Archive for June, 2009

 

The Finals

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Yesterday I was serving ice-cream in the drizzling rain at a day-event, listening to the women’s final on the radio. Even the crackly radio caught the sense of delight on the Phillipe Chatrier court, where Svetlana Kuznetsova surpassed the world No. 1Dinara Safina to take her second grand slam 6-4 6-2. She won in one hour fourteen minutes. Safina’s game was littered with double faults, smashing her racquet to the ground in a constant state of frustration that she just couldn’t shake. Kuznetsova took her points and controlled the game in her favour; scrappy at times but immense in others. Congratulations to Kuznetsova and commiserations to Safina, it’ll be exciting to see them back at Wimbledon later this summer.

 

Today, I was listening to the Muse ‘Absolution’ album before I switched on the tennis, and the lyrics of Butterflies and Hurricanes caught my ear:  ‘Your number has been called/ Fights and battles have begun/ Revenge will surely come/ Your hard times are ahead/ Best, you’ve got to be the best…Don’t let yourself down, don’t let yourself go, your last chance has arrived’ more »

 

The Semi-Finals

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I spent a good few minutes staring very hard at the coverage of the semi-finals today. Soderling had beaten Gonzalez and Ok, I wasn’t really alarmed by the result. I truly had no idea when I woke up this morning who to root for; I liked both of them but maybe Soderling had the edge. But then again, Gonzalez’s forehand could kill a man at fifty paces, so I was sitting on the fence.

It was a thriller of a match, Soderling having to work hard to close out a determined Gonzalez in the fifth set. Well deserved by Soderling, and undoubtedly tough for Gonzalez to see the finals slip through his fingers.

But when I later came back to the coverage, I truly took a double take. Juan Martin del Potro was a set up on Roger Federer. My line of thought this morning was ‘well, maybe it could happen, but then against this is Federer and del Potro could be demolished in the first half hour’. Seems not.

What followed was about an hour or so of tennis that I am sure has left me with a some sort of ulcer; point after point of tantalising agony. I can’t help feeling that surely it’s not medically advisable for Federer’s pregnant wife to be watching such a tense match. Juan del Potro was almost doing to Federer was Gonzalez did to Murray the other day, and it’s not often you see that. Point after point of blistering tennis.

Unfortunately that was when I was burdened by the beast of technical difficulties, and as I was gone the match seemed to pick up a notch.

When all systems were fi more »

 

Gonzalez and Soderling Into Semi-Finals

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

If Fernando Gonzalez ever gets bored of being a professional tennis player, he could become a hired assassin; load a tennis ball up with some lethal spikes, set Gonzalez within range of the target, and the Chilean could take a man out with a single forehand.

At least that was the impression I got from watching Gonzalez play Andy Murray today.

Gonzalez was exhausting to watch, so I don’t know what it was like to play him. Those deadly forehands were ruthless, jolting Murray out of any rhythm he could have got going at the baseline. There were times when Murray was able to just slice through the game and get some great points in, and Gonzalez wasn’t exactly golden when it came to unenforced errors. But when the Chilean was in control, there was little Murray could do but avoid being knocked out by the huge forehands and hope his returns don’t come up too short.

And when they did, Gonzalez punished him beautiful, brutal style.

more »

 

Men’s Quarter Finals

Monday, June 1st, 2009

With all the drama of the past few days, and two of the top four seeds making their exit, the quarter finals of this years French Open are wide open, and with Federer barely able to scrape through his fourth round match the safest bet of the tournament is that there are no safe bets.

Robin Soderling vs Nicolay Davydenko


Can Davydenko beat the man who beat ‘The Man’?

On paper he is the higher ranked of the two players and has a superior track record on clay, but suprisingly trails 2-3 in their head to head matches – with two of those losses to Soderling coming on clay.

There has to be a massive come down for Soderling after such an upset win, and history is littered with examples of such winners being unable to raise their game in their very next match and tumbling out straight after.

The one that instantly springs to my mind is the Australian Open of 1996 when a 19yr old (and not yet broke) Mark Phillipoussis turned in a stunning performance to dominate world number 1 Pete Sampras in straight sets.

He was bundled out in the very next round, and as it turns out never made it past the 4th round of the Aussie Open in his whole career, even though at the time he was being pegged as a future champion.

So I’m going to go with Davydenko in this one – he’s a talented player who’s been involved in his fair share of controversy but he seems to be playing close to his best at the moment.

Andy Murray vs Fernando more »

 
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