Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 8: Snoozefest

Tangerine was right. The Australian Open has returned to its mundaneness. In the only match that promised some drama, Lleyton Hewitt understandably had nothing left for Novak Djokovic, and despite leading a break in the first two sets, the Aussie's weaponless game couldn't hold up and he bowed out meekly to the No. 3 seed in straight sets. We'll never forget Superduper Saturday, but we'll have to wait till the quarterfinals before the volume increases again.

Flag Bearer

Congratulations to James Blake, the last American man standing, for making his first Slam quarterfinal outside of the States in his career. Here's hoping he calls Janko Tipsarevic and simply listens.


Tomas Berdych, Nadia Petrova, and Maria Kirilenko showed once again why they never have and likely never will win anything of import.

Berdych couldn't convert three set points against Roger Federer, even though he had three shortballs on the forehand that he refused to hit into the court. Someone suggested that Tomas and Tamira Paszek should go party together. I said they would miss the party.

Nadia was up 5-4 in the second set agasint Russian killer Agnieszka Radwanska before a total collapse of the brain, losing the last 9 games of the match.

MariaK was up a 6-1, 3-1, 30-0 against Daniela Hantuchova before she started to double fault and hit balls out just because. And here I thought the fire in her eyes and the spunk in her wlak meant she might finally do something in women's tennis.

All of them need to find new jobs. It's an absolute disgrace for professionals who've been in the game as long as they have to continue such nonsense on the court.

Daily Discovery

Poland's Marta Domachowska played Venus Williams as though her life depending on it. The 22-year-old who was rising in the ranks a few years ago was sidetracked by personal crises. But the qualifier powered through 6 matches to get her moment in the sun against Venus in the round of 16 and she surely made the most of it.

Celebrity Sighting

Australian actress Nicole Kidman shares a laugh with her husband, singer Keith Urban, during the Hewitt match on Rod Laver Arena last night.


Karen said...

Craig, they are an embarrassment to women's tennis. No fight, no guile, no nothing. Petrova collapsing against someone who serves balls at 54 mph. I am still trying to figure out how Sharapova lost to her. Sometimes I wonder if I am missing something in these matches. MariaK is also from the school of if you are losing take an injury timeout for a massage. Doma (whatever her name is) played big tennis, but could not keep it up. Started out firing aces all over the place and making winners left, right and centre. Then Venus came out of the locker room to find out what was going on and showed this girl that when it comes to power, pace, and movement, you have nothing on me. She was forever silenced.

MMT said...

Petrova is a head-case and a choker. Kirilenko is just another pretty face. Domachowska has potential, but has no net game, so she has to hit winners from the back to win - hence she over hits.

Ivanovic's best chance against Venus is if she can hit firm, but approach the net to finish off points. I don't see it happening, though - I think she'll wilt under the pressure.

Craig Hickman said...

I know you both like Fed, but Tomas Berdych is no different from Petrova when it comes to being a choking headcase. He wasn't going to win the match, but the second set was his and he just gave it away.

MMT said...

I do like Fed, Berdych is a headcase and a choker, and he choked away the second set for sure. Fed still won the other two sets, so it wasn't all on the other side of the net, but I don't think he's playing the best tennis in the tournament. Nadal and Djo-ker-vic look much better.

oddman said...

From the tiniest little bit ESPN showed of Ferrer, he's looking good too. Can he upset Djokovic? Am I the only one who thinks so? I'd love that! This would be his second chance to play Joke in a slam, might not be so nervous this time. Go Ferru!

tangerine said...

Karen said: "they are an embarrassment to women's tennis."

This is a big reason why I can't get into the women's tour as much as the men's. The actual number of elite non-choking women players I can think of I can count on four fingers. The rest are unworthy successors to the King/Navratilova trailblazer generation. It's no wonder Navratilova always looks so disgusted when watching women's matches. I don't blame her in the least.

Craig Hickman said...

tangy said: "The actual number of elite non-choking women players I can think of I can count on four fingers."

I can only count two. And a half.

oddman, I think Ferrer could've beaten Djoke in NY had he challenged all the bad calls that went against him. Let's hope he learned from that experience.

It's my opinion Djoke hasn't had any competition at this event whatsoever, so his form is misleading.

tangerine said...

Craig wrote: "I can only count two. And a half."

I'm thinking of the WS, Sharapova (I know she's unpopular here but she has nerves of steel for the most part), and Henin (is she your half choice? because she does choke sometimes, esp when serving for the set). Who's your two and a half choices?

btw, I think Djokovic has been playing very lazy at AO, probably due to his weak opposition in the first few rounds. It'll be interesting to see if this helps or hinders him in the second week when he faces stiffer competition, and whether he'll be able to up his game significantly (which Roddick was not able to do vs Kohlschreiber). I think Ferrer is ripe for a shock upset here.

As for Blake, he has no chance vs Sir Roger but I'm very pleased he's reached many personal milestones at this tournament (five setters, comebacks, and his first non-US slam QF).