On the Volley Maybe next time...
"I didn't even have a chance. Maybe next time." Those were the parting words of Spain's best tennis player, Rafael Nadal, after he was thrashed in the Australian Open semifinals.25 January 2008
MADRID - "I didn't even have a chance. Maybe next time." Those were the parting words of Spain's best tennis player, Rafael Nadal, after he was thrashed in the Australian Open semifinals, humbled by the racket of a relative unknown (at least up until now), the 22-year old Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The first two games of the match set the tone of the match, Tsonga blowing through his first service game, and then breaking a stunned Nadal. A Nadal that was, truthfully, never really given a fighting chance during the less than two hours it too Tsonga to beat him 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
"I tried going slower, going faster, playing behind the baseline; playing in front of it. Nothing worked." And the proof is in the numbers. Tsonga served 17 aces; Nadal two. In the second set alone, Tsonga hit 22 winners; Nadal just two. Tsonga will face the winner of today's Federer-Djokovic semifinal.
"He just played incredibly... If he keeps playing like he did today, it will be very difficult to stop him," Nadal said after the match on Thursday.
And just like that, the year's first Grand Slam finalist was born... And Nadal's unlikely dream of kicking off the year tied with Roger Federer on the number one spot was buried.
Buried, that is, alongside Nadal's compatriot David Ferrer's dreams of seeing his first Australian Open semifinal. (They were dashed by Djokovic in an equally lopsided pummelling on Wednesday.) Ferrer won eight total games off of the Serb, to Nadal's seven off of the Frenchman.
And so the journey ends. With two top-five Spaniards sent packing a day apart in two-hour three-set losses by competitors that showed no remorse in just playing better. Qué será, Qué será. Maybe next time.
[Copyright EL PAÍS / KELLY RAMUNDO 2008]
Subject: Spanish news