The highlight of my tennis season is nearly upon us:
The Davis Cup final kicks off today in mere hours! The U.S. versus Russia in Portland, winner takes all! I wish I would've made a post before this one so I could look like a genius, but I knew Russia was gonna leave Nikolay Davydenko out of the singles lineup, seeing as how he's barely won sets against James Blake and Andy Roddick. I think Davydenko's the favorite whipping boy among the top 10 for both of those guys.
Being from the U.S. and all, of course I'm root, root, rooting for the home country, but if Russia were to come through, I wouldn't be too upset because it would be a hell of a feat the team would accomplish. I say all this because I'm a little nervous: Dmitry Tursonov and Mikhail Youzhny have been on Cup-winning teams and I don't think the situation will affect them too much, playing on the road against a vocal crowd. Plus, they're both pretty good fast-court players.
The way the first day's draw shakes up is interesting and I'm saying this right now: I think it'll come down to a split. I like Roddick blasting Tursonov off the court first up. He should come out trying to serve big and hit big forehands (as he's apt to do. Duh, Van!) But few guys on tour hit as hard as Tursonov, so he'll have to be careful.
I think Youzhny can take Blake in four: And it's not that Mikhail is better than James. Far from it, in fact. But I just question Blake's mental fortitude, and he's never played in anything this big in his career to really test it. I hope James spent the past few weeks talking to a sports psychologist to get ready for this tie. I would like for him to come through, but I just can't see it.
I'll be following the live scoring all day from work on the computer and post something later on.