Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wimbledon: The Semis: Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga ......Wait!.......Tsonga?

The Final Four

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We are down to the men's semifinals at Wimbledon and 75% of the usual suspects are in the big dance. Defending champion and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is in. World No. 2 Novak Djokovic is in. World No. 4 Andy Murray is in. The only Top 4 player NOT in is World No. 3 Roger Federer.

Yes, Federer was ousted in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row, this time at the hands of No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France. Tsonga came back to beat Federer 3-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in miraculous fashion after losing the first two sets. This was the first time in Federer's career that he lost a match after winning the first two sets. He had been an astonishing 178-0 in matches in which he was up 2 sets to "love".

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178-0, until today. Amazing! I guess if we live long enough, we'll see everything happen at least once.

As for Tsonga, he will take on the No. 2 seed Djokovic, who ended 18-year old Bernard Tomic's fairy tale run to the quarterfinals with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory.

For Djokovic, if he beats Tsonga and reaches the Final, he will mathematically take over the No. 1 ranking from Nadal even if he loses in the Final. Although I'm sure, becoming No. 1 is important to Djokovic, it'll be somewhat bittersweet if he doesn't win the whole enchilada. If he only walks away with the No. 1 ranking and not the title, Nadal will be the No. 1 seed at the U.S. Open anyway, so for Djokovic to have a chance to go to Queens, NY as the No. 1 seed in the final Grand Slam of the year, he MUST win Wimbledon.

For the record, Tsonga has a 5-2 head-to-head winning match record against Djokovic in case anyone out there isn't giving him a chance against the heavy-favorite World No. 2.

The other semifinal is one that we are accustomed to seeing-- No. 1 vs. No. 4.

No. 1 Nadal defeated No. 10 Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. Fish was the last American still standing but I guess we can now say, he has "gone fishing". Rafa, on the other hand, will be looking to make his 5th Wimbledon Finals and capture his 3rd title overall and second in a row.

For Murray, well, it's the same old story.

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The weight of the British empire is on his shoulders as he looks to become the first Wimbledon champion from England since 1936. In 1936, Fred Perry won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and since then no Briton has won a Grand Slam title of any kind and Murray is their only hope.

Hey England, look at it this way, at least you have Murray who's always around on the final weekend of most Grand Slams. You should try it from our (U.S.A.) end.

To be continued....

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