It is safe to say that today has been one of the freakiest days of the season so far, as the day in every tournament on schedule has seen matches postponed due to the weather conditions. If, in Düsseldorf, it was only the end of the last match of the day (the doubles match between Argentina and the United States) that was not completed, in Nice, it was all of the singles and doubles main draw matches scheduled today that had to be moved to tomorrow, but at least, the qualifications were completed. In Rome, it’s the pièce de résistance, the men’s singles final, that was postponed. A cocktail of meteorological conditions that prompted these little drink puns.
In Rome, the final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, which will determine if Nadal remains no 3 for Roland Garros or returns to no 2 (he has to win for the latter to happen) was postponed to Monday at noon local (6 AM ET) because the rain, which had interrupted the WTA final twice (final that was finished under heavy drops), made the court, according to the players and their coaches, unplayable.
It is fair to say that the crowd, who had to wait for a good hour after the women’s singles finals was completed to finally be told that the men’s final would take place on the morrow, was not happy. Not happy, in fact, is an understatement as it wasn’t long after the announcement that the crowd started chanting “Buffones, Boffones” (clowns, clowns) and throwing all sorts of projectiles on the court.
In their defence, on top of the rain delays, the day has been passed under high security as the surroundings of the Foro Italico were under heavy police surveillance, as the football match between Napoli and Juventus was to take place in the evening a bit further away, at the Olympic Stadium, and that many confrontations were expected between fans of both teams.
Consequently, we will have to wait until mid-morning tomorrow, if it’s not raining, to know who will be no 2 and no 3 seeds in Paris on Sunday. However, this will have no impact on the French Open qualification draw, which will take place tomorrow. The qualifications for the second Grand Slam of the season start on Tuesday.
At the World Team Cup, in Düsseldorf (Germany), the day had started bright and sunny, with Germany taking a 1-0 lead over Russia when Philipp Kohlschreiber defeated Alex Bogomolov Jr 6-0 6-2. The other matches of this Blue Group tie will be finished tomorrow, with the second singles match (Florian Mayer vs Igor Andreev) and the doubles match, but so far, the defending champions have started on the right foot.
Afterwards, in the Blue Group, Viktor Troicki gave Serbia a 1-0 lead over Croatia when he defeated Ivan Dodig 6-3 7-6(3). In this tie as well, the action will continue tomorrow, as Janko Tipsarevic will face Ivo Karlovic, followed by the doubles match.
In the Red Group, Japan surprised the Czech Republic as Tatsuma Ito came back from a set deficit to defeat Radek Stepanek 3-6 6-4 6-4. Go Soeda will try to have the better of World no 7 Tomas Berdych tomorrow, followed by the doubles.
Another team that started well is without a doubt last year’s runner-up, Argentina, who took the measure of the United States with a 6-4 5-7 6-3 win of Leonardo Mayer over Ryan Harrison and then, a few minutes later, a 6-2 6-2 win of Carlos Berlocq over Andy Roddick. The first match was really exciting, as both players went from lengthy baseline rallies to crafty net play, very often in the same point, but if I were to be completely honest, it was Mayer’s serve giving up on him at key moments in the second set that prevented the match from ending in straights, as he was clearly the strongest player on court.
As for the second match, it marked Andy Roddick’s comeback after sustaining an injury in Miami, thus forcing him out of the Davis Cup quarter-finals, Madrid and Rome. After the match, Roddick said he did not play well, but gave credit to Berlocq, who was the best player on the court that day. Incidentally, I didn’t see it quite that way, as Roddick put up a nice fight and the games were often much longer and tighter than the score indicates. However, Berlocq was, indeed, the best of the two today and he showed it with very aggressive play, fine serving (84% of first serves for the match), and attacking the Roddick serve every time he could, to great effect.
Argentina was trying to finish the day with a flourish in the doubles, when Berlocq and his coach for today, Juan Ignacio Chela, were facing Harrison and James Blake (who also makes a welcomed comeback). The U.S.A. started strong, breaking the Argentines in their first service game, only to get broken back mid-set. The Argentines took the advantage, breaking Harrison and Blake to serve out the set, which Berlocq was unable to do. Matters were decided in the tiebreak, with Chela and Berlocq taking a commanding lead that they never surrendered, taking the initial set 7-6(3). The two veterans started strong in the second set, breaking early and holding up until 4-1 when it started to rain and play had to be suspended.
However, rain quickly turned to hail, as Juan Ignacio Chela tweeted a bit later:
Caen piedras en Dusseldorf yfrog.com/obmjyqqj
— Juan Ignacio Chela (@JuanIChela) May 20, 2012
Dmitry Tursunov also joked about the “little rain” of Düsseldorf…
A little rain here in Dusseldorf –> yfrog.com/kghpextjj
— Dmitry Tursunov (@TursunovTales) May 20, 2012
and Charly Berlocq had the whole Argentine team posing in the hail:
— carlos berlocq (@charlyberlocq) May 20, 2012
The doubles match will finish tomorrow, before the scheduled matches.
A bloggers’ newsletter
This morning, I received an interesting invitation from this new website, which makes a weekly newsletter of blog posts related to tennis. Jonathan, the administrator of the site, wanted to add my posts to his newsletter, to which I have agreed.
If you want to find out more, you can visit Point Blank Tennis and subscribe to their newsletter. I did.