Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australian Open Day 9: Farewell to the Mix

Curtain Call

Player: Gisela Dulko
Nation: Argentina
Age: 24
Current Singles Ranking: 36
Current Doubles Ranking: 28
Doubles Partner: Flavia Pennetta (Italy)
Notable Conquests: Su-Wei Hsieh (Chinese Taipei)/Shuai Peng (China) (4th seed) in doubles, Ana Ivanovic (20th seed, Serbia) in singles
Tour Page
Today's Result: loss to Lisa Raymond (USA)/Rennae Stubbs (Australia) (6th) in three sets

As clearly demonstrated above, Dulko has had a tremendous tournament in both singles and doubles. She is honored here for her doubles performance. Her run to the quarters with Pennetta matches her career best in Melbourne.

I thought Martina Navratilova was pretty rough on Nadia Petrova (19th, Russia) during her loss to Henin. In general, I feel that Navratilova is the one person in tennis who has earned the right to say whatever she likes but she was like a nagging mother in outlining the flaws of her one-time doubles partner.

It really bothers me when the commentators cast one player as a protagonist in the match as they did with Maria Kirilenko (Russia) in her match against Jie Zheng (China). Granted, Kirilenko had the higher profile to start as she took two big names out of the tournament: countrywomen Maria Sharapova (14th) and Dinara Safina (2nd). But at the beginning of the match, you'd hardly have known that there was a player on the other side of the net, let alone one who had taken out three seeds herself (Bondarenko, Bartoli and Martinez Sanchez) and was, at that moment, taking Kirilenko to school.

Did I jinx Nadal by singing his praises yesterday? I, for one, hope his retirement from the match is not a further sign of chronic decline. As I trust I've clearly expressed, I believe Nadal is really good for the sport. I'd hate to see his career truncated by physical wear and tear.

Boy, I sure miss the Mix Channel already. I realize it probably wouldn't gain sufficient viewership with all of the senior singles matches on one court but I'd love to see more doubles. See you in Paris, Mix Channel!

All Part of My Fantasy

With Nadal out, I now only have three players left who can earn me any points in my brackets: Federer on the men's side and the Williams sisters on the women's. As I write this, I'm in the top 60% in the women's bracket and top 98% in the men's. Downright pathetic!

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