Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Barcelona: “Dasco-Sizzlehands”


This picture’s doing funny things to my eyes. Is that trophy levitating?

Verdasco d. Soderling 6-3, 4-6, 6-3

I’m going to take this one squarely on the chin – I obviously thought he didn’t have it in him. A charge to which I can only plead that he mostly doesn’t have it in him. At least not when it matters most.

I’m not going to argue Soderling wasn’t all there.

There was certainly an uncharacteristically high number of short balls landing in the vicinity of Dasco’s forehand (of all places) and a scandalously high percentage of misdirected overheads that almost suggested a certain squeamishness about finishing off a point.

Though credit where it’s due and all that – a lot of that was simply down to Dasco weathering the storm and converting on the opportunities presented to him – like those five or so forehand zingers he fired off those short balls Soder-Pop kept sending his way, Nadal-like in their curvature.

But then neither am I about to argue in favour of extrapolating all sorts of clay-court jollification for Dasco over the coming weeks.

Dasco’s forehand is truly an awesome feat of engineering. It puts him a cut above the more traditional clay courters (of which I’ve had a lot to say on over the past few days), but perhaps therein also lies the rub.

Most of the time it seems like he can’t make up his mind about what exactly to do with it. Like it shouldn’t even be there. He wants so desperately to be Daveed Ferrer, yet is cursed with a marginally flatter version of Rafa’s forehand – only with more pace.

Like a trigger-happy Gulbis trapped inside a clay courters body, what sets “Dasco-SizzleHands” apart is at once also the source of the angst I suspect must plague him at his most critical moments – hardly surprising things should go to pot, as often as they do.


Such obvious incongruity has it’s benefits of course: it allows you to coax your opponents into a false sense of security before zapping their carefully honed image of the player they think you are with strokes you’re not meant to possess.

It’s the type of thing the arthouse critics tend to love, but remains, unfortunately, the exception to the rule.

Mundane as it might sound, such grotesqueries aren’t the way of the world - a greater degree of coherence is what, I suspect, ultimately fosters the consistency that carries players through many more matches than the relatively few transient higher profile victories they might score on the back of that one party trick.

Not sure where that leaves Dasco-Sizzlehands - doomed just like his namesake?

Certainly hope not.

(Photo: AP)

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