Saturday, 10 October 2009

Wood Chippers, ‘from what I understand’, are all the rage in the Far East…

So quite a lot of this happened yesterday.


For those that still don’t know it, Marin knocked seven shades of minty-green out of Rafa, whose serve, from what I understand, has a lot to answer for.

I’ll be using the phrase “from what I understand” an awful lot over today and tomorrow.

And maybe even in the future; at least until that great British Broadcasting Machine stops pretending men's tennis doesn’t exist in between Flushing Meadows and Shanghai.

This Asian Swing, has taken shape in a way, I certainly didn’t see coming.

Beijing in particular.

The suits cannot be well pleased at having missed out on televising what might well turn out to have been the best ATP 500 event this year. And you all thought the tour couldn’t survive the absence of Roger Federer.

That’s the second top four player disposed of, head first through the Cilician wood-chipper, in little over a month.

“From the beginning of the match until the end I didn’t let my level of play drop and definitely I came into the match really good,” Cilic said. “I was aggressive when I had to be.

“The best thing I did today: I didn’t back off, I was just stubborn with my style of play.”



(Photo: AFP)

Following up opposite Juan-Marteen proved more difficult after his ‘upset’ of Andy Murray at Flushing last month.

I’d like to see him use more of that stubbornness, to follow up good n’proper this time round, even though I’d normally back Novak to break his finals curse. This is turning out to be something of a breakthrough year for Marin – and I think he needs a title at this level to underscore that. More so than Novak, whose interests would be better served at the Masters level – where he’s already made a staggering 4 finals this year.

Speaking of which, Novak played some pretty fine tennis of his own yesterday.

“From what I understand”, Big Rob was far from his best, but that in no way detracts from Nole’s performance; one that included more of that ‘grind’ I’ve found so unpalatable these past few months.

I’ve no objection to it being used in moderation provided it’s mixed in with those more aggressive bouts of play that should, under normal circumstances, be considered the mainstay of his game.

But there’ll be no Rafa Soderling final tomorrow. Rafa’s chipped to bits. ‘The Rob’ stops here. My ‘double-blind’ predictions saw to that.


Not to be outdone, the Sveta wood-chipper made equally short work of Nadia, racing to a one set lead before Petrova had even found her feet. From there on in, and understandably feeling the after effects of her three setter against Vera the day before, Nadia made an admirable commitment to a match she must have known was never going to be her own.

Not with Sveta firing on five out of four cylinders.

Nadia did however reinforce my conviction that no Russian serves anywhere near as well as her. You know who to hit with Elena. Another day, another opponent, and it might have been so very different.

"If I play my best game I think I'm to be the favourite but you never know," said Kuznetsova.


No you never do know, but it’s A-Rad, rather than the favourite (and my favourite) Sveta, that I’ll be rooting for tomorrow..

She triumphed in straights over Bartoli, a result I would normally have expected to have gone the other way round; but perhaps not that unexpected this week with A-Rad seemingly set to go A-Rad 2.0, and not nearly as unexpected as the sight of Bartoli turning up to the match in what looked like a Matron’s castoff.

bartoli (Photo: AP)

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