Friday, January 29, 2010

In My Day, the Heyday, Friday was a Pay Day

Work is a bit busy today, so I'm gonna do some quick asterisks here and be the bumper and setter to your spiker.

*Federer just annihilates Tsonga in the Aussie semis, earning his place in the final against Murray. Should be awesome. On the topic of Tsonga, it seems like every generation of tennis has one or two guys who play absolutely electric tennis, get the crowd on their side, have a plethora of spectacular moments, and then sink like stones the minute they've made it "too far." I use that phrase because it's like watching a cinderella basketball team make it to the elite 8 in March Madness. They have a couple nice upsets in the first two rounds, which is great. It happens every year, and it's fun. But once in a while, the low seed somehow also manages to win a game in the Sweet 16. And despite their gutsiness, their exciting play, and their spirit, the Elite 8 round is clearly a step too far.* They're in the deep end, well out of their league. When the realization hits, it hits hard.

*Exceptions in my lifetime: George Mason, when they made the Final 4, and Gonzaga in '99, when they made the elite 8 and gave a terrific fight to UConn, the eventual champs.

That's what it's like to watch Tsonga. He gripped and clawed his way to the quarterfinals, winning a tough four-setter in round 3 against Tommy Haas, and followed that up with a 5-set, 9-7 win over Nicolas Almagro. Then he met Djokovic in the quarters, and went down two sets to one. That was the match he wasn't supposed to win. Except Novak got sick, or something, and basically stopped playing for the last two sets. The Frenchman was through to the semis.

And that was way too far. He didn't belong, and it looks like he realized that fact very early on against Federer. 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 was the score, a total annihilation. And Tsonga is firmly in the ranks of the shooting stars, those players who reach their maximum brightness somewhere between the 3rd round and the quarters, and then crash hard. Make a wish.

*Serena vs. Justine tonight. Don't miss it. Best women's since, like, Graf-Seles back in the day. It's on at 3:30 AM tonight, but ESPN will be replaying it at 8 AM tomorrow, so if you're up early, flip it on. The Federer-Tsonga match will be replayed Sunday morning at 10, a more reasonable hour.

*Last tennis news: Rafa is out a month. Blah. It's going to be one thing after another with his knees, that much is pretty clear. Total shame. Hopefully he fights back to be competitive for the French this year.

*The Dukies travel to the capital to face Georgetown on Saturday at 1. I don't see this being a particularly tough game. The Hoyas are ranked 11th, but just got owned at Syracuse. They also have a nasty habit of fading late in the season. I'm sure the place will be rocking, but I expect us to get a second road win somewhat comfortably.

*The second good game Saturday is Kentucky-Vanderbilt. The Commodores just took down Tennessee, and playing at Rupp Arena will be a good indicator of exactly where they stand in this crazy mix. Will also be fun to see how Kentucky bounces back from the Downey Massacre.

*The third is Kansas at Kansas State. Hostile arena for the 'Hawks, and a chance to prove they deserve the #1 ranking. If they lose, that honor might go to Villanova when Monday rolls around.

That's a wrap for now. Enjoy the weekend.

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