Monday, June 25, 2007

Day 1: Dancing on the Head of a (Camille) Pin

Even with the Supernova out of sight, she wasn't out of mind... for her memory was surely invoked on Day 1 at Wimbledon.

You see, today the two players who blew golden opportunities to defeat Maria Sharapova at this season's previous grand slam events met in a "Supernovic Rubber Match"...or something like that. And, wouldn't you know it, Patty Schnyder and Camille Pin managed to participate in another wild one.

First off, a quick bit of history to jog the memory. In Melbourne, Pin served for the match in the 1st Round against Sharapova, but ended up losing a 9-7 3rd set under Extreme Heat Conditions. In Paris, Schnyder served for the match three times, and held two match points, in her 4th Round matchup with the Russian. She lost a 9-7 3rd set.

Sharapova or no Sharapova, these two just must have this sort of thing in their blood this season. This time around, Pin held the 3rd set lead, served for the match, held match point... you know the drill. After a rain delay with Pin up 5-4, Schnyder came back to win the match 8-6 in the deciding set. Some people learn. Some people don't.

At least the match didn't end with another 9-7 score... so maybe SOME progress has been made.

Love-Love... You know it's raining at Wimbledon when ESPN2 pulls out the old Borg vs. McEnroe marathon tie-break footage from 1980. Hmmm, once the roof is in place, will such "tradition" be lost forever?
15-Love... the revolutionary antidote necessary to avoid so many rain-delayed hours with ZERO tennis at the All-England Club won't arrive until the retractable roof is ready to go in 2009, but the initially shocking appearance of Centre Court for the 2007 Championships will be difficult to forget. And it's likely a matter of opinion whether or not that's a good thing.

At first glance, it's hard to believe it's actually Centre Court at all, seeing it has no overhanging roof. The immediate image of comparable "desolation" to that of the empty "temporary" Centre Court is that of a lunar windswept moonscape, SW19 style. But, after a while, the beauty of the stripped-down most-famous-court-in-tennis is impossible to destroy. In fact, it's quite obvious to the naked eye. In some ways, you could even make a case that it's still-stately openness is the equal in beauty to the uniquely intimate appearance the court has had, for the most part, since 1922. But, of course, that might be a matter of opinion.
30-Love... well, no matter how anyone feels about Centre Court's look this year, it's easy to declare that Roger Federer managed to top his cream-colored blazer look of a season ago. This time, in a nod to the style of the champions of old, he walked onto the court for Day 1's opening match with a white blazer... along with matching vest and pants. Classic, as always.

============================= news non-Wimbledon, Prince William and that Kate Middleton girl are back together. And in the NON-earth shattering information department, it should be noted that Lisa Raymond reclaimed the #1 doubles ranking on Monday from Cara Black after she and Sam Stosur won the Eastbourne title. Meanwhile, in the Davos $10K event, 17-year old Stephanie Vogt won her first career ITF singles title with a win in the final over Australia's Jessica Moore. I mention the world #1025's triumph because she's from Liechtenstein (LIE... as abbreviated by the WTA), and who knows when the next time will be come for Liechtenstein to be mentioned in Backspin?

SCORELINE-OF-NOTE #1: Women's 1st Rd. - #9 Martina Hingis (SUI) d. Naomi Cavaday (GBR) 6-7/7-5/6-0.

...with nary a women's seed having fallen (and only #27 Philip Kohlschreiber on the men's side), it looked like the back-from-an-injury-layoff Hingis was going to be the first. British teen Cavaday even had two match points in the 2nd set, but then crumbled after failing to convert. No Jelena Dokic, circa 1999, Cavaday will have to live with her "what if" moment of Day 1. Meanwhile, Radek Stepanak will deal with the "Martina Curse," since as his fiancee survived, the men's '06 Wimbledon quarterfinalist was knocked out on Day 1 by Paul-Henri Mathieu.

SCORELINE-OF-NOTE #1: Women's 1st Rd. - #7 Serena Williams (USA) d. Lourdes Dominguez-Lino (ESP) 7-5/6-0.

...for a moment, it looked like Serena might be in for a fight. But... ummm, no.
40-30... TRIVIA NOTE: The first replay challenge on Centre Court? By Teimuraz Gabashvili in his three-set loss to Roger Federer. The Russian lost the challenge, giving Federer no reason to express any negative opinion about the use of replay.
Deuce... B.Becker will be leading Juan Ignacio Chela two sets to one, 3-3 in the 4th, when they resume play on Day 2. Of course, it's Benjamin and not Boris... but it's never a bad thing to remember the redheaded German bounding around Centre Court when he first burst onto the scene as a teenager in the mid-to-late 1980's. Hey, he's Backspin's favorite male player... let me have my memories.

Ad... QUESTION: when you have to qualify a "record," say by noting that Federer's quest to match Bjorn Borg's "record" of five straight Wimbledon titles would make him only the second man in "the last 100 years" to do so, is it still a record? Considering, in the Club's "ancient times," only two other men ran off a similar string of titles -- William Renshaw (1881-86) won six straight and Laurence Doherty (1902-06) five -- should they be forgotten and ignored? Five in a row would be an increcible accomplishment, but it's not a record. Not yet.
MATCH, "Leave it to 'Their Tim' to maintain his melodramatic SW19 history"...with Andy Murray out of the draw with a wrist injury, it was just like the old days as all the British men's tennis pressure fell onto the shoulders of 32-year old Tim Henman. He didn't disappoint... well, at least until the end, which is generally how things have gone throughout his Wimbledon career. Down two sets to one, he battled back to the take match to a fifth set. He fell down a break, and nearly a second, but held on and soon found himself up 5-4 on Moya's serve as the clock hovered around 9:15pm and play was about to be called. He saw four match points offered up to him, but he failed to convert any of them. At 5-5, play was suspended until Day 2. Dare the English fans even begin to harbor thoughts that another round of disappointment is NOT about to be plopped into their laps tomorrow? Hey, at least Henman has never been boring on Centre Court, right?

TOP QUALIFIERS: Su-Wei Hsieh & Olga Govortsova
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): (vacant)
TOP MID-ROUND (3r-QF): (vacant)
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): (vacant)
FIRST SEED OUT: (vacant)
UPSET QUEENS: (vacant)
IT GIRL: (vacant)
DOUBLES STAR: (vacant)

All for Day 1.


Blogger Eric said...

hey, you should read ALG's interview from today on

do you have any info on the contents of the interview?

Tue Jun 26, 06:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

She's talking about Rafael Font de Mora, her former coach. Apparently, they're suing each other. Obviously, things have gotten pretty bad. It sure explains a lot about what's happened to her game over the past year. Here's a link to Matt Cronin's blog that goes into things.

Tue Jun 26, 06:38:00 PM EDT  

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