42 minutes, that’s how long it took Richard Gasquet and Marion Bartoli to defeat Li Na and Wu Di at the Hopman Cup. That’s two minutes shorter than it took for Djokovic to defeat Fed at Abu Dhabi. I guess the exhos have a silent code of swift play.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, it was a joy to watch Reeshard and Marion play mixed doubles. China’s team, Li Na and Wu Di, showed a light-hearted chemistry with each other and greeted each shot with laughter and smiles. Despite Marion’s occasional attempts to lighten up the mood (which is a big ask for her, during a match), I don’t think Reeshard cracked a grin the entire time—that’s just the way he is though 🙂
Fed and Hingis are officially not playing together at the 2012 Olympics, so I hope Reeshard and Marion team up to become the mixed doubles pair that I root for. It was nice to see Bartoli hitting sharp, flat winners again, although she did lose a tight match to Li Na earlier in the day. It was a solid win for Li, perhaps a hopeful recovery from her recent slump.
The Australia-Spain tie will take place on New Year’s Day, featuring Lleyton Hewitt against Fernando Verdasco. An intriguing match-up!
In Abu Dhabi, Djokovic made swift work of Fed in 44 minutes, which will surely set up expectations for his title defence at the Oz Open. Much has been made of the fact that Fed kept his Rolex on for the duration of the match, which highlights the meaningless nature of the encounter. Still, Fed himself was quick to admit that the defeat was somewhat of a blow (also, doesn’t Rafa always wear his watch during matches?)
Ferru defeated Rafa in a fun-filled match that was also light-hearted in tone. The match featured Ferru’s excellent choice of tactics, as he went on the attack many times, showcasing forehands that recalled some of his best performances at the 2011 Oz Open and the WTF. Ferru looks more than ready to jump-start the 2012 season.
(Photo: Getty Images & AP Photo)
Why yes, I’d like ketchup and lettuce with my burger.
Rafa spoke openly about the slow and steady route he is taking in preparation for 2012, given some of his lingering injury concerns. The Rafa-Fed match for 3rd place takes place shortly at Abu Dhabi—it should be an interesting match for fans, who are anxious to gauge each player’s form after the short “off-season.”