All credit and respect to 19 year old Marin Cilic. What a performance. Cilic was en fuego tonight, displaying an impressive combination of size and speed. I knew Cilic was a big server, but I had no idea the boy had such great court coverage. He was a brick wall tonight and he frustrated the heck out of Nole. Some of those returns that he got back were pure magic.
As for Nole, overall he didn't play poorly (and he looked good in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle gear). But every time he had a chance to put the pedal to the metal, he blinked. So many opportunities to break, consolidate breaks, etc., and he muffed a lot of them. It wasn't until the fourth set tie-breaker that his experience bubbled to the surface and he was able to outclass a gassed Cilic to win the TB 7-0.
But it wasn't his play that concerned me tonight. It was his lack of emotion. Nole plays better when he's on the edge emotionally and for some reason he was quite detached and reserved tonight. One thought that crossed my mind was that he didn't want to incite the Serb/Croat undertones to the match. A whooping and hollering Nole probably wouldn't have gone down well, especially in contrast to the mild mannered Cilic.
Here's hoping that Nole got this out of his system and can go forward with more fire. He's got Disco Tommy next (who impressively took out Tsonga in straight sets) and then possibly Roddick, who also won in straight sets today, and Fed. And that's just to get to the final! Turtle Power!
How about Gilles Muller? Talk about an underdog. A qualifier from Luxembourg, he toppled yet another seed in a five set comeback, beating Nico Almagro 75 in the third. He'll play Kolya next, who beat Tursonov in straights.
Is Lena D. the only one on the ladies' side not named Williams that can win in straight sets these days? She is just plowing through the draw, dispatching a very solid Na Li, 4 and 1. She looks dominant, people. Get ready for a Lena D. vs. Serena final. That's where I see it shaking out right now.
Apart from Lena, the only other storyline on the ladies' side is how open JJ's draw is getting. You'd think it couldn't get any easier, but then Mono Bartoli had to go and lose to 28 year old mom Sybille Bammer. They didn't show the Bartoli match on USA, but apparently she was like a test monkey out there, calling the trainer, getting her blood pressure taken, rubbed down, and otherwise lollygagging between points. Of course, that didn't stop her from bageling Mama Bammer in the second set (maybe Bammer's maternal instinct kicked in and she wanted to run to Rite Aid to get Mono some Pedialyte?). So JJ gets Bammer next and then most likely Lena in the semis, unless Peppermint Patty can pull off the upset in the next round. Doubtful.