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The Spartan Believer 03/29/2010 - 10:47 PM

96475752 by Pete Bodo

Well, it wasn't exactly Borg vs. McEnroe, Wimbledon 1980, but Sam Stosur and Jelena Jankovic played an entertaining and meaningful tiebreaker this evening under restless, roiled skies in breezy Miami.

It ended badly for Jankovic, the No. 7 seed and winner at Indian Wells last week, as Stosur held on to win the breaker 11-9, and with it the match. Jankovic's chance to win back-to-back Premier Mandatory events went pinwheeling off into the night like so many chickadees buffeted by the wind, but the palm fronds surrounding the court continued clicking and rattling, taking Jankovic to task for blowing an interesting opportunity.

Stosur had already laid a little wood on Jankovic's fanny when I walked into Court 1, under the erroneous impression that I had plenty of time to settle in and enjoy the show. I might have suspected the direction things were taking by the pair of menacing turkey vultures that rode the gusts like a rollercoaster right above the court. They dropped low often enough to make me wonder if one of them wasn't about to descend and peck out Jankovic's eyes, but some things are better left to coaches, moms, agents and other professionals.

I say that only half in jest, for while windy conditions are equal opportunity irritants, they ought to have been more manageable for Jankovic, one of the most lithe and adaptable of players. Instead, they seemed to have an unduly deleterious effect on Jankovic, at least judging by the scoreboard, and the way her sherbet-green dress kept boiling up around her waist, as if our favorite WTA flake were doing an interpretation of that famous Marilyn Monroe subway-grate photo, but on behalf of Anta.

It ought to have been the other way around. Slammin' Sammy Stosur's game is, on the whole, more dependent on precision and timing (more on that later), and acting out something very like set pieces, all based on her outstanding serve. That serve, she would tell me after win, has been the cornerstone of her recent success. "I've had some good results starting about this time last year, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm serving well. I've been getting a good percentage of first serves in, and no matter how well you serve the ball, if you're not getting it in, who cares?"

Jankovic, by contrast, is at her best when she's free to improvise, counter-punch, and use her natural flexibility to retrieve her opponent's most invasive questions. In fact, she's a lot like a yellow lab, or similar retriever breed of dog. She goes into a serene, focused state when when she's scampering east-to-west along the baseline, at full stretch, making desperate reaction-born fetches. She can do wonders chasing a ball, and never seems happier, or more in tune with what she's cut out to do. But like that lab, there isn't a whole lot she can do if you just give her the ball with the command, Okay, Jelly, now do something...

Whether it was the difficult conditions or Jankovic's flair for the dramatic, or some combination thereof, she was error-prone, grumpy and out of sorts; time and again she would drive a backhand into the net, or miss with the forehand, then volubly rue her fate, addressing the crowed with a slender arm elegantly extended - until she had to drop it to quell the hemline fluttering around her waist. 

Jankovic began to pull herself together in the second set, but she was up against a young lady who's as practical and disciplined as Jankovic is flighty and profligate. Stosur has gradually evolved into something like the consumate professional. When her own hot-salmon dress rode up, the serious tan lines on her upper thighs told the story - this is a woman who has spent a lot of time in shorts, presumably whacking balls under a broiling sun. The dedication shows in her game, too, and not just in the familiar ways. There's a point of diminishing returns where focusing on technique and execution, on maximizing your strengths and hiding our weaknesses, eventually leaves you with a game that, apart from anything else, looks studied. 

But such hard work has its rewards, even if it's at the expense of the natural. The serve is the one shot over which a player has absolute control; theoretically, at least, a player could go an entire match without having his or her serve returned. Stosur plays as if that's her aim, and the priority and focus she assigns the task is palpable. She's learned to trust her serve, and to try to get the most out of each delivery. She's built her game around it in a way that suggests that screwing up is not an option, and that's unusual on the WTA tour.

Jankovic returned her share of Stosur's well-placed bullets, but she was backed into a corner  throughout the second set. Stosur's ability to hold, and to work her way out of potentially sticky situations (15-30, or deuce) with the serve must have had a corrosive influence on Jankovic's game. Oh, the Serbian star kept finding ways to stay with Stosur, for that's what she does best; she's the human equivalent of the philanthropic world's "matching grant." But Stosur set the pace, and her ability to hold, slamming the door of opportunity shut each time she leaves it open a crack, eventually took its toll. It always does.

In the tiebreaker, however, Stosur served up a mortifying double fault at 1-1 (let's remember, it wasn't all that long ago that Stosur was a poster child for head case tennis players worldwide). But Jankovic responded in kind (see what I mean about "matching grant?"). From there on, though, both women played pretty tight tennis. Jankovic started points, then tried to figure out ways to win them. Stosur figured out what she needed to do, then started points - and tried to end them on her terms.

The tiebreaker points went on serve until Stosur reached match point, at 5-6 (with Jankovic serving). Stosur made a forehand error and in the blink of an eye Jankovic had a set point. But Stosur brushed it aside. Stosur had another match point at 8-7, but blew it with a wild forehand error. Then it was Jankovic's turn again, with a set point, but Stosur erased it with a good forehand. She ended it two points later with a backhand laser down the line.

Stosur is aware of her shortcomings and she's built around them just as much as she's based her game on her signature stroke. She's developed a streamlined game plan on her journey from electric but sometimes ghastly shotmaker (think Amelie Mauresmo, or Hana Mandlikova). She's become a spartan believer in "the game plan."

Of course, tennis isn't entirely about figuring it out; you have this little matter of physical and even mental limitations, a complex and inter-related set of strengths and weaknesses. Every player's game is unique, like a fingerprint. When a player does due diligence, the way Stosur has, it tends to heighten the visibility of her shortcomings as well as her strengths. In Stosur's case - and it really seems a novel one for a player with such natural feel and athleticism - the outstanding flaw is, ironically, something as fundamental and seemingly second-nature as body positioning relative to the ball.

You'd think that any world-class player would have this distance-to-the-ball thing down pat, but it's surprising how often Stosur overruns a ball, or ends up playing it too close to her body (one by-product of that is a slice backhand that lacks sting). I suppose it's a sign of bad footwork, or slow reflexes. The conditions certainly had something to do with her positioning difficulties tonight, but it was still clear that Stosur doesn't - make that can't - adjust nearly as well to the ball as does Jankovic. Never mind. Stosur compensated for the shortcoming by having a clear idea of what she was going to do, and deciding that nothing was going to stop her. She had the game plan.

When I asked if she was worried that the tiebreaker might slip away and leave her dead-even despite the great start, she merely shrugged and said: "Well, I knew what I wanted to do in that match (serve well, take the game to Jankovic, end points with crisp, positive tennis), so it didn't really matter. I had to keep pushing her. If I'd lost that second set, I would have gone on in the third doing the same thing."

And that's the spartan way, isn't it?


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Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 07:36 PM

""Kim has a good everything""

Co-sign. *deep breaths*

Allez Kimmie.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 07:36 PM

Carrie,
On the surface to your 7:31 PM, I would say yes. However, I will let the clay season play out before giving my contenders for the French.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:37 PM

The waffles are looking very strong in this tournament. Kim takes the 1st set, 6-3.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 07:37 PM

Even if Stosur loses, she want to see how close she can get to the top player, she needs to stay with Kim to know where she falls at. I really thought this match was going to be much more competitive.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 07:37 PM

Even if Stosur loses, she want to see how close she can get to the top player, she needs to stay with Kim to know where she falls at. I really thought this match was going to be much more competitive.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 07:37 PM

So Sam faced only one break point and that was all it took?
Yikes.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:42 PM

Kim lost a chance to break in that 1st game, from the time her 2nd serve FH return, that looked like a winner, went out. She was up 0-30 at that point, and lost the next 3 points.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 07:42 PM

Crap, team pretty get broken:(

"I'd say it's a tiny if"

Can the chances of someone (playing BADLY) who lost to a "balding veteran with no legs" (while playing WELL for a large patch) winning really be a 'tiny if'? :) I think I read that, as soon as Fed went out, Rafa was the fav to win the whole thing, so I'm thinking the betting odds are mainly about name recognition...

I didn't see the Tsonga match, but reports here seem to suggest he's playing much better than he was in Paris...

Hoping Rafa's play somehow improves dramatically from the last match...

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 07:45 PM

*off to play tennis*

Might miss the start of Rafa-Jo. Hopefully, they play a little slowly at the start ;-).

Hmmm...I think today I feel like moonballing.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:46 PM

Dianne Sometimes I think I am a total idoit with these hours.Oh well.

Posted by Jamaica Karen just say no to FeDal and on-court coaching (in love with Mark Harmon) and 3 days until chocolate 03/31/2010 at 07:46 PM

Stosur has the worst shot selection in the history of women's tennis. Clijsters is getting to everything and instead of hitting behind her she insists on hitting in front of her

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 07:48 PM

I know, GB. I can sit here all day making for and against arguments. Just trying to balance things out, that's all.

Frazzling is on red alert, fyi. Try and drag this to a 3rd, will ya Sam?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:49 PM

Master Ace I need your help to clear up a matter.If Rafa wins tonight,which is Wednesday.Does he have Thursday off your time or Friday off your time please.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:51 PM

For the 2nd time in the set, Kim cant break in a game where she had her chances. This time, she had big chances, with 3 BPs, but ended up making UFEs in 2 of those.
Stosur up 2-1 in the 2nd set, on serve.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:52 PM

AM,
I will step up. If Rafa wins today (Wednesday), he has Thursday off.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 07:53 PM

No Aussiemarg, you're not a total idiot just a lady whose body lets her adapt to strange hours. Of course being a nurse myself and having worked all those rotating shifts, I know that some people can handle the constant time changes better than others.

Posted by chicklet 03/31/2010 at 07:54 PM

Oh, the pretties lose the first set after being up a break.

Kimmie, stop letting her hang around. Break quickly and finish this.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:55 PM

Gosh, Kim really can play some defense. Nice final point to hold.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:56 PM

Mr X Thanks.So Rafa will play on Saturday our time for the s/finals.Though we dont know the time as yet.Is that correct.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 07:56 PM

So if Rog is back on the clay, he and Mirka and the kids must have been on Net Jets soon after he laost last night!

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 07:58 PM

"Frazzling is on red alert"

Ditto, GH. At least you'll manage to be happyish either way (as long as it's not horrendously one sided), no? Not so much this KAD.

And WTH with the pretties losing the set?

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 07:58 PM

sorry, can't spell as usual; laost-lost!!!!

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:59 PM

And there's the break. Sam started the game very bad, with a FH swing volley long and a DF, and when Kim was up 0-30, she finally stepped up and took her chances, with 2 consecutive BH DTL winners.
That pattern has repeated a number of times in this match. Kim hits her BH to Sam's BH side, Sam knows she cant handle those shots with her BH, runs around it to hit with her FH, leaving the court open, and Kim eventually goes DTL with her BH, hitting a winner ot taking control of the point.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 08:00 PM

Looks like it's going to take the mighty Juju to take Kim out. Go Justine! Break back Sammie.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:02 PM

Sam you need to let go of your doubles,cause its just not helping your single play at all.I have said this soo many times its becoming a broken record.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:02 PM

Vey good answer by Sam to break back. She played her best return game of the match there, returning very well, for winners or to take control of the points and eventually finish them at the net.
3-3 in the 2nd set.

AM,
The time is unknown as of now, that's correct. I guess since the SFs will be on Friday for me, it will indeed be Saturday down under.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:03 PM

Sam your b/hand has be shown today?

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Duende? * 03/31/2010 at 08:04 PM

Re frazzling- I am expecting Rafa to lose and will not watch the match live- will just DVR it. If he wins it will be a surprise and if he loses well at least he lost to a player I like. Instead husband and I will be doing (respective) work from home while splitting a bottle of wine.

I am excited about the men's tournament because if any of the dudes win I would be happy for them to win for various reasons. I want Rafa to win the most but if he loses tonight I will still be very interested in the outcome of the tournament. I am however, to much of a chicken to watch what I think may be a slaughter.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:05 PM

Mr X Thanks.Probably be early in the morning here anyway.Phew I dont need to change my appointment.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:07 PM

Sam holds to go up 4-3 in the 2nd after saving a BP with a great kick serve wide. Her FH was a big weapon in that game, and it gave her almost every point she won. She's playing well right now.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:10 PM

Well knowing Rafa I dont think it will be a slaughter.He is a fighter regardless.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:11 PM

Kim holds at 15 to get to 4-4. She was a little lucky with a BH DTL that hit the netcord and went in, and then in the last point Sam was in control close to the net, but she hit a swing volley right at Kim, who thanked the gift with a lob.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:12 PM

Sam what a wonder when you get that 1st serve in hey?

Serve is the single most important shot of a match

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 08:14 PM

Carrie, that was pretty much what you said before their Paris match and we know what happened. The problem really is, I have small faith in either of them to win/hold on to a lead today.

Posted by tennisesq. 03/31/2010 at 08:15 PM

For her mental well-being as new member of the Top 10, I'm glad Sammie is making this second set more competitive.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 08:15 PM

Just went RF.com and they seem to think that the pix Rog posted on Facebook looks like green clay so he may still be here in the US; still a good sign that he is on the practice court as that is what he said he needed!

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:15 PM

Sam holds at 30 to go up 5-4 in the 2nd set. She used her serve very well in that game, with 2 aces and another unreturned serve. In the last point, Kim had a lucky netcord that brought Sam to the net, and then went for the lob, but sent it long.
Let's see if Sam can find some good returns now to put pressure on Kim's serve. At the moment, she's holding easier than she was at the start of this set.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 08:16 PM

Aussiemarg,
ATP SF are at 1 PM and 7 PM. Rafael would be off if he won today.

Miami
WTA - Marion Bartoli vs Venus Williams at 1 PM
ATP - Tomas Berdych vs Fernando Verdasco at 3 PM
ATP - Mikhail Youzhny vs Robin Soderling at 7 PM
WTA - Samantha Stosur or Kim Clijsters vs Justine Henin at 9 PM

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:19 PM

Kim holds at 30 to ge to 5-5, ending the game with a 2nd serve ace down the T. I think Sam could have done much more in that game, but she gifted Kim 2 of the first 3 points sending a FH sitter long and the hitting a BH slice wide. Her slice is indeed quite similar to Rafa's.

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Duende? * 03/31/2010 at 08:19 PM

greenie- I am a pessimist in sports after having my heart break from being an optimist (as I have mentioned here- I still think that the Cubs lost the 2003 NLCS because when we were in attendence at Game 6 I told my husband "Oh my gawd- they are going to go to the World Series!") . And Jo has slaughtered Rafa in the past. I hope it is an entertaining match regardless of my annoying negativity and lowered expectations.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:21 PM

Tennniesq You and me both lol!

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:22 PM

Sam raised her level midway through this 2nd set, around the time she broke back, but it has gone down again. That was a very poor game, full of UFEs, to get broken at love and go down 5-6 in the 2nd set.
Kim to serve for the match next.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 08:23 PM

team not pretty serving for the match:(

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:23 PM

Master Ace Thanks.

Sam usually has a good b/hand slice? dont know the problem today.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:24 PM

"Rafael would be off if he won today."
And even more off if he lost, Master Ace.


Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 08:24 PM

Once, Carrie. Just ONCE in 5 tries. Jo was on the run of his life. I'd be really excited to see him play that well again, but I haven't see that since. Rafa himself said after that match something like "that isn't his real level". (that's a debate for another day, but point noted). I can see why you'd think Jo could win tonight. That's fine, but please quit with 'slaughter' 'miracle' etc, y'all. You're not helping my nerves.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:25 PM

Blah Sam I give up

Honestly??????????????????????

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 08:26 PM

Boo Sam. But that's the most games Kim has lost all tournament.

Robredo/Almagro beat Nestor/Zimonjic. So may be they really played well huh?

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 08:26 PM

21-25 Samantha Kim 26-18 W/UFEs

Posted by tennisesq. 03/31/2010 at 08:26 PM

Ugh, Kim wins. Where's Kleybs when you need her?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:26 PM

Joe wiped Rafa off the court at the s/final AO 08.I dont remember another time when Joe "slaughtered" Rafa??

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Duende? * 03/31/2010 at 08:27 PM

*chastened by greenie* Okay- I think Rafa will lose in a nice and gentle way filled with plenty of man hugs and laughs. And Shakira music.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:28 PM

It was a so-so game, but Kim holds and she wins, 6-3,7-5.
Congratulations to fellow Kim fans. I must say, when she's playing well, i love her game. She moves well, she can play defense and offense, has good offensive shots from both sides, is a decent server. If she can keep her sometimes questionable mentality under control, i like her chances for this tournament.
Conmiserations to Sammy fans. She was at Kim's level for parts of the match, but couldnt keep that level for a long period of time, and paid for it in the end.

Posted by tennisesq. 03/31/2010 at 08:28 PM

I'm actually looking forward to Jo Willy & Rafa. After that thriller between Berdy and Fed last night, I made a committment to watch more ATP matches.

Posted by lurker (aka sokol) 03/31/2010 at 08:28 PM

"does anyone have an update on Safina?"

she started practicing yesterday, 40 minutes a day for now...

Posted by linex 03/31/2010 at 08:28 PM

Beautiful that we will be able to watch one of the best match ups that tennis produces these days Kim vs Justine. I hope that they both play a good match.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:29 PM

Congrats Kim you were far too good today like the whole tournament so far.Good luck in your next match


Sam,your b.hand????? your head?????????.You have to give up your doubles NOW cause its really doing you Harm.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 08:30 PM

Although Stosur raised her level in the second, I can't say I enjoyed the match because there was no point where I thought Stosur could win which I would have liked to see.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 08:30 PM

Sorry Aussiemarg , Kim played great and Sam fought hard. This does set up the dream matchup of the former Belgian stars.

Posted by chicklet 03/31/2010 at 08:31 PM

Can't wait for Jo and Rafa. Two of my favorites. Just hoping it's competitive.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 08:32 PM

lol, thanks Carrie. Is it pathetic that tennis frazzling is causing physical symptoms, like heart palpitations, sweaty palms etc?

I really need help.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:32 PM

Dianne No worries.I had a feeling when the tough gets going what Sam can do.

Posted by lurker (aka sokol) 03/31/2010 at 08:33 PM

Congrats to Kim, she looks impressive. I hope she beats Justine.

Commies to Stosur fans, especially AM

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:33 PM

sokol Thanks for the update on Safina.Taking things slowly with practice is good to know.

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Duende? * 03/31/2010 at 08:34 PM

It looks like after there were some big unrealized expectations on the two returning Belgians at IW they are delivering here in Miami.

greenie- the only time I smoke now is during sports frazzling. Disgusting I know.... I do get the heart racing, etc.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 08:35 PM

Why a lurker now, sokol?

Ok, so what's the next match? Oh, right. That one. I must start rehearsing my rants.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 08:35 PM

Aussiemarg, just love "no worries", since I have returned from Australia it's my favorite response to so many people!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 08:38 PM

So was it a daddy polar bear or a mommy polar bear with the cute little cubs?

Not that the seals care about the gender of the polar bears that tear them up, then chow them down.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "sigh-rena" 03/31/2010 at 08:43 PM

Hi All!

Very nice win for Kim. Congrats to her fans. commiserations to Sam fans. One thing that stood out for me in that match is the number of points Kim as winning on her second serves for a long stretch of the match up till when Sam became more aggressive on the returns after getting broken for the first time in the second set. There is also so much running around the backhand you can do if the shot you hit is not a putaway shot. Unfortunately for Sam with Kim being a good returner as well as being able to get back everything, what may have been putaway shots came back sometimes with interest and at other times to the open court since running around the BH meant opening up the court. I think it would be better for Sam to do something about her BH to make it more reliable.

Now as for yellow gypsy man based on what I read of the match yesterday let's just say I am hoping for the best but prepared for the worst as far as his match with Jo-Willy is concerned. Go gypsy... cos I'm a gypsy, are you coming with me...la la la ;-) BTW I kind of frazzle less over Rafa these days.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:43 PM

rafa has a 5-1 head to head over Tsonga on hard courts as well.

The match he lost was at the AO 08 s.final which was a wipe out.I was there courtside.

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Duende? * 03/31/2010 at 08:44 PM

manuel - it is a father polar bear trying to find food. There is a mama bear in the mix as well- but the father's story is what breaks your heart. Tears falling right now.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:45 PM

Memo to Rafa

I have to go and buy fish for Good Friday after your match which is tommorrow.

Dont dilly dally ok.

Posted by highpockets 03/31/2010 at 08:46 PM

They're not showing the Nadal/Tsonga match here in Northern Calif, and I'm going out anyway, so I won't catch the scores until it's over. Call me relieved!

I get neck spasms and headaches from tension during Rafa's matches, so I'll just live with the result--whatever it is. Jo Willy is so aggressive and can make things very difficult, but Rafa is patient. If Jo is "on" like he was in Australia, Rafa is a dead duck. Otherwise, if Rafa wants this enough, he should win.

If Shakira is in the house, Rafa WILL win. If Xisca is watching from Mallorca and Shakira is in the house, Rafa is a dead duck anyway.

BTW, I FINALLY like Rafa's kit and I LOVE his swaggar.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 08:47 PM

Eh so apparently Rafa had fierce practice earlier today. Awesome. Or something.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 03/31/2010 at 08:49 PM

GH: If that's the case, I hope that he isn't worn out!

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 08:51 PM

Lynne, yeah me too, but I'm telling you he takes Tsonga very seriously.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:52 PM

Miss Highpockets You take a interesting slant lol!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 08:54 PM

Carrie:

I didn't know that ma and pa polar bears worked together to feed the cubs.

I learn something most every day. (Now, if I could just retain said knowledge for more 24 hours and not return to square one.)

I hope men and women come up for some solutions for the problems we are creating for polar bears.

Posted by highpockets 03/31/2010 at 08:55 PM

Aussiemarg,

That's cuz I'm a nutcase when it comes to Rafa. I have to slant things in a way that makes sense to me and if it makes sense to me, it doesn't really make much sense, no?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 08:56 PM

Carrie:

I didn't know that ma and pa polar bears worked together to feed the cubs.

I learn something most every day. (Now, if I could just retain said knowledge for more 24 hours and not return to square one.)

I hope men and women come up for some solutions for the problems we are creating for polar bears and other species we are endangering.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:58 PM

Miss Highpockets If that gets you through.I say whatever it takes.

Posted by highpockets 03/31/2010 at 08:59 PM

Aussiemarg,

When it comes to Rafa, if it makes sense to me, it probably doesn't make much sense, no?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 08:59 PM

Fox here are showing highlights of Roland Garos.Brings back soo many good memeories.Execpt for 09.

Posted by highpockets 03/31/2010 at 09:00 PM

Geeeeez, I thought my first post didn't make it so I retyped it another way.

Back to lurking.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 09:01 PM

*feels sick* Vamos Rafa!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 09:03 PM

GB Do you get Fox pay tv

Posted by tennisesq. 03/31/2010 at 09:03 PM

WTF?! Why is Christine Brinkley on my tv? TC is not showing the Rafa-Jo match?

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 09:04 PM

Spanish TV trying to help the general mood by showing highlights of Rafa's victory over Jo last year in Paris, the place where he's oh-so-beloved, back when he was the Green Shadow.
Considering all those things, it kinda helps you feel more optimistic.

Mr. Orange and Mr. Lemon already on court.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 09:04 PM

Yeah AM. Had the fun of the Sod RG flashback being shown first, and now all the talk of Rafa being 'demolished' at the AO. Good times

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 09:05 PM

Both players are on court

Hurry up Rafa and swallow that stuff.Really

Joe won the toss and will serve


Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 09:06 PM

Lol Tennisesq, just got on veetle and thought the same thing. What the hail is Christie Brinkly doing on TTC now? There's a Rafa v JoWilly match somewhere in the US!

Posted by tennisesq. 03/31/2010 at 09:08 PM

This is insane. I assumed Rafa-Jo was a marquee match-up worthy of tv coverage. Pffft TC.

Posted by chicklet 03/31/2010 at 09:08 PM

I thought I could just enjoy this match between two favs, but now I just feel ridiculously nervous. It's been too long since I've seen Rafa win a title. Sorry Jo. I'm in the Rafa camp tonight.

Posted by just a note 03/31/2010 at 09:10 PM

tennisesq - check FSN or (in my area) it's MSG+.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 03/31/2010 at 09:11 PM

Evenin' follks.

Bleh. Tennis coverage FAIL. *thinks unkind thoughts about poor Christie Brinkley*

Posted by just a note 03/31/2010 at 09:13 PM

test

Posted by imjimmy 03/31/2010 at 09:14 PM

Win or lose, I hope Nadal plays some "real" tennis, as opposed to the pusher stuff he's exhibited in this tournament.

Posted by Tigress (back to basking in Sweet 16) 03/31/2010 at 09:14 PM

Hee-heee. Andy knocks out Almagro. So if Rafa wins tonight, in the SF he'll have powerful Roddick across the net, instead of a Spanish minion melting into a puddle of worshipful ooze. But lets hope he gets knocked out by Tsonga tonight and gains no points in Miami.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 09:16 PM

Rafa standing pretty close to the baseline for return of serve. Me like ; )

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 09:16 PM

Jo-W and Rafael probably on FSN

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