Hope you all had a better weekend than Ivan Ljubicic – probably not that hard. The crappy Croat laid an egg losing the final six sets he played to cement Croatia’s first round loss in Davis Cup to Germany.
To add to it, going into the tie Looby announced he was retiring from Davis Cup. Well, Looby, at least you went out on top. How does that feel? Good riddance.
And that’s the last time I pick him or his country to do anything that matters on a big stage ever again (yeah, i’m bitter!). I figured after when Looby won the Cup for his country in 2005 his game would elevate. I guess it peaked after his first career Slam semi at the French last year, but it’s been all downhill since.
So Looby you can keep putting up big results at your Dohas, Zagrebs and Viennas, and keep going deep into Masters Series events, but I’m done with thinking your ever going to produce at a Slam (again). Sorry.
And on the subject of posting big time, how about Igor Andreev? Guess you now know why Maria Kirilenko hangs with Igor. Andreev and his Russian crew went down to Chile – where no one wants to go play D-Cup – and stole one from Fernando Gonzalez and Nic Massu.
Marat Safin played well scoring a straight-set opening win over Massu, but then Andreev pulled the shocker winning in four over Gonzo. Chile got on the board with a doubles win Saturday then tied matters when Gonzo regrouped to beat Safin in straights, setting the stage for a fifth and final rubber in which Andreev stepped up huge defeating Massu in four sets. Very impressive for the young kid who’s coming back from serious injury last year.
And you have to love Marat who addressed the crazy Chilean fans afterward saying, “There’s no need to insult people when they’re playing. There’s no need to shout between points. We’re here to compete, and nothing more. We’re not here to rob the Chileans of their land.” That’s too good.
A guy tabbed by some as “Baby Marat” still has some work to do. That is of course Tomas Berdych. The big Czech will hopefully live up to his nickname rather than choose the path of say…Ivan Ljubicic. Berdych has long been pegged a serious threat on the tour ever since he beat Rog Fed at the Olympics back in 2004. But he’s shown little of that flair on the big stage sporting zero wins in five tries in Slam fourth round matches. I think he’ll get over that hump – I hope he will – but it’s going to take some work.
This past weekend when his Czech team played against the U.S., Berdych pulled out a strong win over James Blake on day one, but then gave it up to Andy Roddick in the fourth and ultimate clinching tie. I don’t blame Berydch for the Czech loss – I don’t think they would have won that fifth rubber unless they played Lendl – but he’s got to take out Roddick in that match. On clay, at home, in your own arena, you are up a set, you have to beat Roddick. I know Andy’s playing better now, but you beat him last year and you simply have to finish him off. But it didn’t happen. Give credit to Roddick for showing his toughness on dirt and again for his knack of rising to the occasion – he’s 8-0 in clinching Davis Cup rubbers.
For Berdych, like Ljubicic in some ways, you have to wonder when this guy is going to breakthrough that that big win.
The results over the weekend certainly set up some great round two clashes. France at Russia should be a good one with a lot of questions for the home team like where does new hero Andreev fit in with Davydenko, Safin and Tursunov?
The U.S. hosts Spain, who may or may not be with the oft-injured Rafael Nadal. If Nadal posts and Tommy Robredo’s in good form, Spain could certainly upset the U.S. especially since the Americans chose hard court as their surface. Hard court? Wasn’t there a grass court available somewhere in the country? If I’m the USTA, I’m building that thing right now. But I guess the brass figured hard court gave them the best shot. Whatever. Good luck to ya…
Sweden also meets Argentina, who with Guillermo Canas back and the emergence of Juan Martin del Potro, could wind up in the final or winning the title. And Germany could face a tricky test visiting Belgium.
Should be fun. Less than two months away. Can’t wait.
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