Thursday, January 24, 2008

Don't Sleep on Tsonga

I should have been asleep by now, but I just couldn't. I just witnessed one of the biggest beatdowns that I've ever seen in a Tennis Match. The Aussie Open Semifinal between #2 Rafael Nadal from Spain and Unranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France began at about 3:30 am ET and I just flipped it on planning to watch a couple of points before hitting the hay. After watching Tsonga connect on winner after winner, though, I was mesmerized. The Frenchman won the first set and I started to wake up. Then he won the Second Set. I couldn't believe my eyes. And neither could the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena. Just before 6 am, Tsonga won the 3rd set to win the match.

Unreal. A man I had never heard of just 2 weeks ago has become one of my favorite players over night. The poise he showed the entire match engaged me like no other player I've ever watched. Even when the Head Judge made a horrible call (he mistakenly overuled the line judge and called a fault on Tsonga and then after the replay overturned it, he still wouldn't award him the point) he stayed cool and said to the Judge, "So you were wrong" and proceeded to serve 2 aces to win the game.

It's not like Nadal played a bad match. Although he did get sloppy in the 3rd set, he only made 4 unforced errors the first 2 sets combined. Tsonga used power and creativity to straight up dismantle arguably the fastest player in the game in Straight Sets! He didn't face a break point until the 3rd set. There were numerous shots that looked super human and he has one of the sickest drop shots you will ever see. He becomes the 5th unranked player in Aussie Open History to reach the Finals (the last was Marcos Baghdatis in 2006).

I gotta hand it to Young Swole. He raved about Tsonga earlier this week when he was only in the second round. He told me not to sleep on Tsonga. I didn't listen. Well now I'm watching and I can't stop. I didn't pick the Frenchman in either of my picks and Swole didn't pick him this round, but after watching this match, I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I just needed to see him Live to understand how a baller rolls. In his wake of terror he's taken down numerous ranked opponents (#2, 8, 9, and 14). The Muhammad Ali lookalike (according to the Match Announcers) will no doubt be a huge underdog in the finals, but I wouldn't sleep on him if I were you. He's gonna have everyone singing a Tsonga in Australia win or lose. I highly recommend watching the replay of this match tonight. You won't be dissapointed.

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