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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?


1203
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Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 09:53 PM

Crap Rafa that was a big point and could prove costly????????????????????????

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 09:53 PM

Where in the world are your crisp volleys, Jo?

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 09:53 PM

But what a nice point there by Rafa. Yowzer.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 09:54 PM

Good anticipation by Rafa.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 09:55 PM

Now Rafa's running around his backhand. Shoot me.

Posted by swalker007 (let's go Pekingnese Fed, Ratface Nadal!) 03/31/2010 at 09:55 PM

Another WTF point there...

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 09:55 PM

Crap. Crap. Crap. I can't take ANOTHER immediate break back.

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 09:55 PM

STOP. RUNNING. AROUND. THE BH.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 09:56 PM

Crap point and you know it Rafa,keep running around look where it gets you

Thank goodness for your serve

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 09:56 PM

Rafa really is playing smart tennis here.
Jo needs to cool it and focus.

Posted by kchowcrazy (wants ReRe back!) 03/31/2010 at 09:56 PM

Great serve, now Rafa please hold! I've decided u need this more the Jo

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 09:57 PM

Hello S/volley and throwing in a kicker

Thats my boy from the 80's

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 09:57 PM

Wowie. Such good tennis all around. Wheeeeeeee!

Allez Jo. Break him.

Posted by jb (go smiley fed!) 03/31/2010 at 09:57 PM

wow. jo-willi really putting pressure on rafa on his service games.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 09:57 PM

Arrrrrrgggggghhhhh!!!!!!! Will the nightmare ever end?

Vamos! Friggin hold already!

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 09:58 PM

Rafa's keeping his serves FAR AWAY from Jo's forehand.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 09:59 PM

That crap point is proving very costly isnt Rafa?????

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 10:00 PM

Jo starts the game with a good point at the net, but then sends a FH wide after an intense rally, and misses 2 consecutive returns. Granted, the serves were solid: one to the body and the other a slice wide.
Nadal hits a bad FH to the net. 40-30.
HawkEye helps him with a shot that apparently was in by a hair.
Good serve, FH close to the net long. He wants to follow his new tradition and give it back, i see it. Deuce.
Tsonga controls the point, but cant end it at the net, and Rafa passes him. Ad Nadal.
Out of position, Jo hits a very good BH DTL just on the net, that Nadal cant answer. Deuce.
Nadal tries to run around his BH, leaves the court way open, does nothing with the FH, Jo hits to the open side and takes the point. BP.
Ace down the T. Deuce. Fight with your inner instincts, man! Dont give it back!
He tricks Jo with a 2nd serve wide to the FH, and closes the point at the net! Surprise, surprise. Ad Nadal.
Big FH by Tsonga that Nadal cant answer. Back to deuce.
Good serve to the body, and attacks the short return with a good I-O FH that Jo cant answer. Ad Nadal.
Good CC BH by Jo that forces the error. Nadal doing nothing with his BH, barely putting the ball in. Deuce.
Luck for Nadal. Netcord sends Jo's BH out. Ad Nadal. End it already!
Return wide by Tsonga.
Nadal holds to go up 5-3. That was exhausting, and i was just typing.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:00 PM

Excellent! Rafa holds for 5-3.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 10:00 PM

Phew!!!!!!!! But, there's prolly still the horror of the final service game... If only he could break here:)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:01 PM

rafa that Simple F/hand error you made turned out to be a marathon game when it should have been soo easy to hold

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 10:01 PM

Nice game from Rafa there. Some good tennis from both.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 10:02 PM

Jo needs to mix it up on his serves. Soderling totally knew where they were coming last week. And Rafa does too today.

Excellent point. Rafa's hit some nice slices.
Going for the kill.
aaaand Jo nets another forehand. 0-30

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:02 PM

0-30 again ; )

Break for the first set, Rafa!

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:02 PM

Triple set point! Vamos Rafa!!!!

Posted by swalker007 (let's go Pekingnese Fed, Ratface Nadal!) 03/31/2010 at 10:02 PM

Willy is just losing it...

Posted by carnap - Sent The Scottiish Kid back to the orphanage. 03/31/2010 at 10:03 PM

Mr. Raffles takes the first set.

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 10:03 PM

0-30 no, no, no Jo. Go back to your calm space.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:03 PM

Jo-Willy broken at love. Only Rafa, hehe.

Posted by ericinphilly (Memo to Serena: knee injury means keeping off said knee, not globe trotting around the world) 03/31/2010 at 10:03 PM

hey everyone, what is the score for Jo W and Nadal? hopefully Nadal can pull a win out..

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 10:03 PM

What a stupid game from Jo.

Dude, I know you wanna show that he's taking too much time.

But, you don't need to rush your service game to make it.

Jajaja.

And, Rafa takes the set. Slice looks good!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:04 PM

Joe you have lost your focus in this game and your going to the Umpire between breaks is showing Your Hand in this game

Stop it especially against a player like Rafa.

Posted by kchowcrazy (wants ReRe back!) 03/31/2010 at 10:05 PM

Jo played well enough to win that set but had a complete brain fart by the end and let Rafa's slowness wind him up it seemed.

Posted by ericinphilly (Memo to Serena: knee injury means keeping off said knee, not globe trotting around the world) 03/31/2010 at 10:05 PM

Vamos Nadal!!!!

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:05 PM

Rafa is dialed in on Jo-Willy's serve now.

Posted by Jbradhunter iPhone edition 03/31/2010 at 10:05 PM

Sherlock you're the positivity czar concerning Rafa. Love it

so Im not watching, can't live score on iPhone, but I can check in here! Woohoo. I'm about to walk in the grocery store now. Lol

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 10:05 PM

My eyes may have tricked me, but i saw some good BHs in the first point of that game (even a good slice, go figure!).
Jo hits a FH to the net. 0-30.
And a good BH return from inside the court. I must be asleep or something. 3 SPs.
And now he caught Jo midway through the net, and Jo nets the half-volley.
Crazy, but Rafa's BH was his best shot in that game.

Anyway, Rafa wins the 1st set, 6-3. It was a pretty good set of tennis, even if he made too many UFEs and Jo helped him in some important points. But definitely an improvement from the disaster of the other day. Let's see if he can keep it going, or even improve a little more.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 10:05 PM

Regarding my very negative comments about Rafa in my immediately preceding post.

My apologies.

My borrowed Rose Colored glasses had indadvertently fallen off.

Back on they are.

How did Tsonga manage to even win one game in that first set?

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 03/31/2010 at 10:05 PM

Well, Jo went away at the tail end of that set. Probably a combo of the kvetching about slowpoke Rafa and his frustration at being unable to break Rafa in either of those 10-minute service games. Fortunately for him, Rafa will probably return the favor in the second set by having one of his lapses that's all too frequent these days.

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 10:06 PM

Oh come on JoWilly, you blow up and completely lose the plot!
Stuff that fickle Frenchy-ness away and play your game.

Posted by tina 03/31/2010 at 10:06 PM

I do love Rafa and appreciated so many of his fans on here. But now I feel like I'm an "upset addict" - it'll be a come down if Rafa just blows Tsonga away now... I need an upset "bump"

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 10:07 PM

Send me a post from the grown up land, Jo. If you ever get there that is.

Posted by Hart 03/31/2010 at 10:08 PM

I see how it goes, Pspace. Tsonga >>> Shakira. Whatever would she think?? ;-P

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 03/31/2010 at 10:08 PM

Manuel: One word from me and the Easter Bunny won't be coming to your house.


Posted by tina 03/31/2010 at 10:08 PM

*have always* appreciated

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 10:09 PM

Crap. Don't give up the momentum right away please Rafa, please!

Posted by swalker007 (let's go Pekingnese Fed, Ratface Nadal!) 03/31/2010 at 10:09 PM

Yea, it's just not gonna happen today Willy...

Posted by crazyone 03/31/2010 at 10:10 PM

Is Tsonga's idol Federer? He certainly has the inability to convert break points down...

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:10 PM

Rafa saves two BPs. And even if he gets broken I'm confident now that he would break again ; )

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

Vamos Rafa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Under the pump and just taking the net away

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 10:11 PM

Super play from Rafa. Too good. Jo might like that return back at 30-40...but other than that he didn't do too much wrong.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 10:11 PM

Nadal starts the game with a FH to the net.
Jo sees his chance and unravels with the FH. Gets 2 BPs that way.
Rafa puts pressure to the BH in the first, and Jo sends one long. One more to go.
Jo sends a BH return long. He should never have missed that one. At least, he should have made Rafa play the point. Deuce.
Very good point, with both guys exchanging big FHs, but Rafa takes control in the end and closes it at the net. Ad Nadal.
CC FH winner that wrongfoots Jo.
Nadal holds to start the 2nd set. He played very well to save those BPs. Jo helped him with the BH return long in the second one.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:12 PM

Okay, Rafa, now that Jo-Willy couldn't convert he's ripe to get broken.

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 10:12 PM

He he, Jbrad. :) Great to have you around again.

I just freakin' love watching this dude play tennis.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:12 PM

Rafa has saved all 6 m/points who would have thought

Tsonga slow down a bit.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:12 PM

Yep. 0-30

Posted by Hart 03/31/2010 at 10:13 PM

this is quite an athletic match. Really fun to watch.

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 10:13 PM

Hart, hehe, I'm sure Shakira would like a piece of Jo too ;-).

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 10:13 PM

Rafa's practice of hitting short topspin forehands into Tsonga's strikezones is brilliant on tactical, strategic, moral, philosophical, and geopolitical levels.

No question. Rafa is tennis' answer to Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, and Howard Stern--all rolled into one.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:13 PM

oops should have read 6 break points lol!


Joe Slow Down

Rafa with 2 b/points

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:14 PM

Two break points for Rafa. Vamos!

Posted by swalker007 (let's go Pekingnese Fed, Ratface Nadal!) 03/31/2010 at 10:14 PM

I guess Free Willy wants to finish this match before 11.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 10:15 PM

Jo loses the plot, makes all kinds of UFEs with his FH, and Nadal breaks to go up 2-0 in the 2nd set.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:15 PM

And Rafa breaks right away. Run away with the second set, Rafa!

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 10:15 PM

Rafa, please take Jo's gift and run to the finish line. No letdowns, please.

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 10:17 PM

And there's the break.
Well hail JoWillly, thnx for playing.*sigh* Break back!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:17 PM

great hands and control Joe Allez!!!

Posted by Hart 03/31/2010 at 10:17 PM

Pspace--you flip like pancakes. ;) (Hmm, that sounds like a new Shakira song. "Hips Don't Lie", "Flip like Pancakes...")

MSF--that must be the first time I've ever heard Plato and Aristotle lumped in with Howard Stern

Early break for Rafa.

Posted by Jbradhunter iPhone edition 03/31/2010 at 10:18 PM

I haven't read Petes Federer loses twice post yet... Course until Fed starts losing in GSlams I really can't be worried about his game.

Once Rafa wins Miami I'll quit worrying about the state of his game. :)

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 03/31/2010 at 10:18 PM

Rafa is looking great!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:18 PM

Vamos rafa!!!!!!!!!!!

Thats the way to turn defense into ofense

Murray take note.

Posted by swalker007 (let's go Pekingnese Fed, Ratface Nadal!) 03/31/2010 at 10:19 PM

C'mon Ratty, win this before 10:30 please!

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 10:20 PM

Hehehe, msf, dont be so harsh. He's playing a decent match so far.
Nadal holds at 15 in possibly his best serve game of the match that included a great point finished with a FH winner, an ace, and a DS close to the net, very smart. He's up 3-0 in the 2nd set. Only a break though.
Jo played a very good point with some angled FHs, but he got frustrated with Nadal's defense in the next, sending a FH wide.

Posted by carnap - Sent The Scottiish Kid back to the orphanage. 03/31/2010 at 10:21 PM

Hegel is spinning like a gyroscope in his grave after being thrown into the same sentence as Howard Stern.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 10:21 PM

Tsonga aces Rafa.

Rafa has expended so much energy watching the ball fly by, he goes for the towel.


Can anyone else be so uber-cute and endearing?

I think not.

Posted by swalker007 (let's go Pekingnese Fed, Ratface Nadal!) 03/31/2010 at 10:23 PM

MSF - he's a cute looking rat, very endearing with his vamoses

Posted by Jbradhunter iPhone edition 03/31/2010 at 10:23 PM

Hey did y'all know the American women are playing France in Fed Cup right now? According to Tennis Channel... Wow so much important tennis going on round the world... All at once... Kill me...

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 10:24 PM

Jo holds at 30 to ge to 1-3, closing the game with a FH winner. Nadal as up 15-30, but Jo played a good serve, and then Nadal went for an almost impossible FH DTL winner and sent it long.
This aint over yet.

Posted by Yet Another Lurker 03/31/2010 at 10:25 PM

Nadal is playing some impressive, physical tennis. Tsonga's justifiable irritation over the time Nadal takes between serves is made to look petty in light of Nadal's general excellence.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 10:27 PM

You can celebrate when you break you clay monkey.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 10:27 PM

"This aint over yet"

Still terrified. And a DF:( And now he's facing bp:(((((

I'll die if he gets broken back. Die

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 10:27 PM

Alleeeeeeeeez. Jumpy Jo Willy! Me likey. C'mon due. Get fired up.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:27 PM

Allez Joe what a athlete

Rafa how many times have you played Joe?????

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 10:27 PM

LOL, Jbrad. :) And my Fox affiliate is showing a Seattle Mariners special. Woo hoo!

Not a good dropper by Rafa there.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 10:27 PM

I feel so bad for Winogradsky.
Arnie Clement looks dead.

Posted by swalker007 (let's go Pekingnese Fed, Ratface Nadal!) 03/31/2010 at 10:28 PM

Your not free yet Willy, so stop expending energy. Be a robot, please.

Posted by Tigress (back to basking in Sweet 16) 03/31/2010 at 10:28 PM

Tsonga must be playing terrible. Well not surprising, what has he ever really done anyway besides '08 Oz finalist. Roddick will have to slay the "cheater" dragon.

Sounds like Nadal is indulging in his usual delay tactics and gamesmanship that make so many dislike him. Enforce the rules or just scrap them! Nadal makes a mockery of the time rules. Pathetic and unsportsmanlike.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:29 PM

Joe its all about playing the Big points well

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 10:30 PM

LOL, Jo just whacked wildly at that FH, and somehow it caught a piece of the line. If you can make one of those on BP, I'll be happy.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 10:30 PM

Is he smiling now? Mocking Rafa for the time delay?
Have fun while you're at it, Jo.

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

great pace on that shot Joe

Posted by se7en 03/31/2010 at 10:32 PM

greenhopper: Jo did not mock Rafa... admittedly, Rafa is taking a VERY long time for many points, esp. in Set 1.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 10:32 PM

great 2nd serve Rafa you opened up the court well

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 10:32 PM

Rafa darling, can you treat ALL your opponents like Jo? I mean they won't gift you easy points, but just tell yourself you cannot lose to them. Promise? Ass.

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 10:32 PM

Well, to be fair to Jo, getting an Ad BP against Rafa is like erasing a game point for a righty. It's the 15-40 ones that he needs to convert.

Anyway, Rafa holds again. 1-4 Jo to serve.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 10:33 PM

I can see your evil eyes behind the rose colored glasses, msf:)
A DF. How lovely. Is it giveaway time now? 30 all.
Apparently, it is. With the point under control, bad DS, Jo gets to it and hits the winner. BP.
Jo gifts it back, with a FH to the net when he had the point won. Deuce.
Jo hits a FH return to the net. Kick yourself, Jo. Really, do it. Ad Nadal.
Jo accurately combines a moonball with a laser FH DTL winner. Moonballs can actually work if they are used well. Deuce.
A baby crying. Smiles all around the court.
Rafa isnt smiling anymore. Good defense by Jo with the slice, catches Rafa miday to the net, FH to the net. Another BP.
BH return wide. Jo, you are not converting your BPs. Maybe you should think about putting the ball in play, at least. Deuce.
Rafa surprises JO with a kick 2nd serve to the FH, takes control of the point, and ends it at the net. Ad Nadal.
Good serve down the T, FH return long.
Nadal holds to go up 4-1. Jo should kick himself some more for not having broken in this match.

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 10:33 PM

Go pathetic and unsportsmanlike Rafa!!

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 10:34 PM

JoWilly's so far from the BL that Rafa's using the same game plan that was used to beat him at Oz.
Rafa escapes once more.

Posted by Latino 03/31/2010 at 10:34 PM

I believe a baby was crying and hence the smiling.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 03/31/2010 at 10:34 PM

*sound of needle on record player screeching*

Is Jo wearing a pearl earring?

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