Archive for August 4th, 2012
When both Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro reach a matchup in which both players are at their best, both physically and mentally, they certainly put on one heck of a show. And the All England Club was the perfect scenario for these two magnificent players to set up a battle for the London 2012 Summer Olympics. At the end, it was clear that either player deserved a win, a chance at the Olympic gold. But after more than four hours of a dwelling combat, it was the Swiss Maestro who outplayed the Argentinean and took the final game of an Olympic marathon 19-17 third set. After all, Roger Federer was playing at the grass courts of the All English Club, the place were the legendary Wimbledon Championships is played, the place were the 7-time champion has made his own. No other player has won more championships than Roger, and the so awaited gold medal in the Olympics is now only one game away for the Federer Express.
It was a dueling match, Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina really gave it his best in the 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17 game, but at the end it was going to be Federer winning the semis. Don’t get me wrong here, del Potro is still got a chance to win a bronze medal if he outplays Novak Djokovic for the last spot in the podium. The fight that Del Potro gave on this match was such that many of the Argentineans were quite happy with his fight. Sure he didn’t win, but he played with his heart and soul, and the Argentinean fans are keen to that effort. Let’s not forget that at 4 hours and 26 minutes this is by far the longest 3 set game ever played in the Open Era. And it was filled with great tennis, and all the drama that made this as intense a game as it gets.
Roger Federer converted only two of 13 break-point chances, but he certainly had his timing right. His second break point came in the next-to-last game. For a couple plays there it looked as if it was going to go the way of del Potro, yet he held serve 12 times in the final set to stay in the match and eventually outplay the tall and slender del Po. Now, the four time Olympian will have to face No. 3 Andy Murray of Great Britain who’s not only going to have the home crowd behind him, but that is just too anxious to finally win something big. He’s now 0-4 in Grand Slam finals, that last one came just a month earlier when Roger Federer himself took the Wimbledon Championships from him. It will be a nice rematch, that’s for sure.
But the favorite is still Federer. As of press time, the betting lines for the Olympics Singles Men’s Tennis gold medal, is the following: Roger Federer is ML-160 with Andy Murray holding a ML+140 in the comeback. Djokovic will play del Potro on Sunday for the bronze. Djokovic won the bronze in 2008. The betting line for the bronze medal has not yet been released as of press time.
The 2012 version of the dream team has finally proved that they might as well have enough talent to hold on the words that both Kobe Bryant and LeBron James threw out to the press before the London Olympics began. Both Bryant and James came out forward to say that their team could actually defeat the original dream team: the 1992 team that included the likes of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson among the other 11 players who would make it to the Basketball Hall of Fame. The biggest win the USA Basketball team had ever had was a 79-point pounding of Cuba before the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. But the Dream Team just made that one look easy as they put 83 points on Thursday night against the Nigerian national basketball team.
And that finally got everybody talking about the current NBA team. For instance, the 1992 Dream Team legend Magic Johnson was one of the first ones to mention how great this performance had been: “I want to congratulate the guys on their continued dominance in London. This is starting to look a lot like our 1992 Dream Team. I look forward to watching them continue to drive for that gold medal and bring it home for the USA.” Still, he made a small concession, when he said that they were starting to look as good as they were 20 years ago. Now, 20 years ago, it was Charles Barkley who leaded the team to a 68-point win over Angola in the Barcelona 1992 opening game.
Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks guided team USA with an Olympic Record breaking performance that included 37 points from 10-for-12 shooting from three point range and only 14 minutes of court time. Yep, it really doesn’t matter how or from where you look at it: Melo was simply flawless. “We respect those guys and we understand what those guys did. We understand the standards that those guys set –said Anthony in a press release about the original dream team- But we’re playing for ourselves right now, for our country, for this moment. We’re not out there on the basketball court making plays and making shots and playing defense and saying, ‘This is (like) the ’92 Dream Team.’ Those guys did what they did in 1992 and now we have the chance to do something special.” And they are doing it. Although they are about to face two much more challenging teams in the upcoming days, either Argentina or Lithuania (both ranked in the top 5 spots in the FIBA rankings) are really expected to be a serious threat to the American dominance.
Now, the debate is still out there, and both Micheal Jordan and Kobe Bryant have made their part to keep this silliness alive. For starters we will never know for sure who’s better, we can only make our pick and try to defend it. On the other hand we have to realize that as good as this team is, they are still missing many of it’s key components as injuries have kept part of the 2012 squad out of the Olympcis. So yes, let’s not forget for a moment here that Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade are not in London. So there’s that.