Monday, 28 June 2010

WombleTown: South West London Guide to Road Travel



Nole, Berdych and Sod all took the “non-scenic” route through (four, four and five sets resp.).


Fed, Rafa and Muzz, the “no-nonsense” route.


ARod got bogged down somewhere along the M4/M25 interchange, and didn’t get through at all.



Sod hadn’t dropped a set in reaching this point. Today against Ferrer, he dropped TWO.


I’ve long maintained his theoretical prowess on grass – the guys a Kraken on fast, indoor  courts: you would expect some of that, at least, to translate to grass. Yet, until today, along with Kolya, he’d not ever been beyond the fourth round here.


All that might be about to change, but if he plays like he did today, I suspect he won’t be around for very long.


Masha’s stay here is at an end after going down to Serena in straights in a match where Williams, funnily enough, didn’t play her best tennis. This, after looking like the #1 player she is since the start of the event.


And with that ends a short-lived experimental shift in allegiance. It’s not often I root against the Williamses – but Masha looked to me to be playing her best tennis since her return from injury, and I thought the underdog could do with the support.


Kimmie/Juju, by contrast, was a horrible let down. I’ve no idea what led to the loss in confidence that was very evident from Juju midway through set two. But it allowed Kimmie back into the match and she eventually sealed the win doing little more than simply going through her very decisive motions. God only knows what would have happened with Serena at the other end.


And what of Bartoli (6-4, 6-4 to Pironkova), CazWoz (6-0 6-2 to Kaia Kanepi) and ARod (five sets to Lu)?


That first round win Kanepi had over Stosur is, now, looking slightly less of an upset, though I find ARod, and indeed Bartoli, the more troubling.


Both, remember, are Wimbledon finalists here, Roddick three times over.


"But through three sets I was playing horrendously, I mean really, really badly. I mean, to the point where I was trying to think of how to put balls in the court," added the American, whose face was partly shaded by a red baseball cap.

"I didn't get broken for five sets. It wasn't my serve. It wasn't my service games," he snapped.

"It was my returning. That was crap. It was really bad. I haven't been broken since the first set against (Michael) Llodra (in the second round)."

Roddick also had a terse response when asked by a journalist if he was going to be disappointed when he woke up in the morning.

"I'm going to be thrilled. I mean, c'mon. Of course I'm going to be pissed off when I wake up tomorrow. I mean, if you got fired from your job, you probably wouldn't wake up the next day in a great mood," he said.

-- Reuters


If week one’s taught us anything, it’s that no one, not even the top seeds, can always be relied on to pull out a straight sets win. Some would go so far as to say that it’s actually good to detox through these types of matches early on.


But all that relies on the caveat that your form, however wavering, is built upon some semblance of working parts – “crap returning”, unlike, say, a poor first serve percentage, is more like a spanner in the works.


A real shame, it’s not often you can call Roddick for passive shot selection.


Had he had been half as inspired as his opponent was out there today, he might even have put him away in four– he certainly ought to have done so in five.


As should Bartoli – a ragged three set win might not perhaps have been the scenic route through – it would, however, have been  infinitely preferable to the pile-up that comes of going down 6-4, 6-4 to a relative journeywoman (do we have those?).


I don’t need to have seen the match to tell you how “crap” that is too.

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