Friday, August 31, 2007
US Open: Day 5 - Good-bye Tim.
For me, an even bigger story today than Nadal's Knee-gate was the conclusion of Tiger Tim's fabulous tennis career. As he played his second round match against Tsonga, you could often see a bit of a smile, a smirk almost, on Tim's mouth. Almost as if he knew a big secret that he wasn't letting the rest of us in on. And maybe he did. In his on court interview after the match, he expressed no regret (he shouldn't) and spoke with the conviction of a man who knew he was making the right decision at the right time. Plus, he sounded very excited about playing his final Davis Cup in a few weeks, on none other than the Wimbledon grass. We'll miss you Tim.
Nadal is playing as I write this (as is Hewitt), so I will save him and his knees for last.
The women's draw is finally starting to get a bit more interesting...I may start to salivate soon. Serena and Jelena were both pushed today (Jelena to three), but both came through, relying heavily on their experience. Ahsha Rolle's fairy tale came to an end today at the hands of Dinara Safina. Also leaving us today were Safarova (Beaten by Bartoli, hmm, what happened to her? She was beating Henin earlier this year! Lucie, I mean here, not Bartoli) and Dementieva (who got obliterated by Moms Sybille Bammer). Now that a few rounds are out of the way, the match-ups are getting good. Serena and Maid Marion. Venus and AnaIvo! Oh My! <---insert Dick Enberg voice
Some doubles news real quick...the #1 seeds on the women's side (Black/Huber) are OUT! They were beaten today by Maria Elena Camerin and Gisela Dulko! What?!? Hingis and Hantuchova are continuing their successful (so far) partnership, and teenage boys everywhere are rejoicing. Men's Wimby champs, Clement and Llodra, were beaten by Americans Kuznetsov/Levine. Jesse Levine was the kid that Fed flew out to Dubai to practice with him. I guess some of it rubbed off...either that, or maybe the US should start focusing on churning out doubles teams. Another American team, Justin Gimelstob/Amer Delic took out Booty and Stretch, as well! What's going on?!? One interesting pairing I just noticed today in mixed is that of Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi. They beat a formidable team in Elena Likhotseva and Daniel Nestor. I think they have a good shot at the title.
Ok, back to the men.
It is with much sorry that I announce that Wayne Odesnik's train has finally pulled into the station. He went down to #20 seed, Juan Ignacio Chela, in straight sets. Still! A good showing for Wayne, and let's hope he doesn't have to stay in Isner's shadow much longer.
A pretty big upset occurred when Philip Kohlshreiber took out #11 seed and last year's semifinalist, Mikhail Youzhzny. Poop. That sucks. Mardy Fish lost a tough five setter to Disco Tommy, and Nole just barely survived his five setter against Radek Stepanek. I wish this had been a night match so I could have seen it...I bet it was great. This match also receives today's Insane Score Award. Nole won 6-7, 7-6, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6. WHAT?!? That's sick!
Hey, guess who else is out? That's right! Everyone's favorite basketcase...Marat Safin. He lost to the suddenly hot Swiss (who isn't named Federer) Wawrinka. Whatever. Safin is done. Maybe he should have had the surgery instead of rehabbing the knee the old fasioned way. He has never been the same, and he never will be. A shame.
A nice surprise win for American Robbie Ginepri! He beat Gabasvili convincingly in three sets. Other winners today include Gulbis (the Latvian wonder!), Ljubicic (remember him?), Nalbandian (remember him?), del Potro (looking very strong and dominant), and Moya (awwww!).
Now, as I wrote this, both Tipsarevic and Nadal took treatment. (I think Nadal did, Tipsy is still in his chair.) The condition of Nadal's knees has been the focus of much discussion and a more than a few arguments (TTW) today. This is my take:
*Nadal played right after Wimby. On clay. Stupid.
*Nadal has made the necessary adjustments to his game to suit a surface not familiar to him...that being grass. He's been quite successful. Why won't he make those same adjustments so that he can play on hard courts without so much wear and tear? Is it that it will be too much of a change? Flatten out the strokes a bit? Finish at the net? I know hard courts are harder on the body. But if a player refuses to change a game that also contributes to tearing up his body, who is more to blame? The surface? Or the player? Here's a hint for the answer...which one of those two has a brain?
*Yes, JohnnyMac, the tape does help. I had tendinitis in my left knee from running. Taping helps. So does...rest.
*In the argument of surfaces...yes, clay is easier on the joints. It isn't necessarily easier on the body as a whole, because the points are longer. It balances out, and again, in the end run, it is up to the player to make the adjustments necessary for each particular surface. If Nadal does not, he will go the way of Guga. Remember him?
Anyway...Nadal is going to win this match. Tipsy, as much as I like him, is being outplayed, and also struggling with knee problems.
EDIT: I love it when I'm right! *smile* Nadal won, Tipsy retired. And it was his ribs he was getting treatment for, not his knee. Nadal marches on, and Knee-gate continues!
Tomorrow is the big-matchup! Federer vs. Isner! I won't be home, so I'm setting the DVR, and I better get it on there! I might have to erase some other matches to make room...but I will do my best. I may be home by then...I have a 'back to school' shopping date! More than likely, I will run out of money before the match begins!