Nick Place
& Thomas Hunter at the
Crikey sports desk write:

Federer
loses to Nadal (again):
In the frenzy of a 3-1
scoreline to the Socceroos, Benny Elias’s big call on how bad the Queensland
State of Origin team is,
Melbourne beating Collingwood, and the seventh anniversary of what was possibly
Steve Waugh’s greatest sledge, it was
easy to overlook the end of Roger Federer’s Grand Slam dream on the weekend, at
least for 2006. A few weeks ago, we predicted that
the French Open final would be one of the sporting events of the year and it
almost lived up to our hype. The world No.1, Federer, was up against his
nemesis, the clay maestro Rafael Nadal, and whipped through the first set, 6-1,
as though he’d learnt something in the last few beatings by the Spaniard. It
was short-lived as Nadal won the second set 6-1 and then the third. The fourth
set went to a tiebreak and had Federer managed to steal it, who knows what
might have transpired. But Nadal is nothing if not self-confident and held
firm. The 20-year-old now has two French Open trophies on his bedroom shelf and
the greatest ever men’s claycourt streak continues into 2007. Federer lost for the
first time in eight Grand Slam finals.The
whole circus now moves to grass and Federer will be itching to meet Rafael on
the slicker surface.

Scott
gets the staggers (again):
Also easy to overlook in
the frenzy of a 3-1 Socceroos scoreline, Notre Dame gridiron star Tom Zbikowski winning the first fight of his
professional boxing career
and soccer star Roy Keane’s retirement, was golfer Adam
Scott failing to storm home yet again in the final event before the US Open. Scott has been thereabouts for weeks,
finishing third, third, fourth and now second in his last four events. He says
he’s in career best form heading into the Open but we say he keeps getting
close without winning, and that’s a worry. On Monday morning, our time, he had
an eagle on the last hole to finish in style but we’re concerned that he regularly seems
to be a chance for the silverware before getting the staggers in the
shadows of the clubhouse on the last day.This week he three-putted what should have been one on the 14th
then blew the 16th to fall out of contention. Let’s hope it’s a habit he
can lose, especially later this week when the Open tees off at Winged Foot Golf
Club
.

The
Brazilian march has begun:
It’s a scoreline the
Socceroos will look at with some concern – last night, Croatia
were beaten byBrazil
1-0 with the Croats more than holding their own. According to Croatian defender
Josip Simunic, the difference between the two sides was the “five seconds”
his countrymen didn’t concentrate, giving Kaka enough time to fire home the
winner

just minutes before the break. Brazilian coach Carlos
Alberto Parreira was complimentary about his opponents, saying: “In
addition to the fact that (we haven’t) played a lot
together, we faced an adversary that was good … and marking very
well, with
energy. I think the game was balanced, we had more shots on goal but we
had a
certain difficulty imposing our own rhythm.” Parreira also refused to
criticise
Ronaldo, who was “sluggish” during the game. Although Ronaldo is just
three
goals shy of becoming the World Cup’s leading goal scorer, the aging
star had trouble
getting anywhere near the ball during his 69 minutes of game time.
While the
win was regulation by Brazilian standards, it was their eighth
successive World
Cup finals win, an all-time record, and stretches another statistic:
the last time Brazil lost a World Cup opening round match in the finals
was 1934.

Peter Fray

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