Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A perfect day*

So, how's about that Marat Safin? What a great win for him. But dude, on behalf of tennis fans everywhere, please, PLEASE keep it going! Not just here at Wimbledon, but the rest of the year, and if it isn't too much to ask, the rest of your career!

I'm looking at that section of the draw, and it looks like a truck hit it. Who's going to come through? I would say based on just pure talent, it would be Safin. However, the best grasser (Is that phrase that I coined catching on? If not, let me know and I'll stop!) in that quarter would be Marcos Baghdatis. Getting by Thomas Johansson in straights on grass isn't anything to sneeze at. He really has a good shot at making the semis. He and Safin facing off in the quarters could be a good one.

Things almost got pretty bad there for Serbia today, with Ana Ivanovic just scraping by. I have to tell you, the more I see her play, the more I like her. There's just so much fight in her that's really fun to watch. Plus, it's like they always say, if you keep fighting, good things can happen—like balls trickling over netcords in your favor!

Tomorrow's got some more great matches on tap. Regular reader Iheartrafa asked that I picked some more matches that have the potential to be upsets. I don't really see too many happening, but there will definitely be some good ones, like these, for instance:

• Rafael Nadal (2) vs. Ernests Gulbis: Is Gulbis for real? Is Rafa? Just kidding about Nadal, of course he is! But every young player that you know is going to be a top-tenner eventually, such as Gulbis, loves to go out there and battle. I like Nadal in three, but it should be entertaining, nonetheless.

• Xavier Malisse vs. Andy Murray (12): Malisse's biggest career result has been making the semis at Wimbledon in 2002, a looonng time ago! Injuries have been his downfall, which is sad because the way he started off last year, it looked like he was finally gonna make a serious move toward the top 10. Murray did well to drop Santoro in straights the other day, and I expect him to do the same here. There'll be some great shot-making in this one.

• Andy Roddick (6) vs. Janko Tipsarevic: This one here is a biggie: While he has yet to make a big push to match his ability, everyone, including A-Rod, knows Tipsarevic is a baller. Roddick can't afford to let up at all in this one. If he does, it could be a wrap. I'm picking him to get through in four.

• Richard Gasquet (8) vs. Sebastian Grosjean: These former semifinalists and countrymen will put on a show of French flair for any and all to see when they square off. Expect crazy winners to come off their racquets. I'm going with Gasquet in this one, but he's gonna have to watch it. I'm sure Grosjean knows his game as well as anyone's.

And here's one upset match I'm picking:
Tamarine Tanasugarn vs. Vera Zvonareva (13): Tanasugarn really threw me for a loop winning last weekend. It's always good to see the veterans get it done! She's had a great Wimbledon career and I think she takes out Zvonareva, one of the most consistent players on tour this year, in three tight ones.

* The headline, "A perfect day" refers to all the upset matches I flagged yesterday. I got every one of them wrong! So, in other words, I was perfect. How many times can someone say that? (I'm definitely a glass-half-full kinda guy!)

(Photos: Ivanovic, AP; Others, Getty Images)


freakyfrites said...

Hi Van!

Love this post.

I didn't even realize that Tanasugarn was playing at Wimby. I heard she'd beaten Safina in the Netherlands this past weekend but didn't quite put two and two together that she would be making it to England. Don't know why - I guess cuz I've never heard of her before! Good pick for the upset.

Andy Roddick really needs to be careful. I'm worried for him, actually. Especially with Novak's early loss to avenge (I'm sure Janko wants to go farther than his compatriot and get the accolades back home) I feel like Janko will be highly, highly motivated. Yikes!

Oooh, I really hope it's a Marat/Marcos Quarter final! That would be AMAZING!

IHeartRafa said...

I looked at the draw, and I too picked Tanasugarn vs Vera Z match as a potential upset (I still can't believe Safina lost in last week's final to Tanasugarn)....

Now, no matter how many wins Roddick got in the first part of the year over the top three players, I don't see him winning Wimbledon. I think standing 10 feet behind the base line is a kiss of death on grass. And stubborn him aint gonna change. Secretly I am hoping an upset in the second round.

I was thinking Gasquet might get a handful tomorrow playing against two-time (or three? who is counting?)semi-finalist Grosjean, but then the latter is injured, plus his best years are behind him. So, I don't think he can pull an upset tomorrow. Two French men in action... I wonder which one the British fans are going to boo at.

I think another potential upset would be the Daniela Hantuchova match. She is not match tough, and has just returned from her injury (out for at least three months). So, watch out Daniela....

Shelia said...

Roddick and Tipsarevic will definitely be the one to watch. If for nothing else, Tipsarevic's unorthodox play (and of course those glasses).

Hey, perfection is perfection!

van said...

• Hey Freakyfrites, glad you like the post! I know what you mean about Roddick: I'm a little worried for him, too. I'm hoping the Djokovic loss will force him to come out super-focused. I bet a Baghdatis-Safin quarter would come down to 12-10 in the fifth! That could be a great match!

• A couple of years ago, Iheartrafa, I was wondering what had happened to Tanasugarn: I thought she had retired! It's good to see her playing well now. I always want Roddick to do well, and I'd like him to win this one day. But you're right, he needs to play closer inside the court.

I thought about Daniela, too, but seeing her win her first-round match made me think she might be OK for this round.

• I hate that I'm going to be at work, Sheila, while that match is going on. Plus, I'm probably the only person in the world that doesn't have TiVO. I guess I'll catch the highlights on Sportscenter!

And it's gonna be hard to maintain being perfect, but I'll try! : )

Shelia said...

Meet your sports counterpart Van, me. I don't have TiVO either! No particular reason, I just haven't seen the need.

I get caught every now and then and have to miss a really good match, but it hasn't been enough for me to look into getting one.

I don't watch that much television anymore. As long as I can see Law and Order (original), Homicide Life On The Streets and Star Trek (all manner) reruns, I'm good, lol. Oh and of course 24.

Jodi said...

Wasn't it just a great match between Safin and Djokovic? Great in the sense that it was great to see Marat playing like his old self, anyway. I too really fancy a Safin/Baghdatis quarter final - and if their second round match at the Australian this year is anything to go by, it could be a doozy.

If Safin can get by Seppi and achieve that mystical third win, as he has been unable to do this year, I don't think he'll have any problems in the round of sixteen, whether it be Wawrinka or Zverev. Wawrinka is the only other person beside Baghdatis or Safin I can see as a semi finalist, but it'd be an outside shot... I don't think grass is really his favourite surface.

But you are totally right about a truck seemingly hitting this side of the draw. With the two big seeds gone in Djokovic and Nalbandian it is wide, WIDE open. Baghdatis must really fancy his chances. I hope, for his sake, that he doesn't count his chickens before they hatch.

And, FYI, I've never even HEARD of TiVo, so you're doing better than me there. Whatever it is, it ain't common here in Aus... or maybe I just haven't heard of it, which is likely, as me and the technology are not such good friends!

IheartRafa said...

Congratulations! you got one right.....Tanasugarn upset Vera Z this morning.

Sweating for Rafa now... Murray will go through, it seems.

van said...

Iheartrafa, it looks like your Hantuchova call is coming true! I thought she'd be able to scrape out at least another win. I mean, the match isn't over, but it's getting there.

TiVo looks like it would've been a good thing to have to see what went on with Sharapova!

And Jodi, I think you're right about grass not being Wawrinka's best surface. I think there's very few obstacles in the way of a Safin-Baghdatis showdown. But like you said, Marat just needs to concentrate on winning a third match in a row!