Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blahblahblah... Kim Wins... Blahblahblah

"Perfect blondes" aren't all they're cracked up to be. To paraphrase the opening line of every Kiss concert, "You asked for the best, well, too bad... this is what you got."

I can't say that I'm surprised.

Even in my blurry-eyed late-night post about Friday's semifinals, the forthcoming arrival of this non-competitive primer (otherwise known as the 2010 U.S. Open Women's Singles final) for all the WTA detractors who'll spend the next few months bemoaning the state of the WTA's lacking game was crystal clear.

I will send one good thought through the blogosphere for repeat Open champ Kim Clijsters, though. At least she had the sense to be merciful on Saturday night. Not to her so-called opponent Vera Zvonarera, who bore no resemblance to the woman who played her way into the final but a great deal like the queue of slam-less players who've spent the last few years throwing up all over themselves in grand slam finals (you know, the way Clijsters use to), but to everyone who had to watch this we-waited-two-weeks-for-THIS? "battle." At least we didn't have to spend multiple hours awaiting our collective execution like we did on Friday.

Oh, and here's where we give a special thanks to Zvonareva for her (cough, cough) "participation" in this primetime "event" (really, the USTA needs to chuck this nighttime women's final for a while... it's doing the sport more harm than good since it's never anything to write home about). The Russian seemed like she'd already prepared herself to be the runner-up before the match even began. (By the way, who knew you couldn't have a pre-match 9/11 tribute without Chaka Khan? You learn something new every day.) Anyway, apparently, it didn't really matter to her that much that she'd defeated the Belgian in the season's most recent slam in London, not to mention on hard court in Montreal right before the start of the Open, either.

I don't know what it is about Clijsters, but she just brings out the philanthropist in all her Open opponents these days. Serena implodes a year ago. Venus collapses yesterday. Vera decides she has something else more important to do on a Saturday night in the Big Apple (maybe tour the U.N.?). Maybe there's something to all that lovey-dovey gushing that goes on whenever Clijsters' name is brought up. Well, either that or she's a practitioner of black magic and has cast a rather powerful spell on her opponents on Ashe Stadium. I'm still on the fence on the one, I think.

Oh, I guess I HAVE to talk about the MATCH now, huh? All right, if I have to.

In short, Clijsters got a break to go up 4-2 in the 1st. With Zvonareva winning about 20% of her 2nd serve points (at least I think that's what the CBS on-screen stat said... I wasn't really watching all that closely), the Belgian won the set 6-2.

You'd think the 2nd set couldn't have been even WORSE... but if you did, you'd have been wrong. Clijsters got a break for a 2-0 lead. She finally faced her first break point of the match in Game #4, but held for 3-1 with an ace. The lead had been extended to 4-1, or maybe 5-1, when CBS put up a on-screen graphic showing the photos of recent grand slam-winning mothers and...


Honestly, I don't know what happened after that. I took that little moment as my clue to bail out of this disaster. The door opened and I made a bee-line through it. I hate re-runs (well, except for Backspin Time Capsules, of course... haha). I finally went online an hour later to see the final score, and I'm sure you're SHOCKED that I was SHOCKED to learn that Zvonareva never won another game. Clijsters won 6-2/6-1, defending her '09 crown, winning her third career Open title and running her Flushing Meadows winning streak to twenty-one matches.

I'm sure the trophy ceremony was just "brilliant," as well. Or, as Mary Carillo so finger-down-your-throatingly described Clijsters' play tonight -- "glistening." I'm sure Jada was especially cute. I'm sure Brian looked as bored as he did every other time he was shown in the friends box this week, too. I expect that Kim practically begged the crowd to applaud for her (probably by making some "ohh, isn't that special" reference to Jada's bedtime or overwhelming energy... since those sort of lines have been her specialty all tournament), and the multiple announcers then talked about how she is the most deserving human being on the face of the planet that we have the honor to watch grace the soil as she walks across the fruited plain without getting a nasty corn on her big toe and having to take off her shoe and rub her foot before wiping the sweet sweat from her brow produced by the sun above that has decided that she's so wonderful that it just had to take the time to attend to her personally.

But, as I said, I hate re-runs (well, except for "M*A*S*H" ones) and I had no interest in watching that episode again. The hilarious "Tuttle" episode, yes. "Kim Does NYC," no.

I will take some solace in the fact, though, that even if I HAD watched, I wouldn't have had to watch Cliff Drysdale literally dissolve into a pile of just-picked daisies at the thought of his "Kimmy Clijsters" winning another title, as he seemed to do at every opportunity this past week on ESPN2. For that, I thank the television no-network-crossovers-allowed (except for Carillo and J-Mac) overlords. While I'm at it, I may as well thank them for "Fringe," too, since I'll be looking forward to its season premiere... coming September 23rd to a local Fox affiliate near you... featuring Sharapova-clone Anna Torv's turn-the-screws role as Alternate Olivia.

Ah, sorry about that last one. I just wanted to be distracted by something that I actually enjoy, rather than dread, while writing this post. You know, like the foregone conclusion that was this shoot-me-now Women's final. You see, while some players can turn a thorough destruction into a tennis clinic that you can't pull your eyes away from -- like, say, people named Serena, Roger or Rafa -- there are others who don't have that particular skill set. Guess which category Kim's in. If you guessed the latter one, then congratulations -- you just had a better night than Vera did. Oh, and let's have a moment of silent regret for all those people who actually paid for a seat at Ashe Stadium tonight, too, thinking that they were going to be lucky enough to see something special. Suckers!

Hmmm, let's see, what else is there to say? Oh, I know...

Blahblahblah... Kim won... blahblahblah. The end.

=SATURDAY NOTES= the Belgian defends her title, but will fall from #3 to #5 in the rankings on Monday? Ah, at least one of the Tennis Gods has a wonderful sense of humor.

...the Girls Singles final is set for Sunday, and it'll be an all-Hordette affair after #1-seed Daria Gavrilova defeated Sloane Stephens, and Yulia Putintseva took out Ons Jabeur, in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Stephens and Timea Babos picked up their third straight 2010 Girls Doubles slam title when they got a walkover in the final against An-Sophie Mestach and Silvia Njiric.

The Boys final will be an all-American contest between Denis Kudla (who's a bit of a Backspin local, hailing from the D.C. area and training at the Junior Tennis Champions Center at College Park, Maryland) and wild card Jack Sock (seriously, what a great name). The last American boy to win the Open title was Andy Roddick in 2000. (American Ryan Sweeting won it in '05, but junior tennis guru Colette Lewis reminded me that he was representing the Bahamas at the time, so I'll go with her on that and not count him.)

Meanwhile, the final Backspin award for this slam has now been wrapped up. With Girls finalist Gavrilova having already won the "Junior Breakout" at Roland Garros last year, I'm go with her opponent tomorrow, Putintseva. I'm also going to give a share of it to Stephens, who along with her Doubles title and singles SF result also got wins earlier this week over Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova, two of 2010's previous Girls slam titlists in Paris and Melbourne, respectively.

...tomorrow, the Women's Doubles final will be played between Liezel Huber/Nadia Petrova and Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova.

22...Roger Federer, SUI (16-6)
11...RAFAEL NADAL, ESP (8-2)
5...Andy Roddick, USA (1-4)
4...Lleyton Hewitt, AUS (2-2)
3...Juan Carlos Ferrero, ESP (1-2)
2...Andy Murray, GBR (0-2)
2...Robin Soderling, SWE (0-2)

...and, finally, nothing against Novak Djokovic, but it's hard not to look at his defeat of Roger Federer today in the SF as something of a letdown. The Open actually probably "fits" his personality better than any other slam, including the Australian Open, which he won in '08, and seeing him win this title wouldn't produce the same sort of "been there, done that, can we please turn the page before I throw up?" feeling of nausea that tonight's Women's final elicited. But everyone was salivating for a Roger/Rafa final at Flushing Meadows, and anything less than that feels less than second-best at this point. Now, who knows, everything may never line up to allow Federer vs. Nadal to happen in the only slam in which it never has. They've never met in the Open in ANY round.

History can be made, though, as Nadal could become the first person to win in Paris, London and New York successively since Rod Laver pulled off a single-season Grand Slam back in 1969. So at least the Men's final has that going for it. Which is nice.

(Nope, quoting Bill Murray just doesn't have the same ring to it as doing so with Bill Shakespeare.)

#2 Kim Clijsters/BEL def. #7 Vera Zvonareva/RUS 6-2/6-1

#1 Rafael Nadal/ESP vs. #3 Novak Djokovic/SRB

#6 King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) vs. #2 Huber/Petrova (USA/RUS)

#1 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA) def. #16 Bopanna/Qureshi (IND/PAK) 7-6/7-6

#1 Huber/B.Bryan (USA/USA) def. Peschke/Qureshi (CZE/PAK) 6-4/6-4

#1 Daria Gavrilova/RUS vs. Yulia Putitintseva/RUS

#10 Denis Kudla/USA vs. (WC) Jack Sock/USA

#3 Babos/Stephens (HUN/USA) def. Mestach/Njiric (BEL/CRO) walkover

#3 Beretta/Quiroz (PER/ECU) def. #4 Golding/Vesely (GBR/CZE) 6-1/7-5

[US Open]
2007 Kristina Kucova, SVK
2008 Gabriela Paz, VEN
2009 Heather Watson, GBR
2010 Yulia Putintseva, RUS & Sloane Stephens, USA
AO: Karolina Pliskova/CZE & Kristyna Pliskova/CZE
RG: Elina Svitolina, UKR
WI: Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
US: Yulia Putintseva, RUS & Sloane Stephens, USA

AO: Jana Cepelova/Chantal Skamlova (SVK/SVK) d. Babos/Dabrowski (HUN/CAN)
RG: Timea Babos/Sloane Stephens (HUN/USA) d. Arruabarrena-Vecino/Torro-Flor (ESP/ESP)
WI: Timea Babos/Sloane Stephens (HUN/USA) d. Khromacheva/Svitolina (RUS/UKR)
US: Timea Babos/Sloane Stephens (HUN/USA) d. Mestach/Njiric (BEL/CRO)

13...Serena Williams (5-1-4-3)
7...Justine Henin (1-4-0-2)
7...Venus Williams (0-0-5-2)
3...Maria Sharapova (1-0-1-1)
3...KIM CLIJSTERS (0-0-0-3)
2...Svetlana Kuznetsova (0-1-0-1)
1...Ana Ivanovic (0-1-0-0)
1...Francesca Schiavone (0-1-0-0)

4...Maria Sharapova (3-1)
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
3...Dinara Safina (0-3)
2...Elena Dementieva (0-2)
2...Olga Morozova (0-2)
1...Anastasia Myskina (1-0)

*2010 3Q FINALS*
3...Caroline Wozniacki, DEN (3-0)
2...Agnes Szavay, HUN (2-0)
2...Maria Sharapova, RUS (0-2)

TOP QUALIFIER: Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #1 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #1 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): #2 Kim Clijsters/BEL
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1: Laura Robson/GBR d. #2q Jelena Dokic/AUS 6-1/6-4
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 1st Rd. - #4 Jelena Jankovic/SRB def. Simona Halep/ROU 6-4/4-6/7-5
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - #5 Stosur/AUS def. #12 Dementieva/RUS 6-3/2-6/7-6
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr.): SF - #2 Clijsters/BEL def. #3 V.Williams/USA 4-6/7-6/6-4
TOP NIGHT MATCH: 4th Rd. - #5 Stosur/AUS def. #12 Dementieva/RUS 6-3/2-6/7-6 (saved 4 MP, ended at 1:35 a.m.)
FIRST WINNER: #6 Francesca Schiavone/ITA (def. Ayumi Morita/JPN)
FIRST SEED OUT: #8 Li Na/CHN (lost to Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR)
UPSET QUEENS: The Taiwanese
REVELATION LADIES: The North Americans
LAST QUALIFIERS STANDING: Mandy Minella/LUX & Lourdes Dominguez-Lino/ESP (3rd Rd.)
IT GIRL: Beatrice Capra/USA
COMEBACK PLAYER: Francesca Schiavone/ITA
CRASH & BURN: #10 Victoria Azarenka/BLR (retired after collapsing in 2nd Rd. vs. Gisela Dulko/ARG)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Samantha Stosur/AUS (down set and a break vs. Elena Vesnina/RUS in 1st Rd.; down 4 MP vs. Elena Dementieva/RUS in 4th Rd)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Yulia Putintseva/RUS & Sloane Stephens/USA

All for now. More on Monday about the Men's Final.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's the elephant in the room and I pretend I don't see it."

Sun Sep 12, 04:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Colette Lewis said...

Ryan Sweeting was playing for the Bahamas at the time of his US Open title in 2005. I don't think the ITF recognizes national affiliation changes retroactively, at least the media guide doesn't.

Sun Sep 12, 08:36:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Oh, thanks, Colette. I was wondering why someone said Andy Roddick was the last American Boys champ. Maybe that's why.

Although, I should note here that I used that because the official ATP Guide lists Sweeting as "Robin Sweeting (USA)" in its list of Boys champions at the Open, so I'm not sure what the "official" decision is on that.

Sun Sep 12, 09:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger 224jax said...

I really enjoy your comments. I enjoy laughing with you.

I have not been following the juniors but I guess I should (if I intend to remain a tennis fan). especially women's tennis. Everyone I thought would go deep into the USOpen got beat down, stage fright or fizzled out.

After Federer's success against Soderling, I thought, "He's Back!" I guess I momentarily forgot how much the other guys wanted to win the USOpen (or just beat Federer-which is synonymous). Djokovic was on his A game, Federer was not.

Sun Sep 12, 10:44:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

The most troubling thing is how many times Federer has lost this year after holding match points. He seemed back to form in NY, though, so reports of his tennis death seem to have been greatly exaggerated.

Sun Sep 12, 08:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kissmyass said...

God, you are dripping with so much bitterness re Kim Clijsters. It's not that hard to see that you are just one sad pathetic soul

Mon Sep 13, 11:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Sly said...

"I don't know what it is about Clijsters, but she just brings out the philanthropist in all her Open opponents these days."

maybe it's Jada...her mum probably send them 'crying pictures' of hers in case she'll lose prior to their match. ;D

Indeed boring Open from the start till the end!

Tue Sep 14, 04:08:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Overhead Spin said...

Todd, you are right. Beating Federer in the semis, Novak perhaps thought his work was done. Did not watch the men's final. Nothing against Nadal but his game does absolutely nothing for me in the same way that Clijsters game does nothing for me.

You are right that when people like Federer and Serena give a beat down it is like a clinic. Very enjoyable for fans, not so much for the opponent. Even Fed's match against Soderling was a clinic of sorts even though the score said otherwise. I like that Fed uses all of the court in the same way that Serena does. Angles, spreading the court, moving forward, being aggressive. This relentless baseline game with solid defence is to my mind not tennis, but that is what the masses seem to be favouring these days. Oh well.

I understand that fans of Federer are taking Brad Gilbert to task for his comments on Fed's demise. Someone needs to ask the question of Brad how many times he got turned down for the coaching job that he applied for with Federer. I would think it was about 3 or 4 times. JMac confessed to applying and got turned down. Maybe Gilbert should do so as well so that we know where the animosity and eulogies are coming from.

Tue Sep 14, 09:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...


Ah, hello old friend. Haven't heard from you in a while.

Oh, well. If things hold true once again next fall, you'll probably end up having to drop by again about this time next year.

Tue Sep 14, 11:03:00 AM EDT  
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