I have no business being awake. I went to sleep about 8a.
Richard Gasquet and Fernando Gonzalez
Richard Gasquet has nothing to hang his head about. The 2009 Oz Open greatest non final match so far goes to the meeting of these two men on Margaret Court Arena. Fans saw great tennis, true grit, and a marathon fifth set where both men left if all on the court. Gasquet, known for throwing in the towel when the going gets rough fought through problems with both feet that made all the phony medical time outs and heavy breathing of other players look like just what it is - bullshit. He could've thrown it in and no one would've said a word against him. Instead the man who was declared the second coming of French tennis before he was out of his teens showed he was more than a pretty shot maker.
And lets not forget Fernando Gonzalez. He played his ass off. Every time Gasquet looked as if he were going to take it all Fernando found a way to come back. When Gonzo took the lead and then won everyone was on his or her feet cheering what they'd seen. The Chilean fans pushed their man and he rode the wave of their support. They refused to let him fade and he refused to. Let's not forget Gonzo came onto the court with his right knee taped and added support during the match as well. As I said the Chilean fans pushed and he didn't resist.
The end of the match was as surreal as anything I've ever seen on a tennis court. Smoke swirled, fans went nuts and as an American I marveled at how the spirit of what the world calls football and we call soccer permeates the attitude of the fans especially in Melbourne. To my knowledge there were no fist fights and no one jumped anyone outside the arena once the match was over. If you missed it I'm sure that fifth set will be replayed everywhere. Now if I see one more player leaning on his or her racquet sucking wind as if they're about to collapse when everyone in the stadium knows they're going to start running around like the proverbial gazelle within the next minute I might put my foot through my new HDTV. Just kidding. By the way the score in the fifth set was 12-10, no tiebreak.
Fernando Verdasco gave a clinic on how to stop a player from going into their act in his 6-4, 6-0, 6-0 destruction of Radek Stepanek. Even when Radek looked like he might start going into his act Verdasco let him know he was not having it. Verdasco left nowhere for Stepanek to hide and I almost felt sorry for him.
Gael Monfils will face Gilles Simon after defeating Nicolas Almagro yesterday. For fans of French tennis a tennishead calling herself "Madame" is doing something she calls The Frenchies Chronicles" over on TalkAboutTennis. You might also want to check out their exclusive interview with Bud Collins as well. Bud is seen as a national treasure when it comes to tennis. I think you'll like it especially since he's working the mikes in Melbourne.
Elena Dementieva is still going strong.
There's an interesting womens match this evening between Jelena Jankovic and Marion Bartoli. The match I'm really looking forward to is the one between Jelena Dokic and Alisa Kleybanova. Both women hit the snot out of the ball but will Kleybanova have a let down after beating Ana Ivanovic? It's going to be fun hearing the talking heads at ESPN commentate these matches. I mean when they call a routine thrashing by a top four player of a guy ranked much lower a clinic you have to wonder what those production meetings are like. I was watching two matches last night, Gonzo/Gasquet on the television, muted, and the match on Laver on the computer with sound. Wonder how they handled a real as opposed to a manufactured classic. I'll be watching their highlight show this afternoon for sure.
The Moving Image
I'm a little annoyed at Yahoo. It used to be that they would keep pictures up on their active photo section almost forever. Now if you don't grab the pictures right after the match you're out of luck. They only put the most current 200 so if you're looking for pictures of say Verdasco from last night you don't find them because they've got the pics from the latest matches up and nothing else. Kind of annoying but not world stopping you know?
Why is this woman smiling? I'll take a thousand of Serena Williams post match pressers where she is obviously angry and upset at herself if she's lost than pictures like this.
Scott Barbour has been making pictures like this one of Igor Andreev all week. Beautiful work