Sunday, August 31, 2008

US 7.0- J.J. or A.I.?

The Jankobot-5200 performed another test run today. Apparently, her programming has been tweaked, as she had a relatively glitch-proof day... for her.

I mean, an hour and forty-six minute match in which she had to fight back from a set down to win might be a little troubling for SOME J-bot models... but after this one's travails over the past week, it was actually an "easy" day for J-5200.

Yep, Queen Chaos lives on... and on... and on.

On Day Seven, it was #21-seeded Caroline Wozniacki who was left to wonder what just happened out there, as the #2-seeded Jelena Jankovic finally got the 6-2 and 6-1 sets she was looking for... but, holding to form, they came after she lost the 1st set 6-3.

Oh, well. A Whirling Dervish is very rarely perfect.

Still, after things mostly went her way after the slow start, Jankovic DID have one of those Jankovician moments that you have to be on the look-out for whenever she plays. Serving at 3-4, there was an odd incident with chair umpire Leanne White about whether or not a call was being challenged, and then which shot it was that was being challenged and, ultimately, whether or not a call should be challenged at all. In the end, Jankovic said, "Who cares?" and went on with play... but not until she, White and Wozniacki had all been unable to wipe the smiles from their faces at the multiple misunderstandings. Or whatever they were.

Of course, that moment was immediately followed by White overruling a linesperson's in call on the baseline and calling a C-Woz shot long. The Dane challenged, and it was quite clear that the original call HAD been correct and the shot had landed smack on the line. Good eye, Leanne. In the end, the entire situation didn't matter... but it did provide some evidence in favor of the notion that EVERYONE becomes just a little bit discombobulated simply by being within the gravitational pull of one Miss Jelena Jankovic.

Her consistency of results at slams never seems to be effected, though. By reaching the QF and matching her '07 Open result, Jankovic has now once again polished up her impressive numbers in return trips to slams. In the seventeen times in her career in which she's returned to a slam, she's now either matched or exceeded her previous year's result sixteen times (only her '07 Open QF after a SF in '06 prevents her from having a perfect record).

It's just one of the things to be expected from the Jankobot-5200... coming soon to an electronics store near you.

Things didn't go well for Radek Stepanek with the Swiss Miss, and he didn't have a good time with the Swiss Mister today, either. Roger Federer downed the Czech 6-3/6-3/6-2 to advance to the Round of 16.

...Gilles Muller became the only qualifier to reach the Men's 4th Round with his five-set win over #18 Nicolas Almagro.

...junior play has begun, and some "upsets" have already occurred. The #7 & #8 seeds from the Boys side -- both from Brazil... get it? "The Boys from Brazil?" Never mind. -- were ousted, while American Asia Muhammad knocked off #14-seed Johanna Konta of Australia. It should be noted that there's something of a "ringer" in the Girls draw, as Madison Brengle is not seeded. Not surprisingly, Brenglefly began what could be a very successful run with a 1st Round victory over Pastry Cindy Chala, the #10-seed.

...for a while today it appeared as if Katarina Srebotnik might buck her usual trend and put together back-to-back upsets. But, no. Sneaky Ms. Patty Schnyder sneaked into the quarters with a 4-6/6-3/6-3 with the relative silence of a barn mouse. How unlike her.

...#10-seeds Lisa Raymond & Sam Stosur knocked out the last all-sister doubles team not named Williams on Day Seven, defeating the #7-seeded Sisters Bondarenko.

...and, finally, the singles draw's last mother, Sybille Bammer, outlasted Marion Bartoli in a three-hour plus QF by a score of 7-6/0-6/6-4. With the wins by Bammer and Jankovic, the course would seem to be very well set for a possible SF meeting between Queen Chaos and the winner of the Elena Dementieva/Li Na 4th Rounder that is taking place as I type this sentence. Of course, Jankovic has gotten this far with no one really expecting her to be able to remain standing with each passing round, so how she'll react as her name begins to be floated more and more often as a potential finalist in this event will be interesting.

The '06 ghost of Justine Henin's semifinal comeback lingers, and it might soon be up to Jankovic to finally find a way to exorcise it.

Whoa, I just realized there IS a possibility of a Jankovic vs. Schnyder SF, as well. Oh, my. That could be the wildest match ever. It's best not to wish for such oddities, though.

1. Arantxa Rus, NED
2. Melanie Oudin, USA
3. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, THA
4. -vacant-
5. Elena Bogdan, ROU
6. Ana Bogdan, ROU
7. Kurumi Nara, JPN
8. Ksenia Lykina, RUS

1. Yan Tsung-Hua, TPE
2. Bernard Tomic, AUS
3. Grigor Dimitrov, BUL
4. Henri Kontinen, FIN
5. Cesar Ramirez, MEX
6. Guillaume, Rufin, FRA
7. Jose Pereira, BRA (lost 1st Rd.)
8. Henrique Cunha, BRA (lost 1st Rd.)

TOP QUALIFIERS: Yaroslava Shvedova/KAZ & Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): Venus Williams/USA
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: #15 Olaru/ROU def. #22 Larcher de Brito/POR 6-2/6-3
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #2 Jankovic/SRB def. Arvidsson/SWE 6-3/6-7/7-5
FIRST SEED OUT: #24 Shahar Peer/ISR (1st Rd.-Li Na)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER (xx)
IT GIRL: xxx
COMEBACK PLAYER: Anna-Lena Groenefeld/GER
CRASH & BURN: #1 Ana Ivanovic/SRB (lost 2nd Rd to #188 Coin)

All for Day 7.0. More tonight and tomorrow.

TUESDAY: Backspin Time Capsule: 1991 U.S. Open


Blogger leia said...

This post really made me laugh - even if it was poking fun at my favorite WTA player. Good work! Great insights, too.

Sun Aug 31, 11:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Yeah, but always remember that I kid Jelena out of love. :)

Mon Sep 01, 01:46:00 AM EDT  
Blogger leia said...

Yeah, kinda saw a soft spot for JJ amidst all the mockery. I love the name Jankobot 5200. What's the reason behind the number?

Looking forward to more "kidding Jelena" posts! =D

Mon Sep 01, 03:35:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...


I just picked the number 5200 out of the air, thought about changing it so that it represented something appropriate... but then wondered WWJD -- What Would Jelena Do -- and just left it as it was.

Jankovic has had so many nicknames now: one of the Serbian "Fantastovic's", "The Other Jelena," "JJ," "Peggy," "Laverne (of 'Laverne & Shirley')", 'Crazy," "Snowflake," "The Whirling Dervish," "Queen Chaos" and, now, maybe even "Jankobot-5200" (or J-bot to her admirers) -- I guess her model number could be upgraded if she eventually outgrows her programming. :)

All of them are quite "Jankovician" in nature and origin, I'd say. :D

Mon Sep 01, 11:59:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

And don't forget her nickname on the tour--JJ Express. That's because she is the anti-Pierce (or, if you prefer, the anti-Hantuchova).

JJ offers everything--drama, humor, thrills...oh, and fantastic tennis. I believe in her, and I'm very patient: I had to believe in Mauresmo for years.

Wed Sep 03, 09:12:00 AM EDT  

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