Thursday, June 4, 2009

RG Catching Up - Anyone think there could be one more upset?!

Okay am finally back. There are several reasons why I have posted 'nada' in over a week but that’s not important now. I’ll do my best to highlight what’s been happening in Paris, cuz am sure you all know, A LOT has been happening, including a certain tragedy I have been avoiding to face let alone, discuss.

What’s happened so far at the French Bizzare-O Open?

The Curse

You know in the movie Final Destination when certain people were dying with a certain sequence?! That’s how I felt when I was watching the French Open this past week. The first on the target list was 4th-ranked Novak Djokovic, who suffered a straight sets upset to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round. Djokovic, who was the second best player on clay this season, who we all thought would face Rafa in the final, and who some even believed could win this tournament (certainly not me), lost in the third round!!! That day, that loss was described as the upset of the tournament. A statement that was immediately refuted the next day, as the curse continued to target the world’s top 4.

Just like that, Sweden’s back on the tennis map, and it’s taking a rather vicious stance too!!

Sweden’s Robin Soderling, who seemed to be on a special save-Borg’s-record mission, handed Rafael Nadal his first ever defeat at the French Open (dating back to 2005 when he made his debut), as he eliminated the world number one in 4 sets in the fourth round, to deny the Spaniard a record-breaking 5th consecutive Roland Garros title.

The 23rd seed then moved on to oust Nikolay Davydenko in straights and is now 1 win away from his first ever Grand Slam final. I was shocked when Soderling beat David Ferrer in the third round; now he’s in the semis. I doubt anyone could have seen that one coming.

Gonzalez hitting like I’ve never seen before

Soderling’s next opponent is rather ruthless himself; Fernando Gonzalez, who taught Andy Murray (no. 3 on the curse’s target list) a lesson on clay, as he blasted his forehand at every possible chance. I can safely say that Gonzalez hit the ball against Murray, stronger than I have ever seen. It was scary from where I was at, on my couch, in Cairo. Imagine how Murray felt across the net from that blazing Chilean. Poor Andy!!! The Soderling-Gonzalez semifinal should be a bloodbath if both players take the form they’ve shown so far, with them into the match.

Federer narrowly escapes the curse

After Djokovic and Rafa lost on back-to-back days, imagine how everyone reacted the following day when world number 2, Roger Federer, was down two sets and was facing a break point in the third during his fourth round match against Tommy Haas. Murray had not lost yet, but I was starting to think that there was actually a chance that the semis in Roland Garros this year could be top-4 free. Federer however pulled out the 13-Slam experience card while Haas decided that winning 2 sets was enough for the day, allowing the Swiss to rally back and win the match in 5.

The important piece of information about Federer now is that he has managed to reach 20 straight Grand Slam semifinals. Not much to say after a stat like that!

Karlovic number 2 on the aces leader board

26th seed, Ivo Karlovic, lost in the first round to Lleyton Hewitt, yet somehow the record-breaking number of aces he fired in that match, has him at number 2 in the aces leader list, although we are now in the semis. It took Roger Federer 5 matches to edge past Karlovic with 59 aces to the Croat’s 55, while Karlovic needed just 1 match to tally up that record. That’s insane!!!

Monfils made the quarters?!?!

Why is no one else wondering how Gael Monfils made it farther in the draw than Rafa, Djokovic and Verdasco, to name a few?! The Frenchman, who reached the semis last year, was reported to be injured and if I remember correctly, right before the first round, he said he will play through the pain and try to get through his first match. Somehow he reached the quarters (beating Roddick en route), where he gave Federer a tough time in the first set, forcing a breaker, before he fell to the Swiss star in straights. Was he really injured or was that some sort of scheme to take the Parisian pressure of his back?!

Impressive Del Potro takes out Tsonga

Juan Martin Del Potro’s path to his first Grand Slam semifinal has been filled with impeccable wins. His route included victories over Frenchman, Michael Llodra, Viktor Troicki, Igor Andreev, another home favorite, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Tommy Robredo. Too bad his next opponent is Federer, a player he has never beaten in 5 previous attempts. Anyone think this tournament still has room for one more upset?!?! I don’t think so…

That’s enough for now. I’ll do my best to do some more catching up later. In the meantime, tell me your picks for the semis tomorrow. The first match will be Gonzalez and Soderling (Gonzo leads 4-3, won last straight 4) at 1pm Paris time (2pm Cairo time), followed by Federer and Del Potro (Fed leads 5-0).


Charlie said...

Hi Reem.
Welcome back.
You got us worried there for a while.
But I figured you were suffering from post Rafa loss depression.
I think the Soderling Gonzalez match will be a tough one to call. Like you said Gonzalez is scary, Soderling is vicious. But I'll go with Gonzalez. He has more experience. He reached the Australian Open final before afterall.
Of course Federer will beat Del Potro. Maybe in three sets too.
Good to have you back.

Mario said...

I want an all South American final. Gonzo-Del Potro babyyyy

Suzy said...

I wish Del Potro can be in the final but I know Federer will win Roland Garos this year. Soderling is winning against Gonzo now in the 1st set. I think he will win.

Reem said...

@Charlie: Thanks man, it's good to be back. Can't believe all this happened. Am still heartbroken over Rafa :( Soderling is really focused now. He's giving Gonzo a hard time and is up a set. But a 5-set match is a long time to stay focused. We'll have to wait and see if he'll have the mental strength to pull it off.

@Mario: That would be interesting if Gonzo and JMDP make the final. I certainly wouldn't mind.

@Suzy: Yes, I think Federer will win this whole thing too. But I wanna see if Soderling can trouble him in the final.