Wow, what a day. If I was a seeded player and my name wasn't Roger Federer, I would have been afraid to step on the courts today.
Probably the most shocking upset of the day was Carlos Moya's straight set defeat of last week's champion Novak Djokovic. Hey, that's part of the beauty of tennis, right? Last week's champion can be this week's chump. Not that Nole is a chump, he's not. Anyway, I didn't think this was that huge of a surprise. Last week Nole did what no man has done before...beat Roddick, Rafa, and Roger. In consecutive days. He is also still a youngster. I think he may have been more mentally spent than physically spent, but I think both things were a factor today. And, it wasn't as if he was playing Donald Young (*zing*). Carlos Moya, even at his 'advanced' age, can still play, and has been playing well this whole season. He is a Spaniard who knows his way around hard courts, especially at Cincy where he has previously captured the title. A surprise, yes...but not a huge one.
Next up on the shock-o-meter (I'm feeling flippant tonight, can you tell?) was Juan Monaco's defeat of Rafael Nadal. Well, defeat is pushing it. Nadal retired in the second set with dizziness and pain in the forearm (TE?). Obviously, with the US Open on the near horizon, he isn't going to chance anything. This is the time of year where Nadal has traditionally struggled, and we are seeing something similar again this go 'round. Hard courts are not his best surface, though he has proven, more than once, than he is a threat on every surface.
A greater curiosity to me is this...Nadal's game is a physical one. He throws his body around those courts, literally sacrificing his body at times. He is obviously fit, nobody would question that. But how long can he go on playing such a physical game before the body breaks down? And it will break down. I have no doubt of that. Nadal is smart, though, and has surrounded himself with smart people. He has shown he can make adjustments to his game, especially for grass. Will he make those adjustments when he starts having more injuries? Maybe I am a naysayer, but regardless of how big his 'guns' are, I just don't think he can go on like this for years and years.
Young Sam Querry provided one of our upsets today, with a three set win over #13 seed Russian Mikhail Youzhny. I was disappointed, I like Youzhny, and I wanted a chance to see him play. But definitely a good result for Sam. And it will help keep all those 'American tennis is up the river without a paddle' media stories at bay.
James Blake joined him in that effort with a straight set win over Nicholas 'I like to throw raquets' Keifer. This was a good win for James, as Keifer plays well on hardcourts and can be dangerous in the draw. And when he doesn't play well, he'll just throw something at you. (Obviously, I have never forgiven his trangression against Grosjean last year. Total lack of class.)
Mario Ancic departed the tournament today as well. Maybe not an upset, but it is sad to see him go after finally getting him back on the tour. Logically of course, it will take him some time to get back into form after being gone for so long. He lost to Jurgen Melzer. Melzer is dating Nicole Vaidisova, who is out with mono, which is what Mario had! Oh what tangled webs we weave!
Not an upset in my mind, but he was a seed...Ivan Ljubicic continues to play poorly, and lost to Nicholas Almagro. This made me happy...I don't like Ivan, and I really like Almagro. I don't expect him to get too far unless the spectators start throwing red clay on the courts, but a good win nonetheless.
And finally, JCFerrero took out a lackluster Fernando Gonzalez. Oh Gonzo!?! What happened to the guy we saw in Australia, who just would not make a mistake? Such a great start to the season...one has to wonder if there is something going on that we are just not privy to? Of course, JCF is not a bad hard court player at all. He pushed Federer to three sets here last year, and has shown up in the USOpen finals. He's another one of those sneaky Spaniards!
The carnage was not limited to the men today, as the already depleted WTA field in Toronto took more hits when defending champion and LA winner Ana Ivanovic lost in straight sets to Zi Yan. See above, what I wrote about Nole, but take out the part where you defeated the #3, #2, and #1. Hmmm, a troubling result, but a sign that she is probably not quite ready, mentally, to win a slam. Though, I would love to proven wrong...I love her! You can't not love her. Have you seen her smile?!? She's just too cute!
The women also lost Dementieva, Safarova (Man, what happened to her? Earlier in the year she defeated Henin, and now she's going out in the second round?), and Chakvatedze, who retired with the illness that started sweeping the WTA tour last week in LA. I haven't seen the draw, but I know Henin and Bartoli are still in there...maybe we'll get a rematch of the Wimbledon semi-final?
TTC just got done showing Zi Yan defeated Ana. Yan uses a double handed forehand, a la Monica Seles, and that is always fun to watch. She is also...IN SHAPE! Look out for the Chinese players in the Olympics! They are going to be a force to reckon with!
But there is good news!!! The men's US Open Wild Cards were announced today, and the committee very smartly awarded one to Wayne 'the Train' Odesnik!!! Yay! (Thanks to all the TTW posters who gave me the heads up!) Let's hope he gets a good draw and can advance a few rounds and pick up some ranking points! As expected, a WC was also given to Legg Mason golden boy John Isner. Scoville Jenkins got a WC into qualifying...I hope he makes it through. I still remember seeing him play Nadal at the Open two years ago (I think?)...I liked watching him, and think he deserves more of a 'buzz' than Donald Young.
And, I can think of no better way to wrap up this post than to provide a link to a fellow fanatic's page. Much was made of the men's fashion show in Montreal last week, in particular Novak Djokovic's channeling of John Travolta. Evidently, after the show was over, Nole challenged James Blake to bet him (Nole) to go back out in just his briefs. He wanted some company, though, and Italian player Adriano Biasella was accomodating. And here they are...the pictures.