First: HURRAY FOR STAN! The Man Wawrinka, always good for a scrap and a flurry of jaw dropping backhands, has in the past season become top 10, a WTFer and now, after backing up his epic five set upset over nemesis Novak with a four-set semifinal win over Berdych, he can add Major finalist to his CV. Stan told Jim Courier after beating Nole that he was “very, very, very, very, very happy” for himself But really, who out there in Tennislandia – besides the dozen or so people who actually cheer for Berdych – isn’t happy for Stanimal, as his NO. 1 fan, Roger Federer, calls him? (“I high five with Mirka, so it was good fun,” Roger said, when asked about watching Stan play that fifth set versus Nole.)
So Stan is sitting pretty, enjoying what must be a very new feeling for him – the Swiss in the spotlight – while his infinitely more famous compatriot must leave Mirka’s side to battle his own nemesis, Rafael Nadal, in a thriller of a semi. “I’m going to watch the match tomorrow on my TV maybe with some popcorn.” Stan said of his viewing plans for Roger vs. Rafa XXXIII. Yeah, I’d much rather be Stan right now.Yes, as tantalizingly close as this all Swiss final may be (and both with Swedish coaches!), Federer has some treacherous terrain to scale before it becomes reality. (Chocolate balls for everybody!!!) Rafael Nadal has played well over the two weeks, dropping only one set so far while taming a wild Dimitrov in his last match, and despite a grisly blister on his palm he’s as fit and dominating as ever. Knowing that it’s Stan in the final, a guy Rafa’s never lost to in twelve chances, instead of Djokovic, can’t hurt for motivation. Then again, Roger has played awesome tennis Down Under and though we super fans are still stressing those missed match points a couple nights ago in the third set versus Murray, we must allow ourselves a glimmer of optimism as we anticipate this evening’s match. Heck, how often does Roger get the chance to play for an all Swiss final in a Major?
“The moment you start thinking about that (an all Swiss final) we’re taking the same flight home,” Roger told reporters before Stan booked his ticket into the finals. “I’m worried about my match clearly, but I’ll definitely watch his first. Hopefully he can make it. Then he can put the pressure on me that way.”
Okay, start thinking about it, Roger. Start thinking about catching that flight home with Stan!The women’s final is already set, with Sharapova-killer Dominika Cibulkova the surprise finalist on the ladies side. Two time Aussie Open runner up, Li Na, will be her opponent, playing for her second major title. It’s a fun match-up, something a bit different, and a nice pairing of power and counter-puncher, youth and experience (though Cibulkova has had her successes). The women should be commended for playing such an entertaining tournament over the past two weeks, including stories like the rise of Genie Bouchard, the resurrection of Ana Ivanovic, and the celebration of Agnieszka Radwanska, and here’s hoping the final proves a fitting conclusion.Finally, Roger and the rest of us can all take inspiration in Stan’s tattoo:
Yes, it kind of looks like it’s written in Captcha’, but it’s a quote by Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.”Hey Roger, by “fail better” Beckett really means “win this time, for goodness sakes!”