Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Year To The Day

A year to the day that Robin Soderling did the seemingly impossible and knocked out Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros, Sam Stosur has done exactly the same on the women's side. And much as I love Justine Henin, I am ecstatic for Sam.

People were calling Sam the dark horse of this incredibly difficult quarter, but I don't think anyone actually expected her to come through Justine realistically. But she has a chance - a damn fighting chance - of actually repeating her semi final performance here last year and maybe going further. If she can beat JuJu on clay, you can bet that she has as good a chance as anyone against Serena...

The winners: Sam Stosur. For all the reasons listed above. And for being freaking AWESOME.

Rafael Nadal also, for being a complete force of nature on a clay court.

And I have to give a shout out to Jurgen Melzer. So much talent, never really did too much with it, being the first Austrian to really do much of anything after Thomas Muster retired. And now - quarters at a major. Not too shabby at all! And considering the way Djokovic is playing, he stands a pretty decent chance of making semis if he keeps his head screwed on.

The losers: I'm sorry, JuJu, but you have to go in this column. Sam Stosur played lights out to beat her, but I seriously thought JuJu was going to win the tournament. She won't be happy with this result - even though it will give her a little longer to plan her assault on Wimbledon. And maybe that will be the difference for JuJu there... only time will tell.

And it might seem a little unfair, but Shahar Peer has to go here too. She started out fantastically against Serena and then completely lost it. What happened there, Shahar - apart from you realising that, oh yeah, Serena was on the other side of the net?

The disappointments: Raise your hand, Nando Verdasco. I know you have your whole toenail deal going on, but I was really feeling you this clay court season. I really feel like you have it in you to go super deep at Roland Garros - obviously your year is not this year.

And I know he won, but Novak Djokovic has been very disappointing this whole tournament, and it didn't stop here. Considering Robby Ginepri has won a grand total of eleven clay court matches in his entire career, you'd think the world #3 would be able to beat him without meekly dropping a set for what seemed like no reason.

The scraped-in-by-skin-of-teeth: No one really - no extremely tight matches today. So let's call this one the sneaking-through-the-draw-without-really-drawing-attention-to-themselves category today, and point our fingers at Nico Almagro and Jelena Jankovic, who have been silent and deadly so far. Nico will obviously stop next round, as he's playing some dude called Rafa whom I hear is a bit good on this surface, but Jelena really has the potential to go all the way here.

One to watch/story of the day: Watch out world. Here comes Sam Stosur!

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