The ESPN Classic Indian Wells Highlight Show...Didn't You See It?
Cliff Drysdale: Warm welcome everyoneâ€¦Cliff Drysdale here, Patrick McEnroe along side. Youâ€™re watching the special ESPN2 Pacific Life Open at Indian Wells highlight show. Weâ€™ve gotâ€”uh, beg your pardon, folksâ€”weâ€™ve just been notified by our producers that ESPN2 is now going to show the NCAA womenâ€™s basketball tournament, which is also showing on ESPN. And coming up after that is The World Trick-Shot Billiard Championshipsâ€”so you are now warmly invited to join us on ESPN Classic for our highlight show.
[Yours truly, highly annoyed, searches for the TV remote controls and switches to ESPN Classic]
Cliff: Warm welcome everybody, Iâ€™m Cliff Drysdale, Patrick McEnroe along side. Weâ€™ve had a sensational week of tennis here in Indian Wells. Without a doubt, the story of the tournament was Igor Andreev, who had to play absolutely spectacularly to beat world no. 3, former U.S. Open champion, two-time Wimbledon runner up, and holder of 20 ATP tour titles, Andy Roddick.
Patrick McEnroe: Well, that was a shocker Cliff. I donâ€™t know if it was the story of the tournamentâ€”
Cliff: Letâ€™s take a look at some highlights from Roddickâ€™s first two matches, which Roddick won in a very convincing manner.
Patrick: Actually, Cliff, I think weâ€™re cued up to watch the highlights from Andre Agassiâ€™s matches first.
Cliff: Oh, sorry PMac. Of course, Andre Agassi came into the tournament as the no. 2 American player in the world, behind Andy Roddick.
Patrick: Agassi struggled against American Paul Goldstein in his first match. He actually got a code violation for smashing a racquet during the second set. And then during the third set, there was a little controversy when Agassi became concerned about the slipperiness of the court. He wanted play to be suspended, but both the umpire and the tournament director, Gerry Armstrong, checked the courts and made the decision that the courts were not a danger to the playersâ€¦
[YT, talking to the TV: Pff. Concerned about the slipperiness? More like, concerned about losing to the 63rd ranked player in the world.]
Patrick: â€¦after Goldstein slipped they did stop play for a few minutes. After they came back, it was all Agassi.
[YT: Goldstein wasnâ€™t even touching the line when he slipped! Agassi just used it as a time out so he could regain his composure.]
Patrick: Agassi then took on an in form Tommy Haas. Heâ€™s been having a great year, has Haas, already winning two titles. And heâ€™s only lost two matches on the season: two to Federer and one to Richard Gasquet in a tight Davis Cup match.
Cliff: Well, PMac, donâ€™t forget about that match in Kooyong against Roddick. I know it was just an exhibition match, but Roddick beat him convincinglyâ€¦
[YT picks up the remote controls, intending to throw them at Cliffâ€™s image on TV, but then thinks better of it]
Patrick: â€¦as we take a look at Agassi sporting the sleeveless look. Agassi wasted set points in the first set, and after that Tommy Haas took control.
Cliff: Interestingly, Roddick has never worn a sleeveless shirt during a match, which I find strange because his physique--
Patrick: --Anyway, we were really looking forward to the match between Tommy Haas and James Blake, who has also won two titles this year. Unfortunately, Haas had food poisoning and he just wasnâ€™t well enough to finish the match.
Cliff: And that really was a disappointment, PMac, because the winner of that match would have taken on Andy Roddick, if Roddick had won. Unfortunately, the no. 3 player in the world and Grand Slam champion Roddick shockingly lost to Igor Andreev in the fourth round.
Patrick: Right. Well, actually, David Nalbandian took over as the world no. 3 after this tournament, and Roddick is now no. 4. Letâ€™s take a look at that match against Andreev. Roddick got broken early in the first set and then couldnâ€™t get a sniff on Andreevâ€™s serve for the whole first set and most of the second set. Roddick, clearly frustrated, actually got a warning from umpire Fergus Murphy for profanity during the second set. In the second set tiebreaker, he started to impose himself more, did Roddick, and look at thisâ€¦ THE DROPPER! to take the set.
Cliff: That really was some supreme artistry by Roddick on that shot.
[YT, unable to restrain herself any longer, flings the controls at the TV but fortunately misses]
Patrick: We thought Roddick would have the momentum going into the third set, and he actually did have 0-40 on Andreevâ€™s first service game of the third set, but he couldnâ€™t convert any of the break points, and it was all Andreev after that. And this set up a quarterfinal showdown with Blake.
Cliff: And Blake really didnâ€™t have much trouble with the Russian, which you have to think, Patrick, is because Andreev was worn out from playing Roddick two days before.
[YT, having nothing left to throw at the TV, resigns herself to having to listen to Cliffâ€™s ridiculous commentary]
Patrick: Well, I think that match meant a lot to James Blake because by winning it, he entered the top 10 for the first time. James Blake has really looked impressive over the last few months, but never more than against Rafael Nadal in the semis here. Nadal hadnâ€™t dropped a set in any of his matches leading up to the semis, but James Blake delivered the Spaniard a shock, beating him soundly in two sets. That was really a great win for James.
Cliff: Thatâ€™s absolutely true, PMac. I wonder if Jamesâ€™ good buddy Andy Roddick didnâ€™t give him a few tips on how to beat Nadal, because as you may remember, Andy did defeat Nadal at the U.S. Open in 2004.
Patrick: Well, actually Jamesâ€™ himself beat Nadal at the U.S. Open just last year. He seems to be one of the only guys that knows how to beat Nadal. But it was a different story against Roger Federer, the master, in the final. Roger Federer struggled a little bit in the early rounds, actually losing a set to Olivier Rochus, the diminutive Belgian, in the third round. But Federer found his form against Richard Gasquet in the forth round, and just steam-rolled Ivan Ljubicic in quarterfinals.
Cliff: That really was an impressive win for Federer, because Ljubicic, along with guys like Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick, has been one of the hottest players on tour this year.
Patrick: Thatâ€™s right, Cliff. And then in the semifinals, Federer met the Thai fighter Paradorn Srichaphan. Heâ€™s been having a bit of a comeback, has Srichaphan. He credits some of his success this week to his time spent as a Buddhist monk during the off-season. But not even meditation could help Srichaphan beat Federer, who breezed into the finals.
Cliff: Some of you may remember, if youâ€™ve been with us for the last few months, that Andy Roddick beat Srichaphan en route to winning the title in Washington in August.
Patrick: James Blake really took it to Federer at the beginning of the first set of the final. He was actually up two breaks, was Blake. But as always, Federer was able to raise a game to another level and he ended up winning the first set. I think James had a bit of a letdown and that allowed Federer to dominate the next two sets. Final score: 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 for the no. 1.
Patrick: So that wraps up the menâ€™s tournament. Cliff, Iâ€™ll turn it over to you and Mary Jo.
Mary Jo: Thanks Patrick. Well, the womenâ€™s draw was missing a few of the top playersâ€¦
[YT: A few? Ten of the top fifteen!]
Mary Jo: â€¦including world no. 1 Kim Clijsters and Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo. But it still had some quality players in Justine Henin-Hardenne, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva, and Martina Hingis. Lindsay Davenport was seeded no. 2 and unluckily for her, she drew Martina Hingis in the fourth round. These two have a long rivalry, with Davenport leading the head to head, but Martina Hingis was the better player in this match, winning in three sets. This was really a big win for Martina in her comeback. Unfortunately for Davenport, she aggravated her back and she wonâ€™t be playing in Miami this week.
Cliff: That is a pity, Mary Jo. Lindsay is the top American on the womenâ€™s side, and there really arenâ€™t too many promising young Americans following her. That is unlike the menâ€™s tour, where Andy Roddick leads a pack of young Americans.
Mary Jo: Hingis won her quarterfinal match over Dinara Safina, Maratâ€™s little sister, setting up a meeting with Maria Sharapova. This was the third meeting between these two this year. They split the previous two encounters. This time, Sharapova really imposed her power and Hingis couldnâ€™t do much out there.
Cliff: Yes, Sharapova really did play like a champion. She reminds me a little of Andy Roddick, with her powerful serve and ground game, and her good attitude on courtâ€¦
[YT: I donâ€™t get why everyone says Maria Sharapova has a good attitude on court. Sure, sheâ€™s really intense when sheâ€™s winning. Sheâ€™ll scream "Come on!" when she hits a winner while up 6-1, 4-0. But when sheâ€™s losing, sheâ€™s pouty and looks to be on the verge of tears.]
Mary Jo: In the other semifinal, it was Justine Henin-Hardenne against Elena Dementieva. Henin looked to be in complete control of the match at 6-2, 5-2, but Dementieva stepped it up a notch, and Henin started to choke a little bit. Dementieva ended up winning the match in three tight sets.
Cliff: You know Mary Jo, every time I watch Elena Dementieva play I'm still amazed that she can win, because her serve is just such a problem for her. She canâ€™t win cheap points off it like, say, Andy Roddick.
Mary Jo: Thatâ€™s true Cliff. And in an all-Russian final, Sharapova was able to expose that, breaking Dementieva numerous times. This was probably Sharapovaâ€™s biggest victory since winning the WTA Tour Championships in 2004.
[YT: Maria Sharapova can thank Justine Henin for this victory. If Henin had just closed out the match against Dementieva, she almost certainly would have beaten Shriekapova. Well, when everybodyâ€™s back next week in Miami, weâ€™ll see what Sharapova's really made of.]
Cliff: And now we have something really special for you folks at home: a montage of Andy Roddickâ€™s best shots of the tournament. Let me tell you, you donâ€™t want to miss thisâ€¦
[YT gets up to retrieve the controls, deciding that The World Trick-Shot Billiards Championship doesnâ€™t sound so bad after all.]