I have learned since seeing Mardy Fish destroy (and yes, I mean DESTROY) Roger at Indian Wells that you can't really count the dude out. The fact is that when he is on, he is awfully hard to beat. But I also know that he's a bit of a flake and against a guy like Monfils I figured it would go at least four sets with a few sets being very close. But for all the upside to Monfils (athletic ability, court coverage, shot making ability) there's also a downside, which was harped upon at RG before he made his run. He is your quintiscential counterpuncher who is content to hang behind the baseline and let his opponent make mistakes. I've always had a problem with these types of players because how can they are essentially going into a match hoping that the other guys screws up, as opposed to taking their game to the other player and beating them. Seems awfully risky to me to put the match on the other guy's racquet instead of your own.
Well today, LaMonf was taken to the shed by Mardy Fish. He was patient and went for his blazing shots when they were there and he executed. All credit to Mardy for two very impressive back to back wins. He's having an Indian Wells-like run here.
Mardy's next opponent is Rafa, who had a rather adventurous afternoon. Sure, he won in four sets but boy, it was a lot closer than the score indicated. Querrey California showed up to play and he was hell bent on (a) not getting embarrassed and (b) maximizing his air time on CBS (the kid IS from Southern California after all). Rafa seemed on a roll until he had a break point at 4-2 and sent a forehand flying out of bounds on an easy second serve. That seemed to rattle him and Querrey came back and rattled off a 7-5 win. From then it it was a complete gut-out by Rafa. He was completely off his game, sending a load of UFEs (for him) and serving horribly. The world #1 was sending in 90 mph serves. But in the end Querrey couldn't capitalize. The epic 4-2 game in the fourth set that saw seven break points for Querrey, would eventually go Rafa's way. And the rest is history.
I think this was a good match for Rafa to have. Every top player needs one game in the tournament to test their fight and their gut. This was Rafa's.
As for the ladies, it was a bagel and breadstick buffet. ALG gave Dinara a run in the first set, eventually losing 7-5, and that must have broken her spirit. Baby Beluga would eventually force feed the resurgent German a bagel in the second. Dinara will face Flava Flav who has had a fantastic few months. She destroyed Momo 3 and 0. Dinara holds the 4-0 lead on the H2H, beating Flavia just a month ago in the LA final, 4 and 2.
As for Venus, well, she was Venus. She looks absolutely unbeatable, beating Agi 1 and 3. Radwanska made it a tick more competitive in the second set but in the end there was zero doubt who was the favorite and who had the game to take the tournament. The more the Sisters play the more bummed I get that they're going to meet in the next round (assuming Serena wins her match tonight). It's a darn shame.