Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Finally Federer!!

Finally the shout came. The shout I have been waiting for since what seems like eons. A shout ran like a tremor through my building as I gave into the moment. The Mighty Federer defeated "The Clay King" Rafael Nadal on his own turf.

Roger Federer was going through a so-called slump in this point of his career. Ever since he grabbed the top spot in the ATP rankings in February 2004, this was the first time when he entered four consecutive tournaments without actually winning them. As if that was not disheartening enough, he lost only one of them to Nadal. This was surprising because just before this so-called slump he was riding high on his win from Australian Open and Dubai Open. Fans got a semi-shock when he split with coach Tony Roche and declared that he would enter the French Open and Wimbledon without a coach.

Fans of the lesser gods had a reason to rejoice and discussions like 'is this end of Federer?' were abuzz, while fans continued to crumble when he lost again to Nadal in the battle of surfaces, an exhibition match played on half-clay, half-grass court.

So when he entered the Hamburg Masters 2007, few expected him to keep his streak unbeaten on the German clay court. Initial signs weren't looking good either. Federer survived a scare when he beat a qualifier in a tense three-setter. Except for the match against Ferrero, where he showed the sign of a true champion, he kept struggling. The quarterfinal match against David Ferrer and the Semifinal match against Carlos Moya couldn't be won without a decider set. The number of unforced errors were rising. Coming onto the net wasn't as successful as had been expected. Something was certainly wrong. On the other hand, Rafael was almost flawless and triumphant, except against Lleyton Hewitt in semifinals where he was forced to drop a set.

The stage was set. May 21, 2007. The date was bound to go into history books as one of the glorious moments of Roger Federer's illustrious career. When it's Roger vs Rafael, you are supposed to be glued at your TV set, but fans in India/Pakistan were not lucky enough. The live telecast of the match was scheduled to start at 1830 IST, when the match actually started at 1730 IST, so there was no option but to stick to live scoreboard from Official ATP website. In the very first game, Roger had to save two breakpoints, but the pressure kept on mounting and finally he surrendered the set at 2-6 with two breaks of serve. That's when the live telecast began in India/Pakistan. The pressure was still mounting. Roger again saved a break point in the very first game of second set. Then what happened in the 4th game, no one expected. Before anyone could realize, Federer was leading the game 0-40 and had triple breakpoints and he finally managed a long sought break and lead the set 3-1 and after that there was no looking back for the emperor. He held on to his serve elegantly and won the set 6-2.

Then came the decider. You can't expect a fighter like Rafael,who was riding high on his unbeaten streak of 81 matches on clay surface, just to witness Federer rolling. You have to expect a backlash, but there was no stopping this juggernaut. Nadal couldn't hold on to a single serve and the game,set, match went to Roger Federer. 2-6 6-2 6-0. He won 8 consecutive games and won the last 11 out of 12 games.

Although Federer has won the Golden Bagel Award,a light-hearted award given to the player who has served the most bagels (sets won by 6-0) in a year, twice in three years, I bet no Bagel tasted sweeter than this one. Beating one of the greatest players on the clay court by a bagel?!! That has to mean something. I bet Federer won't forget that for a long time to come. It was a much needed mental and psychological win for Federer against Nadal and that too when Nadal was chasing an ever elusive streak of triple figures, which no one in the history of tennis has achieved.

He has tasted the blood now. It will definitely provide a necessary boost for Federer to add the missing trophy of French Open to his collection. Nobody summarized it better than the philosophical Nadal himself, "I was winning for consecutive 81 matches, I know it had to end sometime, then who better than this man to do so." Bravo!!

The history of tennis has rarely seen such an extremely competitive yet healthy rivalry. Don't expect him to lose his heart. This wounded tiger will be passionate and furious like never before to defend his Roland Garros title. Could the French Open '07 have had a better curtain raiser? I don't think so.

(cross-posted to DesiCritics)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Table d’hôte

In order to document my experiments at culinary I have given shape to my long standing desire. Started yet another blog. Table d’hôte. Cross-posting my first post here. Hope to see you there.

Hi. Without being sophisticated, I admit that I am a big foodie (which shows on my size too) and same enthusiasm has continued into my culinary experiments too. It had been and has been my long-standing desire to cook good food, not just for the sake of necessity. Experiments have not been too fast-paced but they have been surely encouraging. So in the process I would like to document my efforts and hence the result is the blog you have just stumbled upon. Table d’hôte.

A word of caution. Don't read the title of the blog literally. it's not table dhote, it's Table d’hôte. Monsieur and Mademoiselle, it's FRENCH, which literally means host's table, but according to dictionary, it means A full-course meal offering a limited number of choices (as opposed to à la carte) , both of which suits my blog considering I am very enthusiast about hosting breakfasts, lunches, dinners, mainly for experiment and feedback purpose :) and with me you don't get many choices. Limited enough choices to be counted on tip of your fingers and for future purposes, if this blog doesn't turn out to be successful I will indeed be found table dhote. So in short, this title aptly describes past, present and future of my blog.

Disclaimer :- All recipes posted in this blog are tried and tasted[sic] and all of them are made by a bachelor, so easy enough to be tried on your own, so you can give it a shot but at your own risk. Hoping for you to be regular visitor at my new experiment and would be even more glad if you can actually become one of my subject. Welcome aboard and hope you enjoy your stay.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sheer Frustration

... as Federer yet again loses to a nobody Filippo Volandri in Straight Sets 6-2 6-4. Good for Tennis may be, but definitely not good for fans :(