Monday, April 1, 2013

Hard courts over and out

It's April now, which means the hard courts are done and we head to clay.  So the tennis March Madness is over with the two big Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami.  The Miami tournament was a bit anticlimactic this year on the men's side being that we were missing two of the huge drawing cards, Federer and Nadal.  The resurgence of Tommy Haas into the semis did bring some excitement, however, taking out #1 Novak Djokovic in the process.  At that point I was really hoping to see a very unusual final, Haas against Gasquet.  However, things went along the much more predictable lines and gave us Murray and Ferrer. 

It was a strange, brutal and error prone match between the two.  Ferrer ended up with only 14 winners in three sets with 50 unforced errors while Murray had 23 winners and 45 unforced.  Not only that, but there were 15 breaks of serve between the two, at one point six games in a row!  The rallies were long, often ending with an error, and by the time the match was over Ferrer was badly cramping, something I never thought I would see, and neither one hardly had the energy to finish.  Faster courts anyone?  Andy Murray managed to pull off the win in a third set tiebreak (which I didn't get to see since I was watching on the DVR and didn't know CBS would be ending their coverage - but that's a different story!).  With this win he passes Roger Federer for the #2 ranking.  It's the first time in over nine years that neither Federer or Nadal has held either the #1 or #2 ranking.  Wow!

I was concerned about the women's match between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.  I have seen enough blow-out matches between the two that I went into it wondering if they would even make it to an hour.  But Maria obviously came out with a game plan and Serena took a while to find hers, meaning that Maria took the first set.  But Serena being Serena, part way through the second set she found her form and by the time they got to the third Masha's plan had totally gone out the window.  A bagel third set for the beautiful world #2 had to hurt.  Looking back, though, she will have to feel good that she at least found a way to win a set against Serena, something that hadn't happened since 2008!

Clay court season has already started for the women in Charleston this week, albeit green clay.  Then next week, after Davis Cup over the weekend in various places around the world, we move over to Europe once again and the world will be watching to see if Rafa Nadal is going to clean up once again or if someone can hold their nerve to finally beat this guy on the red stuff.     

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