Andy Murray’s 11:02 p.m. “beat the clock” adventure was a one-of-a-kind experience. Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey merely played the second-longest match in Wimbledon history (though only HALF as long as Mahut-Isner). Serena Williams and Zheng Jie played one of the best third-round matches in the history of any major tennis tournament. Brian Baker continued his feel-good story. Mardy Fish authored a brand-new feel-good narrative of his own. Tamira Paszek, Ana Ivanovic, and Sabine Lisicki are rebounding better than LeBron James did in the NBA Finals. Maria Sharapova remains the consummately consistent player of the WTA Tour. David Ferrer is playing his best tennis at age 30. PETRA KVITOVA SMASH THINGS! Read More…
Doots: Alright bitches. Let’s get down to business. First thoughts on Wombly draw?
PJ: Looks good for the Old Man, looks good for Rafa, whatever for Djokovic and LOLOLOLOL for Muzzface.
LJ: I’m overwhelmed by the amount of WTFckery 1st round matchups we have.
Kohli vs Haas: WHYYYYY? Both would have made good runs to 4th round. Read More…
Miami Monday Preview
- Stosur, probably the least fierce member of the WTA top 10, take on Masha Epitome-of-Fierce. You won’t want to miss this train wreck of shrieky implosions.
- Wogie takes on Baby Jesus, one of the few guys on the ATP who seems to root against Fed in a partisan way. All the more reason to SMASH HIM LIKE A GUITAR.
- Rafa plays Flopez, the last man to beat Rafael Nadal on grass; but the Universal Law of Paella says Nadal makes a quick meal out of him.
- Jo-Willy seeks revenge against his Aussie Open spoiler Dolgolurve, preferably shirtlessand moob-ful.
- I’ve seen Kim play some fairly atrocious tennis just in 2011 alone, but in 9 out of 10 cases, she’ll come through, playing like a hot mess and looking like a total winner. Expect more of the same against Fistpumpovic tomorrow. Prove me wrong?
STADIUM start 11:00 am
 S Stosur (AUS) vs  M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
 C Wozniacki (DEN) vs  A Petkovic (GER) – WTA
Not Before 2:00 PM
 R Federer (SUI) vs  J Monaco (ARG) – ATP
 R Nadal (ESP) vs F Lopez (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 7:30 PM
 A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs  J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP
Not Before 9:00 PM
 A Ivanovic (SRB) vs  K Clijsters (BEL) – WTA
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
C Berlocq (ARG) vs  T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
[Q] O Rochus (BEL) vs  M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs  J Jankovic (SRB) – WTA
Not Before 4:30 PM
 F Schiavone (ITA) vs  A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
 G Simon (FRA) vs P Cuevas (URU) – ATP
COURT 2 start 11:00 am
S Peng (CHN) vs  A Dulgheru (ROU) – WTA
P Petzschner (GER) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB) – ATP
 N Almagro (ESP) vs F Mayer (GER) – ATP
 M Bartoli (FRA) vs  V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA
He doesn’t care about Masters anymore.
He doesn’t know how to handle big hitters.
He’s no longer motivated after winning 16 slams.
The crowd is bored of a guy who has dominated tennis for the last 7 years.
Roger Federer’s brain has turned into baby poop.
With the exception of the last, Roger Federer proved all of the above statements to be false as he roared his way to a 63 57 76(5) win over Berdy.
To my fellow Fedophiles: take this rare chance to relish our smugness, repeat after me (resort to fist pumps and neck movements if necessary) FUCK YEAH FUCK YEAH FUCK YEAH FUCK YEAH.
And to those experts who called it otherwise: UP YOURS UP YOURS UP YOURS UP YOURS.
How do I sum up the match? Fed floated, he fell. He flailed, he fought. And boy, did he fight like the junkyard dog he used to be! Before the lung infection, before Indian Wells and Miami morphed Federer into a scrappy, slightly timid player, unable to claim the chances gifted to him. He dug deep, changed his body language after getting down 1-4 in the final set and found the emotional energy to stay strong in the match.
The first set wasn’t as close as a 63. The second set should’ve ended in a tiebreak. The third set should’ve been lost at 3-6. But it matters not.
What matters is that I saw deliberate wrong-footing tactics, instead of his usual go-with-the-flow approach. I saw an incredible 24 out of 29 points won at the net for a guy who normally looks too lazy to bend down for a volley. I saw improved movement around the court. I saw a set and a half of sublime backhands NOT dunked into the net. I saw some spectacular clutch serving at 5-6 in the third set when he needed the tiebreak. And best of all? I saw a crowd who treated him as one of their own and carried him to victory.
It wasn’t always pretty, but it was the sort of mental wobble he needed to battle past to become competitive mentally again, and regardless of what happens tomorrow or (should he win) on Sunday, Toronto has provided him with enough of an upward momentum for the US Open series.
That’s what matters.
As for Berdych – dude made a stand. He fought any breakpoints Federer had after the first set with positive, aggressive tennis – key to his ability to push this match to a third set tiebreak.
… and that’s as nice as I’ll be to a guy who fist-pumps and death-stares after his opponent’s errors. Mental games? You ain’t no Lleyton Hewitt bitch.
Numbers for you to crunch on.
Meanwhile, Rafa seemed to have contracted Roger’s breakpointivitis for a while during his match against Kohlismylover, eventually toughing it out 36 63 64 despite having numerous opportunities to break earlier in the third set. Kohlschreiber played an electric first set but made the error of letting Rafa into the match too early in the second set. From then on, Rafa started to loosen up and Kohly unknowingly fell into a more passive pattern of play, particularly on his returns.
Rafa will have to perk up for his next opponent, as Toothface had no trouble dismissing an out-of-sorts Nalbandian 62 62. Meanwhile Djoko breathed easily against Jeremy Chardy in the last match of the night session – 62 63.
We have a great weekend of tennis excellence lined up: in Canada, the men’s top 4 are through to the semis for the first time in tournament history, while in Cincinnati, 3 former World No 1s are due for some semifinal action.
Maria Sharapova prevailed in a dominant win over Marion Bartoli – 61 64 – despite a slight wobble when trying to close out the match in the second set. Not that I saw any of it – I was too busy eating Neapolitan ice cream with my eyes. She’ll meet Nastya Pavs for the first time tomorrow for a place in the final.
By the way, Nike? This double-helix thing isn’t working for me.
Ivanovic, on the other hand, defeated the 114th ranked Uzbek, Akgul Amanmuradova, in tongue twister 6-1 6-3. Woah, she’s back! Er … if by back you mean beating players outside the top 100, instead of losing to Julie Coin. Grand slam success surely just around the corner now bitches. You watch!
Kim Clijsters had a tougher time than I expected against Flavs, eventually coming through 7-6 (6), 6-4 despite making 39 unforced errors. You’d think she’ll make it past Ivanovic, you’d think, wouldn’t ya? Judging by form this week, I doubt it’ll be a walk in the park.
Enjoy the frazzles folks. We get to keep up the smugness for at least another day.
From Stefan Koubek’s blog (fanks, Google Translate):
So from Monday til today (Thursday), I’ve been in Zurich training with Roger, who now knows everyone. And since Roger is now trying a collaboration with Paul Annacone, I thought I must not be outdone: I’ve taken Znene along to the training camp – the Peter Znenahlik. 😉
It looks good in training: Roger and Paul Annacone over there, me and Znene over here. We chat amongst ourselves when Annacone and Roger talks. Znene teaches me about hockey for hours, but I still know more about tennis. Although I have to admit of course: Znene is a help and a great companion – after all, he’s been traveling with me long enough on the tour.
I had a stomach ache before this week because I haven’t trained at all recently due to this thing with my finger. Fortunately, it’s now almost 100 percent recovered, but the training has been very hard for me. It’s not so much the length – we train for two or three hours – it’s the intensity. Roger just plays extremely fast and at a crazy high level, making very, very few mistakes.
Roger’s physio was there on the first day and taped up my finger, which has helped me. What have we been practicing on? We played a lot of cross court and down the line drills (not sure about the translation for “Wir haben viel cross und longline gespielt”?), a lot of points where you have an incentive, because otherwise the drills are a bit bland. We played a lot of different things, like serving on targets, a lot of variety. Roger and I are similar because we cannot do the same thing all the time.
Training with Roger in Zurich is always a bit different to our training in Dubai or Sardinia: since he lives here, his friends and family are here, so he has a lot to do. That is, we almost only see each other during training. At the other places we train, we spend more time together. It’s too bad, but I understand.
Last night, we went to dinner with Paul Annacone. That was really very nice. The guy is very nice and has no airs … I mean, this is one of the best coaches in the world, he has worked with Pete Sampras and Henman, and then me, Znene and him chat over dinner and talk about the tennis. And he told how he won once in Vienna. It was a really nice evening.
Yes, Roger’s twins have grown. I was here in Zurich exactly a year ago with Roger, when they just were born. The last time I saw them was in Australia. They have become really sweet.
Tonight I’m going to Vienna, and Kitzbühel tomorrow where I play an exhibition on Saturday, and on Saturday night, I’m going to Turkey, where I lead a children’s camp. Also something new for me, but I’m looking forward to it.
- Always comforting to see Koubek there. For some reason, Roger has always done well after he’s used Stefan to sharpen his knives.
- Quite a few people have wondered when the Federcone collaboration will start. Judging from Koubek’s blog, it’s already started.
- Koubek sounds like he has a man-crush on Roger.
- Kohlschreiber, if you didn’t know already, has also been invited to Zurich to train with Federer. Despite making no public appearance since Wimbledon, the Fed has created an air of “beware the wounded lion”, doing everything from hiring a new coach to manically practicing away in the Zurich.
Roger’s Cup can’t come soon enough.
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.
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.
Congratulations to Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick. Miami Champs for 2010.
Ljubicic is in the Indian Wells final. Good for Papa Ivan, but golly-gee, I hate Indian Wells.
BRING ON MIAMI ALREADY.
1. It’s official, Andy Murray has left Fred Perry for adidas.
It’s a pity, he had spent all those years wearing whatever potato sac Fred Perry gave him, and just when the designs got better this year, Mandy’s leaving.
In an official statement, adidas confirmed that Andy will wear the Competition line and the Barricade.
adidas VP Global Sports Marketing, Jocelyn Robiot says, “We are delighted to welcome Andy Murray in to the adidas tennis family. Andy is a young, dynamic player that embodies adidas’ pure performer qualities. He is a very driven and dedicated athlete and we look forward to working with him on developing our Barricade products and helping him achieve his Impossible in 2010.”
2. It’s “hello goodbye” for Adidas this week, as Sam Qurrey jumped ship for K-Swiss, the sponsor of Tommy Haas, Mardy Fish, and Jim Courier.
“We are very pleased to have Sam join the K-Swiss family,” commented John Tobias, BEST Tennis President. “It’s a company we are very familiar with and have done a couple of other deals with for top players Mardy Fish, Vera Zvonareva and Alona & Kateryna Bondarenko. We feel this is a perfect fit for Sam, and he is very excited about this new partnership with K-Swiss.”
3. Is Novak leaving Adidas or not? Is he joining K-Swiss, Head, or perhaps … a certain Chinese brand?
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?