Wednesday, January 07, 2015

2015 Qatar Open Tennis Tournament

The Qatar Open Tennis is on once again and this year I foolishly left it too late to buy tickets. I wanted tickets for any of the weekend games (quarterfinals, semifinals, or finals) but by the time I went to buy them they were all sold out! I was kicking myself a little for not getting tickets earlier, I will try to remember that for next year.

Luckily a friend of mine managed to get some tickets for last night’s matches. I knew that both Djokovic and Nadal would be playing matches that night so it would be great to see them play. I've never watched Djokovic live as it's the first year he's played at this tournament.

Unfortunately by the time I got out of work, fought the traffic, found parking, and met up with my friends Djokovic’s match was over! That's the downside to those straight-set victories, it can be over pretty quickly. My friends and I got to our seats just as Rafael Nadal was warming up against a German qualifier that I'd never heard of before, Michael Berrer.

The first set went pretty much as we expected, with Nadal completely dominating. I think he won the first nine or ten points and we were pleasantly surprised when Berrer managed to win one game, losing the first set 6-1.

But then something happened . . .

I think Berrer just decided, “Screw it, I'm going to play completely high-risk tennis" and in the next set he really went for it, hitting the lines, rushing the net, faster serves, yet it was all clicking and Nadal started to waver a little in form. I was honestly shocked when Berrer took the second set. From that point on I was rooting for him (I like rooting for the underdog) and in the third set he didn’t let up, he even did a full-power second serve rather than the safer standard second serve (it worked, he got the point). In the end he was just playing great and the second and third sets turned out to be really good to watch. Not surprisingly Berrer’s victory has been in all the major sports pages today.

Berrer is 34 years old, ranked 127th, and has said this is his last season. He'd never beaten a top five player before and it was nice to see how happy he was at the post-game interview. He was even mobbed by fans for autographs as he was leaving the court, something that I don't think has happened to him very often in his career.

As for Nadal the tennis press was buzzing. Returned too soon from his operation? Will he be in form in time for the Australian Open? Only time will tell I suppose.

Doha always seems to be a tournament where some underdog gets some big wins last year it was another guy (also German, maybe just German players have a great time here) who made it all the way to the semis and managed to take the first set off of Nadal before losing the other two sets.

I'm still surprised that Berrer beat Nadal but at least I was there to witness it.

No comments: