Liveblogging the Australian Open Final

This “liveblog” will be updated periodically as I watch Roger Federer vie for his 14th Grand Slam against world #1 Rafael Nadal.

8:20 am – Final score: Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2. That’s it for me. Have a good day and enjoy the Super Bowl

8:17 am – It’s funny that the first moments after winning or losing a major tennis championship are spent tidying one’s gear into one’s bag. That just wouldn’t happen in baseball, football, or hockey. Can you imagine, upon winning the World Series, the team taking the time to tidy their bats, make sure their helmets were in their cubbies, etc. No way!

8:15 am – Federer forehand long – Nadal wins! Game. Set. Match. Championship.

8:13 am – Props to Federer on saving two match points. Gut wrenching stuff.

8:08 am – Rafa looks like he was good money. The Nadal family box is entertaining. They are young in spirit, smartly dressed, and consistently standing. Federer’s box on the other hand is always seated and pensive.

8:07 am – Either way NIKE wins, right?

7:57 am – Roger’s nervers get the best of him – loses serve. Nadal leads the final set 3-1. Uh oh! This could be over in a matter of minutes.

7:56 am – I am endlessly impressed by one-handed backhands. It must require a great deal of skill and practice to hit with power and control.

7:52 am – No commercials in the final set! Like watching the Masters.

7:41 am – All square. I could have woken up now and it kinda would have been the same.

7:26 am – Federer holds. If this goes to a 5th set, Nadal might have it. His adrenaline will overpower Federer’s remaining strength.

7:11 am – Just an afterthought: Growing up I watched Pete Sampras duel with Andre Agassi. I never thought I would see the kind of tennis they seemed to be able to play. But, now that Nadal has stepped up his game beyond just clay courts, these guys captivate me almost as much as Peet and Andre. I have to say though… Sampras would never double-fault to lose a critical set in a major.

7:08 am – Nadal breaks back. Not sure How I feel about this. Concurrently reading assignments for Judicial Opinion Drafting.

7:05 am – Oh, Federer. If only you could have broken last set we could wrap this match up before breakfast.

6:56 am – Rafa takes the third set in a tiebreaker, 7-3. Federer looks tight. I want a donut.

6:48 am – “Tiebreak to decide the third [set].” ESPN keeps cutting to Roger’s girlfriend. She looks worried. Looks like she just thanked the heavens that Roger held.

6:42 am – It’s getting light outside. I’m wondering if it’s too early to do my laundry.

6:35 am – Both Federer and Nadal look fatigued right now – Federer because he hasn’t capitalized on any of the break point chances and Nadal because he keeps almost losing his serve.

6:30 am – Great service by Nadal. I no longer have to pull for him as the underdog. I’m getting what I wanted – a close match worth waking up for.

6:15 am – Okay, I’m getting up for real and watching this. It looks good. Third set on serve with one set each.

4:45 am – Wake up see, see that tennis is on, fall back asleep.

4:00 am – Alarm goes off and I that Federer was broken in his first service game – the first game of the match. I watch him break back against Nadal.

Super Bowl Prediction

When asked about sporting events I reply that I hope it’s a close game. Most of the time I don’t care about the teams involved. Even if my team is playing, I want the game to be close. I consider spending four hours watching a blowout a waste of my (very precious) time. I want something that will captivate me into the last few minutes. My standards for sporting events are no different that those for a good suspense story – an outcome that hangs on a twist of fate – an extra heave-ho from one team or the other – a four-leaf clover growing on the right side of the field.

With that said, and acknowledging that I honestly don’t care whether the Arizona Cardinals (9-7) or the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) win, I pick the Cardinals to beat the Steelers by a score of 35 to 24.

What is your prediction? Do you care about the game or are tuning in for the commercials alone?

Michigan Basketball

I need to jump in now and become a fan of Michigan basketball, which I never have been. Ever. Even when I attended Michigan, I went to one game when my family was in town. I sat way up in the nose bleed section and probably spent more time talking, snacking and texting that actually watching Michigan win or lose.

But the tide seems to be turning and, while I am not a huge college basketball fan, except during March Madness when everyone is, I think I can get into the games. We’ve got a new coach and, from what I saw last night, a lot of solid new players. Plus, I need a crutch with the impending close of a dismal football season and no possibility of a bowl game this year.

I fully expected to get trounced by #4 ranked UCLA last night. I was going to play the punching bag at my UCLA friend’s house. Figured it would be a chance to hang out, drink a beer, and watch a game I was sure to lose. Then, we clawed back from a poor start. Down 9 to 1 I was laughing and writing the game of. Ten minutes later, there was a crumb of hope on my otherwise empty plate. Very empty plate.

So, off to a 3-0 start. Not much, but far better than the last decade. Perhaps we’re finally shrugging off the Chris Webber fab-five curse.

Now, #2 Duke tonight. Yeesh. Maybe I spoke too soon!


Congrats Red Sox

It was nice to see the Red Sox win on Sunday night, although I would have preferred the Rockies to win a couple games. I hate to see anyone get swept in four games as solidly as the Sox took care of the Rockies. There were a couple moments when the games were enticing, but overall the series lacks the drama on which you want a world championship event to end. The resulting chaos of Boston winning in Boston would have been priceless, too. Bitter-sweet. Maybe next year.

Curt Schilling, the Boston Red Sox veteran strike throwing pitching machine, has a blog titled, “38 Pitches,” which I just found today. His comments on the World Series and baseball are worth a look.