Saturday, September 08, 2012

US 13.0 - Vikafication or Serenativity, Delayed (again)

Yet again -- imagine that! -- weather has messed with the U.S. Open schedule on the final weekend. Hours and hours before it was set to be played, the women's final was postponed until Sunday.

...the Girls' singles final is set, and it WILL include a wild card Bannerette -- but not Victoria Duval. Duval lost to #12-seed Anett Kontaveit (EST), but fellow American wild card Samantha Crawford reached the final with a semifinal victory over #4-seed Antonia Lottner (GER). Grace Min (USA) won the Girls title in 2011, and there haven't been back-to-back Americans crowned in the Open juniors since Meilen Tu and Tara Snyder won in 1994-95.

In the Girls Doubles, a year after coming up short in the final, Bannerettes Taylor Townsend & Gabby Andrews (the #4 seeds) defeated #2-seeded Belinda Bencic & Petra Uberalova (SUI/SVK) 6-4/6-3 in the final. The pair also won the Australian Open junior crown this year, and Taylor added an additional title in Girls Doubles at Wimbledon with Eugenie Bouchard. Of course, I'm sure this development will only embolden the USTA, which has come down on Taylor (the #1 singles seed at this event) -- to the display of the likes of Navratilova, Davenport and others -- this summer because of her fitness, pulling her from certain events. Oh, I can hear some USTAer now... "see, she wins the doubles but not the singles because she's not in good enough shape to cover more than half the court."

In the Boys, Filip Peliwo advanced to his fourth straight junior slam singles final. At Wimbledon, Peliwo became the first Canadian boy to win a slam singles title. He'll face Liam Broady, who'll be trying (along with Andy Murray in the men's final), to grab a singles crown one year after fellow Brit Oliver Golding won the junior title at Flushing Meadow. Murray was the U.S. Open's Boys champ in 2004.

...and, finally, one day after Esther Vergeer won her fourth straight Gold in singles at the Paralympics Games in London, she picked up her third (w/ one Silver) Gold in doubles on Saturday.

Yesterday, with her 470-match singles win streak still intact, Vergeer publicly addressed the notion that her career may not last much longer. She even mentioned the "r" word. "I have been thinking about this question a lot before going into this Paralympic Games, whether to keep going or to retire," she said. "But I haven't made the decision yet." She added, "I like the game, so I will continue playing, but for how long I have no clue. It also depends what is going to happen at home, business opportunities, private life."

Now in her thirties, and regularly opposing players up to ten years younger than herself in major finals, Vergeer often faces athletes whom her success has inspired. "It's one of the best compliments you can ever get that somebody is inspired by you, or is motivated by you to go and play sport or to get a better life. So I feel proud that I am in that position," she said. She also knows that her nearly decade-long winning streak can't last forever, as well.

"I know the day I will lose will come, but I don't know when."

#1 Victoria Azarenka/BLR vs. #4 Serena Williams/USA

#3 Andy Murray/GBR def. #6 Tomas Berdych/CZE
#4 David Ferrer/ESP vs. #2 Novak Djokovic/SRB

#3 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) vs. #2 Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA)

#2 Bryan/Bryan (USA/USA) def. #5 Paes/Stepanek (IND/CZE) 6-3/6-4

Makarova/Soares (RUS/BRA) def. #4 Peschke/Matkowski (CZE/POL) 6-7/6-1/12-10

#12 Anett Kontaveit/EST vs. (WC) Samantha Crawford/USA

#13 Liam Broady/GBR vs. #2 Filip Peliwo/CAN

#4 Andrews/Townsend (USA/USA) def. #2 Bencic/Uberalova (SUI/SVK) 6-4/6-3

#8 Edmund/Ferreira Silva (GBR/POR) def. #6 Kyrgios/Thompson (AUS/AUS) 5-7/6-4/10-6

All for Day 13. More tomorrow.


Blogger Zidane said...

Actually, I can't blame you for making the mistake because this seems so surreal for Canadian tennis: Peliwo has just reached his fourth straight junior Slam final, not third!


Sun Sep 09, 01:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yep, you're right. For some reason, I was thinking he'd lost to Saville in the SF in Melbourne.

Sun Sep 09, 02:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

That was incredibly dramatic.

It was nice that the crowd was so supportive for Vika! I hope she gains a lot more fans from this experience. Also, it "legitimizes" her to the tennis commentators/establishment so we don't have to hear them bashing her. (I don't know why winning a major didn't do that.) And hopefully it will make them talk about something besides grunting.

And the celebrity fans were crazy... Redfoo was out of his chair for a lot of points during the third set. And Anna Wintour (who knew she was a friend of the Williamses??) was jittery during the last four games. I didn't think that Anna Wintour would be a Serena fan... Maybe this will change her outlook on the size requirement for high fashion??

Sun Sep 09, 07:49:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Steve Tignor said it best:

Hopefully this will make more people like and appreciate Vika. Serena amazing: Can't make a shot, then can't miss when it counts.


That service return winner Serena hit to open the game at 5 4 in the third when Vika served for the match...that shot won her the match. Earned her more than just that one point. Made Vika blink.

And then it all just went by too fast.

Sun Sep 09, 08:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Everyone is saying that Serena is player of the year; but I think that Victoria is still the best this year. I mean for someone else to have won two majors but not be number 1 means that the person who's at number 1 did a pretty dang good job the rest of the year...

Serena had a hot summer...but her spring was pretty mediocre...whereas Vika has been consistently deep and challenging for titles in almost every tourney she's entered.

Sun Sep 09, 10:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Vika: But I have to be positive, you know, because I feel like these kind of matches ‑‑ every time I play Serena, it really pushes to be better, to improve, to move forward. I have to be thankful to her for that, you know, as well.


I think I'm falling in love...

Her attitude reminds me a lot of Rafa. Just always wanting to improve. Loving the competition. Respecting her opponents.

Sun Sep 09, 10:48:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Q. I want to ask you, going back to something you said a few answers ago where you thanked Serena for the way she pushes you and makes you strive to play better. You said something to that effect during the awards ceremony out on the court. If you could elaborate on that. You've played 11 times and she's beaten you 10 times. Do you really feel grateful for having her in the game in your era and that she does bring that out in you, your best?

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, hell, yeah; but in the other way, if she wasn't there, I mean, I probably would have won more titles. (Laughter.)

Q. That's my question, because some people would resent the other player.

VICTORIA AZARENKA: Yeah, but I will not take anything back. I think she's brought ‑‑ for me she's the greatest player of all time. She took the game to the next level. As I said before, she makes me all the time to make sure that I'm taking my game, my personality, my physical aspect to the next level. So, you know, having few of the players like that in the women's tour right now is something priceless, you know, something that you cannot take away. It's the people who, you know, like Maria, like Petra those kind of girls, they always push me to be better. I mean, it's great opportunity, so I have no regret. Today I was close. I'm going to have for sure another opportunity to make something better. That's what I'm looking for.


I love that she doesn't begrudge other people's ability and success. That takes so much confidence and mental security...not to mention lack of ego. I almost can't believe she has this attitude in such a competitive environment. But maybe that's what keeps her sane.

What an asset to the game of tennis. Essentially she's saying that she wants tennis to be better...she doesn't care about becoming a legend.

Sun Sep 09, 10:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

I think Vika is wonderful--no argument here--but she lost the mental match. You don't get more than one chance to serve for the match against The Serena.

Sun Sep 09, 11:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Eric -

Oh, I understand the feeling. Azarenka has surely risen to a level -- as far as how I see her role around here -- that's probably now higher than any of the other players in her generation when it comes to "most-favored" status (I'm still waiting for Petra to FULLY jump into that race). There are so many angles to take with her, and I enjoy them all. Hmmm, I demand an MVP List recount! :)

Although, as far as POY, it should be noted that Serena not only has two slams to Vika's one, but a singles Gold to her Bronze, as well as more overall singles titles, too. Remember, Azarenka's #1 points include what she did in the 4Q of 2011 (and those good results won't play a factor in '12 POY).

Diane -

And, remember, this is the second slam ('10 AO) in which Vika has served for the match against Serena, only to lose and then see Williams become champion.

Sun Sep 09, 11:43:00 PM EDT  

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