Saturday, August 30, 2008

Commentary US Open 8/29/08 Day 5

by Savannah

Andy Roddick's fans must be cautiously optimistic.
Ernests Gulbis, while not formidable, was going to give Andy a run for his money. Some said he would show the 2003 US Open winner to the door. The above was not done by Marat Safin (more on him later) but by Andy himself in a fit of pique when the going got tough. Gulbis blazed through the first set and it looked as if the youngster was going to deliver on the hype. But Andy, despite the histrionics, reined himself in and ended up using the experience he's garnered over the years to beat Gulbis in four sets 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5. Patrick McEnroe seems to have a steadying effect on Andy. I'm sure his fans wish PMac would stay in the players box but that is impossible given his commitments to the USTA. Roddick's next opponent is Andreas Seppi with Fernando Gonzalez looming if he gets past the Italian player. Andy put a lot of pressure on himself coming into Flushing this year. Let's see how he handles it.

Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli has been flying under the radar this tournament. With less than stellar results coming in Marion was thought by some to be a foil for a resurgent Lindsay Davenport whom many thought would make it past the less fit Bartoli. But Marion had other plans and raced to a 6-1 first set that was interrupted by rain. Lindsay fought back in the second set but Marion, who choked serving for the set pulled herself together and won the tiebreak 7-6(3). Lindsay looked the same as she did in the two previous matches I'd seen her play but the talking heads brought up the knee problem when it was clear Lindsay was in trouble.
I have to say it was interesting to see Justin Gimelstob sitting next to Lindsay's husband in the player's box. Apparently he is working with her in an informal coaching capacity.

There was exciting play away from Ashe yesterday. Fernando Verdasco won a tight match against Rui Machado of Portugal 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-0. The court did have television capabilities and USA showed us some of the match. The talking heads said they'd never heard of Machado but redeemed themselves later by going into the US Challenger swing that takes place in the fall. I guess it would surprise them that some tennis fans already follow the world wide Challenger and Futures circuit's so that players like Machado don't surprise them when the get into a major. I think it's a sorry situation when tennis announcers and analysts, who are supposed to be well versed in the sport, go on the air and say they have never heard of player A. It was bad form for the former number one to say he'd never heard of his opponent while Thiago Alves was still on the court but he got less flak for that than Serena Williams did when she said she did not know that Ana Ivanovic had lost her second round match. I'm just sayin'.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played his second round match against the veteran Carlos Moya. Again viewers got to see some of this match thanks to the all court television coverage. It looked as if Moya would roll over Jo who is coming off of major knee surgery but in the end Tsonga overcame Moya 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

The other men's match that drew a lot of attention was Marat Safin vs. Tommy Robredo. When dealing with both of these players you never know who is going to show up. I didn't see much of this match but the scoreline tells a familiar story. Robredo won 4-6 7-6(4) 6-4 6-0.

Of the women players I'm watching Caroline Wozniacki advanced and will face Jelena Jankovic in the next round. Tricky match for Caroline as I'm sure Jelena will bring her entire bag of tricks against the youngster.

I wish I could say it was a surprise that Katarina Srebotnik took out Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets. She will play Patty Schnyder in the next round. Meanwhile Li Na will play Elena Dementieva in her next match.

I'm rushing this post a little because I have to meet my sister in about thiry minutes. I suspect more of the same commentary today on CBS since most of the same people will be involved. I'm going to be out most of the afternoon so I'll miss the CBS coverage.It's a cloudy day here in New York City and showers are predicted.


oddman said...

Yes, this Andy fan is cautiously optimistic, especially after hearing how it went down last night. No television coverage of the match in Canada, drat. Also agree PMac does seem to have a steadying influence on Andy. I have no idea how much further he's going to advance, but do feel he's certainly put tons of pressure on himself - not a good situation for him, imo.
I'm in an agreeable mood today - I also thought it was bad form of Federer to say he knew nothing of his opponent, but he's done that many times before and gotten a pass for it. Surely one could find out something, no? Before announcing to such a huge audience you didn't perhaps 'care to check'? Same with the heads... meh. That's OK, not nearly as bad as some of the tripe that BeerCan guy comes up with - I forget about him every year, but dang! - there he is again, annoying me.

Kia said...

Ted Robinson's smug, bemused face when questioning whether or not Serena knew that Ana I had lost pretty much sums up why I dislike him.

Forever critiquing Serena's "outside" interests, shouldn't her detractors praise her "focus"? (another of their favorite phrases)

We were supposed to wholeheartedly believe that Ana I was clueless as to when she would gain the number 1 spot. The implication being that she is a naive ingenue while Serena is just duplicitous. Hardly surprising I know...

And the general lack of knowledge of players outside the top 40 (aside from fallen superstars) is appalling. But I will say that Austin has really brought something to the table this year. Maybe it's b/c of my low expectations, or maybe it's b/c Sharapova and Henin's absences mean Austin isn't love struck this year.

As a Brooklyn native now living south of the Mason/Dixon line I miss my trips to the USO! Thanks for keeping me in the loop.


Savannah said...

Hi and welcome Kia. I'm glad my daily recaps are of service to fans.

Don't forget Ted Robinson's comment a couple of years ago about non English speaking players. That forever endeared him to me. Not.

Tennis players live in their own little worlds. They are the sun's around which everyone else orbits. Of course AnaI knew what her ranking was going to be. And of course it's entirely possible that Serena had no clue what was going on with Ana. Why should she? How many Slams does Serena have? How many does Ana have?

When Marion Bartoli said she did not like being among the hunted she was ridiculed. Her sub par performance this year seems to be her trying to come to grips with that issue. But no one cuts her any slack. Meanwhile it's "Poor Ana". I have nothing against Ana but the way the fanboys in the booth go on and on about how beautiful she is and how what a cute smile she has is enough to make a fan of tennis nauseous.

LOL about Tracy having no one to crush on this Open. Too bad that's not the same for Jim Courier.

BTW who is beer can guy oddman?

oddman said...

Michael Barkan, or Barcan, or whatever the **** his name is. The dude that asked Djoker to perfom his act last year. The one that goes into the crowd and does the on-court interviews after.

Savannah said...

Beer can works.:)

Helen W said...

I fervently agree with any and all who find Ted Robinson appalling. Stay with baseball already. His gushing enthusiasm when Troicki had triple break point against Rafa was highly annoying. Glad the air was quickly let out of his balloon when Rafa immediately broke back, the start of a run of 11 straight games.

He has zero information to offer and nothing else (e.g. a sense of humour) to offset this lack. And he is too lazy to bother to find out anything of interest about the players.

I wish he and Dick Enberg could hold hands as they took a long walk on the proverbial short pier .... (At least Enberg seems like kind of a likable guy.)

oddman said...

Ah, Helen, that's a sweet image you put in my head - the two of them, lame ducks, wandering off and then - SPLASH!

No, won't happen anytime soon, I guess. Reality bites sometimes, lol.

I'm sad for little Ferru - 5 long sets and he goes home with nada. Good on Kei for the win though, and curses on TSN for not showing any of it - phffttt!

Kia said...

Thanks for the welcome Savannah. I've read your blog for quite awhile and had forgotten I was a first time poster!

Since I'm sure not to offend anyone here, I'll continue to bash dear old Ted. Last night he broached the LPGA's english only rule. I knew he wasn't going to criticize the rule. But I thought he was going to say that it was an impossibility given the global scope of the game. Ted instead used the opportunity to inform those of us foolish enough to listen to him that it wouldn't be a problem b/c our foreigners speak english! I inserted the foreigners part but the colonialist/imperialist/xenophobic (pick your fave) sentiment stands. I think it goes w/o saying that it behooves any tennis or golf player to be conversational in english but mandating it is another story entirely.

And I think it was after the Santoro match but BeerCan (thanks oddman) was particularly unctious in regards to Roddick's girlfriend (or fiancee depending on his mood)

I think I'm going back to watching on mute.


Savannah said...

I had hoped that the talking heads, particularly Teddy, would not even touch that LPGA mandate thing. It's xenophobic, and in my opinion, racist since it's aimed at one particular group of players. If I read correctly the Asian players were called into a meeting about it. I wasn't really listening closely last night but I did hear him blathering about Rafa and how his English had improved but I know better than to listen too closely to Teddy when he's on THAT subject. I already have hypertension.

Too bad some Americans don't see the irony in players from other countries learning English, many as adults, in order to communicate with the American public but it has never crossed the minds of American's to learn French, Spanish or an Asian language in order to communicate with the tennis public in those parts of the world. We just assume that they want to speak English with us and act accordingly.

Marat's melt down in English, Spanish and Russian the other night is an example of someone who is versant in other languages, and therefore cultures.