Suicide’s Easy (What Happened To The Revolution?)
Posted by gauloises1 on January 21, 2011
After I talked up the chances of young guns Robin Haase and Kei Nishikori against big dogs Andy Roddick and Fernando Verdasco, the inevitable happened.
Nishikori was overpowered and generally blasted off the court by Fernando Verdasco, especially that whole forehand thing he’s got going on. Kei wasn’t at his best – he needed medical attention on his back – but Verdasco beat him 62 64 63, so that’s fairly comprehensive.
Haase made a better fist of it in a weird match which started with him breaking Roddick’s serve and injuring his ankle almost at the same moment, prompting a rash of greatly exaggerated rumours that he had retired on the ever-more-cursed Hisense Arena (Troicki retired there earlier after one set against Djokovic). Whether it was feeling the ankle or just the usual way Robin starts a big match – and I’ll go with the latter – he was absolutely untouchable for the first set, slamming forehands past Roddick and passing the American every time he ventured to net. After taking the set 6-2, he continued to look quite good, but Roddick forced it to a tiebreak. It was one of those moments when you knew with some certainty that the winner of the tiebreak would take the match, and Haase wasn’t quite up to the challenge, throwing in a couple of excruciatingly-timed double faults. After that, the fight went out of him and Roddick won the match in four.
This is the doubt I have with Haase. He’s absolutely unstoppable when he’s on, and I think if he can play like that in a three-set match, he’ll make a lot of noise this year (as long as his body stays in one piece). Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of middle ground between redlining and deflating. If he can learn to take a deep breath before the start of each match and get his efforts a little more under control, he could be a force to be reckoned with. If not, he’s destined to be a flashy loser to top seeds forever.
Far from seeing new faces in the round of sixteen, then, we’ve got Roddick facing Stanislas Wawrinka, whose whole midlife crisis-inspired departure from wife and child to focus on tennis seems to be working out pretty well for him so far, and Verdasco taking on Tomas Berdych in a match that could be glorious, or hideous.
But it’s not over until Tomic and Berankis lose, which should be later tonight. So stay tuned.