Thursday, June 04, 2015

RG.12- Roughing It *

What on earth will we ever do when Serena Williams is no longer playing tennis on the grand slam stage?

Just think. We won't regularly see that serve, or hear the primal yell that portends sure and deadly danger for an opponent. Gone also will be the way Williams can often steamroll through the OTHER very best players in the world as if they're playing on a level a full notch below her. And often even more than one. We'll also be missing out on that unmistakable air of greatness that travels along with her all over the world. Sometimes it's right by her side as she walks onto the court with a doomed, racket-wielding combatant who knows her time is short trailing a few steps behind, but sometimes it arrives fashionably late in order to upset the course of a match which seems to be going against her.

And then there's the drama. Oh, the drama. Serena provided a WHOLE LOT of that in her semifinal match in Paris today against Timea Bacsinszky. In fact, looking at the whole of her crazy career, from what we've already seen to what we've yet to experience, it might be said that Serena may never be able to top what she pulled off today. And that's saying something.

The contest between the 19-time slam champ and the first-time slam finalist was one in which "winter is coming" foreshadowing was taking place even before the two ever set foot on Chatrier court. There were reports of an illness, and sluggishness. But we've heard reports such reports before. Silly humans... how little we knew about what we were about to see.

It was apparent in the early going that Williams wasn't feeling well. A few games into the match, she was walking slowly around the court, placing the back of her hand to her forehead and being very deliberate when going through her pre-serve machinations. It wasn't quite to the level of that odd Wimbledon incident from last summer (attributed to a "viral illness") when she had difficulty maintaining her balance and bouncing and catching a ball, but it sometimes wasn't far off.

Meanwhile, Bacsinszky was playing the tennis of her life. Not intimidated by the presence of Williams or the moment, she came out using every bit of her game to great impact. Defense, offense, well-placed serves, drop shots and lobs were being pulled out with equal effectiveness. A second serve crosscourt backhand return winner broke Williams for a 3-2 advantage, then a routine hold put Bacsinszky up 4-2.

As Bacsinszky was soaring, Williams was sputtering. Walking around in a daze, often with her eyes closed or nearly so, talking to herself, and not reacting to even the sometimes very good shots she was able to produce. She seemed to be pushing herself forward using some lingering memory about how to go about it, because she rarely appeared to be in full control of her senses throughout the set. Still, even while operating in slow motion, she held to close to 5-4 and force Bacsinszky to serve things out. The Swiss fired an ace to go up 30/love, then held two set points at 40/15 after Williams' forehand error. Moments later, after Serena had managed to string together a few big shots over the course of a rally, a Bacsinszky error gave Williams a break point to get back on serve. Bacsinszky came into the net behind a low ball and hit a backhand winner down the line. A forehand winner gave her a third set point, and when Williams missed on a forehand fired behind Bacsinszky the set was over. Winning 6-4, she became the fourth player at this Roland Garros to take the 1st set from Serena.

Williams' remarkable 32-32 record in slams after losing the opening set (her three such wins earlier in this tournament were her first consecutive trio of comeback victories in sixteen years) lingered in the air, but she surely didn't look capable of living up to her own history. Right?

Serena held to take a 1-0 lead in the 2nd, but she looked like a card-carrying member of the walking dead, moving in quicksand and potentially ready to start dropping body parts -- those on the inside and out -- along the baseline. Bacsinszky held in a game with several wild points, including one variety-spiced entrant that saw the Swiss force Williams to race to the net, stretch for a high backhand, then watch helplessly as Bacsinszky followed up a reflex volley with a lob winner to go up 15/love. A point later, she hit an ace. Williams evened things at 30/30 with a backhand crosscourt return winner, but she had zero visible reaction to it. In the following game, Bacsinszky missed a short backhand at the net and Williams let out a howl as she went up 30/love. She was finally stirring, but whether it'd be enough was debatable. She raced to a drop shot, stretching and sliding and delivering a perfectly placed shot on the line in the corner past Bacsinszky to take a 40/love lead. A wide serve and forehand closed out the love game for 2-1, but she couldn't maintain the momentum.

Serving in game #5, Bacsinszky fired a winner to reach break point, beginning a back-and-forth that ultimately saw the Swiss hold six break points in the game as she consistently hit stinging returns to keep Serena from reaching game point. Williams saved two BP with aces, two with big forehands and another with a Bacsinszky error. But on the sixth Serena missed a backhand wide and was broken to fall behind 3-2.

During the changeover, Williams, who'd previously often appeared so sick after sitting down and trying to cool herself with icy towels that it seemed as if she might not get up, experienced a coughing fit in which she hacked up something massive into a towel.

Whatever it was she got out, it must have been evil, because a different Serena emerged beginning in game #6. We've seen Williams pull victory from the jaws of defeat before -- especially on the grand slam stage, winning multiple slams after having stared down MP during the tournament -- but her doing so on this day didn't seem remotely possible. Even for her. Except for when it was, as she ever so slowly left her dark day behind and went toward the light.

"The report of my death was an exaggeration."
- Mark Twain

After falling behind 15/30, Bacsinszky missed a shot down the line to give Williams a break point chance, and another error knotted the score at 3-3. It was Serena's first break of the match. A game later, she fired an ace to take a 4-3 lead. A big return of a second serve ate the Swiss alive at the baseline in game #8, even though she followed it up with a big serve up the T without any evident shell shock. But a double-fault and error combination gave Williams another BP, which she put away at the net to go ahead 5-3. Serving for the set and feeling just a little bit better (and thinking likewise), Williams pulled out her first drop shot of the day to take a 40/15 lead one game later. After failing to convert either set point, an annoyed Serena waved for the ball kids to quickly move the balls to the corner of the court facing her. You could sense an ace coming up... and it did arrive a few seconds later. On SP #3, Bacsinszky failed to get back a wide Williams serve and suddenly the match was tied with Serena's 6-3 win of the 2nd set.

With Williams beginning to heat up, Bacsinszky chose the wrong time to let errors creep into her game. She missed a forehand into an open court, then netted another to hand Serena a break in game #1. After saving two break points, Williams aced the Swiss and then put away a backhand volley to hold for 2-0. She let loose one of her patented screams. Finally, THAT Serena -- along with her air of greatness -- had arrived. You sort of felt sorry for Bacsinszky at this point, because it was apparent that she was about to become a player on the wrong end of another of Serena's hard-to-believe-for-anyone-but-her comebacks, the defeated opponent left in the wake of a win that was surprising even for Williams.

After the Swiss saved two break points in game #3, Williams crushed a forehand for another chance. An error gave her a two-break lead. Two games later, a forehand winner made it a triple as Serena won her ninth straight game and went ahead 5-0. There was no stopping her now. Her terrible flu hadn't been able to do it, and Bacsinszky no longer could, either. A wide serve and a forehand passing shot winner from behind the baseline gave Williams a 30/love lead. After sliding into a split, Serena clenched her fist. It was all over but for the clean-up.

On her second match point, Williams closed things out for an improbable 4-6/6-3/6-0 victory, sweeping the final ten games and finalizing her fourth win after losing the 1st set at this Roland Garros (somewhere in time, the 2014 version of Maria Sharapova is shaking her head, sighing and saying, "Of course she will."). She'll next play in her 24th major final, seeking to move withing two titles of Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22 slam championships.

Afterward, Williams acknowledged her condition. "I got the flu after my third round mach. I've been struggling ever since then and I haven't been getting better," she said. She said didn't even feel like playing the 3rd set, but, "I tried and I tried and I found the energy. I don't know where."

In the hallway following the match, Williams' was met by coach Patrick Mouratoglou, and the slowness of her movement once again highlighted her amazing ability to reach deep down and find just enough of her ability to push herself through to the last match at another grand slam. This match could be the moment that ultimately will give her the chance to play for potentially even greater things at the end of the summer.

But that's for later. THIS tournament may now hinge on whether or not Williams will be able to be anything close to herself in two days time. Serena being Serena, everyone will expect her to be able to find the energy and game once again, even against a player who has produced far fewer false notes over the last two weeks than Williams herself did in the first two sets of this match. Most players would get a pass if she's unable to play at an acceptable level in the final on Saturday. But not Serena. She'll be expected to win yet again.

"Human nature is the same everywhere; it deifies success, it has nothing but scorn for defeat."
- Mark Twain

It's a heavy burden being Serena Williams on a tennis court. But that's just how things are when she does things like this.

...unbeknownst to her at the time, Lucie Safarova's win over Ana Ivanovic earlier in the day was going to eventually be totally upstaged by the visual (and visceral) drama of the Williams/Bacsinszky 10-Act play that didn't know if it wanted to be a tragedy or a hero's tale. But the fact is the Czech became the first woman representing her nation to reach the Roland Garros final in thirty-four years ('81 champ Hana Mandlikova) with a 7-5/7-5 victory over '08 RG champ Ana Ivanovic. Safarova is the fourth first-time slam finalist on tour in the last six majors.

The match said as much about Safarova's late-career ability to handle big pressure moments (one has to wonder if her Fed Cup heroics really put down the foundation for her career-best slam results over the last year) as it did about Ivanovic's continued inability to thrive in similar situations seven years after she rose to the occasion in Paris, filling the sudden vacuum left by Justine Henin's retirement and grabbing her only slam as a 20-year old who looked to have even greater things in store for her in the future.

The Czech has made a habit during this slam of remaining steady, then striking with offensive aggression in the biggest moments of her matches. She did it against Maria Sharapova in the Round of 16, and then again in the QF vs. Garbine Muguruza, winning tight 1st sets and then never slowing her momentum while advancing to the semifinals without dropping a set. The same thing happened here, but with a big assist from Ana Ivo, who served for the 1st set at 5-3.

After quickly falling down 15/40, Ivanovic fired a big serve that Safarova swatted crosscourt. The Serb was in position for an easy put-away, but she dumped the ball into the net to break herself. Two games later, she double-faulted on the first point, then again on the third. The "tick, tick, tick" you could hear was the time bomb inside AnaIvo's head that we've been waiting to arrive for most of the last two weeks, finally winding down to "00:00" at just the moment that she found herself in position to get within reach of putting the last seven years of slam underachievement behind her. A forehand hit into the bottom of the net created a 15/40 deficit, then Safarova pounced once again. The Czech's big backhand return hit near Ivanovic's feet, and her replay barely traveled more than a foot off the ground as it bounced into the net. Mere minutes after seeing AnaIvo serving to take the 1st set from her, Safarova was suddenly serving FOR it.

After Safarova scrambled to get a shot back on the first point of game #12, Ivanovic dumped a backhand volley into the net rather then into an open court. An inside-out forehand put the Czech up 30/love, then a big serve up-the-T gave her set point. A sailed Ivanovic return gave Safarova a 7-5 opening set victory.

Safarova had to fight to avoid falling behind early in the 2nd, firing four (necessary) aces in a single game before holding for 1-1. With her confidence flowing, Ivanovic's balls were often sailing (that is, when her service toss wasn't failing to travel as high as eye level on multiple occasions before she had to let it bounce and start over). Safarova broke for 2-1, then held at love. Two games later, a few errors from the Czech caused her to use three game point chances to hold for 4-2, the she held again after firing a series of big shots at Ivanovic before the Serb's error ended a rally that gave Safarova a 5-3 advantage.

Serving at 5-4 for her first slam final berth, Safarova finally showed some dangling nerves. But AnaIvo matched them, as the two traded off break point and game points chances in game #10. A Safarova double-fault off the tape gave Ivanovic a break point, but she netted a second serve return forehand. An Ivanovic backhand error handed Safarova a match point, but she double-faulted and then shot a wide forehand that gave AnaIvo another BP, which she failed to convert with a forehand error. Ivanovic's occasionally still-lethal forehand kept her in the game (and match), but she failed to take advantage of another BP before -- on the fourth in the game -- Safarova blinked first by badly missing on a backhand from the baseline that hit the ground three feet in front of the net. Ivanovic got the break for 5-5, but it simply set the stage for Safarova to once again shine during the biggest points of a match.

With the Serb serving at 30/30 in game #11, Ivanovic couldn't sprint along the baseline fast enough to reach a Safarova ball, sliding into her shot and spraying a forehand out of court to give the Czech a BP. A wide AnaIvo forehand gave Safarova another chance to serve for the match, and this time she didn't fool around. A backhand winner gave her a 40/15 lead, and on her second MP chance (third in the match) Safarova served wide and put away a mid-court ball with an inside-out forehand winner that finally gave her the victory.

Safarova will now seek to become the first maiden (lower-case "M") slam champ on tour in over four years. The most recent came in Melbourne in 2012, as Vika Azarenka also became the last woman to win a slam in her first major final appearance (six women have gone winless since). If Safarova can do it (and even with how well she's played in Paris, it'll likely still come down to whether Serena has fully recovered by Saturday), she'd slot in behind Marion Bartoli (47) and Jana Novotna (45) for third place when it comes to playing in the most number of slams (41) before winning her first.

...meanwhile, Safarova's doubles partner (they play in the semis on Friday) won another slam title. Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Mike Bryan took the Mixed Doubles crown, defeating Lucie Hradecka & Marcin Matkowski 7-6(3)/6-1. It's BMS's third career slam crown, having previously won the 2012 AO Mixed and 2015 AO Doubles (w/ Safarova). the juniors, #1 Marketa Vondrousova, #4 CiCi Bellis, #12 Paula Badosa and #16 Anna Kalinskaya reached the semifinals. Spaniard Badosa, a day after knocking off Charlotte Robillard-Millette, had the biggest win, taking out #3 Katerina Stewart (ending the Bannerette's wild RG wide), while Bellis seems to still be living on the fumes of adrenaline provided by her match point-saving 8-6 3rd set win from two rounds go. She took out Swiss Jil Teichmann 2 & 1 today.

...there was a big upset in wheelchair action, as Aniek Van Koot took out #1 Yui Kamiji 6-4/4-6/7-6(4) to reach the final. The Dutch woman is looking to complete a Career WC slam with wins in all slam singles (she won both the AO & U.S. in 2013 -- there is no Wimbledon WC competition) and doubles (she won four doubles majors in '13) competitions. Griffioen, Van Koot's doubles partner in the '13 Doubles Grand Slam sweep, is seeking to do just what Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are -- win the first two slam singles titles of 2015.

Griffioen & Van Koot are in the doubles final, as well. They'll be facing Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley, who'll be trying to win their sixth straight slam crown.


...DO-YOU-REALIZE? FROM DAY 12: That if Serena wins the final on Saturday, aside from everything else and what she could accomplish by the end of 2015, she'd be heading to SW19 with "Serena Slam II" on her racket. Remember, she came to Paris having won back-to-back slams.





...NOTE TO SELF FROM (Signed, Monica) DAY 12:


...and, finally, what's my favorite offshoot of AnaIvo not reaching the final? Well, it means that we won't have a thousand cut-aways to the Players Box after she wins points to show her latest temporary stable of advisers, hitting partners and such, as well as that German soccer player (wearing a Los Angeles Dodgers cap, of all things) who I won't even bother to check what his name is, since I don't really care. Surely, they'll all have been replaced by next Roland Garros, so what's the point of seeing their reactions?

It's sort of like wasting time watching a Gael Monfils match at a major. "Yeah, okay... but, ultimately, why should we care?"

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #13 Lucie Safarova/CZE

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #3 Andy Murray/GBR
#14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga/FRA vs. #8 Stan Wawrinka/SUI

#7 Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE) vs. #9 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE)
#12 Dellacqua/Shvedova (AUS/KAZ) vs. #2 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS)

#1 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA) vs. #3 Dodig/Melo (CRO/BRA)

#2 Mattek-Sands/M.Bryan (USA/USA) def. Hradecka/Matkowski (CZE/POL) 7-6(3)/6-1

#1 Marketa Vondrousova/CZE vs. #12 Paula Badosa Gibert/ESP
#4 CiCi Bellis/USA vs. #16 Anna Kalinskaya/RUS

#6 Michael Mmoh/USA vs. #13 Tommy Paul/USA
#4 Corentin Denolly/FRA vs. #2 Taylor Harry Fritz/USA

#1 Kolodziejova/Vondrousova (CZE/CZE) vs. Teichmann/S.Xu (SUI/CHN)
#6 Dolehide/Stewart (USA/USA) vs. #5 Arconada/Podoroska (USA/ARG)

Sandkaulen/Valkusz (GER/HUN) vs. Lopez San Martin/Munar (ESP/ESP)
#4 Blumberg/Paul (USA/USA) vs. Capaldo/Espin Busleiman (ARG/ARG)

Aniek Van Koot/NED vs. #2 Jiske Griffioen/NED

#1 Shingo Kunieda/JPN vs. #2 Stephane Houdet/FRA

#1 Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR) vs. #2 Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED)

Fernandez/Peifer (ARG/ARG) vs. #2 Kunieda/Reid (JPN/GBR)

Home ?? #nofilter #nature #beauty #simplethingsmakemehappy

A photo posted by Victoria Azarenka (@vichka35) on

Umm, are we sure Caro's not trying out some sort of Cosplay character here? This picture just has that sort of look... or maybe it's just me.

2010 U.S. Open girls champ

3...Simona Halep (3-0)
3...Timea Bacsinszky (2-1)
3...Maria Sharapova (2-1)
3...Karolina Pliskova (1-2)
3...Caroline Wozniacki (1-2)
3...Carla Suarez-Navarro (0-2+L)

34...Chris Evert (18-16)
32...Martina Navratilova (18-14)
31...Steffi Graf (22-9)
18...Evonne Goolagong (7-11)
14...Venus Williams (7-7)
13...Monica Seles (9-4)
14...Venus Williams (7-7)
10...Maria Sharapova (5-5)
4...Victoria Azarenka (2-2)
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
3...Ana Ivanovic (1-2)

1997 U.S. Open - Venus Williams
1999 U.S. Open - Serena Williams (W)
2004 Wimbledon - Maria Sharapova (W)
2004 U.S. Open - Svetlana Kuznetsova (W)
2007 Roland Garros - Ana Ivanovic
2008 U.S. Open - Jelena Jankovic
2009 U.S. Open - Caroline Wozniacki
2010 Roland Garros - Francesca Schiavone (W)
2010 Roland Garros - Samantha Stosur
2010 Wimbledon - Vera Zvonareva
2011 Wimbledon - Petra Kvitova (W)
2012 Australian Open - Victoria Azarenka (W)
2012 Roland Garros - Sara Errani
2012 Wimbledon - Agnieszka Radwanska
2013 Wimbledon - Sabine Lisicki
2014 Australian Open - Dominika Cibulkova
2014 Roland Garros - Simona Halep
2014 Wimbledon - Genie Bouchard
2015 Roland Garros - Lucie Safarova

1975 Martina Navratilova
1976 Renata Tomanova
1981 Hana Mandlikova (W)
2015 Lucie Safarova
NOTE: Navratilova was 2-3 in finals representing the U.S.

2005 Daniela Hantuchova & Fabrice Santoro
2006 Katarina Srebotnik & Nenad Zimonjic
2007 Nathalie Dechy & Andy Ram
2008 Victoria Azarenka & Bob Bryan
2009 Liezel Huber & Bob Bryan
2010 Katarina Srebotnik & Nenad Zimonjic
2011 Casey Dellacqua & Scott Lipsky
2012 Sania Mirza & Mahesh Bhupathi
2013 Lucie Hradecka & Frantisek Cermak
2014 Anna-Lena Groenefeld & Jean-Julien Rojer
2015 Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Mike Bryan

5 - Cara Black, ZIM
5 - Lisa Raymond, USA
5 - Katarina Srebotnik, SLO
4 - Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
3 - Sania Mirza, IND
3 - Samantha Stosur, AUS
2 - Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2 - Anna-Lena Groenefeld, GER
2 - Martina Hingis, SUI
2 - Liezel Huber, USA
2 - Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
2 - Serena Williams, USA
2 - Venus Williams, USA
2 - Vera Zvonareva, RUS

TOP QUALIFIER: Veronica Cepede Royg/PAR
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #11 Angelique Kerber/GER
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #13 Lucie Safarova/CZE
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: Wang Yafan/CHN d. #15 Richel Hogenkamp/NED 2-6/7-6(7)/8-6 (saved 4 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - Francesca Schiavone/ITA d. #18 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS 6-7(11)/7-5/10-8 (3:49; saved MP; third-longest RG match)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #1 Serena Williams/USA d. Sloane Stephens/USA 1-6/7-5/6-3
FIRST VICTORY: (Q) Teliana Pereira/BRA (def. WC Ferro/FRA)
FIRST SEED OUT: #31 Caroline Garcia/FRA (lost 1st Rd. to Vekic/CRO)
REVELATION LADIES: The New Australians
NATION OF POOR SOULS: United States (most players in draw w/ 17, but tied for 4th w/ just 4 1st Round winners)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/ESP, Paula Kania/POL, Sesil Karatantcheva/BUL, Teliana Pereira/BRA (2nd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Virginie Razzano/FRA & Amandine Hesse/FRA (2nd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: Alize Cornet (4th Rd.)
MADEMOISELLE/MADAM OPPORTUNITY: Timea Bacsinszky/SUI & Alison Van Uytvanck/BEL (play for spot in first slam SF)
IT "??": (Swarmette) Andreea Mitu/ROU (last Romanian standing)
COMEBACK PLAYER: #7 Ana Ivanovic/SRB (1st RG QF since '08 title)
CRASH & BURN: #2 Simona Halep/ROU (lost 2r to Lucic-Baroni/CRO)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: #19 Elina Svitolina/UKR (2nd Rd. vs. Putintseva - down 6-1/3-0, then 4-1 in 3rd; won 9-7 deciding set)
JOIE DE VIVRE: Francesca Schiavone/ITA
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Mattek-Sands/USA, Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR), Dellacqua/Shvedova (AUS/KAZ), Vondrousova/Kolodziejova (CZE/CZE), Griffioen/Van Koot (NED/NED)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Nominees: Vondrousova/CZE, Vondrousova/Kolodziejova (CZE/CZE), Kalinskaya/RUS, Badosa/ESP

* - a nod to Mark Twain's Roughing It (1872)

...born Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910). American author, lecturer and humorist. Writer of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885). Twain's writing and large personality made him a public figure and, ultimately, an American icon. A renowned traveler, Twain entertained fans around the world with his opinionated wit.

All for Day 12. More tomorrow.


Blogger Eric said...

This is all starting to feel like the 2014 Mens Australian Open final with Stan and Nadal. Everyone was like Stan is 0 - 13 against Nadal blah blah.

I really think Safarova has a change against Serena. She's a veteran. She's played Serena tough before. She's beaten a whole ton of good players. I think she's going to embrace the moment. Also Serena isn't feeling great.

Also, she's 28 and it's Roland Garros...and Roland Garros has treated 28/29 yos seeking Slam #1 very well in the recent past.

Also, I kind of want her to win a slam before Berdych. I don't have anything against the guy...I don't know anything about him...but does he have to date a model and bring her everywhere with him as soon as he and Safarova break up? And then to marry her... Oy vey. This would be like a form of karma.


Does Lucie have a new coach? Since there are no player interviews (>.<), I have no idea about what's happening in her life.

Thu Jun 04, 10:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...


I died when I read this:

"Whatever it was she got out, it must have been evil"

Thu Jun 04, 11:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

The vid clip you posted of Patrick "consoling" Serena certainly was revealing...

He sure was handsy...and then he stopped himself when he saw the cameras...


Thu Jun 04, 11:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Virginia Wade is so obnoxious. I have to mute her commentary all the time. It's just so biased and often misinformed.


WOW Loo-si-ay's name is sooooo hard. O.O

I really like her personality. She's so nice. And so many people like her.


I'm trying this thing where I say complimentary things about people who annoy me.

Re: MJF -- She certainly has aged well.


Loved this too: Surely, they'll all have been replaced by next Roland Garros


The US Boys might have gone 4/4 in the SF if Tiafoe hadn't turned pro. Todd, do you think these guys have a shot at the pros?


If Serena wins the title, but doesn't win any of your slam awards, would that be a first? Maybe it will inspire a new award for the future: The SW award for showing an unmatched will. (It would be great for Maria to win that award repeatedly in the future. #irony)

I suppose winning is reward enough.


Sorry for so many comments...

Thu Jun 04, 11:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Don't apologize -- there was a lot of good stuff there. Hence...

Safarova's coach is Rob Steckley, the bearded guy they've been showing in the stands during her matches (I mean, he's no soccer star, but still). Originally he's from Canada, so I guess Genie might try to poach him a year or two down the road.

Do you really think Berdych will EVER win a slam? I guess it's possible, but once Federer and Nadal are totally off the radar, they'll have been replaced by the Raonic, Nishikori, Dimitrov group (w/ Djokovic still around, too) in the slam winner's circle. Of course, who'd have thought Cilic would win the Open?

Get the headline on this story ABOUT SAFAROVA winning. Firstly, "you've got to be kidding me." Secondly, "as if."

The other day on Tennis Channel, Navratilova and Ian Eagle had a great time with her trying to coach him on how to say Safarova's name properly during the match. He still got it wrong a lot of the time but, unlike most of the people on TC, he was interested in putting out the effort to get it right.

" Surely, they'll all have been replaced by next Roland Garros"
...I probably should have said by the U.S. Open, but I gave AnaIvo the benefit of the doubt. With the loss, the clock is ticking, though.

I haven't seen any of those U.S. teenagers play at all, but I've got to think their size (at least as far as height) gives them a good shot. But, yeah, there's been more chatter about Tiafoe. Donald Young was really undersized when he turned pro, and he took a beating for a while.

Hmmm, I think it's probably happened before that someone has won a slam w/o an award (probably Serena, actually). Although, she is listed in the Middle-Round Match listing (vs. Sloane), and will probably be the winner of the Late-Round Match (vs. Bacsinszky), as well.

Fri Jun 05, 12:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Eric, about Berdych: For several years he was a whining brat on court and was given a full pass by fans and the media (just like Tipsarevic, who was even worse). That behavior did end, though, a couple of years ago, and he's been quite sportsman-like ever since.

Fri Jun 05, 02:44:00 PM EDT  

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