Monday, June 30, 2008

Scratching the Anc-Itch

Photo by Flickr user matteo dudek used under a Creative Commons license.

After dropping the first two sets to 22nd seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain, our favorite hard-hitting Croat, Mario Ancic, came back to win his fourth round match-up 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 13-11. The grueling match too an astonishing 3 hours and 40 minutes to complete. As a comparison, Roger Federer took out the only other former champion in the draw and last winner in the pre-Federer era, Lleyton Hewitt, in just 108 minutes total, while the last set in the Ancic-Verdasco match took 95 mintues alone.

This sets up what we've all been waiting for, and Ancic-Federer quarterfinal match up. Few people remember this, but before Federer began his incredible 63-match win streak on grass, the last person to beat him on the surface was an upshot 18-year-old qualifier in the first round of the 2003 Wimbledon named, yep you guessed it, Mario Ancic. Ancic is now 24 and hasn't beaten Federer since that historical match, in which he became the first teenager since the Borg to win his Wimbledon debut on the fabled Centre Court at the All-England Lawn Tennis Club.

While I don't expect Ancic to win this match, or really even to put up a fight, Super Mario has played some great tennis this tournament, and if he can be efficient with his serve, apply pressure with his net play (which has been nothing short of great), and make his shots, we might have a match on our hands.