Flash in the Pan
I traveled for four days over the second weekend, which means I’m pulling moldy story lines out of my Tivo like clumps of still-damp underwear from an almost forgotten load in the washing machine. What to say about anything, when the Murray-Nadal marathon seems as meaningless now as Robredo’s win over Gasquet? And what about the women? I missed Mauresmo’s meltdown to Safarova, Serena’s beat down of Jelena, and unfortunately, I was forced to fast forward through the women’s semis out of pure frustration for the error-filled mess that passes as the women’s game right now. All I have to cling to in the hopes of making some sense of this wild and crazy Aussie Open is my “What I’m Looking For” list:
10) . . .my favorite reformed retiree Martina H. to make it to the semis, ideally a tight three-setter against Jankovic.
Well, Hingis made it to the quarters, at least, which seems to be her personal glass ceiling right now. Can the smaller, quieter, wimpier, “older” gal break through? I think she loves tennis enough to stay on tour for a couple more years, maybe with the hopes of finding another off period, where everyone’s injured or too old/too young to challenge her. With Kim retiring, Amelie back to her sensitive ways, Justine in emotional turmoil, and the rest of the field always in danger of straining a muscle or enduring wrist surgery, it just might happen for her someday. Jelena is a bit more disappointing. Martina didn’t lose to anyone she was “supposed” to beat, Clijsters being the heavy-hitting favorite in the match (despite crap play), but Jelena, in my opinion should have damn well taken out the hefty-limbed Serena. Serena’s amazing, no doubt about it, but Jelena had the game, the fitness and the fire to win but she didn’t. Perhaps their meeting in Carson last summer (which Jelena won) made it a venge-match for Serena, who beat down the able Jelena harder than anyone else she played. Anyways, technically Hingis and Jankovic couldn’t have met in the semis to begin with – they were on opposite sides of the draw. . .
9) . . .Santoro to do something special, like beating Andy Murray. Could happen.
Santoro came and went without a trace, unfortunately. I don’t think he ever made it onto my Tivo. It should be required that every slam includes at least a fifteen minute highlight tape of the Magician’s on court exploits. A game or two from his second round singles win over Clement, a portion of the second set of his first round mixed doubles match with Sania Mirza (which they lost in the third – bad choice of partner, Fabrice!), and some highlights of his match against N-K in the men’s doubles Quarterfinals (also a loss, unfortunately) would satisfy. I guess I’ll have to look out for the Magician at Indian Wells. That will be more fun, anyway.
8) . . .Karolina Sprem to make it to the quarters. (This is why I have a blog)
Yeah, I’m over Karolina Sprem. She lost in three to Maria Kirilenko in the 1st round. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I’m being too hard on her. Chances are this match was a million times better than Sharapova v Clijsters, or Sharapova v. Chakvetadze, or any other of the pitiful matches I saw on t.v. Maybe this was just the match that would re-open my heart to Carolina Sprem – but it wasn’t televised. Tennis’s best kept secret, that Karolina.
7) . . .the lovely Ivanovic to brush off Maria Sharapova
Vera Zvonareva may never be a major threat, but she will remain one of the tour’s best spoilers for quite a while. She put the clamps on the lovely Ivanovic, making my pseudo prediction look even more ridiculous. Ana would have met Maria in the Fourth Round.
6) . . .Nadal with his shirt off
I kind of saw this (a quick look during his loss to Gonzo, but it wasn’t a flattering angle.) I guess it’s not his chest, but his “famous ass” that I should be looking at, anyway. Seriously, why’d he say that? Is his ass famous because he picks at it so much (loved Murray’s “he’s been doing that since the juniors” comment btw), or is his ass really, truly famous in Spain (a country notable for the second-skin fit of their jeans)? Perhaps he has an endorsement with Speedo or some Spanish toilet paper company? Seriously, you can’t just say “my famous ass” and not have some examples to back it up. I think I’m gonna start calling my ass famous, too, just for fun.
5) . . .a Nadal – Safin semi
Couldn’t have happened, the way the draw was set up.
4) . . .Darren Cahill to smarten up the commentary (I’m missing Brad Gilbert, I don’t care what the snobs say.)
I think he did smarten it up a bit, although he’s been gone so long (I think he only did the first week) I’ve kind of forgotten him. I could start a whole blog all about how annoying the rest of the commentators are (and where’s PMac, he was my last hope for anything resembling analysis.) Carillo and Enberg almost ruined Roger’s brilliant performance against Roddick with their verbal poop slide. I’m sorry, I know it’s crude, but it’s TRUE. Mary has some funny jokes sometimes (I did like her quip, when Andy shot a ball out of the stadium, “I bet he’s a little surprised Roger didn’t get that one back.”) but mostly she just talks, and talks and talks in her know-it-all voice about absolutely NOTHING. You learn zip from her. I think with Enberg, however, listeners’ brains may atually turn to mush. His schmaltzy, “Father Knows Best” tone just drives me crazy. See Steve Tignor’s take on it – he’s spot on in his analysis (better than any Enberg can do on actual tennis). Carillo-Enberg Brainstem Disease
Obviously Steve’s brain is immune to the Enberg-effect. Drooooooool. . .
3) . . .some sign from Serena that she still has it
Yeah, umm, I guess she still has it. I hate pointless predictions, but it feels better saying it: she’s winning this baby on Saturday.
2) . . .Jankovic hoisting a great big trophy above her head
Not this time, but it’s gonna happen. At least in my dreams.
1) . . .another Safin/Fed classic, but this time it’s for the championship. .
Already pointed out that this couldn’t happen – it would’ve been another Semi. However, I’ve decided that the only reason I keep hoping for Safin to win is because he’s so hot. If he looked like Davydenko (who is completely fine looking, in his own nerdy way) I would not be penciling him into the final weekend. I may be revealing my tennis ignorance right now, but I’m going to say it – I think Safin is sooooooooo overrated. Everyone is always hoping he’ll make a “run” – that he’ll play to his full potential, his talent described in hushed terms as being limitless – perhaps eclipsing Federer‘s . So he’s won some big matches, what’s the big whoop? My theory is that he’s so good looking that even straight, male commentators are seduced by him, and want to see his flawless physique as much as possible. That’s it – beefcake with game, but not enough to ever go past the quarters again. If I’m wrong, I’ll be dancing around my television with joy, but this is how I feel right now.