Saturday, June 4, 2011

Once Again For 10: Rafa at the French Open, Semifinals

(Straight Through to the Finals!)

Oh, happy day! Not only did Rafa beat Murray in straight sets 6-4 7-5 6-4, to make it to the French Open Final on Sunday, but Federer FINALLY beat Djokovic this season, so we are treated to another Federer-Nadal Grand Slam Final!!! It's been SO LONG since we've had one of those after being spoiled by having so many of them for a couple years there. Federer's win also means that Nadal won't lose the #1 ranking to Djokovic (for now) and Djok's unbeaten record falls just a couple matches short of the record. Look, I know it's not nice to celebrate someone's loss. I'm sure Novak has his fans, and it's hard to lose in such an important tournament. I'm just not a Djokovic fan. And he hasn't lost since Thanksgiving 2010 so he's enjoyed a lot of winning in the past 6 months. I think he can mentally absorb one loss.

But back to Nadal and Federer. Each played a really fantastic semi. Birthday Boy Nadal impressively gritted out some crazy wind and a fierce counterpuncher in Murray, but he was pretty much in control the entire match. Federer's match was an epic battle, with amazing play coming from both sides of the net. Fed finally knocked out Novak after four intense sets: 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), thanks in no small part to some amazing serving. With this win, Fed proved to everyone who might have been doubting him that he's still very much in the conversation at the top of the current ATP field. Great work to both guys in their victories!

Their match up on Sunday should be a fun one. If weather conditions cooperate, we should see a very high level of play from these guys. They should both feel more at ease having gotten back to the Final. Hilariously, they both celebrated their semifinal match wins as if they had just won the whole tournament! Sorry, boys. You can't just call it splitsies and be Co-Champions. One more match still to go!

If history is any indicator, Nadal should have the edge in the final. Fed and Rafa have played 4 times at Roland Garros and Rafa's won each of them. Three of those wins were in the Final. Their Grand Slam Final record overall favors Rafa 6-2. But Fed is playing amazing right now and he's no slouch on clay in general. I mean, this is Rafa's sixth appearance in the Final Match, but it's also Federer's fifth. Plus Fed's won here once too. I expect a hotly contested match... although, I wouldn't be disappointed if Rafa just steamrolled him either. LOL. Here's hoping Our Hero is biting into that trophy tomorrow and picking up his 10th Major Title. Vamos!

(A lovely post-match birthday celebration for Rafa!)

(Blowing out the candles and making a wish... for French Open Title #6?)

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