Federer fans had their rollercoaster yesterday. The upside being that their man came through in the end - and besides, Roger didn't seem to think anything was that amiss. How could you ever doubt him? Against Acasuso?
Venus on the other hand didn't come through in her second nail-biting three setter over four days. And worse, played such an ineffective first set, she lost it 6-0. Anyone know the last time Venus was bagelled? At times out there it looked like her racquet weighed over 300lbs.
I can only assume that shoddy scheduling is behind this debacle. Not that Szavay didn't play out of her skin; I've just never seen Venus move so slowly, or her timing being so off. She was on court against Lucy Safarova earlier this week, and not being able to complete that match in time meant she had to play two days in a row. A big ask, it would seem.
That scheduling decision presumably coming from the same team that put Safina, the world number one and last year's runner up out on court one today.
Happy thoughts people. Happy thoughts. *Groan*
And happy thoughts to Lleyton too, who bowed out today to the pink-hot favourite. I don't know whether this is a good thing or not, but I felt Lleyton rather handed that first set to Rafa and really only seemed to have arrived early on in the second set, where he almost had Rafa on the ropes for a while. I may be talking utter tosh here, and there was always going to be one winner, but I think, had he sustained that effort and not yielded that break in the second set, we may have had a different flavour of match.
Some words and a lot of hot air need to be expended on Michelle Larcher De Brito, the Portuguese Wunderkind, who today exited RG. A few words about screeching (and it is screeching and not grunting) in general first. Yes it is very loud. Sharapova, Venus and on occasion Serena are the worst offenders. But in general I felt, was never as big a deal as some people appeared to make it, and in any event if their opponents never complained, then what's all the fretting and fuming about anyway? I haven't heard Sharapova in person but I did get to sit through a Venus Williams match live at Wimbledon back in 2006. That may not have been her most vociferous day, but the screech (which does rip through the air) is not nearly as loud as the critics would have you believe.
The only reasonable argument against it came from Martina Navratilova who said that the noise prevents their opponents from hearing the impact of the racquet on the ball, all part of the necessary feedback on the pace, imparted spin and direction of the ball coming at them that they would otherwise have access to.
All of which meant I wasn't taking the news that Aravane Rezai took a rather dim view of the amount of hot air coming her way from De Brito's side of the net, very seriously. For all I knew, that notorious French crowd were protecting one of their own.
And then I heard this.
Yes, Sharapova sounds positively subdued in comparison.
Someone give Miss Rezai a hearty pat on the back for finally standing up this. Preferably with one of those giant hands you get to cheer with at Baseball games. I'm generally not a fan of the production line tennis that's emerging from the Bollettieri Academy (especially on the womens side), but was a little troubled to learn that De Brito may have actually been taught to employ this as a stratagem.
I saw little Miss De Brito give an interview to Eurosport after the incident, and she came across as an affable, friendly girl. It's also no exaggeration to think of her as a contender for the next big thing. "Everyone else does it, and I don't think I could play if I stopped..", came the reply to a query on the whole grunting situation.
Well you'd better learn love. I shudder to think how that would sound under the closed Centre Court roof at Wimbledon. Maybe they ought to conduct an experiment the way the did with Steffi, Andre, Tim and Kim. Except this time they'd skewer ten piglets.
Or better still, someone just stop the madness.
Need more happy thoughts.
Sharapova made it through in three tough sets today against the Kazakh girl Yaroslava Shvedova. From what little I saw the serve's still firing well enough to keep her ahead. All still a little rusty, but she's already exceeded most people's expectations by making the fourth round.
And she's smiling a lot. Which of course makes us very happy.
Quite unlike Victoria Azarenka who is currently embroiled in a particularly consumptive match against my IT girl for this year, Carla Suarez Navarro. Victoria's alternating between seething, turning red, tearful spells and finding more innovative ways to expel further toys from her pram. And Navarro is soaking it all up, as serene as ever. The crowd have gone from booing to whistling to actually seeing the funny side of it now. Great way to defuse the stress of a hard day at the office, sitting there at quarter past nine in a cool, Parisian Summer evening. Even if it's at one of the players' expense.
Carla must have one heck of a wrist. The way she's pummelling back some of Victoria's more furious strokes, with single handed backhands is simply astounding.
She let me down after announcing herself at Venus' expense at this year's Aussie Open. But she's looking good for the time being. I'm not even going to dare to speculate how far she'll go this time.
Just take the pressure off myself, sip some maddeningly colourful concoction of fruit stuffs and think happy thoughts.
As Navarro whizzes another single hander past Victoria - who doesn't now know whether to laugh or cry.
Laugh, Victoria laugh. You know it's the only way.
The post-Venus rehabilitative efforts continue.
//Update: Victoria staged a wonderful comeback to level the match, before proceedings were suspended. Till tomorrow then.