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Blue Velvet in the O2 11/21/2010 - 7:42 PM

Andy

by Hannah Wilks, TennisWorld Contributing Writer

Two weeks ago, I saw the Paris Meridian, also known as the Rose Line. For many years, it was considered the prime meridian; the line of 0 degrees longtitude which divides the eastern and western hemispheres. But in 1884, a conference of scientists decreed that the Greenwich meridian - which now runs right past the western edge of the 02 Arena - was the Prime Meridian; that London was the alpha and omega of the world. One unintended consequence of this instance of punching above one’s weight on a global scale is that this week’s tennis takes place at 0 degrees longtitude. As the signs insist, it’s the final showdown. Zero hour.

The ATP likes to play up the Britishness of this event; London, as anyone watching the World Tour Finals is repeatedly reminded, is calling. The players pose with the Prime Minister or a red London bus, as if there’s nothing more to being British than a suit and a stiff upper lip. Personally, next year I want to see the eight finalists come out of a TARDIS dressed as various cultural heroes from the UK. Harry Potter. Robin Hood. Shakespeare, complete with tights and Elizabethan ruff. Mr. Darcy and King Arthur. Labyrinth-era David Bowie. Braveheart. Speaking of whom, the stars just might be aligning for Andy Murray, who recorded the first singles victory of the championships today in a 6-2 6-4 defeat of Robin Soderling.

Murray, well-rested, set loose on a slow, low-bouncing indoor court, has as good a chance as anyone of ending his turbulent year on a high note. Better, if you believe in the power of home-court advantage. But I’m wondering if, The Clash notwithstanding, there is anything quintessentially British about this event that makes playing here a better experience for the Scot than what he might find at any other anonymous indoor venue.

A tide of people made its way to the arena, braving the icy rain hanging in the air and the biting wind blowing off the Thames. Tennis is calling, and London is answering. It’s not like a Wimbledon crowd, either; scattered throughout are the sort of middle-ageds you’d expect to see in SW19, who pack for a day’s spectating as if it’s a hiking expedition, but there are plenty of groups of young people, too. It’s not a lawn tennis crowd; it’s a London crowd, and that means that there are all sorts of people here. This is the newly gentrified Docklands (it’s not too far from Deptford, where the street my mother grew up on was condemned for slums and demolished to make way for a high-rise), not leafy Wimbledon. This is the heart of a city that continuously reinvents itself.

The 02 arena itself started out as the Millennium Dome, built by the New Labour government at a cost of 789 million pounds to celebrate what it meant to be British at the year 2000. Five years later, a colossal white elephant, it was sold as an empty shell to Orange to be rebranded; a bloated failure to define our national identity, repackaged as a slick, corporate entertainment facility.

Last time I was here, it was for Kings of Leon; last week, it was the Gorillaz; next week, something else. Everywhere you look this week, though, you see ATP World Tour Finals branding and signage. The big screens carry vignettes on the sponsors’ support for sporting opportunity for children, or remind the crowd that Sky carries over 100 hours of live tennis a year. Volunteers shoot ATP -branded T-shirts into the crowd during breaks; the fans are asked to call the toss at the beginning of the match. Tennis, tennis, everywhere, and plenty of Corona to drink. But this venue was made to be a blank canvas, and the blanket of tennis promotion that covers it this week will be whipped off next.

Unlike the Parisian hip-hop and house of Bercy, the London DJ favours classic rock and pop during changeovers, with a fondness for Britpop, Bowie and Lady Gaga. Raised on the silence of Wimbledon, there’s an expectant hush during points, and a minimum of polite applause between. Invited to show their appreciation for the slick play of the Bryans, the crowd dutifully complies, but it’s about to get a lot louder in the arena. Because Andy Murray is about to play.

There’s no shortage of hyperbole preceding the British no. 1 on to the court. On the pre-match VT, Justin Gimelstob informs us that Andy Murray is the master of when to use the drop shot (a bold statement that Murray will later seem intent on disproving). The announcer describes him, apparently without irony, as “an amazingly gifted and talented athlete who reads the game like a wily veteran”. Robin Soderling is introduced as … Robin Soderling.

They still haven’t got the hang of the son et lumiere in the stadium, missing audio-visual cues all over the place. Soderling, too, looks out of step with events; the choruses of “c’mon Andy” from the crowd are restrained, partly because Murray rapidly establishes dominance. The pace and power of Soderling’s forehand is more impressive, and less ungainly than it looks on TV. For a shot more utilitarian than beautiful, the length of the backswing makes it seem almost impractical.

This one is the fifth Murray match I’ve been lucky enough to watch in 2010, and I’m nowhere near getting sick of it. He’s amazing when he wants to be - smooth, aggressive, clever. I love watching his feet, and the exceptional balance that enables him hit forward while going backwards, which creates good depth on even defensive shots.

I like Soderling, too, but the experience is a bit like watching a Hollywood action hero taking on a gang of foreign terrorists. You know Soderling is going to attack, pummel the ball, press forward until he misses. The formulaic elements don’t vary, but you still want to see it unfold. Watching Murray, on the other hand, is more like viewing a David Lynch movie. It's  incomprehensible at times, full of twists and turns, sequences of unexpected and hypnotic beauty, and permanently on the verge of straying into the surreal.

I’m also aware of how often Murray aces his way out of trouble. One has to wonder, can he - will he - ever serve big for seven matches in a row? Without that ace, you’ve pretty much got a hole where a grand slam should be - and a crowd that still finds more entertainment in ironically cheering for the retired Tim Henman, the paradigm of the plucky over-achiever, than it does in taking the often rocky path of being a full-on Murray fan. Errors are greeted with a peculiarly British mumble of disappointment, a dispirited acknowledgement of the inevitable, and even Murray’s exceptional first set doesn’t satisfy the punters - a young woman near me shyly says “he’s playing well, isn’t he?”, only for her boyfriend to snap “he’s world no. 4 [sic], he should be playing well.” Tough crowd.

But Murray’s a tough player. He isn’t Monfils, looking outside himself, drawing energy from the cheers; I don’t know if he hears the crowd, if it means anything to him. He’s introverted, inwardly focused. It’s not a coincidence that he yells his own name when he commits an error he finds particularly egregious. He does like to complain, looking down at his legs, the court, his racquet when he makes an error, searching for something to blame. That’s British. I think about all of his disappointments this year - Melbourne, the lost months when he seemed sick of it all, his crushing defeat at Wimbledon and the disaster that was the US Open - and what it must take to pick up and carry on.

That’s rather British, too.

[[I'm pleased to say that once again this week,  during the Barclay's ATP World Tour Finals, we have Gauloises covering the action for TennisWorld. Only now, shortly after posting, I've changed her avatar to her proper name. Hannah will be filing regulary, at least during the early going, and don't forget to look for Racquet Reaction posts as well - Pete]]


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Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 03:52 PM

and don't forget. Roddick is not a good returner. When he returns everyhing, your serve is puny. Now Rafa has to win every baseline rallies. So much pressure.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:52 PM

Great shot making Rafa you have woken up a bit great foot work too

Andy dont get into long rallys with Rafa

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 03:53 PM

:((

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 03:54 PM

Andy again showing great hands

Posted by neilintoronto 11/22/2010 at 03:54 PM

Old Man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan:, geez that's a lot to type :). I think there are a couple factors at play. Since Rafa hasn't played much since the Asian swing, he's probably a wee rusty. We all know Rafa is at his best the more matches he plays. Also, he maybe using the old school serve for now, since he had to withdraw from Paris with a touch of shoulder tendonitis.

Not to take away the fact that Randy is probably playing the better match so far.

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 03:54 PM

As long as Rafa can get a rally going, he'll be fine. I'm not saying this is a great strategy, but still... Andy's no match got him from the baseline....

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 03:54 PM

Rafa can easily lose this match in straight.

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 03:55 PM

Andy's only made 3 of 11 FS, Rafa really should have found a way to break

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:55 PM

Great hands Andy

Rafa Andy hasnt been getting his 1st serves in

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 03:55 PM

make that "match for him..."

Posted by Anna 11/22/2010 at 03:55 PM

This point showed how Rafa's timing is off. He got to the half volley on time, but did not make it past the net

Posted by sf 11/22/2010 at 03:55 PM

go randy!

what is the score now?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:56 PM

Yes that is what Rafa is hoping for to lose in straight sets

He wants to keep his record intact.

Posted by Blue moon 11/22/2010 at 03:56 PM

I like Andy too, but I do want to see Fed-Nadal. Sigh... well, I also hope they finish the set before I have to go to the airport.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 03:56 PM

2-5, so we can now assume that it's 96% likely that it'll end up 3-6 1st set. The other 2% will be 2-6. ha.

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 03:56 PM

sf, 5-2 andy - rafa to serve...

Posted by Master Ace 11/22/2010 at 03:57 PM

Brad Gilbert tweeting on espn.com about Nadal's color of choice:

"@bgtennisnation AR: Takes some risks on the FEARhand. RN: take off the magenta shirt and switch to black asap. Pink is a bad memory for you!"

Posted by NP 11/22/2010 at 03:57 PM

This ain't no carpet.

imjimmy, Rafa doesn't need the extra mph. What he needs is a higher %.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 03:57 PM

I guess we will see 4th blowout.

Posted by neilintoronto 11/22/2010 at 03:57 PM

LOL AM, why mess with perfection?!?!?

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 03:57 PM

I mean is the disco lighting really adding anything to the experience....?

Posted by Jay 11/22/2010 at 03:57 PM

Feel free, neilintoronto. Its an original as far as I know.

Hopefully they have Agassi's book in the players' lounges. That'll scare them off of weaves and pieces. Could cost you a major! :)

Posted by Nam1 11/22/2010 at 03:58 PM

sigh

checking in to see score, shouldnt have bothered;

why Rafa why? Please win just one match please.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 03:59 PM

Roddick is now mocking Rafa's puny serve with that mock yell for one 128mph serve. Get angry, Rafa!

Posted by imjimmy 11/22/2010 at 03:59 PM

NP: In the UsOpen, Nadal got both: extra mph and a decent percentage. Today he can't seem to get either. This is even worse than the post UsOpen Asian Swing. He's back to the '09 pusher tennis..

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 03:59 PM

nicely done by Andy...... 30-30

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 03:59 PM

CherryNYC I agree with you about the "disco lights' well Kylie is in the stands maybe they are over doing it for her

Posted by sf 11/22/2010 at 03:59 PM

thanks cherryNYC and old man fed.

break him again, randy. please.

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:00 PM

30-15 sorry, now it's 40-15

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 04:00 PM

Master Ace
I'm with Gilbert, get rid of the pinks Rafa
we get it, pink can be masculine too

Posted by AB 11/22/2010 at 04:00 PM

He's only down a break, donating a game in which he DF'd twice.

RAndy is the worst returner of the top 8. Even rusty Rafa is not out of it.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:01 PM

imjimmy Hmmm Rafa's rhythm of his serve I agree is way off at the moment

He is just pushing in it.Though his kicker serve is working

Posted by NP 11/22/2010 at 04:01 PM

"Andy again showing great hands"

YF, it's almost funny to see the words "Andy" and "great hands" in the same sentence, but I agree, that was an impressive half-volley by Rod. Too bad his volley itself isn't quite up to par.

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:01 PM

Gah, back at deuce:((

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:02 PM

Deuce -- good low slice return from Andy. It seems like the low bounce is giving Rafa fits....

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:02 PM

Thank goodness Rafa has good 2nd serve and his stats usdually show that

Posted by Jay 11/22/2010 at 04:03 PM

"Mardy Fish has the best year-to-date tiebreak record while Rafa is the only player with a positive record after losing the first set."

A ray of hope for Rafa.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:03 PM

imjimmy, yes. agreed. back to '09/early '10 puny version. If you can't even win a set against Roddick, you don't deserve n. 1. Bring back your serve, at least the Tokyo version, or else! oh ha.

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:03 PM

At least he held.

Nam1: I'm starting small and hoping for a set

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:04 PM

Rafa holds -- Andy to serve for the set 5-3.

They both look OK to me... Rafa's service motion looks better -- sometimes you just miss.....

Posted by temes 11/22/2010 at 04:04 PM

It's no secret Rafa should do the loco motion to get Andy out of his head, if he should be so lucky.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:04 PM

now it's 99.9% likely 3-6 1st set.

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:05 PM

And Rafa loses his 9th consecutive set at the WTFs:((( Good times.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:06 PM

Roddick is defiant. very in-your face against Rafa. Why can't he be like this against Fed is beyond me. He only gets mad against ump and lineswoman when playing against Fed.

3-6 done.

Posted by NP 11/22/2010 at 04:06 PM

imjimmy, only time will tell if those USO stats were an anomaly or the start of a trend, but it's really a lot to ask of any1 to bring both to each and every match. Even Roddick's not impervious to the difficulty.

I think Rafa's been pretty decent. Def looking better than his '09 "pusher" self.

Posted by imjimmy 11/22/2010 at 04:06 PM

Old man Fed: In all fairness, Nadal has looked similar/worse before. Most recently in Toronto and Cincy. That didn't prevent him from winning @ NY.
He's gotta look at the big picture, and AO '11 is really what matter for him. If he does well there, he gets to keep his #1..

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:06 PM

there it is... 6-3 Andy. Brooklyn looking very pretty...

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:06 PM

Good 1st set by Andy 6-3 he has a good game plan agasint Rafa at the moment and its working well

Rafa you have to use those b/points? hmmm do I need to remind you about the Asian swing?

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 04:07 PM

NP
it's funny how reflex shots work but, when a player has more time (like that historic high volley at wimbledon) a player can shank away the shot.
Roddick played a strong set, even after getting burned on some of his net approaches, he stuck with the game plan, pressured Rafa on his serve and won his service games fairly comfortably

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:08 PM

Well at least Rafa has the advantage of serving 1st in the 2nd set

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:09 PM

i think it'll be 5-7 or tiebreak loss for Rafa here. As long as Roddick keeps on helding his serve, Rafa won't win even a set.

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 04:09 PM

is it true ? Rafa has lost every set he's played in this arena? 0 for 7!?

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:09 PM

crazy df:((

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:10 PM

Hmmm another d/fault Rafa well you were 40 love up

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:10 PM

Andy's 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead' strategy is a good on IMO...

yes, he made a couple of bad approaches and got passed, but that's going to happen no matter what, and Andy's got zero chance if he allows himself to get stuck at the baseline... Honestly, Fed should try this more against Rafa.......

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:10 PM

make that "good one" Jeezus, I can't type today.....

Posted by NP 11/22/2010 at 04:11 PM

YF, so you expect this to be Miami redux?

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 04:12 PM

I'm so glad Andy seems defiant. Yes where is that attitude against Fed?

Now, will Rafa regroup?

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:12 PM

Great, now Rafa's hitting himself in the head after he misses the easy shots. Yet another memory from last year's WTFs

Posted by imjimmy 11/22/2010 at 04:13 PM

NP: I'd think that Nadal should be able to keep up the UsO serving. He's just changed the motion and it's not like he's going for too much. Someone with such a great overhead and ability to handle high balls, should've had a much better serve in the 1st place.

On another note, I'm just amazed at how Nadal has ZERO read on Roddick's serve. He literally has no clue which way it's going, and he's often caught with the wrong grip, thereby pushing at the ball as opposed to hitting it.

BTW..If Nadal loses this in straights, he's out in the RR stage..right?

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 04:13 PM

Kristy, he's had years of mental anguish against Roger....that's why it's not there. He doesn't believe he can beat Roger.

Posted by 70's tennis fan 11/22/2010 at 04:13 PM

Fantastic piece Gauloises (or should that be Hannah) I was there and you have captured the feel of the occassion perfectly! Thank you!

I can only add that when Andy Murray was introduced as the 'wily veteran' my son collapsed in giggles as he had heard 'whiny veteran'. What can I say!

Just to add that the ceremony to say farewll to Carlos Moya was rather touching..especially when you see the high esteem he was obviously held in by the other players.

Thank you again!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:15 PM

Rafa play the cross court pls wrong shot selection there.pfft,

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:15 PM

:((((

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 04:15 PM

NP
if Rafa doesn't start to make a dent ,consistently, on Roddicks serve, keeps DF-ing and missing the fearhand
meanwhile, Roddick is showing nice variety and power

Posted by sisu 11/22/2010 at 04:16 PM

Great point!!

I didn't know this was "carpet"?

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:16 PM

imjimmy, yes, if Rafa loses this match in stragith, he's basically out again since I can't see him beating Djoker. More I watch this match, more it appears that Rafa will end up 0-3 again. Maybe he'll beat Berdie for the pride, but it's highly likely that he won't advance to SF again.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:17 PM

Great f/hand by Andy there and he won a long rally against Rafa

Roddick breaks well done.

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:18 PM

Oh boy --- there's the break. You've got to hand it to Andy ... no fear....

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:18 PM

:(((( I don't see Andy getting broken from here.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:19 PM

okay, I overhyped Rafa, it seems. He can't even push to 5-7 nor tiebreak. Now down early break again after continuing puny serve and lousy play, he will be lucky to push to 4-6. geez!

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:19 PM

AM -- are you OK -- have you emptied the bar yet???

Posted by Andrew 11/22/2010 at 04:19 PM

OK. Nadal chooses not to go through Roddick in a short ball rally, biffs it long. Then on BP in game 3, Roddick does go through Nadal, and breaks. 2-1 Roddick, with a break. Long rally in the last game, ending with Roddick's first GS winner. I would say it's indoor clay tennis, but then I'd be surprised if Roddick took one set, let alone two.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:19 PM

Gee I love the Roger fans that come out to play when Rafa plays

Posted by Queeny 11/22/2010 at 04:20 PM

"BTW..If Nadal loses this in straights, he's out in the RR stage..right? "

I thought everyone got 3 matches

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:20 PM

Roddick is a new man against Rafa and Djoker (and maybe Davy D.). Against Muzz and Delpo, not so much. Against Fed, he's eh... you know.

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 04:20 PM

No, it's all about match-ups. Rafa is a better match-up for Roddick than Roger.

Posted by NP 11/22/2010 at 04:22 PM

Good to see Rod playing as he should. Defensive tennis doesn't suit him.

And he earns a well-deserved break. His coming match against Nole should be interesting.

imjimmy, perhaps. Let's wait and see.

The RoS has always been a relative weakness of his, particularly against big servers. Don't think this was so unexpected.

As to your Q, Berd also lost in straights today, and this is just the 1st day for Group B (or is it A?). Nobody's done yet.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:22 PM

CherryNYC LOL! not yet.Though this dosent surprise me with Rafa.He is a player that needs match practice.Also Andy has a lead over him on the hard courts.Andy deserves to win this match

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 04:22 PM

Oh I know, Heather - my question was more rhetorical. He got so close to beating Roger at Wimby that I don't know why he never draws on that.

Anyway, this is very exciting and I def didn't expect it. Yay.

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:22 PM

Rafa, please somehow take that gift and break back, FFS!

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 04:23 PM

Good comeback from Rafa.

Posted by CherryNYC 11/22/2010 at 04:23 PM

well, look at that. Back on serve.....

Posted by Colette 11/22/2010 at 04:23 PM

Woo Hoo

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 04:23 PM

Andy blows it...you can't let Rafa back in the match.
now Rafa, hold!

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 04:24 PM

Oh sorry, Kristy! :)

Andy was broken?! Really wish I was watching this.... :(

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:24 PM

Vamos!!!! Please find a way to build some momentum Rafa!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/22/2010 at 04:24 PM

Hell Rafa your foot work pls

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:25 PM

So roddick got tight there for sec. So what. Unless Rafa start playing during her service games, this match is over in straight.

Posted by imjimmy 11/22/2010 at 04:25 PM

Old man Fed: Yep. This is indoors, and Nadal really hasn't done well on this surface. He looks out of sorts today. Earlier this year in Miami, he played better on a surface which suited him a lot more. Still got beat.

Roddick should win this anyway, notwithstanding Nadal's break back. I was expecting Nadal to do a much better job at reading Roddick's serve and while attacking with his forehand.

Posted by NP 11/22/2010 at 04:25 PM

YF, dig that "fearhand."

"I didn't know this was "carpet"?"

sisu, it's not. Dunno where that came from.

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:25 PM

I don't need to be looking at Pat Cash right now

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 04:26 PM

geez Pat Cash is looking kinda old

Posted by Kristy 11/22/2010 at 04:27 PM

Haha, it's okay Heather! (: Oh g_d don't you wish we could watch this match??

Posted by wilson75 11/22/2010 at 04:28 PM

Pat Cash always looks like he's stuck in the'80s.

Posted by Heather 11/22/2010 at 04:28 PM

Yes, Kristy I sure do! I'm supposed to be leaving work in 2 minutes but it's going to take me two hours to get home and I'll be more antsy because I won't know the score...ahhhhh do I stay and do some work, or leave?! Decisions, decisions! :)

Posted by GB 11/22/2010 at 04:29 PM

He's hardly turned the set on its head, Jason. It's only on serve.

At least he's won as many games as Berdy now

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/22/2010 at 04:29 PM

maybe Roddick needs to scratch the magic balls to get his mojo back
strangely, this match has been bereft of all the OCD itching and adjusting

Posted by Andrew 11/22/2010 at 04:29 PM

Ah. I check upthread and find despair and ZOMG is he out if he loses in straights?

a) Nadal breaks back, and we're back on serve at 3-2 Nadal
b) No. You can qualify for the SF stage with 4 points, or 2, depending on the rest of the results.

Sheesh.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/22/2010 at 04:30 PM

Rafa needs to be lucky and somehow hold his serves and break Roddick one more time to win this set since I don't see Rafa winning in TB. His serve is not good enough, so Roddick is returning 99% of his serves in play and that's a disaster in TB.

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