Well, I suppose it was a bit much to hope that wee Ernests Gulbis could steal the match away from the Rafinator, but I have to say that the boy gave a good account of himself. That was a seriously tight match. I think Ernests's real weakness is at crunch time - I wouldn't say he crumbles, but he doesn't exactly step it up, either. Once he has that under control - when he becomes the player you can count on in a pinch - then he's going to be one of the great champions. This kid is going all the way - and even though he didn't win today, I think this match was a sign of good things to come.
But Rafa is a champ, and so he does deserve his victories. The other champ, my beloved Mr Federer, is playing arguably the creepiest man on the tour tomorrow: Radek 'The Worm' Stepanek. Seriously, that guy is kinda freaky. I fear him. I hope R-Fed isn't rusty or anything coming into tomorrow's match - I hope all that rest works in his favour! He hasn't confirmed anything in the rest of his season yet - he says it'll all be last-minute decisions based on the health of his mind and body. If only Ana Ivanovic would adopt a similar position.
Marin Cilic had a win, too - a good one, over fifteenth seeded Fernando Verdasco. Go them Stars! Unfortunately, Dmitry Tursunov took a weird loss. Them Russians and their consistency... Mademoiselle Safina aside, obviously. It isn't the same with the girls. But those Russian men... I despair of them.
Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic looks like he's going to make his senior debut early next year in the new Brisbane tournament. My feelings on this tournament are mixed - it's replacing the Gold Coast and Adelaide events, with which there was nothing wrong, unless you count that flirtation with round robin that Adelaide had a couple of years back - but the field will be good, if nothing else. Djokovic, Tsonga and Baghdatis are all confirmed starters, as are Stosur and Ivanovic. Not that one expects much from Ivanovic these days. But the Tomic debut - should he get the wildcard he is expected to get - will be very exciting. I don't expect him to win or anything, but I think he'll prove an interesting handful. He'll certainly be much more interesting than Marko Djokovic, at any rate.
Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid (Madrid)
Rafael Nadal def. Ernests Gulbis, 7-5 3-6 6-3
Andy Murray def. Simone Bolelli, 6-0 2-1 retired
Gilles Simon def. James Blake, 3-6 6-1 6-4
Marin Cilic def. Fernando Verdasco, 6-2 6-3
Richard Gasquet def. Mardy Fish, 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-3
Gael Monfils def. Fabio Fognini, 6-2 6-4
Marcel Granollers def. Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-4 6-4
Jarkko Nieminen def. Mikhail Youzhny, 7-5 3-6 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Carlos Moya, 6-2 6-2
Robby Ginepri def. Michael Llodra, 6-4 6-4
Robin Soderling def. Florent Serra, 6-3 6-4
Victor Hanescu def. Dmitry Tursunov, 4-6 6-2 6-3
Feliciano Lopez def. Albert Montanes, 7-6 (7-4) 6-3
Tennis.com Zurich Open (Zurich)
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Vera Dushevina, 6-4 6-1
Petra Kvitova def. Patty Schnyder, 6-4 3-6 6-4
Monica Niculescu def. Anna Chakvetadze, 3-6 6-3 6-2
Marion Bartoli def. Agnes Szavay, 6-4 6-0
Francesca Schiavone def. Caroline Wozniacki, 7-6 (7-3) 6-2
Anabel Medina Garrigues def. Li Na, 6-2 6-4