Saturday, November 27, 2010

A WTF Semi For Posterity - And One Not So Much

by Savannah

It's already being called one of if not the match of the year. Andy Murray faced off against Rafael Nadal in the packed O2 stadium. Scottish flags and signs asking Rafa to marry the woman holding them were dispersed among the 17,500 people who had come to see two of the top four men in the world facing off against each other. Three hours later they had seen a match that will be talked about for a very long time.
The first set was decided by a tiebreak won by Nadal 7-6(4) and it looked as if it would be a quick ho-hum straight set win for him. Instead Rafa began to show his nerves and the next thing you knew Murray had won the second set 6-3.
If you like indoor tennis and great shot making the third set was your trip to Nirvana. The two battled with Nadal up a break and serving for the match at 5-4. Murray managed a break to level things at 5 all and then both men, fighting their nerves as well as each other kicked it up a notch. Murray, struggling to make a return fell and visibly pulled his groin. He had been hitting his left thigh with his racquet for some time but after he pulled his groin I know I was hoping he would have it in him to continue. He did.
Anyone who is a Rafa fan knows about his will and desire to win. I think that after today all of the doubters, those who belittled his style of play and ability to play on surfaces other than clay will no longer sing that song.
When Murray missed a forehand at six all in the tiebreak that was all she wrote. Rafa gathered his nerve and ended the match with the fans standing and cheering.
ESPN is airing one of the semi's tomorrow morning. The first semi lasted three hours. One can only assume they will highlight this match especially the third set..
Great matches deserve to be seen by all sports fans. Congratulations to both men.
Novak Djokovic's reaction in this picture just about sums up what his match against Roger Federer was like. The second semifinal of the day was as dull and predictable as the first semi final was exciting and down to the wire. Djokovic didn't show up at all and lost in straight sets. He seemed unable to gather his thoughts and was jerked around the court like a marionette. Novak said before the tournament began that the upcoming Davis Cup tie against France was at the top of his to do list and that playing the WTF was something he expects to be able to do again. He played like it today.
If the TD was weeping for joy yesterday he's probably having wet dreams tonight. As I've said before I don't predict ATP matches.
"Mad Professah", who posts on Craig's blog, called both matches correctly today. Start time for the singles final is 12:30p Eastern. ESPN will be carrying the match live.

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