Thursday, 26 November 2009

WTF: Big Rob first to make the cut, and Rafa’s Last Stand


(Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

Soderling d. Djokovic 7-6, 6-1

As easy as that.

Straight sets.

And just like that, the guy that snuck threw the back door is the first to make the semis.

Don’t you just love tennis?

I’m absolutely loving this run from the guy that makes a sport as elegant as tennis, look like the front line of a riot.

Be warned I intend not to remain entirely objective about the whole Big Rob situation.


(Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

As for Djoko, I actually thought he gave a great account of himself….for one set.

During that one set, Djoko played ‘kitchen sink tennis’, mixing things up, attempting to get the big guy off balance..

But it was all to no avail. From what I can tell, movement may not be Robin’s strongest point, but he’s perfectly adept at moving side to side, provided he’s allowed to play the match on his own terms – which you almost always are if you’re able to sustain the lights out quality he did today.

Then, as they did with Murray in that final set yesterday, the floodgates opened.

During the second set there was a stage at 5-1 down, where Djoko had only won 9 points to Big Rob’s 22.

There are those (myself included) that thought that with the amount of matches Djoko’s played, and with the quality he’s brought to the table recently, he might just run out of gas.

Maybe some of that played a part, but not very much; Djoko simply ran out of answers. Nor did he much appreciate the look of the questions Robin was incessantly throwing his way, electing instead not to invest himself too heavily in that second set.

Which is a little strange considering points are yet to be accrued – rolling over here might end up costing him a place in the semis.

davydenko (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Davydenko d. Nadal 6-1, 7-6

Um…that’s the exact reverse score line of the Big Rob match – and it don’t surprise me one bit.

As one sided as the first set was – scary as hell when you consider Nikolay wasn’t even playing with the monstrous intensity he was opposite Djoko a couple of nights back – the fact that he gave Nikolay something to think about in the second set should give Rafa some hope.

If I’m not mistaken, he even looked to be testing out a new, flatter breed of hit.

Smart move.

You know your form is kaput - where else are you going to find a better testing ground than a field comprised of the top eight players in the world?

nadal (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images)

And with that, Rafa’s quite magnificent, if somewhat lopsided year, comes to an end.

He will of course take part in the remaining token singles match against Djokovic, which he could make an extra special effort to win just to spite Djoko.

But who qualifies second in the group also depends on how Nikolay fares against Big Rob. Both Djoko and Kolya have won and lost one match each, though it’s Kolya that hasn’t gone down in straight sets.

See what I meant about not rolling over?

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