to say to that, don’t fucking speak at all.

At the end of the day, Wawrinka is a tennis player. What he chooses to do with his private life is none of our fucking business. He’s never going to be the next Mister Family Man, but without cheating on court, without bringing an inexcusable attitude to tennis, I had no reason not to cheer him on as he played like a man possessed to dismiss Roddick, hitting a total of 67 winners to 19 unforced errors.

I hope Wogie McFed saw the stats sheet.

x610.jpg_effected

xx doots

What They Wore: Winners and Sinners

They were the best of the rest, and the worst of the rest. These are the outfits that have made an impression in 2010, for one reason or another.

Let’s start with the worst, shall we? There is always something sinfully fun about criticizing someone else’s outfit.

1. Caroline Wozniacki, Australian Open til Roland Garros

Oh Stella, Stella, Stella. As far as clothing’s concerned, Ms McCartney has been everyone else’s favourite punching bag for 2010. But there is a reason for that: which part of shapeless, slate-grey rags with leaf patterns suggest “fashion hit” to you? Just look at poor Carol’s indignant face of pain OH WAIT –

That’s her normal game face.

Wozniacki

2. Caroline Wozniacki, US Open til Will-This-Ever-End?

It’s semi-sheer. There is some form of bodice/bondage with horizontal stretch marks on the fabric. It hovers over her upper thigh, leaving you wondering where “the rest of it” has gone. Is it possible to give CWoz – a young, fit, female athlete – bulges where bulges do not exist?

Why yes! As Stella would say, “Impossible is NOTHING”.

Wozniacki

3. Victoria Azarenka, US Open Series

I geddit. I geddit! Nerd is chic. Socially awkward, borderline Aspergers folks like Mark Zuckerberg are all the rage, programming your life into “walls” and “pokes” and “relationship statuses”. It’s okay. It’s about time.

But COME THE FUCK ON. There is nothing remotedly chic about wearing the double helix.

Vika

4. Aravane Rezai, Gold Foil 2010

There is so much gold foil going on here you wonder how many Lindt Bunnies died to make this dress. Don’t go around wearing this near a microwave oven now.

Rezai

5. Aravane Rezai, Life in Plastic, It’s Fantastic.

Ever seen one of those “eco-fashion” shows?

They’re a bit like the modern Emperor’s New Clothes. Everyone claps along politely and talks about the importance of sustainability, environmental protection, when all the while, they are furiously trying to figure out why there are models parading around wearing ACTUAL PLASTIC BAGS.

That was how I felt, upon sighting this horror.

Rezai

Rezai

6. Marin Cilic, Davis Cup Tragic

I do not fucking care! No really. I do not. Whatever your national colours; however strong your “team spirit”, there is no excuse for wearing a picnic blanket on court.

Marin

7. Marin Cilic, US Open Tragic

Own up. Which one of you menstruated over him?

Marin Cilic

(I DID NOT WANT TO SAY IT IT CALLED OUT TO ME TO BE SAID)

8. Sam Stosur, First Half of 2010

There are many things to be said about this orange-ish, peachy, shapeless mess. But I believe Jodi of Tennis From Beyond the Baseline summed it up best when I ran into her at the Australian Open earlier in 2010:

“No one needs an apricot dress.”

Sam Stosur

Those are some of the worst outfits I personally remember in 2010. Have I missed any other travesties of international proportions? Lemme know.

But until then, without further ado: the best of the rest.

1. Gael Monfils, US Open

It was his first year with K-Swiss, and already, they’ve captured Gael’s personality so much more accurately than Nike ever did.

I don’t love or hate the clothes and hair per se. If Wogie had walked out looking like that, I would be banging my head against a rock hoping I destroy enough brain cells to make me forget it all.

But on Monfools, it all fell together to look so … Monfoolish. Likey likey.

Gael

The black and neon green version was also a little be funky.

Gael

2. Sam Stosur, US Open

This reminded me of Flavia Pennetta’s US Open 2009 dress, it was crisp, it was fitted, and I don’t know about you, but I personally have no issues with female athletes actually looking like female athletes.

Want to promote positive body image for young women? Celebrities posing nude for fashion glossies don’t help in the slightest. But seeing someone like Sam Stosur exude fitness and strength does.

Stosur

The dark purple version, which was also lovely.

Stosur

3. Pretty In Pink

What is it about Victoria Azarenka that just looks so good in pink?

If “real men wear pink”, then ironically, girls-gals often look horrendous in pink. Sure – it’s a feminine colour, but too much feminine pinkness can make it look like you accidentally ate Hello Kitty for breakfast.

Vika, on the other hand, gets the balance right in both her Australian Open and Roland Garros outfits.

Vika

Vika

That’s another thing: happy young people looking like happy young people. A point the likes of Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic often miss in their effort to look photoshop-worthy on court.

Talking about pink, I thought Alona Bondarenko looked like a teenage dream in her Australian Open dress.

ABond

4. Vera Zvonareva, Roland Garros 2010

Like Vera herself, K-Swiss is rather underrated. The colours are fresh. The combination of the pleated skirt and the simple tank top is sporty and feminine.

She doesn’t get many fancy, seasonal outfits every year, but you can always depend on Vera Zvonareva to look professional and sleek, 100% of the time.

Vera2

5. Michelle Louder de Bretter, Wimbledon 2010

My favourite dress of the year has nothing to do with fancy tulle, vibrant colours or original designs. At the end of the day, it comes down to simplicity, class, and something that I can picture myself wearing. Not to mention, I love white and navy.

Anyone know who it’s by? I thought she was with adidas?

Michelle Louder de Better

xx doots

Passing Thoughts: 5 things you may have missed in the last week.

1. Oh yeah. The WTA Whu-Thu-Fuh. You got your winner.

With the qualifier that I find either of these players stylistically bland, and personality-wise criminally unoffensive in every way, it was a good final. Not epic by Year-End Championships standards (Henin v Sharapova will remain the best YEC final I’ve watched on the women’s side of things, perhaps for years to come) but there was substance to it, and Kim managed to close out the match despite one giant wobble in the second set.

To be honest, I can’t tell if Kim 2.0 is really less neurotic than Kim 1.0, or if the rest of the field just can’t put up a “big match player” anymore.

610x-1.jpg_effectedI just don’t get this dress. I mean – where is the rest of it?

Player of the year? The three contenders, without a doubt, are Kim, Serena, and Wozniacki, and at the end of the day, none of those three can wear that title comfortably.

Can you be player of the year if you don’t actually play for the whole year?

Can you be player of the year if you’ve only dominated on one surface, predominantly in one region of the world?

And perhaps the most rhetorical question of all, regardless of how much weight you’d like to “discount” from slams (for that seems to be the trend whenever one talks about the WTA these days), can you really be player of the year if you’ve only posted 2 fourth rounds, 1 quarterfinal and 1 semifinal on the big stage?

2.  FACT: It’s actually illegal in Australia for Pat Rafter to wear pants. (True story. Oh believe me.)

In more serious news, Rafter has been appointed to Captain of the Australian Davis Cup team, while Tony Roche was reinstated as the coach. First on their “To Do” list?

Get back into the World Group? Nay.

Find new talent in Australian tennis? Nay!

Invade New Zealand? Tempting, but nay nay nay!

Quite simply, Rafter is planning to recover that something missing from Australian tennis in the last few years – camaraderie. The Hewitt v Tomic feud has to go.

“It’s something we will work on over the next few months,” Rafter said in Brisbane, “It’s no secret they have had issues but I really believe we can sit down and can resolve this.”

“It would be really important for Bernard to have someone like Lleyton around – he would offer him so much,” he said.

[Rafter also alluded to the benefit of having Roche exert more influence on him, rather than Tomic’s dad.]

“I think his (Tomic’s) father has done a good job with him but I think it would be good if he did some work with someone like Rochey,” he said.

“For him to use Rochey would be very advantageous for him – I really hope he does take advantage of him.”

It’s the right idea in theory, but its success would depend on Tomic not being a whiny little shit.

I’m not holding my breath.

3. Ana Ivanovic has parted ways with Heinz Gunthardt, citing a clash of family/career commitments. She’ll be going it alone in Bali.

Not that her problem has ever been the coach. The best coach in the world can’t help you find peace with yourself.

“Looking ahead, I really need a full-time coach who is with me at all tournaments and during training periods. Heinz has family and other obligations, which I fully respect, so he is unable to give me the kind of commitment I am looking for.”

Gunthardt said: “It’s been a real pleasure working with Ana. She’s got lots of talent and I feel in the last few months the hard work that we have put in started to pay off. If Ana feels she needs a coach at her side full-time to be able to further improve, it cannot be me.”

“I wish her all the best and I will be supporting her.”

Source: AI.com

4.  Serious question: is Marin Cilic’s brain made out of eggshell?

No one knows what’s wrong, but losing to Haider-Maurer in Vienna? This has gone way past what we can still legitimately call a post-breakthrough burnout.

This lost soul is wandering the wild moors of tennis, and I don’t see him finding his way back before he has to defend his shiploads of points during the early hard court season next year. Watch out for a nose-smashing forward-2½-somersault-with-three-twists-in-pike-position dive down the rankings in 2011.

5. All these years, I was convinced that I was be the only person who found Vera Zvonareva beautiful – in every old fashion sense of that word – off court.

It seems that the Russian glossies are starting to pick up on that too, as two magazines, Prosports and Harpers Bazaar both features Vera prominently in their latest issues. It’s a bit like seeing your favourite indie band make it into the Top 40 charts. All you want to do is scream “I SAW IT FIRST BITCH”.

Enjoy.

a20145465505

0b8f44285722

2f46ed66b858

f75560a218e4

wjxjzl

f53fdf

2yuktn4

dgqv6h

Roland Garros Day 1: Play.

There’s a Paris that exists in popular imagination as romantic, delicious and artistic. Symbol of good taste.

Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), that is not the Paris that Roland Garros brings out. The sole slam on clay tends to show the other side of this lovely city – the side that stormed the Bastille and chopped off the king’s head.

So it was with trepidation that I turned on my live stream to watch a few WTA first round clashes. The women’s side has been prone to early top seed wipeouts lately, and Sveta and Venus both had potentially tricky first round opponents. Surprisingly, they both made it through with relative ease, taking out Cirstea 63 61 and Nutty Patty 63 63.

For Sveta, the cloud of defending champ voodoo hung over her head as she quickly got down 0-3 with a string of errors. But as she stepped up to the baseline to serve at 0-3, three of her forehands suddenly found themselves within the lines. She held, gave herself a couple of fist pumps and went on to win 12 of the next 13 games.

Probably the most convincing match I’ve seen Sexlana play since the Australian Open, and didn’t she play it just in time?

(Pity about Sori, with a quarterfinal to defend, looks like she’ll be taking a dive down the rankings.)

As for Venus, the good news is her problem lately hasn’t been the early rounds. The bad news is that it tends to be in the semis or the finals where she completely no-shows.

We’ll see what happens in Paris. Do check out her ‘Lady Marmalade’ inspired outfit though. “Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”

While Sveta and Venus dodged the upset bug, there was no such luck for Vika, who was thoroughly outclassed by Gisela Dulko, 61 62. That Vika should fall to a well-known giant-killer was not surprising. But the score, and the contrast between the hot mess that was Azarenka and the cool cola kid in Dulko didn’t make it pretty for the 10th seed. Dulko played an intelligent match, with just the right mix of guile and consistency to flummox Vika. It was a good time to step up – she’s in a cushy part of the draw.

On the men’s side of things, if Mandy was the Nole of 07, and Delpo was the Mandy of 08, then Cilic is the Delpo of 09 and Ernie is the Cilic of … umm, never mind. Tsonga was supposed to be somebody, I’m just not sure who. In any case, it’s just another ascending scale of non-performance, with a caveat on Del Potro’s injury. And with Roger and Serena winning the Aus Open, and Rafa and Justine in fine form for Roland Garros, 2010 feels a little … well, 2007.

I can live with that.

Day 1 of Roland Garros saw Tsonga taken to 5 sets by Daniel Brands, eventually winning 46 63 62 67 75. An erratic Marin Cilic, at one stage, split sets and went down a break in the third set to Ricardo Mello – a guy who has only won back-to-back tour-level matches once in his career. Cilic eventually prevailed 61 36 63 61, and yet I couldn’t help but remember the Australian Open, where Cilic Peppers persisted erratically, winning tough round after round until bodily fatigue finally wore down an eager heart. Think we’re headed for a repeat? Or worse – an early exit?

With his results lately, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Last week, Rafa and Roger respectably disagreed on whether how much of a player’s clay season performance depends on their performance in the tournaments leading up to Roland Garros, and how much of it depends on what happens in Paris. Gulbis and MJMS rode into Paris on a wave of good publicity after their successes during the European clay circuit. They came looking to cause bangs, but left with nothing but whimpers of pain, as MJ crashed out to Amanmuradova 62 64 and Ernie retired when down to Julien Benneteau 46 26 01 with a hamstring injury.

It’s a shame not to live up to expectations and form, because 3 years from now, I’m not sure how many of us will remember the clay season either of them had.

xx doots

Weekend Winners: Bad karma sutra.

A little snippet of the Melbourne music scene before we get onto the tennis, worth it just for the guy at the start.

*

*

1. Dear Tennis Gods, it would be great if you … you know … stopped kicking my ass. Weekend results – in the order of misery:

Madrid: Aravene Rezai def Justine Henin: 46 75 60.

Madrid: Lucie Safarova def Maria Sharapova 64 63.

Whatshisface def. GOAT 62 76(5).

Darth Federer def Dootsie 60 60.

I wonder how Maria Sharapova feels these days – back in 08, she was playing the best tennis of her career before her body came crashing down on her. She came back, slowly but surely, climbing her way into the top 20 with a rustier, more uncertain brand of tennis, before her body crashed again.

But Sharapova wouldn’t be Sharapova if she didn’t have that never-ending relentlessness to her. It’s no surprise that she lost first match in Madrid – coming back from injury, rusty, hasn’t played or won much this year, she had the misfortune of drawing the baby-faced giant-killer that is Lucie Safarova. No frazzling needed – her comeback from injury begins in earnest in Strasbourg.

As for Justine, she was reportedly ill after Stuttgart, looks like she ran out of gas in the third set. I say “looks like”, since no network had the decency to cover an OOP featuring Venus, Henin and Sharapova.

*

*

2. To top it off, Jizzy let match point slip at 63 53 before losing to Querrey 36 76(4) 64. WHAT. EVER. No one wants an erectile dysfunctional trophy anyway.

Mentioning erectile dysfunction …

(Lordy, Nole looks pre-pubescent.)

*

*

3. Since his very public act of self-mutilation two years ago, Mikhail Youzhny has tumbled down the rankings before sneaking his way slowly back up. Who knew? Dude’s closing in on Top 10 again.

Over in Munich, Mish outlasted Red Hot Cilic Peppers 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, making it third time lucky for the finalist of 2007 and 2009.

Marin. Scruffy. Dimples. Alas …

4. Over in Estoril, Whatshisface successfully defended his title. *grumbles*

What happens in Estoril stays in Estoril, ya hear me?

xx doots

Monte Carlo (and more): Public Enemy No 1.

1. How much does Rafael Nadal want to win Monte Carlo? As much as Sue Sylvester wants non-Sneaky Gays, more than an obese person wants hot chips with chicken salt and North American Federer fans want their Federporn delivered on Thursdays.

Analogies, I’m terrible at them. He wants it bad is what I’m saying.

Two matches, 2 breadsticks, 2 bagels. They don’t come served steaming hot with Swiss cheese, but that’s not to say they’re not just as a good. As far as I’m concerned, they’re better that way.

*

*

2. 5 Spaniards in the final 8 in Monte Carlo. Someone once told me that Spanish players are white shirts to French players’ tie-dyes. Outside Nadal and – for mostly nostalgic reasons – JCF, not a lot of them catch my eye.

Well … at least not in any professional way.

Mentioning JCF, he served up some baked goods of his own on route to a 61 36 75 victory over Jo-Wills. The Mossie might be 16-1 on clay this year, but he comes up against an impossible roadblock next: Mr Bakery himself.

“I would love to play him in the semi-final or the final, but right now the draw is like this,” Ferrero told reporters.

“I have more experience. Maybe my serve and my backhand are a little bit better, and physically I’m stronger than in 2003,” he said, although he would not state he was a better player overall.

Source: Yahoo.com.au

No, he would not and should not, having only won 2 of his last 8 meetings against Rafa. But he did hit us with this fabulous line.

“I know Rafa very well but we all know he is the number one public enemy on clay.”

Nice one. You’re gonna go down Juanqui, but you’re gonna go down swingin’.

Surprisingly, one Spaniard didn’t make it to the quarterfinals – Tommy Rob, who was dispatched in straight sets by a certain Daveed, 63 64.

Nalbandian smiling on a tennis court generally blows my mind.

Nalbandian smiling on a tennis court with what appears to be Roger Federer’s hair makes my brain combust into a gooey pile of ashes.

WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME?

*

*

3. “Upset” of the day, Marin Cilic was booted out of the principality by Montanes 64 64, although I’m not sure how upsetting it really is when a big-serving Croatian loses out to a small and speedy Spaniard. An Australian Open burn-out and movement issues on clay in equal measures.

The upset of the tournament so far, however, goes to Mandy, who made the trip to Monte Carlo in vain, losing his first match to Kohlschreiber. As good as Kohlschreiber is, it has become clear by now that Mandy’s in a psychological funk. The Fed didn’t just defeat him to win the Australian Open crown, he broke him.

But the strange thing with Andy Murray is his incredible self-awareness. He’s always been one to know his own limitations. It’s solely up to Mandy now to unbreak himself out of this lethargy that has been clouding over his tennis since his tears in Melbourne.

Q.  Could you compare the moment you are living now, this result, with another moment of your career?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I’ve been  – I mean – obviously the last two tournaments have been bad.  You know, yeah, it’s been a long time since I lost a couple of matches like this.

But I think, you know, I have to make sure that, uhm, you know, I don’t panic.  You know, everyone I think can go through periods where they don’t play well.  You know, I’ve lost to good players.  Obviously, the score line has not been very close in the last couple of matches.

I just need to start playing better.  It’s probably been a couple of years.  Last year, the whole year, I was very consistent.  The years before that, I was a little bit inconsistent.  But I need to try and find that again and find my consistency, then I’ll start to play well.

No reason to panic for Muzz fans – if he has any, I suspect a small part of him is living for the July-September stretch of the season already. Bizarrely enough, sometimes I feel that more so than perhaps even Federer, Andy Murray is the one player at a stage in his career where he cares only about majors.

Because he ran out of things to prove elsewhere a year ago.

*

*

4. Excuse the total lack of WTA coverage, usually women’s tennis interests me a lot more than men’s tennis during the clay season.

It’s been so far so good for the top seeds in Charleston, as Wozniacki (def Schnyder), Petrova (def Wozniak), Jankovic (def Rodina) and Zvonareva (Bondarenko) all progressed into the quarterfinals in straight sets. Peng Peng Shuai Shuai and Dani Hantuchova are also in their first clay quarterfinals of the year, as they wrapped up their wins over Vesnina and Angelique Kerber respectively in 3.

As I write this, Sam Stosur is up 3-0 in the final set, after taking the first set 6-1 but conceding the second 3-6 against Vera Dush.

Slam her, Sammy!

Over in Barcelona, Franny defeated local favourite CSN for a place in the semi, while Shvedova, Dulgheru and Vinci all came through their quarterfinals in straight sets in front of what seems like a total of 5 spectators.

Small revelation while I was streaming Barcelona yesterday – Roberta Vinci = vastly underrated player. Amongst her, Franny and Flavs, the Italians have one stylish Fed Cup team.

*

*

5. Time to file that restraining order Jelena, Daddy’s on parole.

The AP is reporting that the Serbian court has freed Damir Dokic on parole. Dokic was convicted of threatening to blow up the Australian ambassador and sentenced to 15 months in prison. That sentence was later reduced to 12 months. Dokic was released on Thursday.

Picspam: Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer.

With upsets all the rage in Dubai, one can’t help but wonder if Dubai’s carnivorous birds jinxed the tournament into sheer anarchy.

Day 2 of the tournament saw Muzzball, Davo and Jo-Wills all crash out at the hands of lower-ranked players. Djoko survived a scare, conceding the first set before he managed slow-cooked Troicki into defeat. Only Marin progressed in straights with a victory over Koubek.

Yer go Cilic Peppers.

Don’t cha geddit, Dubai organisers? No one really wants to put their hand into that thing.

Uhuh. The Fed decided to turn up to the players’ party for the second year in a row without actually playing the tournament.

Yeah douchebag, spread those lung-infectious germs! Spit into their drinks when they’re not looking!

While he was there, Roger received a gift from a local artist. Somehow, I don’t think he’ll be hangin’ that in his living room.

Nole was game enough for the falcon of course. Wouldn’t have expected any less from him. They are birds of a feather after all.

And as the draw opened up spectacularly overnight, perhaps it’s finally time for the Falcon to defend a title for the first time in his career.

Although knowing him, he’ll probably just cockblock himself into failure again.