Monday, September 12, 2011

Slingin' Sammy's Bumpy Road to Brilliance



I guess, in the end, this U.S. Open secretly "belonged" to Samantha Stosur all along.

After all, for the past two weeks in New York, the 26-year old Aussie, even while playing second fiddle to other top players when it came to court assignments and media attention that seemingly fated her to be a footnote at this slam, STILL managed to be invovled in some of the biggest moments of the tournament. In the 3rd Round, she won the longest-ever women's match at the U.S. Open, then was a part of a women's slam record-breaking 32-point tie-break in the Round of 16 (naturally, even while winning the match, she lost the TB that had made the contest memorable). Come semifinal time, she found herself on the Grandstand court rather than on the grounds' biggest stage. She didn't like it, but no one ever said the Road to New York was going to be easy. Nothing is ever easy for Slingin' Sammy Stosur.

Turns out, she was saving the best for last when she faced off with Serena Williams, the woman who'd entered the Open as the nearly-unanimous odds-on favorite to take the crown. While Sunday afternoon's final was about wrapping up some unfinished slam business from a season ago for Stosur, as she finally played the slam final that she'd failed to in her previous major final in Paris last year, for Serena, well... when someone figures out exactly what Williams' angle was on this day, hopefully they'll be kind enough to fill the rest of us in on the secret.

"Slump? I ain't in no slump... I just ain't hitting." - Yogi Berra




After dominating opponents on hard court all season, winning all eighteen matches she played after coming back from a nearly year-long health-related absence, Williams didn't have her legs in this match. Or her serve. Or her forehand. Or her composure. Stosur, though, had all HER weapons -- the big kick-serve and forehand prowess, as well as the volley of a former #1 doubles player -- and more, namely the long-in-coming ability to put her head down and avoid losing her nerve. It was a lethal combination that even Serena wasn't able to overcome, save for a brief period early in the 2nd set. In the end, when Stosur pounded a forehand winner on match point to nip Williams in the final total winner numbers (20-19), the fact was that the Aussie's 6-2/6-3 victory, the seventeenth consecutive straights sets women's final at the Open, was hardly that close.

Just as Serena set the table for her wins in this tournament in the first few games of the opening set, so was the case with Stosur on Sunday. Stosur didn't allow herself to be put into the position of playing catch-up. In game #2, she quicky went up 40/love on her serve en route to a fairly routine hold. One game later, Stosur got to break point on William's serve via an off-the-net-cord volley. A Serena unforced error gave the Aussie a quick 2-1 lead. It would set the pattern for the match, as Williams' low first service percentage (35% for the 1st set) and inability to consistently keep her groundstrokes in the court (or get them over the net) allowed Stosur's fine play to encounter no direct, sustained challenges. She held at love for a 4-2 lead, stepping in and taking advantage of Serena's less-than-penetrating shots, running around balls to get into position to pound her forehand (seriously, she makes Steffi Graf's penchant for making a similar move during her career seem like child's play). Late in the set, the combination of a sluggish Williams and a dashing Stosur made for a supremely rare occasion, as Serena was simply outclassed for an extended period of time as the Aussie ran off a string of twelve straight points to end the set, taking it at 6-2 on the strength of winning 16 of 19 points on her own serve.

Stosur's point streak hit thirteen before it finally ended with a forehand error off the net cord, but a winner off a Williams second gave Stosur two more chances to break in the opening game of the 2nd set. Serena erased one chance with an ace, then finally discovered the one thing that could (briefly) break her free of her gameday lethargy -- anger. After smacking a big forehand that appeared to be about to become a winner, Williams let out a celebratory howl. Thing is, she did it before Stosur was able to completely make a play on the ball. When she got her racket on Williams' shot, Serena's celebration was thwarted when chair umpire Eva Azderaki pointed to the "intentional hinderance" rule to award the point to Stosur. Rather than being deuce, the Aussie got the break to lead 1-0.

And Serena was having none of it. Not being fully aware of the rules (Azderaki's move was the correct one, according to the sport's guidelines), Williams immediately launched into the umpire for her "wrong" decision, calling her actions, among other things, "totally not cool." No one watching could avoid, even in some small way, making the connection to the big scene Serena was involved in the '09 Open semifinals, when a foot-fault call led to a point-penalty on match point and a controversy that still lingers in the air, if only because the sincerity of Williams' contrition is easy for many to question. Williams didn't threaten to shove any tennis balls in any areas in which they shouldn't go this time around, after all.

Serena did use her newly-peeved attitude to pump up herself and her play, though, stoking the crowd and leading observers to believe that the championship would turn on that one moment. Williams, perhaps trying for the starring role in "Mad Serena Beyond Thunderdome," quickly went up 40/love on a rattled Stosur's serve. The Aussie got her act together in time to win a beautiful exchange of eye-to-eye volleys to save one break point. Serena still got the break of serve for 1-1, but Stosur had managed to throw herself a lifeline at the most important moment in the important match of her career.

Williams held for 2-1, then carried over her displeasure to -- and through -- the changeover. Berating Azderaki throughout, but not involving her in any direct discussion (she implored her to not even look at her, even if they passed each other in the hallway), and going on about her not being able to express herself and, last time she checked, still being an American and having the right to do so. It wasn't exactly a mature, admirable moment in Williams' career, but it would have been looked upon as the "fire of a champion" had she been able to maintain her level of pique while continuing to raise the level of her game, as well.

But that didn't happen.

Williams got two break points on Stosur's serve in game #4, but the Aussie fired an ace to save one, won a pair of rallies during which Serena had failed to seize control of either when she'd had small openings, then hit another ace to hold. The tide was turned back in Stosur's favor. She was back in the game, and Serena's renonwned ability to turn a match on a dime and walk off with a victory was about to meet its match. Stosur broke Serena's serve on a Williams error for a 4-3 lead, and the 1st set listlessness was soon back. When the Aussie led 5-3, and was up 40/15 on the Williams serve, Serena managed to save two match points, but it was too little too late. Stosur's forehand winner (#20) officially ended things, making her 2011's fourth different slam champion, and third different first-time slam major winner.

As sterling as Stosur's afternoon was, it was even more unexpected, and not just because Williams was figured to be ready to romp (even after the late finish of her semifinal victory over Caroline Wozniacki Saturday night), with possibly the Aussie being able to (maybe) make things close. While Serena had starred on the sport's biggest stages, Stosur had usually wilted under the weight of the attention and expectations that come with such circumstances. But THAT Stosur wasn't on Ashe court in the final, just as she wasn't in New York the past two weeks. The "old" Sammy would have folded in the face of Serena's would-be onslaught in the 2nd set, but the "older" Sam, once she took a step back to regain her bearings, was having none of it. That "wrist message" she left herself a while back -- "attitude" and "composure" -- must still be lingering somewhere inside her head.



Displaying strength where there once was weakness -- between the ears -- the Aussie never allowed the aura of Williams to intimidate her, nor the thirteen-time slam winner's induced-by-anger moments to overwhelm and wash away all that she'd worked so hard to turn in her favor. Instead, she allowed herself to play HER game, not Serena's, unlike all the other players Williams has dominated in NYC and points west over the last two months. She didn't struggle to hold her serve in the early going, preventing Williams from racing to an early, suffocating lead. With Serena failing to gain momentum from the outset, and her groundstrokes lacking the usual penetration that she's used to prevent opponents from seizing control of rallies, Stosur wasn't pressured to deviate from her original, preferred gameplan. Not wanting to be pushed off the court ala Wozniacki one night before, Stosur wasn't afraid to step in and cut off Williams' groundstrokes. It not only kept her forehand "in play," but she was able to wield it like a deadly weapon to pulverize Serena all day as Williams oddly never found a way to alleviate its potency by attacking the Aussie's weaker backhand wing. Essentially, Stosur did exactly what she did while defeating both Williams and Justine Henin on the clay at Roland Garros in '10, but then proceeded to NOT do against Francesca Schiavone in her maiden slam final.

So, given a second chance on the big stage, Stosur didn't waste her opportunity once again. It's something of a pattern in Stosur's career, where "practice has made perfect"... even if it takes her a bit longer to get where she desires than, say, Serena. While Serena found success early, winning at the Open at 17 in 1999 and going 5-1 in the first six finals of her career that season, Stosur went 0-5 in tour finals over four seasons before finally raising her first singles trophy in '09 at age 24. Stosur had to become a #1 doubles player first, THEN get her singles footing. She had to fail in big moments, and see her tennis future possibly flash before her eyes when she lost parts of two seasons to Lyme Disease in 2007-08. While Serena won her first slam title in just her seventh attempt, it took Stosur thirty-four, the third-longest "training period" in WTA history for a major champion.

But none of that matters now. For one day on Ashe court in New York, Stosur was THE best player in the world. Just like Australia's thirty-one year drought of women's slam champs, and thirty-eight year absence of a female U.S. Open winner, anything troubling that came before was all washed away on one afternoon.

One brilliant afternoon, that is.



=DAY 14 NOTES=

...after beginning this Open by doing all she could to brush under the rug her '09 altercation with a lineswoman -- "You're still still talking about that? It was TWO YEARS AGO." --Serena ultimately leaves NYC forcing everyone to bring up the situation all over again. Remember, the record fine she incurred then also came with a two-year probationary period, during which if she was found to have committed another "major offense" she could be heavily fined and barred from the following year's Open. News on any Williams fine will arrive on Monday, but it's hard to see what happened in the final being viewed as "major" enough to lead to any sort of suspension based on the original punishment parameters from '09.

But, with what some might call a "behavioral pattern" being established by Williams in just a very small number of events over the two-year span, one never knows what could happen, I suppose. After all, Williams WAS supposed to be an unstoppable force at this Open.


"I didn't really say everything I said." - Yogi Berra



...elsewhere, after coming back from match point down to win the Open Doubles title a year ago, Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova found out how the other half lives this year in Flushing Meadows. Oh, they didn't have a match point against Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the Doubles final today, but they did hold a 6-4/5-3 lead and served at 5-4 for their third slam crown in five slams entered as a team. Huber & Raymond ended up winning the final 4-6/7-6/7-6.

Just wondering... when Shvedova's swing on a volley at 4-4 in the 3rd set literally caused her racket to crack in half, considering the incident where Agnieszka Radwanska's broke off and went flying through the air earlier this year, was I the only one wondering what this says about the new "racket techonology?"

It's Huber first slam Doubles title since her break-up with partner Cara Black, and it's 38-year old Raymond's first slam win of any kind since 2006. They get the "Comeback" award for the Open.

...in the juniors, Grace Min defeated #1-seeded Caroline Garcia 7-5/7-6 to become (with Coco Vandeweghe '08) just the second American to win the Open's Girls title since 1995. In doubles, Irina Khromacheva (RG) and Demi Schuurs (AO) added a second 2011 girls slam title to each of their resumes when they defeated the Wild Card American team of Gabrielle Andrews and Taylor Townsend in the final.

...in the women's Wheelchair competition, the Netherlands' Esther Vergeer defeated Dutch countrywoman Aniek van Koot 6-2/6-1 to claim her sixth U.S. Open singles title with her 426th straight match victory. She also won the doubles. Ah, but that's not all -- she also gets the "It (Dominator)" award for this slam.

...and, finally, a small bit of kudos to CBS today, for you just know that it must have taken all the collective will power of the entire production team to keep from airing a clip of Serena's '09 foot-fault-fiasco during the live coverage of today's final once Williams' had her run-in with the chair umpire this time around.




*WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL*
#9 Samantha Stosur/AUS def. #28 Serena Williams/USA 6-2/6-3

*MEN'S SINGLES FINAL*
#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #2 Rafael Nadal/ESP

*WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
#4 Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) def. #3 King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) 4-6/7-6/7-6

*MEN'S DOUBLES FINAL*
#9 Melzer/Petzschner (AUT/GER) def. #6 Fyrstenberg (POL/POL) 6-2/6-2

*MIXED DOUBLES FINAL*
(WC) Oudin/Sock (USA/USA) def. #8 Dulko/Schwank (ARG/ARG) 7-6/4-6/10-8

*GIRLS SINGLES FINAL*
Grace Min/USA def. #1 Caroline Garcia/FRA 7-5/7-6

*BOYS SINGLES SF*
#13 Oliver Golding/GBR def. #1 Jiri Vesely/CZE 5-7/6-3/6-4

*GIRLS DOUBLES FINAL*
#6 Khromacheva/Schuurs (RUS/NED) def. (WC) Andrews/Townsend (USA/USA) 6-4/5-7 [10-5]

*BOYS DOUBLES SF*
Kern/Lenz (GER/GER) def. Dubarenco/Manfov (MDA/UKR) 7-5/76-4




**MOST SLAMS BEFORE FIRST TITLE**
45 - Jana Novotna (1998 Wimbledon)
39 - Francesca Schiavone (2010 Roland Garros)
34 - SAMANTHA STOSUR (2011 US OPEN)
31 - Amelie Mauresmo (2006 Australian Open)
29 - Jennifer Capriati (2001 Australian Open)
28 - Kerry Melville-Reid (1978 Australian Open)
26 - Lindsay Davenport (1998 U.S. Open)

**LOW-SEEDED U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONS - OPEN ERA**
Unseeded/Wild Card - Kim Clijsters, BEL (2009)
#9 - SAMANTHA STOSUR, AUS (2011)
#9 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (2004)
#7 - Serena Williams, USA (1999)
#6 - Virginia Wade, GBR (1968)

**FIRST-TIME SLAM CHAMPS AT U.S. OPEN**
1968 Virginia Wade, GBR
1979 Tracy Austin, USA
1990 Gabriela Sabatini, ARG
1998 Lindsay Davenport, USA
1999 Serena Williams, USA
2004 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
2005 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2011 Samantha Stosur, AUS

**"IT" WINNERS**
[U.S. Open]
2005 Sania Mirza, IND
2006 Jelena Jankovic, SRB
2007 Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
2008 Coco Vandeweghe, USA (jr.)
2009 Melanie Oudin, USA
2010 Beatrice Capra, USA
2011 Esther Vergeer, NED (wheelchair)
[2011]
AO: An-Sophie Mestach, BEL (jr.)
RG: Caroline Garcia, FRA (jr.)
WI: Sabine Lisicki, GER
US: Esther Vergeer, NED (wheelchair)

**"COMEBACK" WINNERS**
[U.S. Open]
2007 Vera Zvonareva, RUS
2008 Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2009 Kim Clijsters, BEL
2010 Francesca Schiavone, ITA
2011 Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
[2011]
AO: Agnieszka Radwanska, POL
RG: Casey Dellacqua, AUS
WI: Maria Sharapova, RUS
US: Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond, USA/USA

**CAREER SLAM TITLES - active**
[singles-doubles-mixed]
27...Serena Williams, USA [13-12-2] *
21...Venus Williams, USA [7-12-2] *
10...Cara Black, ZIM [0-5-5]
10...LISA RAYMOND, USA [0-6-4]
7...LIEZEL HUBER, USA [0-5-2]
6...Kim Clijsters, BEL [4-2-0]
6...Rennae Stubbs, AUS [0-4-2]
6...Katarina Srebotnik, SLO [0-1-5]
5...SAMANTHA STOSUR, AUS [1-2-2] *
4...Daniela Hantuchova, SVK [0-0-4]
--
* - players with slam crowns in singles, doubles & mixed

**SERENA's DEFEATS IN SLAM FINALS**
2001 US Open - lost to Venus Williams
2004 Wimbledon - lost to Maria Sharapova
2008 Wimbledon - lost to Venus Williams
2011 US Open - lost to Samantha Stosur

**CAREER WTA SINGLES TITLES**
[Three - active players; w/ last title]
Elena Bovina, RUS (2004)
Michaella Krajicek, NED (2006)
Sabine Lisicki, GER (two in 2011)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS (1 in 2011)
SAMANTHA STOSUR, AUS (1 in 2011)
Yanina Wickmayer, BEL (2010)
Zheng Jie, CHN (2006)
[Australians - most all-time]
92...Margaret Court, 1968-76
68...Evonne Goolagong, 1970-80
17...Kerry Melville-Reid, 1968-79
15...Dianne Fromholtz-Balestrat, 1973-79
9...Wendy Turnbull, 1976-83
6...Jelena Dokic, 2001-11
5...Alicia Molik, 2003-05
4...Anne Minter, 1987-89
3...SAMANTHA STOSUR, 2009-11
3...Angeles Montolio, 2001-02
3...Nicole Provis-Bradtke, 1992-95
3...Elizabeth Smylie, 1982-87

**WOMEN'S DOUBLES CHAMPIONS**
[recent U.S. Opens]
2005 Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur
2006 Nathalie Dechy & Vera Zvonareva
2007 Nathalie Dechy & Dinara Safina
2008 Cara Black & Liezel Huber
2009 Serena & Venus Williams
2010 Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova
2011 Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond
[2011]
AO: Gisela Dulko & Flavia Pennetta
RG: Andrea Hlavackova & Lucie Hradecka
WI: Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik
US: Liezel Huber & Yaroslava Shvedova




TOP QUALIFIER: Romina Oprandi/ITA
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #28 Serena Williams/USA
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #9 Samantha Stosur/AUS
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): #9 Samantha Stosur/AUS
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Alexandra Panova/RUS def. #6q Andrea Hlavackova/CZE 3-6/6-2/7-6(7)
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - Irina Falconi/USA d. #14 Dominika Cibulkova/SVK 2-6/6-3/7-5
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 3rd Rd. - #9 Samantha Stosur/AUS d. #24 Nadia Petrova/RUS 7-6/6-7/7-5
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): #4 Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) d. #3 King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) 4-6/7-6/7-6
TOP ASHE NIGHT MATCH: 4th Rd. - #1 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN d. #15 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS 6-7/7-5/6-1
=============================
FIRST WINNER: Monica Niculescu/ROU (def. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner/AUT)
FIRST SEED OUT: #5 Petra Kvitova (lost to Dulgheru/1st Rd.)
UPSET QUEENS: Romanians
REVELATION LADIES: Americans
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Czech Republic (2-5 in 1st Rd., Cetkovska walkover in 2nd)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Silvia Soler-Espinosa/ESP (3rd Rd)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Sloane Stephens/USA (3rd Rd)
LAST AMERICAN STANDING: Serena Williams/USA (RU)
IT: Esther Vergeer/NED (wheelchair champ / 426 straight wins)
MS. OPPORTUNITY: Angelique Kerber/GER
COMEBACK PLAYERS: Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond, USA/USA
CRASH & BURN: Wimbledon champ, #5 Petra Kvitova/CZE (1st Rd./lost to Dulgheru) & Roland Garros champ, #6 Li Na/CHN (1st Rd./lost to Halep)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Flavia Pennetta/ITA - sick and nearly throwing up on court late in the 2nd set, overcomes 0-5 hole and saves 4 MP in tie-break vs. Peng Shuai/CHN to escape with straight sets 4th Round win
LADY OF THE EVENING: Samantha Stosur/AUS (two dramatic night wins, neither on Ashe Stadium court)
BROADWAY-BOUND: Francesca Schiavone/ITA (for combined '11 slam dramatic performances)
DOUBLES STAR Melanie Oudin, USA
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Grace Min/USA




All for Day 14. More tomorrow.

10 Comments:

Blogger Kumar said...

Brilliant drama following that hindrance penalty. Totally unsurprising, though. I had an inkling all along that something was simmering beneath the surface of Serena Williams' game face throughout this tournament, waiting to be unleashed at an inopportune moment. To have it happen in such similar circumstances was surreal: Break-point down in the second set, with the enforcement of a rule that has been shrouded in vagueness. A RULE, nevertheless. To be followed. By everyone. Including The Serena Williams.

Her loud exhortation was clearly deliberate. Her apparent ignorance of the rule was a master-stroke. The sense of entitlement and then victimization she projected were rigorously logical. Her tirade was award-worthy, with priceless quotes galore ('are you the one who screwed me over the last time here?', 'do you have it out for me','if you see me walking down a hall, look away','you are totally out of control','loser','hater who is unattractive inside','I never complain','I get a warning for expressing my opinion, we are in America, last I checked','am I going to get violated for a water? Dont look at me, I am not the one', 'dont look my way'). Her defeat was inevitable. Cannot take a thrashing with your head held high? Make yourself the victim.

Like I said, hardly surprising. She will not let anything stand in her path to victory. I would not consider her such a terrible piece of work if she weren't such a hypocrite about behavior in sports.

Mon Sep 12, 10:09:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Kumar,

Yes, she broke the rule. Period.

But I don't think it was deliberate. How can anyone know that? But just thinking logically, if Serena was trying to game Sam and throw her off her game, why would she give Sam the opportunity to replay the point? When she would have won the point... (Serena's understanding of the rule was that you would have to replay the point.)

Anyway, just curious which tennis players you do support.

==============

Diane, Thanks for that bit of information about the difference in rules for the WTA and grand slams.

=============

Zidane, I am so embarrassed...obviously, i'm not a hardcore football or baseball fan...hahaha.

Man, if i had just kept quiet, you would have thought i was being ironic and smart. lol.

Just curious, are you izidane on Bodo's blog?

===============

Todd, Thanks for the tireless coverage! And I hope you did get to fully enjoy the *football* game...I was wondering why the score you posted yesterday was so high...hahaha. I don't think I'll live that down for awhile.

Mon Sep 12, 01:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Kumar -

On their face, I didn't have too much of a problem with Serena's actions. I think it was just another case of her frustration exploding on the person who happened to be standing nearby. Unintentionally, her tirade was quite funny -- mistaking one EuroBlonde for another in the chair, not knowing the rule she was so adament about, talking about being ugly on the inside... then saying, "And I never complain."

Still, you make a good point about her hypocrisy when it comes to rules that are enforced again her, since she's always made a point to call out other players -- Henin, MJMS -- in the past when they didn't follow every rule of court etiquette in a match.

Eric -

I DID watch baseball yesterday, too. As Stephen Strasburg (I don't expect you to know who he is -- haha) started for the Nationals at 1pm, as well. ;)

Mon Sep 12, 02:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I think that "intentional" in the rules may mean "under a player's control"--not what the word means in the vernacular. Not positive about that, though.

Actually, I found myself laughing out loud when "and you're unattactive--inside" came out of Serena's mouth. Serena was just babbling away. Too bad her name isn't "Mardy," huh?

Having said that, I do wish the incident hadn't occurred, mostly because so-called "casual" fans think that Serena is terribly behaved all the time. I found her behavior yesterday odd and unnecessary, but compared with players who cheat, lie, show truly poor sportsman/womanship, and yell bigotry-laden things at officials, Serena's "moments" are nothing.

And I've actually seen people on the Web insist that we compare her with other women, and not with male players. These posters have essentially come out and said they hold women to a different standard.

And because Serena's two-year probation probably had another 30 seconds left, officials decided to "ponder" what to do. Well, it certainly deflects from the problem of having to shut down Louis Armstrong Stadium.

I wish Serena had made herself be quiet after the initial argument, but saying "I probably shouldn't have said that" won't work for her the way it works for the Gimelstob crowd, will it?

Mon Sep 12, 03:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Being the biggest star -- or should I say "lightning rod?" -- on tour, I guess Serena should expect the additional scrutiny. At least in this case, if not for '09, I wonder if her blow-up yesterday would have been addressed much at all.

As it's turned out, the "powers" that be chose to brush it off (mostly), fining her $2000 and saying that her actions didn't amount to a "major offense" that would cause a suspension of any kind.

Mon Sep 12, 04:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Oh, so Strasburg, the classical musician, hit 33 goals in the baseball match?

Mon Sep 12, 08:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Hoergren said...

Only $2000 fine for Williams - come on! Here are a couple of samples:

Williams said, prompting Asderaki to call the code violation:

— “You’re out of control.”

— “You’re a hater, and you’re just unattractive inside.”

— “Really, don’t even look at me.”

Come on - no wonder she does it again and again. Wake up WTA. Miss Serena is NOT a role model.

Tue Sep 13, 12:45:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kumar said...

Eric,

First, at best they would have replayed the point, which does not guarantee she would have won it. Second, she was in no position to 'give Sam the opportunity to replay the point'... If anything, Sam had an opportunity to say, 'Oh, it doesn't matter, I lost the point/let us replay it'. If she had apologized, maybe Sam would have relented, but the umpire correctly penalized her, as the ITF pointed out.

Also, you are telling me all the LOUD grunts and primal screams on big points are NOT deliberate? Don't delude yourself.

But if you are allowed to replay every point you scream in the middle of (I am not even going to get around to grunting), I should just scream at random when I am losing a point. Sounds like a foolproof strategy :).

As for players I support, I don't exactly root for anyone on the WTA, though Schiavone come close. I was a diehard fan of Justine Henin and Steffi before her. Basically the versatile, all-court players (Mauresmo too).

Tue Sep 13, 12:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Eric - :D

Tue Sep 13, 03:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Hi Kumar,

I'm not really following what you're saying...

but I guess my logic was...if you assume she did it deliberately, why would she do it on a break point...and one where she was going to win? it didn't add up in my mind.

but regardless, she broke the rule, was penalized correctly, and she shouldn't have let it affect her like that.

the reason I asked about which player you like is because I was almost certain you were going to say kim clijsters or some other congenial player lol...given your stance

because I actually like serena and justine for the same reason...that they are so intense. Serena in the overt sense and Justine in the deeply internal sense...and that they both have done questionable things (never admitted) on the way to glory makes them human in my eyes. They're champions with Achilles' heels...like greek tragic heroes...

I know people usually like either Justine or Serena...but I think it's odd that they will like one and dislike the other for the same quality...

(this is more introspective and nothing against you Kumar! :D )

Anyway, now that USO is over, I need to focus on work again. SO BEHIND. ugh...

======================

Todd: Aren't you glad my baseball knowledge is increasing?

Tue Sep 13, 06:04:00 PM EDT  

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