Prior to Easter dinner my brother-in-law casually mentioned how surprised he was that Mardy Fish beat Federer in the semi-finals at Indian Wells. My TiVo had been faithfully recording the matches and I was a couple days behind. I was so certain that this couldn’t have been accurate that I was willing to place a bet that it must have been someone else, perhaps Hass, that took out Federer.
After returning home and cranking up the TiVo, I was astonished to see that 98th ranked Mardy Fish had indeed beat Federer in straight sets at Indian Wells – with only a 37% first serve percentage match. Prior to Federer, he had beaten 4th ranked Davydenko (in the 3rd round), 24th ranked Hewitt (in the 4th) and 7th ranked Nalbandian (in the quarters).
Given Fish’s history, this run was arguably as remarkable as Djokovic’s successive Montreal 2007 victories over World Nos. 1, 2 and 3 (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick, respectively) on three consecutive days.
Why? Because Fish has been consistently disappointing over the years. While possessing a terrific serve, his fitness was never up to the level of the world’s best and his commitment and discipline seemed lacking. He holds only 2 titles (Stockholm 2003 and Houston 2006) and his rankings have been up and down like a yoyo – 17th in March 2004, 227th in 2005, 47th in 2006, 39th in 2007 and 98th year-to-date in 2008.
In the end, Fish lost the Indian Wells final to 3rd ranked Djokovic (2-6, 7-5, 3-6).
Given Agassi’s retirement, Roddick’s floundering and Blake’s inability to break through and win where it counts (grand slams), America could use another top-rated men’s player (I’ve long given up on Canada).
But can Fish do it? His fitness and commitment seem to have improved but his performance at Indian Wells was still less than stellar. I’m not betting it will continue. But t was an impressive performance nonetheless.
And would someone PLEASE tell Djokovic to stop his incessant ball bouncing. Even with TiVo’s ability to fast forward it drives me to distraction.
Onwards to the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
- Mardy Fish was taken out in the first round of Sony Ericsson, 6-3 6-3 to Frenchman Arnaud Clement.
- At the 2008 French Open, Fish lost in the second round to 25th-seeded Hewitt 6–4, 6–3, 6–2, with Fish committing 58 unforced errors compared to Hewitt’s 12
- Fish was taken out in the first round by Gasquet at Wimbledon 2008.6-3, 6-4, 5-2.
So much for the start of something big!