Sometimes cupcakes have teeth.
(How is that for a weird mental image?)
We had what has to be one of the best night session lineups in the history of ever in Indian Wells tonight - Rafa playing first, Roger playing second. It does not get any better than that, end of story. And their opponents? Cupcake #1 and Cupcake #2. But these cupcakes... they were the kind with teeth. They weren't quite haggis vindaloo, but they were the kind of cupcakes you'd choke and splutter on. These cupcakes played well above their rankings. And good on them both.
Rafa's cupcake was Somdev Devvarman, he who had a pretty sweet Davis Cup win over Janko Tipsarevic a little while ago and who is in pretty good form. Still, if you're opponent's Rafa, you're essentially a cupcake by default. But Somdev really, REALLY did not play like one. I don't know if there's any gooey, moist cupcake in the world anywhere in the world who can serve at 75%. Them's some good numbers, yo.
Devvarman was ranked #100 the last time I checked... which, to be fair, was round about the same time as the Commonwealth Games, so it's a while. I assume it's changed a bit. But no matter where he's ranked, I feel pretty confident in saying that he is going to move up soon. He's playing with real confidence right now - with teeth, in fact. He's sinking them into matches and, like a tiger shark, not letting go. Rafa got him in straights today, but they were tight ones. A little experience was all Somdev was needing - Rafa won both sets on a crucial break right at the end. If he plays a few more tournaments the way he played this one, Somdev won't give up those breaks any more.
Roger had the one cupcake left in his haggis vindaloo draw... though you wouldn't have been able to tell. Harrison plays differently from Devvarman - his style is less 'sink your teeth in' and more 'I HAVE NO FEAR'. Aside from a few opening nerves, he appeared almost wholly undaunted by the situation. Federer, who is capable of winning cupcake-y factors on daunt factor alone, was a little taken by surprise with this, I think. Harrison is only eighteen years old (I think... he's a teenager anyway), but he demonstrated both today and yesterday against Milos Raonic that he's capable of playing at a much higher level than his age. He has the emotional maturity, I think, that a lot of juniors are lacking. Or that's what it looked like to me, anyway.
These two cupcakes, even though they both lost in straights, both put up excellent performances. The same can not be said for Vile Troicki, who is supposed to be a good player and who got sent to the bakery by Djokovic. Djokovic is playing amazingly at the moment - ain't no one gonna deny that - but for serious, Viktor? That's just silly.
Also silly was the fact that I was right - Gasquet really is a bit of a contender in this tournament, capable of stringing wins together against anyone if he doesn't think too hard and no one's looking. Despite what I said yesterday, I fully expected him to lose today. I think Andy Roddick did too, so the result came as a bit of a rude shock...
Karlovic, Robredo and del Potro all came through in the cupcake half of Rafa, while Stan Wawrinka will join Gasquet and Djokovic in Roger's haggis vindaloo side. I was super pleased with Stan's results today. I'm not going to be surprised if he enters the top ten again this year. I will also not be surprised if Berdych leaves it. Will anyone?
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago