Saturday, September 03, 2005

US Open Day 6: Got Mirza?

One of the t-shirts worn by Sania Mirza this week read, "Well behaved women rarely make history."

On the eve of a very big day for the women's draw, and at the risk of turning "The Daily Backspin" into the "Sania Chronicles," it should be noted that the result of Sunday's Maria Sharapova vs. Sania Mirza Round of 16 match might be taken note of by more people than any in the history of tennis. What with the Supernova's worldwide following, and the billion-plus population of India, there aren't too many pockets of the world that won't have an interest in what happens on Arthur Ashe Stadium tomorrow afternoon. In it's own "little" way, Sharapova-Mirza perfectly trumps the Williams-Williams match that will follow it under the sun.

Hmmm... "under the sun?" Both matches? You mean, neither of those matches will take place at night? Difficult as it is to believe... no. Even with the presence of Roger Federer in the late match, there might not be a bigger dog of a ticket tomorrow evening than the one cooked up by the USTA. Federer/Rochus, preceded by Clijsters/Vento-Kabchi? Well, at least the fans who attend won't miss any late dinner reservations. I mean, I realize Clijsters needs to get a night match, and hasn't played one yet -- but how, oh how, does the holiday Labor Day weekend not include a "primo" primetime match on a day that'll see Williams-Williams, Sharapova-Mirza and the potentially intriguing Petrova-Vaidisova? Clijsters-MVK is the worst women's match of the day. Not very smart.

Another of Mirza's t-shirts read, "You can either agree with me, or be wrong." Precisely.

We'll see tomorrow afternoon about the "making history" thing. But if Mirza does indeed win tomorrow, she'll be able to behave as badly as she wants without anyone giving her much hassle about it.


PLAYER OF THE DAY: Amelie Mauresmo
...she could have had trouble with Anna-Lena Groenefeld in their 3rd Round match. For a bit, as ALG served to send the 1st set into a tie-break, it appeared that she would, too. But the German slipped, Mauresmo stepped up... and now Girl Friday will now have to focus on her doubles in Flushing.
RISER: Elena Dementieva
...last year's RU is quietly sneaking through the draw again. She weathered an early storm against Safarova in the 1st Round, and on Saturday she turned back fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze in a 3rd set tie-break.
SURPRISE: Elena Likhovtseva
...the 29-year old Russian opened the day by losing the 1st set at love to Anastasia Myskina, then gradually got her bearings and eventually outlasted the Czarina in another all-Russian 3rd set tie-break.
VETERAN: Mary Pierce
...Pierce took care of Jelena Jankovic in straight sets, and now faces a Justine Henin-Hardenne who's been experiencing some lapses against lesser opponants the last two rounds. If Pierce takes advantage, she could end up finding herself still alive in the final next Saturday.
FRESH FACE: Alexa Glatch
...really no one to go with here for Saturday, so I'll give it to the 15-year old American for keeping up her busy schedule. Just getting started on the WTA tour, she reached the Forest Hills SF last week. In Flushing Meadows, she got a wild card and won a 1st Round main draw match. On Sunday, she'll also play her first match in the Girls singles draw.
DOWN: Anna Chakvetadze
...oh so close. After a slow start, Chakvetadze seized control of her match with Elena Dementieva. She led 3-0 in the 3rd set, then 3-1 and 4-2 in the 3rd set tie-break. But she still lost a year after making her grand slam debut at last year's Open (where she knocked off Myskina).


1.#7 Justine Henin-Hardenne def. Yoon Jeong Cho
...6-0/7-5(4). JHH led this match 6-0/3-0, but after edging toward ten double-faults she let Cho back into the match (much as she did Sanchez Lorenzo the previous round). If the Queen has lapses like this against Pierce she might not survive them.
2.#6 Elena Dementieva def. #29 Anna Chakvetadze
...6-1/4-6/7-6(5). Anna's going to be Top 20 soon, but she's still going to have a hard time forgetting letting this one slip away.
3.#19 Elena Likhovtseva def. #13 Anastasia Myskina
...0-6/6-3/7-6(6). Amidst all the talk of "mojo" this week, Likhovtseva found her's.
4.#3 Amelie Mauresmo def. #31 Anna-Lena Groenefeld
...7-5/6-3. ALG had two points -- on her tremendous serve -- to send the 1st set into a tie-break. Essentially, she gave away the game... and she knew it, too.
5.Mixed 2r - #7 Navratilova/Paes def. Ruano-Pascual/Huss
...6-4/6-1. What is it about Indians winning matches at this Open?
HM- #15 Nathalie Dechy def. #23 Tatiana Golovin
...7-5/2-6/6-2. It was still a resurgent Open for the Frussian Pastry.


4...Russia (Sharapova/Dementieva/Petrova/Likhovtseva)
3...USA (Davenport/Williams/Williams)
3...France (Mauresmo/Pierce/Dechy)
2...Belgium (Clijsters/Henin-Hardenne)
1...Czech Republic (Vaidisova)
1...India (Mirza)
1...Switzerland (Schnyder)
1...Venezuela (Vento-Kabchi)

Dementieva def. Chakvetadze and Likhovtseva def. Myskina
...both the all-Russian 3rd Round matches ended with 3rd set tie-breaks.

Mixed 2nd Rd - Dinara Safina/Andy Ram def. #1 Cara Black/Wayne Black
...6-3/6-4. Finally, the Safin family has a result to be proud of at this tournament, and it happens at the expense of the Blacks. Go figure.

Played in QF or earlier...Venus leads 3-0
Played in SF or Final...Serena leads 7-3

#1 Sharapova def. Mirza (in 3 sets, though)
#26 Vaidisova def. #9 Petrova
#4 Clijsters def. Vento-Kabchi (in under :45)
#10 V.Williams def. #8 S.Williams (see above stat)

All for now.


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