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"Climbing the Comeback Mountain with the Tower of Tandil."

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Archive for the ‘WTFs’ Category

Image is Everything: Little Man, Big Trophy

Posted by gauloises1 on November 30, 2009

In tribute to Kolya’s great win, I thought I’d post some photos of the little man celebrating with the love of his life. And I don’t mean Irina.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Posted in image is everything, nikolay davydenko, WTFs | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

Image is Everything: Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

Posted by gauloises1 on November 30, 2009

Because I like to torture myself, and because Elf was on particularly hangdog form today …

Now I want at least three ideas from each of you on how to cheer our boy up.

The filthier the better.

Posted in image is everything, juan martin del potro, WTFs | Tagged: , | 14 Comments »

WTF Day Eight: In Pictures That Move

Posted by gauloises1 on November 30, 2009

Match highlights:

And the presentation ceremony (fast forward to about 5.20):

Posted in juan martin del potro, nikolay davydenko, video, WTFs | Leave a Comment »

WTF Day Eight: The Bigger They Come …

Posted by gauloises1 on November 30, 2009

Eight came.

One conquered.

Huge congratulations to Nikolay Davydenko, who defeated Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets, 63 64, to claim the ATP World Tour Finals trophy. Having lost just once (to Novak Djokovic) before beating Robin Soderling and each of the 2009 Grand Slam champions on his way to the trophy, you can’t say he hasn’t earned the biggest title of his career. In spades. I thought he was brilliant today, showing no signs of fatigue and turning in a cool, calm and effortlessly dominating performance to which a rather flat Delpo had no answers.

By the time he broke Delpo to love and then served out the match, he was looking like the king of the ring, and his celebration was fairly heartwarming to behold. There’s no doubt this trophy means a huge amount to him.

Obviously I wanted Elf to win. But it may be physically impossible to begrudge Kolya this title. I think his relative obscurity (and the fact that he doesn’t have a racquet contract) is absurd given his incredible consistency, and after a year which started off with a heel injury that put him out for months, to see him play himself back into form, into the WTFs and finally to the biggest title of his career has been a joy. Not to mention that it gives the lie to the iritating truism that Kolya was only as successful as he was rankings-wise because he played so many tournaments.

As for Elf, my expectations were fairly low coming in to this tournament, and he exceeded them massively. Today was a match too far but frankly, I think anybody would have struggled with Kolya on that form. Now he can go hang out on beaches and do whatever the hell he does and we can all start worrying about 2010.

But in the meantime, give it up for Kolya, the first Russian ever to win the year-end championships, and (frankly) a bundle of joy.

Obscure no more.

Posted in juan martin del potro, nikolay davydenko, titlists, WTFs | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Tell Your Daughters, Do Not Walk the Streets Alone Tonight

Posted by gauloises1 on November 30, 2009

Congratulations to Bob and Mike Bryan, who defeated Max Miyrni and Andy Ram in straight sets to take the ATP World Tour Finals doubles trophy and the year-end no. 1 ranking.

The gutters will run red with blood.

Posted in bryan bros, WTFs | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Highlights Don’t Come Much Higher

Posted by gauloises1 on November 29, 2009

I usually don’t post stuff like this, but I feel like this little reel gives a good flavour for just how much fun today’s tennis was:

Posted in video, WTFs | Leave a Comment »

If David Haye Can Do It …

Posted by gauloises1 on November 29, 2009

Heavyweight boxer and all-round charming gent David Haye turned up at the 02 tonight to watch some tennis.

I just hope Kolya doesn’t draw inspiration from that. I mean, out of the two of them, JMDP is really only going to be Valuev.

Posted in WTFs | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

WTF Day Seven: Davy Vs. Goliath

Posted by gauloises1 on November 29, 2009

(Credit to the witty ptenisnet for the post title. I should have used it tomorrow, but I may just want to say “:(“, so …)

Nikolay Davydenko d. Roger Federer, 62 46 75

 I will never get sick of Kolya emerging from the smoke with a sheepish smile.

What a match from Kolya. What a match. After saving two break points in his opening service game, he quickly raced to a double break over a sluggish Federer. Roger broke back for 4-2, and it looked like that might buy him the time he needed to get his game together, but Kolya immediately reasserted his double break and served out a rather comfortable opening set.

Roger being Roger, however, the second set was much more closely contested, and after pressuring Kolya’s serve, he finally broke to 30 to take it 6-4. The third set was fantastic, with Kolya repeatedly coming to the net with great effect, and when Federer got to 0-30 on Kolya’s serve at 4-5 courtesy of a lucky netcord and one of his patented trick-shot ridiculous-get winners, it looked like it might go the way of the second. Kolya gutted out a great hold, fashioned himself a break point in the next game, and took it on an absurd backhand return winner.

I couldn’t quite believe that Kolya was really about to get his first win against Federer in 13 attempts, and when Federer produced a sublime backhand winner to get to break point as Kolya was serving for the match, it looked like the impossible would remain just that. Kolya responded with a scorching cross-court forehand to save the break point, though, and took the match when Federer found the net.

12-1, bitches.

Juan Martin del Potro d. Robin Soderling, 67(1) 63 76(3)

I remember a time, not so long ago, when it was a truism of the fandom that Elf wasn’t a fighter. It’s one of the many reasons that matches like this give me a warm, warm glow inside.

I thought the overall quality of this match was higher than that of Federer-Kolya; in fact, I think Peter Fleming said it best when he said after the match, “These guys should be drug-tested, gene-tested, tested to see if they’re aliens from outer space.” They both played fantastically well, serving at ridiculously high percentages and treating the London crowd to brutal, magnificent hitting. And up until the final tiebreak, you simply could not pick a winner. Elf started off stronger, but couldn’t capitalise on any of the 5 (?) break points he earned in the first set, and then played possibly the worst tiebreak I’ve ever seen from him, going down 7-1. Indeed, he was visibly frustrated throughout the match by Soderling’s amazing serving at key moments.

A sublime lob eventually took him to a break point that Soderling’s serve couldn’t save, though, and he broke with a forehand return and held for the set.

The third was a total cracker and you honestly couldn’t choose between them. Soderling returned Elf’s serve better and better as the match went on and earned a well-deserved break with a couple of absolutely sublime returns for 4-2. A sledgehammer cross-court forehand, two unforced errors on the Soderling forehand and some brilliant defence saw him recover the break and we headed inexorably to a third-set tiebreak.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Elf defend quite so brilliantly as he did in this match, although it frustrated me immensely that he was spending so much time doing just that, but it was his transition from defence to attack and into a sweet backhand winner which actually raised kittens from the dead worldwide that won him the initial minibreak. Soderling battled valiantly but couldn’t work his way back into it, and another cross-court forehand after a marathon exchange earned Elf four match points. Soderling saved the first with an ace, and it was an ace of his own that earned Elf the win, a victory yell and a happy smile.

It was a heartbreaker for Soderling, who played a quite amazing match and has been one-of-the-if-not-the form player(s) this week. But I can’t deny I’m more than a little bit orgasmically ecstatic for Elf. His form after the US Open has been so dismal, and his first couple of matches so lacklustre, I could never have expected that he would make it to the final. But by the skin of his brand-new teeth, and the strength of his Mr Ticklesque arms, he has.

He also took the time to announce in his post-match interview that he’s single. So form an orderly queue, ladies and gentlemen.

Behind me, of course.

Posted in juan martin del potro, nikolay davydenko, robin soderling, roger federer, WTFs | Tagged: , , , | 16 Comments »

WTF Day Six: Adios and, er, Serbian Goodbye

Posted by gauloises1 on November 28, 2009

It’s been a tournament to forget for Rafa and his fans. If JMDP is built like a brick shithouse, then this week Rafa has increasingly looked built like a shit brickhouse, liable to fall apart at any moment.

He required treatment for what looked like an abdominal injury during a straight sets loss to Novak Djokovic. I really hope it’s just a niggle and that he’s healthy for the Davis Cup final, because as I’ve said I think that getting back on clay and playing for his country could be such a boost for him right now.

I really recommend reading C Note’s post at Forty Deuce on Rafa’s current form and the speculation thereof.  She’s a smart cookie, that one.

Anyway, the match was reportedly anything but a classic, with Nole cream crackered after 94 matches in 2009.

But at least there was net love …

 

… and, for some reason, air guitar.

Not even Nole’s air guitar could save him, though, as Davydenko won in three sets 76(4) 46 63 to advance to the semifinals together with Robin Soderling.

If the Nole-Rafa match was a disappointment, this one was an absolute cracker. I thought both guys were fantastic and there was almost nothing between them until the third set when Kolya upped his game and Soderling faded. They’ve been I think the two best players in the group this week and the semi-finals should be great.

Soderling will face del Potro (they’re 1-1) and Kolya will take on Federer (they’re, um, 0-12).

Davai.

Posted in nikolay davydenko, novak djokovic, rafael nadal, robin soderling, WTFs | Tagged: , , , | 14 Comments »

I, Witness: Things I Learned at the O2 Last Night

Posted by gauloises1 on November 27, 2009

Check under the cut for the New Balls version of ‘what I did on my holidays’ …

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in juan martin del potro, WTFs | Tagged: , | 25 Comments »

 
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