I've been writing about cake a lot this week. In case you hadn't noticed. This is probably due to two things: firstly, Rafa's half of the draw has been a big ol' cupcake, and secondly, cake is delicious.
Given the subject of this blog - you know, like, tennis and stuff - I'm going to write about the former again today. But cake IS delicious. That is my endorsed position.
So. Cake. Rafa's draw. I want to say that I've been unfair, that I branded this side as cupcake-y out of some malicious impulse deep in my soul or something. But I don't think it's true. On paper, this side of the draw is as cupcake-y as you get. Let's look at Rafa's draw so far. De Voest. Sweeting. Devvarman. Karlovic. Of them, Devvarman is the only one even ranked in the top hundred.
Cake. Rafa's having it, Rafa's eating it... someone said 'let Rafa eat cake!' and Rafa took that cake and - oh. Wait.
In the first two rounds, Rafa was jamming cake down like he was never going to eat a cake again. But then he played Devvarman. And Devvarman played him good, yo. You can see yesterday's blog post for my round up of just how well Devvarman played. I think I called him a cupcake with teeth. Which is actually a little unfair, because even though on paper, this looks like a cake-y match up, Somdev didn't play like cake AT ALL.
But you want an object lesson in a cupcake who didn't play like a cupcake? What's the weather like up there, Dr Ivo?
Ivo Karlovic is a problematic player. Right now, he's ranked way down in the #200s or something, which - you know, CAKE. But even when he was inside the top hundred, it always seemed strangely irrelevant to put a number ranking on Dr Ivo. If you could win the tiebreaks, then you would win the match. Because eight or nine times out of ten, Dr Ivo would take you to the tiebreak. He's the first word in one-dimensional games - not necessarily because the rest of his game is noticeably crap (it's so beige I can't remember how he plays, really) but because his serve is so good that it eclipses everything.
But he's coming back off injury and Rafa is #1, so... piece of cake, yeah?
How about NO. How about Dr Ivo played Rafa so hard - 23 aces! - that there was every possibility that Rafa would go down, that even this cupcake-y draw could defeat the world #1, pull him down like quiksand into a giant morass of cake?
Wow. I took that metaphor a little far. That is a disturbing mental image.
Rafa was extremely lucky to win this match. That was what I was trying to say. It basically hinged on one point - if Karlovic had got the minibreak in the third set breaker, then he would have won, end of story. Rankings are irrelevant for Karlovic because he can beat anyone if they can't deal with his serve. And although Rafa did reasonably well, it still almost wasn't enough.
And yet, on paper, Karlovic should have been yet another cupcake on Rafa's plate. Tennis can always, always surprise you.
Roger: older and not quite out
4 months ago