Saturday, March 5, 2011

Indian Summer

I suppose I should talk about Davis Cup today. But in another installment of my mindblowing Cherbourg coverage, can I get a F%^& YEAH NICOLAS MAHUT? He is in the final there, where he will meet top seed Grigor Dimitrov. Nico won this tournament last year, so for points purposes, I would really like him to win it again, but I am very happy that he's a finalist full stop. My man Nico is on fire, and don't you forget it.

Right. Davis Cup.

The most interesting tie - to my mind, anyway - is this one between Serbia and India. From the outset, you might think that this is the most boring of all the ties - I know I certainly did. But even though the Serbs are pretty much on top now, the Indian dudes have BROUGHT IT like whoa. And without Bhupathi and Paes, which is a massive handicap.

Let's recap. Day One singles, first rubber. Viktor 'vile' Troicki lines up against Rohan Bopanna, whom he is expected to beat easily. Troicki is not exactly the captain of the consistency bandwagon, but this looks like an easy one for him. Right?


Bopanna takes him to five. It all seems smooth sailing for the first two sets, but the worm, oh, how it turns! This match so, SO easily could have gone Bopanna's way. And we all know how I feel about Troicki, so I wish it did.

Oh well. It's only natural for a team to get the yips a little, n'est-ce pas? And Serbia came away with the point anyway, so surely we are headed right down 5-0 blowout lane from here. Right?


Janko Tipsarevic walks out on court against Somdev Devvarman. And walks off three sets later a defeated man.

Would that be 1-all? Why YES, it would be. And it so, so easily could have been 2-0 India. A few points Bopanna's way, and...

The Serbs pulled out the doubles on Saturday, but it was a tight, tight thing - 12-10 in the fourth set tiebreaker. And you really, really have to wonder what would have happened if Bhupathi and Paes had been there...

This is basically an object lesson in don't underestimate the underdog. I think the Serbians have been that underdog for so long that adjusting to being the top dudes might have messed with them again. And much as they love the home crowd, probably playing in Serbia - after what happened the last time they played in Serbia - was intense, intense pressure. Last time it was glory, and now the populace expects no less.

But let's be realistic. This one wasn't all on the Serbian racquet. The Indian dudes have played OUT OF THEIR FREAKING MINDS awesome. Bopanna and Devvarman have a lot to be proud of here. And you know what? It's not over yet. And I, for one, will be cheering for Team India all the way.

The other really intriguing tie going on is Croatia vs Germany, where Marin Cilic pulled out an absolute heartbreaker against Florian Mayer only to have Germany take the next two points. But Croatia, with their singles team of Cilic and Dodig, are more than capable of getting two points on the morrow by taking out Kohlschreiber and Mayer respectively... we shall see, we shall see. Oh, and Karlovic beat that fast serve record of Andy Roddick's. Well done, Dr Ivo.

Disappointment of the Davis Cup week is obviously Russia. What an awful performance. Kudos to him for pulling out the win, but no one should really be losing to Joachim Johansson right now. (Out of interest, why didn't Sweden field Nick Lindahl? I thought that was, like, the whole reason he defected.)

Oh, and before I go - MASSIVE shoutout to Jelena Dokic, who is in the final of Kuala Lumpur, where she will take on Lucie Safarova. This is a crazy-excellent result and I hope she is SUPER proud!

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