Thursday, 27 January 2011

Nearly There

Well well well, a few days of shocks.
Firstly world number one Rafa Nadal was playing his quarter final against David Ferrer (Spanish, likes clay, top ten player, gets to EVERY ball) when he pulled a muscle in his leg :(  He carried on playing, but a shadow of his former self lost in three sets to his compatriot.  It seemed that he was carrying on more to give Ferrer the joy of beating him, then anything else.  But also he's a professional, competitive athlete and probably the idea of giving up doesn't sit well with him.  But it became a little sad to watch as the match continued and Nadal realised his dream of winning Australia (and in doing so being one of the few men to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time after winning the French, Wimbledon, and US Open in 2010) was over.

Not long after that Justine Henin announced her second retirement.  She quit in 2008 when she was world number one, she came back last year and got to the Australian Final before losing to Serena Williams.  She hurt her elbow in the summer, took several months off, and started the year saying she was playing with pain.  She lost to Kuznetsova in the third round of this Australian Open, and has aggrevated her elbow to the point that doctors have told her to stop playing.  I'm not that sad, I really liked her back in 2008 but I've moved on. 

And on to today, well the front pages will be full of Novak Djokovic beatin Roger Federer, but is that really shock.  After he beat him at last years US Open (in 5 sets, saving two match points) he's looked a better and more mature player.  While Federer (who is playing better and more focused than when he was first knocked off the top spot a few years ago) arogantly assumes he is still in his Federer bubble where just going out and playing well against any opponent is good enough- it's not and has been proved so numerous times in recent years.  Although you can't say he's playing badly, there is no direction to his energies as if he has given no thought to how to play his opponent.  And beautiful Novak is too good for that.  And Novak will play either Murray or Ferrer in the final.

Anyway, the realy shock is that Li Na beat World Number One Caroline Wozniaki in the Semi.  Li becomes the first Chinese woman ever to get to a Grand Slam Final.  The Chinese players were developed years ago after China was given the 2008 Olympics to host, they focused mainly on doubles believing they had the best chance of medals there, but now the singles women are reaping rewards of the Chinese Tennis Programme, and tough training regime.  Li also showed her humerous side (and might I say impressive English as it's not easy to crack jokes in a foreign language) after the match joking about her husbands snoring, wedding anniversay, and prize money motivation. :) 

And Li will face Kim Clijsters (her again) who beat poor Vera Zvonerarava, in straight sets.  Vera has got to two grand slam finals at Wimbledon and US Open, and I hope she isn't disheartened by losing here.  She seems to have used her experience at getting to grans slam finals as a confidence builder but I'm sure she doesn't like the sight of Clijsters on her draw sheet.

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