Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shmafa Rears His Ugly Head

So I didn't need to punch a wall yesterday. If we just pretend the first set didn't happen, that would be a truly excellent win for Federer over Murray, who has troubled him a lot in the past. This head to head is turning around, my people - and I can see why.

The first set was a disaster. Ain't no one can argue like that. But then, like magic, Federer changed his tactics. And I think he found the right combination. I haven't seen Andy Murray drubbed 6-1 in a set like that for a very long time. Sure, it probably didn't help the Murray cause that his serve didn't turn up to the match, but in the long run, this was a match that Federer won, not that Murray lost. An excellent result. I was very happy...

...until I put my Rafa fan hat on. As I write this, he is currently being absolutely massacred by Davydenko. Now, we all know that I want to see Davydenko in the semis, and so winning this match = a good thing in that respect, but it pains me to see someone as good as Rafa playing this badly. After watching Roger struggle through 2008, I can sympathise with how devoted Rafanatics must feel right about now. The poor boy is just not there. His game's not there, his mind's not there... and for the first time that I've seen, his heart's not there. It's really sad to watch.

I don't know how much injury is still affecting him, but even if it's not, I sincerely hope he's giving serious thought to not playing the Davis Cup final. On one hand, that atmosphere would be one that he would feed off - normal Rafa, anyway. He's so fierce and steely most of the time that that nationalistic element would totally spur him on. But if this listless Shmafa is the dude that's going to turn up... I think that, mentally, that would do him more harm than good in the long run, and he should rest up for 2010.

But look at me, practically digging his grave when he's only down a set. Sure, he lost it 6-1, but you can never say never with Rafa.

That said, I really don't think he's going to qualify for the finals here. Soderling is already through from this group, and I really don't see Nadal beating Djokovic, unless Djokovic has an epic brainfreeze or something. Speaking of Djokovic, he's been on a bit of a winning streak, winning a couple of tournaments on the trot there - but his streak just got broken by the mighty mighty Sod. I'm really digging Soderling at the moment. His Scandinavian brusqueness - and, of course, his yoking - have endeared him to me. Provided he doesn't play Federer in the semis, I'd love to see him in the final. It would be the cherry of awesome on top of a sundae of a great year for him.

Today's Results

Barclays ATP World Tour Championships (London)

Roger Federer def. Andy Murray, 3-6 6-3 6-1
Robin Soderling def. Novak Djokovic, 7-6 (7-5) 6-1

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