A few months ago, a certain friend of mine asked me what the big deal was with Tomas. The question was basically, "Why is he relevant?" Why do hardcore tennis fans talk about him like he's a threat when he hasn't won anything? Why do people shake their heads ruefully whenever his name comes up?
AND WHY DOES HE INSIST ON BEATING FERNANDO VERDASCO ALL THE TIME???
Now there's a match that I can point at to definitively answer that question. Forget the fact that he beat Fed at the Olympics in 2004. Or that he beat Fed in Miami. Or that he beat Muzz a few weeks ago on clay to make his first Slam semifinal. Nope. The story starts here. Tomas beat Fed playing withing himself and, most importantly, by not shirking from the moment. How many Tomas fans, who have tortured themselves by following him for years, watched from behind closed hands just waiting for him to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?
And you can't blame us! HOW MANY TIMES HAS HE FOUND AN IMPOSSIBLY INFURIATING WAY TO LOSE??? SO MANY TIMES!!!
But not yesterday. Yesterday he played the match that we all knew he could play. He hit big, served well, stayed calm, and crossed the finish line, sending the six-time champ, defending champion, and GPOAT into a state of total confuzzlement with a touch of verbal diarrhea.
Fed fails to make the semis of a Slam for the second time in a month, he'll drop to #3, and he's still captured only one tournament this year (granted, it was the AO). And, perhaps a bit more worrisome, he's once again been smacked off the court by a big hitter at a Slam (DelPo, Sods, Berdy).