Saturday, September 6, 2008

What a Semis showdown! Fedex is back on rails, Nadal temporarily saved by rain!

Ok So I was wrong (well at least 50%) but why does it feel so right!

I know I said that Roger will reach Semis but will lose to Djokovic and here I was, sitting in the stadium and watch unfold the Semis drama while the clouds hung overhead.

Soon as Roger came into the stadium, I started pumping my fists. No longer had he served his first serve that I was screaming into the ears of people in front of me. My kids were very confused, said my son; "Dad, you wrote earlier that Roger will lose to Djokovic and here is the first serve by Federer and you are already screaming in his favor! What's the deal! We thought you didn't like Roger!

I had to correct them and tell them, look, I love Roger, I want him to break every record there is, because he's a master, BUT make no mistake, a few years from now someone younger and talented will come and attempt to break all of Roger's records and I will be cheering that guy to go all the way. I like this cycle of prepetuity, Roger should break Sampras' records and if someone more capable comes along then let the new kid break Roger's records. That's how I like it.

But I digress, I gad to explain to my son that despite that I love Roger, I don't like the current Roger - the tentative Roger, the hesitant Roger, the overanxious Roger, or simply missing the Roger that I and other fans have known for last few years. I don't like the stubborn way he is playing these days without making necessary changes, the adjustments.

I think today, Roger heard me, his fans and their prayers and came a little bit back into his own, but he was still kind of really missing, well at leats till the third set against Djokovic. He had a fair opportunity to carry the second set to the tiebreak but at 30-40 down and knowing that he must get a deuce and then win next two points, he chose to hit a shot that I have seen him over/under hit many a times this year and there it was, 7-5 in favor of Djokovic! I was getting nervous again! Will the Real Roger please stand up!

To get back a little bit, I liked how Roger came out in the first game, won it and continued to play well. Not surprisingly though, he was still over anxious on many points in the first two sets, but in the third, as Djokovic started misfiring a bit, Roger strated getting his groove back. With every game, we were seeing the Roger "the King" Federer hitting the shots with supreme confidence and finally he relieved Djokovic from his misery with a clean forehand, with the final score at 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-2 , Roger has booked his ticket to the Final.

More importantly,
- Federer is now 7-2 against Djokovic.
- This was Federer's s 33rd consecutive victory at the US Open. Can you believe, his last loss was in the 2003 (against David Nalbandian)
- If Federer wins US Open, it will be his fifth consecutive US Open trophy
- If Federer wins US Open, He will be the first man to win 5 consecutive titles at two grand slam titles ( Wimbledon and US Open)

One side fun fact of the match was that while there was some support for djokovic (I was actually surprised by that, I thought he would have zero support and will be solidly booed after his comments at the end of match with Roddick), BUT every time Roger was on the go, he got a huge cheer from the crowd. By my guess, Roger's fan outnumbered Djokovoc fans by roughly a 100o:10
As for me here's my thought;


I have got to tell you, I was almost stunned when I heard the announcer say during the second set of Fedex/Novak match " Because of inclement weather, Nadal/Murray match will start right now in the Louis Armstrong stadium". I was like, "No freakin' way. I came here to watch both the matches, not half of this and half of that." Since rest of my family wanted to see Nadal and I definitely wanted to see Andy ( he was so gracious the other day when I got his autographs and asked him to pose for a foto, Andy is real cool), we reluctanly made our way to the other match.

Man, was I happy to see Andy play so well! He was calm, not trying too much extra and was on the ball. I think in the whole stadium, there were probably five of us, Andy supporters and it sounded like it was a Rafa fan convention. Everytime, Nadal would get up, go to serve, make a good return, the whole stadium would hit a high octave. It may sound silly, but even though I was outnumbered as an Andy fan, maybe 1:3000, somehow, I felt good and I think it was mainly because Andy made his racket talk. Thank the lord, that Andy won the first and then the second and put a little bit of lid on the Rafa fans. More than him, I was relieved.

I do think though, that Andy was both a bit relieved (having won two sets) and, out of focus at the start of the third set. I was little startled that, he proceeded to go 0-2 in the third and of course, right now, the score stands at 2-3 with Nadal up a break. What I dislike about that as an Andy fan, is the fact that,
- one, if you are Andy, you can't afford to be out of focus even for a fraction of a second, against world's current best player
- two, with a rain break, now there is a chance that Nadal will gather himself and unleash his missiles on Andy.

As for Nadal, he looked slightly out of sorts right from the start! Was he thinking too much, too ahead! Did he think, he will walk on the court and Andy will roll over! Was he already planning for the Finals! I don't know Man! All I saw was that he was lackluster and Andy's great play made it look very ordinary ( don't get me wrong, even an ordinary stroke from the world number one is extraordinary, but something was missing!)

There were some extended, powerful, long rallies with both guys hitting some tough, ground hugging shots but Andy got the best of, many of them. On the other hand, I was worried for Andy, for suddenly at the start of the 3rd set, he didn't have answers for the Rafa serve and that to me is a dangerous sign. As much as Rain has helped Rafa escape a NDE ( near death experience), I think, Andy needs to use this break to get his act together, he can't afford to slip up. Its Do or Die trying for him! No third option.

As for me, I'm happy, Not only Fedex is back but I'll get a chance to get back to the stadium tomorrow and see the completion of Nadal/Murray match. In fact, if the rumors are correct, my ticket will enable me to watch Cara Black & Liezel Huber battle it out against Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur in the Women's Doubles - Finals. Well, lets just say that I consider my $1000 spent on the tickets, really worth every penny.

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