Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm Stuffed

I enjoyed the feast of tennis today produced. And my dinner was good, too. I'm ready for bed.

Most of the matches today delievered. Fernando Gonzalez and Janko Tipsarevic had more flips than a floor excercise. That Gonzo couldn't hold his 5-2 lead in the final set was a letdown, though. And not because I had a huge stake in his victory, but because I don't like watching chokes.

Which made me rather uncomfortable when Lucie Safarova couldn't control her ball toss from 3-3 forward in the second set of her match against Jelena Jankovic.

Marat Safin: too much, too little, too late. Roger Federer was having none of it. He barked when he won the third set breaker, clearly relieved to have cleared a dangerous obstacle. It was a good performance. American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour blew kisses from her seat next to Mirka.

But Serena Williams put on the grass-court clinic of the event so far. Milagros Sequera didn't put up much resistance, mind you. She was too busy missing her own shots and smiling with sweet resignation as she watched Serena's serves and groundstrokes blow up titanium puffs off the lines. She was at her quiet, string-picking, slit-eyed deadly self. 43 minutes was all it took for her to lose a single game.

Andy Roddick broke a Pete Sampras record. That's not a joke. Andy bested Peter's streak of 16 consecutive tiebreaks won in 2000-2001 with his 17th straight win in 2007 alone. Useless trivia, for sure. But a marked improvement of Roddick's abysmal .500 record in 2006. Proof that he's mentally strong this year when the stakes are high. (Too bad Fernando Verdasco can't say the same. He's quickly becoming the Biggest Waste of Talent on the tour. Not even Manuel "Manolo" Santana, the last Spaniard to win Wimbledon, could help from Nando's player box.)

Former NCAA No. 1 Laura Granville, the quiet American, a journeywoman no one pays any attention, upset No. 9 seed Martina Hingis in straight sets. Well, not really. The former champ was buried on the graveyard court and she never had the gumption to even try to stop the digging. I can't see her competing on the WTA past the end of this season. Great win for Granville. Grass is her best surface. She's steady, determined, wields a vicious slice. And did I mention she's quiet? She matches her best effort at Wimbledon since she debuted in 2002 and lost to current defending champion Amelie Mauresmo in the fourth round.

A Dutch girl with Wimbledon in her blood caused the biggest upset. Michaella Krajicek, sister of 1996 champion Richard, outlasted an in-form Anna Chakvetadze in three tough sets. Just when I started to like the Russian and think the Dutch girl would never break through. AnnaC needs to stop all that crying. (See: Vera Zvonereva.) I'm still happy with the result. That former NCAA champ will be the Dutch girl's next foe. I'm excited.

France ruled the day. Maid Marion Bartoli, Richie Red Shoes Gasquet (who defeated another Frenchman, Edouard Roger-Vasselin), Jo-Wilfried Ali Tsonga, and Paul-Henri Mathieu all advanced to the second week. Amelie Mauresmo, Aravane Rezai and Gael Monfils have a chance to join them tomorrow if Gael can make Nikolay Davydenko remember that he hates grass and Rezai can play out of her mind. Mauresmo just needs to show up.

I'm going to watch Mathieu beat up on Ivan Ljubicic now, becuase I want to see how much of a threat he's going to be to my fave in the next round.

Tomorrow brings us a slightly less appetizing buffet. But I'm looking forward to David Nalbandin vs. Marcos Baghdatis, Lleyton Hewitt vs. Guillermo Canas, and don't be shocked if Nicolas Kiefer causes an upset. I won't.

The women's matches tomorrow? Yawn. If there's an upset, a young Polish girl will be the victor. If there's another one, I will be shocked. (Oh, and Elena Dementieva losing to anyone at Wimbledon doesn't count.)

Till next time....


Karen said...

LOL Craig you know you are wrong for that about the women. Who said Yummy Prince Fed has no Wilanders and does not respect his opponents. He knew that Marat is a dangerous player so he ensured that he stepped it up when it mattered and you could tell that it meant a lot to him this win. As to Serena. Girlfriend had her skin greased and her hair braided she was taking no names. She meant business. Dang. I am going to see if I can watch the Bartoli Peer match. I really would like to see how that happened. Until tomorrow Craig. I think the only match I will be watching tomorrow is the Venus Williams match. Nothing else interests me. Is it me or all the good and interesting matchups on one side of the draw and the borefests and also rans on the other side (apart from Rafa that is) I am really beginning to like this guy. Especially his smile and his innocence. If only he would not play the FO one year so that Yummy Prince Fed can win. Ah well one can only hope. I am not one for Nicolas Keifer. Do not care for players who exhibit crass and unsportsmanline behaviour so will take no interest in his match. Enjoy the tennis though, it has been fun so far. Take care Craig.

Craig Hickman said...

On grass, offense beats defense 9 times out of 10. Maid Marion is a basher a la Monica Seles. Peer is a counterpuncher with no weapons. I'm sure Maid Marion just stood in the center of the court and fired missles side to side.

Peer won't be a factor at Wimbledon throughout her career.

I'm not claiming to like Kiefer, but I wouldn't be shocked if he takes out the Djoke. I won't be shocked if he doesn't either.

carter said...

The descriptive term referencing Krajicek might be sister, not brother!!!
Secondly, the death of James' game and headset is still the biggest loss of the tournament so far.
Tsonga is without question the biggest surprise of the tournament in a positive kind of way!

Savannah said...

With rumors floating around that Wimby might be a victim of the terror alert in the UK who has and hasn't played is crucial. The top half round of 16 for the men is set. The bottom half hasn't even begun to play. I hope we don't see something similar to that controversial US Open of 2003 Craig. No need to get too deep into it here but you know what I reference.

As for the ladies what you said is tight but it's right.

Ferrero,if he maintains the level of play he showed against Blake(who gave up in the middle of the second set btw) and Tsonga are the ones to watch IMO. Tsonga in the second week of a slam will either do the deer in headlights choke a la AnaI or just play his rear off.

Venus has time to regroup. She needs to borrow some of that vaseline and hair grease from her sister. We know you can do it Venus. You're a Gemini.

Savannah said...

I finally got my Wimby live to work so I plan to watch a lot of tennis.
Tsonga/Lopez is queued up for tonight. I also want to see the Delic vs Djoke match.On the ladies side Krajicek vs Chakvetadze and Bondarenko vs Schnyder are on my list.

Craig Hickman said...

Those are good ones, Savannah.

I've got even more on my list to watch tonight and tomorrow. I can't wait.

Karen said...

With you dont even miss live matches on middle Sunday because there are so many matches that you did not get to see that you can now see taped. Even if you know the score. On another note, heard about Tommy Haas withdrawing. He is not one of my favourites but I am hoping and praying that his injury is not career threatening. A stomach muscle that is not only torn but bleeding sounds very serious to me and trust me the painkillers that were administered perhaps only made the situation worse. When will players learn that they need to take care of their bodies so that it remains injury free. Another player who needs to rest her shoulder injury is Sharapova. Again, not another of my favourites, but to be playing through an injury and taking cortisone shots is not only foolhardy but says nothing about her and her camp's decisions to make informed choices. Is a win that bad or is she just trying to salvage an awful start to her season.

Craig Hickman said...

Players always played with something tweaked or sore. But it is wise to avoid playing with serious injury.

Haas withdrawing is a terrible thing. Mostly for him but also for the rest of the draw.

Leo Luck strikes again.