Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fed Continues Mastery of Roddick, Williams Sisters Semi-Final Set

Business as usual.

Slice it any way you want to slice it, but in the end this is a story about utter domination: Always has been, probably always will be.

End of Story, right?

Apparently not. Wednesday nights match in Miami between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick turned out to be a nail biter until the bitter end.

It started innocently, as Roddick lost the first set quickly, but the laser-serving American battled in the 2nd and finally earned a chance to break his long-time nemesis. In that crucial 7th game of the 2nd set, Roddick got a gift: Federer double-faulted on break point and Roddick took the set before Roger could recover.

WTF, said the Twittering texters.

Then Roddick found himself holding 2 break points @ 3-3 in the final set. Improbable, but true! A clear shot at redemption for Captain America a.k.a. Andy Roddick: here was a golden opportunity to snatch a victory from the hands of his long-time abuser.

It was not to be. The opening slammed shut on Andy before he could tighten his grip on the match. Roddick's break point opportunities in the 3rd set evaporated; they became a mere segue to yet another clutch victory from Federer, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Djokovic advances to Semifinal: Now we are left to ponder the implications of a Djokovic-Federer Semifinal. The 21-year-old Serbian steered his way to a decisive victory, a convincing straight set triumph over his personal nemesis, J0-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

The triumph helps Djokovic in his battle for ATP rankings points with upwardly mobile Andy Murray. Novak is currently fighting to avoid a drop to # 4 in the world for the first time since Aug 6, 2007. Questions have recently surfaced regarding the fire in Novak's belly: it's been over a year since his one-and-only Grand-Slam crown, and he's struggling, it seems, to find inspiration.

There wasn't much to question about his convincing effort today.

Novak served big (no breaks yielded) and he attacked Tsonga's 2nd serve with remarkable efficiency. The Serb won 61% of the points against Tsonga's 2nd serve, which is double what Tsonga did to him (34%). The 6-3, 6-4 victory encourages us remember how dangerous Djokovic can be when he is playing with a chip on his shoulder.

Djokovic, Nadal, and Del Potro are the only men who have not lost a set in Miami.

Breaking the Chain: The straight set victory against Tsonga was Novak's first in 5 tries dating back to his Australian Open title.

Quotable: "I don't know, really. I mean, look, I've had time warnings in the past. I'm not saying that I will not have more. If they give me time warning with a reason, if they, you know, let me know that I am slow and everything and then give me warning, I have no problems with it. I will accept it as, you know, something which is rule."

Novak Djokovic, while answering what were, IMHO, annoying questions from the media at the post-match press conference.

Sister Act: On the woman's half of the ticket, it was business as usual for the William's sisters.

But it wasn't all roses. Serena led off the day by losing the first 5 games of her match against the salty veteran, Li Na of China. Li held on for the 1st set, but only after a disconcerting last-second meeting with her coach/husband and some very shaky moments on the court.

At the end of the 2nd set, the real Serena (the one that mows people down in majors) still hadn't appeared. But that would change. The 5-time Miami champion finally decided to make her presence felt as the 2nd set tiebreak began. 8 points later, Serena had the set, and the momentum.

She never looked back, and the 2:08 affair ended without drama, 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-2.

In the other half of the all-Williams QF's, Big 'Sis Venus took care of #26 seed Iveta Benesova, pretty much dominating save for one 3-game hiccup to start the 2nd set. The hiccup raised a few eyebrows, but in the end it was dismissed as something that really didn't matter much. What did matter was that Venus claimed her spot next to Serena in the Semis, with an ace count of 8 and the usual bevy of winners.


Thanks for reading!

The Fan Child


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