And The Ageless Magician pulled a rabbit out of his hat, ousting PEHK in five sets, 57 75 36 75 63. He was cramping at the end and looks absolutely wiped. He'll face A-Rod in the next round.
Other notable men's results:
A fairly straighforward morning for the boys. A-Rod waxed Rehnquist, 60 62 62. I have to say, A-Rod looks great. He's lost some weight, is moving well, and whacking that forehand when he gets the chance. He's still no match for the big four, but good for him.
Nole's also through, not without having to come back from 4-0 down in the third. But he came back and got off the court in under two hours. Nice show of sportsmanship at the end with the soccer-style shirt swap.
Of course, it's not the first day of a Slam without some drama. Daveed was all over the place in his match, a match that should never have gone 5 sets. Someone get that kid a pack of smokes for game days. I think it would help. Luckily, he pulled through in the end, 61 67 61 67 64,
And then we had the longest match in AO history between FeLo and Muller. I got heat stroke just from watching. Muller eventually won this war of attrition, winning 16-14 in the 5th. Poor FeLo.
In the clash of young guns, JMDP came out on top in three sets, 46 64 61. I'm beginning to question Ernie's ability to play more than two sets, let alone five. I don't know if it's a fitness thing (though he looks like he bulked up in the off season) or if it's mental. But something ain't right.
Otherwise, it was a day of three setters in Auckland but in the end, the only seed to fall was Juan Monaco. And how about a tip of the cap to Johnny Isner, or as I like to call him, Jim Halpert. He's come through qualifying beating Bellucci and now Ginepri. Air five, Halpert.
 J Del Potro (ARG) d E Gulbis (LAT) 46 64 61
 D Ferrer (ESP) d M Gicquel (FRA) 67(3) 64 64
 R Soderling (SWE) d [Q] B Reynolds (USA) 63 46 62
 N Almagro (ESP) d Y Lu (TPE) 67(4) 63 62
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) d J Ferrero (ESP) 64 46 76(5)
 S Querrey (USA) d [Q] G Muller (LUX) 36 63 64
V Troicki (SRB) d  J Monaco (ARG) 36 64 62
[Q] J Isner (USA) d R Ginepri (USA) 64 67(1) 76(5)
Well it's Thanksgiving here in the States, the day in which Americans gather around a roasted bird and pretend to forget that in exchange for the generous hospitality the indigenous peoples occupying this great land offered, white settlers gave them disease, war, subjugation, and casinos. So you know, win-win!
Putting all that aside, it is the day where we gather around the table with people we may or may not like and give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us. This year I'm spending it in NYC with my sister and it looks like I'll be attending a very Felicityesque T-Day with a bunch of NYC transplants. I'm genuinely looking forward to it. Well, the mulled wine at the very least.
All this is a roundabout introduction to my list of the 10 Tennis Related Things I'm Thankful For:
10. JJ -- Shocker, right? But seriously, I'm thankful for JJ. She keeps it fun and interesting. After all, who else would we talk about if she wasn't around? The girl gives good quote, hilarious picture, and non-stop glitter-infused drama. To that, I raise my glass of Aqua Viva water.
9. My Wilson KFactor kTour Racquet -- Sigh. It was love at first strike with this puppy, which I got about 8 months ago. I resisted it for so long because it was Lindsay and Justine's racquet of choice, two players I didn't like that much. But I demoed Masha's Prince 03 White, Ana's Yonex RQiS 1, Nole's Wilson kBlade, and even JJ's Prince Speedport White and couldn't find one I loved. At my wits end I finally demoed the kTour, and it was absolutely perfect. For anyone who's interested, try it out with Wilson Sensation strings at 57 lbs. It's just a pure and clean hit.
8. The First Half of 2008 -- It was fun while it lasted. My girls (Masha/Ana) and boys (Rafa/Nole) were winning, they were looking good, and my life as a tennis fan was all rainbows and handbags. And then we all stepped on the grass of Wimbledon and it all (well, almost all) went to shit.
7. Crazy Eyez Fed -- I love this guy. He needs to come back, ASAP.
6. Crazy Russians -- What is it about the home of Stalin, Rasputin, and Vodka that it keeps rolling out the crazies? Hmmm...I think I may have answered my own question. Between CrazySexLostHisCool and his potty mouth of a baby sister, Casper The Melting Ghost, Underachieving Kuz, NoServe McGee, Angry A-Chak, and of course, their greatest export, Maria "Fuck The French" Pova, they really keep things interesting.
5. New Pretty Faces -- Hot Crazy Elf Train, Gilly, Jo, and Ernie. Not only are they new cute boys to fawn over, but they actually have game and are exciting to watch. Sometimes God does give with both hands.
4. Davis Cup -- Sure, maybe this is inflated given the events of the past week, but still. Even if Spain hadn't won the Cup in the manner in which they did, Davis Cup was awesome this year. And looking forward to next year it can only get better, what with TMF agreeing to grace us with his presence. So for all the HoYay! awesomeness that Davis Cup brings on a quarterly basis, I bring thanks. Now, if only the ladies took Fed Cup as seriously.
3. Rafa -- Sure, I love my Nole, but Rafa's ridiculous 2008 drew me back into men's tennis. I love his fight, his competitive spirit, his strut, his ADD, his humility and grace, and his perfectly bulbous ass.
2. Baby E -- Come on, this one's obvious, right? She single-handedly brought me back into tennis, as it had been a long time since I had a WTA player that I genuinely rooted for. She's a breath of fresh air in the diva world of the WTA. And on this day of overeating let us never forget: She's a nerdy fat girl stuck in a hot body.
1. You guys -- I really didn't know what to expect when I started this blog in July. It all came down to the fact that I had all these stupid and immature tennis thoughts running in my head all the time that it was distracting. So I started the site just to get these ideas "on paper" so I could move on. I never expected a an international coaltion of like-minded tennis fans, who love the sport and the players but don't put them on a pedestal, would come together to create the rad community that we have going here. Seriously, you guys make me check my own site on a quarter of an hour basis to keep up with your hilarious comments and insights. So on the serious, with no sense of cynicism or or irony intended, thanks.
Alrighty, off to get drunk now. If you see a drunken Asian girl stumbling the streets of Spanish Harlem, steer clear. I can't promise the turkey is staying down.
Posted by C Note on November 27, 2008 in Ana Ivanovic, Anna Chakvetadze, Davis Cup, Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva, Equipment, Ernests Gulbis, Gilles Simon, Jelena Jankovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin del Potro, Marat Safin, Maria Sharapova, Rafa Nadal, Svetlana Kuznetsova, The Mighty Fed | Permalink | Comments (37) | TrackBack (0)
Well, holy crap. They did it, they actually did it. Against all odds when pretty much everyone was writing them off, they pulled it out. It wasn't pretty and Lady Luck was on their side, but you know what they say, you make your own luck.
Who would have thought that the heroes of the team that would bring home Spain's first Davis Cup won on foreign soil would be FeLo and Nando? The boys better known for the their looks and their black books (and more than occasional HoYay) sealed this one up for Spain. FeLo with his gutsy win over Elf on Friday, both of them for their doubles win yesterday, and Nando, whose win today avoided a deciding tie between FeLo and Nalby. And let's face it, Nalby would have taken that one.
But boy, it wasn't easy. Because of Elf's leg injury, Mancini subbed in Acasuso and Emilio responded by tapping Nando over Farquaad. I was streaming the match from my hotel room and at the airport and I was one tense mothercrapper. Fer came out of the gate firing on all cylinders and clearly overmatched a very nervous Chucho, taking the first set 64. But then the serving yips (one of the few things he has in common with his girlfriend) hit him and the second and third sets were just ugly. Fer and Chucho broke each other back and forth, and just when one seemed to have the momentum they would go on stretches of gutless play. It really was infuriating.
But Nando righted the ship in the fourth, and as I predicted, Chucho just didn't have anything left in the tank. They guy hadn't played a match in weeks and he was clearly not match fit. By the time the fourth set was over, Chucho was on the Argentine bench begging his abs rubbed down for something, and he was barely there in the deciding fifth set. Nando would eventually win 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Get ready, Ana. You better start stretching now. Daddy's coming home and he had a pretty big day.
Not enough can be said about the fantastic job Emilio did with this team, especially in contrast with Argentina's Mancini. People will always second guess Argentina's choice of surface (indoor over clay). The supposed infighting within the team, with reports of Fatty being pissed at Elf for going to Shanghai instead of focusing on Davis Cup, allegedly coming to blows with Calleri after their doubles loss, and blowing off the post match presser and getting fined. All this should have been nipped in the bud early. I feel bad for Mancini. He got dealt a shitty hand with the injuries and what not. But a huge part of being a good captain is managing your personnel. I get that Fat Dave wanted this more than anyone, but dude, it's a team competition and you have to be a good teammate. So immature. I hope you enjoy your Twinkies. Just remember, they're food, not feelings.
In contrast, Emilio, much like Patrick McEnroe last year, built a team that put country first. They were true teammates. They liked each other (some might say they *more* than like each other). It was a smart move from him to tell Rafa to stay home. Genius to tap FeLo over Fer in the second rubber against Elf. Nando and Fer clearly took their doubles roles seriously, as they had been entering tournaments all year to hone their teamwork. And then, tapping Nando to face Chucho instead of the slumping Ferrer. So smart.
Unfortunately Emilio announced that he'll be stepping down as Captain after this. So no more hottie McHottie pics of Emilio. Sad face.
This is a hard one for Argentina and their fans to swallow. They came in as such presumptive favorites. But really, their chances pretty much went out the window the minute Elf pulled up lame on Friday. I think the assumption has always been that Spain would taket he doubles tie but Argentina would dominate in singles. So without Elf, it was an uphill battle. I really really really thought they were going to pull it out though. I didn't think Nando had the balls to gut it out against Chooch.
The draw took place this morning. Nalby and Daveed will kick things off in the first match on Friday.
So no Granola and Spains hopes rest on the beautiful shoulders of FeLo. Yeah, if I were Ana, I'd stay home too.
Hot Crazy Elf Train is in a new Nike ad thanking Argentina for their support. Again, no idea what he's saying. But he's so cute with his pensive staring at the ground and "aw shucks" shrugging.
Well The Forgotten One has booked himself a spot into the semifinals in Shanghai, dusting the very tired Elf, 63 62. Even though he and Nole finish 2-1 in round robin play, Nole will be the #1 seed out of the group because he won their head to head battle.
As for the Elf, time to go home and rest up for Davis Cup. Methinks this was a blessing and he knows it.
I know there's that saying, "Eat, Drink, Sleep, tennis" but this has gone too far. I think Jo has completely lost his mind:
His healthy does of tennis balls clearly didn't help him today, as he lost yet another super tight and competitive match in a tiebreaker, 76(4) 76(5).
Congrats to the Elf! He'll play Kolya on Thursday, while Jo will play Nole.
When Nole wears black, he means business, and that's exactly what he gave Hot Crazy Train today in hard fought straight set win, 75 63.
Methinks the Train is starting to lose steam and I really hope his trip here to Shanghai doesn't affect his Davis Cup performance. Maybe that's why he was pouting in those player party pics?
In the second match of the day, Kolya won a very tough, very hotly contested three setter, finally winning 67(6) 64 76(0). Seeing as how these matches aren't being shown live in the U.S., I have no idea what happened to Jo in that last tie breaker. But losing at love in the final breaker? Sounds like a complete lack of concentration and focus.
Next up tomorrow, starting at 6pm local time:
1. The Number 2 Player In The World vs. Commodus
2. Andy vs. Andy
Apparently the French crowd was going nuts during Gilly's match, whistling, screaming, throwing crap on the court. I wonder if that gets into your head as the home player, like, you get kind of embarrassed and feel bad.
*Quick Explanation: Tennis Channel did a Bag Check with Julien Bennetaeu last year and he pulled out these French apricot energy bars and was like "Sometimes I can eat two or three during a match, sometimes I eat one, sometimes I eat none." That always cracked me up for some reason.
It was a good day be a seed in Basel, as the top four seeds emerged scathed but victorious. Fed needed two tiebreak sets to beat Jarkko, JMDP steamrolled Bohli in straight sets, and Nalby and Blah both needed three tight sets to notch their wins.
Quarterfinal lineup and tomorrow's OOP:
Becker v. Nalby
Andreev v. JMDP
Blake vs. FeLo
Fed vs. Bolleli
Matches start at 13.00 local time.
At least that's what Fed diehards would say. Fed comes home from an encouraging but disappointing result in Madrid to play host to a bunch of boys who want to slay the king. Luckily for Fed his hometown is looking out for him, as he's got a pretty easy walk to the final, with only a potentially tricky, undoubtedly overhyped semi encounter with Big Berd.
The hot Argentines are left to duke it out in the other half. JMDP beat Nalby last week easily and then got his ass handed to him by Fed. Will we see the same result here?
The Muzzard is going to have to celebrate his Madrid win in St. Petersburg, which would actually be pretty awesome except for the fact that the kid doesn't drink. No vodka for you! As expected, Russia wasn't kind to Mr. Andy, as they stacked his quarter of the draw with Ernie Linguine as a possible second round matchup, and Janko as a potential third rounder, and Not So Super Mario as a fourth rounder. Not easy, but you have to think the young kid has more than enough in his tank to capture a back to back title. Good luck to him!
Meanwhile, over in Lyon, American Andy will try to disrupt the French homecoming of Reeshie, Jo, and Gilly. A tough task I think to be an American going into France to dispatch a bunch of Frenchmen, but hey, like we care. That's what makes us American. In addition to Andy, the other non-pastries in the field include The Evil One, Dr. Ivo, Disco Tommy, Querrey California, and Radek. Will Commodus have enough left in the tank to contend here? He's stilly fighting for a spot in Shanghai and with good results over the next few weeks he could make it.
Jo Willy kept his strong fall run going but it wasn't easy against Grannollers. Granola Bar pushed our boy to three sets and Jo needed a tiebreaker to get the job done, 36 63 76(5). Eek! That was too close for comfort.
Nole and Crazy Train benefited from a couple of retirements, as Victor Hanescu gave Nole a scare before retiring with a leg injury in the third set, 67(8) 76(6) 31. JMDP had an easier go against Niemenen, taking the first set 64 before Jarkko retired at 42 in the second.
And now for the "upsets" of the day. I use quotes because really, they aren't THAT surprising. It never surprises me when Kolya loses early. Losing to Ginepri 46 64 64 was a bit unexpected, but so it goes. As for Gonzo, I think he ran into the same problem Blah did yesterday. He's got a big game and goes for his shots, but against a good counterpuncher like LaMonf, he gets impatient and goes for too much, hitting UFE after UFE, losing 63 64 . Bye Bye Gonzo.
Also losing today, the ever slumping Daveed, who lost to fellow Spaniard FeLo in straight sets, 64 76(4).
Stan and PEHK are deadlocked in the third set right now. A-Rod and Fed still to play.
JMDP took Daveed behind the shed and gave him a whoopin. Is there any doubt in anyone's mind anymore that JMDP is the real thing? Watch out Kolya, I think we have a new #5 coming in 2009. Watch your rear view, boys, Eli's coming. Sylar will simply not be stopped.
I'm about to hit the hay, but it looks like A-Rod is in fine control of his match with Viktor. Good for him. It would be nice to see him end the season strong.
As for the ladies, are we on the verge of a Woz v. Woz final? Ski Boots has been plowing through the Tokyo field, beating Touchdown Tammy today 64 61. Meanwhile, on the other half of the draw, A-Woz took out Sam Stosur, 75 63.
It is a good day for Argentina but an even better day for Crazy Elf, who officially let all the doubters know that yes, he can perform on the big stage under massive pressure. And he looks awesome shirtless. And he cries when he wins too. But more on that stuff later.
The day started with Shamil Tarpischev looking like a genius. Yesterday, Tursonov either jokingly or seriously told the press that Tarpy told him to keep Nalby out on the court as long as possible in the doubles match, in an attempt to get him tired for today's ties. Headbandian, who played in the first rubber on Friday, the five set doubles rubber yesterday, was indeed asked to turn around and play the first rubber today against the sneaky Kolya. Heady won the first set easily before completely losing it and dropping the match to Kolya, 36 63 76(2) 60.
Which put the pressure on the young 19 year old Argie phenom (and future suitor of Baby Elephant if I have my way) to win and send Argentina into the Davis Cup finals against Spain.
And as expected, the Argie Orgy that followed was awesome! Not as much HoYay as the Spanish celebration, but much Elfier, wetter, and shirtlesser. Heh.
So it'll be Spain vs. Argentina in Argentina. Argentina has choice of surface, and because they're sane and actually want to win, they're not choosing clay this time. Word is that they're scouting for a super fast indoor surface.
OHHH!!!! I just realized who the newly shorn (stop crying, gauloises) Crazy Elf looks like!!!
Yeah, not much.
UPDATED: SEE? He totally has superpowers:
Drama. It's not just for the ladies, folks.
With Muzzah's straight set win over Stan the Man and Crazy Elf's dispatching of Special Kei, a rematch of the Throw Down In Rome is now set for Wednesday. Tasty stuff.
These two have known each other since juniors and let's just say they don't like each other. It all came to a head in Rome this year, when JMDP did the one thing that you just never ever ever do. Smack a ball at Muzzah at the net? No, that's within the rules. Talking about his Mama? Whoa boy, you just crossed the line:
Asked about the Rome incident in his post match presser on Monday, Muzzah said this:
"Whether I like Del Potro or not really doesn't make any difference. When you get on the tennis court it's another match, and you've got to win....I've known him since we were really young. Doesn't really bother me. I wasn't great friends with him before. I don't need to be friends with him now."
Allrighty then. Should be a fun one on Wednesday.
Juan Martin del Potro, or "Little Crazy Elf" as the kids over at TennisWorld like to call him, is quietly tearing through the depleted hard court fields. He's on a 19-match winning streak and this is his fourth straight title, backing up the title he won over Andy Roddick last week in LA.
And as for Andy Roddick's huge "I need to stay home and prepare for the US Open" gamble? Not looking great. He lost in the quarters of DC to #3 Serb Viktor Troicki. Great win for Troicki but seriously, what is up with Andy? This can't help his confidence. He's admitting that he's not serving or hitting his forehand well. Hmmm....might want to fix that before you get to NYC. Things are definitely not looking good for him, especially considering the form of the top players who did participate in Beijing.
As for the Ladies this week, short Russian on the totem pole Nadia Petrova continued the run of Russian dominance on Sunday at won both the singles title and the doubles title in Cincy. Nadia beat another Russian, Maria Kirilenko in the semis, and then outclassed the classy Natalie Dechy in the final. Congrats, Nadia.