Playing Rafa on any surface is a wee bit tougher on the back than rocking a 3 month old to sleep for her afternoon nap. Barely. So it was with quite a bit of sympathy that I watched a gimpy Roger Federer fizzle out to Rafael Nadal in Thursday evening’s quarterfinal. Rafa looked good during his 6-4, 6-2 victory. Roger looked deflated. We can blame Roger’s back injury on the lackluster play, but I prefer to just pretend it didn’t happen. What injury? What match? What rivalry?
It has been fun watching Rafael Nadal come back on his least favorite surface. Last night’s thriller against Ernests Gulbis made me realize how much we’ve missed having Rafa around the masters tournaments. I think his semi vs. Tomas Berdych could be just as fun as his Round of 16. There’s no love lost between Rafa and the Czech and Berdych is playing well enough to turn up Rafa’s already boiling competitive juices. Fizzle to sizzle!
Rafa vs. Roger was an underwhelming end to a lackluster day that included both Vika Azarenka (ankle) and Sam Stosur (calf) pulling out of their quarterfinal matches. Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki benefited from their opponents’ pain, and will face one another in the semis. Maria Sharapova plays Maria Kirilenko in tomorrow’s other semi.
Also tomorrow, we have Nole vs. Tsonga and Murray vs. Del Potro. Not too shabby.
So let’s regroup, shall we?