Sunday, September 11, 2011

US.13- Sometimes You Get What You Wished For

On Saturday night, Caroline Wozniacki learned that the old axiom about being "careful what you wish for... because you just might get it" is as true today as it's ever been.

"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore." - Yogi Berra

After a long day on Arthur Ashe court pushed the world #'1's semifinal match with #28-seeded Serena Williams to a post-10pm start time, it should have been a sign to the Dane that whatever her daydreams might have been for this particular contest, the proximity of her bedtime to the actual match time meant it was more likely that a nightmare would occur on Sunday. And, by the end of the match, it was apparent once again that numbers and seeds really don't mean all that much when Williams is involved.

In the very first game of the very first set, the eventual course of this match was sent in a direction from which it would never waver. Williams hit two aces, a winning groundstroke and a service winner to take the game. It was only 1-0, but from there on it was simply about Serena coloring within the lines and following along religiously in the footsteps her game has left behind for her to follow for more than a decade now. Oh, like with any other sporting competition, where were moments in this match that served to slightly dip or shift the course of action, but never enough for the expected through-line to be disturbed. Even as Williams might occasionally send a forehand wayward or backhand wide, Wozniacki continually struggled to just hold serve, and pretty much exclusively found herself returning Serena's groundstrokes from 3-5 feet behind the baseline.

It was a tactic doomed to fail, and fail it did.

Wozniacki's minor victories on this night came by managing to save break points and hold serve. But in the most important game of the opening set, after digging out of a love/40 hole in a four-deuce game, the Dane sent a shot wide on William's fourth break point to fall behind 3-1. At 4-1, Serena called for a medical timeout to have her foot and/or swollen big toe looked at, then came back out and broke Wozniacki's serve again. She took the set 6-2, then got an early love break (with a C-Woz double-fault on break point) in the 2nd for 3-1 lead there.

It was really an introductory course for Wozniacki in how to play to win a slam. The Dane has lost in slams before, but never to Serena. She might have been able to fool herself into thinking she just wasn't good enough on a particular day to defeat a particular player in a slam in the past, but as this match went on it became obvious that she really should use this specific "nightmare" to -- if the process hasn't already begun in recent weeks -- fully dissuade herself of such a notion. As it became obvious that Williams' game wasn't going to erode or crack, frustration set it. In the fifth game of the 2nd set, Wozniacki even slammed down her racket, somewhat half-heartedly it seemed, since it barely bounced a few feet away from her. Said a surely grinning "expert racket-tosser" John McEnroe on CBS of the player whose defiencency in power had rarely been more on display, "She's not even throwing her racket hard enough yet."

As Serena herself came to realize that she wasn't going to be threatened on this evening, she almost became disinterested late in the 2nd set. She tossed in a few loose games, and was even broken from 5-3, 30/love up thanks to a few unforced errors. But it didn't bother her, because it didn't really matter... she simply just broke Wozniacki in the very next game, attacking a weak second serve on match point to close out a 6-2/6-4 win.

Sometimes you get what you wished for.

I said earlier in this Open that I thought a Serena/Wozniacki match-up might be a lopsided one that would only serve to highlight the difference between the #1-ranked player and the "best player" on tour. That's pretty much what happened on Ashe on Saturday night. Now, it's just a matter of how well Wozniacki accepts her lesson learned, and uses it to stoke her competitiveness and get the "fur on the back of her neck" to stand up. And by that I don't mean reeling off the assembly line another of her already-tired (because other people's opinions of her aren't really the issue here, it's perfunctory -- and hardly surprising -- results like tonight's that matter) "I don't care what people think," do-I-sound-P.O.'d? press conference lines, either. By this time next season, we'll know whether or not the Dane is content with "just" being #1 (which she might not be in one year, if Serena's -- or Clijsters' -- health holds up), or if she really wants to be taken seriously as a consistent slam contender. This match was the example she needed to be slapped in the face with to get a true gauge of her slam-worthy characteristics in a WTA world in which Serena Williams is present and accounted for, and she had a very rude awakening, I'm afraid.

"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious." - Yogi Berra

I don't know who Berra was talking about when he said that, but the line could be used to describe Serena's skills, as well. That said, there wasn't really much that Wozniacki, as she's currently constituted, could have done tonight to change this result. The Dane isn't going to ever become a player with the same sort of game as Williams, but Serena's actions in this match should provide enough evidence to see that her sometimes-forward moving mindset at recent tournaments is an avenue to continue to explore.

Of course, even if she'd had it in her head to more forward against Williams, or even try to hit while standing inside the baseline once in a while, the pressure of Serena's hard groundstrokes were certain to make it a difficult tactic to pull off. Not that Wozniacki ever tried. As we've seen previously in slams this year, after making some effort to move forward in the opening rounds of tournaments, there was no such notion in her mind in a match in which she HAD to do so in order to have a legit shot at winning. In the end, Williams made twenty-one net approaches in the match (winning seventeen points), while Woniacki made a grand total of three (getting one point for her efforts). Additionally, while it's usually very easy to give this stat more weight than it deserves in a defensively-oriented Wozniacki match, it's still noteworthy that Serena led her in winners by a 34-5 total, if nothing else because at this stage in a slam -- whether it be against a Williams, Kvitova, Clijsters or another player to be named later -- potential major winners are generally looking to "take" a match rather than play the waiting game and have her opponent lose it. Wozniacki shouldn't become an all-or-nothing type like Kvitova, but she needs to find a "happy medium" between that and herself and shoot for it. If she can successfully do, she'll likely win a slam (or more). If not, she probably won't.

So, while we're now assured of going into 2012 continuing to wonder whether the "mystery coach" will have any luck manufacturing a Caroline, version 2.0 for our enjoyment next year, the return to power of Serena has moved ahead one more step. She's played eighteen matches on hard court this summer without a loss, and is now just one more victory away from lifting her fourth U.S. Open crown, and fourteenth major title.

Hmmm... somehow, when it comes to Serena, I don't think that "being careful about what you wish for" saying has quite as much sting, though. No surprise there, either.


"Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded." - Yogi Berra

...meanwhile, earlier in the evening, Sam Stosur and Angelique Kerber met up in a Round of 16 match? Err, check that. Make it a semifinal... but since it wasn't even deemed worthy enough of a spot on Ashe -- as an irritated Stosur made note of the other day -- I guess it was easy to "overlook" the importance of the match. Of course, it's nothing that Stosur is unfamiliar with at this Open. She's been playing the role of an Aussie footnote this entire tournament. She played the longest match, and the best night one... but it didn't take place on Ashe. She was part of the most noteworthy moment in the women's draw, too -- a slam record-breaking 32-point tie-break. But while she won that match against Maria Kirilenko, Stosur actually lost the tie-break that made the contest memorable.

While she played in relative anonymity again today (even while in front of a nice crowd on the Grandstand court), Stosur WILL finally get the big stage treatment on Sunday, as she advanced past the #92-ranked Kerber by a 6-3/2-6/6-2 score. Kerber had been attempting to become the second lowest-ranked woman to reach a slam final in the Open era (behind #111 Chris O'Neil at the AO in '77, excluding the final runs by unranked-at-the-time previous slam winners Evonne Goolagong, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin).

Hey, but at least Kerber leaves this Open with "German bragging rights," as well as some nice memories of her 2011 trip to New York.

"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase." - Yogi Berra

Hopefully, she got herself some durable souvenirs, too.

...the Match of the Day, though, and maybe the year, was the five-set heartbreaking loss/exhilerating victory battle between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

A year ago, Djokovic came back from two match points down to defeat Federer in the Open semis. At Wimbledon this summer, after being 178-0 in slam matches in which he led two sets to none, Federer lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the QF after holding a two-set lead. Today, Federer combined the twin defeats into one of the most crushing losses of his career, taking a 2-0 sets lead on Djokovic, then losing to him after holding two match points while serving at 5-3, 40/15 in the 5th set.

Essentially, the match turned on one swing of Djokovic's racket. After nearly an entire match of the crowd actively supporting Federer, on the first match point, the Serb took what he said afterward was an all-or-nothing gamble by swinging with all his might and going for an outright winner off a Federer serve. He smacked the ball past Federer, then turned back to the crowd and opened his arms wide, practically begging for at least a few cheers for the all-out effort. He got the support, and rode the wave of the moment into his fourth final at the last five slams. He got a break for a 6-5 lead, then served out the 6-7/4-6/6-3/6-2/7-5 victory. 63-2 for the season, he's now 4-1 against Federer in '11, as well as 5-0 against his opponent in the final, defending champion Rafael Nadal, who defeated Andy Murray on Day 13. In his post-match on-court interview, Djokovic was "made" to dance (or maybe "guilted into it" would be a better description) for the crowd by interviewer Mary Joe Fernandez, but at least he did "demand" the crowd dance WITH him before he acted the role of "Djoker" once again.

While it was a fun moment, you still couldn't help but watch it and wonder, "Geez, is this really what a player 3/4 of the way into what might be the best season by a men's tennis player in the sport's history has to do be embraced by American fans." Djokovic probably was wondering the same thing, but he at least had the filter between his brain and mouth that prevented him from actually saying it. That might not have been the case a few years ago, so count that bit of good judgment as another intangible skill that Djokovic has managed to pick up over the last two seasons.

On the other side of the net, even in a year in which he defeated Djokovic at Roland Garros, and held MPs against him in New York, 2011 turns out to be the first season since 2002 in which Federer will not win a slam title. the Girls semis, top-seeded Caroline Garcia finally advanced to her first junior slam singles final after having lost in the SF at each of the year's three previous majors. She defeated Wimbledon Girls champ Ashleigh Barty in straight sets, and will next meet Bannerette Grace Min, who defeated fellow American Nicole Gibbs, also in straights. With the win, Min gets the "Junior Breakout" award.

The Girls Doubles final is set, and yet another pair of Americans will be playing for the title. Wild Cards Gabrielle Andrews and Taylor Townsend will meet #6-seeded Irina Khromacheva & Demi Schuurs. Khromacheva won the RG Girls Doubles title earlier this year, while Schuurs is playing in her fourth slam Girls Doubles final this season (she's 1-2, winning in Melbourne) with a fourth different partner.

...playing the final at a super-late time (AFTER the Serena/Wozniacki match), Jurgen Melzer & Philipp Petzschner defeated Mariusz Fyrstenberg & Marcin Matkowski in the Men's Doubles final.

Meanwhile, (shocker!) Esther Vergeer has advanced to the finals in both the Wheelchair Singles and Doubles. She'll face Dutch countrywoman Aniek van Koot in the singles. If she wins (and if she doesn't, it'll be a REAL shocker), I'm thinking I'm going to take the opportunity to give her the "It" award for this slam.

...elsewhere, I figure Carl is feeling sort of low tonight since he lost BOTH his champion picks -- Federer and Wozniacki -- today. Although, I DID hear a rumor that he might have met "someone special" in NYC. I suspect we'll find out whether or not it's true when he next deigns to make contact with us mere humans, come Aussie Open time.

...and, finally, really, nothing against Sammy, but I'm really hoping for a quick final tomorrow so I don't have to pull double-duty for too long trying to follow both the women's final and the Redskins/Giants Week 1 opener. Going in, Stosur does have the sort of game that COULD challenge Serena under the right circumstances (she defeated her at RG in '09, on clay), but after being at 4-4 in the 1st set against Williams in the Toronto final earlier this summer, Serena took control and won eight of the final ten games to claim the match. So, I'll hold onto that for Sunday.

History IS on my side in this, I suppose. There hasn't been a three-set women's final at the Open since 1995.

#28 Serena Williams/USA vs .#9 Samantha Stosur/AUS

#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #2 Rafael Nadal/ESP

#3 King/Shvedova (USA/KAZ) vs. #4 Huber/Raymond (USA/USA)

#9 Melzer/Petzschner (AUT/GER) def. #6 Fyrstenberg (POL/POL) 6-2/6-2

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

#1 Caroline Garcia/FRA vs. Grace Min/USA

#1 Jiri Vesely/CZE vs. #13 Oliver Golding/GBR

(WC) Andrews/Townsend (USA/USA) vs. #6 Khromacheva/Schuurs (RUS/NED)

Kern/Lenz (GER/GER) vs. Dubarenco/Manfov (MDA/UKR)

[U.S. Open]
2007 Kristina Kucova, SVK
2008 Gabriela Paz, VEN
2009 Heather Watson, GBR
2010 Yulia Putintseva, RUS & Sloane Stephens, USA
2011 Grace Min, USA
AO: Japanese girls
RG: Monica Puig, PUR
WI: Ashleigh Barty, AUS
US: Grace Min, USA

14...Venus Williams (7-7)
8...Kim Clijsters (4-4)
5...Maria Sharapova (3-2)
4...Svetlana Kuznetsova (2-2)
3...Ana Ivanovic (1-2)
3...Dinara Safina (0-3)
2...Li Na (1-1)
2...Francesca Schiavone (1-1)
2...Vera Zvonareva (0-2)

Unseeded/Wild Card - Kim Clijsters, BEL (2009)
[ #28 - Serena Williams ]
[ #9 Samantha Stosur ]
#9 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS (2004)
#7 - Serena Williams, USA (1999)
#6 - Virginia Wade, GBR (1968)

45 - Jana Novotna (1998 Wimbledon)
39 - Francesca Schiavone (2010 Roland Garros)
[ Samantha Stosur - in 34th career slam ]
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)

[recent U.S. Opens]
2004 Mark Knowles & Daniel Nestor
2005 Bob & Mike Bryan
2006 Martin Damm & Leander Paes
2007 Simon Aspelin & Julian Knowle,
2008 Bob & Mike Bryan
2009 Lukas Dlouhy & Leander Paes,
2010 Bob & Mike Bryan
2011 Jurgen Melzer & Philipp Petzschner
AO: Bob & Mike Bryan
RG: Max Mirnyi & Daniel Nestor
WI: Bob & Mike Bryan
US: Jurgen Melzer & Philipp Petzschner

23...Roger Federer (16-7)
14...RAFAEL NADAL (10-3)
5...Andy Roddick (1-4)

TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #28 Serena Williams/USA
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #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 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.)
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)
IT: Nominees: V.King/Y.Shvedova, E.Vergeer
MS. OPPORTUNITY: Angelique Kerber/GER
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: S.Williams, S.Stosur, L.Huber/L.Raymond
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)

All for Day 13. More tomorrow (finally).


Blogger Eric said...


I agree with you. I don't think Woz will ever have a super offensive game, but do you think maybe she should model it after Jankovic? I've always felt that Jankovic's game circa 2008 was very good and a step up from a purely defensive game...bc she was very offensive in terms of placement of the ball...(like what i remember is she redirected the ball very well away from the opponents and then stepped in when presented with the opportunity). Since then i think she's lost patience, health, and some mental the game plan doesn't work as well...

Also...for wozniacki...perhaps it's just a waiting game...i mean besides serena, there isn't anyone who plays her brand of tennis...and no one like that on the horizon. i mean after serena retires, woz would have a clear shot and she certainly dominates the rest of the field...and even for younger power players, i feel like she has more of a mental edge against those players. it's just these older power players that aren't as wary of her...


have fun switching channels this afternoon :). this is what you get for being a baseball fan. hahaha -- jk


Sun Sep 11, 10:25:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written article about the semifinal. You write: "This match was the example she needed to be slapped in the face with to get a true gauge ...." - and I think she realised that. She was not disappointed (of course a bit because of losing) but a little bit clear of what to do in the future. She needs to play Serena types more often to develop a weapon - but that is difficult as i don't see anyone else on her level - well Clijsters (maybe) if she returns. I think Caroline realizes that a new coach with ways to change her game is necessary to win a slam. On a night where Serena was almost flawless Miss Sunshine has to give in. Actually I think that was Serenas best match this year. Maybe this can help Caroline:

A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
Mark Twain

Sun Sep 11, 10:36:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Eric - You're not a football fan either as I can see. ;-) [From a non-baseball non-football fan.]

Sun Sep 11, 01:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

i feel like the usta should be approaching yaroslava about becoming a us citizen...i mean are liezel and raymond really going to play that much more after this olympics?

i mean we could have a doubles sweep at the olympics with yaroslava!!

and she would add to the singles ranks too.

Sun Sep 11, 01:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Zidane - not really a football fan...but when i do follow, i root for the Colts bc i am from Indiana. But with Peyton Manning injured...i'm avoiding this season since the entire team is (rightfully) built around him. Hope he gets better soon.

Sun Sep 11, 01:56:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - we didn't see that coming did we? A fiery Stosur peeking at the right time and a Serena living in shadowland - a shadow of Serena from yesterday. Not much worked. Legs were heavy, serve so so and an opponent not letting her into the game. A bit like an Andersen fairy tale. A fully deserved win. A few things I disliked about Serena today, and don't get me wrong. She has to accept the overruling from the umpire because she's not allowed to distract her opponent before the point was won - and she did. She's not supposed to talk ugly to the umpire - and she did. Normally you're saying thank you to the umpire after a match - and she didn't. That's not worthy from a player who claims she's the best player on tour - she's not. The WTA has to fine her for this and I think they'll do that. Well Serena i like your play but i don't like when you blow the fuse. You have to control that in the future. Congrats to Stosur for her win and for not letting down because of a very unpleasant audience - shame on them - at least in the beginning of second set.

Sun Sep 11, 06:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

CAVEAT: Even if you don't agree with what you read below, please watch the videos of the Williams sisters past with Eva Asderaki, the chair umpire of the USO Final 2011.


I think Serena got mad because that call was a bit extreme considering this happened before (and on accident)...and that time Eva, said, replay the point. And in general, before a point penalty is issued, there is a warning.

Also, I thought it was interesting in the changeover how Serena said, "are you the one who screwed me over last time?" Well, I thought about 2009, and that was Lynn Welch in the chair...and then I thought of 2004, and that was Maria Alves in the chair. So maybe she's talking about this incident during doubles of Australian Open 2008 (also Eva in the chair):

I was watching the online streaming and after it happened, it was interesting to see how some people's dislike of serena just surfaces instantaneously. Virginia Wade just kept going on and on about 2009 and how Serena was deluded that no one remembers that she hadn't owned up to it. I have never heard so much bias in a commentator.

WELL, Serena apologized to the only person who it really mattered to - the lineswoman - so I don't really understand why she needs to apologize to anyone else. (So she needed a little prodding to apologize. She thought she was wronged. Don't tell me you've always apologized when you've needed to.) Was a spectator harmed in watching that outburst? Seriously, did they have bad dreams? lord. Well, I think Serena included teh word "fans" in her apology. (And it's ridiculous to think that viewers were harmed, if anything tennis became more mainstream for a moment and people tuned in to watch.)

The reason why Serena doesn't bend over backwards to apologize is because she knows that people who don't like her will never like her. So, what's the point. I think she has recognized that she was wrong and she has changed a little bit. But seriously, she doesn't have to answer to us. She happens to live a public life and is scrutinized more than we are. I mean, people can't tell me they've never exploded before. Did people hound you for an apology afterwards? I doubt it.

I hate this witch hunt mentality for public figures. Especially athletes. (I guess politicians are different because they represent us and are supposed to stand for fairness, betterment of the public, and justice...) No one is perfect. We don't watch them for their attitudes. (And no, I don't believe in the theory of the ubermensch. I'm just realistic.)

To get a fine, is too extreme in my mind. Especially when David Ferrer doesn't get a fine for hitting a ball in the direction of a baby, which in my mind is much worse than yelling at an umpire over a shaky call. Which is ALSO accepted in other sports. She lost that game and then she lost the match. Isn't that punishment enough?

AND, the crowd was never against Stosur. They remained pretty respectful towards her considering.

And I think how quickly people forget that the tour really is Serena Williams (at the moment). Considering in the past year, the uninteresting play and the uninteresting cast have caused discussion of tennis to consist of Serena's boot, Serena's surgery, Serena's hospitalization, Serena's raunchy video game ad, Serena's bikini, Serena's pink catsuit, Serena's royal wedding dress, Serena's stalker, Li Na at the French Open, and then Serena's return. How Caroline hasn't won a slam. And then Serena's winning over the summer.

Don't drive her away too fast. Otherwise discussion gets real boring again.

In my mind, Serena should just boycott the US Open in the future. She gets a raw deal a lot.

Sun Sep 11, 07:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

I'm not a mindless Serena nut. I just understand all too well that some people just won't like you. Doesn't matter what you do. So I don't like it when people get burnt at the stake for making a very human mistake. I'm a flawed person so i recognize it. I guess everyone who has such a strong opinion about it is a perfect human being. And when these people have things go against them, I'm sure they keep their cool ALL the time.

And I think tennis still has a very elitist and wealthy attitude. Well, not everyone is privileged enough to be born rich. they will never understand to what extent it takes to get there and what you have to sacrifice and what you have to endure to raise your status and gain the respect of the establishment. If they do accept you, it's pretty superficial (and it's only bc you win or have no choice). At the end of the day, when differences in background are highlighted, they won't stand with you.

I've never taken such a strong stance so I expect I'll take some flack but after Virginia Wade has influenced the world with her bias, I think that I will take a shot too.

#hold yourself to the highest standard; leave the judging to God

Sun Sep 11, 07:41:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...


I just wanted to make sure understood that my posts were not in response to yours at all.

I actually agree with everything you wrote. Serena shouldn't have called out in the point. And if she gets a bum call, she should accept it and not get into it with the umpire, for sure. And she definitely is not the number 1 ranked player in the world. (I don't think the crowd was disrespectful to Stosur tho...)

I just got really upset with what Virginia Wade was saying on the stream. So my post was not in response to yours at all. And it's more about the concepts that: 1) people are flawed, and 2) some ppl will never like you...

those were my main points...

i think i threw in a bit about how Serena is the tour...and that was probably a heat of the moment thing haha :)

Sun Sep 11, 08:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd Spiker said...

Hmmm, that's an interesting possibility: a JJ/C-Woz hybrid. It would be something to ponder Wozniacki having a little of JJ's (old) penchant to desire to occasionally push the issue. Combined with Wozniacki's consistency, plus her (more) level-headedness, it would be a worthwhile experiment.

JJ realized she needed "more," but went overboard. She pumped up her body so much in order to get more power that she lost the movement that was the basis of her tennis. It think it all really messed with her head (I know -- how could you tell?), and it's taken her the better part of two years to climb her way even partially back. Wozniacki is at least trying to take a more reasoned approach, but there's still no guarantee it will work. Tennis would really be helped if it did, though.

It IS too bad for King, since her best partner is a Kazakh. Of course, she's a Kazakh who used to be a Russian. So, she's been free and loose with her country of representation before.

Week 1: Redskins 28, Giants 14. :) Of course, I know better than to read too much into it.

Oh, yes. All credit to Stosur. Serena was off against her, but Stosur finally played the slam final that she didn't in Paris in '10. She weathered the storm of Serena's anger after her run-in with the umpire, too, and that is no small feat. In the past, Stosur might have cracked wide open and gone away from that point.

Mon Sep 12, 12:21:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Zidane said...

Eric -

My comment about you not being a football fan either was a joke, referring to the fact that the Redskins are a football team, while you referred to it as being baseball. The Washington Baseball are the Nationals (ex-Montréal Expos).

Your video on the incident during a Serena/Kuznet match at Doha in 2009 sheds some interesting light on what happened in this final. Unfortunately, it shows one of the problems in sports: referees' discretion when applying the rules. In Doha, they replayed the point. Yesterday, Serena lost it. While she clearly had a winner. This lack of consistency in referring is truly a concern.

Now, I follow and watch tennis since 2004, and this was the first time I heard about a player losing a point for that, while it is regular to notice a player screaming "Come on" before the ball is actually "dead" (Serena, Nadal, Azarenka, Hewitt, Henin [Allez]...). I read a bit after the match that Bartoli apparently lost a point in a similar fashion earlier in the tournament. These two events in this same tournament seem to suggest that chair umpires have decided to be stricter on this rule. But when chair umpires consult together to decide how to apply uniformly a rule, shouldn't they announce it? So that players know what to expect, what to be careful about, etc.? They do this in hockey, and, at least, players have only themselves to blame if they make a check that was tolerated before and which is no longer. No everlasting debate after the decision is made.

And if chair umpires don't have such consultation meetings to decide how to uniformly apply rules and the Bartoli/Serena incidents were actually coincidental, it's about time they start meeting each other and announce to players clearly how specific rules will be applied. You want the chair umpires to keep some discretion, but in some cases, an excessive discretion gives the impression that some players are favourized (Federer [I'm one of his biggest fan - yesterday's match ending was a pain to my heart - but still not blind], among others, can do many things without getting any warning). Rules that would be better if chair umpires were to apply them the same in every case include, in my opinion, the hinderance rule (which we could now call the Serena rule), the time allowed before deciding to challenge a call or not, the warnings for players taking too much time between the points, delaying the matches (Kuznet - again, I love her - should definitely have received a warning in her match against Wozniacki).

Of course, the most important thing remains that Stosur played the match (and the tournament) of her life and sure added some "legend" to her future biography, when no one expected it. Kudos!

Mon Sep 12, 02:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Zidane, my understanding is that there was no inconsistency--that the WTA rules differ from the rules for major tournaments.

Mon Sep 12, 11:07:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Karen said...

What galls me about the whole Serena incident is like Eric said how quick everyone was to jump on the bandwagon of crucify Serena. I recall when Serena was playing in Toronto MaryJo and Pam were calling for her to get fired up in her matches. They wanted to see some sign that she was there. A fist pump. A come on. Something. Can you believe how quick they were to condemn her actions after Sunday. I just don't get it.

The sexism that permeates tennis commentary these days is laughable. Mike Bryan was fined 10,000 and it was the end note to a long article about fines during this year's USO. Kendrick who was found guilty of a doping offence had every journo making a case for him and lamenting the anti-doping rules and here we have someone who basically sat on her chair and ranted at the umpire facing calls for her to be banned. Is it because she is a woman or is it because it is Serena?

Wed Sep 14, 07:56:00 AM EDT  

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