Saturday, January 8, 2011

#wildcardformahut and Other Animals

WILDCARD FOR MAHUT WILDCARD FOR MAHUT WILDCARD FOR MAHUT GIVE HIM A WILDCARD NOW WILDCARD FOR MAHUT. #wildcardformahut, sorry about that. I've been typing #wildcardformahut and various permutations so often for the past couple of days that it has become second nature. It takes a bit of dedication to captain a Twitter campaign to (hopefully) victory. But if anyone with the wildcarding power happens to read this - make my day! make the day of everyone else who wants a wildcard for Mahut! and, most of all, make the day of Nicolas Mahut! WILDCARD FOR MAHUT 2011. It's a thing.

Now, other business.

The Hopman Cup has finished up, with the USA very deserving winners. The John Isner/Ruben Bemelmans match was a bit of a non-event - which is not surprising, given the ranking difference - and it certainly wasn't the best mixed doubles match ever, but the match between Justine Henin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands was as good as I've ever seen.

I kind of love Bethanie Mattek-Sands. I never expected to, and I've laughed my arse off at her crazy fashion over the years, but I've discovered this week I sort of love her. I love her totally aggressive game, and her determination, and I especially love her backhand down the line. She seems pretty chilled out and yet totally focused on tennis all at the same time, and she was a really great addition to this year's Hopman Cup. If she can play in Melbourne like she did in Perth, then she can definitely get to at least the fourth round. It all depends on draw, of course, but there's no reason why she can't put up a great show.

And it was a great performance from Isner as well. He came back well from his shellacking by Murray to play very well against Bemelmans. Good stuff. Well done, USA - this was a very well-deserved win. And well done Belgium, on a well played final. And well done Hopman Cup, for bringing Nicolas Mahut into the spotlight for a week... #wildcardformahut.

Ahem. Back on track.

Petra Kvitova won in Brisbane, which was a great result for her, and she did it in style - she played an absolutely great match. Like Mattek-Sands, if she keeps her head in the game, there is no reason she can't make a tilt at a second week appearance in the Open. She totally dominated Petkovic and if she continues to play like this, well... with the state of the WTA, there is no reason why she couldn't be top ten rather quickly.

And then there was Doha. F^&* YEAH ROGER FEDERER.

It was a good win for Davydenko to beat Nadal - even an ailing Nadal - but Federer showed here today why he really is a worldbeater. He played very aggressive - and accurate - off the return, and it made a huge difference. That banana paddlepop outfit he's rocking is clearly giving him good mojo - and whatever Paul Annacone has been telling him, it's been good. I don't think there's going to be anywhere near the same amount of buzz this year about Davydenko as there was last year - which is a bit sad, in a way, because he is constantly over looked - but that doesn't mean that this wasn't an awesome win over a tough opponent for Federer. I loved every second of it. He played wonderfully. Even if he could do with upping his break point conversion rate.

And you know what else would be wonderful? AN AUSTRALIAN OPEN WILDCARD FOR MAHUT. DO IT. #wildcardformahut 2011! It's a thing.

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