Tipsarevic vs. Ferrer (and an apology from me)

7 Sep

Yesterday’s Tipsarevic-Ferrer match was, I think, some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen.  Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) played like a man possessed — like, 1915 Retreat, Kajmakcalan possessed — the best of Serbian inat, a desperate (in the most soldierly sense), heroic attempt to beat a higher-ranking and very dangerous player.  He was like a manic Djokovic, if that’s possible, without losing his focus, taking all of Nole’s extreme acrobatic risks and flying across the court like lightning — even fighting on after a brutal fall.  Janko may actually have a steadier, more perseverant grit than Nole — with his unpredictable, emotional ups and downs — does.  He’s one of my new heroes.

Janko Tipsarevic

Especially moving was the repeated cry: “Haydi Janko-o-o-o-o!!!” from people in the stands.

David Ferrer (ESP — below), a man who’s career I now regret I haven’t followed very carefully, is just a total stud, monster of a player; big, strong, and fast, keeps coming back and back again with seemingly no loss of concentration or power — an absolute and nimble bulldozer.

They played for four-and-a-half hours and went into a fifth set tie-break.  Both of their feet were bleeding and had to be bandaged.  Janko played on injured after his fall.  It was epic.  Janko didn’t make it into the semi-finals — it would’ve been his first time — and it would’ve pitted him against Djokovic!  But nobody really loses a battle like this, and the crowd and the victorious Ferrer readily acknowledged the heart Janko put out.

Here’s the Times:  “A Lack of Name Power, but Tipsarevic and Ferrer Have Staying Power.”

Janko Tipsarevic, left, fell to David Ferrer in a match that lasted 4 hours 31 minutes. “It was a really emotional match,’’ Ferrer said.  (Ben Solomon for The New York Times).

Meanwhile, Nole beat Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) handily in straight sets and made up for London.  All sorts of commentary about what a challenging match it was: Djokovic “standing in a pool of his own sweat,” etc.; I didn’t even see him break a sweat.

I don’t get this del Potro guy.  He’s big (6’6″), but it seems like instead of his size giving him strength or span advantage, it just seems to slow him down.  He seems almost amateurishly clumsy sometimes — mas burro que potro — and always looks like he’s about to have a panic attack or start crying.  But he’s made it up to fourth rank in his day and won the Open in 2009, so I guess the guy can play.

Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)

Meanwhile, Nole, smelling blood, engaged in none of his antics and only mild versions of his rebel-yell victory howl; instead he just had that calm, concentrated look he gets when he knows where things are going.

But tomorrow he’s up against Ferrer in the semis, which might be a tiny bit more nerve-wracking.

1915 Retreat?  Kajmakcalan?  Yes.  I’m a total and unapologetic believer in The Serbian Myth.  All of it.  But I will have to explain myself further some day soon, because I’ve always taken a lot of flack for it.  For now, let’s just say that I believe it in such a profound, deep-in-the-heart way, that the destructive, homicidal uses it’s been put to disgust me all the more.  Ok?

That wasn’t the apology.  The apology I owe readers here is that for several days I’ve given you nothing but tennis.  I’m sorry.  I’m busy and pre-occupied with lots of things and all the rest of my energy is absorbed by the Open.  It’ll be over soon.

 

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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