Rick Rock here -
The round of 16 is when it really starts to come together. Not that there haven't been great matches in the earlier rounds - it;s really been a good tournament so far - but suddenly there is more at stake, generally better match-ups, a little more electricity as players peek into week 2.
Fed v. Berdych - happy for Fed and sad for Berdych. Now I am going to pretend I know something about tennis, which is basically not actually true - but who cares, here I go. I think Fed has become too tactical a player. What I mean is, he relies too much on certain set tactics - in particular, the short slice backhand, particularly on the return of serve. It's not a bad tactic, but he becomes very predictable, and when an opponent starts to really take advantage, he is slow to change it up. Djokovic feasted on that return last year, and Berdych did too through 2 sets today. His second serve too lacks variety, and has become a bit of a liability.
I feel that, especially against opponents he thinks he should beat, he is very stubborn about sticking to his preconceived plan, and he resents having to actually make shots and bust his behind on defense. He woke up against Berdych and started to be more aggressive but it took staring into the abyss. He will have to embrace playing on the edge a bit more, again, if he wants to win another major.
Ok, end of pretending to know crap about tennis, really.
Djokovic over the Bag - a lot of people have an issue with Djokovic but I don't. He's great. The most visibly athletic player around. I don't know what people mean when they say athletic, necessarily, but for me it is about balance - I'm not sure how to say it but he looks so balanced, while being aggressive, just a great mover and almost always achieving great stillness at the moment of contact, while otherwise constantly in motion. And flexibility - incredible backbend on the serve, #1 in the splits of the men, etc. Sad for the Bag of course - but a good fight.
Now we're watching Dokic and Kleybanova. Don't tell because we have it taped and haven't seen the end! Rooting for Dokic, because she looks kind of like my girl, P. BUT, nothing against Kleybanova. P feels bad for calling her a beast in an earlier post... and before I say this, I just want to say, I don't mean to be mean, but this is just totally objective, fact-based reporting. Second, I too am a fantastic sweat generator. That said, here goes.
Kleybanova, leaning over to serve, sweat dripping from her... hat? Damn, there has got to be a lot of sweat to totally saturate the hat, dribble all the way to the brim, and still have enough gusto to be like, pouring off. And then - AND THEN - she wrings out her ponytail - with a practiced movement, no less - wrings it out and sweat just gushes out - SPLASH! Wow. Now if I had a ponytail, to be clear, I would do the same, because I sweat like a champ. But still - if nothing else, it needs to be noted. And, if I was on TV, I think maybe I would try to at least be subtle about it? I don't know, maybe not. As Jesse of the Eagles of Death Metal says - "SWEAT!"
Don't get me wrong - Kleb is playing great, and probably will win this. I feel for her with the Aussie crowd against her. But damn!
UPDATE - Dokic won it! Despite rolling her ankle - looked horrible but didn't seem to slow her down. I feel for Kelby with the crowd against her - but happy for Dokic. Genuinely moving, with her whole story. Her coach, her boyfriend in the crowd, the people who believed in her, it's nice to see.
Sorry for making fun of sweaty Kleby - but she did it again, wringing out the pony tail, yikes!
Signing out - Rick Rock