The Semi-Finals

Jun 5, 2009

I spent a good few minutes staring very hard at the coverage of the semi-finals today. Soderling had beaten Gonzalez and Ok, I wasn’t really alarmed by the result. I truly had no idea when I woke up this morning who to root for; I liked both of them but maybe Soderling had the edge. But then again, Gonzalez’s forehand could kill a man at fifty paces, so I was sitting on the fence.

It was a thriller of a match, Soderling having to work hard to close out a determined Gonzalez in the fifth set. Well deserved by Soderling, and undoubtedly tough for Gonzalez to see the finals slip through his fingers.

But when I later came back to the coverage, I truly took a double take. Juan Martin del Potro was a set up on Roger Federer. My line of thought this morning was ‘well, maybe it could happen, but then against this is Federer and del Potro could be demolished in the first half hour’. Seems not.

What followed was about an hour or so of tennis that I am sure has left me with a some sort of ulcer; point after point of tantalising agony. I can’t help feeling that surely it’s not medically advisable for Federer’s pregnant wife to be watching such a tense match. Juan del Potro was almost doing to Federer was Gonzalez did to Murray the other day, and it’s not often you see that. Point after point of blistering tennis.

Unfortunately that was when I was burdened by the beast of technical difficulties, and as I was gone the match seemed to pick up a notch.

When all systems were finally a-go once again, del Potro had turned away from the court and was staring hard at the newly delivered balls in his hand. It could have be sweat or tears in his eyes, but he looked emotional either way. His body seemed to have given up by this point, at least compared to the beginning of the game where he just
seemed to blow Federer away with his power with those Terminator-like arms.

One example: Federer  2-0 up in the fifth set, and he sent a beautiful shot just passed and behind del Potro. The Argentine gave up half way through his reach for it, buckling over those long legs. He went on to
win the game, but he was heavy hearted when he returned to his chair. Del Potro looked tired, whereas Federer looked like he had just turned up for a quick knock around; calm and impeccable.

Of course, after coming this far, del Potro wasn’t going to go out with a whimper. What followed was rally after rally that got the crowds on their feet. And suddenly the disjointed, dispirited del Potro was gone; those massive forehands were back and he was zipping to the net for some stylish points against the world No. 2. Del Potro broke back to 3-3 in the fifth set and queue the Argentines in the crowd going berserk.

Then Federer had to go and break back; now the entire crowd at the Phillipe Chartrier court was in raptures.

Federer to serve out for the match. The crowd had to be repeatedly chastised into silence but they didn’t seem to want to listen to man in a very tall highchair telling them what to do when the game was reaching such dizzying heights.

Match point Federer.

He stepped in and, with little fuss, took it with both hands.

Anyone who watched the two semi-finals will know how tense they were; that electrifying feeling of watching something you can’t take your eyes away from. This is tennis as it should be. It’s a shame to see Juan Martin del Potro go, but no-one is in any doubt that he will be back…

But now we can sit back and appreciate what the final has to offer; Robin Soderling vs. Roger Federer.

For the women, it’s an all-Russian final with Kuznetsova and Safina beating their respective semi-final opponents to meet on Saturday.

The French Open is coming to a close but it looks like it’ll be doing so in some style…

-       SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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