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Madrid CC Day 6, Agotado 10/18/2008 - 2:04 PM

Simonnadal1

Afternoon, all.

Agotado in Spanish means "exhausted."  ATP tennis fans certainly are after two cracking matches, the second between Nadal and Gilles "that which does not kill me makes me stronger" Simon for my money the best three set match of the year.

Simon will take on one of the form players of the year, Andy Murray, who took out Roger Federer 7-5 in the third set of the first SF.  We've had a mighty 1400+ comments on the first CC thread, so we'll allow it to run a hot bath with some soothing salts and start this new one.

Tennis talk and mildly off topic conversation is encouraged.  Hope you enjoyed today's matches as much as I did, whoever you were cheering for.

-- Andrew Burton


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Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 02:06 PM

first!!!!!!!!

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 02:06 PM

AWWWWHH . .. .yeh!!!!

Posted by sblily (vamos Rafa, even in Tarheel blue!) 10/18/2008 at 02:08 PM

First?

Another head scratcher from Nole (from the Ticker)

"In an interview with AP, Novak Djokovic says he is focusing on improving his physical strength after fading in the second half of this season and receiving renewed scrutiny for taking injury timeouts during matches.

"One of the worst moments of my career was when I gave an interview after the Roddick match on the center court and 20,000 people whistled at me," he said. "I don’t like how I have got a reputation as a guy who asked for medical timeouts to intimidate opponents. It’s not me trying to provoke my opponent. It’s me trying to win."
~~~~
Perhaps something is lost in translation here? Surely Nole's not copping to gamesmanship?

I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt b/c I want to like him.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 02:08 PM

*from previous thread*
ur right neil. . . . my genetics knowledge isn't at the level it once was . .. .. . .

btw. . . .can anyone tell me wat thw Venus-ana match was like?? ... .i was out and missed it. . .. had three hour singles match. . .. won in final set tiebreak!!
*claps hands*

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 02:09 PM

Andrew i completely agree. Best 3 setter of the year! Rafa must be disappointed losing in front of the home crowd, but Gilles took it too him and won the match.

Rafa played it too safe after that first set.

Posted by Slim 10/18/2008 at 02:10 PM

Careful, I think you're drowning etobicoke in the bathwater! Can he/she/it swim?

Posted by Andrew 10/18/2008 at 02:11 PM

NP: from the prior thread, I think Inigo Montoya's riposte is germane in this case.

The best definition I know is someone who makes insightful distinctions. So there you go.

Posted by Ndesque 10/18/2008 at 02:11 PM

neil - Really, you think so? I'd say Nadal-Djokovic at Hamburg was a lot more high-quality than today.

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 02:11 PM

sblily, i don't take it as him copping to gamesmanship. In his U.S. open presser, he said he only took time outs if he felt hurt, which is within his right, wanting to be in the best position to win a match.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 02:12 PM

concur andrew. . . .from wat i saw amazing!!!!!!!!!

now off to eat . . .back in 10!!!!

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 02:13 PM

Ndesque, i didn't see that one, so i'll add the qualifier, best 3 match i've SEEN this year :).

Posted by Syd 10/18/2008 at 02:13 PM

the tension was so high there were places where I had to avert my eyess, sure, that Simon would be down and out and on the brink of defeat. Then I'd come back and he was right in contention again. Extraordinary match. Thank you, Andrew, yes, the best 3 setter of the year for sure.

Posted by Sher 10/18/2008 at 02:14 PM

sblily I think he honestly believes that trying to win at all costs is what you are supposed to do. Just a different kind of mentality from idealizing the sportsmanship aspect of tennis that other players tend to do.

Also, Paris will be interesting. Can Roger really go the year without winning MS tournaments? I hope he wins in Paris, I don't remember exactly but I don't think he's ever won it before.

Posted by Syd 10/18/2008 at 02:14 PM

add the qualifier "seen" to mine as well.

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 10/18/2008 at 02:14 PM

andrew, i agree, best three setter of the year by far!!!
excruciatingly awesome!!

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 02:14 PM

LOL Syd, i guess " nobody puts Baby owl in the corner...nobody".

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 02:15 PM

sblily -- I saw this discussed to pieces in MTF. They were under the impression this is lost in translation.

"provoke my opponent" -- possibly disrupt rythm
"trying to win" -- be in the best physical shape to continue the match.

The guy really wants to be liked, and I'll give him the benefit of doubt.

Posted by Or 10/18/2008 at 02:15 PM

Didn't Simon beat Djoko and Murray too this year?

He's sort of like the new Hewitt, no?

Posted by Or 10/18/2008 at 02:16 PM

Sher - I'm with you, paris is more important than Madrid.

Right now, I hope he'll play well in Basel and win it.

Posted by Sher 10/18/2008 at 02:16 PM

> I'd say Nadal-Djokovic at Hamburg was a lot more high-quality than today.

I second that, but it detracts not at all from the quality of this match and the fun I had watching it. Gilles just seemed to enjoy himself so much. Laughing at his challenges, smiling a lot. Rafa came to work, but he's Rafa so I enjoy watching him play. All in all, even though the people I would have prefered to win didn't win today, I actually enjoyed the tennis a great deal because I had no expectations, just hopes.

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 10/18/2008 at 02:16 PM

I went back and read some of the posts...geez! Seems Rafa had his chances, and he left em on the table. 9Lives Simon had his chances and took em. Thats the tennis, as they say!

I must say I find 9Lives Simon a happy kid on court. And as someone mentioned he has great Wilanders, especially for a frenchman. Rafa will not be happy about loosing today. I doubt we will see a peppy presser, like the one he gave following the USO loss.

But securing the #1 means he can sit out Bercy if he wants, and ramp it up for Shanghai and DC. What a difference a year makes...Fed has no shields this year, Rafa looses a test of wills, Murray looks to be headed to the big 3, and Simon and Del Potro are looking East.

08...changing of the guard? or a blip on the radar?

Posted by Sher 10/18/2008 at 02:17 PM

Or, er, I didn't say Paris tournament is more important than Madrid. Just that my attention is now on Paris :)

Posted by izidane 10/18/2008 at 02:18 PM

Sblily
(disclaimer)I'm a Nole fan so my take on that may be different.
IMHO, it simply means that if something is wrong, he's trying to get it taken care of..in order to win. Just my take.

Posted by Sher 10/18/2008 at 02:18 PM

Gotta go fill my day with something other than tennis now. Cheers!

Posted by Ndesque 10/18/2008 at 02:19 PM

Or - No, he didn't beat Andy this year, but he can do that tomorrow, and then he'll have beaten the Top 4 at TMC.

Posted by Maha - (Roger Federer = <3<3<3) 10/18/2008 at 02:19 PM

Hellooooo all. Muzzah probably will win tomorrow, because, despite seeing Gilles play like that, he's probably so worn out he won't be able to keep it up tomorrow. Aww.

Posted by sblily (vamos Rafa, even in Tarheel blue!) 10/18/2008 at 02:20 PM

Neil - Thanks for the intepretation. I posted that snippet, hoping that someone would chip in to offer an interpretation that lead to some other conclusion than "Nole's just a douchebag" because I was not seeing it at all.

Posted by Andrew 10/18/2008 at 02:21 PM

I saw the Djokovic-Nadal match, which was very high quality. Had it gone the distance (Nadal won 6-2 in the third set) I'd have it in contention.

What this match had was some amazing play, but two other things. First - it may seem obvious, but what the heck - you didn't know who was going to win in sudden death. 6-all in a third set TB? With a player whose reputation for mental toughness is undisputed, against a guy who just might be mentally tougher? Dang.

Second, the quality of the play was really high from the second set on, and into set three. The second game was amazing, and both players came back from being a break down. Man, they both fought.

Posted by Christopher 10/18/2008 at 02:21 PM

sblily-- I don't think Djoko always makes the same distinction between injured and exhausted that the ATP rules dictate. This has shown up in his comments repeatedly in the last 3 years, from that USO match against Monfils on. But I also don't think this is gamesmanship, in the sense of trying to throw off your opponent with tactics (and I also don't think Nadal is engaging in gamesmanship when he takes more time than allowed between points). I think (and yes, this is MY PERCEPTION rather than indisputable fact) that Djoko is concerned with keeping himself in the condition he feels he needs in a match to win. In my opinion (and that of many players, commentators, etc.) he goes over the line in doing so at times, but it's ultimately up to the umpires and tournament refs to stop him if they feel that's what's happening.

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 02:22 PM

LOL Maha, thats what a lot of us were saying at the start of today. I wouldn't count Mr. Simon out of any match until its actually over!

Posted by Russ 10/18/2008 at 02:24 PM

My role model lost. Pity.

Posted by sblily (vamos Rafa, even in Tarheel blue!) 10/18/2008 at 02:24 PM

izidane, greenhopper, et. al - Appreciate y'all's thoughts on this. I want to like Nole, but it seems like just when I start warming up to him, he makes a WTF statement.

Posted by NP 10/18/2008 at 02:26 PM

Andrew, that's a great definition, but I don't think the recipient would've understood it. :)

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 02:26 PM

Christopher: you have email.

Posted by afwu 10/18/2008 at 02:26 PM

Basel Draw:

Roger gets Booby Reynolds first round and potentially Berdych in the quarters. Nalby is the second seed.

http://www.atptennis.com/en/common/TrackIt.asp?file=http://www.atptennis.com/1/posting/2008/328/mds.pdf

Posted by Syd 10/18/2008 at 02:26 PM

Russ: Is that really you?

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 10/18/2008 at 02:27 PM

Yeah, but Andrew, Rafi, won that one *hangs head and kick dirt*.

Sounds like this Rafafan, left just in time to keep her sanity. I'll watch that 3rd set in a couple weeks...should be able to stomache it then.

Gotta say, I'm gonna pull for Mr. Simon tomorrow. Kid's had a hail of a week.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 02:30 PM

Jewell . . . .. .ya ready for X Factor. . . .or anyone????

does micheal Jackson nite really help anyone except for JLS???? . . .. i worry for my Diana!!!!

Posted by zolarafa 10/18/2008 at 02:32 PM

WoW!
I went for a meeting and missed the end of the second and the whole third set and come back to see Rafa lost!
congratz again to Jackie, the baby and all Simon fans here. It's OK Rafa. I am sure you did the best you could. Now go and rest that body a bit.

Posted by Maha - (Roger Federer = <3<3<3) 10/18/2008 at 02:32 PM

neil: true, true.
Allez Gillez!!!

Posted by Rafa Rocks 10/18/2008 at 02:35 PM


Please, people, dont even try to mention Rafas "injuries". Injuries had nothing to do with his defeat ok.
And not even the fact that Rafa clinched the YE number one is able to console me. Im just so so sad.
I know i said that whatever Rafa does for the ned of the year, I will be happy and that he already had a magical year and verything is a bonus, but Im not feeling like this at the moment.
He painfull passive in the 2nd and 3rd set. Some errors he made on 2nd serve returns on bPs were just horrible. He was playing his old type of HC style. I expected that after losing that 2nd set, he would change his tactics like he did against Gubis. But nope, he sticked with his passive game. The UFE he made were particularly painful, bcause he wasnt trying to do noghing.
What was he thinking with that inside out FH when he had mini break lead in the TB?
Im upst so upset.
BTW, i totaly didnt injoy this match, at all. It was not fun at all see Rafa miss chance after chance after chance...and lose the pop on his shots. His FH was totally missing its usual magic, he couldnt find a freaking 1st serve in the TB> He was broken very easily in the third set after working so hard to earn the break. Uggggh

Posted by Violetta 10/18/2008 at 02:36 PM

neil:

So true! Like I said yesterday, I would never count Baby Owl/Jambon/pesky little gnat, "I'll beat you from beyond the grave" Gilles out against anyone. Ever!

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 02:37 PM

Coetzee/Moodie lose the 7th seeded pair with the hardest last name.

Bhupathi/Knowles are up 6-2 over Bjorkman/Ullyett. I haven't seen this pair play in long time. Hope they make it to the final, so I'll finally to see it tomorrow.

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 02:38 PM

I see the best-looking Swiss player is back in action in Basel:

http://tinyurl.com/5we9eb

this is just too precious:

http://tinyurl.com/6hcvul

Posted by NP 10/18/2008 at 02:38 PM

Christopher, I actually second your 2:21 PM comment. I don't think Djoko intentionally tries to throw off his opponents with his medical TOs, but I do feel that he either is unable or doesn't try hard enough to distinguish between injuries and fatigue/physical stress. Maybe that comes from his experience with breathing problems.

Posted by C Note 10/18/2008 at 02:38 PM

Chicken Legs' run here in Madrid is awfully reminiscent of Dinara's run in Berlin. Beating #1s, grinding out three set wins, coming back time and time again.

Go Gilly! Though I'm happy with whoever wins tomorrow.

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 02:39 PM

Rafa Rocks: he made UFE because Simon was making him hit that one extra shot all the time. There were so many 30-50 shot rallies...it's not surprising for any player to hit UFE after those. It's what Nadal has done to many other players...

Posted by izidane 10/18/2008 at 02:42 PM

Sblily
that's fine, as long as we are all fair. I do want to knock him sometimes, but he's getting better. I have to live thru' AndyR's tantrums.Sheesh, those are some bury-face-in-pillow moments, but I'm still a fan.

Posted by Genuine Realist 10/18/2008 at 02:42 PM

I knew after Federer's reign ended, as it had to, that there would be anarchy. Chaos! Disorder! Everyone has a chance to win!!

When will this madness end?

Posted by Maha - (Roger Federer = <3<3<3) 10/18/2008 at 02:43 PM

Violetta: the grave imagery reminds me of Ted Hughes' morbid poems. *shudder*

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 02:43 PM

Oh man I really want Simon to win it in the third set tiebreaker tomorrow. That would be so amazing. Not sure how much he has in the tank but I'm shocked he even made it through today.

Posted by Violetta 10/18/2008 at 02:44 PM

I have a question about Simon, since I just started noticing him this summer. He's almost 24 and he turned pro in 2002. Is he just a late bloomer or has he had runs like this before?

Posted by Sher 10/18/2008 at 02:44 PM

I like this article:

http://tinyurl.com/5btbhc

"Roger Federer looked blankly at the interviewer, probably thinking he was either mad or had been at the sangria."

LOL

Posted by Violetta 10/18/2008 at 02:45 PM

Maha: Sorry! I didn't meant to stir up any morbid poem imagery!

Posted by Rachael 10/18/2008 at 02:48 PM

can't believe I missed this match.

congrats Ham fans!

ugh Basel draw.

Posted by Maha - (Roger Federer = <3<3<3) 10/18/2008 at 02:48 PM

Haha Violetta, doesn't matter. I got over it. HAHA.
Gotta love the guy's guts! And determination. And self-belief.

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 02:48 PM

violetta . . . . .. he's kinda been just winning many matches over the last few years . . .but on lower level tourneys!!!!
but then this hardcourt season hes just gone on FIRE!!!!!!

Posted by Ndesque 10/18/2008 at 02:49 PM

Andrew (2.21) - Agreed on the fact that if only scoreline is looked at, this match had a far more impressive one, and the suspense at 6-6: 6-6, takes the cake. Quality-wise, I'll still stick to Nadal-Djokovic at Hamburg. Taking nothing away from this one however, which is in contention IMO, because of the tremendous show of mental strength from both ends.

Posted by Bismar(in)c[ilic]k 10/18/2008 at 02:49 PM

a few words on the ana-venus affair in zürich (watched it with one eye parallel to simon-nadal, stressful! ;)):

i think venus´ form in zürich is more uneven than at the USO or stuttgart, more up and down in her level, but overall i thought the match had some fine quality points.
was definitely surprised that ana could hang with venus, good sign for her i´d say that her time as miss slumpovic (TM C Note i think?) will be behind her now. she *should* rule in linz now, but we gonna see.
venus played well enough today (better than vs tranny franny) to be considered the fav tomorrow even vs her recent kryptonite flava flav.

and my last thoughts before i´m out for party party party:
i´m liking marin´s draw in st. petersburg.
i know writing this could already be the jinx but i really think he can go deep there.
andy´s draw looks comparatively hard, will be interesting to see with how much motivation he´ll go there should he win madrid.
an andy-gulbis match could happen early, i certainly would like to see that (fingers crossed that there´ll be some kind of decent stream for petersburg... for marin´s sake alone...)

okay, i´m out, have a nice saturday night everyone, see ya later (prolly intoxiated, jejeje).

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 02:49 PM

Rachael, I'm sorry you missed it, it was amazing. Made up (kinda) for waking up to the news that the Muzzard won...

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 02:51 PM

"Rafa Rocks: he made UFE because Simon was making him hit that one extra shot all the time. There were so many 30-50 shot rallies...it's not surprising for any player to hit UFE after those. It's what Nadal has done to many other players..."

And the same can be said about Simon's 60 UFEs. All credit to him for hanging tough and winning the all important last point. But honestly, that was not the best HC play by Rafa. He didn't serve well in the first set, and looked out of sorts even while winning it comfortably. Gilles upped his game remarkably in the 2nd set and mixed up his shots pretty well.

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 02:52 PM

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Why is Gulbis right near the best player to play in St. Petersburg? At this rate he'll never get out of the 50s in ranking...

Posted by Rafa Rocks 10/18/2008 at 02:52 PM

Andrew
In my opinion, the matches against Carlos in Chennai, and Djokovic in Hamburg and the Olympics were more high quality tennis than that. The last game in the Hamburg semi was one of the all-time greats. But oh well, i can never enjoy a match in which my guy loses, no matter how good it is. It just hurts, hurts...
To think again adn again how many chances Rafa missed, oy, oy, oy... Its not like Simon was serving bombs all teh time,he hit many average second serves, that Rafa would have at least got back into court in his sleep, but instead, Rafa was doing nothing with those chances. Im not talking about some aces Simon hit in the 2nd game of the third set, or some of the incredible winners he hit during long rallies, Simon deserves all the credit for those. But for many others, Rafa would usually just take them....if only he took advantage of that 0-40 he had early in the 2nd set. Ayyyyyyyyy

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 02:53 PM

bismark . .. . . .. thanks for the zurich info. . . . . .. it is good to see ana play well again . .. . .. i do like her . . .its just the pumpevic stage kinda really annoyed me. . . . .. . .but i wud hate to see anyone have a slump like hers!!!!!!

hopefully we'll see a return to form next year. . . . . . .but she better not step all up on JJ's territory. .. . ..or else i is gonna have to slip her a cup of SLUMPKIN JUICE!!!!!!!LOL

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 02:55 PM

greenhopper and Rafa Rocks: I also felt that Rafa was suffering the effects of physical fatigue...

Posted by Violetta 10/18/2008 at 02:57 PM

Jacko: Thanks for the Simon history!

crazyone: Ernests is stuck in the 7th circle of hell as far as his draws are concerned. I guess he's just going to have to get it together and beat one of those top players someday. :)

Posted by Bismar(in)c[ilic]k 10/18/2008 at 02:58 PM

jejeje, crazyone.
i knew i´d get a reaction outta you.
chin up, look at the positives:
young gulbis seems to play better vs the big dogs, certainly you don´t wanna see him lose meakly vs the navarros of this world time and again? ;)
maybe he´ll even beat andy and get a big scalp?

oof, i´m late (as usual), really gotta go now. ciao!

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Caring for JJ's knees during splits 10/18/2008 at 03:00 PM

welcome violetta. . . . . . .actually . ..the first time i ever saw simon . .. was in the semi's of Valencia (? . ..or one of them small clay court tourneys) . . on eurosport .. . .. . i only watched it cos marat was in the other semi. . . .but he lost (marat . . . .. . . and i think Gilles too) :(

Posted by Rachael 10/18/2008 at 03:01 PM

crazyone (and all my Fed-lovin' buds) - sorry about your big man losing.
y'all know I'm never exactly thrilled when Muz wins, but I'm trying to loosen up to the Scotch Mist.
although yesterday I had a massive argument with my [non-tennis-fan] best friend stemming from Murray.


gauloises - if you're around, and not celebrating balls deep in a big ham, I just got caught crying because of Andrew Castle. the shame.

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 03:02 PM

6-2 4-1 Bhupathi/Knowles.
But Bhupathi in trouble on serve, 15-40.

Posted by Rafa Rocks 10/18/2008 at 03:02 PM

You are right crazyone. many of Rafas UFe were forced by Simon brilliant defence but you would always expect Rafa to prevail in those type of rallies. You know, at the moment its very difficult for me to be objective, just impossible because Im so upset...
Dont know if i said it before, but i will say it again, I HATE HC.
of to continue crying

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 03:02 PM

Once in a while a match is so entertaining, that i don't mind if rafa or anyone else i like loses. Today certainly qualifies. I haven't yelled, jumped up off the couch, and hid behind my pillows this much since well Wimbledon.

Posted by Master Ace 10/18/2008 at 03:05 PM

Final schedule tomorrow:

Zurich : Flavia Pennetta vs Venus Williams at 7:30 AM TW
Madrid : Gilles Simon vs Andy Murray at 10:00 AM TW

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 10/18/2008 at 03:05 PM

Oh Rafa Rocks, that Chennai semi between Rafa and Charley was all time great. Tension from the first point. Talk about leaving it all on the court...Rafa came out the next day, and barely held serve once.

Rafa so seldom looses matches like this, that its a bit shocking, and hugely disappointing, and of course to those of us who are prone to worry, worrisome.

But he did win that one in Chennai, and he won the test in Hamburg, he withstood the showdown w/ Tsonga in IW, and then there's the Queen's win and Wimbledon. Rafa has had some great warrior moments this year. And I hope he had 2 more in that racquet bag. One to win Shanghai, the other to beat the pantalones off that snotty little Del Potro. Saying that he lost to "the #1" after the Fed match...them's fightin' words.

Posted by Tennis G 10/18/2008 at 03:05 PM

Simon is one tough customer.....all matches won in 3 tight sets.....I smell an upset and Simon will win the final tomorrow

Posted by rudy3 (electricity is for wimps) 10/18/2008 at 03:07 PM

oh poo, do we really need a picture?

*le sigh* Rafa, ya big lug.

Posted by Ruth 10/18/2008 at 03:07 PM

sblily: (re your 2:08) After the first most infamous case at the USO of Djoko's use of the medical timeout inappropriately (I'm being euphemistic here), he pretty much admitted in his post-match interview that he really didn't have any injury when he called for the trainer three times but that Monfils was stronger than he was, was beating him, and he needed to have a break. At the time, I thought that it was terribly honest/naive/wrong of him to admit to that misuse of the medical timeout option, and felt that the ATP should/would have done something about it.

However, in spite of his repeating these offenses and in spite of serious comments about his actions (by Federer for example) and humorous comments (like Roddick's at the USO), nothing apparently has been done.

And Djoko still seems not to understand why players and fans might find his kind of behavior just plain wrong. Medical timeouts are for real illnesses or injuries, not for players to have 6 minutes to catch their breath and/or disrupt their oppnent's momentum.

Posted by Andrew 10/18/2008 at 03:07 PM

Ndesque: fair enough - your mileage may vary.

I thought Federer - Murray was a pretty enjoyable match too - at 9:40am (seems like a loooong time ago) I wrote "good match - not, I think, a classic." Got to keep those superlatives ready for when you need them.

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 03:08 PM

Bismarck, I think I'm becoming predictable in my old age...Gulbis is defending a QF in St. Petersburg so I think he likely comes out with a lower ranking after this tourney. As for beating Murray? Murray is the best player on HC at the very moment so I'm not too hopeful unless Gilles Simon (perhaps with some off-court help from Kim Sears?) manages to wear him out...

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 03:10 PM

rudy3: did Del Potro really say that after losing to Fed? I didn't see that reported anywhere?

Posted by 10/18/2008 at 03:10 PM

No crazyone, dont think fatigue was a problem. Even if he had a bit fatigue, Simon had even more no? the main problem was the lack of the energy at the start of the 2nd st, it like he thought he would win this one easily, its very rare to see from Rafa, he usually keeps his level of intinsity up until the final ball, but he probably thought Simon was no way going to get back in the match and relaxed a bit. And when Simon caught fire, it was very hard to weather the storm

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 03:13 PM

crazyone: I thought the same thing when I saw the draw.
Crap, its Murray's turn to meet Gulbis, early in a tournament.
I'll bet good money (okay, good of whatever I have) that he'll fave del Potro in Paris. Poor kid.

Posted by Violetta 10/18/2008 at 03:14 PM

crazyone:

I think Juan actually said "one of the best players in the world" :

http://tinyurl.com/63fj73

I don't know...maybe he said "#1" somewhere else, because you know, the Elf is evil like that. :)

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 03:16 PM

I agree headless at 3:10. I think Rafa may have thought he had it in the bag with 2 breaks in the first. All credit to Gilles for hanging tough and not letting Rafa convert on a ton of break points.

On to Paris Rafa, you just increased your lead 7100-5805.

PS. Be more aggressive like in the other rounds. Passive tennis will not get things done.

Posted by C Note 10/18/2008 at 03:17 PM

Bismark -- Have you see the Linz draw. Awfully unbalanced, don't you think?

Posted by Rachael 10/18/2008 at 03:19 PM

as if Roddick's playing doubles in Lyon.

as if my friend and I were considering going to Lyon but never organised it.

Posted by Or 10/18/2008 at 03:19 PM

That's an hilarious interview with Roger in the link posted above.

"But since they swapped rankings had the relationship changed? "No, he's still treating me with respect, I don't feel he's looking down on me in any way. I'm the president of the players' council, so in fact I'm looking down on him, he has to report to me…no, I'm just kidding."

Why, Why, why aren't there pressers avilable from Madrid?!

Posted by Ndesque 10/18/2008 at 03:19 PM

Violetta - Exactly. The only way to get away from draws like those is to move up the ranks. He's going to have to toughen it out and win some of those matches. Sooner or later, performing well at MM tourney's is going to help him become consistent and find better TMS results.

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 03:20 PM

greenhopper: they already have met early--in Queen's. Gulbis took the first set off a break of serve that occurred after Murray took the ball into his body rather than on his racket...but after that Murray took the other two sets. And that's when Murray wasn't as sharp as he is now.

I still don't feel that sorry for him, though. Sure, he's unlucky but there have been enough tournaments with good draws for him which he's failed to capitalize on, and those proving really costly.

Anyway, it's not even clear whether he'll make it by Garcia-Lopez...

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 03:20 PM

Gilles' and Rafa's interviews are up on AMS TV.

Gilles:
"I really can't understand it right now."
"The pressure completely disappeared in the 2nd set."
"I hope I have a good night('s sleep) tonight."
-- Rest up kid. Jambon!

Rafa -- usual stuff.

Posted by Master Ace 10/18/2008 at 03:20 PM

Bhupathi/Knowles to face Fyrstenberg/Matkowski in the finals tomorrow at 7:30 AM TW

Posted by Rafa Rocks 10/18/2008 at 03:21 PM

Headless me, at 3.10.
Rudy,
Its funny how when Rafa loses a tough match (this loss is his worlst of the year in my opinion), it just seems that all the very amazing wins are ages ago. I mean, at the very moment of when the haweye showed the ball was out, not even remembering the Wimbledon final would have made feel better...now, im starting to calm down. But it still hurts. He rarely gets outlasted by anyone but Simon did it.
to be honest, i dont care a bit for the final tom. I rarely care for a tournament after my Rafael goes out, but i hope Simon doesnt get thrashed. Really dont think he has anything left in the tank. Rafa sure made him work hard for hi win

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 03:25 PM

crazyone: I remember that, infact I mentioned in yesterday's CC that its revenge time for Ernie. But Murray is a wayy better player now than he was during Queens.

Funny, Gulbis plays Djokovic when he was in the form of his life.
Plays Rafa in the USO, after the guy had major wins in Wimbles and the Olympics.
And plays Federer who had an amazing run here.
And will play Muzzah, after his confidence booster wins over Rafa at USO, and Roger here.

If this is not brutal luck, I donno what is.

PS: Yayy for Bhupathi/Knowles.

Posted by Maha - (Roger Federer = <3<3<3) 10/18/2008 at 03:26 PM

I just read that Roger article. Funny. Awww how can you NOT love this guy??? I know I do! <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

Posted by neil in toronto 10/18/2008 at 03:26 PM

Rafa Rocks: There were good wins at the Davis Cup as well as the Olympics no?

Rafa can't win em all, he improved his hardcourt results over last year, winning Toronto, Semi's on Cincy and US Open and semi's here.

For the hardcourts two things he needs to do, step closer to the baseline when receiving a second serve and flatten his forehand out once in a while to change things up.

I can't wait for the battle of the birds tommorow, Baby Owl vs the Muzzard heheheh.

Posted by crazyone 10/18/2008 at 03:29 PM

greenhopper: Federer and Gulbis have never played. Are you confusing him with Del Potro?

And he didn't play Rafa at the USO, he played him at Wimbledon. He played Roddick at the USO and really should have been up 2 sets to love. He played Djokovic at the FO which I don't quite think was the form of his life but ended up losing in three tight sets, but it was his first slam QF against someone more accomplished at that stage.

Posted by Maha - (Roger Federer = <3<3<3) 10/18/2008 at 03:29 PM

neil: I'd say Baby Owl vs Chicken. HAHA go OWLeeee!!! Hoot hoot. Twuhu-twuhu.

Posted by Rafa Rocks 10/18/2008 at 03:31 PM

If Murray wins the final, you should like Gulbis chances crazyone. Murray has a trend of losing in the first round after winning a tournamnet.
He won Doha, lost 1st rd AO
He won Marsella, lst 1st round Rotterdam.
He won Cincy, lost 1st rd Olympics

Posted by greenhopper 10/18/2008 at 03:32 PM

Kill me, right now. I got all my facts mixed up.
Yup, I meant Roddick at the USO. And Nadal in Wimbledon and here in Madrid. And I meant Djokovic was playing in the form of his life in FO. Gulbis has had tough losses against the big ones.

Posted by gauloises 10/18/2008 at 03:32 PM

Rachael, if you're still here, I may not have cried over Castle but I did feel my heart shatter into a thousand little pieces.

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