January 21, 2008

BRING YOUR PACEMAKER/ DAY 9 PREVIEW


Man is the tennis getting fantabulous down under. Day 9 is the beginning of quarterfinal action and there are several can't miss matchups to watch.

Jelena Jankovic aka Houdini and Serena Williams aka thunder booty have come a long way to get to this point. One of them will be packing their bags by the end of the day. They are up on Rod Laver first in the day session - and this is only one of several "decadent" matchups scheduled for today. My practical side tells me Serena will survive, but my heart, silly and illogical organ that it is, is rooting for Jelena and her happy-go-lucky attitude.

After the conclusion of Serena v. Jankovic on Rod Laver, Rafa Nadal will attempt to dissect yet another unsuspecting opponent. This time it'll be #24 seed Jarko Nieminen who will be desperately trying to fend off the merciless blows that Rafa is sure to deliver. This one is a sure thing (Rafa will advance), and to me, the only thing to watch for is if the fin can actually test Rafa.

For poor suckers like me who crave live tennis coverage and who possess dedication enough to stay up until 0700 Pacific Standard time, we have a double-header night session on Rod Laver.
First up Justine Henin aka wonderwoman guns for her 34th consecutive win (she hasn't lost since the Wimbledon Semi's - crazy!) against the Princess aka Maria Sharapova. Sharapova has been cruising of late, and she's in good health too. She still screams as loud as ever every fucking time she hits the ball, by the way. It's annoying, and so is her dad, who seems to believe that his teaching is what's propelling his daughter to her refound glory. I expect the princess aka daddy's girl to sleep in a bed of her own tears after a hard fought yet decisive whooping at the hands of wonderwoman. But what do I know?

Finally, as the wee hours of the San Francisco morning approach, I will be at headquarters, waiting for the last match of the evening to start. It features two large men. Thumpers. # 14 seeded Mikhael Youzhny aka Drago will trade blows with unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga, the only unseeded singles player left in either draw, surely wants to continue his roll. He'll be pulling out all the stops tonight. I'm calling this one a toss-up. I will be thrilled to see either player go to the semi's as both are dynamic players who could be poised to make a move of the ATP ranking ladder in 2008.

That's the skinny for now. Play begins in approximately 2 hours on Rod Laver.