Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Random Aussie Ramblings, Vol. VI: Is it hot in here or is it me?

Today's TWA post is brought to you by the number 95, as in the on-court temperature that sucked the game right out of Novak Djokovic. He eked out a tiebreaker win against Andy Roddick, but couldn't hang for much longer after that. Post-match, Djokovic complained about having a couple of late matches, then an early one, which threw off his preparation for this match. Normally, the schedule goes like this: Ladies first. And it just figures that men would have an issue with that. Geez. Seriously, though, he raises a good point. Why not balance out late matches among all players? Never mind, really, how the players feel about it, but if messed-up scheduling leads to lopsided late-round matches, then spectators don't get the best matchups, either. And isn't it really all about us?

The weather sure has turned out to be the third man in Australia. I wonder, though, are players not as fit as they should be, or is it just too darned hot in January out there?

And, AND! Did anyone catch the women's doubles match between Cara Black and Liezel Huber and Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama? What a match! Who doesn't love Ai Sugiyama? Or at least saying Ai Sugiyama?

On tap for today:
Carla Suarez Navarro v. Elena Dementieva: I'm just not ready to jump on the Dementieva bandwagon. Everyone's all, "She's won 14 straight matches. She's a threat." She sure seems to be on a roll, true enough, but so does Suarez Navarro. She's followed up her win over Venus Williams with a trip to the quarters, so who knows? Plus, I'm still waiting for Dementieva's serve to fail her yet again. At some point, she's going to encounter someone who can attack it. So ... I'm going with Dementieva in straights.
Svetlana Kuznetsova v. Serena Williams: Serena. Straights. Let's move on.
Fernando Verdasco v. Jo-Jo Tsonga: Curious matchup, and exactly what I expected in this part of the draw. Uh-huh. It's hard to pick against Tsonga, and I won't do it here, although if the excessive heat continues, it would probably hurt him more than Verdasco. Otherwise, it's hard to beat the kitchen sink when it comes at you with every shot. I think Tsonga's going to cruise.
Rafa Nadal v. Gilles Simon: Nadal. Simon is crafty and patient, but Nadal has the best form of anyone left. He's smacking winners around like the ball stole something from him. Maybe Simon grabs a set. Maybe.


Jodi said...

It is hot here in Oz - and there's a heatwave in Melbourne, yeah. But it's been worse. My view is that if the extreme heat policy hasn't been brought into play, then the players should be able to deal. Roddick dealt fine. Zvonareva did fine. Bartoli got hammered, but not because of the heat. There's a reason that Federer goes to Dubai, where it break forty-five degrees regularly, to train. If Novak can't take the heat, he shouldn't even bother coming to Australia.

But then, I just don't like him, so I could be a bit biased... but seriously, he is one retirement at the US Open away from the Retirement Slam. And that ain't an achievement to be proud of.

yogahz said...

Ha! The Retirement Slam. That's a good one.

van said...

Ha! That is pretty good: I didn't even realize it had gotten that bad with his retirements! I didn't like his chances going into that match anyway, though.

But how about the heat issue with Serena? She dodged a bullet. Tough for Kuznetsova, but she did have a chance to serve for it and blew it.

Naf said...

Ouch, Jodi! But I have to agree with yogahz, that was pretty funny. If he makes the Retirement Slam, he should have to give back the equivalent in prize money.
As far as fitness goes, I really don't know how you can be prepared for on-court temps of 129 degrees. There have been a few cases here in the States of football and basketball players just collapsing during practice in hot conditions. You can be in tip-top shape and still find yourself woozy in that kind of heat.
I have to say, I think Novak gets a bum rap because he's very confident. OK, he's cocky and arrogant. But he's got the goods to back it up. I do wince sometimes when I hear him speak, but the man's confident. Not much wrong with that.
Hey, Van! I would argue Serena got lucky, except that she didn't really get her game on until she was staring defeat in the face. I don't know if that was heat related, although she did admit she was bothered by it.