Having lost two times to the 6 foot 6 inch Argentine this year, Rafael Nadal was trying to break the jinx. This was the setting for the US open semi finals at the Arthur Ashe Stadium!
Coming back from an injury layoff , Nadal was in the semi finals of the US open 2009. Incidentally the spaniard has never gotten past this phase of the tournament in his career. And that was how it remained as the Spaniard fell to his worst ever straight set defeat at a grand slam. 6-2 6-2 6-2
What Went Wrong?
Everything! From the first service game of the match Nadal was stretched as the giant Argentine seemed to have a perfect answer to Nadal’s base line play. The Argentine’s killer serve forced Nadal to stand far away from the baseline. But this couldn’t solve Nadal’s problems as Del Potro held serve quite easily. Nadal wasn’t able to take the break points as Del Potro served quite a few aces to shut Nadal down. Having broken Nadal’s serve early in the first set the Argentine killed the set off in a 6-2. Nadal tried coming on to the net, something pretty much unknown of him. It did pay off for a period of time, but his opponent started to play longer volleys to a very much erring Nadal forehand. Nadal seemed to be afraid of his opponent’s forehand that he constantly played to his backhand even though having an open half. The sliced backhand didn’t seem to work for him either. He went down 6-2 6-2 6-2.
It will be interesting to see how Nadal picks himself up considering he looked a little flat as well, something attributed to his abdominal strain that kept him out of Wimbledon this year. It will be Federer vs Del Potro in the finals. I reckon Federer has the shots in the book to down the Argentine, who himself looked tired trying to cover the width of the court.
Fabio Capello was inarguably the happier of the two managers on wednesday as a thumping 5-1 over the Croats at Wembley. Revenge was a word being carelessly strewn around in the build up to the qualifiers game as this was tipped to be a chance for the English to inflict the qualification wound that they suffered just more than a year ago when they were beaten 3-2 by the Croats. Fabio Capello was no doubt underplaying the revenge element to get his boys focussed on a world cup berth. The pain of missing the Euro 2008 was bad enough but this was even bigger.
Amid croatian accusations of a conspiracy that saw Luka Modric missing out due to an injury, England were sticking on to Robert Green as the Guardian of the goal f or the game. Capello decided to bring in Modric’s Spurs teammate Aaron Lennon into the English right wing. This turned out to be one hell of a move. The Croatians had tried to capitalise on rightback Glen Johnson vulnerablity in defence by tinkering with their left back , the plan backfired abysmally as Lennon continued to cause problems right from the start with his overlapping runs with Johnson’s. In the 3rd minute of the game England got a penalty , though a legitimate decision for the foul on Lennon inside the box! Lampard converted from the spot coolly. Croatians didn’t seem to have control of the ball for long periods and were constantly pressured by the likes of Barry and Gerrard. This pressure bore fruit in the 18 th minute as Gerrard headed home a Lennon cross into the back of the net making it a liverpool-spurs combo. First half came to an end with the scoreline reading 2-0 in England’s favor. There were very few attempts on goal by the Croats in the first half and seemed a far cry from the side that took England apart in the Euro Quals.
Second half began with Croatia making changes up front to the attack replacing Olic and Pokrivac with Klasnic and Rakitic. Croatians seemed more convincing in the opening minutes of the 2nd half keeping possession and also managing produce a save off Robert Green who was not stretched in the 1st half. Right when Croatia seemed to pushing it’s way in , England produced a goal when Lampard expertly headed in a Glen Johnson cross to make WC spot seem even more confirmed. And to make matters worse Rooney played the ball across to Gerrard who headed a looped header in to the net. The Croatian goalie was trying to close down Rooney but was helpless as he saw the ball float across to the liverpool midfielder. In the next minute Croatians pulled a goal back via Eduardo , who was being booed by the English fans, from a series of rebounds that came off a couple of good saves from Green. Goalkeeping blunders seem to be the motif of Eng-Croatia game as Croatian Runje failed to kick the ball properly from a backpass and ended up feeding it straight up to Rooney who more than obliged and slided it in to the net making it an emphatic 5-1 ensuring a world cup spot for the English lions!
Heskey was the unsung hero of the game winning the ball at vital positions but his finishing came in for a bit of a stick when he missed a one-on-one in the 1st half!
The Baron from Bengalooru should ve felt hard done when Mr.Gill said – F1 , What eet ees?(though not verbatim , this was almost what he said). Almost Luck By Chance, MA India(F=M.A and not to be confused with Mother India) finished 2nd thanks to their now Former Driver Giancarlo Fisichella. Bengalooru boss(BB from here on in) could ve been singing Pardesi Pardesi jaana nahi, but Fisi had to go back to Ferrari. Getting back to the point, BB is adamant of bringing the ‘sport’ of F1 to India. There can be quite a few takers for the event to take place given the great roads of The country. Yet as BB looks out to find another driver for his team, signs are he may still be cryin – ” F1, F1″. He he
Here is my nominee for the Force’India’ team – QuickGun Murugan!!! Though i couldn’t reach the superhero for my support, QGM would be more than a handful I say! Mystery still remains , Where will they get the tracks for such a race?? Not from Pritam though! He he!