Australian Open – Day 12

As we are getting to the business end of the tournament this is when the cream rises to the crop. I am not sure if I’ve ever seen a dismantling performance from Sparky Justine Henin, ending the dream run of Jie Zheng with a 12-1 absolute woodshed. I’m sure the Chinese girl would be estatic about reaching the semifinals but that was a bitter way to go down. But something tells me that Sparky was trying to send a message to Serena Williams. It was a much tougher day for Serena against Na Li, who played a lot better than I expected and pushed Serena all over the court. It looked like Serena was still holding back a gear but she still prevailed in two tie-breaks. After a tough day at the office Serena goes out and wins the doubles. It was the first time in the tournament she had to play two matches on the same day. In the doubles final today she and Venus rolled to their 11th Grand Slam doubles crown. Amazingly they are 11-0 lifetime in Slam finals and for good measure they each have won two mixed doubles titles.

It’s amazing that you kind of saw this match coming between Serena and Henin but they still had to win 24 sets combined to make it to the final. Something tells me that Serena has saved a gear for the championship.

The two most dominant players in the last 10 years will be meeting in a Grand Slam final for the first time. Serena leads the head-to-head 7-6. It should be an entertaining match.

It was an interesting battle last night between Andy Murray and “Marin County” Cilic, who came out with guns blazing. After one hour and 23 minutes, Murray found himself down 3-6, 2-2, but a break point in the fifth game ended with a circus shot winner for Murray, which completely changed the match. Sometimes you could look at one point that could change the momentum of the match and that changed the body language and energy of Murray. His energy came up two levels and Cilic’s seemed to be zapped as Murray prevailed in very straight forward fashion. Murray has to feel great about his fortnight as he’s only dropped one set and he’s not played a lengthy match. It’s much different from his US Open final run in 2008 when he came in weary after playing nearly a 4:00 quarterfinal against delpo and then completed his semifinal win against Nadal over two days. We will see a completely different Murray on Sunday night as he’s in prime position to end the 74-year drought of a British man winning a Grand Slam title (Fred Perry in 1936 US Open).

I’m looking forward to this men’s semifinal tonight and it should be some serious athleticism between Rog Fed and Jo-Willy Tsonga. The two played one of the strangest matches last summer in Montreal when Jo-Willy had a set point in the first set tie-break only to dive and land on his wrist which seemed to completely affect his play. He won the opening set but then found himself down 7-6, 1-6, 1-5 and two points away from defeat and somehow he came off the canvas and came back to beat Roger 7-6 in the third in one of Roger’s strangest losses in his career. Something tells me Club Fed will remember this match and if he gets in the winning postion won’t take his foot off the gas pedal. Sometimes guys play good matches against Fed in best of three but it’s amazingly difficult to beat him over five sets because he weathers the storm. In his run of 23 straight Grand Slam semifinals, only four different players have beaten him (Nadal-6 times, Djokovic, Safin, del Potro). Jo-Willy is going to have to play the match of his life and he has a massive serve and forehand. He will try to amp the crowd up but Club Fed always has the answers. Fed will prevail in four tight sets.

G’ Day Mate

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