Well, it's all happening in the women's tournaments this week. How about Serena Williams's total collapse against Li Na? She had that match as wrapped up as you could get - 6-0 in the first set - and then she just imploded. It was very un-Serena - she's usually so tough in the head. That's one of the things I really respect about her game - and then it totally went away! I feel harsh for saying this, but if she's going to become a head case, then she doesn't deserve to be #1. That was not a performance worthy of a #1 player. I mean, I suppose all the players have their head case moments and take their early losses - but when was the last time you saw Roger Federer lose early because his head wasn't in it? Or Rafael Nadal? Aspects of their game might break down, but I don't think I've ever seen either player suffer a real mental collapse - not even in the final of the French Open where Rafa absolutely hammered Roger. I thought Serena was one of those players too... but obviously not.
Wow. That was harsh. It wasn't intended to come out quite like that, but I think I stand by it. If a part of a player's game breaks down, they can compensate, but if the head isn't it, then you can kiss the match goodbye.
Another very interesting match was the Schnyder/Kuznetsova match. Normally you'd pick Sveta every time, but Patty came out and took it to her, and came away with the match. It wasn't because Sveta had a head case moment - Patty just comprehensively outplayed her. Schnyder isn't a player that often 'outplays' anyone - that word kind of has the connotation of 'outhit' and you wouldn't say that Patty does that to anyone, really. She plays with guile and spin. But on this occasion, even though it was tight, I think we can safely say that Patty owned Sveta. And good on her too. I love watching both these girls play, but I have a special respect for someone that relies on strategy - on, as it were, their head.
Over to the blokes, where there were far fewer upsets - the top twelve seeds in Tokyo all progressed safely (at the expense, I am sad to say, of Joe Sirianni - but good on him for making it to the second round!) Kei Nishikori is through, and he is, I believe, my final Star remaining this week - Gulbis lost to Tipsarevic in Metz, alas. But still, I have big hopes for Kei. He took out a seed - the sixteenth seed, sure, but a seed nonetheless - and I would love him to go all the way! He plays Gasquet tomorrow - classic head case, as we're discussing it - and I think Kei can take him.
The major upset was in Metz, where Carlos Moya took out Ivo Karlovic. More power to him, I say. I have great respect for Carlos, and he's certainly much more interesting to watch than Dr Ivo. I know his game is effective, but it's just so damn boring. Unreturnable. Ace. Unreturnable. Percentage play. Dull, dull, dull.
Oh, and Jarmila Gajdosova, the almost-Aussie, pulled an upset in Tokyo! She took out sixth seed Shahar Peer, the villain in the comeback of Kimiko Date Krumm. Good on you, Jarmila!
Open de Moselle (Metz)
Carlos Moya def. Ivo Karlovic, 6-3 7-6 (7-4)
Dmitry Tursunov def. Jose Acasuso, 6-2 6-2
Janko Tipsarevic def. Ernests Gulbis, 6-4 6-4
Adrian Mannarino def. Andreas Seppi, 6-4 6-2
Radek Stepanek def. Julien Benneteau, 6-3 6-3
Rik de Voest def. Arnaud Clement, 4-6 6-2 7-5
Michael Llodra def. Feliciano Lopez, 7-6 (13-11) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3
AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships
David Ferrer def. Jesse Levine, 6-4 4-6 6-1
Andy Roddick def. Ivo Minar, 7-6 (13-11) 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2)
Fernando Gonzalez def. Yen-hsun Lu, 1-6 7-5 6-3
Richard Gasquet def. Martin Slanar, 6-4 6-2
Juan Martin Del Potro def. Dudi Sela, 7-5 6-0
Tommy Robredo def. Joseph Sirianni, 6-2 6-2
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Bobby Reynolds, 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4
Mikhail Youzhny def. Flavio Cipolla, 6-2 6-2
Tomas Berdych def. Roko Karanusic, 6-3 6-4
Jarkko Nieminen def. Cecil Mamiit, 7-6 (9-7) 6-4
Rainer Schuettler def. Hyung-taik Lee, 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3
Amer Delic def. Sam Querrey, 7-6 (7-5) 6-3
Jurgen Melzer def. Simon Stadler, 6-2 6-3
Takao Suzuki def. Simone Bolelli, 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (7-5)
Kei Nishikori def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-4 6-4
Viktor Troicki def. Wayne Odesnik, 6-2 6-1
Kaia Kanepi def. Yanina Wickmayer, 3-6 6-1 6-0
Jarmila Gajdosova def. Shahar Peer, 5-7 6-1 7-6 (11-9)
Tamarine Tanasugarn def. Camille Pin, 6-2 6-2
Anabel Medina Garrigues def. Chan Yung-Jan, 3-6 6-3 6-3
Samantha Stosur def. Vania King, 6-2 retired
Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Stuttgart)
Li Na def. Serena Williams, 0-6 6-1 6-4
Elena Dementieva def. Sybille Bammer, 6-1 6-4
Victoria Azarenka def. Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-1 7-5
Patty Schnyder def. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4 4-6 7-5
Vera Zvonareva def. Daniela Hantuchova, 6-3 6-2
Tashkent Open (Tashkent)
Sabine Lisicki def. Alexandra Panova, 7-5 6-1
Magdalena Rybarikova def. Vesna Manasieva, 6-1 7-5
Ioana Raluca Olaru def. Ksenia Palkina, 2-6 6-3 6-2
Urszula Radwanska def. Sofia Shapatava, 7-5 6-2
Arantxa Rus def. Vlada Ekshibarova, 3-6 6-2 6-1