Karlovic v Rochus
. This was the one I was eagerly anticipating for today. Ollie returned superbly in his opening 2 matches and Ivo served his way into the QF. Ollie was the better player throughout the match, apart from the second set tiebreak which Ivo won courtesy of some excellent serving and volleying points. He had put behind him his awful first set tiebreak which he started with a double-fault and ended up losing 7/0.
Rochus had his chances for a straight sets win at *3/4 15/40 on the Karlovic serve when he was presented with a few second serves, but credit was due to Ivo for risking all on some big serves. Ivo played 1 poor game at the start of the third set losing his serve from 30/0, and, predictably, that was that. He knew it – he slammed his towel onto his chair in disgust.
Carlsen v Mirnyi
. I doubted this match would finish, but it did. The match started at about 7:00pm and finished not far from 9:00pm with the light badly fading. I can’t say it was entertaining viewing – both men served and volleyed well, and there were even some rallies. But, for the most part, service games were quick and unreturnable serves featured aplenty. Carlsen had his chances for a break in both sets, but Mirnyi found some aces when it counted.
Srichaphan v Gasquet
. Many thought the defending champion would go, and go he did! He hadn’t played well all week, all year even.
He continued in that vain and, to his credit, took advantage of a slight lapse from Gasquet towards the end of the second set when Gasquet was possibly pondering wasting a 0/40 opportunity which would have allowed him to lead by a set and a break. He dismantled Paradorn’s game in the third set, so much so that the Thai adopted a serve and volley style and got few rewards from it.
Gasquet is playing very well and could shock a few at Wimbledon next week.
Dent v Johansson
. Another good match-up, with Johansson the slight favourite to win. As soon as he took to the court, I knew something was wrong. He wasn’t moving so well to return the Dent serve (when it went in!
) On his own serve, the accuracy was just not there. He was also VERY short of patience! He got 2 bad calls (I think 1 was good though) and exploded. Expletives flew from his mouth. He got warned for ball abuse, he smashed a ball straight into the front of the crowd hitting someone in the torso, he time-wasted and he tanked points. He also threatened the umpire with losing his job and asked him "Have you EVER played tennis?"
A lot of us lost respect for him today. Just because he is injured doesn’t excuse his behaviour. When he shook hands with Dent, many thought he was retiring because he was fed up! I hope they at least know the reason behind his retirement before they judge him.
– when the on-court announcer was going through his biography, he mentioned that Rochus’s ambition when he was a little boy, was to be tall!!
Rochus grinned on hearing it and the whole crowd fell into fits of laughter. There were also many moments, notably when the players first came on, and when they changed ends that the crowd continued to giggle and mutter about the size-difference….it got a little annoying after a while - I mean "Get over it!"
Rochus’s different grunts (of which there are 3!!!) also drew giggles from the children…I must admit a few times it was funny.
Taylor Dent – an absolutely unbelievable first 3 service games in which he served 11 double-faults.
This prompted one member of the crowd to shout out – “Taylor – serve underarm!!!”
The funny thing is I think he still would have missed!
While practising against Rochus
, Dent missed several serves (which he was to later miss against Johansson too
). He was so annoyed that he smashed his racquet on the grass (just by hurling it), stood on it, and, like yanking a weed from a lawn, grabbed the handle and yanked it upwards, snapping the racquet back on itself. I photographed the offending implement (I will hopefully post it soon) which he later gave to a bystander. I think Marat would be purturbed at the efficiency and ease with which Taylor broke it
I had never noticed before how weird Dent’s grunt is.
Even when hitting a routine forehand or backhand, or even slice (!!), there is this “uuuuuggghhhh” along with the vampire features (scrunched up nose and creased forehead), the manic eyes, and the wide, open mouth with fangs bared. He really does look like a rabid dog that has just yanked free from its leash and is about to attack the postman.
It is funny! I’m just hoping he keeps on winning…I can’t get enough of it. Now I have 3 perfect pictures of it…great souvenirs!
Highlights from Wednesday's play.
"Karlovic won the toss and elected to serve" - like, what else was he going to do?
Dent losing the second set 6/1 to a player who had raided his great grandmother's wardrobe and pulled a 1930's glove (that extends past the elbow) over his racquet arm. I have NEVER seen an ATP player wear those and it was quite amusing...maybe I just have a strange sense of humour!
were knocking up and then practised serves. Sargsian stood at the back of his end in line with the T and bent over exposing his bum. Johansson seemed visibly upset to miss the target! (run out of smilies!!!)
having another long training session...oh wait, there were no racquets, just a tennis ball and some kicking! Second successive day now, and, apart from his swift singles and doubles defeats, I haven't seen him hit a single tennis ball otherwise. Good to know he is taking the game seriously!
giving good advice to young-budding tennis enthusiasts on healthy eating...joins Hrbaty in the stands watching Beck in doubles action having bought a heavily sugared crepe from one of the food stands.