Streaks. And their executioners
May 12, 2011 Leave a comment
I know, I know, the earthquake was predicted to hit Rome yesterday (11/05), but if I were you I would start worrying like, now.
Why? Well, because Richard Gasquet rallied from a one set, one break deficit to win a dogfight in two tie-breaks. That, by itself, is already a great deed, given the circumstances. But COME ON, he beat Federer. Yes, Federer, who, since losing their first meeting barely over six years ago, never lost to him again – including two Masters finals on which Roger spoiled young Richie’s dreams.
Picturing it: this win not only gave Gasquet his first win against Federer after eight consecutive losses, but also spoiled Federer’s 19 consecutive quarterfinals (PS: Some people say it’s 20, but I don’t consider the World Tour Finals, since there are no QFs) – last time he had missed the final 8 was… in Rome, after dropping his opener to Ernests Gulbis. Gasquet now survives another round and plays Berdych for a semifinal spot.
That’s two streaks broken. By Gasquet. Against Federer. Not enough to bring the Coliseum to the ground, but should be enough to make you wonder if this is the real world.
And talking about real world and Coliseum, I could clearly picture Soderling – a.k.a. King Sod – and Nicolás Almagro – a.k.a. Top-10 – as two gladiators, battling on whatever the Coliseum floor is made of (but it looks like clay), trying to behead each other. I rejoiced. Of course, that’s because Soderling won – and he played some heck of awesome points too.
They fiercely battled through three sets, all decided by a single break, and it was always clear they are not BFFs – thank God of Tennis for that; I could even put an add-on here, but would extend the post, so game on – Soderling’s reaction after the match point says it all. It says, “In your face, Top-10!”. We love you, Robin.
Elsewhere, Nole won. Of course, what else? But he already shows signs he’s ready. Ready to lose. Just like in his match against Bellucci, Nole had a slow start and looked edgy, even having relatively long monologues with his box, even so managing to find some extra oil to burn, some extra cash to spend, or whatever is the expression, from the 9th game of the 1st set on.
He ended up claiming his win number vierunddreizig (go translate) of the season. 6/4, 6/1. Kudos to Wawrinka for fighting hard and avoiding the bagel. Nole is also in the quarterfinals.
And what does Fate have in store for us? Soderling – a.k.a. King Sod, far from being one of the most loved, charismatic players on tour, known for his prick-ish behavior – and Djokovic – a.k.a. Nole, the opposite. Nole’s triumph: 34 consecutive wins; confidence. Soderling’s triumph: the best part of the post. Even deserves its own paragraph.
Robin Soderling is the first – and, as of today, remains the only – man, woman or mutant to have sent Nadal home at Roland Garros. This I don’t have to remind you. Soderling also ended Federer’s streak of consecutive Grand Slam semifinals. All of these astonishing achievements came on the same clay, but clay is clay (and contrariwise – just started loving this word). So, R-Sod checks his little Evil black book, and already see crosses beside Nadal and Federer names.
I bet my ass he is doing pen tricks right now, looking with glee at Nole’s name. Because that would be a hat-trick. And the job would be complete (Andy Moo has never put up such a streak).
Oh the details? Djokovic and King Sod will wrestle tomorrow under all the spotlights – and the Killing Moon (if you have to Google it, shame on you) of Rome – on the Italian Tennis Coliseum – alias: Centrale. Djokovic leads the H2H, 5-1, but Robin won the last, back in the ’09 Masters Cup.
All I can think is: Instant classic. And, after that, FIGHT!