Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Madrid Day 3: Eight Seeds A Falling

After a long day of tennis, thanks in large part to the Novak Djokovic - Fernando Verdasco match, which didn't seem like it would ever end, no less than eight seeds were upset in Madrid today. James Blake, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Ivan Ljubicic, Carlos Moya, and Mikhail Youzhny were all unceremoniously dumped by lower ranked opponents in today's action.

All the losers are chasing Shanghai and their hopes took a big hit. No. 5 seed Fernando González, currently No. 7 in the race, fought off an inspired Nicolás Almagro 7-6(11), 6-4 to advance to the third round and bolster his chances of makiing the Masters Cup.

The energy at this event is about as lugubrious as a funeral dirge. Call it late-season fatigue, but most of the matches featured disinterested, lethargic and listless play from both sides of the net. This is the price the players and the fans pay for such a long season.

No. 13 seed Guillermo Cañas also survived the day of upsets. The Argentine overcame compatriot and qualifier Agustin Calleri 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to book a date with Roger Federer in the next round. Something tells me Raja gets revenge for one of the two losses he took at Willy's hands earlier this spring. No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal and No. 3 seed Djokovic also advanced.

Performance of the day goes to wildcard Juan Martin del Potro who took out homeboy Robredo in three sets. I'm not a big fan of all del Potro's retirements when losing, but today he gutted out a great win with attacking play, soft hands, and a great midcourt between-the-legs lob winner on the deadrun that stunned the crowd. One of the commentators called it the shot of the year.

In Zürich, the upset theme continued. Nicole Vaidisova ousted No. 3 seed Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-3; No. 8 seed Amélie Mauresmo fell to Alona Bondarenko 2-6, 6-4, 6-1; and Tatiana Golovin continued her great indoor play, seeing of No. 4 seed Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-1.

I definitely considered myself a favorite to reach the semifinals, the final and even to win," Ivanovic said after the match. "I was looking ahead instead of focusing on each game, each point. It was a tough lesson for me today."

You'd think by now Ana would've learned that lesson. Having already won a couple of Tier 1 titles, she's not exactly a tour ingenue. Had another player said such things, I've little doubt cries of ungracious and classless would reverberate across the globe. One of my Internet buddies actually thought Ana's statement signified future greatness. I find her remarks neither ungracious (though, surely Tati's play had something to do with the result, no?) nor prophetic. I find them insipid. But I digress.

No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli survived the upsets with a 6-4, 6-1 win over wildcard Michaella Krajicek and will face Golovin in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, TTC won't air the Zurich Open till the semifinals. I'd pay to seed Maid Marion and Tati go at it, especially after their catty remarks about each other regarding Fed Cup participation post-Wimbledon. For those of you who can watch, pop the popcorn and publish the tell-all.


oddman said...

Well, well, you were right - Roger did exactly as predicted and extracted his revenge on Canas. And quite convincingly too.
Listless is right - I just can't seem to get excited about this event in Madrid. The players look dispirited and detached. How many voices have to howl before the powers that be realize the tennis season is far too long and grueling?

oddman said...

I'm still waiting for your take on the terra cotta warriors too, Craig. I rather like them.

TangledStare said...

I'm beginning to think Ana is looking forward to join the Headcase Club.

Craig Hickman said...

Say it again, tangledstare, say it again.

TangledStare said...

If I say it again I'll cry.