I really kind of meant it in a "lookit all those straight set wins" kind of way, but then I found this...
Posted by Carrie on May 27, 2009 in Agnes Szavay, Alize Cornet, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Andy Murray, ATP, Ernests Gulbis, Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Gonzalez, Fernando Verdasco, Gilles Simon, Guest Blogger, Janko Tipsarevic, Marin Cilic, Na Li, Roland Garros, Victoria Azarenka, WTA | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
So far so good on the men's side on Sunday, which saw all the seeds through though not without a battle of two. Muzz didn't need much time at all in his opening match against Chela. He took care of the Argentine, 2 2 and 1, in an hour and a half. Not sure how I feel about the all black Fred Perry kit, but if it produces these kinds of results, I suppose I'll deal.
But I guess I just gave it away seeing as how if Marat were the one in the 5 setter we all know he would have lost. Nice showing by the Captain who was businesslike in his 4 4 and 4 win over a French qualifier. Gilles on the other hand needed 5 sets to outlast the America Rafa. Nice win for Gilly and happy to see him feed off the home energy (as opposed to pulling a Momo and buckling under the pressure).
Nice comeback win from Lleyton, who took advantage of a physically fading Ivo (who served a record breaking 55 aces in the match) to come back from two sets down. I'm not sure I'll ever really understand Ivo's fitness issues. I know he's a big guy and everything, BUT ALL YOU DO IS SERVE. Like, his service games are so economical that I'm blown away he can get all that tired. And it's not like he engages in ridiculously long rallies during his opponent's service games, either. Go run some hills, Ivo.
Jo lost in straight sets to the oddly resurgent Lubey, 64 75. He'll go into RG with very little match play, unfortunately. Though actually, that could be a good thing for the always niggled Jo. A run to the fourth round would be a huge success for him. He doesn't have the game for clay, but with the Paris crowd and a healthy body, who knows?
Muzz is locked in a battle with Bols and Fed just shoved a breadstick up Sod's ass in 20 minutes. Here are the rest of the scores so far:
Singles - Second Round
 F Verdasco (ESP) d [WC] J Ferrero (ESP) 63 62
[WC] I Ljubicic (CRO) d  J Tsonga (FRA) 64 75
 T Robredo (ESP) d M Fish (USA) 36 76(5) 62
Singles - First Round
 N Davydenko (RUS) d V Troicki (SRB) 62 62
 M Cilic (CRO) d M Granollers (ESP) 62 67(4) 61
 J Blake (USA) d V Hanescu (ROU) 62 64
A Seppi (ITA) d [Q] E Schwank (ARG) 75 64
[Q] F Fognini (ITA) d P Mathieu (FRA) 67(5) 64 30 ret. (throat)
J Chardy (FRA) d J Acasuso (ARG) 63 62
T Berdych (CZE) d [LL] G Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 60 76(5)
J Melzer (AUT) d A Montanes (ESP) 46 75 63
I Karlovic (CRO) d J Benneteau (FRA) 36 76(5) 64
Doubles - First Round
[WC] M Lopez (ESP) / R Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP) d C Kas (GER) / R Wassen (NED) 76(4) 16 11-9 - saved 1 M.P.
J Del Potro (ARG) / M Fish (USA) d N Almagro (ESP) / D Ferrer (ESP) 62 63
M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) 76(3) 61
Other than the Stanley/Fed match only three matches were played to their conclusion today in rain soaked Monte Carlo. Nole and Montanes played through the rain (though I think they were on a covered court) with Nole dishing out a bagel on his way to a win. Fer told Steve Tignor to suck it and thoroughly trashed Daveed, 2 and 1. It's official, Daveed. I refuse to every buy your stock ever again. I mean, I was rooting for Fer but come on, dude, you can't give us hope like that and then crash out 2 and 1. Go have a burger and some cigs and think about what you've done.
Meanwhile, Andreas Beck is quietly having one heck of a tourney. He beat Pico in three.
 N Djokovic (SRB) d A Montanes (ESP) 61 67(4) 60
 F Verdasco (ESP) d  D Ferrer (ESP) 62 61
[Q] A Beck (GER) d J Monaco (ARG) 36 62 75
Here are the matches that have to be played/finished tomorrow:
 R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] N Lapentti (ECU) - to finish 01
 A Murray (GBR) vs [Q] F Fognini (ITA) - to finish 76(11) 10
 D Nalbandian (ARG) vs  N Davydenko (RUS)
S Bolelli (ITA) vs [WC] I Ljubicic (CRO)
This really sucks for Rafa and, potentially, Muzz. They're going to have to play two matches in one day.
Poor Fer. It was the match that everyone was waiting for (before we knew what a scorcher the Elf match would be) but Fer pulled up lame right out the gate. He pulled a glute muscle in the second game of the match and with that, all was lost. Muzz walked away with an easy 61 62 won as Fer was forced to hobble around the court and limp to the finish line.
I though the Adidas Player Development Program, aka "The Bunny Ranch", was supposed to be all about fitness? I hope Gil & Co. know that the more muscle mass Fer puts on (20lbs of muscle, apparently) the more stress he's going to put on his body. Look at Jo's inability to stay injury free. That's a lot of weight to stop and start around a court. Take a cue from your not-so-good buddy, Rafa. Drop some weight, buddy.
So yeah, boring match. But there was one choice moment. Fer took a bathroom break and the camera stayed on Andy during the change. Viva La Vida came on he basically sang along to the whole song. It was completely adorkable. Can't wait to see if it gets posted on YouTube.
So it'll be Muzz/Elf in the semis tomorrow night. I love you, Elf, but please, Andy. Win.
A somewhat interesting but not all that revealing profile on The 'Hawk.
I guess my take on Fernando is that he's actually a pretty nice guy with very little self-belief in his game (well, at least his tennis game). He needs people in his corner, whether it be fans, the crowd, the press, or Team Adidas, to reassure him, massage his ego, and remind him that he belongs and that he's good.
It'll be interesting to see how far he gets with this sort of mentality. Because if you look at the top of the men's game (and the women's to some extent) you see a group of guys and girls who clearly have that inner drive and belief that they can win and be the best, irrespective of what the crowd, press, or fans think. Heck, even his ex-girlfriend has that self-belief. Which is...kinda weird.
Some media outlets are reporting that Fer is dating Camilla. But ever since he shaved that 'hawk and started playing like a frickin' idiot (how hard is it to HIT TO ROGER'S BACKHAND???) I could give two shits what he's up to. All I know is that this kid sure hates being single. Which is a huge red flag.
You can see more pics and the full story at Great Tennis Photos.
Anyway, I'm going to go back and keep staring at the RafAna pics. WIN.
Masha's BFF, Camilla Belle, watching the Fernando/Gasquet match. She's recently been linked to Robert Pattison and one of the JoBros. Apparently the ATP commentators were referencing a girlfriend during the broadcast? Maybe they were referring to her.
I highly doubt it though. I will keep my eyes peeled though.
Rafa's pulled out of Dubai citing his knee and wanting to rest for the upcoming Davis Cup tie with Serbia. Initially I had heard that Rafa pulled out of Davis Cup too, but that doesn't seem to be true as of now. The DC Hero, Tabasco has announced that he's also skipping Dubai. He's got a stress fracture in his foot apparently.
Or is it a stress fracture in his heart.
Augh. I am still so gutted from this match. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that Rafa came through in the end. But to lose the way he did, I just feel for Fernando. He fought so hard. SO HARD. Everyone, including me, doubted he could make a match of this, even after he did make a match of it. "Oh, he'll go away. No way he can stay with Rafa." But he did. He limped, he fought, he blasted his way through this match. And for it to end like that? There is no God.
Afterwards he put on a brave and classy face:
Q. Do you think you'll be able to find sleep tonight?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Yes. Why not? You know, is sad, no, to play one match like this and lost after five hours. But, you know, for the other side, I need to be proud for the tournament I made and the level I played today also. I think it was unbelievable match.
You know, we both played unbelievable. I think, you know, Rafa, I said always, you know, in these matches, five sets, he is the toughest player. You know, and I was there all the time, too. So, you know, for sure I will have this match in my mind all my life.
You know, I'm so proud of all the things I made today and these two, almost two weeks.
Q. Can you imagine you only served four double‑faults in the whole match, and sadly, in the last game, you served two?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Tennis is like this sometimes, no? What can I do? I was trying the same like in all the other games in the match. But, you know, just to try a good second serve, I played two double‑faults.
But I think I need to be so happy with the level I was serving today. You know, I made 20 aces. I was serving 210, 215 a lot. So I cannot think about that I made two double‑faults in one game, you know, and think about this, because tennis is like this sometimes and you don't need to think about this so much, no?
Q. You had 95 winners. You played extremely offensively, but Rafa still gets so many balls back. What is the most impressive thing about his defensive skills?
FERNANDO VERDASCO: Everybody knows that he is the best player making this, no? He gets unbelievable balls. You need to win the point against him three or four times more than against all the other players.
Anyway, there are so good players like Federer, Murray, Roddick, Blake, whatever, all the top players. With Rafa you need to win the point three times more than with all the others.
He have unbelievable legs. He run unbelievable. Anyway, he's taking the ball, you know, like so difficult. I think that he always have a chance to put the ball in unbelievable, no?
Today was a lot of points like this. You know, I remember that point unbelievable that I made a smash like so close to the net, and he just put the ball in. I put it again to the forehand, and he made unbelievable passing shot cross‑court with the forehand. I was, like, I couldn't believe, no?
But, you know, with Rafa after, I start laughing because I say like, With him is normal. With the others, no. But with him, I'm not surprised of this, no? I saw him play a lot of times, and he made things that all the other doesn't make. So this is why he's also No. 1 in the world.
The funny thing about this match is that had Fernando's legs not start to give in the fourth, I think Rafa would have taken it in four. Rafa was in pretty strong control of the match at that point, yanking Fernando around and not giving him much to hit. But when Fernando started to cramp he started shortening the rallies and going for broke. And it worked. He completely took Rafa out of rhythm and slowly regained momentum and belief.
Dude, Ana. You know how to pick em. Fuck the haters and go with your gut/heart. Call your man.
A very cool video on the Adidas Player Development Program (warning, it's 12MB). They interview Sven, Gil, Ana, Fernando, Woz, Sam, and Sania.
It's such a smart program from a branding perspective.
It wasn't just the fact that Fernando won. I mean, he beat Muzz the other day. But it was HOW he won. Not only did he do it with intelligent contained aggression and fitness (he took Jo's legs right out from under him), but he did it without any headcaseyness whatsoever. All you need to know about this match is in the stats: Fernando converted 4 of 4 breakpoints. Jo converted 2 of 13. Translation: Fernando was nails under pressure. That? Was unexpected.
So congrats to Fer, who becomes this year's surprise semifinalist. He'll play the winner of Rafa/Gilles, and right now it's looking like Rafa. I just hope, win or lose, he continues with this quality. It's really great to see.
"And also, you know, the 24th of December, everybody was leaving Las Vegas because it was Christmastime. And Agassi came to say hi to me, and I was speaking with him. I don't want to say what he told me, because that's secret (smiling). But really helped me so much. I was speaking with him two hours before he left for the mountains. He was leaving with Steffi to enjoy Christmas.
You know, he was going to ski. I love ski. I was there in the gym working hard, so I was a little bit jealous. But I was just thinking to be ready for the season and start good the year. You know, right now I'm so happy that I took that decision to go to Las Vegas and practice with Gil."
-- Fernando Verdasco, on his decision to train with Gil Reyes in Vegas in December
Our boy Fernando has clearly grown a pair and pulled off the biggest upset so far on the men's side, beating Muzz in convincing fashion in five sets, 26 61 16 64 63. Fernando just played tight, controlled, aggressive tennis. Why he hasn't ever played like this before is beyond me but it was a joy to watch. He served big when he needed to, and that big forehand jerked Muzz around the court.
As for Andy, he looked at an utter loss as he tried to figure out a way to win. The feeling of watching this match for me was the same as watching the Ana/Kleybs match. Muzz had so many chances to turn this around and he didn't. On the big points, Fernando played well. And in the end, Fer just wouldn't go away. He seized his moment and stepped up.
Is it weird that I'm, like, really proud of Fernando? Good boy. He'll face the winner of Blah/Jo, which, if he keeps up his level, means he's got a good shot of making the semis.
As an aside, immediately after Fer won all I could think of was Ana on holiday somewhere talking to Scott or her Mom, trying to figure out if it would be appropriate to call/text to congratulate him. Made me chuckle.
At the same time on Rod Laver Arena, Rafa was taking a whoopin' stick to Gonzo. Utter destruction. He won, 63 62 64, and seriously, it wasn't that close. Rafa's now the only player left in the draw that hasn't dropped a set. He's got Gilles next.
For the past few weeks I keep singing "Yeaaaaaahhhhhh, Fernando's on fire" to the tune of Kings of Leon's Sex on Fire. I keep hoping it'll get out of my head (the Fernando version, not the real version, which kicks so much ass) but Fer just isn't cooperating. He not only destroyed The Worm yesterday, he handed out two bagels and made him look like the old man that he is. Revenge is sweet. Fernando won 64 60 60.
He's only dropped 12 games through three matches. Unfortunately he'll face Muzz next. But this is such a great run for him. After the match, here's what he had to say:
"So suck it, Ana. I'm not crying over you. I've got my game and my Penguin, and I'm good to go!"
Quietly but hottily, Fernando's making his way through the draw, destroying everything in sight. He crushed Clemant 62 61 61, and much to Clement's disappointment, he looked damn good doing it. He'll have a Brisbane rematch against The Worm in the third round.
FoxSports is confirming that Ana broke up with Fernando during the Brisbane tournament. It's coming from Matt Cronin so I believe it.
Sad face. But she seems ok with it, so whatever.
In the third place match, Fer notched another confidence building win, beating Gonzo 64 63. I really hope Fer doesn't burn out, but his performances over the past two weeks are really encouraging. Come on, Fer! Second week (but please lose to Andy Murray)!
The bandwagon, that is. Amazing what having Ana on your arm in Australia will do, no? I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be getting the same attention. But it's well deserved and he seems super motivated and confident. I hope he can get to the second week in Melbourne.
Who WOULDN'T want to play Kooyong? I mean, you get some good competition, it's in Melbourne so you don't have to travel, you can get used to conditions, and you're guaranteed some matches. It seems like such a great exo in advance of AO.
In today's matches, Fed beat DB Chuck, Fer beat Tuxedo Mask, and Stan beat Baggy. Lubey is playing Gonzo right now. Incidentally, Sven was sitting in Fer's box. No Ana sighting though. I'm super curious to see how Fer fares against Roger if they play each other.