It’s like something out of Lord of the Rings. PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GettyImages via Daylife
Wow, at first I didn’t like the scheduling of the simultaneous quarterfinals, but as both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic struggled late into their matches, I saw the brilliance of it. Roger in the midst of his own battle, must have looked over to the scoreboard during a changeover and realized he could play Tsonga and not arch rival Djokovic in the semis. As if he needed more motivation.
I woke up this morning and watched the second set of Del Po vs. Federer. Then I had to go to work. As a Fed Fan, I wasn’t happy with what I saw, but I did have one ray of hope. Instead of the dejected, almost numb Roger Federer I’ve seen go down in upsets big and small, I witnessed Mad Fed. And it made me happy:
This ‘Shut Up!” to the crowd was just a flare up of the red, hot anger I sensed was building up in his normally icy cool soul. (And can you believe the French let him get away with it? I can only imagine what Murray or Nole managed NOT to say to the crowd during their matches.)
Roger wanted this one, and BAD. Of course, it helped that Del Potro started to feel the knee in the third set and stopped hitting supersonic ground stroke after super sonic serve. The Argentine was impressive, but ended up a little lame. Of course, maybe it wasn’t the knee at all. Perhaps Del Potro felt the red hot daggers beaming out of Fed’s eyes and just didn’t know how to explain this to the trainer.
Next win, he’ll be ripping open his pants. Photo by JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/GettyImages via Daylife
Funny how this has also become of the mantra of Novak Djokovic, who played his second five-setter in a row to overcome Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his quarterfinal. It was amazing to see Tsonga take control of the match, buoyed by an adoring crowd. Watching him clinch the third set with a roar and double fist pump, I didn’t think the Frenchman could lose. I wonder if he was thinking the same thing in the fourth set, when he earned (and lost) four match points. Let’s hope Roger didn’t catch those highlights. He doesn’t need reminding about Nole and match points.
Novak took the match away from the Frenchman, winning the fifth set 6-1, in a supreme show of will and self-confidence.
THOMAS COEX/AFP/GettyImages via Daylife
Poor Tsonga, as a man who loves to play in front of his countrymen he was understandably devastated afterwards:
“You get all kinds of feelings going through your mind. You want to break your racquet. You want to shout. You want to cry. You want to laugh and say, ‘Oh, come on, that’s a joke. How could I lose this match?’ You sort of want to wake up.“This is probably the most difficult defeat of my career. I was pretty close. I fought as much as I could. But I can’t play the match again. In tennis you can play very well and still be defeated 6‑0 if the guy on the other side of the net plays better than you. That’s the way it is.”
Especially when the guy across the net is Novak Djokovic.
It will be interesting to see how their much-anticipated semi-final unfolds, after watching them both struggle with form and “riddum” this tournament. What will be the deciding factor: will or skill?