Monday, January 3, 2011

Isnut: The Rematch

Well, we needed to have a dooozy of a match, and Mladenovic and Mattek-Sands certainly gave us that. Sure, Mladenovic faded and faded badly towards the end, but this was a match and a half. Is there any better type of tennis than pure aggression meeting pure aggression?

Anyway, I didn't see all of this match, so I don't want to go into it in detail, but this was a quality win for Mattek-Sands. And I also want to see more of Mladenovic in the future. She's a bit cool.

But the real story of the day was always going to be John Isner and Nicolas Mahut: redux.

It was always going to be Isner's match. If these two play off grass, being Mahut's favourite surface, then it is always going to be Isner's match, unless Isner has somehow been handicapped. But that did not mean it was not a little special to see this match - to see the power and wingspan of Isner go head to head with the Gallic flair of Mahut. And with all that history between them... how could that not be special?

I am glad to see these two are such good friends, because honestly, I would not be surprised if they were so totally sick of each other they just wanted to punch themselves whenever someone asked them about that match. In a year where Rafa Nadal achieved a career Slam and essentially made the sport of tennis his bitch, this match still managed to be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) tennis story of the year... and if I were Isner and Mahut, I would want to be over it already. Particularly if I were Isner, with designs on the top ten and second week runs at Slams. I would not want my greatest achievement to be a first round Wimbledon match. Both Isner and Mahut are more than that match.

But that does not mean it is not a bit special to see these two men, who are inexorably linked, play. Even if we are never going to see 70-68 again. And thank you, Hopman Cup, for getting THE REMATCH over and done with in a relatively safe environment, outside the pressure cooker of the tour (or worse, the Slams)!

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