Okay, I’m still getting caught up on all the insane action from this absolutely manic Monday at Wimbledon. It pains me to have missed even a moment of this remarkable day of tennis. I was off to a good start, my insomnia granting me the opportunity to catch the spectacle of Kate and William arriving on Centre Court LIVE. Then I passed out for a few hours and woke up in time for work and to catch Serena Williams being tortured by Marion Bartoli. I’ve always had a fascination and grudging respect for this strange Frenchwoman with her crazy eyes, limp hair and bizarro tennis dad. I don’t think this oddly innocent warrior-savage even bothers with a sports bra.
Pardon me, I’m rambling due to sleep deprivation. I’m confused and a bit discombobulated. I blame Youzhny for taking the first set off Roger today. And NBC for holding my DVR hostage. And Nadal for apparently playing on a broken foot and still beating Juan Martin del Potro in four sets. I mean, what the heck, Rafa?
Rafa via tennis.com:
“I felt really bad during the [last] half of the first set,” he told reporters. “With the 6-5, I felt terrible, no? I felt that I broke my foot at that moment. The point with the deuce, that point give me the set point, in that point I felt terrible. I asked for the trainer at that moment when the game was done. I seriously didn’t know at that moment the match, I didn’t know that if I will have the chance to continue playing….I am very happy to be through, winning against one of the best players of the world. I think was a fantastic match. [But] I’m worried, for sure. Tomorrow we will see. I cannot predict the future.“
Rafa says he’s getting an MRI and will wait for the results to see if he will face Mardy Fish in the quarterfinals. Who? Yes, Mardy! After taking out last year’s runner up, Tomas Berdych, in straights today, he becomes the only American to make it to the quarterfinals. Mardy called it one of “the best serving days” of his life. He’s 0-5 career vs. Rafa, but says he feels “a lot different” since his last loss to the Spaniard in the 2008 US Open quarterfinals: “I feel like a completely different player, so I’m hoping it doesn’t end.” The NYTimes headline belabors the point with the headline: “Nadal, Who’s Limping and Laboring, Now Encounters Fish, Who’s Peaking”
I’m going to be completely un-PC here and say: I hate injury timeouts before first set tiebreaks. Just not cool. Of course Rafa was in major pain and grumpy Del Po later returned the favor with his own protracted off-court medical time out. I guess I’m just spoiled because my favorite player on earth happens to never take injury time outs. So maybe I’m holding everyone else to an unfair standard?
Speaking of my fave player, I liked this headline at Wimbledon.com: “Hotdog king Federer drops set on way to win.” Maybe it’s because I’m from Chicago, but being the Hot Dog King in those parts means knowing your Vienna Beef and celery salt. But now I’m an Angeleno, where hot dogs are interpreted by Pink’s with their celebrity-centric creations. If Roger had a hotdog at Pink’s (get on that, Gavin), it would be called “The Tweener” – an all beef redhot split in half with a stripe of tennis ball yellow mustard running straight down the middle.
Behold, the Hot Dog King:
“You knew the hot dog was imminent.” The name of my future restaurant: Imminent Hot Dogs.
Roger won the match vs. his fellow 29-year-old father, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. He gets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarters, which will also be Roger’s 29th straight Major quarterfinal. Forget the processed stuff, that’s a prime cut, baby.
While both Roger and Rafa struggled a bit on Monday, Novak Djokvic (def. Llodra) and Andy Murray (def. Gasquet) both scored straight sets victories. Of note: Nole will face his sometime practice partner, the 18-year-old Australian-Croatian Bernard Tomic, in the quarterfinals. Tomic, a Wimby qualifier ranked 158 in the world, beat Xavier Malisse to earn his spot in the final eight. He is the youngest player to make it this far on the men’s side since Boris Becker made the quarters (and then took the title) in 1986.
The Telegraph puts Tomic’s accomplishments in context:
There have only been three men to have reached this stage of the tournament at a younger age. One went on to win six grand slams, another seven, and the third 11. Their names are Becker, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg.
The men’s quarterfinals are set:
Rafael Nadal vs. Mardy Fish
Andy Murray vs. Feliciano Lopez
Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in my personal lose-lose/win-win special
Bernard Tomic vs. Novak Djokovic
So, will there be an upset? I’m thinking not.
Now onto the really crazy stuff.
Completely bonkers: I called it! I just knew that Marion Bartoli would pull it off vs. Serena Williams. Admittedly, if I’d seen Marion kicking her parents off the court during her previous match, I would have hedged my bets, but there was something in the Marion vs. Serena equation that made me think the quirky Frenchwoman had more than just a chance at the “upset.” Perhaps it was the not-so-subliminal messages coming from the Williams camp lately – her hitting partner recalling her vomiting blood, her own admissions to be focussed more on future successes than instant gratification. But bottom line, Marion outplayed Serena Williams on Monday.
Serena agrees: “She should always play like this, and she would be in the top five, at minimum. It’s like, wow, where is this player throughout the rest of the year?“
A lot of people – Mary Carillo comes to mind – complain that there are not enough women on the WTA tour who relish the heat of battle. I beg to differ:
Venus Williams lost today to Tsvetana Pironkova, 2-6, 3-6. Pironkova is the same woman who upset Venus in last year’s quarterfinals. Don’t ask me.
Ask Venus, who said of Monday’s Williams sisters’ results: “Definitely not our best day. I think we both envisioned seeing this day going a little bit different.”
Williams quotes via the Seattle Times.
So with Kim Clijsters on the sidelines and the Williams sisters knocked out, World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is in great position to win her first Major Title, no? NO. She lost in three sets on Monday to the obviously capable Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-7, 5-7.
As far as crazy goes, Cibulkova’s current coach (and ex-Dinara guru) Zeljko Krajan, says “Yeah, so?” His quote really says it all about the WTA tour these days:
“It’s not crazy to me at all,” said Zeljko Krajan, the coach of Dominika Cibulkova, who defeated Wozniacki in three sets. “It looks like it’s crazy, but at the moment, this is a normal day in women’s tennis. Anybody who manages to play 100 percent on the day has a chance, really.”
I know it’s too easy, but here’s the headline in the Daily Mail: “Not such a Great Dane!”
Caroline’s take: “I don’t really care what people think or say or do. I cannot do anything now. I did my best and it wasn’t good enough.”
But will it ever be?
The women’s quarterfinals are set:
Dominika Cibulkova vs. Maria Sharapova
Sabine Lisicki vs. Marion Bartoli
Tamira Paszek vs. Victoria Azarenka
Petra Kvitova vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
No point in asking about upsets on the women’s side.
Even Mirka was a little manic today: