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Two "Characters" in Search of a Semi 11/27/2010 - 9:51 AM

Novak

by Hannah Wilks, TW Contributing Writer

Sometimes you expect much more from a match than it delivers. This has been the case a lot this week, whether because of the weaknesses and flaws inherent in the round robin format or because sometimes it just happens that way. The strength of the ATP is so concentrated in its elite players that even among the top eight, a natural division has quickly emerged between the best and the rest. Three semi-finalists have already been settled, with the fourth to be determined by tonight's clash.

Surely this one won't disappoint. Two players from whom one never knows quite what to expect; Novak Djokovic, an unpredictable firecracker, prone to lapses of concentration and bizarre physical reversals, and Roddick, the workhorse who can be relied upon to give his all, but whose game can run the gamut from almost unbeatable to ineffectual.

Their head-to-head is 5-2 in Roddick's favour, which in theory looks one-sided, but most of those wins have come for the American during Djokovic's prolonged slump. I understand it's strange to use the word to describe the progress of a consistent trophy-lifter who has been, during his 'decline', as high as no. 2 in the world. But since Wimbledon 2008, Djokovic's game has touched for periods on every variant of toothless. His serve has been broken down and rebuilt, he's visibly struggled for confidence. He's often looked like a shadow of the cocky upstart who barged on to a world stage dominated by Federer and Nadal and demanded that they yield the floor.

But all of that has seemed like ancient history since Djokovic's September resurgence in New York, wher he defeated Federer and stretched Nadal in the final of the US Open. Surely this time he can take it to Roddick.

An extra frisson is added by the fact that at times these two don't seem to like each other very much. Whatever latent animosity exist came to the fore following Djokovic's last victory over Roddick at the 2008 US Open, when the Serb's attempts to retaliate against Roddick's mockery saw him booed by the New York crowds. That the spat was public seems inevitable, as both have well-deserved reputations for being entertainers, earned with Djokovic's impersonations and willingness to make fun of himself, Andy Roddick's sardonic wit in press conferences and on chat shows. They're frequently referred to as 'characters', actively seeking to be larger than life.

One thing that doesn't disappoint is Djokovic's entrance. Aware of the fact that the abiding impression he has made this week came when contact lens problems derailed what promised to be a classic encounter with Nadal, he takes the court accessorizing his grave expression with a rakish black eye patch. Solemnly letting the small mascot lead him to his chair, he fits the eyepatch on to her head and sends her on her way. It's possible to read the stunt as a plea for affection, but the twitch of his lips, betraying his own enjoyment, suggests that in the final analysis he did it because he knew he would relish the joke more than anyone. It's a generous piece of slapstick, and the crowd love it. It's hard to imagine Roddick doing the same thing.

There's an odd, tense atmosphere. The crowd are more well-oiled than usual, enthusiastic but ragged, with no consensus favorite. Someone yells out during Djokovic's service motion and is roundly tutted for his pains. On the evidence of the first few games, it's going to be a proper tussle - maybe not in terms of quality of tennis, but it promises to be a prolonged bout of psychological grappling. Roddick pushes from the baseline, mixing up spins and pace, giving the Serb all the rope he needs to hang himself. It works; the rallies end more often than not with an error from Djokovic. Seduced into these circuitous exchanges, Djokovic's aggressive instincts seem to desert him. It's puzzling;  how can Djokovic be out-defended when he's so much better at it? The simple answer is that Roddick seems to bring out the worst in Djokovic.

But Djokovic has come a long way. He rapidly gathers himself and finds purpose and aggression. As soon as he starts hitting forehands moving forward into the court, everything is different. You expect Roddick to hold his ground, but as soon as he meets with resistance, he crumbles, giving up the first service break with a backhand slice that drifts wide. He holds the next game, but cannot find the wherewithal to finish points. At one point, he was obliged to wait for Djokovic's third defensive, desperate lob to get the miss. Roddick gives up the set - and I do mean gives up - with another unforced error long over the baseline, and we plunge deep into the realms of the anti-climactic.

Djokovic has qualified for the semi-finals, and he knows it. All that is left on the line for the American is pride. It seems like that should be enough, but he still cannot capitalise on the momentary lack of attention with which Djokovic starts the second set. In fact, it's the American who is lacking in intensity. The usual audible heavy breathing, the huffing and puffing like a steam engine which seems to get him around the court, is absent. After a failed Hawkeye challenge, Roddick stares at the umpire with obvious displeasure. The crowd cheers, hoping for Roddick to shed his patience and get fired up. But his unbelievably passive play continues. Roddick has had his health issues this year, but this seems almost a trend, and it's worrying. How can such an energetic and forceful person play so timidly?

One could also ask how someone as complex as Djokovic, with all the faults and fissures of his past, can play a game so miraculously smooth? I could watch him hit all night, not that Roddick seems likely to enable it. I've been searching for an image that describes the flight of his groundstrokes, when it comes to me; the limpid parabola of a stone skimmed across water. There's so much talent evident in every stroke. It's exciting to watch, simply because we don't know yet how his week, his year, his career, will turn out.

Roddick, it is plain, has no surprises left. He makes a gallant last stand to hold his final service game, but succumbs on yet another unforced error long over the baseline. He leaves London with no wins, but the crowd cheer him out of the arena with an affection that clearly demonstrates that Roddick is best-liked these days as a plucky loser.

Djokovic stays to chat, joking with the crowd, friendly and adrenaline-drunk. He's twenty-three years old and has proved he has the ability to stay in the mix; he has unnumbered chances left to shape the rest of his story. Roddick's opportunities are growing few and far between; his time in London has already run out.   


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Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:07 PM

CL May I offer you a drink?

My bar is still open and fully stocked?

Posted by Master Ace 11/27/2010 at 02:10 PM

Sunday Order of Play from London:

Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski or Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic at 10:30 AM
Rafael Nadal(71-9; 11-4) vs Novak Djokovic(59-17; 4-7) or Roger Federer(63-13; 14-6) at 12:30 PM

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:10 PM

imjimmy I think you and I said the other day.When Rafa is playing well with the f/hand his b/.hand goes into hiding? or sometimes I feel he hasnt got the confidence in the b/hand? I agree that AO09 final that B/hand was lethal.

Posted by Federax 11/27/2010 at 02:13 PM

How can Federer be the favourite when you have a clear number 1 in Nadal having the best year of his career? It boggles my mind when Nadal fans use the same rhetoric as their idol to deflect pressure or something, I don't know. He is number 1 therefore he's the favourite. Listening to Nadal fans (and many journalists, unfortunately) you would think the winner of 9 GS is an eternal underdog. Are you kidding me?

Posted by wilson75 11/27/2010 at 02:17 PM

Just to add to the discussion on the future location of WTF. Apparently the contract with the O2 is for 5 years, so it's in London until 2014.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:18 PM

May I also say when a player is using a lot of mental energy on a court that sometimes "zaps" and sucks out his physical energy on a court.My obervations with players over the years.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 02:19 PM

AM - little early for me...as of yet...it may come to that though, so keep the bar in stand by mode.

The funny thing about the BG/Murray dynamic is that now that he is not coaching him, Beej is Muzz's biggest booster..didn't he pick Muzz to win the whole thing? And after Muzz lost to Fed, BG was as full of excuses as the average fan here when one of their favs loses.

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 02:24 PM

Had to step out for a while.
NP and Ladyjulia,
I saw your comments to me and pretty much agree with everything you both said.

I still believe Murray can benefit from a coach and not necessarily to do with the technical aspects of the game.
I believe both he and Nole have what it takes to win a slam in 2011 but will they?

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 02:25 PM

AM,
I see you survived your boy's latest drama :)

Half an hour till Fed's match so I'll get some things done around here before that. Hope it's another exciting match.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:26 PM

x fan

The point is are they any decent coaches available to coach Murray at this stage? I agree he dosent need a coach for the technical side Murray to me has a good tennis brain.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:28 PM

x fan

Just another day at the office for me.I knew this would be a tough encounter and I also know Rafa wants this win in London like no other.I think he showed that very point today in his win.

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 02:30 PM

AM,
Agreed. Easier said than done finding a good coach at this moment in time.
I still think he needs someone not named Corretja (no offense)

You're a tough lady if that was another day at the office :) But yes, Rafa seems intent to win this tourney. We gonna see tomorrow, no?

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/27/2010 at 02:30 PM

AM & others, I'm sure no authority on this question, and like I said, Murray seems to enjoy the team format. Maybe going without a head coach works for very experienced players, for periods of time, but while your career is still on the ascent I would think it would be helpful to have someone in that role. I posted a link a couple of days ago about Murray seeking counsel from Tim Henman, who he feels is not interested in lots of travel at this point. If nothing else, Henman can advise him on dealing with the British press. = )

CL, thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving menu -- wow, what a feast. Is CL an abbreviations for Coeliac? Lots of GF items on your menu!

Posted by Fern 11/27/2010 at 02:33 PM

@Wilson75
5 years? Thanks - that's brilliant news for me. I think they're already putting out a ticket issue in early December, so going to get in early for next year...

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:33 PM

x fan

I think Alex is just for the clay tournaments for Murray.Hell he needs one lol!

I will never write off Rafa especially in Big points and big matches

Posted by deeps 11/27/2010 at 02:38 PM

imjimmy, AM,
I think he made a conscious choice this year to work on his serve + forehand. Because as much as his b/h rocks, his forehand is the cornerstone of his game and it went completely AWOL the end of last year. I don't expect AO 09 levels for his b/h except for the occasional match. But for a lot of this year, like the Baghdatis match at Cincy, he seemed to be able to barely put the ball back in play with that wing. He needs to be able to hit at least a decent rally shot consistently from that wing.

I have no clue about tomorrow's match. Rafa looked extremely tired today. And he has been relatively inconsistent this tournament especially on serve. And both Nole and Fed are playing extremely well.He seems to be able to bring it for finals this year whatever happens before that. But whatever happens tomorrow, winning today means the year ends on a high. More importantly he has proven he can take breaks, take care of his body and still play at a relatively high level.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:39 PM

Holds To Love

I too think Murray needs a coach travelling with him.You can always get advice off others etc.I still feel Muzz dosent play those Big Points well.yes he can win in a 3 set format we have all seen that.Playing a GS tournament for 2 weeks and pacing yourself.Then getting to a final twice he has come unstuck big time.He has to go back and study those matches and see where he has gone wrong.I also dont like his mental strength either.After losing to Roger this year it has taken him sometime to get back and focus? hmmm to me not a good sign at all.You have to be able to pick your self up from defeat asap.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 02:42 PM

Holds2Love - nope...it is actually my husband who is gluten intolerant. (But in every other way is VERY tolerant and a fine person! ;-))

The CL stands for Cabbage Leaf - when I was growing up I had ZERO interest or knowledge re tennis - thought it was for rich people and/or wusses. But then one day in the **gulp** late '60s or '70s, there was this match I saw on television - on PBS of all places. It was Rod Laver vs. somebody. I could tell that this Laver guy was pretty good, but pretty good at what, I had no idea. I had no clue about any of it...didn't under stand the scoring, the weird math lapses...and if you don't even know that the server's score is always given first, it can make sussing things out very difficult. Anyway, I was just about to turn it off when Bud Collins, (Yup that Bud Collins), who was doing the play by play AND color commentary, mentioned in passing that sometimes when it got REALLY hot in Australia the players would put cabbage leaves under their hats to help cool them off. Well, my little ears pricked right up at that. I figured any sport where the players used vegetables as a cooling device, was worth investigating further. And I have been hooked ever since. :-)

Sorry to be so long winded - trying to distract myself from FedFrazzle...

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 02:44 PM

Muzz is an alsoran, he lets the moonpies sit there, midcourt, and puffs topspin back, to keep the rally going...the whole reason Del po and Davyd beat Nadal is they punihs those balls, Murray is still too passive, and I still say these matches are marathons, more than shotmaking contests, Nads' moonpies would drive anyone nuts after while to just hit the damn ball out and get off the court, he's infuriating to watcha nd Im sure to play against ...

boo hiss...fun second set when Murray acutally HIT the ball but he's a mental midget ..

the only upside is, Nads has nowhere to go but down, and his reign will hopefully be short or the presss will get tired of him and start picking away as they do with Fred ...

and maybe some of his fans will stop treating him like a 12 year old who needs his cookies and warm blanket, we can only hope ...

funny how those knees are holding up, huh? how does a careeer threatening, headline grabbing 'injry' suddenly just disappear?? amazing...

Posted by deeps 11/27/2010 at 02:45 PM

To be fair, Murray has done a good job of rebounding from the Federer defeat this tournament. The guy's biggest problem is his inability to call on a first serve when the pressure is on. It hurt him in the Wimby tie break and it hurt him in both tie breaks today. That first serve needs to be consistently around the 60% mark.

And he definitely needs a coach. But is Murray ready for a coach like Cahill or Stefanki? Can he let the coach take the lead? Murray seems to want to figure out things for himself.

Posted by tennis express 11/27/2010 at 02:46 PM

Amazing indeed Tim...

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 02:46 PM

CL,
Cool story and yes that Laver guy was good :)

I was going to tell you that I think Fed is going to win but then I thought Murray was going to win too... At least I got my semifinalist right and I somehow knew Soderling wasn't going to be one of them.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 02:46 PM

what a fighter he is.

oh can we give that a rest please?? pretty please? what top tennis player gets to the top 10 wihtout being a fighter?

nads' storylines are in bad need of a rewrite ...

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:46 PM

Tim

Indeed Rafa is "amazing" in all areas

I am glad you can finally see that in him

By the way long may he Reign.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 02:48 PM

ho hum, all quiet before the moment of truth. Will Fedal final happen? BTW, I can relax a little more now since I have more faith in the old man than Rafa. That Rafa thing was a titanic struggle for me due to his puny serve. When you have serve like Fed, it's much more easy ride for the most part. A break point? Unreturnable serve. 15-40? take TWO Unreturnable serves! That never happens with that Rafa kid. Therefore I can take very competitive match between Fed-Djoker and not as nervous.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:49 PM

deeps lol! what about the rest of the year with Muzz? come on now

I was talking about January this year.Like how long did it take him to come back?

Posted by Kwaku 11/27/2010 at 02:49 PM

I would not write Rafa off tomorrow, though it looked scary with Murray today.

Murray is a very bad matchup for Rafa on hard, even if worse than Nole in general (i.e. against the field).

Nole is a relatively bad matchup for Rafa on hard, even if worse than Fed in general (i.e. against the field).

Fed is a good matchup for Rafa in general, even if the best of the three by far.

So Rafa could beat Nole tomorrow because he is not so bad a matchup as Murray (and he beat him yesterday, contacts or not), or beat Federer because of matchup (even if he is the best).

So I won't write him off.
But difficult, yes, hugely will it be.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 02:50 PM

I still think that the best coach for Muzz is he electro shock collar programmed to go off whenever he tries a DS. It seems to me that Muzz is both smart and stubborn - tough to coach I would think. Fed is the same but seems a bit more flexible and quite adept at getting what he needs at the time from any coach he has. Hopefully, that will continue with PA.

It was interesting..during the match my commies were talking about how Muzz took himself off to Barcelona at age 15 to train there. And that is where, and why, he learned to play these sort of complicated clay court type points. Which are less about over powering an opponent and more about court positioning and angles. It helped Muzz at the time, because he didn't have the power to really be able to hit people off the court. But what they didn't deal with is, why then, should Muzz be such a relatively ineffective clay court player? And now that he has gotten bigger and a lot stronger, how to incorporate that power into his game. He did at times today and when he pulled the trigger it was pretty amazing to see. But he can't seem to do it on a consistent enough basis either match to match or sometimes game to game.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 02:51 PM

its funny how some nads fans constantly beat the drum of the head to head an d how Rafa is so much better, but before their matches, Roger's always the favorite!!

im telling you, its genius LOL! how can you win everythign in sight and dominate head to heads, and yet basically always be the underdog??

fascinating stuff...

I have a feeling Djoker might pull a fast one again, and then, tank it tomorrow if he loses the first set, and get to Davis Cup, satisfied...

again, Murray left WAY too many moonpies unpunished... for now, i just see 2011 being a replay of this year, i dont see anyone with the willingness to play aggressively enough to take charge..

Del Po i believe might be through, there's still big trouble with the wrist, I fear...

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 02:51 PM

To me Murray dosent play the Big Points well in a tight match

I stand by that and I see that with him time and time again.

Gosh he had chances in that t/break with Roger in the AO this year.I was there live and he blew them

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny server Rafa fan 11/27/2010 at 02:52 PM

Eh, stupid double match is still going on, so there will be delay before 2nd SF. Actually the delay could be as brief as 10-15 min since it may be over in a minute or two.

Posted by CL 11/27/2010 at 02:52 PM

"Butt difficult, yes, hugely will it be."

Kwaku - that is positively Yoda-esque! I LOVE it. :-)

Posted by TripleF(FedFanForever): Girding up! Fedal in sight. Yikes! 11/27/2010 at 02:53 PM

Watching Chris Farley SNL special on VH1. Someways to reduce the frazzle!

This afternoon is going to be intense and tomorrow, if Fedal, is going to be brutal. Not sure what to do!

Sam Smith's Oat Meal Stout one of the near-perfect beers.
The other could be St.Bernardus Abt 12!

What's your favorite beer?

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 02:53 PM

i still think its hilarious also when Federer was winning evewrythig how 'boring' it was, and now that is Nads, it's 'amazing' ...

LOL! you cant make this up kids ... and i havent sensed our might bloggers being bored yet, goodness knows Pete was bored silly after ever Fred Slam win ...

Posted by TripleF(FedFanForever): Girding up! Fedal in sight. Yikes! 11/27/2010 at 02:59 PM

The doubles need to end first. Hope Bhu/Mir score the next 3 points.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 03:00 PM

The doubles is still going on?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:00 PM

Well good luck to both Roger and Novak

I hope this will be a good competitve match

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:02 PM

deeps, yeah. Expanding on the same theme, I should perhaps note that there are several different types of mental strength. Some people like to put down Borg's qualifications as a mentally tough player on the sole basis that he quit the game prematurely, but that's only one type of mental strength, one that applies to the player's career outlook as a whole. Borg was in fact more match-tough than anyone in the Open era, if not ever; for proof one can look at his phenomenal win-loss record in 5-setters and his lack of a single losing H2H against top players. And when you consider the facts that they played significantly more matches than their successors do today, and that Borg arguably faced the most public pressure and scrutiny than any other tennis figure has before or since, his "premature" departure doesn't feel like such a blemish after all.

But I digress. What Borg, Sampras, Federer and other GOATs have in common is the ability to find an extra gear in pressure-filled situations, that ability to be clutch when it's needed most. Notable examples include Pete making an incredibly risky but timely approach--on a MP(!) at that--and making a lunging stab volley off a well-executed CC PS by Corretja in the 5th-set TB of their '96 famous USO encounter, and Fed successfully blasting that now-legendary I-O FH against Hass at the '09 FO which may well have been the shot that ultimately won his elusive RG title. You can't teach stuff like this. Whatever it's called, be it mental strength, championship mentality or whatnot, these players had/have it.

That said, where I do think Fed falls a tad short of some of his fellow GOATs, and players of a less caliber such as Chang, Muster and Hewitt, is in tense, protracted matches where his opponent didn't budge and he seemed to all but throw in the towel. We saw this, to name a few examples, not only in the '09 AO and USO finals but also in a relatively short 3-setter against Murray that same year at Doha. (That latter performance drew harsh responses even from some Fed KADs in this forum.) Though, to be fair, I do think he has been no less than exemplary in his efforts at Wimbledon, which should tell you how much this championship means to him (but even here one should take note of the rain-delay in the '08 final, and while the next year's final was just as tense on paper, I never felt during this match that Roddick was in control of the match, which wasn't the case with Rafa in the '08 final).

Anyway I rambled too much. Back to regular programming.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:02 PM

Robbie was just saying the match will be on in the next 10 mins or soo due to the doubles match

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/27/2010 at 03:03 PM

Ruth 11/27/2010 at 01:41 PM

Nadal is one of those players (Serena is another) that you can always think or hope or expect to be able to pull themselves out of a deep hole in a match. But any fan/admirer of Nadal who did not think that, after those 3 stragiht breaks of serve, he just might have been a goner today must be absolutely crazy -- or have more faith than the average fan.
-------------------

Ruth, my dear, I'll own up to being absolutely crazy - and also having more faith than the average fan. Seles always stood out to me as a player who'd fight back through multiple set points and match points to win, only Serena and Nadal can compare.

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 03:03 PM

The doubles just ended. Bhupathi and Mirnyi won 6-4, 6-4

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/27/2010 at 03:04 PM

I hope that this match will be as exciting as the first semi and may the best man win.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/27/2010 at 03:04 PM

CL, lovely story about falling in love with tennis. vegetables as a cooling device... delightful.

AM, you raise good points. If Murray were to have a breakthrough and win his first major, it might be different, although Djokovich as exhibit A, suggests otherwise. As you say, so much of it is psychological. CL, this relates to your "smart and stubborn" point a bit. I went to a talk by Roberto Forzoni, then the LTA's sports psychologist, a couple of years ago. He was speaking generally, but he did talk about traveling with Murray. The details are fuzzy, but I remember before a match he asked Murray about his game plan and the Scot replied that we was going to win in straight sets. Forzoni said, that confidence is great, but what if you don't? And Murray replied that he was going to win in straight sets. So Forzoni felt at that time it was important to work with him on adapting to the situation, staying mentally flexible so you don't get completely de-railed when things don't go your way. Obviously he was a much less-experienced player at the time, but it underscored the need for even top professionals to have advisors. I think for the most elite players, like the matches themselves, it's all about the matchup. So it can be quite difficult to find the right person for the job, even if you're hiring.

Posted by thebigapple 11/27/2010 at 03:04 PM

Come on, people. Where are the combatants?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:07 PM

The doubles play has halted the singles match to be on time

Robbie just said another 10 mins

Posted by AO OPEN 11/27/2010 at 03:08 PM

Ajde Djoko!!!

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:11 PM

"I saw your comments to me and pretty much agree with everything you both said."

x-fan, good to know.

Posted by izidane-It's t-shirt tyyyyyyyyyme! Nole face/hawk shirt on. 11/27/2010 at 03:11 PM

*emerges from my zen state* Oookay, boys..bring it! Ready as I'll ever be.

TripleF- I might need a van down by the river after this. That guy was something.

Posted by lightforce 11/27/2010 at 03:12 PM

Tim is upset that Rafa won.

Come on, don't you want Roger to meet Rafa. Hope Fed doesn't tank this though.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:13 PM

Both players are coming on court now

Posted by Federax 11/27/2010 at 03:13 PM

Tim (and moonpies indeed leave to violence!): agree with everything you said (even mentioned his eternal underdog status a couple posts before you :).

The Nadal "double speak" that his fans (and - amazingly - journalists too!) embrace is offensive and ridiculous. You'd think writers would know better but they keep rehashing the same tired narrative every damn tournament!

And, by the way, you know that if Nadal loses tomorrow it's gonna be because of his "epic" marathon against Murray the day before (or because of a tweak in his "incredibly damaged" knees). You see, even when the guy loses, it's always because of reasons beyond his control. You'd hope that the dominant player in a sport would accept his role head on.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/27/2010 at 03:15 PM

ahem, typo upthread. the Scot replied, HE was going to win in straight sets (not WE was going to win in straight sets). He has mastered simple subject-verb agreement as far as I know, and does not need a coach for that. ;-)

Posted by Rebecca 11/27/2010 at 03:15 PM

Uhm, is there no atdhe stream for the Fed-Djoko match? Can anyone help me out here?

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/27/2010 at 03:16 PM

ahem, typo upthread. the Scot replied, HE was going to win in straight sets (not WE was going to win in straight sets). He has mastered simple subject-verb agreement as far as I know, and does not need a grammar coach. ;-)

Posted by TripleF(FedFanForever): Girding up! Fedal in sight. Yikes! 11/27/2010 at 03:17 PM

Fedal war smokes are already out...hayayayayayaay!

izidane
Yep. Watching Farley again...he was such underrated actor. folks like and remember his body language (and they were exceptional) and slapstick...but he is such a good actor.

Frazzle time!

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/27/2010 at 03:18 PM

sorry for double post and now for our regularly scheduled programming...

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:18 PM

The ESPN3 stream is still available for American viewers (with a participating ISP).

Posted by zenggi 11/27/2010 at 03:22 PM

Players on court. No pirate patch today. Dissapointing, Nole! :)


Posted by lightforce 11/27/2010 at 03:22 PM

"And, by the way, you know that if Nadal loses tomorrow it's gonna be because of his "epic" marathon against Murray the day before (or because of a tweak in his "incredibly damaged" knees)."

Federax,
and if he wins, will you be just man enough and humble enough to congratulate and be happy for the Rafa fans and be quiet with it ?

Posted by zenggi 11/27/2010 at 03:25 PM

NP,
Can you watch this match on TV?

Roger to serve. Here we go.

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 03:27 PM

Here we go!
I had no horse in the first semi but now I have two in this one.
One my top fave, the other my pick for this tournament (ladyjulia, you around?)

Easy hold for Feddy

Posted by zenggi 11/27/2010 at 03:27 PM

Love game for Roger. Nole to serve.

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:28 PM

zenggi, I'm watching it on ESPN3, the online "channel" of ESPN. It's free to any1 with a participating ISP.

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 03:29 PM

Is it on my end or typepad is acting up? My posts are taking long to show

Posted by zenggi 11/27/2010 at 03:29 PM

Glad to hear that your troubles are over, NP.

Posted by dizzy 11/27/2010 at 03:30 PM

link to live broadcast?

Posted by Rebecca 11/27/2010 at 03:30 PM

Ugh, it figures that Time Warner Cable internet is the only one with exceptions, and I don't have my account information with me to log in and verify :(

I did find a stream, but it's soundless. Then again, that might be a good thing with the commentators...

Posted by zenggi 11/27/2010 at 03:32 PM

NP,
Can you watch this match on TV?

Roger to serve. Here we go.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 03:33 PM

xfan...just started espn3...i see Fed is up 2-0..

Posted by lightforce 11/27/2010 at 03:33 PM

If Djoker loses this one, hope he'll win the Davis Cup for his country.

Posted by zenggi 11/27/2010 at 03:33 PM

4 DS in 2 and a half games. Good hands, Roger!.

Typepad is slooooooow!

Posted by izidane-It's t-shirt tyyyyyyyyyme! Nole face/hawk shirt on. 11/27/2010 at 03:34 PM

Ouch Nole, no!

Ajde, regroup. Roger's looking good.

Posted by thebigapple 11/27/2010 at 03:34 PM

How did the Fed go from no coach to having 2 coaches?

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:34 PM

Djoko the dumbass not only DFs on a BP, but then wastes a challenge on Fed's ace on the next pt which was obviously in. The Fedal final is looking very likely atm.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 03:35 PM

Djokovic is trying to be aggressive..but luck's not on his side it seems.

Posted by Rebecca 11/27/2010 at 03:35 PM

Yikes 0-3 for Nole.

http://www.justin.tv/sport2764#

It's a soundless stream though.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 03:35 PM

when Fred is on he's just so unbelievably good and full of surprises its ... what is it?

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:36 PM

And Nole flubs a putaway volley. So the world's No. 3 and 4 remain major dumbasses.

zenggi, no. Again ESPN3 is an online channel.

Posted by imjimmy 11/27/2010 at 03:37 PM

Fed's destroying Djokovic. He leads 3-0 with a break. This one might be over quickly.

On an unrelated note, the sitter dumped volley by Djokovic is why I despair the volleying skills of the ATP. An absolute disaster by Djokovic on a pt that he should have won. 15 years ago, any top 100 ATP player would have made that volley with one leg, one arm and one eye..

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 03:38 PM

Fed's moving pretty well...and sharp...

Nole needs an extra gear..he can forget about winning otherwise.

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:39 PM

zenggi, looks like that last comment of yours was a double. Gotcha.

Posted by Rebecca 11/27/2010 at 03:40 PM

Wow, I'm just hoping Nole gets on the scoreboard for this first set, the way things have been going...

Posted by zenggi 11/27/2010 at 03:40 PM

Live streams:
http://www.livescorehunter.com/Livescores/Livescore-Tennis.html
http://www.fromsport.com/c-4.html


Roger 3-0. Novak serving.

Typepad is acting again. I won't try to post for a while.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 03:41 PM

Wht did Nole say to the heavens?

and typepad FAIL

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:41 PM

Nole no use putting your hands in the air till you actually win this game

You are chanelling wrong thoughts up to the other end

Come on just focus

Posted by crazyone 11/27/2010 at 03:42 PM

that DTL backhand was awesome.

Posted by Rebecca 11/27/2010 at 03:43 PM

He held! Finally.

Posted by crazyone 11/27/2010 at 03:43 PM

that DTL backhand was awesome.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/27/2010 at 03:43 PM

Wht did Nole say to the heavens?

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:43 PM

"On an unrelated note, the sitter dumped volley by Djokovic is why I despair the volleying skills of the ATP. An absolute disaster by Djokovic on a pt that he should have won. 15 years ago, any top 100 ATP player would have made that volley with one leg, one arm and one eye."

imjimmy, that's why Nole's a dumbass.

Posted by imjimmy 11/27/2010 at 03:43 PM

Djokovic's reaction says it all. He wins an extended rally and then holds his hands up in the air mockingly. The Djoker can't be more circumspect with his emotions, and it puts him down pyschologically even more.

Fed's been sublime so far, sending a CLEAR message to everyone, Nadal included.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:43 PM

Bad luck Nole you were too late with that shot

Posted by NP 11/27/2010 at 03:44 PM

"On an unrelated note, the sitter dumped volley by Djokovic is why I despair the volleying skills of the ATP. An absolute disaster by Djokovic on a pt that he should have won. 15 years ago, any top 100 ATP player would have made that volley with one leg, one arm and one eye."

imjimmy, that's why Nole's a dumbass.

Nooe needs to slow down. He's letting Fed dictate points. Mix it up.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:44 PM

Thats the way Nole use that angle to move Roger out of court

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 03:45 PM

Ladyjulia,
Not bad so far :)
Fed is playing pretty well.

I'm having endless problems with this site.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/27/2010 at 03:45 PM

federax, exactly... if Fed wins it will be dismsissed as nothing, a non event, if Rafa wins, he 'owns' Federer even more... its a truly baffling storyline that I partially blame on the media, who should be more professionally diligent in finding new ways to report on the sport

my goodness Federer as a ballstriker and shotmaker is just a marvel when he's on...

Posted by Ruth 11/27/2010 at 03:46 PM

++Federax,
and if he wins, will you be just man enough and humble enough to congratulate and be happy for the Rafa fans and be quiet with it ?++ (lightforce)

Dream on, lightforce. :)

tina (re yours @ 3:03): I'll buy some of that craziness and faith from you for use, perhaps, if/when Serena returns and is down a set and a break to whoever! LOL

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:46 PM

NP Agree Nole is rushing too much

Posted by x-fan 11/27/2010 at 03:46 PM

Nole is starting to find some rhythm.
This could get interesting.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/27/2010 at 03:47 PM

Nole keep moving Roger to his f/hand wing he dosent defend that well there

Also slow down have you a hot date?

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