Well, another Aussie Open has come and gone and there were some exciting finishes, if not surprising results. Nothing could really top the awesomeness of last year where Rafa beat Federer in 5 sets and Federer cried in disappointment, but it was still two weeks of great tennis.
We had a great women's final with Serena Williams defeating Justine Henin in 3 sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. This was especially satisfying for me since I've had an irrational distaste for Henin since my college days. She physically resembles someone who I used to know that annoyed me and I've rooted against her at every turn. Not that she hasn't given me reason over the years to find her unpleasant. There was that whole incident a couple years ago where Henin held up her hand as Serena Williams was serving, the chair umpire didn't see it, Serena got called for a fault and Justine refused to admit that she had indicated that she was unready to start play. Boo, Henin! Poor sportsmanship! Even if I don't like her, I do love the drama she brings to the women's tour (and she does have the skills to back it up.) Serena started this tournament very strong but was struggling in the later rounds. Henin, in her first tourney back after about two seasons of retirement, was only getting stronger, totally steamrolling through her semifinal match. It was hard to say what was going to happen in the final. The tennis was strong, the tension was high and in the end, the player I wanted to win actually won and that's what matters most. Bravo, Serena!
The Bryan brothers also claimed another Grand Slam title, beating Daniel Nestor of Toronto and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia, winning the men's title on Saturday for a second straight year with a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory. The Bryans had been on a five-match losing streak against Nestor and Zimonjic, so the victory was that much sweeter. It's nice that even if the United States is having a hard time coming up with Grand Slam contenders in the men's singles tennis tour, the Bryan brothers are still going strong in doubles.
And of course Federer dismantled Murray again in the men's final 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. The third set tie-breaker was a doozy though. I watched most of the match live, but fell asleep halfway through the third. When I woke up, I saw that Fed won in three sets, but watched the DVR'ed conclusion. It's kinda funny to watch a tiebreak like the one Fed won in the third set. I knew he would win it, it had already happened, there was nothing Murray could do as I watched to alter the course of reality. Still, as I was watching I was SURE Murray would win. He seemed to be in control for much of the tie break. I bet it would seem that way if I rewatched the end of last years Roddick-Federer finale again. Sometimes even if you know the outcome, tennis has a way of making you feel as you watch it, like something else could happen. It's like anything is possible on any given shot, even if you can know it will reach only one outcome.
So Federer takes home Grand Slam title Sweet 16 and Murray is denied once again. Murray is still only 22. If he can stay healthy, he'll have his chance to hold the big trophy. Rafa has a new knee injury which is disappointing but it should heal in a month. His ranking will drop from 2 to 4 next week, his lowest ranking since 2005, but what else can happen when he's not playing due to injury? I wish him a speedy recovery and again contend that if he's healthy he's the only guy out there that can consistently challenge Fed in tournament finals.
Fed's win is incredibly impressive. He's made every Grand Slam final for over two years. The Grand Slam finals are quite literally Federer vs. Somebody Else. It's crazy! I know everybody on the planet was ready to hail Tiger Woods for Athlete of the Decade (and he basically WAS Pro Golf for the past 10 years, I grant you that), but take a minute to consider the man Rodger Federer and the titles and records he's accumulated over his career. It's really astounding.
So that's it from Down Under! Hopefully Rafa will be able to rest and be healthy for his favored upcoming clay court season and take back his French Open title. I'll be here on the blog to follow him on his journey. Vamos!