Formula 1 Brazil Miracle GP, RWC 2007 Final & Tennis Masters wrap up

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Formula 1 Miracle meets Mighty Masters Nalbandian Victory meets Boks Clean Sweep at RWC 2007.

A truly gripping weekend of sports. And if that weren’t enough, on Saturday night, the Boston Red Sox won again to bring back to even (3-3) the Best of Seven series against the Cleveland Indians in the ACLS (baseball ‘semi finals’ for those who don’t know) after being down 3-1. The clinching seventh game is Sunday night.

The F1 race at the Brazilian [Sao Paolo] Grand Prix today was quite astounding. But, if you didn’t watch it, surely it was because there just was too much good sports to watch all over the globe. The two other contests of the weekend (not over) that commanded my attention involved the wilting of the Roses of England against the indomitable South African Springboks and the fact that Nalbandian broke the Federer voodoo in the Masters Finals.

Turning to the Formula 1 final race of the season, three racers were jockeying for the World Champion F1 title: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Fernando Alonso (McLaren) and ‘teammate’ and Formula 1 rookie Lewis Hamilton. The way the cards were laid out after the last Grand Prix (GP) in Shanghai, you begin to wonder whether there wasn’t an element of rigging going on to heighten the suspense in the final GP of the season. Hamilton’s mistakes in China meant that he lay 4 points ahead of Alonso and 7 points ahead of Raikkonen. What transpired was hard to imagine to conjure up even for a fairy tale (from Kimi’s perspective). Hamilton’s messed up start and mistake at the first turn meant that he was pushed sufficiently way back such that he finished seventh. Alonso finished third, stymied behind both Ferraris, with Raikkonen winning his sixth GP of the season. The net of it? Raikkonen (pictured left) wins his first ever F1 championship, ending up with 110 points, ahead of Alonso AND Hamilton (who got second because of his higher number of second place finishes), both on 109. The final score: 110-109…More like a basketball game, won at the buzzer. But it feels a little too exciting, if you know what I mean. BBC Report; Indian Cricket League Info (love that title; despite the title, the analysis is very complete!); F1 Fanatics.

As for the Rugby World Cup Finals, I am a little dejected by not overly surprised to see England finish second behind the South African Springboks. My son, Oscar, and I went to the Stade de France last night (Saturday night) to try to find some last minute tickets at a reasonable price (after the kickoff). Wishful thinking which turned into a fun and rowdy night in the neighbouring Saint Denis village to watch the game (at least the first half) on a big screen with new found Aussie mate, ASpringboks win RWC 2007 Finalndy, and a few other England supporters. Cueto’s near try and Wilkinson’s two missed drop kicks kind of say it all. England played a great tournament, beating two favorites to get to the Final. And, just like Oscar and me, we were close to the final objective. But no cigar. England had 55% possession and were in the Boks’ 22 for nearly 7 minutes (compared to just over 3 minutes for the Boks in the English 22). But the Boks’ defense was strong and stingy in penalties. All said, hats off to the Boks who deserved the victory. If not a trying final, a tryless RWC final (for the second time in a row) is not a good sign for rubgy, though. BBC Report; Bleacher Report Blog; Life is Grand Blog.

And, the final sporting achievement of the day, was David Nalbandian’s victory over Roger Federer at the Masters in Madrid which was simply epic. Fact #1, unseeded Nalbandian had to beat both the number 3 and (Novak Djokovic) number 2 (Rafa Nadal) seeds before meeting World number 1 Roger Federer. Fact #2, Nalbandian had lost 8 times against Federer in their last 9 encounters, although the record is 7-8 lifetime. Fact #3, it was Federer’s first loss since the finals of the Montreal Open in August and just his 7th defeat this year. Enough to say, kudos to another Argentine (whose Pumas destroyed France on Friday night 34-10 at Parc des Princes in the “little final” of the RWC). BBC Report; Protennis Blog; the Sports Journal.

All in all, a fascinating weekend of sports. The underdog that triumphed against three top dogs in a row. The underdogs that lived up to their name only after the third match in a row against three successive favourites, only to go down to the Boks down under. And, finally, the dogs that nipped at each others’ heels all season for a supreme FINNish.

3 Comments, RSS

  1. Anonymous

    Love your sports summary. A few comments on the wild weekend.

    First of all I do believe that Alonso arranged the Brazilian finish to make sure his rookie (Hamilton) teamate sensation (who wasTHE driver this year) overtook the stage at MacLaren and the F1 stage. Sour grapes and a tainted season, grow up Alonso!!! Congrats go to Kimmi for an amazing race though.

    On the baseball front (because I live on the other side of the pond)it was an amazing comeback by the Bosox. Game 6 was a crushing defeat but game 7 was all finese and shows why they are a great team. Now if they can just win a few games in snowy Denver that would be great.

    Mirko (in Montreal)

  2. GWK

    Enjoyed you sports blog (as well as others), especially since I have recently been turned on to the amazing sport of Rugby by watching most of the World Cup competition. What a refreshing battle of real athletes rugby is, though I still don’t know the game’s rules. I have to confess that I’ve lost interest in American professional sports (save hockey and tennis and maybe a little baseball) as it is just pure “entertainment”, in my opinion. I do enjoy following European pro cycling and maybe there will be a pay-per-view international rugby cable channel to which I can subscribe. So, now I just have to learn about F1 racing which has always intrigued me (forget Nascar, it’s entertainment too) and maybe I’ll have a few sports I can enjoy following.

  3. mgoitein

    Minter – Finally got to watch the Nalbandian-Federer match, which was remarkable for several reasons. Take a look at their head-to-head record. First, Nalbandian lost the first set in 19 minutes, and barely managed to win a single game. He started the second frame by blasting winners on both sides, and kept it up miraculously through the deciding set. He effectively put Roger consistently under pressure (something only Nadal can do, and then, only on clay), and came in repeatedly to put away the floating replies. Hard to believe that Nalbandian’s previous best performance this year was a quarterfinal in Barcelona!!! After struggling to beat Arnaud Clement (!), he squeaked by Berdych in a third-set tiebreak before totally crushing Nadal 1 & 2. Utter domination over the top two players in the world. Gripping stuff.
    Of course, he has a long way to go to equal Federer’s record of 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals appearances!!!!!

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