Another day in paradise at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. But can it really be called paradise if Roger Federer isn’t there? We’ll leave that to the Fedosophers to ponder. Life goes on for the rest of us. . .
Pound for pound I can’t think of a more high-energy, sweat-soaked and sexy ATP match-up than Jo Wilfried Tsonga vs. Rafael Nadal. These tennis studs didn’t disappoint in their quarterfinal on Wednesday night – just the first two games of the match, alone, were worth the price of admission for the 13,580 fans that packed the stadium.
Despite the 4-1 head-to-head advantage Rafa had going in, this match promised some sizzle. There’s always that delicious shiver of danger, that sense of urgency, when these guys play. Rafa knows that Tsonga is capable of blowing him off the court. Tsonga knows he can, too. And that little bit of psychic sand rubs-up Rafa until he produces his best tennis:
“I’m very happy to play at this level tonight against very difficult opponent like Jo. It’s very important victory for me. I’m very happy for that.”
Yes, Rafa beat Jo-Dubs in a routine sounding, if not looking, 6-3, 6-2 scoreline.
As if we needed more proof that the Spaniard is dead set on winning his first title since last April in Rome? (Really, it’s been nearly a whole year?)
He plays Andy Roddick in the semis.
This little exchange between Andy Roddick and the press was more entertaining than his 6-3, 6-3 victory over a lackluster Nicolas Almagro:
Q. Does Billie Jean travel with you is one question, and then tradition says that paper is the first anniversary gift.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, we were talking about it the other day. Stupid paper. What do you, buy stationary?
Q. You’re not gonna get away with that, are you?
ANDY RODDICK: No, we had like the conversation like we don’t need gifts, and now I don’t know if that’s code for, You better get me a gift.
Q. Yes. I can tell you that.
ANDY RODDICK: Yes?
Q. Oh, yes. I’m helping you out.
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah? Well, shit. (Laughter.)
Q. Stationary is pretty reasonable.
ANDY RODDICK: I mean, I would feel guilty if I gave my wife stationery. Not to ruin guys everywhere who gave stationery, but what am I gonna get, her name? She knows her name.
Q. Paper. You know, paper.
ANDY RODDICK: Oh, yeah. Money? No, she better give me money. She’s had a better year professionally than I have.
What was the other question?
Q. Billie Jean travel with you?
ANDY RODDICK: Sometimes. She was is out in Indian Wells for the whole thing, but now she’s Brooke’s out in L.A. working, so she’s with her. She kind of cruises around from place to place and normally is happy wherever that is.
Q. Does she fit underneath when you’re on a…
ANDY RODDICK: No. You know, we’ve had to keep up her self esteem, because the airlines have deemed her too fat to fit on a plane. So we have to constantly shower her with love and build up that self esteem and tell her she’s beautiful.
Q. It’s working?
ANDY RODDICK: Some days are better than others.
If you want more on Andy Roddick’s domestic arrangements, click here for an article from Inside Tennis.
The men finish up their quarterfinals on Thursday, with Youznhy vs. Soderling and Berdych vs. Verdasco.
The women put their quarterfinals to bed on Monday. The first one, Wozniacki vs. Henin, lasted almost three hours. Justine was finally victorious, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, despite hitting 50 unforced errors for the match. Not much of note in the pressers – though I did find it funny how determined the reporters were to get a “Justine’s so awesome!” quote from Wozniacki. And how equally determined Caro was not to give one. (click here)
I had the chance to catch Clijsters vs. Stosur, which was a pleasure to watch. The result was never really in doubt, Kim coming through 6-3, 7-5, but there was a certain aesthetic quality – something powerful and elastic – in the way these two women played their match. It wasn’t a “classic” an “epic” or a “blockbuster.” It was just a good match. If the tennis.com guys continue to jaw on their podcast about the lack of quality women’s matches, I will be writing in.
Of course, the blockbuster match everyone is talking about is tomorrow’s all-Belgian semifinal between Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. Just typing their names together makes me feel a deep, joyous sense of gratitude to these two women for coming back to the sport. They’ll play Thursday night at 9pm, local time. Henin has the slight 12-11 advantage in their career meetings, but Clijsters won the last time they played in the finals of Brisbane. And yes, that one was epic!
Venus Williams plays Marion Bartoli in the other semifinal. I expect the unexpected in this one. They’re tied 1-1 in their head-to-head with Marion winning their last (wacky) match 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the 2009 Stanford finals.
I crave mango smoothies! Sodoku is far too addictive, but I luv it. Shopping is my fav thing to do, especially for skirts, dresses and shoes. Flats over high heels any day! For some reason, I constantly have a song playing in my head…I like to smile every day : )
Ana Ivanovic, raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens. . .