I apologize to all of you. I've been bitching and moaning about the almost total blackout of women's tennis these last few days/weeks and I was glad that finally tennis was going to be shown not only on TennisTV but on broadcast television as well. So who were we going to see? The woman who knocked Elena Demetieva out of the tournament, Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic against the veteran player Daniela Hantuchova. Somewhere the tennis gods are laughing in their green beer. Ms Cetkovska is an attractive young woman and many male tennis fans loved watching her. Unfortunately Ms Hantuchova, another attractive woman, was on the other side of the net.
I have seen Daniela play before. I've seen her play relatively quickly. Last night I wanted to stick pins in my eyes. I have to say I am rarely bored by a tennis match. If I'm not interested in who is playing I can find other things to occupy my mind until a better match comes on. Unfortunately last night there was no other game in town. If it wasn't for the music of the Buena Vista Social Club and an unintentionally funny video from "Phantom of the Opera" I would've been in lala land and totally missed the men's match that came afterwards.
More on that later. I sincerely hope that match was not some poor unfortunates introduction to women's tennis. The match should've taken less than an hour. Instead it ending up lasting about two hours. Now when I mention the worst tennis match ever I have to use the plural. The first was the moonball match between Conchita Martinez and Amanda Coetzer. This match last night is number two on my list. Simply horrid. I would like to see Cetkovska play again as long as it's not against Hantuchova.
Let me say now that the WTA coverage from Miami will be the same as it was at Indian Wells. The sisters Williams will be playing. And you will not hear one peep from me about the unfairness of it all.
It was hard to regain my focus when the women's match was finally over. I have rarely seen an entire match of Igor Andreev's and I was looking forward to it. He was playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who as we all know brings the fire when he's on court.
Like all Frenchmen he plays with both skill and flair. He is in constant motion and a fan favorite. There are times though when the flair gets in the way of the skill and last night was one of those nights.
Jo was trying to get points over quickly. Igor wasn't. It was obvious before the end of the first set that Jo was not going to beat Andreev. Because of the length of the women's match there weren't many fans left - it was a work night - and maybe that's what Jo missed. I don't want to make excuses. Igor totally outplayed Jo last night. Tsonga's camp was glum from the beginning of the match. Was there a problem with his back? At any rate Andreev, with an upset win, moves on and will play Ivan Ljubicic who has to be happy about his win over Gilles Simon.
Fernando Gonzalez of Chile totally destroyed James Blake. Fernando never allowed Blake into the match playing the best tennis I've seen from him in awhile. He's gone back to his hard hitting but incorporated what he learned from Larry Stefanki. The commentators were talking up a grudge match between the two after what happened in the Olympics but if anyone proved anything yesterday it was Gonzalez. Blake, out of the top ten for the first time in a long time, has to be wondering if that's all there is.
Meanwhile the other Fernando, surnamed Verdasco, from Spain, made mincemeat out of France's Richard Gasquet. Gasquet seemed to be out there as the foil for a newly energized and confident Verdasco who proved his showing in Melbourne was no fluke. At times Gasquet looked as if he was wondering where he was as Verdasco chewed him up and spit him out.
It was not a good day for French tennis.
Meanwhile these two men played doubles and seem to have quietly settled a feud that had tennisheads enthralled. If you don't frequent fan boards (or are a newcomer to this blog) you may not know about the telenovella that had dominated Argentine tennis for the last few months. Let's just say David Nalbandian and Juan Martin del Potro weren't playing golf together. On the way to California it just so happened both men and their entourages were on the same flight and it was decided that it was time to bury the hatchet and reconcile the warring factions. I'm sure the Argentine press ate this up. I wish we could've seen some of the play here. The only doubles news that was deemed worthy of coverage in the States was the meeting between Bob and Mike Bryan and what would've been the Swiss doubles team of Yves Allegro and Roger Federer. Do I have to tell you the results? I didn't think so. The Bryans moved on in the draw.
By the way Nalbandian and Del Potro knocked out the number four seeds Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes 7-6(6) and 7-6(5). They will face the team of Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish next.