Monday, May 31, 2010

Pathetic Fallacy

Welcome to Weel 2 at Roland Garros, where it is all happening. The skies were stormy and pathetic fallacy abounded as some of the big names of tennis crumbled under the pressure, unable to weather the storm. Count the incidences of literary wordplay in that sentence. Oh yeah.

Some people, on the other hand, had a cruise-y ride. But we're getting down to the business end, and things are getting veeeeeeeery interesting at ol' RG.

The winners: Surprise, surprise, I'm starting with Fed. He played a little scratchier than I would have liked against Wawrinka at times, but when you can come away with a straight sets victory over a player like Stan, you're doing OK. I was very happy.

He'll face the Yoker next, who's also appearing in this column (hopefully for the last time this tournament, fingers crossed fellow Fedfans!) He absolutely pulverised Marin Cilic. See above re 'when you can come away with a straight sets victory over a player like...' It is going to be on till the break of dawn in FedSod II: Electric Boogaloo.

And Nadia Petrova - here's looking at you, kid! Venus was my pick for the final from this half of the draw, and Nadz absolutely annihilated that negligee off the court. Well, maybe annihilated is a little strong, but it was a very tidy putaway. Let's just say I would now not be at all surprised to see Nadz in the final. This side of the draw isn't the strongest evah and Nadz has a good a chance as any.

The losers: Speaking of the negligee... Venus. Big time. I really thought she had what it takes to go deep this year, but looks like my hunch is wrong, wrong, wrong. Petrova is playing really good stuff (as evidenced by her appearance in the winners column) but Venus did not play a good match here. Disappointing for V. Still... I was going to say it'll get her onto the grass earlier, but it totally won't, because she has doubles. Further disappointment, then.

And Andy Murray. No one ever expects him to do that well at Roland Garros, but surely he should at least be able to play competitively with Berdych. I actually thought that was a really favourable match for Murray - I thought he could bamboozle Tomas with some moonballage - but no. Fail. Not to denigrate Berdych's achievement here, because he did good, but this was not a great performance from Muzz.

The disappointments: Jo Tsonga. It is very, very disappointing that he had to retire, not least because I picked him for the semis and now my bracket is all wrong. And it is very disappointing for the home team that is French tennis - Bartoli and Rezai did not exactly exceed expectations, and then their last hope caved to a back injury.

Get well soon, Jo.

The scraped-in-by-the-skin-of-teeth: Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Caroline Wozniacki. I have actually been totally pleasantly surprised by Caro this tournament - I foresaw an early exit for sure. But in this weaker half of the women's draw, she actually stands a decent chance of getting through to the finals. The finalist is going to be either Caro, Nadz, Lena D or Schiavone - not all outside the realms of possibility, but not my initial picks, that's for sure.

And though it wasn't quite skin-of-teeth, I have to talk JuJu here. I thought MaSha had her when she went up that break, but JuJu staged an awesome fightback. I'm sad for MaSha - playing like she did, she deserved better than a third round. But then again, so did JuJu.

One to watch: Mikhail Youzhny. He is creeping through this draw very quietly - surprising, given his propensity for bashing his own head with his racquet. Now he's facing Berdych for a spot in the semis. This would be a big career jump for both of them - Youzhny has been to Slam semis once before, Berdych never - and it'll be interesting to see who comes out alive. I can't tell you why, but I'm like the headbanger on this one.

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