Sunday, October 18, 2009

Last Man Standing

Nikolay Davydenko of Russia poses with the winner's trophy after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in the men's singles final at the ATP Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 18, 2009. Davydenko defeated top-seeded Nadal 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Getty

And from little I saw, he also played the best tennis of the week, if not his entire career. Appropriate, too, that he didn't win any of his matches by retirement in this record-breaking week of retirements.

As for the former No. 1, he was so far behind the baseline, playing so much defense, he could never get aggressive. He hit less than 10 winners in the match. He flatout refused to flatten out his ground strokes, and they say up like basketballs. And most remarkably, he never tried to mix up his game to take his opponent out of rhythm.

Great tennis by the champion, but a bizarre match.

::

Samantha Stosur of Australia holds up the trophy during the awarding ceremony in the Japan Open women's tennis tournament in Osaka on October 18, 2009. Stosur defeated Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the final 7-5, 6-1.
Getty

Samantha Stosur of Australia won her first WTA title at the Japan Open women's tennis tournament in Osaka on October 18, 2009. Stosur defeated Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the final 7-5, 6-1.

Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer presents the trophy and flowers after winning against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in their final match at the WTP women's open tennis in Linz October 18, 2009.
Reuters

Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer presents the trophy and flowers after her 6-3, 6-4 victory against Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in their final match at the WTP women's open tennis in Linz October 18, 2009.

12 comments:

lynney62 said...

Not much to say about the Shanghai final....Davy played superb tennis! I love Rafa, but he talks a good talk about "playing aggressive" but he certainly doesn't walk the walk (9 winners?..jeez). I keep waiting for him to do what he says he'll do-----"I must play aggressively"......guess I just have to keep on waiting......

Graf_sampras said...

CONGRATS to "UGLY" KOLYA!!!


he looks "beautiful" , in black with gold stripes and holding his trophy that is so well-deserved.

now, maybe he can parlay that into winning his own Major next year!

now his wife will give him a nice bubble bath....and massage him .......


all over and everywhere.....


and she will say:

"KOLYA -- you may be ugly -- but your pecker is SO beautiful..and you use it so beautifully "....

Whole Sight said...

Rafa did offer up the occasional slice backhand - that was about all the "mixing up" that he managed.

Also his 1st serve seemed pretty tepid. He's bee giving away too much on his service games, as if he feels it's OK to just get the ball in play.

Helen W said...

Whole Sight he seems to have reverted to the earlier Rafa. Maybe this is part of his getting back into form -- he has to relearn the aggressive hard-court style which comes less naturally to him. I hope he does it.

Craig Hickman said...

I remain a bit shocked by how passive he was.

Davydenko's footwork is the best in the business.

oddman said...

Didn't see the match, yet, coming on my telly in 2 hrs here, but have read numerous comments like these - too passive, too far back, too defensive - I guess Rafa is still a work in progress after his absence from the game. I do hope he finds that ability to play more attacking, aggressive tennis.

As for Kolya, great win for him - he's always a tough customer for Rafa. Just as fast, and has wicked angles and is very consistent when he's in the zone. And he's cute, too!

Congrats to Davydenko!

edma1022 said...

I can't believe this is only Sam Stosur's first title since '01 (?)

Graf_sampras said...

we have gotten used to rafa winning before his injury -- and of course everyone knows it opened the path for roger federer in FO and wimbledon , courtesy of Robin Soderling who himself "reverted" to his usual when facing Roger .

we can talk about rafa "reverting"

but that is the native style of rafael - technically - to enable him to find his range first.

naturally - after a period of serious injury and loss of form - the longest in his career since 2004, he is not going to be as "aggressive" as he had transformed himself into in reaching the Top Rank.

consider this:

if rafa was playing so "far back"

what are we to take of RODDICK playing so far back , worse even than nadal, where wawrinka made him look like a ragdoll?

still:

Rafa said this:

".. today was the first time I played since returning that I gave 100 percent , everything I had...I played well..but he was still better".

KOLYA said this:

"it was good for ME..everyone was injured or exhausted and i was still fresh..everyone says the season is too long...I am sure IF I was also playing many last rounds of the Grand Slams or tournaments this year..i would also say the same thing..so it depends not only on how many tournaments but how many MATCHES you play".

I am kind of...liking Davydenko...hehe

Craig Hickman said...

G_S,

Rafa reminded me of Roddick, playing so far back. Being so defensive.

So uninventive.

Neither of them has any confidence right now.

Goes with that territory.

::

Davydenko speaks truth more often than not. The truth is always more attractive than looks. Though I've never considered him unsightly.

He has the face of a masculine angel.

Craig Hickman said...

Ed, this is Stosur's first WTA title ever.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

G_S,

Rafa reminded me of Roddick, playing so far back. Being so defensive.

So uninventive.

Neither of them has any confidence right now.

Goes with that territory.

::

Davydenko speaks truth more often than not. The truth is always more attractive than looks. Though I've never considered him unsightly.

He has the face of a masculine angel.

Mon Oct 19, 10:37:00 PM===========

===========


that's true Craighickman.

with rafa - it of course is a vestige of his original style anyway.

with roddick -it was pure lack of confidence.

both affected in that by their recent injuries and discomforts.

but what i didn't like with roddick was (barring his injury reason) -

he STILL didn't have to allow himself to do that because his style is different from Rafa's in that he doesn't have to stay back so much and "revert" to "old habit" as rafa did.

that was the part that disappointed me about Andy.

rafa said (truthfully or not) that "this is the first time i gave 100 percent since I returned"

perhaps in terms of really trying to find his rythm and all that - but davydenko just was too good and never permitted him to find an opening to come in.

but with Andy - my disappointment is that he reminded me of the way he would capitulate against some lowranked player a couple of years back .

andy would fight harder when it's a higher ranked player and we know he just gets in his way in crucial moments but at least he would show his fighting spirit.

but this last one - he allowed himself to be pushed back unnecessarily.

staying back just made his discomfort with his injury worse because he just ended up having to run more between points.

he shouldn't let that happen, because he's far better than that.

BUT good news is :

NO SURGERY on his leg, complete recovery , and he's IN the London ATP Championships!

he BETTER remind himself that it's a place of many great performances from him and just play like he knows he can and should.

PLAY FAST, PLAY a QUICK GAME.

NOT STAY BACK!!

Graf_sampras said...

You phrased it so well:

"face of a masculine angel".


because i also think Davydenko actually , when under good lighting and he is rested and not at the end of a long work day when faces get drawn from tiredness, quite goodlooking. he has a nice dimple that becomes him and when he smiles - he looks good.

although I never celebrated him for his "capitulation" to roger federer in so many matches or sets he should have won which is SO different from when he plays other players and shows his stubborness - i still always thought he was likeable personallyk because of how he stays "low-key"...almost shy. and just lets his racket do the talking....which incidentally produces one of the best , most accurate shotmaking out there.

he should have more belief in himself in big moments in grand slams and he can win a major too.

he is too self-effacing "in the face of great roger federer", i think.

but who cares? his wife adores him. so there!!