Featured match of the day – US Open day 7

I did it once, I did it twice. I’m doing it… is ‘thrice’ a valid word in English?

Featured match of the day, the famous cannot-miss, the one that will make sure your money invested is worth. Tomorrow, this match is the second on the Arthur Ashe stadium, after Nalbandián – old and fat – and Nadal – meh, no big deal, he’s let Djokovic inside his head and ever since declined – finish the supporting act.

FFF = Feel my French Fierceness

For the fifth time they will meet – and the local has the edge, 3-1. In the rankings, they are both situated way lower than they should and separated by 60 spots: the American is currently ranked #21 and Le French currently sits at #81, having just returned to the top-100 this week.

And why this clash is just so special? Well. ONE: They haven’t played each other since 2008, when Roddick mounted a comeback to beat Jules in the Round of 16 of Miami; TWO: Jules is en fuego, or as you would say in French. He qualified and reached the finals at the inaugural Winston-Salem open, but intentionally tanked the final, in order to let John Isner enjoy some glory at home. This week, the Wildcard Benneteau got rid of Almagro’s top-10 ass and Istomin to reach the third round – therefore adding forty-five more points to his. THREE: Andrew S. Roddick is, well, playing at home. And he is always entertaining – whereas he might be smashing racquets and/or arguing line calls for it. He might stall double-digit aces, and even so tickle his opponent with his backhand or groundstrokes in general hit from the first row of the stands.

A.S.R. looks at the draw: "Playing HIM, again?"

FOUR AND FINAL REASON WHY THIS IS THE BEST MATCH ONE COULD DREAM OF: They are both MYTHICAL players. I mean, WHICH tennis fan has never heard the fortunes that involve the glorious past of Andrew S. Roddick and Julien F. Benneteau? For those who are not familiar to Julesses (pronounce it as if there was an apostrophe there) glories, I link here a post I, as the president of the first Julien Benneteau Fan Club, wrote. Here, here, grasshoppers. Fulfill your curiosity. And Roddick, well, he is a living legend. I have also wrote a tribute for him – and many many other posts.

So, if you want to witness the ultimate clash – an early final for the last Grand Slam of the season, doubtless – between two contrasting styles: A.S.R.’s big serve-outpace-him style that is a trademark of the Open Era and J.F.B.’s all-around, baseline-hitting, first implemented by the pre-1968 Frenchmen who liked to play tennis wearing tail-coat, well, then, meine Damen und Herren, you must tune in to the Arthur Ashe, not before 1:30 PM and hold on to your hats, because a hurricane is due to strike.

#earthwillshake #monsterclash #comeonandy #allezjules

 

PS: This post is loaded, I mean LOADED with sarcasm. I shouldn’t have to say this, but given some recent happenings, I feel like it’s better.

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Happy Birthday, Andy!

Today is a veeeeeeeery special day. On this day, in a town east of Omaha (Bob Seger, anyone?) Andrew Stephen Roddick was born. Twenty-nine years later, here we are.

The number represents his level of awesomeness - in a 1-100 scale.

For the top-ranked American for many many years, and the last Yank to top the rankings, no words make a fair tribute. So I decided – alongside my friend and biggest fan of A-Rod I know, @cacwhere – to put together 29 Andy Roddick facts for you – and, even more important, for him.

There we go. Be ready to take a fucking bow to the man who was the GOAT before the term came into popular use and still is, up to date.

 

1- Grand Slam title, the ’03 US Open

2- Miami titles (2004/2010). He’s also won the Cincinnati shield twice (2003/2006)

3- Times a Wimbledon finalist, in 2004, 2005 and 2009

4- Continents on which Andy Roddick has won a title: America, Europe, Asia and Oceania

5- Masters Series titles.

6- Titles in 2003 – his most prolific year: St. Poelten, Queen’s, Indianapolis, Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open

7- Ranking of Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick’s very first opponent as the leader of the ranking, at the ’03 Masters Cup; Roddick won, 6/2, 3/6, 6/3

8- Finals reached in 2003 and 2004 – best marks of his career; Roddick went 6-2 in 2003 and 4-4 in 2004.

9- Consecutive years with a top-10 year-end ranking. Only Roger Federer, among actives, has a similar record

10- Titles outside the United States: Queen’s (4x), Brisbane, Lyon, Dubai, St. Poelten, Montreal and Beijing

11- Consecutive years winning at least one singles title: He’s one of two active players to do so; this is the 5th longest streak of all-time

12- Decisive Davis Cup wins – the clinchers; Also his US Open participations completed in 2011.

13- Weeks as #1 – from 13.11.2003 to 01.02.2004, ranking him as the 15th all-time.

14- Year-ending ranking in 2001 – his first full year as a pro; He had finished 2000 at #158

15(5) – Miles per hours, his fastest serve – an ace struck at a Davis Cup tie v. Vladimir Voltchkov, from Belarus. For years to come, this was the fastest service ever recorded

16- Age on 17.05.1999 – date of his first professional match, at the Vero Beach F4; He lost to then-512 Nicolas Todero from Argentina, losing 3/6, 3/6.

17- Years when turned pro, in 2000

18- Years old – his age when beating a top-10 for the first time: #4 Pete Sampras at the 2001 Miami Masters; Roddick was also 18 when won a title for the first time, at ’01 Atlanta.

19- Matches won between Montreal and the US Open, in 2003 – his longest winning streak.

20- Titles won in the United States: Memphis, San Jose, Houston, Washington (3x), Miami, Cincinnati, Indianapolis (2x), Atlanta and the US Open

21 – Wins shy of his 600th career triumph, ranking him second among active players.

22- Player to ever top the ATP rankings since the introduction, in 1973.

23- Tournaments played in 2003 – still his record for most events played in a single season.

24- ATP 250/500 titles.

25- Ties played for the United States Davis Cup team – with 18 wins.

26- His age in April/2009 – when married actress and model Brooklyn Decker

27- Matches at Challenger level – with an outstanding 23-4 record, three titles and one final.

28- Years-old – Andy’s age when he won Memphis earlier this year – his 30th career title.

29- candles blown by the birthday boy today. Happy birthday, Andy! And please, never ever change.

 

"What? Me? Nah, I'm just relaxing."

The light in the end of the buzz-kill

I had it all planed. Really did. I was ready to write a post – this would be the one – talking about how really amazing grass is. The background, of course, would be Roddick and Ana reaching finals this week, despite having fairly disappointing seasons (Ana more than Andy?).

But, well, sigh. I’m like, an ultra-jinxing machine – everything I say, sports related, happens. But backwards. That’s why I don’t bet.

Yes, we are keeping an eye on you, Andrew

They both had tough matchups ahead. Roddick played Andy Murray in London, but oh well, this is Queen’s. And Roddick. They are naturally attracted. Or at least used to be. But what happened today was a beatdown. 6/3, 6/1 for the Scot, who dropped only nine serving points the entire match, not facing a single break point and converting 2-of-6. While Roddick served at 83%. Didn’t see what happened, and looking at these stats, I’m completely ok with that, even glad I didn’t. Murray now goes on to play Tsonga in the final. If he wins, will become the first British player to win multiple Queen’s titles in 80 or 90 years. Not exaggerating.

As for Ivanovic, well. Fact #1, she had strong showings throughout the week: bloodshed against Tatishvilli, straight sets win against a tricky Rebecca Marino and got through also in two against Mirjana Lucic. Fact #2, and we gotta accept that, she didn’t face any “big” opponent – and even though this is WTA and Ana has had some trouble against player she should have easily beaten, the wins she had in Birmingham are the “expected” ones. Quite not enough to say she’s back. (the same way we still could not say that, even if she had won the title)

 

You can kill my buzz whenever you want, Dani. And call me too. Whenever you want. But wait, that's not an engagement ring, is it?

And Hantuchova proved that. Dani recovered from a one set down, while holding Ivanovic to a ridiculous, Roddick, Federer-like rate of BP success. The third set finished with a 6/2 triumph for the Slovak, who goes on to play her first grass final.

So, well, my beloved grass screwed my first idea of post. It did not bring a new life for Rodderino or Ivanovic – not really – although them both had a great week. That’s how life works. Being a bitch, I mean.

However, silver linings: right after Hantuchova killed the last hope I had to go on with my primary idea, Birmingham gave me a new subject to write about:

 

Yes, she's lovely. Yes, her smile is adorable. But hold on with all these "ZOMG, SHE SMILES, LET'S CREAT A CHURCH FOR HER" thing.

Sabine Lisicki. The X-Peria hot shot, who blossomed during the 2009 grass season, but suffered with an injury-plagued 2010, eventually falling outside the top-200, and returned this year as a fan favorite, beat Peng Shuai today, in two easy sets, to reach her 4th career final – the first on grass.

And then, her DelPo-comeback continues – from #216 in March to the top-80, maybe even better. And Wimbledon is just around the corner… the same grass that introduced her to the world a couple years ago.

So, yeah, thanks to Sabine I can say what I wanted to from the very first moment I thought about writing this post: The grass. It is magic 🙂

 

PS: Albeit Dani and Murray killed my buzz, I’m far from hating them.