Yes, the tennis Madness in March continues. In this year of unpredictability, the unpredictable has happened again, this time courtesy of Mardy Fish, who destroyed Roger Federer 6-3, 6-2 this afternoon in the semifinals of the Indian Wells Tennis Masters Series.
That’s right Federer fans, the sky is falling. Cats are getting it on with dogs. The 98th–ranked Mardy Fish just beat Roger, and beat him real bad. Hard to believe it, but very true.
In my original tournament preview I didn’t think Roger Federer would win Indian Wells (I picked Andy Roddick to beat him, then to win the tournament over Djokovic) and I don’t see him winning in Miami either. I said that thinking that mono virus Fed’s been struggling with doesn’t just go away. I hope for his sake that’s somewhat the case here.
If you told me that Fed played an American ranked No. 98 who served 34% first serves, I’d say there’s zero chance for that guy to beat Fed or any World No. 1. But to not only win but do it 6-3, 6-2? Wow.
That all said, credit to Fish, who took what was given. Fish has been playing incredible tennis this week, and I’m sure having Deal or No Deal’s model No. 2, Stacy Gardner, as his fiancée doesn’t hurt his cause. Fish escaped Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian in third set tiebreaks before steamrolling Federer today. And Mardy did raise his game, elevating his first serve pct. from 33% to 35% in the second set (joking).
But is there something fishy going on? Is Fed again suffering from mono? Did Fed’s lack of match play/practice catch up to him? Is it that post Pete Sampras hangover hex again? Is Mirka really pregnant? Is Mardy Fish just that good? Or does Federer just suck now?
Mirka rumor aside, it’s probably a combination of everything.
I questioned why Fed even announced his bout with mono at a time when he said it had passed, but it did have the subtle affect of lowering expectations for Fed. At least for me it did. Even though he said he had recovered, mono can linger, and even though he may or may not say he felt fine today, it’s out there. It’s a hidden excuse. And no Roger, getting to the semifinals with the draw you had is no major feat. Sorry.
In the earlier semifinal today Novak Djokovic returned to the IW final rolling Rafael Nadal pretty comfortably. I didn’t see any of the match, but on paper it looks to be an impressive win. Obviously Novak’s the big fav Sunday against Fish, but after what we’ve seen these last few months nothing seems certain anymore in tennis. And that’s a good thing. Go Fish.
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