Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Long Absence: I've been painting woodwork, helping the boy set up his first fish tank, and driving all over creation, plus cooking some kick-ass meals nightly. (That KFC night this week was not my idea.) Tonight is pork vindaloo with sauteed spinach and lentils, by the way.

Down to business. I see that Miss Hingis wowed her critics this week, getting bounced in the quarters by the world number 1. Not too shabby. Granted, she didn't have to go through either of the Williams sisters on the way, but she made Big Kim go three sets. She still has an awful lot of work to do, but I think she can make a respectable claim to comeback success. And she's still the closest thing to cute on the tour. The women's draw looks pretty strong at the end, here, with the 2, 3, 4, and 8 seeds still in it. I like a Clijsters/Sharapova final, with Clijsters winning that.

On the boys' side, the draw looks weaker, which benefits Federer. He should have no trouble with the 21-seed Kiefer, who needed a mythopoetic journey to the land of darkness to get past that wily frog Grosjean. Don't-Call-Me-Davey Nalbandian may have more trouble with the streaking Baghdatis, who has knocked off a top-ten seed in each of his last two matches. (Although, let's be frank here: one of them, the 2-seed, was Andy Roddick, and beating Andy these days is like getting naughty with Madonna in the 80s -- just being in the same zip code means you stand a decent chance of it happening.) But if Nalbandian survives, he stands a good chance of winning his first slam. His game has not progressed as much as Federer's in the past 2 years, but he knows the Maestro's game well and was, during Federer's years on the rise, his bete noir.

That said, smart money's still on Federer.

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