Thursday Fish Wrap: 100%
Is anyone still paying attention that there’s a tournament going on in California this week? Some interesting stuff actually transpired in the past few seemingly lackluster days including a thinned out draw; Lindsay Davenport’s official, albeit weird, retirement announcement; and the announcement of an Andre Agassi-Marcelo Rios exo in a few weeks, where Agassi made a few interesting statements.
Men’s Draw: Despite the recent drop-outs of the first seed and a few other contenders, the men are still chugging along. The last two rounds have been much more interesting than most people probably thought they would be, with a few clay courters popping up. Who woulda thunk that we’d have a quartet of Spaniards to contend with? Pas moi.
Was it fortuitous or simply coincidental that ye olde Pacific Life Insurance Company kept that Mark Phillipousis-Tommy Haas underwater tennis ad hanging around? Yea, yea… they need to update that action. But seriously, last night’s drubbing of Fernando Gonzalez was telling and since Roger Federer dropped out, I’ve been on a serious Tommy Haas kick. He’s been playing some great tennis lately, and a Haas-Andy Roddick final might just pull this tournament outta the forgotten history file. Here’s hoping.
Women’s Draw: Despite the recent drop-outs of the first seed and a few other contenders, the women are still chugging along (ha ha). Really, did it surprise anyone that Maria Sharapova got dusted? It seemed fated: Lose the tourney, lose your number one ranking. Oh, the drama!
Anyway, while not nearly as dramatic as the match up against Serena Williams in Melbourne, Shahar Pe’er put on a pretty good show against Daniela Hantuchova last night. Maybe the lack of Israelis in the stands made the match seem less dramatic? Hmm. Either way, it’s a pity she couldn’t advance, but I’m sure someone at ESPN let out a gleeful cheer knowing that they’ll get at least one more round of a skinny blonde to light up the ratings.
For her part, I find it wildly interesting that Dani is the last person of either gender left in the tournament who has actually won the dernded thing — despite the fact that it’s her only career title. Will she take 2? My brilliant ouija board is telling me ‘no’, though she was looking awfully aggressive last night and moved Pe’er around like an old-school Martina Hingis.
I’m taking bets on who we actually do see in the women’s final. I’m watching the Nicole Vaidisova-Svetlana Kuznetsova match as I’m writing this and feeling like Unstoppable Nicole is going to be stopped by Kuzy in a few minutes. Let’s hope for the WTA and the tournament’s sake that the second seed does win the trophy.
On the other side of the draw I’ve been liking little Na Li for the past week. There’s not much else I’ll say about this suffice that some clarification needs to be made that has been driving me nuts for a while: For Chinese names we say “Li Na”, but it’s printed “Na Li”. More info here for the curious. I’ve been dying to get that off my chest for a while. Whew. Thanks, I feel better!
It’s Official: Lindsay is Retiring: If you didn’t catch it last night, and it seems to be nowhere in the press today (go figger), Lindsay Davenport announced her “100%” official retirement from tennis. The manner she employed to do it was pretty weird though — via a pre-made ESPN video. Granted it was one of those sappy piano music-filled tribute videos that ESPN is good at, but really, it felt like someone reading their own last will and testament from the great beyond. Hells bells, Mary Jo Fernandes even described her as being “at peace”! Whatever the case, it’s a relief that she had the good sense to at least make an announcement ((cough: Monica)), and to do it at Indian Wells is sweet. Check out the video here. And keep the Kleenex handy.
I’m gonna take a stab in the dark and say that maybe it won’t be the last time we’ll see Lindsay around the courts. Can you say ‘U.S. Open send off’? My hope is that in the future it will be up in the press box.
Andre-Marcelo Exo: Lastly, no one really seemed to notice the other day, but Andre Agassi and Marcelo Rios did a media call where they announced that they’ll be playing an exhibition match in Santiago, Chile on March 30th. There will apparently be a Windows Media and Realplayer livestream available via Canal13. Just hit this link at 10pm ET that evening and look for the magical spanish words “senal en vivo” (HT No1Rios on MTF).
Anyway, more interesting to me was that Agassi said that he wasn’t going to play on the seniors tour (like he has time…), but he would be interested in being Davis Cup Captain. Watch his interview here via Realplayer.
Mull that while you let the rest of the Pacific Life Open blow your wig back.
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Roddick, Fish, Berdych Face Stern Tests Today in Washington
Federer v. Murray; Nadal v. Djokovic Seeded for Indian Wells SF