What a day at the MMMM! It was one yummy match-up after another – a real testament to the depth and excitement in the men’s tour right now. And Roger didn’t even play!
Get this order of play on the Pista Alcala (a.k.a the Cell Block):
Calleri v Canas (two second/third – tier players who can really play.) And, ooooh boy, Canas’s victory sets up the nail biter of the week, considering he’s Federer’s krytonite! Better get started with my weird Roger-win rituals.
Nalbandian v. Berdych – so nice of TC to show the deciding tie-break. Glad to see Nalby being is his usual cheerful (and winning) self.
Mathieu v. Gasquet – Coulda been flashier than the dance floor in Saturday Night Fever – surprisingly, Mathieu kept his head together and pulled off a straight-set win over his countryman.
Blake v. Ancic – What’s going on with Blake? His disinterest was such a contrast to Ancic’s comeback hunger. Breaking Back, indeed.
Ljubicic v. Koubek – Shoot, this wasn’t televised.
Kiefer v. Youzhny – I’m sure you could cut the testosterone in the air with a knife.
The line-up in Pista Central wasn’t too shabby, either :
Gonzalez v. Almagro – This was a good test for Gonzo. It might not be too late to finish up the year close to his Aussie Open form. I just saw his “Bag Check” segment on the Tennis Channel for the first time yesterday and he has to be the sweetest player on tour. Awwwwww. . .
Ferrer v. F-Lo – I love Spanish tennis – cute guys, long rallies, good competition. I’m sad Ferrer lost it – he’s one of those admirable players who works to the limit of his potential without being just a another boring grinder. I’ll always root for him after watching his amazing effort in his U.S. Open match against Nadal. Too bad he couldn’t fight through Lopez today, who I’ll never forgive for taking Tim Henman out at Wimbledon this year.
Ferrero v. Moya – 5 Spaniards in three matches! And Verdasco, Rafa and Robredo still to come. They could play a masters event in Madrid even if Spain closed off its borders. Always good to see the older guys in the mix, too.
Djokovic v. Verdasco – Fernando Verdasco has one of the best names in tennis, along with Diego Hartfield and Juan Monaco. Why do the Spanish-speaking nations have all the good names? This was also a highly entertaining match, with lots of ooh and ahh points won from both players. Let’s pray Verdasco makes an appointment with a sports psychologist, pronto. He is almost ridiculously predictable when it comes to choking on the big points, yet he has so much game.
One word of advice to Novak: SHAVE!
Baghdatis v. Nadal – This could have been a great one, but instead it fell kinda flat. I was anxious for Nadal at first, he was stony silent during play and spraying his shots. It took a break and some close calls to get him grunting again, and his movement and game improved. Still, he never looked completely comfortable out there – I’d describe Rafa’s overall appearance and play as worried.
I’m really looking forward to Nadal’s next match against Murray! I wonder if this is Andy’s chance. . .
Robredo v. del Potro – Are you kidding me? It’s way past my bedtime!