When Rafael Nadal’s tripped in the third set, Mary Carillo said this picture will be famous if Nadal goes on to loose – even suggesting a title – “the Champ goes Down”. How prescient! I’m doing my part to fulfill her prophecy.
In what was a surprising and yet terrific match, Nadal’s 2007 Wimbledon nemesis,Robin Soderling (they played a 5 setter lasting 5 days due to rain delays), did something nobody has ever done before – beat Nadal at the French Open. Amazing!
This sets Federer up to accomplish three big things next Sunday:
- winning his first French Open;
- thereby giving him a career grand slam; and
- tying Pete Sampras’s 14 major title record.
Assuming, that is, that Federer makes it to the finals next week. This is Federer’s big break. I’ll be cheering for him.
On a related note, Azarenka defeated the 2009 French Open women’s champion, Ana Ivanovic, in straight sets. That isn’t much of a surprise to me. I have thought for some time that Ivanovic was over-rated. Go Safina go!
Below is a roundup of my thoughts and observations concerning the first week matches at the 2009 Australian Open.
Click on the photos below to view full-sized versions.
Nadal Tweaks his Game & His Outfit: Number 1 seeded Nadal has changed his service stance (a little more open, left leg further back and tighter in) to try and get more speed on his serve. It seems to be working so far. His average first serve speed at the Aussie Open in 2009 is 113 mph. His average speed in 2008 was 109 mph. He is also dropping the elbow close to the body to take topspin off his forehand and flattening his forehand to work better on the slower Australian courts. As for fashion, his shorts are a little shorter and he has shirt sleeves for the first time. You’d think that with all his millions, he’d be able to hire a designer to solve his constant wedge problem. But no, he was tugging at the back of his new shorts as much as he ever has.
Roddick: Roddick lost 15 pounds in the off-season. He lost the weight to gain speed. Speed is needed to compete with the top players these days. Fabrice Santoro did Roddick a big favor by knocking out Kohlschreiber in the second round. Kohlschreiber defeated Roddick at the 2008 Aussie Open. I’m looking forward to his next match with Djokovic (assuming Djokovic beats Baghdatis) in the quarters. I’ll be cheering for Roddick! Is it just me, or does that KIA logo make you hunger for a Kit-Kat too?
Continue reading “Australian Open (2009) – First Week Roundup”
Official Wimbledon Site | Men’s Draw | Ladies’ Draw |
The first week of a grand slam usually offers terrific tennis. This week was no exception. There were some major upsets and terrific matches. See my "Wimbledon 2008 Begins" post for my Monday observations.
There was a touching moment (depicted in the picture above – click for larger view) this week when Richard Williams went over and shook the hand of Mr. Keothavong after Richard’s daughter Venus beat his daughter Anne 7-6, 6-2 in the 2nd round. Mr. Keothavong was clearly impressed.
Tuesday – Davenport Injury
It was difficult to watch my all-time favourite woman’s player, Davenport’s, struggle with an ‘aggravated’ knee (an MRI after the match revealed inflammation behind the knee cap – not a permanent injury). Davenport’s career is near and end. It was sad to see her bow out on Thursday. But in an interview on Thursday she said she’ll be ready for the Beijing Olympics in a few weeks.
Two of Wednesday’s matches are prime examples of why watching early round grand slam matches can be so fulfilling:
- Nathalie Dechy and Ana Ivanovic played three nail-biting sets. As much as I like Ivanovic I was cheering for Dechy all the way. What terrific play. But for an Ivanovic shot that barely dribbled over the net on match point in the 2nd, 97th ranked Dechy would have won the match against the current world’s number 1. Below Ana is kissing the part of the net where the ball hit the net chord.
Continue reading “Wimbledon 2008 – First Week”
In a more competitive match than the 6-4, 6-3 score would suggest, Ana Ivanovic defeated the terrific Dinara Safina to win her first grand-slam title. Two days earlier she had become the world’s number 1 women’s tennis player after beating her fellow Serbian countrywoman Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals.
Safina played well, but not well enough. Not unlike her brother, her emotions too often got in the way. In her round of 16 and quarterfinal matches against Dementieva and Kuznetsova, she had come back from being a set and match-point down to prevail. Ivanovic was too good for this to work a third time.
Ivanovic’s shots were strong and accurate. She played one of her best-ever matches, convincingly solid and steady throughout. She didn’t show any of the nervousness that kept her from winning the final against Sharapova at the 2008 Aussie Open and the final against Henin at the 2007 French Open. She’s come a long way from learning tennis in a war-torn Belgrade swimming pool.
This makes the seventh straight women’s French Open final that was won in straight sets. The last three-set women’s final was at the 2001 French Open – where Jennifer Capriati defeated Kim Clijsters.
Continue reading “Ivanovic Wins the 2008 French Open”