$0.02: Rooting for Roger, Raffy to meet again | SummitDaily.com
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$0.02: Rooting for Roger, Raffy to meet again

DEVON O'NEIL
summit daily news
Summit County CO Colorado
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Since professional tennis seems to capture our eye less now than it once did, the importance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meeting in the French Open final this weekend cannot be understated.

Together, they give us a rivalry worth tuning in to, primarily because Nadal, as you may know, is Federer’s kryptonite.

The Swiss star Federer makes every other player in the world look as helpless as a worm on a hook, but against the young Spaniard he becomes suddenly vulnerable.

The degree of vulnerability has fluctuated of late, however. Until the Hamburg Masters immediately preceding the French, Nadal hadn’t lost on clay in two years, and Federer had never beaten him on the surface. Then Federer won in straight sets, ending Nadal’s 81-match clay winning streak. The rivalry, and tennis, got a boost.

Now, the top-seeded Federer is in the semifinals at Roland Garros ” the 12th straight time he’s reached the semis at a major, one of a number of mind-boggling records Federer holds ” attempting to win his fourth straight Grand Slam title at the only major he hasn’t won.

The No. 2 seed Nadal, meanwhile, is playing Carlos Moya today in a quarterfinal match that pits two men from the same small Spanish island, Mallorca. Nadal has never lost at the French, an 18-0 stretch during which he’s won the last two Open crowns.

Should Roger and Raffy meet in the final, it’d be a wonderful opportunity for us to settle a few things. For starters, if Federer is to be proclaimed the greatest tennis player in history ” which he all but already is ” he will need to have a major championship on every surface. If he doesn’t, he’ll be Dan Marino with a racket, and nobody will have played a greater role in making it happen than Nadal. …

Your National League RBIs leader is none other than Houston’s Carlos Lee, whose 52 ribbies ties him with Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez for the big-league lead. Another surprise statistical leader is Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder, who leads the NL with 20 homers ” a full 20 percent more than his closest competition, which comes from the Brewers’ stellar young shortstop J.J. Hardy. …

So forget about the fact that Danilo Di Luca captured his first major cycling win at the 90th Giro last week.

The bigger news was that it came from a southern Italian rider, instead of the northern group that has run away with that race historically.

Di Luca won only one of the 21 stages in the 2,166-mile race, but it didn’t matter, as he pointed out himself.

“I got it right throughout the race,” he said.

“I rode with intelligence, without ever getting into a panic. It happens when you get to the right age and when you know what it’s like to lose.

Big defeats make us learn.” …

In parting, this coming weekend we’ll see a rarity when Rags to Riches, a filly, will race against the boys in the Belmont Stakes, the final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

No filly has won the Belmont in 102 years.

My question is simple:

Are the male horses smart enough and competitive enough with regard to gender to run faster out of fear that they’d be beaten by a girl horse?

Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.


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