Tuesday, May 06, 2008

TMS Roma 5/6/08 - A Four Match Summary

by Savannah

I was home and got to watch tennis all day. It wasn't a planned day, it just happened. The day started with Andy Roddick facing Mardy Fish. On Monday Fish beat Michael Llodra of France. I didn't see the match but Llodra is no slouch on clay so the match today was highly anticipated. When a news article appeared in which Andy said he had spent a lot of time moving into the new apartment in New York City he'll share with his fiancee many tennis heads took that as Andy sending up the white flag and admitting he was set for a second round exit. Instead of a competitive match Mardy seemed to revert to the role of good friend and played nothing like he had the day before against Llodra. Andy played in his usual style and won easily in straight sets.

Andy's match was followed by another highly anticipated match between Roger Federer and Guillermo Canas. This would be their first meeting on clay. I'm sure Canas and his team watched the tape later to make sure he was really on court against Federer. Roger had no intention of letting Guillermo even think he had a chance. It's not that Willy didn't try. Roger made sure to crush every idea Willy had. Another fairly easy straight set victory and a pretty dull match unless you're a Roger Federer fan.

Then came the match that for tennisheads was interesting but probably got a ho-hum from mainstream media. Fernando Gonzalez was coming off victory in Munich and it can be said he should've been a tad tired. Janko Tipsarevic is the thinking person's Serbian player. Breathing issues? He wears a tape over his nose to assist him in that area just like football players do. Obnoxious family? Never in sight. Oddly timed medical time outs? Not Janko. Drama? Jelena must be playing somewhere this week. Check that tournament out.

Janko took the court with what can only be described as supreme confidence. Not arrogance, just confidence in his game and that he had a good chance of beating his opponent. Janko's confidence had to soar when he took the first set 6-3 over a seemingly befuddled Gonzalez. It looked as if Janko was on his way to a straight set victory when Fernando woke up. He stopped missing and he stopped himself from reverting to his old hit hard and harder style. When the dust settled the set had been leveled at 6 all. Janko still didn't seem rattled. About three minutes later he was. Fernando won the tiebreak 7-0.
The third set turned into a exhibition of clay court tennis at it's best. Great shots. Waiting out your opponent, pushing him into making a mistake by going for too much. Once again after twelve games the score stood at six games apiece and another tiebreaker had to be played. This was no seven zip beat down. Both men played well but Gonzalez, the one who has played big matches before, used all of his experience and pulled out the tiebreak 8-6. Experience won that match for him.

The other great match of the day took place under the stars. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was playing his first tournament after an injury kept him out of competition for a few weeks. He was playing Gilles Simon someone this fan had never seen play before. Simon won the first set over an obviously rusty Tsonga 6-2. When Tsonga fell behind in the second set I went and took care of some personal business thinking Simon would win easily. Wrong. Tsonga had managed to win the second set 6-4 and the two men were preparing to start the third set. Once again Gilles took the lead 5-2 and it looked as if he were on his way to the next round. But Jo had other plans. Patiently, his feet now firmly under him on the slippery red clay he fought his way back, pulling even at five all. Once again at the end of twelve games two players found themselves tied at six games apiece.

As I said above when all else is equal the player who has the most experience to call upon will win. It looked as if Tsonga was going to win when he tightened up and missed both match points he had on his serve. It should be mentioned that Gilles was serving for the match at 5-2 when Tsonga made his run. Simon knowing he'd dodged a bullet with Tsonga missing those two match points calmly closed out the match taking the tiebreaker 8-6.

Both Janko and Jo-Wilfried learned valuable lessons today. When they get over the bitterness and watch the tapes they'll see where they lost their matches and understand why. For me as a fan I enjoyed a day of clay court tennis.


Karen said...

Savannah, good match report but as a fan of the Fed I have to add my 2 cents. He played brilliantly and he has added a new weapon to his already forbiddinng arsenal - a forehand dropshot that he used to great effect against Canas today. He was on fire and to see Willy breaking his racquet because he was so frustrated speaks volumes about Fed's game today. I enjoyed the Gonzo/Tipsy match. I thought it was very good tennis by both players and as I had posted earlier in this forum should be on the match of the year list when that is being posted on. It is matches like those where you are really sad when one person has to lose. As to the Jo-Willy match, did not get to see all of it because Dish Network has gone down and I have no television coverage. Hopefully it will be up by 2morrow, if not I am SOL

Craig Hickman said...

Savannah, thanks for the detailed report.

I saw bits of the Tsonga/Simon and Roddick/Fish and Federer/Canas matches, but not enough to make an impression.

I'll get over my politics addiction soon I think.

Funny that they've been using a lot of tennis jargon of late.

"Holding serve" when a candidate wins a state s/he is supposed to win is but one example.

rabbit said...

I love how you describe Tipsarevic as the thinking man's Serb. I completely agree! I didn't get to watch the match but it seems a pity that he lost after all that. Still, Fernando's streak on clay goes on. I don't normally think of him as a clay court player, but I suppose he is.

Savannah said...

Karen I realized my comment at the end of the Fed/Canas recap may have been a little harsh but I left it in anyway.
Fed did play great tennis yesterday, and Canas inability to adapt to the drop shot - it was well disguised - is what determined his fate.

Rabbit I think we're used to Gonzo's hit hard and harder reflex so when he plays like he did yesterday it always comes as a surprise.

I agree that Gonzo/Tipsy should be on the match of the year list. Funny how so many matches of the year come on clay isn't it?

I hope your television service comes back up! I really feel your pain!

Craig there's a lot of tennis jargon all over the place. You hear it in basketball, baseball and American football all the time. Funny isn't it?

oddman said...

Gonzo likes Rome. I hope he can get through the draw and into the final again. Is he in Fed's half? (too lazy to look it up, lol)

Ferrer is out, too bad, I think he's tired out.

MMT said...

I don't know if this is somewhere else on the blog, but has anyone followed this mama-bashing business between del Potro and Andy Murray?

Apparently Murray is claiming del Potro went head-hunting on a passing shot, then later insulted his mother after a heated exchange.

Here's a link to a report about it:


Beth said...

Anyone know what happened to Rafa in his match against JC Ferrero? Did he have an injury? I was trying to watch in on the ATP Masters TV I subscribe to but it wouldn't load on my work PC. I had to keep checking in on the live scoring on the Rome website and was dismayed at the results.

oddman said...

beth, they showed Rafa's foot there after he called another injury timeout. It was quite horrible - blisters, cracked sole - uck. He was injured and couldn't play at his usual speed or get to many of the balls JCF was hitting. I must say too, that JCF was playing topnotch too, painting the lines, and really working Rafa around the court, aggravating that sore foot. Them's the breaks. I'm not too upset about this, actually, methinks Rafa needs the rest and recharge. It's only a short hop from Rome to Mallorca, no? Get outta town, go fishing, and heal that foot, Rafito! More important to me is the FO and Wimby.

Beth said...

Oddman, I completely agree! I think he needed to crash out of one of these tournaments to get some rest and recoup. I would much rather see Federer win here and Rafa with the FO. I hope his foot will heal in time for Hamburg. I think his loss is truly a blessing in disguise. Thanks for the info! I was going crazy not being able to see what was happening :-(

Helen W said...

HI fellow Rafatards -- oh that foot looked just awful! I hope it does not become infected. Get well soon, Rafito!

I'm heartbroken. I have to stop watching for awhile (and get to work :)). But I thought JC played better than I have seen him play in years.

oddman said...

Ugly foot:


cp said...

"Janko Tipsarevic is the thinking person's Serbian player."

I don't understand why his ethnicity is brought into this? Why not just --he is the thinking person's player?

What if I say...Tiger Woods is the thinking person's black player? Or James Blake is a black US tennis player.

Race and ethnicity should be left out of sports.