After a blistering start to the year, Sod picked up a flat tire (foot injury) before Indian Wells and things haven't been the same since. He lost to PEHK at IW, JMDP at Miami, withdrew from Monte Carlo, and crashed out to Dodig today in Barcelona, 62 64.
Here's what he said after his third round loss to JMDP in Miami:
I'm not playing well. I'm not feeling well. I'm not moving well. I'm not serving well. You know, my serve is normally my biggest weapon. I'm not serving well. My backhand is not good. There are a lot of things I need to work on.
Keep on working. Or not. I don't really care either way.
Sod and Tomas practiced together a couple of days ago, and while I wasn't really all that interested in seeing Sod's farmer tan, Tomas was looking absolutely lovely.
To add to the pleasure of watching this practice sesh, Sod was getting super frustrated, chucking racquets, thwacking balls, etc. So, bonus.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)
[Non-existent picture of Robin Soderling looking sad on court]
I don't have a nifty picture of him. You can't be surprised.
Sod went down to Kohlschreiber in straight sets. Quite the shocker. I'm not sure anyone on the grounds really knew how the hell that happened. As it turns out, Sod is suffering from a left foot injury that made him doubtful for the match.
“I think I lost the match when I decided to go on court, because today I shouldn't have done that. Sitting here after the match, it feels like I couldn't give 100 percent. I think it's pretty stupid to play.”
He'll have the foot examined in Miami.
Speaking of Miami, Ivo's on a mission to prove his wildcard denial was bunk. He backed up his win over Daveed by taking out Gilles in straight sets on Monday. Funny the little (or not so little) things that can motivate a player.
Finally, while some say that Donald Young came back to earth today in his 60 64 loss to Tommy, I just think the loss spoke volumes about how horribly Moose played on Saturday. However you spin it, he lost.
And there you have my round-up of players who I kinda don't really care to write about. As you can see, I put a lot of time and effort into this post. Look! I found you a quote!
Dude. You did not.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, YOU TOTALLY DID.
I still have to do a double take when I see Ana ahead of Masha. It seemed as Masha was actually part of the conversation at every Slam, while Ana had an eight month pity party. Solid years from Nails and Shahar (though really, how did that happen?) and nice to see Lil' Mash and Pavs finish the year with the highest year-end rankings of their careers. Hell, that can be said of a lot of the ladies: Caro, Bepa, Sam, Fran, Nails and Shahar, to name a few.
As for the guys, it's still weird to see Mischa in the top 10 and I'm shocked that Marin's first six weeks basically carried him to a top 15 ranking. But what's really surprising is the Tournaments Played stat.
Muzz played the fewest number of tournaments in the top 25, only 19, which is two fewer than the three big boys ahead of him. Sod played 24 tourneys and Tomas played 26(!), and I don't think this includes Davis Cup ties.
Marcos played 29 tournaments? That just makes his participation in New Haven either Herculean or Dumb and Dumber, depending on your take. Speaking of Dumb and Dumber, Sam Q really needs to take a look at his schedule next year. 27 tournaments? No wonder the guy was gassed through the second half of the year.
I'm still blown away that Andy only played 19 tournaments. That explains my state of constant longing.
Posted by C Note on November 29, 2010 in Ana Ivanovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Andy Murray, ATP, Caroline Wozniacki, Francesca Schiavone, Marcos Baghdatis, Maria Kirilenko, Maria Sharapova, Marin Cilic, Na Li, Robin Soderling, Sam Querrey, Sam Stosur, Shahar Peer, Vera Zvonereva, WTA | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Sod, Muzz, and Nole own this video. But really, it's all about Nole's smug charm and Muzz's dry wit.
"Death." *long pause* "Understandable."
Even Andy will admit that you never know which Andy will show up on any given day. Today, the one that is very good at this little game called "tennis" showed up. Freshly argyled (Really? NOW you finally get a new kit?) Moose Boy looked in control and hit the court ready to run. He was serving well, running everything down, and made it clear early that if Sod wanted to win a point, he was going to have to either get to the net or win 15+ shot rallies.
Sod didn't have the legs for the rallies (he said after the match that he was fatigued) and Andy made him look a fool every time he came to the net. All in all, a clinical takedown by the Green Goblin.
Oh, come on. Those Murray women are hared to please.
This "dead week" in between Paris and the WTFs is such a waste. You know the players want to get this over with, the fans want to get this over with, everyone wants to get this over with except for the Paris tourney director, who surely knows that if the WTFs were held immediately after his tournament, everybody be losin' in the first round of Bercy.
But seriously, how dumb has this been? We don't need two days of suited photo-ops. I don't need to see pictures of Andy Murray trying to remember if he zipped his fly while in deep conversation with David Cameron. Eliminate the dead week! All the teasing is all fine and dandy at other parts of the season, but right now it's just making me impatient, annoyed, and really, I would just rather roll over and go to sleep.
All this is to say, thank the Lawd that play finally begins tomorrow. Group B, a.k.a. "Group Love/Hate", kicks off play at 7 a.m. EST.
The Moose will take on the man who supplanted him at #4. Swede vs. Scot. Paris vs. Shanghai. Hitter vs. Homeboy. Viking vs. Ginger. I could go on. But I'll stop.
For no other reason than the fact that Moose is more well-rested, and because I love him unconditionally, I'll tap Andy.
I also think he'll win.
Second up are Fed vs. Daveed.
No one wants to talk to you, SOD.
The boys donned their suits to pay a visit to Downing Street and British PM David Cameron. Obviously Daveed showed up in his tennis kit and had to borrow a suit from the "proper attire" closet.
Downing Street: It's like a fancy steakhouse.
"You assholes told me grey!"
I just cannot deal with that tie sitch. No one thought to tell him?
"Hey, did one of you step on Daveed?"
All in all, a bit meh.
Hopefully we'll get more pictures tomorrow at media day.
(Pics: Getty, Reuters)
C Note Fact #3856: I will find any excuse to make a Les Mis reference.
It's odd to think that this is Sod's first Master's title. But I can't think of a more appropriate place for Sod to pick one up than Paris, the very city wherin he's wreaked havoc for the past two years. He was a killjoy for Rafa fans two years ago, a killjoy for Fed fans this year, and, as just because he is THE SOD, he just had to be a killjoy for French fans, beating Mikey Llodes in the semis and Gael in the finals.
BECAUSE THAT'S THE KIND OF PERSON HE IS.
And it really was too bad. Mikey Llodes was playing some inspired tennis all week on the fast Bercy courts, only to blow an easy forehand pass on match point to give the satanic one new life (does Satan actually "live"? Crap, another joke fail).
And then Gael. Oh, Gael. He notched what could be a career-turnaroundy three set, three tiebreak, save 5 match points win over Fed in the semis, only to be competely tanked for the final in front of his home crowd. But that's a hell of a way to end a season for the Monfilsy one. He put on a tremendous show throughout the week and served notice to all of us that, well, shit, we're going to have to keep paying attention to his facepalmishness because he is, as I think we all believed, capable of greatness.
Oh, don't even try to soften our hearts by going in for a post-win nuzzle with your totally adorable girlfriend, Jenny. I'm pretty sure Satan's girlfriend is pretty fucking awesome, too. Oh what's that? Satan's girlfriend is Ke$ha? Well (a) that explains a whole lot and (b) fuck, logic fail.
And no, I have not forgotten that with the win, Devil Viking Man-Boy rises to #4 and Ugly Ginger Git Boyfriend drops to #5.
Hold me, Maggie.
(Pics: Getty, AP)
Daveed bounced Potito Head and Sod took Gael by the scruff of the neck and tossed him out of Valencia to set up a juicy semifinal. Daveed is still playing for a spot in London and this is his home tournament, in which he has a monetary interest. So methinks he'll take the court pretty motivated.
The other semi features Gilles and Granola Bars.
Yes, there is tennis outside of Doha this week. And yes, it involves cute boys. And yes, I will try to run it down for you:
This is my ATP tournament of the week, with a bunch of Frenchies, a tall white dude, and a balding Russian all in action. Isner is serving up a storm. He served 27 aces today in his three set win over Mannarinno and is one ace shy of 1,000 on the year. Kolya, Gilles, Nalby, and Jo are all still in the mix. In fact, Gilles and Nalby play tomorrow. Whee! Meh.
Misha's the top seed and he's still in, along with Janko. Viktor wasn't able to follow up his win in Moscow. He's out, along with #2 seed Staks.
Juergen is defending but really, I can't pay attention now that my new boy toy GGL lost. Oh, and Marin is actually still in the tournament, which...shocker.
In other sausage headlines, Jim Courier, the Clay Ginger himself, has been appointed the new US Davis Cup captain. I love Jim so I'm happy with this pick. He's smart, witty, knows his tennis, and he's a great face for US Tennis.
On the heels of that announcement, A-Rod announced he was in for Davis Cup next year. It's always best when we have the best players representing in Davis Cup so that was nice to hear.
Sod is the fifth dude to qualify for the ATPLDNWTFYECs. There are three spots left and Tomas, Daveed, A-Rod, FeVer, and Misha are fighting for them.
Phew! That was a lot of dicks to get through.
This may be the greatest fan sign ever.
Though, this one gets commitment points for refusing to let the fact that this match was played on indoor courts that fans could not access stop her from cheering on her man.
And "allez" he did.
Obligatory cute Jo pic.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
GGL is cute?
Jelena's not in Shanghai. So...just sayin'.
Hands off, ladies.
That sexy piece is aaaaaaaaaall mine.
It's a boy!
Uh oh, Maggie. Papa's not happy.
Ok, I'm going to say this once and then I'm leaving it alone:
I would not object to seeing Sod naked.
There. I said it. I'm gonna go take a hot bleach shower now.
(Pics: Getty, AP)
Hell of a match, Austrian Smurf. He played aggressively and I've never seen Hand Lotion hit the ball so cleanly. I know people are saying Rafa was tired and whatever, but I give full credit to Melzer. He was really good today, and really, a seated golf clap to him in recognition for his great year. Also, he's apparently dating a swimmer. I guess he just really likes girls and water.
But I guess Rafa losing created what can only be described as an EMP, but instead of a pulse disrupting all electric functionality it disrupted brain functionality:
Look, everybody makes typos and gets the occasional obscure-ish fact wrong. But when you're Tennis.com and you base an entire Ticker story on the "ZOMG! RAFA LOST FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FOREVER" angle, people are probably going to notice your fact-check fail. They've pulled the story down but that doesn't mean I've stopped giggling.
Even Sod had a laugh. EVEN SOD.
More pics of hilariously confusing traditional costume fails here.
Someone on Twitter said that Davis Cup pwns all other tournaments in pictorial awesomeness.
I have to agree.
Davis Cup Hoss.
This week on Broadway: Guy Forget as Monsieur Thenardier!
Oh, Stanley. Sadz.
Spongebob is a Sod fan. This explains...so much.
*Everyone's* obsessed with what's between his legs.
Meh. Not so much.
Huge comeback win for India, who have finally made it into World Group I by coming back from an 0-2 deficit against Brazil to take the next three matches. Nice wins by Bopanna and Somdev in singles to clinch this one.
Austria was pretty stoked too, bouncing Israel 3-2.
Romania clinched 5-0 over Team Lappenti.
Mardy Fish was the man in Bogota, winning all three of his matches (with a little help from Big John) to take the tie for the Rodless, Bryanless, Americans.
Sod sealed the win over Italy, beating Goth Bols (yes, he still kinda plays tennis) to clinch it today.
Team Techno dusted the South Africans, 5-0.
Rather inexplicably, Team Kazakhstan rolled over the Fedless Swiss, 5-0, to make their first World Group appearance. Make glorious nation, boys.
Meanwhile, the decisive matches in Cairns were rained out. They'll resume play tomorrow with the Roos up 2-1. They'll be without Lleyton though. He sprained his face mugging. Or hurt his wrist in doubles. Either way, he's out for a few weeks.
It took him three sets, but Nalby was able to knock out the always game Daveeed to keep his momentum going. And with Nalby, that's a lot of momentum. Is it weird that I want to see him do well in Toronto and then lose early or pull out of Cincy? I want a healthy and hungry Nalby in New York. Well, like, hungry in a tennis way.
Sod survived the [insert appropriate adjective here] Ernie, who could not fucking convert a break point in the second set to save his life. He had so many opportunities to get up break early and just couldn't. So Sod won. And Gay God cried.
And Tomas won. But more importantly, I LOVE his summer kit. Pop that collar, Tommy.
Pop it like you own it.
Sorry to 90% of the LA tennis fans, but Nole has withdrawn from LA for undisclosed personal reasons.
BUT! BUT! BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT!
Andy's in. My heart's aflutter.
Considering the crappy weather that's been interfering with his training in Miami, this seems a good move. I assure you won't get rained on in LA. Have fun at the Cheesecake Factory.
Oh, and Sod withdrew from Legg-Mason for personal reasons, too. That really has nothing to do with the theme of this post but it seems newsworthy.
Round 1 is done (almost) and 64 players are drowing their sorrows in champs and berries.
In the grand scheme of things, that doesn't suck.
Yeah, you fuck that air, Daveed. Vamos!
Aw, shit. Game on.
And by "Game On" I mean, "I'm leaving Wimbledon drunk, poor, and working off my debt owed to Pimmy by doing things that I dare not write on a blog that my parents read."
Posted by C Note on June 23, 2010 in Andy Murray, Anne Keothavong, Caroline Wozniacki, Daniela Hantuchova, David Ferrer, Dominika Cibulkova, Fernando Verdasco, Flavia Pennetta, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Maria Sharapova, Pic This!, Robin Soderling, Serena Williams, Wimbledon | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
If there is one thing that unites great champion athletes it's a sense of delusion. For some, that level of delusion can be comical or eyeroll worthy (I'm rolling my eyes at you, Serena). For others it manifests itself in a self-confidence that seems independent of results. I'd put Fed in this category.
In Rafa's case, it's a humility that is independent of results. If you didn't know better as you watched Rafa collapse to the ground on match point, roar in exaltation and relief, and convulsively sob into a towel as he realized not only what he accomplished on this dominant two month run, but also how he had finally overcome the devastating professional and personal trials of the last year, you would have thought this was his first career Slam victory. Leave it to Rafa to make Franny's celebration look mundane and entitled. As the NBC commentator's remarked, you could see in his reaction that he genuinely thought this day might never come again.
And that, in a nutshell, is what drives Rafa. The cynics will say that he's the epitome of false modesty. After all, how can the player anointed "the King of Clay", with the results he's had on this surface over the course of his career, possibly think that, if healthy, he wouldn't ever hoist the Coupe de Mousquetaires again? He ran the table in the pre-tournament run-ups in dominant fashion. He didn't drop a set going into Sunday's final. He was the unanimous favorite as he picked apart and broke down challenger after challenger, ramping up his level of play from match to match. I mean, come on, Rafa. You can't be serious.
But that's Rafa. He's dead serious. He's dead serious when he tells you he gets nervous before every match. He's dead serious when he tells you that he knows that he can play well, create good chances, and lose. He's dead serious when he tells you that he accepts the fact that he can either win or lose on any given day when he takes the court.
Take that practical, if not sometimes delusional, view of his tennis mortality and combine it with the fiercest competitive fire on the tour, and Rafa's results and his reactions make sense. The guy believes he can lose against anyone and therefore he will do anything and everything to prevent that from happening. That explains how he hit the ground running today, Vamosing and fist-pumping as early as 1-1 in the first. It's why he took the game to Sod from the first ball, tracking down every single ball, no matter how hard it was crushed, and forced Sod to hit another ball. Rafa was everywhere. It was a jaw-dropping, dizzying display of defense that I haven't seen from him since the AO09 semifinal.
As for Sod, I thought he played. To put it in WTA terms, he pulled a Sam. He played well enough to win most matches. Just not this one. Rafa was just too good and Sod acknowledge as much after the match. Rafa forced him to hit winner after winner just to get a winner and on this day, his serve wasn't as effective as in previous rounds. Could he have made some adjustments? Sure. Would it have made a difference? Probably not. And so for the second year in a row, he beats the top seed and defending champion, only to lose in the final. And thus begins the rather unfair talk as to whether Sod has the guts to win a Slam. But whatever. Dude played well. He just ran into a delusional madman.
Delusions, while they do have a negative connotation, can be a mechanism for self-preservation. Again, see e.g., Serena Williams. Blocking out the negative to remain in a positive state of mind is understandable and expected among the greats. But Rafa's tact, of blocking out the positive to remain in a neutral to negative state of mind, takes iron-strength character to pull off. Without that character, he's just a Spanish Debbie Downer. He's no different than any other headcasey Negative Nelly on the tour. With it, he's a humble, fiery competitor who plays without a lick of entitlement. That's fucking scary.
A 64 62 64 devastating sleeper hold of a statement. Rafa just suffocated Sod with his dizzying and at times, impossible looking defense, that saw Sod having to hit 3-5 winners just to win a point (if he'd win it at all). The pressure clearly got to Sod as the match wore on, the toll of the tournament took out his legs, and with all of that, his mind. The dude just couldn't go toe-to-toe with Rafa for three sets. Just like Franny, he saved his best for last.
I'll be back with more later. But congrats to Sod for a great tournament and congrats to Rafa on an incredible run. He wins three straight Masters on clay, wins his 5th RG without dropping a set, avenges his loss over Sod, and reclaims the #1 ranking at a time when he can only gain points from here on out. Amazing stuff.
When it all boils down to it, that's the singular question for each of these guys. Can Rafa withstand the barrage that is a fearless Sod to avenge last year and re-establish him at the top of the game? Can Sod continue his unconscious hitting, show that last year wasn't a fluke, and establish himself as the only guy in the game who can stand toe to toe with Rafa and Fed without a lick o self-doubt?
This is juicy as all get out. See you in the morning.
For all the pre-match jockeying among a subset of fans wanting a Nadal-Berdych final, this is the one that true tennis fans wanted, nay, *needed*. Sod was able to withstand a solid challenge from Tomas before the brave Czech ran out of gas under the hot Paris sun (huh? Where's that been?) and Sod was able to turn it up a notch and take the last two sets. Rafa overcame a DoucheStamp who left it all out there in the third-set to make his return to the final.
And so, this is the way it should be. In order to reclaim his crown, Rafa needs to avenge his loss to Sod. And in order to claim his maiden Slam and have no asterisk whatsoever in the vicinity of his name in the books, Sod's gotta go through Fed and Rafa. It's hard not to see the parallels between Sam's run and Sod's. No one will question them if they raise the Coupe this weekend and they will have rightfully earned their place in the conversation.
I'll be rooting for Rafa, obviously. But I have to say, I'll be the first to stand and do a slow clap for Evil if he pulls this off. Because aside from being a fan of any particular player, a fan of the sport of tennis, or a fan of storylines, I am first and foremost a fan of sport. And seriously, this would be an even more impressive feat than DelPo beating Fed at USO 09.
And it makes me hate Sod even more for making me say that.
On the whole, and to speak in broad generalities, tennis fandom these days is pretty much divided down the line of Fed fans and Rafa fans. Sure, your favorite player might be someone else entirely, but when Fed and Rafa play each other, most tennis fans, particularly the die hards, have a very strong rooting interest one way or another. Four times a year these rooting interests are amplified, as the stakes get higher and the drama intensifies.
They say that the Devil is an equal opportunity fuck-with-you employer. The gods have favorites, loyalties if you will. They have a code, they have rules that they enforce and respect. The Devil? Fuck your rules. He' the ultimate anarchist, whistling as he walks down the street, spilling coffee on your shirt, making you step in dog shit, hell, pushing you into on coming traffic without a blink of remorse.
Because he's the Devil. That's how he rolls.
Which brings us to Robin Soderling. First let me get this out of the way: I think at the beginning of the year I said, in a conversation with friends, that I thought Sods was a fluke. That there was no way he'd follow up his crazy 2009 with a solid 2010. Of course I had to go and record said conversation and post it up as a podcast. Stupid, stupid C Note. I hate more than anything to be wrong and I'm arrogant enough to think I'm always right. But I'm also humble enough to know when I'm completely off-base. This is one of those times. You're here to stay, Sod. I get it.
Second, The Evil One has now successfully infuriated the entire tennis world by being hated by both Rafa fans and now Fed fans. He not only ended Fed's defending run here at RG, denying many of us a Fed/Rafa final (which I have to admit, I really really wanted), but he broke the insane streak that, to me, is the most impressive on Fed's resume: 23 straight Slam semis. That's over five years. Crazy dominance.
I thought Killer had the best description of what happened today. Sod played "Red Line Tennis" and he played it for three sets. It goes back to Gimelstob's breakdown of Sod's game vs. Rafa's game last week on Tennis Channel. In order to beat Rafa last year, Sod had to play a high risk, high reward game. He employed the same tactic today, blasting everything in sight and blasting it towards the lines. Most players can't do that over the course of best of five match. Most players can't do that over the course of a bets of five match at a Slam. Most players can't do that over the course of a best of five match at a Slam against the #1 player in the world.
Sod has. Twice. And in so doing he's done the unthinkable. He's brought Fed and Rafa fans together to commiserate and offer each other kind words. Because both fan bases now know what it's like to see your invincible hero's dreams dashed by a tall, lanky Swede who unconsciously bashes you off the court, making you look like a second rate player.
Really remarkable stuff from Sod. I still maintain that that sort of play can't be sustained over the course of 7 matches at a Slam. But maybe Sod will, once again, because he revels in doing it, prove me wrong. But in order to do so he'll probably have to beat Rafa. And if he does, *that* will be one hell of an impressive feat.
BTW: Shot of the match? Sod's set saving overhead backhand volley. Imagine what happens if he doesn't make that. Not only does Fed go up 2 sets to love, but we have to see that ridiculous trick shot over, and over, and over, and over, and over...you get the picture.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Walk with me.
"So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to hit more to his forehand, like high topspin, and push him back behind the baseline. Then I'm going hit this shot, have you heard of it? It's called a forehand drop shot. Anyway, apparently it works on clay. I just figured this out. Yeah, I know, I'm brilliant. So like I was saying..."
More after the jump.
Posted by C Note on May 23, 2010 in Andy Murray, Anna Chakvetadze, Aravane Rezai, ATP, Dominika Cibulkova, Janko Tipsarevic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Maria Kirilenko, Novak Djokovic, Pic This!, Robin Soderling, Roland Garros, The Mighty Fed, WTA | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
In other news that is kinda relevant, DB Chuck, Sex, and Dr. Ivo, have withdrawn from RG. I'm sure their very large fan bases are staging a revolt as we speak.
Granted, I have a horrible fear of heights. I literally had to sit down when I saw these pics, my knees were buckling so badly. I'm sure DonkeyGrooming had to sit down too but for entirely different reasons.
I *definitely* wouldn't put myself in a position where this guy could easily push me to my death. Because you know he would. HE WOULD.
Gotta make this quick but here's a pictorial round-up on yesterday's action, none of which I watched.
Fer, please get a kit that fits, a racquet that works, and a haircut that makes you aerodynamic. Tomas, please forget that you're in the semifinals of a Masters tournament after beating two top 10 players.
So...I'm guessing I shouldn't hold my breath anymore in anticipation of Sod's return to mediocrity. Second straight Masters semifinal for the embodiment of Evil.
Obviously, I'm on Team Gonzo.
Sure, I could keep posting the awesome practice pictures that Steph was able to capture. But come on. That stuff you can, for the most part, get from anyone and anywhere. And really, how many times do I really need to see Andy Murray striking a tennis ball? Spoiler Alert: He's a professional tennis player. Each stroke looks the same. It's not gonna change from pic to pic.
But where I really have to give Steph credit is her ability to quietly (and someone creepily) wander the grounds and be at all the right places at all the right times. I just love all the candids she was able to catch that really capture the players' personalities.
The Family Pavs. That's her brother wearing a spectacularly sequined Ed Hardy hat.
Ah, eating the soul of a young child, I see.
Steph: Hey. I saw Cornet practicing.
(Pics for Forty Deuce by Love All and C Note)
Marcel Granollers, ranked #118, scored the biggest upset so far on the men's side, with five set come from behind win to oust #8 seed, and general asshole of the highest order, Robin Soderling.
Good fucking riddance, you pissy piece of shit. I have not been seduced by your supposed "charms".
Now that I have that off my chest, tough loss for Sods. A lot of people, including me, are looking at his first half performance this year to see if he's the real deal, or just a flash in the pan. He a great opportunity to pick up a shitload of points, too, which would give him some rankings insurance heading into RG. This was such a lost opportunity for him. This was the weak part of the draw.
Which of course makes my happy dance that much happier.
And of course, how about a shout out to Vania, who took out Domi in three sets. She came back from 1-5 in the third set. Then again, she also served for the match in the second. But a win is a win and more importantly, a Domi loss is a Domi loss.
He doesn't go that deep in tournaments much anymore, so any chance to throw out that karaoke video must be taken advantage of.
The men's tournaments joined the women's in general WTF-itude today as top seeds (Tommy Robredo) fell, people withdrew-- injured-- from exhibitions days before the start of the first Slam of the year (JMDP, Sod), and Marcos Baghdatis won yet another match. This close to the first Slam, it always seems like withdrawls (and even losses) are hard to read-- are you really that injured/playing that badly, or are you just trying to save yourself for the Big Event? We'll all find out soon enough.
Singles - Quarter-finals
J Isner (USA) d  T Robredo (ESP) 76(5) 36 64
 P Kohlschreiber (GER) d M Gicquel (FRA) 63 61
A Clement (FRA) d  J Melzer (AUT) 62 75
 A Montanes (ESP) d [Q] M Lammer (SUI) 63 63
Singles - Quarterfinals
(1) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. (8) Gisela Dulko (ARG) 61 57 61
(2) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. (5) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 46 76(4) 75
(4) Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. (7) Zheng Jie (CHN) 75 75
Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 63 64
Fernando Gonzalez CHI (11) d. Tommy Haas GER (18) 62 64
Fernando Verdasco ESP (9) d Novak Djokovic SRB (3) 61 62
Ivan Ljubicic CRO (24) d. Robin Soderling SWE (8) 64 ret.
Andy Murry SCO d. Sam Querrey USA 61 64
Women's Singles - Semifinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Aravane Rezai (FRA) 36 75 64
(5) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (6) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 63 61
Men's Singles - Quarter-finals
M Baghdatis (CYP) d  L Hewitt (AUS) 46 62 63
M Fish (USA) d [WC] P Luczak (AUS) 76(5) 62
R Gasquet (FRA) d P Starace (ITA) 63 76(7)
J Benneteau (FRA) d [Q] L Mayer (ARG) 64 67(5) 60
And, finally, we come to Chennai. Which is running this befuddling banner on its official website:
Oh God, I don't even have the energy to deal with it. Round about 2-3 months ago, all anyone could talk about was Rafa's precipitous decline and how all the injuries and one bad year at the age of 23 spelled doom, which seemed obviously idiotic then and is looking more idiotic by the second. Fuck, I'm not even a RafaKAD, or anything like it, and I'm so happy he's playing well just so I don't have to read as much stupid crap about how Rafa is finito.
Well-played match by The Evil One. Rafa was discombobulated and definitely failed to keep colm through the match. It's a tough loss for Rafa for a lot of reasons but I just can't get over his refusal to challenge that line call on game point at 4-5 in the first set. Serving at 40-30, Rafa hit an ace that was called a fault. He thought about challenging but didn't. Replays showed the ball was in, which would have given him the hold at 5-5. Instead, the game went to deuce and Sod won the next two points to take the set. I'm definitely not saying Rafa would have won, but boy that hold would have made a huge difference.
Afterwards, Rafa was, as always, frank about his performance:
"I didn't play really bad. But in the important moments, I didn't have this calm, this necessary calm, to win these matches against the best players of the world."
"If you want to still talk about me (being) No. 1, I can, but I think is not the right moment. My level right now I think is not to be No. 1."
So, you know, nice win, Sod. You're still a piece of shit.