Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kolya Learns His Lesson

Well, well, well. First David Headbandian, and now Nikolay Davydenko. Two of the top eight gone in the first two rounds.
I don't know what Headbandian's excuse is (apart from letting LameDave show up) but I can make a fair guess at what Kolya's is. Feeling sorry you played Warsaw now, aren't you?
Honestly, it's insane. Really, wouldn't it almost be better to play no warm up tournament at all than to play one on clay - even if, like Kolya, you add another trophy to your cabinet? Well, I hope that Warsaw trophy is nice and shiny for you now, Kolya, 'cause you ain't getting nowhere on grass till next year.
That said, it wasn't all Kolya playing badly - or simply the curse of Court 2, graveyard of champions. His opponent, Benjamin Becker (most famous for ending Andre Agassi's career at the US Open and for being no relation to Boris) played very well. Becker-no-relation is actually a pretty promising player, though he might have limited time left in which to actualise his potential... he's been around for at least a few years, I think, though I could be wrong. But it was a very good win for him. Kolya is notorious for his consistency, and to overcome him in straights is a pretty good effort!
That also opens that side of the draw up considerably. The Davydenko quarter is traditionally the quarter where you get the random semi-finalist (tm) - your Tsonga or your Monfils. I had, I admit, picked Kolya to reach the semis... on the recommendation of Rafa Nadal, who said in a presser he thought Davydenko was one of the favourites for Wimbledon. Thanks, Rafa. So now I'm revising my prediction for this quarter to Andy Roddick, on the proviso that his shoulder doesn't, I don't know, explode or something. Conventional, I know, but I don't think you can ever underestimate A-Rod on grass. Failing him, in the event of shoulder explosion or similar, I'm going to pick... hmmm... Mathieu. Tursunov is a possibility. The unseeded player that could make a splash is Cilic. But really, Roddick aside, this is not the strongest quarter of a draw I have ever seen.
Speaking of that Kolya-overestimater Rafa - which I did do early in that last paragraph, before I got distracted - he had a win over Andreas Beck. Not his best win ever, but that's pretty normal for Rafa in the early stages of Wimbledon, as in the infamous Kendrick Incident. He got the job done, which is pretty much all that matters. Beck played well - I thought he was going to fall off in the second and then in the third set, but he didn't, to his credit. And what an occasion for a first ever Grand Slam match! Centre Court at Wimbleon... not bad, eh?
I watched the match on TV here in Australia, and there appeared to me to be this thing wherein the commentators were on crack. I mean, I like Rafa and all, but since when is he the favourite for Wimbledon? Since when? I know he's playing well on grass and all, but hey! so is Federer. And, oh look! sixty straight grasscourt wins! Would that be... Federer? And... who was it that won the last five Wimbledons? Um... some guy called Roger Federer.
I understand that Federer lost to Nadal badly at the French. Trust me, I appreciate. But he's over it. You can tell. So why isn't everyone else? He said himself that it is much easier to forget a loss like that than the loss at Rome in 2006 where he had match points. And we're in a totally different ball park now. Roland Garros and Wimbledon are, in many ways, incomparable. Did people think Rafa was going to lose the French last year when Roger beat him in Hamburg? Not quite the same situation, I grant you, but it had little to no effect on the final outcome. The final of Roland Garros this year is not the great psychological thing that everyone seems to think it is. If anything, it'll give Federer motivation to make the media eat their words... though he said he's been staying away from the press, which seems smart to me.
Back to those dope-smoking commentators, who apparently also believe Rafa's forehand is better than Roger's. Um, yes, I agree that Rafa's forehand is very very good - it's wicked, with that hooking lefty spin, but is anyone forgetting that the Federer forehand IS THE MOST FEARED SHOT IN THE GAME? I was enraged. When the Federer forehand is firing, it's unstoppable.
That's enough of a rant for now. I might say something nice about Rafa, since I do like him a lot, even if he is not Roger. He wasn't really timing his groundstrokes that well today - which will, I think, come with a bit more practice on these courts - but when he get that wicked kick serve? The one that hits the corner and skids away almost horizontally? Because that is a SWEET shot.
It was nice to see a few of those French boys do well, too - in particular, Spaz Grosjean and Richard Gasquet. It was a much better performance from Richou today - really collected. And I always like to see Spaz do well, as he is the special favourite of my friend Erin. I had hoped for a bit more from the Murray/Santoro match, but, hey, these things happen. I'm not a Murray fan, but I suppose it's nice for the British to see one of their own doing well.
And, finally, go Ernests Gulbis! A great win over John 'I-am-the-same-height-as-the-Empire-State-Building' Isner. He's up against Rafa in the next round, and if Rafa doesn't mind his p's and q's, this one could have quite a few sets in it.
Wimbledon Results - Day #2
Men's Draw
Rafael Nadal def. Andreas Beck, 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-0)
Andy Murray def. Fabrice Santoro, 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-5)
Andy Roddick def. Eduardo Schwank, 7-5 6-4 7-6 (7-0)
Richard Gasquet def. Mardy Fish, 6-3 6-4 6-2
James Blake def. Christophe Rochus, 3-6 6-3 6-1 6-4
Benjamin Becker def. Nikolay Davydenko, 6-4 6-4 6-4
Chris Eaton def. Boris Pashanski, 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 6-4
Tommy Haas def. Guillermo Canas, 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-4
Marin Cilic def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7-4)
Agustin Calleri def. Kevin Anderson, 4-6 7-5 7-5 6-1
Jesse Levine def. Donald Young, 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-2
Radek Stepanek def. Jan Hernych, 6-3 7-5 6-0
Nicolas Almagro def. Marcel Granollers-Pujol, 4-6 6-3 7-5 6-2
Jarkko Nieminen def. Wayne Odesnik, 6-3 retired
Gilles Simon def. Dawid Olejniczak, 6-3 6-4 6-2
Nicolas Kiefer def. Julien Benneteau, 6-1 7-5 6-3
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez def. Izak van der Merwe, 7-5 6-2 6-2
Martin Vassallo Arguello def. Ivo Minar, 6-4 2-6 2-6 6-2 6-2
Rainer Schuettler def. Santiago Ventura, 6-3 6-2 6-4
Jeremy Chardy def. Frederico Gil, 7-5 6-7 (1-7) 4-6 6-4 6-3
Arnaud Clement def. Jonas Bjorkman, 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 7-6 (7-4)
Jurgen Melzer def. Ivan Ljubicic, 6-4 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 2-6 6-3
Mikhail Youzhny def. Sergio Roitman, 6-1 6-4 6-0
Ernests Gulbis def. John Isner, 7-5 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (8-6)
Sebastien Grosjean def. Potito Starace, 6-2 7-5 6-1
Janko Tipsarevic def. Thierry Ascione, 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-2
Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Oscar Hernandez, 3-6 6-4 6-0 6-2
Dmitry Tursunov def. Nicolas Mahut, 604 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (9-7) 3-6 7-5
Tommy Robredo def. Kristof Vliegen, 6-1 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-4
Xavier Malisse def. Denis Gremelmayr, 6-3 6-4 6-2
Viktor Troicki def. Nicolas Lapentti, 6-3 4-0 retired
Stefano Galvani def. Jamie Baker, 6-4 6-2 6-3
Women's Draw
Venus Williams def. Naomi Cavaday, 7-6 (7-5) 6-1
Maria Sharapova def. Stephanie Foretz, 6-1 6-4
Jelena Jankovic def. Olga Savchuk, 6-3 6-2
Lindsay Davenport def. Renata Voracova, 6-3 5-7 6-3
Anne Keothavong def. Vania King, 4-6 6-2 6-3
Francesca Schiavone def. Tamira Paszek, 6-3 5-7 10-8
Vera Zvonareva def. Aiko Nakamura, 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-1
Timea Bacsinszky def. Julie Ditty, 7-5 6-3
Alla Kudryavtseva def. Ekaterina Makarova, 6-1 6-4
Emilie Loit def. Lucie Safarova, 6-3 7-6 (7-4)
Aleksandra Wozniak def. Mariya Koryttseva, 7-5 6-4
Daniela Hantuchova def. Sara Errani, 7-6 (7-5) 6-4
Marina Erakovic def. Michaella Krajicek, 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (8-6)
Nadia Petrova def. Olga Govortsova, 6-4 6-4
Tamarine Tanasugarn def. Petra Cetkovska, 6-4 6-3
Sorana Cirstea def. Ekaterina Bychkova, 6-4 6-4
Carla Suarez Navarro def. Galina Voskoboeva, 6-2 6-4
Monica Niculescu def. Magdalena Rybarikova, 1-6 6-3 6-4
Gisela Dulko def. Aravane Rezai, 1-6 6-0 6-2
Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez def. Martina Muller, 6-1 6-1
Dinara Safina def. Yung-Jan Chan, 7-6 (10-8) 6-2
Sania Mirza def. Catalina Castano, 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-4
Sybille Bammer def. Sofia Arvidsson, 4-6 4-1 retired
Ai Sugiyama def. Yanina Wickmayer, 6-4 6-2
Flavia Pennetta def. Julia Vakulenko, 6-3 6-4
Alisa Kleybanova def. Tzipora Obziler, 6-4 6-0
Hsieh Su-wei def. Stephanie Cohen-Aloro, 6-3 6-2
Julia Goerges def. Katarina Srebotnik, 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 16-14
Shahar Peer def. Katie O'Brien, 6-3 7-5
Caroline Wozniacki def. Eva Hrdinova, 6-2 7-5
Victoria Azarenka def. Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-1 6-1
Mara Santangelo def. Maret Ani, 7-5 6-3
Shuai Peng def. Viktoriya Kutuzova, 6-3 6-4

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