Saturday, November 1, 2008
Well, it's all on the line tomorrow with David Nalbandian going against Jo-Wilifred Tsonga in the final of the Paris Open.
Aside from picking up more than 400 grand, the winner gets a ticket to Shanghai to boot. That's been the great thing about Paris over the past few years to me: It seems like those guys on the outside of the race usually are busting their hump trying to make it to the big dance. I remember a few years ago when Sebastian Grosjean had to win to get in and he pulled it off. Sometimes, too, players who you almost rule out of the running (or at least, I rule out!), such as Nalbandian and Jo-Willie get in the mix.
Tsonga's great and I really do like him a lot. I just hate that he took out two of my main guys—Andy Roddick and James Blake—to get this far. I was pulling for Andy to win a major title again, and I would've loved to see JB step it up and win his way in to the big dance but you can't have it all. Tsonga's totally deserving, though.
As for Nalbandian, what can you say about that guy? Can you believe what he's capable of? He was totally off my radar, then all of a sudden, he's handling two of the hottest players on tour (Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray) with hardly any difficulty at all, then dusting Nikolay Davydenko in the semis. He's had a great indoor season this year.
Tomorrow's final will definitely be a can't miss event. I think I'm going to pick Tsonga for this one: He brings a lot of heat, which doesn't really bother Nalbandian, but he has other tools that'll help him out (a solid net game, pretty good athleticism) which will help him out against the veteran. As I say that, watch Nalbandian beat him 1 and 2!
*(In case you're wondering, I'm referring to Tsonga as a goliath in the headline just because his game is so big and all. I should know this, though, that the first rule of headline writing is if you have to explain it, it's not a good one! However, I'm sticking with this!)
(Photos: Getty Images)