Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Swiss stars hang in

Roger Federer and Martina Hingis couldn't have had it more different the last three years, and here they are on familiar terrain, in the quarterfinals of a grand slam. Well, sort of familiar for Hingis. I'm sure she's still just taking it as it comes, and not setting herself any unreasonable goals. In fact, not even she herself would have envisioned making it this far. As someone mentioned (Jon Wertheim on CNN/SI I think), the draw has been kind to her mostly. Now she's looking at the real deal - taking on a red hot Clijsters, who may have had a niggle or two, but is still good enough to beat most women on the tour. Hingis has certainly not done her confidence any damage this past week or so, and that is great news for tennis fans. How she measures up against Clijsters will go a long way in her comeback not going the way of so many others. Make no mistake, she was beginning to be outhit by Samantha Stosur as the second set progressed, and was visibly tired. In fact, I would it put Stosur's loss down to her lack of experience in general and lack of big match experience in particular. She was a little overwhelmed by the expectations, perhaps that of her own, but certainly that of an expectant nation so desperate for some home-grown success. Hingis was only too relieved at her partner's predicament. If Hingis has been a model of calm and relaxed nerves, Federer has been increasingly weary of his burden, one suspects. Watching him in the final of the US Open having to dig deep against Agassi, it was quite clear Federer quite cherished the top spot, but the competitve fire seemed to have, of late, taken a bit of enjoyment out of the Swiss genius' game. He seems more and more conscious of the expectations around him, which is but natural. Luckily for him, he's still a bit better than all the other guys out there. The challengers are beginning to emerge from the shadows though, and are starting to believe in themselves more. Tommy Haas didn't for about two sets, and then suddenly out of nowhere mustered the spirit and strength to mount as serious a challenge as Federer is likely to come across this week. Once again, the competitive instincts took over when it mattered the most, but it will nevertheless give heart to the potential challenger. To be fair though, only Nalbandian and Ljubicic seem at all capable of pulling it off. - NK


Anonymous eteraz said...

great website. im really enjoying the india/pakistan series. after the pathan first over i was panicking but akmal revived us. it is turning out to be a great match.

im also an avid tennis fan. my most recent post is about Sampras and Federer. Stop by sometime.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Gameboys said...

Thanks, eteraz. I'm in Melbourne right now and havn't yet settled here, so I don't get to watch the series :(

Anyhow...well, Pakistan is in a great position right now, it looks a bit tough for us now unless we get some quick wickets tomorrow...

Wow, you really are a big fan of Sampras! My big tennis favs are McEnroe, Becker and Graf. I grew up idolising Becker, but Mac is my all-time favourite, a real genius (and of course his maverick streak). Even though I hated her for beating Navratilova a few times, I had a serious crush on Steffi - think I still do ;) And last but not least, Leander Paes for obvious reasons.

6:38 AM  

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