I don't mind staying up late if it's to witness history.
I intended to watch only one set of the Tokyo final and thought that I might be able to watch the entire match when Japan's Nishikori Kei raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set.
Then came the visit from the trainer and suddenly it seemed that Kei had forgotten what he'd been doing at the start of the match. He managed to hang in and force a tiebreak to decide the set and won a tense breaker 7-6(5).
But in the second set the man who had been scampering all over the court and creating some of the most amazing angles in recent memory disappeared. Milos Raonic was able to assert himself and use his serve effectively and take the second set 6-3.
So there I was looking at the clock and saying to myself that I'd be kicking myself if Nishikori became the first Japanese man in 40 years to win Tokyo. I wanted the chance to see the historic moment for myself.
I was rewarded with seeing the Nishikori who started the match come back. He feasted on Raonic's second serve and kept Milos pinned back unless he wanted him to come in, at which point he would unleash one of the many amazing shots he got off during the match. You could make the argument that Raonic wasn't thinking as clearly as he had been when he defeated Andy Murray the day before but that really wasn't the case. Nishikori wasn't allowing him to do what he wanted and a frustrated, emotional Milos was caught with no Plan B. Nishikori won the third set 6-0, an amazing feat against a big server like Raonic.
It was a stunning performance and one that I'm sure will get Asian fans buzzing. It followed on the heels of China's Zhang Ze making the quarterfinals in Beijing. Zhang has been given a wild card into Shanghai and it will be very interesting to see how deep he goes into the draw. I wonder if more Asian men begin to do well on the tour if fan interest will increase. It was interesting to see the array of important men sitting courtside last night. The stands were also packed to the rafters. It was a great match for Asian tennis and a great , innovative match for tennis in general. It was nice to see a mental AND physical match for a change.
I went on a bathroom break this morning and had just enough time to Victoria Azarenka defeat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1. When I turned on the match Sharapova was down 5-0 in the second set. I expected a much closer match. Since all I saw was the very end of the second set I can't comment on the match. The comm was saying that Sharapova's game wasn't working against Azarenka. With the score line that's the only assumption that can be made.
I wonder if the tennis media will be as upset about this loss by Pova as it was when she lost in spectacular fashion to Serena Williams this summer? No? I don't think so either. Although Azarenka isn't one of their faves she's not Serena.
I never had any intention of watching the men's final in Beijing because there was no doubt in my mind who would win. I only watch him play when I have no choice. I wasn't breaking night to watch him this morning even if he was playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The final score was 7-6(4), 6-2.
This and That
This is a picture of Roger Federer surrounded by security in Shanghai. The tight security was necessary because some nut job made threats against tennis in general and Federer in particular. Here is the story from
11:40PM EST October 4. 2012 - Security was tightened around Roger Federer after the world No. 1 received an online death threat prior to a tournament in Shanghai, according to various reports.
Tournament director Yang Yibin confirmed the threat to the Shanghai Youth Daily. An anonymous poster using the name "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07" posted the threat on the popular Chinese website, Baidu.com. "On October 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination," the posting read.
The threat was accompanied by a doctored photo of a axe-wielding executioner standing next to a decapitated Federer. The posting was taken seriously enough for the tournament to increase security around Federer and other players, but Yang told the newspaper he hopes it "was an oral threat only."
I hope the idjut is captured soon.
Obviously Federer is in Shanghai. There was no way he wasn't going to be there to defend his ranking no matter how "wounded, tired and exhausted" he is. As usual he has a cakewalk to at least the quarters. If you haven't seen the draw I've posted it below.
 Roger Federer/BYE
[WC] Ze Zhang vs Qualifier
Denis Istomin vs Carlos Berlocq
 Stanislas Wawrinka vs Albert Ramos
 Marin Cilic vs Qualifier
Martin Klizan vs Thomaz Bellucci
Fernando Verdasco vs Go Soeda
 Juan Monaco/Bye
 Andy Murray/Bye
Florian Mayer vs Bernard Tomic
Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Jeremy Chardy
 Gilles Simon vs Jurgen Melzer
 Richard Gasquet vs Qualifier
[WC] Lleyton Hewitt vs Radek Stepanek
Kevin Anderson vs Jarkko Nieminen
 John Isner/Bye
 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/Bye
Benoit Paire vs Qualifier
Marcos Baghdatis vs Fabio Fognini
 Milos Raonic vs Qualifier
 Kei Nishikori vs [WC] Wu Di
Sam Querrey vs [WC] Zhe Li
Andreas Seppi vs Qualifier
 Tomas Berdych/Bye
 Janko Tipsarevic/Bye
Mikhail Youzhny vs Victor Troicki
Tommy Robredo vs Qualifier
 Nicolas Almagro vs Tommy Haas
 Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Ryan Harrison
Feliciano Lopez vs Alejandro Falla
Grigor Dimitrov vs Pablo Andujar
 Novak Djokovic/Bye
I'm sure Stan Wawrinka is tired of always being the foil. I know I'm tired of him playing that role. Keep in mind almost everyone in this draw has played the last two weeks. Some made the quarter finals, semis and finals. No mercy from this tournament though.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Rafael Nadal takes us inside his trophy room to show off his new kicks.
Have fun figuring out what trophies we can see on the shelf there.