sweat in the sweltering Melbourne heat, Andre Agassi stands just behind
the baseline, on his toes, knees slightly bent, every iota of concentration
focused on his opponent standing on the other side of the court. The
man on the other side Roger Federer flips the ball up into the air
and ever so gracefully connects superbly with the ball, thundering
down his umpteenth ace leaving Andre grasping at empty air. Another
point, another game and the Federer express is on a roll.
This past week
sports enthusiasts the world over, have been enthralled by events
unfolding Down Under. Australia is just the place to be, if you are
a sport lover with sublime tennis action in Melbourne where the first
Grand Slam of the tennis season is in full swing. For Cricket lovers
as well, the VB series enters its latter stages with the West Indies
and Pakistan fighting over the right to face Australia in the finals.
It has been a
week of outstanding tennis and what is good for supporters is that
most to all of the seeded players made it through to the latter stages.
This was well
illustrated in the Men's semifinals where the semi final line up showed
Federer, Safin, Hewitt and Roddick. The Men's semis was an electrifying
affair as both games went down to the wire and us viewers were treated
to a slug fest as the players battled it out in style. When the battle
ended and the dust cleared the men standing were Marat Safin and Australian
home favorite Lleyton Hewitt. A mouth watering final is in prospect.
The Women's game
also had some superb matches none less so than the Serena Williams
and Maria Sharapova game. These two are shaping up to be real rivals
and they served up am exhilarating display of tennis. Williams edged
it in the third set tie break and will now meet Serena Williams in
the final. Whatever else may happen, the Australian Open Women's title,
will now be won definitely by an American.
As far as cricket
is concerned, the VB series is serving up quite a treat. Although
Australia has won all their games so far they have been driven to
the wire by the West Indies who have in turn found it difficult against
Pakistan. Even so the Aussies have been head and shoulders above the
rest. Youngster Michael Clarke has been a revelation in the opening
slot while new keeper Brad Haddin is outstanding behind the stumps
and with a bat in his hand as well.
With the last
two games of the group stages beckoning, Pakistan and the Windies
are in a dogfight for the last position.
The West Indies
position was strengthened Friday when an outstanding century by Brian
Lara handed them victory over Pakistan. Arguably the best batsman
in world cricket today Lara showed why he receives all his plaudits
with an astonishing, at times out of this world, display of hitting
that wooed the Adelaide crowd. He scored a sparkling 150 odd which
included every shot in the book and some. His inning made the Windies
victory a mere formality.
With the final
and decisive meeting just around the corner Pakistan will be looking
for revenge while the West Indies will hope that Captain Marvel can
do it for them yet again.
For football lovers
this was a week of interesting Cup ties, in both the Italian and English
leagues. The Carling Cup saw a mouth watering tie when Ranieri's Chelsea
met the old powerhouses of Manchester Utd. In a evenly matched game
it was sad to see a late howler from United goalie American Tim Howard
hand victory to the rich Londoners. The final of the Carling Cup will
see yet again a meeting of the old guard and the new as Chelsea will
take on Liverpool.
In the Coppa Italia
quarterfinal, Inter Milan managed a late goal to win at Atalanta and
thus retain their record of being the only unbeaten team in all of
Europe this season. They look genuine contenders for the Coppa Italia
trophy even though the Serie A is now all but mathematically out of
their hands. Juventus and Milan lead the line there in a two horse
Also, at the end
of the January transfer window there has been little of note. The
Spanish clubs have been the most active. The biggest scoop looks likely
to be Real Madrid's capture of Tomas Gravesen. Also, Barca roped in
former Milano Demetrio Albertini on a free and Argentinean hotshot
Maximilano Lopez from Boca for only 6m Euros.
Well that about
sums it up for sports around the world for this week. Hoping for more
intense action in the days ahead (so that I can come up with a relatively
exciting issue next time). Till then, best wishes for the new month.