I’m going to be as frank as Rafa has been about his foot injury: (He said “My foot is not fine” after his quarterfinal win vs. Fish, apparently he’s using anesthetics to numb the pain.)
Back to me being frank: The ladies’ semis left quite a bit to be desired. Petra Kvitova and her warrior screech after every winner she hit against Azarenka (and she hit quite a lot of them) was the highlight. Oh, and Sasha Vujacic’s unfettered fan boy behavior:
Otherwise, I’m bitterly disappointed, especially by my gal Sabine Lisicki and her pathetic performance vs. Maria Sharapova on Thursday afternoon. Where was the spunky gal with the 124 mph serves, the sure ground strokes and the wily dropshots? BoomBoom was more like ThudThud.
I’d like to say something like “But Maria did what she always does: fight and scratch and punch her way out of a match using those cliff’s edge groundstrokes and her never-say-die determination.” But I’m not in the mood. Lisicki just sucked.
And am I the only one who finds the relentless “Come ons!” after every winner – and error from the other side – more annoying than the grunting? If Lleyton Hewitt had actually won his trademark case he’d be earning a robust second income collecting royalties from the WTA tour. Very soon, I expect the BBC to launch its new “Come On!” reducing technology. Perhaps the network will just mute the matches completely, and play some soothing bagpipe music instead.
Okay, I admit it. Roger’s loss is still making me grumpy.
But the men play on despite my stubborn resistance, with Nadal facing Murray in yet another semifinal and Djokovic playing Tsonga in the semifinals. This stat surprised me when I read it: Tsonga owns Djokovic 5-2 in their career head-to-head. Tsonga won their last meeting at last year’s Australian Open, when Novak was not at his current best, but the way Big Jo-Wilfried played Federer on Wednesday, he could end up being the biggest guy in this “Big Four” group ESPN keeps talking about.
Another confession: Jo’s post-quarterfinal press conference did make me smile.
Q. Did you have a sudden flash of inspiration out there?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: A lot. A lot. I felt so good on the court. I was quick. I was just perfect today. I don’t know. Every time I was feeling like a dream, you know.
Q. Even at two sets down?
JO WILFRIED TSONGA: Even at two sets down, you know, because I was in quarterfinals again Roger Federer. The stadium was full. It was 6 3, 7 6. I was not ridiculous. I was in my match.
Yeah, I was feeling good all the match.
No surprises here: Rafa’s 11-4 record over Andy Murray, with the last five matches between them all played in semifinals. Rafa’s won four of these semis, including last year’s Wimbledon. I feel like any kind of enthusiasm for the upset is squashed by the lessons of history. Remember last year, when Rafa had struggled with injury issues throughout the tournament and everyone thought it was finally Murray’s “time”? The match was over in straight sets, and everyone – even Rafa – has been condescending to calling it a “very close match, even if was in straight sets” just to keep some semblance of competition going into this season.
Despite my funk, I do take some comfort in the realization that no matter who ends up in the men’s final, we should have an interesting match. I would be interested to see how Nole fares vs. Rafa, or witness Murray playing for all of the U.K. with the royal box crammed to standing room only capcity. I’m not even going to allow myself to picture Tsonga taking the trophy – see what cheering for Lisicki and Federer has turned me into?
Okay, one more smile: Bodo’s description of Jo-Wilfried as a “big bronze bundle of thunder.”
And a laugh here.
Perhaps things aren’t so hopeless for me after all.