Tuesday, May 29, 2012

RG.3- When it Comes to Serena and Paris... it's always something

The Tennis Gods giveth, and the Tennis Gods taketh. But Serena Williams and weird Paris afternoons are eternal.

A year ago, for Virginie Razzano, just showing up in Paris was a "joy of life" moment, a celebration of life going on... no matter what. A week after the death of her fiance/coach, the Frenchwoman decided to go ahead and play tennis at Roland Garros. She lost, but it didn't matter. This time around, Razzano showed up at her home nation's slam with just seven matches under her belt this season, the result of her slow comeback from a hip injury.

Serena was the #5 seed, but she was the favorite to win the title. Without a loss on clay this spring, she and Maria Sharapova were picks number "1a" and "1b" for this RG, with Williams usually getting the nod because of the comprehensive defeat she handed the Russian a few weeks ago in Madrid.

So, when Razzano opened the match by breaking Williams' serve, it didn't seem like a big deal. Four games in, after three consecutive breaks of serve to open the contest, Razzano finally held to go up 3-1. Serena was having difficulties early on with double-faults and errors but, on her fourth break point attempt, Williams got back on serve with a break of Razzano's serve for 4-4. A Razzano double-fault on break point handed Serena the set at 6-4. The storyline of the match seemed fated.

But nothing could have been further from the truth. Razzano, unlike many other opponents who might have lined up against Williams on this day, had no reason to wilt. Why should she? She'd faced down worse situations than being down a set to Serena Williams. Still, the American seemed intent on taking this match in straight sets. The 2nd set went to a tie-break, and Serena quickly grabbed a 4-0 lead. She led 5-1, and began her two-point turn at the service line with a 5-2 advantage. The 2nd Round was essentially on her racket.

But that's when the "fun" really began.

Now, let it be known, Williams has a long history of being involved in strange occurrences in Paris during the springtime. She won the title at Roland Garros in 2002, but ever since it's been almost as if the Tennis Gods have seen fit to bat her around the terre battue like they were a cat and she was a tiny little mouse. When Serena shows up in Paris, it's always SOMETHING. We never know what it will be, just that IT WILL BE.

In 2003, Justine Henin "waved off" a Williams serve. Serena pulled up and hit a fault, and told the umpire that the Belgian had asked for a timeout. But Henin wouldn't admit it. Serena was right. Henin was wrong. The Parisian fans booed Serena. A few years later, Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez failed to admit a ball had hit her during a rally, meaning that Williams should get the point. Afterward, Serena called her a "cheater." On numerous occasions, Williams has lost to the eventual RG champion, or the player that beat HER did later in the tournament.

In retrospect, when Serena found out that Eva Asderaki -- who chaired last year's U.S. Open when Serena exploded after she enforced the hindrance rule on Williams after she'd yelled in triumph before her winner was actually totally off the court against Sam Stosur -- was sitting in the umpire's chair for this match, she should have been expecting anything but a normal afternoon in Paris. Well, "normal" for anyone else. For her, she should have seen the train coming.

At 5-1 in the tie-break, Razzano's ball hit near the baseline with no "out" call. Serena didn't attempt a shot and immediately stopped play, calling for Asderaki to look for a mark. She did.. and ruled the shot in. Razzano's point. Soon afterward, a Razzano shot landed near the left baseline. Serena took the ball and rifled a shot up the line for an apparent winner that would have given her a match point. But the linesperson made a very late call, calling the shot that had landed at Serena's feet out. It was late enough for Asderaki to rule for the point to be replayed. Razzano won it. As it turned out, the original call on the previous shot was wrong. It HAD been in, and Williams' seeming winner should have counted.

Soon, an error by Williams made the score 5-5. With the previous calls still bouncing around inside her head, and with her anger over Asderaki's call last September probably newly-fresh in her mind, as well, the question now was about whether we'd see "Good Serena" or "Bad Serena" next. I wrote "unhinged?" in my notes. Another Williams error gave Razzano a set point. From there, the Frenchwoman forced the issue during the point, pressuring Serena into another error and claiming the tie-break at 7-5 with a sixth straight point.

Razzano's run carried over into the 3rd, as she won seven straight points. Razzano, showing no intimidation in the moment, broke Serena with an aggressive return of serve, then nailed an overhead shot to take a 3-0 lead. In the next game, Williams followed up a double fault with an error. Razzano led 4-0.

And then things REALLY started to get strange.

After Asderaki had issued Razzano a "hindrance rule" warning earlier in the match for the extra sound she occasionally made after her initial grunt on a shot, she enforced the next step of the process. It caused a point to be replayed that had seemed to be turning in Williams' favor. Serena simmered, but didn't explode. Razzano smashed an ace to lead 5-0.

The die was cast. Strangeness and Serena were again walking hand-in-hand in Paris, and the fans were against her as they cheered for one of their favorites (only this time it wasn't an "adopted" Belgian, but an actual French citizen). But that didn't mean the match was over. Not by a long shot.

Serena held for 5-1. She then took a 30/love lead on Razzano's serve as she served for the match. Then Asderaki enforced the hindrance rule again, this time immediately ending a point when the Pastry made a sound and awarding it to Williams, giving her a break point. Razzano saved it, then another, with big serves, but Williams converted #3 when Razzano sailed a shot long. 5-2.

Suddenly, Serena starting hitting the shots she was missing earlier. She held for 5-3, only one break behind. But, for once, SHE wasn't to going to be the real story of this match. Serving for the match again, Razzano took a 30/love lead, but opened the door for Williams with a double-fault. Within moments, it was 30/30 and Razzano was leaning over on her knees, trying to fight off cramps.

Then, on the point which would decide whether Razzano got her first match point or Wililams a break point to get back on serve, Asderaki inserted herself into the equation yet again. Razzano uttered a slight extra gasp -- apparently, in response to her cramping legs -- after a shot and the chair umpire jumped in and gave the point to Serena, bringing the match THIS CLOSE to becoming a farce.

Has the overreaction to the sounds made by female players on the court -- and Razzano's "offense" was fairly minor, and nowhere near the decibal level of most men's players, let alone the Azarenka and Sharapova's of the WTA -- REALLY brought us to the point of being such a stickler for every minute aspect of the hindrance rule that we're having a chair umpire determining MP/BP point winners because a player made an inadvertant sound while struggling to get a ball back over the net? Pathetic.

But, thankfully, Razzano didn't let the match devolve into the mess that Asderaki (and I'll throw in all the worrywarts and whiners, including a certain Canadian CEO, Pole and Dane, who continue to turn this whole issue into an even bigger joke than it was in the first place) nearly made it. And, I guess, Williams should be given a nod for it, too. Since it was her inability to take advantage of the many opportunities given her by Razzano and the chair umpire that led this match down it's eventual path. Serena simply couldn't close the door on this match, failing on multiple attempts when she was given 2nd serves to attack. If Williams had now turned into the SuperSerena of the past, this match would have ended with a lingering scent of "injustice." Instead, it was Razzano who held firm, maintained her ground and (finally) took the match home.

As the match closed in on three hours as it's long 32nd game progressed, Williams and Razzano traded break point and match point attempts in what would be a 12-deuce, 24-minute game. Serena won one important 22-stroke rally that gave her her third break shot in the game, but it was the big serving of Razzano that took this match in its closing moments. In all, Williams had five break points, while Razzano had so far failed to convert six match points when Serena poorly played another return and she threw down her racket in frustration. The crowd booed.

The end was near.

A wide Serena shot gave Razzano match point #7. She didn't convert again, but when Williams netted another shot Razzano got her eighth chance. With the match once again in the balance, another apparently long Williams shot seemed to hand the match to Razzano. But the celebration was delayed, as the day just had to have it's final, dramatic and fitting moment. Of course, it involved the third major player in this contest -- Asderaki.

She quickly climbed out of the umpire's chair and ran to the baseline to check the mark. As the breath of the collective crowd on Chatrier Court was held, as well as that of Williams and Razzano's and everyone else watching around the world, Asderaki bent down to get a closer look. Then up went her finger, signalling that the ball was out.

Razzano had finally won, 4-6/7-6(5)/6-3. The Tennis Gods taketh, but they also giveth.

As the Frenchwoman was serenaded with cheers by the fans, Serena quickly escaped the scene of her latest Parisian disappointment, as well as grand slam meltdown. Well, maybe that's unfair. Williams' play may have failed to hold up on this day, but at least she didn't explode with the sort of anger that has accompanied many of her other recent slam exits. Maybe she was all-too-aware of her recent past. Maybe it was holding her back? Maybe she was so determined to not flash her renowned anger -- and she had many opportunities, even when Asderaki made rulings AGAINST Razzano -- that she internalized it and let it get the best of her. A caged Serena is not Serena.

Razzano was anything but caged.

Before this tournament, I'd named Razzano as her Quarter's "Poor Soul" because she was slated to face Serena and her 46-0 career mark in slam 1st Rounds in her opening match. Ha? What did I know? The Pastry made a mockery of Williams' run of excellence. She ended her 17-match run on clay this spring, her 32-match win streak against players ranked outside the Top 100 (Razzano is #111 after her injury woes) and her 40-match string of victories after claiming the 1st set, as well.

Razzano more than earned this win, especially when you consider that she sometimes was playing against TWO people on this day. This is the sort of match result that makes slams oh-so-fun. The more unpredictable the better, and Paris has become the home of crazy results when it comes to the women's draw. The last time we had an early-round upset of a player carrying as much "favorite's momentum" as Williams was 2004 when defending champ Henin exited in the 2nd Round. The eventual champion turned out to be one of the more unexpected slam winners ever -- Anastasia Myskina.

Who knows what this Roland Garros has in store for us next.

...weirdness. There was an underlying layer of it rising up through the terre battue today. We had the whole Serena losing, Asderaki/Razzano hindrance rule near-fiasco, of course. But it didn't end there.

I sense that some interference by The Radwanska may be afoot. After the failure of a "minion" take out Azarenka (Azarenka... Asderaki... Agnieszka... hmmm) the other day, it looks like efforts were stepped up on Day 3. What it means we may never know, but consider some of the OTHER things that happened in Paris on Tuesday:

-- Tsvetana Pironkova's hypnotist was proven to be an expert. I mean, at least I'm ASSUMING she has one. How else would you explain her 3-6/6-0/6-3 win today over Yanina Wickmayer? It was on CLAY, not grass, after all. She had to have tricked in some into thinking that she was at Wimbledon. Something weird HAS to be behind this development. Could it be The Radwanska's doing?

-- Francesca Schiavone and Kimiko Date-Krumm played today. Combined, they're 72 years old. When KDK made her RG debut in 1989, forty-three of the women in this year's main draw hadn't even been born. It's just not "normal."

-- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won a match today, too. So maybe there was just something in the water in Paris. Did The Radwanska put it there?

-- URSZULA Radwanska won her 1st Round match Pauline Parmentier. Then, later in the day, she and partner Polona Hercog retired from their doubles match with Vera Dushevina and Chuang Chia-Jung. But it wasn't U-Rad who retired, it was Hercog. Collateral damage. So don't blame Urszula.

-- also today, THE Radwanska won a doubles match, partnering Angelique Kerber. Agnieszka and Kerber are slated to potentially meet each other in the QF. Keep your friends close, but your potential enemies closer. If those two DO meet, the winner could face Azarenka in the semis. Aha, The Plan may be coming into better focus now.

Maybe The Radwanska is behind these odd developments. Maybe not. If so, I'd say The Plan is getting underway maybe a day too late. But, still, it's possible that that was just "cover." After all, there were no Aga-esque screams in the Parisian air today, but I wouldn't be shocked if someone heard a sinister-sounding, Polish-accented chuckle wafting over Roland Garros. Maybe Serena heard it. That WOULD explain why she was so screwed up today.

Of course, if so, Venus will get a chance to exact a little revenge on The Radwanska tomorrow. The fate of the entire women's field may depend on it. So, Venus... no pressure.

...one person, ironically enough, that The Radwanska COULDN'T touch today was Maria Sharapova. Then again, maybe The Plan has something to do with that... the Russian COULD still meet her nemesis in the final, after all.

Dressed in a black dress that brought to mind the one she wore during her "Exquisite in the City" run at the U.S. Open back in 2006 (hey, why not wear the one item so many say "can be worn anywhere" in the fashion capital of the world?), Sharapova was unstoppable today. Well, at least Alexandra Cadantu had no chance of stopping her. She only lasted forty-eight minutes on the court with Sharapova, getting double-bageled, outpointed 51-18 and putting up ZERO winners.

Here is where I'd normally say that this is precisely how Sharapova begins a slam that she ultimately wins. But I said in the RG preview that I was no longer sure that Maria had to be nearly "infallible" to win this slam. Such is the case for a "Nova,"* rather than a "Supernova."**

* - A star that flares up to several times its original brightness for some time.
** - The most powerful forces in the universe.

Thing is, Sharapova was never THIS good in any of the 1st Rounds of the three slams that she's won. In fact, she never double-bageled ANY opponent in those three slam runs. In her twenty-one matches at the '04 Wimbledon, '06 U.S. and '08 Australian, she put up a total of eight bagel sets. But she only had two in a single match once, in the U.S. semis against Amelie Mauresmo, surrounded by a 2nd set won by the Frenchwoman.

So, with no historical precedent to rely upon, I won't try to put any undue significance on Sharapova's win today. Well, other than to say that, at the very least, this win bore a strong resemblance to the sending-a-message win that Azrarenka put up against Heather Watson in the 1st Round of the Australian Open in January. There, the Belarusian dropped the first game, then won the next twelve. Sharapova didn't even bother with a giving Cadantu a "pity" game.

There's nothing wrong with no longer ever being a Supernova if you're still able to sometimes flash Supernovic tendencies.

...one thing lost in all the talk about how much Sharapova benefits from the removal of Serena from her path: before the Russian would get any benefit of a Serena-less draw, at least one other top (or formerly top) seed might. Her name? Caroline Wozniacki, who had been fated to potentially meet Williams in the 4th Round. A virtual afterthought, might Serena's misfortune inadvertently thrust Caro back into the spotlight? She nearly double-bageled Eleni Daniilidou today.

It's just another of those things about Day 3 that make you go "hmmm," especially since Aga and Wozniacki are such good friends. Does The Radwanska have a secret master plan that won't really become public knowledge until the weekend after next?

...at the start of Day 3, it was Petra Kvitova who was tasked with not becoming an, "Oh no she didn't" headline. After seeming to not be willing to put full force into her serve (a lingering effect of her Rome abdominal injury?) against 2011 Wimbledon Girls champ Ashleigh Barty, the 2011 Wimbledon Ladies champ finally began to open up her power a bit more as the match went on. It only lasted :54 minutes, though, with the 16-year old Aussie taking a 6-1/6-2 defeat while hitting just three winners to twenty-six errors in the match.

...meanwhile, Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci won their 14th straight match, and 22nd consecutive on clay going back to last season.

Oh, and it was announced today that Serena and Bob Bryan would be playing Mixed Doubles at RG. But after her exit today, one wonder if Serena will be around long enough to play any doubles. Especially not with Wimbledon -- and a shot at redemption -- now a little bit closer.


while Anne Keothavong lost today, qualifier Heather Watson managed a win to spare the Brits from winning this award for the third time in its five-slam existence. Instead, the "dishonor" goes to the Romanians, as their inability to get "over the hump" on the regular tour was extended to the 1st Round of this slam. Overall, the Swarmettes went 1-5, with only Irina-Camelia Begu's win today over Aravane Rezai preventing a truly (more) embarrassing record. But Cadantu's double-bagel closes the loophole that Begu's win opened, and that the player that Begu beat was Rezai didn't help, either. She's far from the Opinionated Pastry of old these days. This is the third straight slam in which she was gifted a spot in the main draw due to a wild card offered by the French Tennis Federation. She's gone 0-3, and now the current world #130 has won just one main draw tour match since last September. One wonders how much longer the French will be so generous with their slam wild cards.

UPSET QUEENS: although Serena's loss and Jamie Hampton's 2nd set retirement against Arantxa Rus made the U.S. contingent 0-2 today after that great 10-0 start, the Bannerettes still qualify here. Melanie Oudin (Larsson), Irina Falconi (Gallovits-Hall), Lauren Davis (#30 Barthel), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (#12 Lisicki), Sloane Stephens (Makarova), Alexa Glatch (Tatishvili) and Varvara Lepchenko (Pervak) all notched wins that would probably be considered upsets. And that's not even counting Vania King's win over Galina Voskoboeva, a match that was pretty "even" going in.

REVELATION LADIES: I'll go with the French Pastries, taking the honor for the first time at their home slam since 2006. Six French women are still alive, fewer than only the ten Americans, and around in equal numbers to the Russians. Amongst the not-expected-to-attend attendees: Razzano, Mathilde Johansson, Stephanie Foretz-Gacon, Claire Feuerstein and Irena Pavlovic.

CRASH & BURN: Come on, we know who gets this one. An interesting note, through. This is the SECOND time that Serena has "won" this award at RG, having also gotten it in 2008 when, again as the #5 seed, she lost in the 3rd Round to Katarina Srebotnik. Venus also lost in Paris that day, as it marked just the second time that both Sisters had lost in the same slam before the Round of 16. It's STILL just the SECOND time that's happened. Well, that is, unless it's about to happen yet again in Paris this week.

As far as the second year winner of the Roland Garros "Joie de Vivre" award, it just might be that Razzano will repeat. I awarded the inaugural honor to her a year ago for the heart that she displayed in playing at RG a week after her fiance/coach Stephane had died of a brain tumor. The 2000 RG Girls champ lost in the 1st Round to Jarmila Gajdosova, but said that she felt like a winner. "I felt a lot of pain on court today," she said at the time. "The pain is permanent within me. It's very hard, but it felt good to be surrounded by so many people and to be here. I tried to play tribute to Stephane today. It was a 'mission impossible,' but I did my best."

One year later, after missing so much time with a hip injury, her "figurative" victory had more truly tangible aspects. It would seem to be another "mission impossible" to NOT honor her once again this time around.

...the NCAA champions have been crowned. Stanford's Nicole Gibbs defeated teammate Mallory Burdette to take the women's singles via a 2-6/7-6(5)/6-3 score. Gibbs staged a comeback from a 6-2/4-1 deficit, and Burdette came within two points of the title at 5-4, 30/love, and up 5-2 in the tie-break, in the 2nd set. In doubles, Gibbs and Burdette teamed up to defeat Georgia's team of Chelsey Gullickson (the '10 singles champ) and Nadja Gilchrist 6-2/6-4. In the men's singles, USC's Steve Johnson defended his title.

Colette Lewis has a great write-up on the finals over at Zoo Tennis.

...hmmm, there was ESPN2 today, coming out of a commercial break and leading into further coverage with a few clips from those very well-shot studio sessions with several star players. Hey, there's Maria! Oh, and Petra, too. And then there's... are you kidding me? Donald Young? Really? DY of the 2-12 (now 2-13) record this season, who'll soon see his ranking plummet once he likely fails to maintain a large portion of the points he earned last summer with the only real good stretch of play -- the SF in Washington & Round of 16 in New York -- during his career? Now, Young IS an exciting player when he's in good form -- which he's rarely been the last few years, on or off court. But, no matter when the footage was actually shot, maybe he'd have better utilized his time by practicing a bit more rather than heading to a television studio. He probably spent far more time doing that that day than he actually spent on the court on Day 3 against Grigor Dimitrov. And that's the problem.

...well, Tennis Channel had Jim Courier on today reminiscing about his first Roland Garros title in 1991. It reminded me that I'd been planning on a "Time Capsule" on that for this RG season, but I went with just the Myskina-in-2004 one rather than do a pair. I guess the one-more-year wait won't hurt.


some post-Serena loss replay action on Tennis Channel. I knew the results of the matches, and had actually already seen some of them, too. But, really, I could sit for a few hours doing other things and just listen to Mary Carillo and Martina Navratilova talk to each other. And that's what I did, too. Naturally, it was interesting to hear them talk about how Sharapova's chances would change if someone beat Serena. Oh, little did they know.

-- speaking of Martina & Mary, it was great to hear Carillo recount the words of a still-hard-working-after-all-these-years Schiavone after she won the title in Strasbourg this weekend: "I'm enjoying the pain again," she said. And so it begins again? I guess Francesca might ultimately benefit from Serena's absence in the bottom half of the draw, too. Hmmm.

-- and speaking of TC, while ESPN2 was showing taped out-and-into commercial segments of players like DY, Tennis Channel showed one featuring Sharapova before the replay of her match. She was dancing around -- well, at least in one place -- and making faces and generally goofing around. You don't see her like that very often. It was nice.

-- oh, and while the sound of a cow mooing in the background was a bit much when TC flashed on the screen that old "I feel like a cow on ice" quote of Sharapova's from five years ago (and then again while Sharapova was walking to her chair after winning another game against Cadantu), it kind of worked in all the right ways.

...and, finally, were my eyes playing tricks on me today, or did several of the shots of Serena's serve during TC's coverage sure make it appear as if she was foot-faulting on many of her serves? Whatever. We surely didn't need to see THAT can of worms opened yet again, as well... even if ITS contents WOULD go down a linesperson's throat with more ease than a tennis ball.

Of course, the lost-but-maybe-soon-to-be-found story of Day 3 is that it likely means that Serena is a LOCK to win at Wimbledon now, right? Serena, after all, IS still Serena.

2004 Ukraine
2005 France
2006 United States
2007 Romania
2008 Czech Republic
2009 Kazakhstan (ex-Russians)
2010 Australia
2011 Romania
2012 United States

2006 France
2007 Italy
2008 Czech Republic
2009 Australia
2010 Germany
2011 North America
2012 France

2008 Serena Williams, USA (lost 3rd Rd.)
2009 Elena Dementieva, RUS (lost 3rd Rd.)
2010 Dinara Safina, RUS (lost 1st Rd.)
2011 Kim Clijsters, BEL (lost 2nd Rd.)
2012 Serena Williams, USA (lost 1st Rd.)

WI: Great Britain (0-6 1st Rd.)
WI: Australia (1-3 1st Rd., Stosur & Dokic losses)
US: Czech Republic (2-5 1st Rd., Kvitova loses)
AO: Great Britain (0-4 1st Rd.; all on Day 1)
RG: Romania (1-5 in 1st Rd.; Cadantu double-bageled)

Argentina: 0-1
Australia: 2-3
Austria: 0-2
Belarus: 2-1
Belgium: 0-1
Bulgaria: 1-0
Canada: 1-2
China: 3-1
Croatia: 1-1
Czech Republic: 4-5
Denmark: 1-0
Estonia: 1-0
France: 6-6
Georgia: 0-1
Germany: 3-2
Great Britain: 1-3
Greece: 0-1
Hungary: 1-2
Israel: 1-0
Italy: 3-2
Japan: 1-1
Kazakhstan: 2-2
Luxembourg: 0-1
Netherlands: 1-2
New Zealand: 0-1
Poland: 2-0
Romania: 1-5
Russia: 6-4
Serbia: 2-1
Slovak Republic: 1-1
Slovenia: 0-1
South Africa: 1-0
Spain: 4-2
Sweden: 1-1
Switzerland: 0-1
Taiwan: 1-2
Thailand: 0-1
Ukraine: 0-2
United States: 10-2

[recent singles winners]
2009 Mallory Cecil, Duke
2010 Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia
2011 Jana Juricova, California
2012 Nicole Gibbs, Stanford
[most team titles]
6...FLORIDA (2011 & '12 champions)

TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): xx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: #1q Kiki Bertens/NED d. Annika Beck/GER 6-1/4-6/9-7
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): xx
FIRST WINNER: #6 Samantha Stosur/AUS (def. Baltacha/GBR)
FIRST SEED OUT: #30 Mona Barthel/GER (lost 1st Rd. to Lauren Davis/USA)
UPSET QUEENS: United States
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Romania (1-5 in 1st Rd; A.Cadantu double-bageled & 18 total points)
IT: xx
CRASH & BURN: #5 Serena Williams/USA (lost 1st Rd. to Razzano/FRA; led 6-4 & 5-1 in 2nd set tie-break; was 46-0 in career slam 1st Rd. matches)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Nominee: #1 Azarenka (down 7-6/4-0, BPs for 5-0 to Brianti in 1st Rd.)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Nominee: Razzano/FRA

All for Day 3. More tomorrow.


Blogger jo shum said...

ah... little did i know. i was having a flu and so after near closing of nadal's match, i decided to sleep early. so this morning when i was checking (in my mind) to see if it is a 6-0 6-0 scoreline as maria...and apparently couldn't find her name as winner...this is a biggest shock exit.

btw, todd, in your section 'crash and burn' you put down 2nd round exit, guess it is 1st round still?

mmm...what will happen from here, is all for us to guess. and the bottom half of the draw is having great actions in unpreditibity, with schiavone, li, sharapova. will razzano and 2nd version of 2010 schiavone?? she definitely has the crowd behind her, plus she screams as well?! hahaha.

Wed May 30, 02:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

seriously, 17-0 on clay this year, and lost in the first round. how else to base the probability of losing/winning? is it french open or is it serena?

Wed May 30, 03:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Probably a little bit of both. Maybe we'll find out a Wimbledon.

Thanks for catching that typo in the lists. I corrected a few other slight misses -- like there being 12 deuces in that final game rather than 11, as well.

(I was getting a bit tired by the time I finally got that posted last night.) ;)

Wed May 30, 07:05:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I don't know why Alexa Glatch doesn't have a higher ranking in tennis. She's got a good game and decent weapons.

Mental fragility is killing her and Coco Vandeweghe.


Radwanska is a seriously improved player...I hadn't actually watched her this season despite her good results.

Her more powerful forehand is the most obvious improvement, but I think she's also fitter now because her ball-retrieving is good and she's able to use her court-craft to put the ball in the best place. She blew Venus away today. (Altho, Venus was spinning serves in...and her movement was slower than normal.)

Is she still coachless?

Wed May 30, 01:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

"A caged Serena is not Serena."

I like that. And I agree very much. I've been saying that since 2009 US Open and even throughout 2010 when she was winning majors. She just didn't seem the same. Less fiery and unwilling to go there. But her level was so high (and she wasn't playing that much) so it was less apparent that she didn't have that reservoir of fight to draw upon when she was having a bad day.


Don't jinx Serena for Wimbledon Todd!


Serena lost in the 3rd Round in 08.

Wed May 30, 01:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...


"Don't jinx Serena for Wimbledon Todd!"

...maybe I'm a secret agent for Petra. Psst... don't blow my cover.


"Serena lost in the 3rd Round in '08"

...as with everything now, I'm blaming The Radwanska.

Wed May 30, 03:10:00 PM EDT  

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