Friday, April 15, 2016

The Full Monte

So much for the men's game being predictable -- in its post-predictable era: After seeing world number one Novak Djokovic get bounced in the second round in Monte Carlo, it seemed French Open champ Stan Wawrinka would capitalize on the opening and take home the crown. Instead, Rafael "I can't win a match" Nadal not only fought off nearly 20 break points to beat rising star Dominic Thiem, the slumping Spaniard stunned many naysayers to crush Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 on Friday to reach the semifinals, where he will now face Andy Murray. (Can Murray annihilate Nadal like he did last year in Madrid?) Meanwhile, Roger Federer lost 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. While I didn't have the highest expectations for the man coming back from two months off after surgery, what was of note was that he lost despite being two points from victory when leading 5-4 in the decider with Tsonga 15-30 down on his serve. Tsonga's certainly no slouch in the service department. But it was another bleak reminder that Federer, who would have seized that opportunity in a second a handful of years ago, is not the force of nature he used to be. Excited for the semis! 


Brent said...

It's often said it's harder to win the closer matches after a significant time away, so it's not really a surprise Federer lost that match. And it's definitely not an indictment of his "decline." Don't go sending him into retirement just yet.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

True. But this has been his pattern for years now.