Saturday, January 24, 2009

53/8 Tennis is Not Normal!

Okay, so Rafa Nadal actively frightens me. I'm a Roger girl, now and for always - he'll always be my #1 - but Rafa played so well against Tommy Haas last night it was scary.
I don't know whether he was trying to send a message, or whether he was just taking Haas very, very seriously, but it is not normal for someone to make 53 winners to 8 unforced errors - not Rafa, not Roger, not anyone. That is absolutely crazy. And I refuse to believe that anyone - anyone! - can keep this level of play up over seven consecutive best-of-five matches. Hell, Rafa played well in his first two matches, but not like this. This is crazy tennis.
So what is Rafa trying to prove? Tommy Haas is a good player, yes, but he's hardly the player he once was, what with all the shoulder concerns and also the fact that, for a tennis player, he's getting on a bit. I would have expected Rafa to step it up, but not to the 53/8 level. That's where you go when you're playing in the final, and you're playing Federer - not in the third round. If Rafa keeps this up, I will have to start classifying him as an alien, because that is just crazy. Rafa must have had some kind of agenda in this match...
I suppose that all this bickering over who the favourite is for the tournament has kind of left Rafa out a bit, despite him being the #1 seed - it's almost seen as a Murray/Federer battle, with hints of Djokovic. Not that people are forgetting Rafa, but he's sort of sidelined a bit. But the reality is that Murray, the supposed favourite, is in Rafa's half. They'd meet in the semis, providing they both came through, which is looking pretty likely at this stage. Murray did beat Rafa in that exo at Abu Dhabi, and in the semis at the US Open on a pretty similar surface last year. This whole Murray thing has been seen largely as a threat to Federer - a Murray/Federer rivalry - but I don't think we can rule out the Murray/Nadal rivalry either. Maybe that's what Rafa was trying to prove - that Murray can't start thinking about playing Roger in the finals yet, because he has to go through Rafa to get there. Or not. I don't really know. But what I do know is that 53/8 tennis is NOT NORMAL.
No real upsets on the men's side yesterday - Murray might have been sending some messages of his own, because he mauled Jurgen Melzer, and I was very pleased to see Nando Verdasco exact revenge for Brisbane and pummel Radek Stepanek into the ground. And that Gonzalez/Gasquet match was a classic, though it's not going to do much for Gasquet's headcaseness - the fact that he held match point in the third and then lost the match in an epic five is going to send him whimpering under the bed again, mark my words.
No major upsets on the women's side either - well, I suppose Medina Garrigues taking out Pennetta was an upset, but a pretty minor one. It was sad to see Stosur go, but hardly surprising, given the form of Elena Dementieva at the moment... though she certainly had her chances in that match, and didn't capitalise. I really hope Sam can do that next time! But still, considering she's on the comeback trail, third round ain't bad - and when was the last time we had two Aussie girls go that far? (Speaking of which, c'mon Jelena! Go go go!)
Sigh... I wish I was back in Melbourne. I had the most wonderful time!
Today's Results
Australian Open
Men's Draw
Rafael Nadal def. Tommy Haas, 6-4 6-2 6-2
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Dudi Sela, 6-2 6-2 1-6 6-1
Gael Monfils def. Nicolas Almagro, 6-4 6-3 7-5
Andy Murray def. Jurgen Melzer, 7-5 6-0 6-3
James Blake def. Igor Andreev, 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1
Fernando Gonzalez def. Richard Gasquet, 3-6 3-6 7-6 (12-10) 6-2 12-10
Gilles Simon def. Mario Ancic, 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-2
Fernando Verdasco def. Radek Stepanek, 6-4 6-0 6-0
Women's Draw
Serena Williams def. Peng Shuai, 6-1 6-4
Elena Dementieva def. Samantha Stosur, 7-6 (8-6) 6-4
Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Alona Bondarenko, 7-6 (9-7) 6-4
Anabel Medina Garrigues def. Flavia Pennetta, 6-4 6-1
Victoria Azarenka def. Amélie Mauresmo, 6-4 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova def. Virginie Razzano, 7-5 7-5
Zheng Jie def. Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-2 6-2
Carla Suárez Navarro def. María José Martínez Sánchez, 6-1 6-4


John said...

I'm happy to see Del Potro making another amazing run in a Grand Slam. I do believe he will be the best player we had since Guillermo Vilas. The Big Q is, can he beat the Top 5 of the World?

Well all that will be answered when he takes on Roger Federer? I'm only optimist about the outcome. Not sure whether Fedex has the legs after that gruesome encounter with Berdych. But still, he is Federer and he still has it.

Will interesting match, we'll see how things goes.

In your opinion, kindly share with us about the Del Potro/Federer match up?

2Hander said...

Hi Jodi,

If you think that 53/8 is a scary stat, check this out from the Fed of Old:

Plus, if you look at the US Open just gone, Nadal was DESTROYING the opposition until the semis. While Federer was dropping sets here and there...

Reem said...

Hi Jodi... you're right... Nadal's stats are crazy. But you know am worried about him not getting tested enough in the early rounds because his coming matches will be extremely tough. Gonzalez then maybe Monfils, then maybe Murray is way tougher than all the matches he's played so far. So that's why it's pretty risky. As opposed to other players who got really tested and managed to pull through like Gonzalez against Gasquet, Djoko against Delic, Federer against Berdych... Comfortable wins aren't always as beneficial as one would think....