Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Over The Moon

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga brutalized Mikhail Youzhny 7-6, 6-0, 7-6(6) to advance to his first Slam semifinal.

What happened? Well, it was quite easy to describe, actually. Jo-Wilfried beat the living daylights out of Mikhail with all-court power tennis and the kind of composure that could make him a champion. It was almost frightening.

If my memory is correct, he becomes the first Black man to contest a Slam semifinal since MaliVai Washington at Wimbledon in 1996. Can James Blake make it two? And does anyone know the last time two Black men made the final 8 of a Slam?

Tsonga is definitely the first Frenchman into the semifinals Down Under since Arnaud Clement and Sebastien Grosjean duked it out in 2001. Clement outlasted Grosjean and lost to Andre Agassi in the finals.

In the semis, the Frenchman will face Rafael Nadal, who ended Jarkko Nieminen's run in straight sets earlier in the day. Will Jo-Wilfried be this year's surprise finalist?

Stay tuned.


oddman said...

Wow! The young Frenchman has kept his composure and now here he is is the semis - fantastic. As a Nadal fan, I fear this guy alot. His postmatch interview comment (on playing Rafa next) was cute: 'he has two arms and two legs just like me, so we'll see...' He has a great chance to advance.
Yay for Rafa, didn't play as well as the PMH match, but did enough to win. His postmatch interview also sweet, how he talks about everyone telling him he has to 'get in the court, be more aggressive, stay in front of the line'. He knows he has to try. I find his interviews bluntly honest and touching.
Well well - the Spaniard is in his first non-clay slam semi! Doin' all right!

Alex said...

Ah Craig,

Of course leave it to you to make this about race. Never mind that Tsonga plays an exciting all-court game, and might give Nadal/Federer a run for their money. No, we have to think first and FOREMOST the color of his skin. You'd make Dr. King feel very proud this moment.


oddman said...

'...leave it to you to make this about race...' Wha? I don't see anywhere in Craig's post that he said anything about race being a factor in the win/play of these men. Or are you just teasing him?

rabbit said...

Of course leave it to you to make this about race.

I don't understand what you are talking about, alex. What Craig stated are facts, which are moreover very significant. It is surprising that no GS semifinalist in the men's game has been black since 1996. It would be surprising if an Iraqi woman was to win a grand slam some day. Sad but true. Somebody needs to point out these discrepancies if Dr. King's dreams are ever to be achieved.

Karen said...

Alex, shut up already. Sometimes you just call for it. Why should we not be celebrating that Tsonga, a black man, reprenting France, flying under the radar has made the semi-finals of a Grand Slam. These things dont happen very often and it is good when it is recognised as such. When Sania Mirza emerged on the scene, she was the first Muslim woman to do so and she has faced fire for it. Shahar Peer, Israeli woman, first, it makes headlines. Come on now. When Serena and Venus emerged on the scene, it fueled the fires for black Americans in tennis, notwithstanding that there were those who came before them. It is a significant step in this elitist sport and mention should be made of it. Sorry if I was a bit harsh but sometimes you just irk me

mtl said...

oddman, you are forgetting Nadal's two Wimbledon finals. But it is remarkable that he hasn't made a semi at the US or Australian Opens, until now.

No comment about race- I used that up yesterday.

oddman said...

Oops, I meant first hardcourt slam semi. Thanks!

mtl said...

I'm hoping James Blake can accomplish the same feat, his first (hardcourt) slam semi-final.