Friday, January 30, 2009

Epic Breakthrough






What a difference a day makes.

Rafael Nadal
had to work overtime to take out the red-hot Fernando Verdasco in five grueling sets 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(2), 6-7(1), 6-4 over 5 hours to reach his first Slam final on a non-natural surface.

Best match of the fortnight. Verdasco is a revelation. Rafa has the heart of a lion. I just don't get no better than that.

Roger Federer walked all over his pigeon in straight sets and has an extra day off before the final.

Talk amongst yourselves.


SarooQ said...

I hope Raja wins just so he can win his 14th!! I'd like to see this history be made. If Rafa wins, i'll be happy either way!! But my heart is pulling for Roger to win his 14th!!

vince said...

2 questions.

1) What is up with Federer getting an extra day's rest? If anyone should get the extra day's rest, its Nadal who is seeded 1.

2) Fernando Verdasco... where did this guy come from? I hear the commentators saying he dug deep during the Davis Cup final against Argentina.. seems like he flicked a switch and is now playing with heaps more confidence?

Massive massive match... Verdasco really took the match to Nadal and had Nadal on defense for large portions. Gutted that it ended on a double fault.

oddman said...

I saw the new Fernando play a great tactical and gutsy match to take out Tsonga. I was NOT surprised that this one was gonna go five sets. I wasn't confident at all that Rafa would pull through. Amazing all around. Big props to Nando for his play, love the info about working with Gil Reyes and Agassi, whom he idolizes. That DF at the end? He went for his serve, just like he'd done all night.

Rafa! He simply refused to lose. Did you see him stagger at the end? And he said he was crying a little at 0-40 that last game - from the tension. He looked physically and emotionally drained.

Can Superman come back and give Fed a fight?

I hope so. VAMOS, RAFA!!!!!

SarooQ said...

i posted this comment under another Craig Post, but i'll repeat it here...

I heard somewhere...can't verify it though..i think it was another message board, that Tsonga asked for his half to go second so he could have an extra day of rest.....But then someone also mentioned that The returning Champion (i.e. Djoke) gets to play first???? Who knows....???

Helen W said...

Well, if Tsonga wanted an extra day's rest, maybe they should have moved him instead of the whole draw -- maybe he would have liked to play Federer instead of whomever he got? Works for me.

I read the same thing about always putting last year's winner up first, but certainly that is nowhere on the AO site, and this question has come up quite often, so you'd think that if that really were the reason, they would say so publicly.

My guess is that, once again, the Tennis Establishment was hunting for ways and means of giving Roger every possible advantage. They certainly gave him a nice, comfy draw. And they certainly helped him out at the last US Open, and at Wimby 2007. Last year, Djokovic was regarded as the main threat, so of course most of the time he was on Rafa's side of the draw. This year the main threat is Andy Murray, so it is no surprise that Murray ended up on Rafa's side. I know, I know, it's all random.

Now if they could just find someone -- anyone -- who could beat Rafa on clay at RG, they'd be in heaven.

I, for one, fervently hope these machinations come to nought; that Rafa somehow recovers in the short time allotted him, and takes his first hard-court slam.

Beth said...

This match was as edge-of-your-seat as they GET. Verdasco BROUGHT IT to Nadal, big time. He was on fire and had an answer for nearly everything that Nadal brought his way. It was a phenomenal display of top notch tennis from two remarkably talented Spaniards. Whatever training Verdasco did in Vegas with Gil Reyes and his talk with Agassi obviously WORKED! I was so pleased to see Rafa through to the final after an epic match. This was worth waking up at 3:30am for - worth every second of lost sleep. If only more matches could be like this. Verdasco deserves HUGE applause for is performance and Nadal equally so for answering the challenge. And, yes, I did notice at the end of that very last game that Rafa had a look I've rarely seen on his face until AFTER a match. He looked emotionally pained and close to was very moving. Lots of respect back and forth between these two.

Beth said...

And I think the timing of these semis sucked! Roger got his match in a full 24 hours in advance and was able to sit watching this, tanned, rested and ready. Not fair. Show the players some RESPECT and make the semis the same day. Screw programming. How can you have a fair playing field when one finalist has at least 24 hours more rest than the other?

Helen W said...

Beth he admitted in his presser that he was crying when Fernando went down love-40 in his final service game. Yet he still almost managed to pull it off.

I agree with everything you say -- phenomenal match -- not enough superlatives to describe it. And amazing to comprehend the change in Verdasco since DC.

Beth said...

Helen kidding - a change is an understatement. I was starting to wonder what was in those apples he kept chomping on! ;-)

vince said...

Why isn't there some publicly documented policy on how the Aussie Open is scheduled... as I said earlier, if anyone should get protection by virtue of an extra day of rest it should be the Number 1 seed, Nadal, not the Number 2 seed.

Or is it due to some unofficial policy of protecting the defending champ, and Federer by being in Djokovic's side of the draw, thus benefits from the extra day?

Are the Tennis Establishment trying to help Federer by giving him an extra day, or Federer was simply fortunate in this case due to unofficial policy of helping defending champ and he happened to be on same side of the draw as Djokovic?

Michael said...

It seems to me that the semi-finals on different days is an obvious stunt to make more money by selling more men's semi-final tickets during primetime.

That can't be the priority. I'd suggest bronze-medal match between the losing semifinalists the next day, but we need fewer matches packed into the year, unfortunately, not more.

The commentators talked about how Connors and McEnroe didn't go down to Australia so much - perhaps that was because they realized they needed an off-season!

cate said...

I want Federer to win this. To go 14th.


Re: scheduling. One name: DOKIC.