It's semifinal time now at the much-maligned Madrid event. On the men's side, Roger Federer will go up against Janko Tipsarevic, while Juan Martin del Potro faces Tomas Berdych.
For the women, Serena Williams is slated to play qualifier Lucie Hradecka and for the cajillionth time--this year--Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska will do battle.
Where's Rafael Nadal? Novak Djokovic? Maria Sharapova? Well, Fernando Verdasco (who got beat by Berdych today), Tipsarevic and Williams, respectively, got them.
Nadal and Djokovic had a lot--I mean, a LOT--to say about the event's use of the now-infamous blue clay. Federer voiced his complaints and Serena seemed to blow off any thoughts about it. But of all four of those great/legendary players, only Federer and Serena are still around this weekend, when that shouldn't be the case--unless it just really comes down to what types of playing styles are more conducive to success on the surface.
Still, though, I would think Nadal and Djokovic would've been able to tag their respective countrymen on any surface.
Maybe it's just all a matter of the approach: Federer and Serena go on to fight another day after making their thoughts none and moving on. Nadal and Djokovic made their thoughts known, and then some, and now they're left to regroup for Rome.
An interesting contrast between the two pairs, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the two that are still in Madrid hold up the big trophies at the end.
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.