Doodles from sunny Palermo
We ought to tell the truth: Palermo gives players a way to escape from hard-court / indoors and find some sunny retreat on clay courts. And Italians, Spaniard and South Americans guys are used to be there. That’s the last dance on clay of the season, a surface all these guys have a particular love for.
When we say “a clay court player”, what does it make you think about? Someone speak of clay court specialists in such a way that sounds a bit irreverent, as they all were “the biggest dirt rats”. That’s a sort of unfair play. In order to render dignity to this kind of players, Pemulis likes to quote Mr Brad Gilbert, who -talking about Franco “Toto” Squillari (an Argentinean who was ranked around top ten on early 2000) -remarked: "This guy had a huge forehand, and he ran around every backhand to hit a putaway with his money shot. He ran down everything – and on the slow clay, a lot more balls can be run down. He was the dirt-baller supreme”. That’s a somewhat more fair generic profile of a clay courter.
That said, we manage to put an eye on the last eight of Palermo 2006: 4 Spaniards (Verdasco, Ramirez Hidalgo, Almagro, Montanes), 1 Italian (Volandri), 1 French (Simon), 1 Argentinean (Vassallo Arguello), 1 Ecuadorean (Nico Lapentti). A typical clay court menu. Lol. How are the things in Palermo? Not so good for the Italians, being Volandri the only that has survived the first two rounds. Filo won 2 three sets in a row but is not at his best ‘cause he’s struggling with some bug he got in these days. And just at the time of writing Filo is playing against Albert Montanes, who ousted a weary ‘Poto’ Starace. We think Nicolas Almagro was the best player so far, who also benefited from a nice draw. Fernando Verdasco seemed very good at defeating Bracciali in the first round, and today is gonna take on the fellow countryman Ramirez Hidalgo for a spot in SF. Nico Lapentti's come-from-behind win against Fabio Fognini was a crushing blow to the Italian hopes. The final might be a clash between Spaniards. But before getting the final someone (Almagro?) has to roll past Volandri. We have a wait-and-see approach about it.