Thursday, August 23, 2007

Double duty in New Haven.

Because of the backlog of matches caused by rain, the men of the Pilot Pen had to pull double duty today.

James Blake started off his day with Calleri, and was triple match point down when he seemed to wake up and think "Hey, that's right, I'm playing tennis!" He came back and won the match 6-1 in the third set! Unbelievable come-back, but if he starts off his matches that flat, he will run into an opponent that won't melt like Calleri did under the pressure of the J-Block.

At one point of the match, Blake seemed to believe that Calleri's coaching camp was doing more than the usual amount of coaching from the stands. He mentioned something to the chair ump (Fergus Murphy, I believe), at which point Calleri took offense, and for the rest of the match there were barbs going back and forth between Blake and Calleri. Blake's habit of calling out 'Too good' at some of Calleri's winners only seemed to infuriate the Argentine even more. After the match, Calleri walked off to boos while Blake was still trying to talk to him. Made for an unusual match, especially since it was involving Blake, who is widely considered one of the nicest guys on tour.

Blake then set up an evening match with Verdasco, and I had thought this might be a tough test, but he was through in two easy straight sets.

One has to wonder, though, if he is going to be able to keep up this play through the Open. Is it better to play a tournament the week before, or to be in NY adjusting to the courts and preparing for the big one? Time will tell.

Stan the Man continued his solid play by dispatching #2 seed Disco Tommy Robredo. This may not seem as great of a result as it does on paper...Disco Tommy has been slumping pretty hard lately. I bet if he cut his hair...

Anyway, Stan then later went down to none other than Mardy Fish! Fish joins Blake and Dr. Ivo in the semis. The last semi berth is being decided as I write this.

Today also saw #1 Davydenko go out to Gilles Simon. He confessed to feeling tired. Tired? Did Donald Young actually wear him out? This is another player that I believe would have been better served to skip this week before the Open. But Davydenko is the Jankovic of the men's tour...playing tourny after tourny after tourny. He could use a bit of her personality, though.

The insane score of the day today goes to Mardy Fish's defeat of Jose Acasuso - 6-7, 6-3, 6-0. He went from losing the first set, to delivering a bagel. I didn't see it though, so I don't know if it was result of Fish's great play, or Acasuso melting down. Or both.

I did get to watch Bartoli vs. Dementieva today, and wow. What a bizarre match. Maid Marion came storming out 4-0. But Elena often plays her best tennis when she is behind, and slowly but surely she worked her way back, winning the next 6 games and the first set. The score was much closer than it should have been. Bartoli was visibly winded and taking very long breaks between every single point. I have two big problems with this...#1 - Um, hello chair ump? Time violations happening all over the about enforcing a rule here or there? That is, presumably, what they are paid to do, right? #2 - Dementieva very graciously allowed her the time, instead of stepping up on her service games and making her play. Too nice to win the big ones, Elena!!!

Between sets Elena left the court to change clothes (as she very often does, this is not a new habit), so Dr. Bartoli, Marion's dad and coach, came down and talked to her. Or, at her, I should say. We heard it all on TV, and while it was all in French, I now know how to say backhand in French. He talked, and talked, and talked...Marion sat there with her face in her towel not even looking at her dady/coach. She didn't say a word, but I'm not sure she would have been able to get a word in if she tried! When Dr. Dad/Coach was done, he left...still without her saying a word. Fearless Pam Shriver (I love this woman, by the way) later caught him in the stands and Dr. Dad did say that Marion was very tired and still feeling the effects of the bug that caused her to retire in Toronto last week (she caught the bug that was going around the WTA tour).

As all this was happnening, and they kept showing Marion with her face half covered in her towel...I felt really sorry for her. She is the butt of so many jokes because of her weight, but is obviously so talented. I don't know...she just seemed really young there for a moment, and so, so tired.

Dementieva did go on to win the match, but I don't remember the score of the second set. Here's to hoping that Bartoli gets some much needed rest in the next few days.

Now, the only serve that drives me more crazy thatn Elena's is...Marion's!!! Oh. My. God. Would someone PLEASE give her a service motion??? I couldn't watch it after the first set, it was giving me fits!

Elena's win sets up a Russian semi between her and Sveta, while the other semi will feature young upstart Agnes Szavay against tour veteran and tricky Greek Eleni Daniilidou. Szavay has been turning heads, and Jon Wertheim picked her as an Open semi-finalist based on the draw in his women's seed report!!! Now, that is going out on a limb!!!

Other big news on the tennis scenes today included the not too surprising news that, after the upcoming Davis Cup tie, Brit Tim Henman will be hanging up the racquet. Awww Tim...even knowing it was coming doesn't mean it still isn't sad news. I'm glad that I've been able to see him play three different times at Legg Mason.

Oh, and Shriekapova unveiled her US Open dress today. *yawn* No wonder so many people don't take the women's games seriously...they are playing in rinestones! With huge earrings! What. Ever. I like the dress, but I wouldn't play tennis in it!

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