Normal Service Resumes

Aegon Championships, London, Final

Garry Weber Open, Halle, Final

Kohlschreiber d. Petzschner, 7/6 2/0

The story overnight was of a final without a finale and a final that couldn’t start. The first saw the first all-German final in Germany since 1973 fizzle to a dispirited default. The second, as typical drizzle washed against London, saw Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga honing their table tennis skills in the player’s lounge. These miraculous goings-on were duly captured by eager reporters, and were thus elevated to the status of Media-Event, with the players cast as battlers battling on and making do. Stiff upper lip, and all that.

It’s hard to know what to make of it: the facilities seem very nice, and the table was in good nick. Quite a scoop, although judging by the folks lurking in the background they crashed a convening of the Awkward Club. Murray and Tsonga’s friendly handclasp looked genuine enough, especially for two guys due to decide a fairly prestigious tournament. Luckily, both are too important to be playing anywhere else this week. They have all the time in the world. Murray can work on enhancing that grin of his, which was seen briefly after he thrashed Roddick in the semifinal, but not since.

Meanwhile in Halle, Philipp Kohlschreiber has captured his third career title, testament to an outstanding week in which he saw off two seeds (Dolgopolov and Monfils) and the defending champion (Hewitt). His victory over Hewitt proved especially significant, mostly because it has sent Hewitt outside the top hundred, an indignity not lessened by Kohlschreiber cheekily kitting himself out in Australia’s Davis Cup uniform.

Both Kohlschreiber and Petzschner have displayed superb grass court skills this week, placing them among a small minority of Tour players, who have mostly looked inept, tired or slow. Other exceptions included Roddick and Monfils. However, the former sadly reverted to the passive noodling that has so characterised the latter part of his career, whilst the latter managed to get injured. Normal service has resumed.

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