It's funny the way that Nikolay Davydenko can sneak through draws. You completely forget he's in the tournament and then BAM! he's playing one of the big guys really tight in the quarters or the semis and you're wondering how you ever missed him.
Like this week in Shanghai. I had pretty much totally missed the fact he was even playing, and then suddenly he's playing a three hour epic with Djokovic and, you know, winning. He's clearly in a purple patch of form. But no one noticed.
This may or may not have something to do with the fact that he has the personality of wet cardboard. It's a skill, actually - he's cultivated a strong aura of anti-personality which allows him to slip under the radar time and time again, no matter who he's playing or how well he's doing it. I don't know. Maybe he's a wacky, crazy, kooky guy off court. But on court Kolya is... cardboard.
But he's tough cardboard, that's for sure. Not many gusy could play Novak Djokovic that tight for that long and come out on top. He's got some grit and some steel and some shots and all those things that tennis players have. He has a crazy two-handed volley that makes him look like a Viking swinging an axe. The one thing he doesn't have is personality.
This is the season when David Nalbandian traditionally wakes up and goes on a tear. However, LameDave isn't around at the moment. Maybe this year it's Kolya's turn. You can see right through him, walk right by him - and oh no he just won the tournament!
Well, he hasn't won yet - he has to come through Rafa Nadal. But even though I'm a big Rafa fan - definitely more a Rafa fan than a Kolya fan - there's a part of me that would really like to see Kolya win this one. Just to mess with everyone's heads.
Oh, and a shoutout over to Sam Stosur in Osaka, who's in the final there after taking out top seed Caroline Wozniacki. Sam has a pretty bad record in finals - she's made a few, but lost them all - so here's hoping she can turn her bad finals mojo around!
Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 (Shanghai)
Rafael Nadal def. Feliciano Lopez, 6-1 3-0 retired
Nikolay Davydenko def. Novak Djokovic, 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1)
Generali Ladies Linz (Linz)
Yanina Wickmayer def. Flavia Pennetta, 7-6 (7-5) 6-3
Petra Kvitova def. Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3 6-3
HP Open (Osaka)
Samantha Stosur def. Caroline Wozniacki, 6-0 4-6 6-4
Francesca Schiavone def. Sania Mirza, 6-2 6-1
3 weeks ago