Did Richard Gasquet really just blow it serving for the match, up two sets and 5-4 on Andy Murray in the third? Ah, yes he did. What a stunner. First a stunner that he could even get such a lead, then another stunner that he would choke it serving for it at 5-4. Once Murray drew even at 5-5 the match was virtually over. You could see Gasquet was mentally broken. But credit to Murray for coming up with some incredible shots in the third set breaker, especially on set point with that unimaginable wide angle passing shot from the seats. Pretty incredible finish to a pretty damn good day.
Murray-Gasquet certainly lived up to the hype. So to did a few others on the day. Feliciano Lopez used his big lefty serve to escape down three match points to Marcos Baghdatis to win 8-6 in the fifth. Lopez’s countryman Fernando Verdasco wasn’t as lucky losing also losing in the fifth, 13-11. I’ve called him the biggest underachiever on the tour and Fernando today only supported my claim by blowing a 2-0 set lead to Mario Ancic and derailing a chance at his first career final eight spot in a Slam. Like Gasquet, Verdasco simply has to close that match out. That said, both guys probably won’t be sleeping well tonight or anytime soon. Verdasco is already damaged goods, but who knows how much this loss will hurt Gasquet’s career.
Roger Federer suffered no such shame today in taking care of business, beating Lleyton Hewitt for a 12th time. The first set was competitive with Lleyton even gaining a set point in the first set tiebreak. And Fed cruised from there. The Swiss actually said he was sorry for little Lleyton who’s been suffering from an assortment of injuries in recent years.
Rafael Nadal had absolutely no trouble with Mikhail Youhzny pounding the Russian in straight sets. Nadal did have a scary moment in the second game when he injured his right knee. But after a lengthy examining all is well, at least for now it is. Hopefully for Nadal – and for tennis – he’ll be 100% when he wakes up tomorrow.
As for the rest, I can’t even comprehend how Arnaud Clement and Rainer Schuettler are into the quarterfinals. Truly amazing that one of those guys is going to be in the Wimbledon semifinals, likely facing Nadal. At the start of the event there is no one on the planet that could have seen that one coming. And you can throw Marat Safin into that conversation. I wasn’t a believer after his win over Novak Djokovic, but I’m in now and he’s in a good situation against Lopez.
So our quarterfinals are set: Federer plays Ancic, Safin gets Lopez, Clement meets Schuettler and Murray faces Nadal.
I think Federer shouldn’t have too many problems with Ancic. Fed’s going to lose sometime on grass and up until today I thought Mario had a chance. But if you are going down two sets to Verdasco I don’t think it bodes well for beating Roger. I no longer see it for Mario.
I like Schuettler over Clement, only because the German’s got a little more firepower and he’s beaten some better players.
Safin v. Lopez is a real toss-up. I hope for Safin and I think he’ll win. But if Lopez if blasting serves it’s going to be tight. And Nadal is just to strong for Murray – sorry Andy, Rafa would laugh at your muscle-flex celebration. But Andy could get a set and maybe more if Nadal’s knee is really that injured.
The women’s draw lost a few more top seeds today – good riddance some will say – in No. 2 Jelena Jankovic and No. 4 Sveta Kuznetsova. I think that leaves No. 5 Elena Dementieva as the highest left in a Slam quarterfinal, which is downright scary. The Williams sisters are there to keep the Russian company and I expect Venus to win out. Serena though could lose tomorrow to Agnieska Radwanksa. But if Serena gets through Tuesday I think we’ll see and all-Williams final.
I just wish there was a way to lose NBC or keep everything on one channel. There’s such a lack of continuity when mid-way through the day one network goes off the air and another comes on with tape. What other top flight sporting event has its broadcasters treat it with such a lack of respect? Only in tennis I guess.
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