What is with Roger Federer and the first set blues this week? He's just lost the first set 6-2 to Juan Martin del Potro, and I can't say I'm especially happy about it, especially as if he loses in straights, he doesn't qualify for the final. Which makes me cross. Argh. But I'll save my frazzling and wall punching for now. Roger's got the year end #1. That's a bigger victory in the long run.
Fernando Verdasco really did his best today - and boy was I pulling for him in that third set breaker! But it was not to be, I suppose. Nando's been struggling valiantly all week, but his level is just not as high as that of the other guys, when it comes down to it. Although he qualified ahead of Soderling, I don't think anyone would argue with me if I said Soderling was easily the better player right now.
But that said, Nando pushed Muzz and he pushed him hard. If Federer wins a set off del Potro (please, Roger!) then the qualifiers for the semis will come down to aggregate won/lost games, I believe, and in that case, two tiebreakers is not where you want to be, no sirree, not when Roger's got all those 6-1 sets in the bag. Muzz hasn't sucked this week, but I don't know if he's played well enough to deserve a semis spot. If only Juan Martin had been able to close him out. Urgh.
One person who is definitely not going through to the semis is Rafa - I think we left him yesterday having been crushed in the first set, and I wanted to send him home and give him a nice cup of tea. I still want to send him home and give him a nice cup of tea, but his level in the second set, even though it was very obviously Shmafa out there, was a lot better. He pushed Kolya all the way to the end, and broke back when Kolya served for it, and did all kinds of steely things. His form = obviously not so good. But this fight - which is the essence of Rafa, and which has been strangely lacklustre for a little while - is still there. And that, more than anything, is a good sign for Rafa. I hope he puts his feet up for a while. I think it will do him the world of good - and hopefully, he'll back to his fierce best in Australia.
Barclays ATP World Tour Championships (London)
Andy Murray def. Fernando Verdasco, 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3)
Nikolay Davydenko def. Rafael Nadal, 6-1 7-6 (7-4)
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago