Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hoping for Interesting Times

I love tennis. Have I mentioned that? I really, really love tennis.
Sometimes it’s almost better to watch a match with two players you don’t care about very much – tonight’s match between Roddick and Berrer, for instance – because then you can sit back and be impartial and appreciate the struggle, which is something I certainly can’t do when Federer or Tursunov are playing!
Actually, that’s what I was hoping for in that match between Sharapova and Davenport. I am partial to Davenport, but not so much that I’d be devastated if she lost, so I was all settled in for a potboiler… and then Shazzapov had to go and win 1 and 3. Typical of her, raining on my parade!
The Roddick-Berrer match was much more watchable – though it would have been better if Berrer hadn’t been making so many fricking unforced errors! I’ve never seen him (Berrer, obviously) play before, and he’s a real talent… though he needs to clean up his game big time. He takes risks, and when they pay off his shots are great, but probably two out of three times he misses. He’s twenty-seven, so I don’t know how much time he’s got to tidy up his act, but if he could he’d be top fifty for sure, if not top twenty.
Roddick won that match pretty easily, but honestly, he’s another Guccione for me. I quite like him as a person – he’s funny, and his interviews are always good value, and he knows how to take a Federer beatdown like a man – but I find his tennis a bit boring, really. He’s better now than he was when he started out, when he was all serve and nothing else – his backhand in particular has improved greatly – but he’s still just a bit nggh for my taste. I like the artistry of Federer, his easy, fluid strokes, the way he makes something incredibly difficult look so simple. Roddick doesn’t have that at all, really.
That said, we all know my number two is Dmitry – who is a baseliner with a monstrous forehand, but, if we’re honest, nothing like Federer’s artistry. He can pull off some great shots, but he’s no Roger. And then we look at my number three – Safin, who is fiery and temperamental and pretty much the anti-Fed… though there is clearly a lot of respect between them and they’re mates and stuff. But when it comes to mentality, Safin has none of that implacable calm that I admire so much in Federer. But I suppose that calm is right for Roger, and it would be strange on Safin – can you imagine a calm Marat? To quote him (possibly paraphrased), ‘I am who I am, and I’m happy being a hippo.’
Day Four action looks like it’ll be, on the whole, much more interesting than Day Three. The draw is just so lopsided, especially for the men. On Day Three, there was Nadal, Roddick and Gasquet, and not much else. But Day Four? Federer, Safin, Baghdatis, Nalbandian, Djokovic, Tursunov… everyone’s there. It’s strange, how the draw ended up like that. Not that Day Three was uninteresting, but there’s just so much more on offer on Day Four. Channel 7 had to resort to repeating that Dellacqua match after Roddick and Berrer finished. I mean, I appreciate it was a good win over Schnyder and that she’s Australian and all, but really… was there nothing else? Out of a whole day of tennis?
If I catch Channel 7 repeating Hewitt tonight… I won’t do anything, but I might grit my teeth in annoyance.
Australian Open Results - Day 3
Men's Draw
Andy Roddick def. Michael Berrer, 6-2 6-2 6-4
Rafael Nadal def. Florent Serra, 6-0 6-2 6-2
Nikolay Davydenko def. Nicolas Mahut, 6-4 6-0 6-3
Mardy Fish def. Tommy Robredo, 6-1 6-2 6-3
Richard Gasquet def. Feliciano Lopez, 6-2 6-1 6-3
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Sam Warburg, 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-2
Mikhail Youzhny def. Andreas Seppi, 6-4 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-4)
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Evgeny Korolev, 6-4 6-2 0-1 ret.
Jarkko Nieminen def. Jesse Levine, 6-2 7-5 7-6 (7-2)
Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Paul Capdeville, 6-7 (5-7) 6-0 6-4 6-4
Igor Andreev def. Kristof Vliegen, 7-5 7-5 6-2
Stefan Koubek def. Agustin Calleri, 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 (7-5)
Marc Gicquel def. Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 2-1 ret.
Ivo Karlovic def. Dudi Sela, 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3 6-1
Gilles Simon def. Rainer Schuettler, 6-2 6-2 6-1
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. Alejandro Falla, 6-4 5-7 6-4 7-6 (8-6)
Women's Draw
Justine Henin def. Olga Poutchkova, 6-1 7-5
Jelena Jankovic def. Edina Gallovits, 6-2 7-5
Maria Sharapova def. Lindsay Davenport, 6-1 6-3
Serena Williams def. Yuan Meng, 6-3 6-1
Elena Dementieva def. Anabel Medina Garrigues, 5-7 6-2 6-3
Nicole Vaidisova def. Alicia Molik, 6-2 6-3
Aravane Rezai def. Tatiana Golovin, 6-3 3-6 6-3
Casey Dellacqua def. Patty Schnyder, 4-6 7-5 8-6
Shahar Peer def. Jessica Moore, 6-0 7-5
Amélie Mauresmo def. Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-4 7-6 (7-5)
Hsieh Su-Wei def. Sybille Bammer, 6-2 6-0
Francesca Schiavone def. Angelique Kerber, 6-2 6-3
Victoria Azarenka def. Sandra Kloesel, 6-1 6-1
Virginie Razzano def. Flavia Pennetta, 6-2 5-7 6-3
Ai Sugiyama def. Tatiana Perebiynis, 6-4 6-4
Elena Vesnina def. Jill Craybas, 6-2 6-4

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