Friday, December 12, 2008

All good (and bad) things must come to an end (From the sublime to the ridiculous, part 3)

So this is the final chapter of my year in review. Gee, I'm getting all misty-eyed with this reminiscing! This one won't be as long as the others because all my picks were so awesome (yeah, right!).

Anyway, on to the last part of the trilogy:


The Good and the Bad

• "I bet this is the ONLY place you'll find the following statement: The U.S. team can, and will, pull off the upset this weekend! I know, I know: A rookie's on the squad and one-half of one of the greatest doubles teams ever is out. The other team is led by a 22-year-old, who's already a legend. Plus, the hosts are playing on their favorite surface, one in which they've become pretty much synonymous with. However, here's why I'm picking the U.S. for one of the most stunning upsets in Davis Cup history … " (Sinking the Spanish armada, Sept. 16)

NOTE: "Good and Bad? What are you talking about, Van? It's just bad!" There, I took the words right out of your mouth! In case you didn't catch the post the first time around, I picked the U.S. to beat Spain in Davis Cup. In Spain. With Rafael Nadal playing. On clay. I'm giving myself a "Good and Bad" grade because I really, truly believe it could have happened, despite the most daunting odds probably any team has ever faced. Check out the post to see my reasons why. It may seem crazy, but I kept the faith!


Up in the Air

• " ... Then hopefully you'll be reading about her on the pro circuit! I'm planning on making her into a serve-and-volleyer. Nobody does that anymore in the women's game. What do you think?" (I'm giving her until at least around 2024..., Oct. 22)

NOTE: Another switch-up from the "Good" and the "Bad." The "her" I'm referring to is my new daughter. 2024 is still the target date; rolling the tennis ball in front of her starts next week!


The Good

• "However, the match after that one is what I think will be the most important one of the tie: Juan Martin del Potro against Feliciano Lopez. … For all his success, del Potro is still a kid and this has to be the most pressure he's faced in his life: playing a Davis Cup final at home and being the favorite. Lopez has been around the block a little, plus he's Spain's best fast-court player … So, in other words, I'm declaring that the tie goes as F-Lo goes." (Going with the F-Lo?, Nov. 20)

NOTE: Lopez pulled off the upset on the first day of the tie, then partnered with Fernando Verdasco to take the dubs and put Spain on its way to winning the Davis Cup. I hope this carries over to next year for F-Lo.

The Bad (There's a couple, so watch out!)

• "Except for Zvonareva, I wouldn't be surprised if any of the top seven won the whole thing. That's how even I think it is this go-round. You really can't say that every round-robin match could potentially be a classic, but I think this time, you can. (Except for, again, ones involving Zvonareva. Sorry, Vera!)" (Please, please, PLEASE let everybody be healthy!, Nov. 3)

NOTE: I thought this was the strongest field in years at the WTA Championships, save for Vera Zvonareva. Man, was I wrong! She only almost won the whole thing before falling to Venus Williams!

• "Rafa's not here, but Roger Federer—the man he replaced—is. I'm picking R-Fed to add to his Masters Cup haul this year—and would have even if Nadal were playing. It won't be easy, though." (Master of his domain, Shanghai predictions, Nov. 8)

NOTE: If not for Andy Murray going 3-0 in round-robin play, I would've completely blown everything I said in this whole post! I didn't even make it out of the round-robin stage! Props to Novak Djokovic and Nikolay Davydenko for exceeding my meager expectations for them by winning and making the finals, respectively.

And I'm gonna wrap up this little series here. December's just had some drips and drabs of things happening, mainly exos, a few Challengers and some seniors stuff. It was a great year to be a fan and make predictions, both good and (horrifyingly) bad!

(Photo: Getty Images)


TopSpin said...

Making picks is always a tricky business and in strange times like these most anything is possible...

Though I say it myself (!) I was quite proud of my backing of Zvonareva - almost everyone I spoke to seemed to think her ascent akin to something miraculous.

Having said that, I can understand why she was off people's radar; her tearful histrionics and lack of belief meant her recent improvements were mostly undetected - I was just lucky to have been privy to some of her best matches coming into the SEC.

Anyway, good on you for keeping the faith with the US team; I agree it wouldn't have been completely unexpected for them to have pulled off an upset - I was particularly impressed with Sam Querry. He's not Sampras's 2nd coming but has exceeded most people's expectations.

And I must admit I'm slightly dreading Venus in 2009 - she's done so well this year that her form is susceptible to a dip - and when she dips she sometimes crashes...

van said...

Hey TopSpin, how are you? I've always thought Vera was talented, but sometimes to me it seems like she's always picking up Tier IV titles and not getting out there and duking it out at the big tournaments. I actually thought your girl Kuznetsova was going to make a run!

Venus in '09: I'm just not sure about what to expect. I never know what to expect at all from the Williams sisters!

Steve said...

hey Van

Just wanted to say merry Christmas to you and your family, and thanks for a great year of blogging.