Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This Is What Happens When You Listen To Me

Hey, remember that thing called #wildcardformahut? I don't think I'll ever be letting anyone forget, so you better remember. Well, the Australian Open might have been cruel and coldhearted, but the Open 13 in Marseille was not. They gave my beloved Monsieur (Mademoiselle?) Mahut a wildcard. And it warmed the cockles of my heart to see that little W next to his name, let me tell you.

That is W both for wildcard and for win. Because that is exactly what he did.

A lot of wildcards are incredibly tokenistic, and end up with the recipient crashing out in flames in the first round. It's locals getting a go to play on the big stage, that kind of thing. And I guess Mahut was a local wildcard, being a Angevin French dude in Marseille, but he was the right kind of wildcard. The kind that really, really made good.

It's a special kind of wildcard - and, indeed, player - that can serve at 47% and still win 6-2 6-0. Welcome to the Nicolas Mahut bagel bakery.

Yes, it's one of those days. We're hosting a love-fest in the Nicolas Mahut bagel bakery today. Leave now if you don't want to gush.

I'm not a Mahuberfan because Nico wins. He's ranked #89 in the world, which sort of signals that major wins all the time are not his thing. But he is a damn stylish player, and when he's on, he's a freaking ninja. The percentage of second serve returns he won today was ridiculous. He saved all three break points he faced. He has that uniquely Gallic flair which can be disastrous when it's not his day but which is totally brilliant when it is.

And I'm glad that this victory was a little shorter than eleven hours. But you know if it had been eleven hours, he would have been able to deal with that. That's the way he rolls.

Up next is Soderling, who is a bit good. I've heard. You know. Just a bit. Rotterdam last week? I heard he won that. And he's, like, been to a couple of Roland Garros finals. And he won Bercy. Which seems to suggest he plays pretty well in France. And he sort of beat Mahut the one and only time they played. Which sort of suggests he might do it again...

...but you never count out Nico Mahut. And whatever he does, he does with style and aplomb. Sometimes in a dress. So while I don't mind if he loses, I will be cheering for him to win. Hard. Because when you give Nicolas Mahut a wildcard, he rocks that wildcard so hard.

(Please. Give Mahut a wildcard. I don't care what you're giving him a wildcard to, but give him one.)

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