I spent a lot of time in front of the television today, and I thought Patty Schnyder v. Katarina Srebotnik was the best match. Everything else was pretty yawn worthy (although I did root hard for Llodra and I didn’t catch Monfils.) The upcoming matches promise to be much more exciting (but isn’t that always the way?) Here are the ones I can’t wait to sink my teeth into:
Maria Sharapova v. Dinara Safina: Maria’s mentally tough but still struggling with her form. Dinara’s on a tear but fragile upstairs. And Russians go crazy when they play other Russians. I’d love to see Dinara go all the way to the Championships, just so she’d finally have bragging rights over her grouchy older bro.
Patty Schnyder v. Ana Ivanovic: I was infatuated with Ana at first, but have cooled on her marketable appeal. But I can’t help but love Patty, with her big, bushy ponytail, senior citizen status (29 years old), psycho-hippie husband and idiosyncratic game. Watching her play Srebotnik today, I realized how well-suited she is to clay. So will her comfort on the terre battue translate to a big win? I hope so – this is probably her last chance.
Petra Kvitova v. Kaia Kanepi: Just kidding! But if either happens to make it big on the WTA tour, I need practice typing their names. Good luck, girls!
Ernests Gulbis v. Novak Djokovic: I’m this close to falling for the low key, fresh faced Latvian. (How often can you type that sentence?) It’s exciting to see a guy push his way into the top echelon of the game. And now he’s facing a guy who was in the same spot not too long ago – pounding on the door, demanding to be let in. This could be Novak’s first real test as the established veteran playing a young upstart desperate for a scalp. Scoring yet another upset is probably too much to ask of the still-green Ernests, but I think the two players’ similar, big-hitting games will match up well against one another.
Nicolas Almagro v. Rafael Nadal: Of course I want Rafa to go (almost) all the way, but I also wish he’d get pushed outside of his comfort zone before waltzing into the final. Today’s match against Verdasco was depressing – I’d cheer when Fernando managed to win a game, forget about having a chance at a set. Nicolas should stride on court with some fire in the belly, his one-handed backhand ready to strike, and the belief that he has an iota of a chance against the best clay court player in the history of the game.
Fernando Gonzalez v. Robby Ginepri: This one’s interesting because it’s so unexpected. And if Robby wins and Roger beats Benneteau in his fourth round match, these two Higueras clients will face one another in the Round of 16! Click here for more on this bizarre possibility.