Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Australian Open Day 10: Mystery Man

Curtain Call

Player: Nikolay Davydenko
Nation: Russia
Age: 28
Current Ranking: 6
Tour Page
Today's Result: loss to Roger Federer (1st seed, Switzerland) in four sets

Oh, I did so hate missing this one. With so many dangerous players on the men's side still involved, an awful lot of great tennis is going to happen in the wee hours stateside. Davydenko has been the hottest player on tour, having taken out both Federer and Nadal in each of his last two tournaments. But Federer has made quite a lucrative living providing reality checks to players on hot streaks. Once again, he has made it to the semifinals of a Slam. Once again, the sun shall rise in the east.

So, what happens next for Davydenko, tennis's mystery man? Does he build on his success of the last few months or does this loss take the wind out of his sails? If he chooses the positive outlook, the next few months hold some great opportunities for him. He was out for a few months last year, missing the Australian, Indian Wells and Miami. He'll gain a point boost from this result and should be able to collect quite a few more. He is also a much better clay court player than other notables in the top 10 such as Murray, Roddick and Tsonga. Especially given the current situation with Nadal, there may be more opportunities than usual this year for Davydenko.

On a side note, Li/Williams was just about the worst tennis match I've ever watched. It was as if neither could quite stand the thought of winning. I was grateful when Li brought it to its merciful end.

I'm marooned at home this morning - can't get up our hill. It seems to happen once a winter - one day when our little Civic, Harvey, just can't tackle the icy road. It's not his fault he's not cut out for Vermont winters. We got him before we moved here. Good snow tires help, but only so much. Sigh...

Catching Up with Old Friends

Francesca Schiavone
(Curtain Call, US Open Day 7) - It's been a great tournament for Schiavone. In singles, she made it to the fourth round, a big improvement over last year's first round showing. She took out Agnieszka Radwanska (10th seed, Poland) in the third round and gave Venus Williams (6th, USA) a pretty good fight in the fourth. Her quarterfinal finish in doubles with partner Alisa Kleybanova (Russia) is actually slightly down from last year's semifinal run but still pretty good. I think she's a lot of fun to watch: aggressive and emotional with a fundamentally solid game. Opportunity looms in Paris - just a first round finish last year.

All Part of My Fantasy

Venus is out. Only my champions remain. Wouldn't that be a kick if I got the champs right but nearly everything else wrong?

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