Some people seem to think The King is Back, but I'm not jumping up and down yet. It was nice to see him pumped up in the second half of the second set (i.e. after he got broken) and he did well to break back immediately and get the crucial break to lead 6-5, but the momentary lapse in concentration, while not anything new, was a bit unsettling, considering his recent pattern of losses. His serving was also not that fantastic. 11 aces apart, his first serves were around 55% or so, and his second serves weren't effective enough to help him. Soderling admittedly played a disastrous, nightmarish first set, which probably contributed in part to Roger wrapping it up in 20 minutes. Soderling was much better in the second and it truly became competitive, and although Roger pulled out the win in the end, he didn't really respond the way I hoped he would.
In short, TMF is still nowhere to be found. His game still seems a bit shaky. I know his second setitis is not new, but it's just worrying to see him lose focus lately after he threw away five straight matches against the top 4 guys this year (including the AO final, yes).
Roger thinks he has a shot at winning Madrid. I really hope he does. It'd do his confidence going into the French a lot of good, and if he beats Nadal in the final here, the confidence level going into Paris is going to be sky-high. Of course, Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to sweep up all the titles on clay; but I will always hope for the best for Roger, no matter how silly it may seem.
Also, the crowd was being a jerk to Roger. Some ass shouted "Vamos Rafa!" in the middle of the match, which is like, WTF, Nadal isn't there, you're at the wrong freaking match. And the commentators must've been sleeping or something; it was so dumb of them to say that Roger bent the rules when he asked for a confirmation of a Soderling shot that Roger thought was long, but which the commentators (and the crowd) thought Roger should not have challenged after he sliced the ball into the net.
Thing is, it was an reaction shot. It was pretty clear that Roger was going for the slice either way, because he sliced it immediately upon reaching the ball, but he had enough time to see where it landed, and in that amount of time he saw that it was out (it was CLEARLY out; freaking linesperson was asleep once more) but couldn't stop the slice return in time to challenge it. There's a huge difference between trying to keep the ball in play and merely reacting to the shot, which was very clearly what Roger did. I just can't believe those bloody commentators, saying how he knew the rules and shouldn't have done that. Whatever, seriously. And the crowd started whistling - whatever, once again.
I must say I'm super not impressed with the Madrid tournament. In the first place, the founder (Ion something) is a fucking MCP. Last year's Madrid was an indoors tournament played towards the end of the season, and the one thing it was famous for was its skimpily-dressed ballgirls. Usually the ballboys/ballgirls are little kids or teenagers who wear polos or t-shirts and shorts; sometimes the girls wear dresses, but they are long enough to provide decent coverage. The ballgirls in Madrid? They're chosen because they're pretty, and they're put in these low-cut racer-back tops that expose their cleavage every time they bend down to pick up the balls - which is what they're supposed to do. This year, it's the same. I remember seeing a lot of pictures of the girls bending down and half their boobs spilling out of their tops, which totally disgusted me. It's a tennis tournament, not a fashion show; please get with the programme.
Second, the stadium SUCKS. ASS. It's a newly-constructed stadium and it's so poorly-designed. It looks like it's indoors which totally takes away from the atmosphere of an outdoors clay tournament, and the whole feeling I've got so far is so clinical and detached. It's a horrible tournament, and the website is utter shit. It's the worst tournament website ever with these ridiculous horizontal scrollbars. WHO DOES THAT? Whoever designed the site should be fired. And the Spanish content is not even the same as the English one!
Oh, and the bloody umpires SPEAK SPANISH. They speak Spanish and English in the main stadium, but on the outside courts, they speak Spanish! I know it's played in Madrid, but tennis isn't a Spanish sport, and the competitors come from all over the world. I get especially annoyed when I'm watching something played on the outside courts and the umpire doesn't announce whether it's a first or second serve after a let. Sometimes I can't see whether the ball is in or out and I want to know whether it's a first or second serve, and usually the umpire enunciates clearly enough for me to get it. But oh my gosh, I can't understand Spanish so half the time I STILL don't know if it's first or second, even after the umpire announces it.
HOW ANNOYING. Can't wait for this shit tournament to be over. I can't believe it's a 1000 event! It's so shoddy, it feels like some unimportant, 250 event. It wasn't even so bad last year when it was played indoors.
In other news, damn sad Simone Bolleli didn't manage to pull an upset over Andy Murray. He hung really close to Murray; took him to a first set tie-break (that was really close; ended in like 10-12 or something) and the second set ended 6-4. SIGH!
I won't rant about how much I hate Murray 'cause it's a waste of my time. I found his Twitter account and his poor command of English makes me hate him even more. Hate hate HATE him. I'm onboard with the idea of a British player breaking the top 3, but the fact that it's Andy Murray makes me not give a damn. Besides, Murray is Scottish, not English, and tennis is technically an English sport, so whatever.
Oh, and I was so tired last night I was falling asleep during Roger's match. Has never happened before. I did wake up, though, when he got broken hahaha. So glad he finished it in straights. Would've DIED and would've been DAMN PISSED with Roger if it'd been taken to a third set!
(Of course, I'll forgive Roger like immediately but yeah.)
Forgot to add - totally saw Raul Gonzalez in the crowd! Haha, I saw Iker Casillas (HOT!) in the Feliciano Lopez/Juan Monaco match and got all excited because I had a huge crush on him in secondary school. He's still hot. Raul is still hot too though he DOES look visibly older. Casillas still looks the same.
I very casually liked Real Madrid for a few months so it was nice to see the Real players! For someone who doesn't even like football all that much and laughs at own goals. Yep.