Tuesday, May 31, 2016

RG.10- Beware Dangerous Cliffs

The Cliffs of Simona are off limits on this night, for a tragic scene played out upon their rocky terrain on Day 10.

Why, it's almost as if someone was recounting a camping legend by a crackling fire: a scary, yet instructive tale, about a young girl named Simona -- real or imagined -- who walked out of camp in the middle of the night and wandered off the path to the "little girls & boys room," then somehow ended up over the side of a cliff. The conditions were said to be quite tricky on that night, but the story was that she had to know the risks, so she needed to be careful, smart, and watch where she was walking. "Watch out!," no one yelled. And thus she went over. Poor thing. Hope she didn't suffer. Oddly enough, others who traveled along that very path on that same night made it back perfectly fine, and had no sordid tales of woe to impart, other than that it was a pretty dark night. As it was, all that was found scattered along the Cliffs afterward was a tiny Romanian flag, a swatch of torn zebra print fabric caught on a jagged rock and, hmmm, a Polish flag, as well. That MUST be another story, though likely a similar one, I'd bet.

"Is that how the Cliffs of Simona got their name?," someone would ask.

"Of course not. They were named that before the girl disappeared over the side."

"That's weird."

"Yeah... isn't it?," the storyteller would say, making sure his wink of recognition was visible in the flickering light of the fire.

On Sunday, Simona Halep was doing what she'd done the first three rounds of play in Paris. Look slightly shaky at times, be given a reprieve before panic set in because her opponent wasn't quite (yet) good enough to take full advantage of said moments, and then seem to be getting a handle on how to maneuver her way out of tough spots without getting frustrated, or expecting herself to be TOO perfect. It had was working against in her Round of 16 match vs. Sam Stosur, as well. She'd saved three BP in game #6 of the 1st set alone, then another in the final game of action before the match was suspended due to rain with Halep leading 5-3. All at least SEEMED well, but the more than a day and a half delay was always going to test Halep's ability to stay focused, especially against a veteran with an appearance in a Roland Garros final under her belt (no matter that it was six long years ago).

When play resumed on Tuesday, Halep and Stosur had to deal with a whole other element besides the break and all the difficulties associated with simply getting back to "the place" they once were. The heavy conditions played to Stosur's (literal) strengths, as her serve was effective and she was able to muscle big forehand shots in ways that the other players in action today could not. Of course, that's no overwhelming excuse. If a player is going to ever win a slam they're likely going to have to find a way at some point during such a run to emerge the victor in a situation when the deck is seemingly overwhelmingly stacked against them. While Radwanska was failing to do so on Lenglen, Halep was following suit on Court 1.

Stosur opened with a love hold, then went up love/40 on the Romanian's serve as Halep tried to close out set. The seven-point, and eight of nine, run ultimately led to the Aussie's forehand winner breaking Halep to knot the score at 5-5. Stosur went up 30/love a game later (10 of 11 points) before three consecutive forehand errors gave Halep a break point. Here was where the course of this match might have remained in Halep's favor, but Stosur held for 6-5. In the resulting tie-break, Stosur took the moment and beat Halep over the head with it. Halep's back-to-back errors handed both her service points to the Aussie, who led 3-0. Stosur's ace put her up 5-0, then she swiped two more points on Halep's serve to finish off a 7-0 shutout, winning her fourth of five games on the day.

In the 2nd set, Halep went up 30/15 on serve, but was broken in the opening game. She reached double BP on Stosur's serve a game later, only to offer up two more errors to bring things back to deuce. The Aussie held for 2-0 as Halep strung together four straight errors. A Stosur love hold put her up 3-1. But there was still a chance for Halep to find her footing. With the weather as it was, just surviving as long as possible, eventually going into a 3rd set, could be all that it would take to alter the course of not only this match, but so much more. She held for 2-3 with an ace, and did indeed see the rains arrive again. It wasn't enough to wipe out the day, though. The two returned, but so did Halep's frustration with her lot.

Stosur went up 40/15 on serve off her opponent's three errors, but Halep managed to level things at deuce. But Stosur held for 4-2, then jumped up 40/15 on Halep's serve, as well. But Halep saved four BP and held for 4-3. Just like she'd done on several occasions earlier in the tournament. Was THIS the moment she'd do what she had to do today, then hope for another chance tomorrow (or the day after)? Ummm, no. Serving down 3-5, Halep fell down 0/30, then double match point. A swing volley attempt that sailed long ended the 7-6(0)/6-3 match, giving Stosur her first slam QF result since 2012, and Halep her fifth exit before the QF stage at the last seven majors.

No player likes having to play under conditions that aren't favorable to them, and could even be dangerous if they don't alter their approach. But decisions are made, and you either abide by them or, you know, threaten lawsuits. Halep has too long and varied a history (with similar results) of losing her focus to ONLY hang another disappointingly early slam exit on the weather and/or the decision to play. We've seen her blitzed down the stretch of winnable matches (or those she simply wanted to end as quickly as possible) that were played under good and fair conditions to say that the Madrid champ bears no responsibility for failing to be able to adapt to the task she was assigned.

While she'd been wise to simply accept full responsibility (albeit with a sarcastic wink to hint at her true feelings, allowing the sure-to-follow chorus of complaints to well up behind her words), she still went there.

She gave Stosur full credit, as well... but that's hardly what the headlines will focus on tonight and tomorrow. See?

But Halep wasn't the only player on the court.

And, considering her slam patterns, it's legitimate to wonder if Halep had already psyched herself out of a victory before she even stepped onto the court because she'd already decided in her heart and mind that the conditions didn't allow her a chance to win. Stosur, though, was prepared, and followed through.

Good on ya, Sam.

On the bright side for Halep, at least there was no question that she cared about losing this match. That was a little in question couple of weeks ago in Rome. So there's that.

Well, then again. Let's just move on, but really it's just more of the same.

Meanwhile, When we last saw Radwanska and Pironkova over the weekend, Aga had held serve to take a 6-2/3-0 lead. If the rain had held off for another fifteen minutes on Sunday you got the impression that Radwanska would have breezed through to her second career QF in Paris. Even after missing yesterday's scheduled re-start, the Pole's 11-2 head-to-head mark against the Bulgarian seemed to signal a quick wrap-up. Another 15-20 minutes was probably going to suffice.

But, well, then the conditions changed the entire ball game.

With the wet, super-slow and heavy conditions, Pironkova came out on fire, while Radwanska was out of sorts and way off her game. Radwanska had a break point in the opening game today, but the Bulgarian held and, ummm, then it just got ugly. She broke the Pole on her third BP attempt of game #5, getting back on serve with a Radwanska error. The roll continued: a break in game #7 as Pironkova won her fourth straight game, a love hold for 5-3, and then a comeback from 15/40 down to break Radwanska again and win her sixth straight game to claim the set at 6-3.

More rain seemed to possibly offer Radwanska a chance to regroup, but it just wasn't happening. Having recently injured her wrist, Radwanska argued later that she was risking injury being forced to play in conditions with such heavy balls. Pironkova grabbed a break lead early in the 3rd, and led 3-0 as the Pole was treated by a trainer for her wrist. The Bulgarian ran her streak to ten games (at 4-0) before Aga finally staged a brief rally. But it was too little, too late. She broke Pironkova in game #5, held for 4-2 and twice got to within getting back on serve in the 3rd set in game #7. But Pironkova held, then served out the match two games later for an improbable 2-6/6-3/6-3 victory, winning twelve of fifteen games today to reach her first final eight in Paris.

Like Halep, Radwanska complained about the conditions; while Pironkova, like Stosur, noted that both players were faced with the same difficulties. Too handled them. Two did not. Two complained. Two did not. No big shock there, either.

At least no lawsuits were threatened or hinted at... and that's a step up from at least one previous loser in this tournament who had issues with the fairness involved in the decisions made by tournament Powers That Be. So... you know. (Shrugs.)

Of course, while the circumstances are different this time, #102 Pironkova has been here, done this before. She's pretty much a grand slam serial killer when it comes to taking out big seeds on major stages, even if she's only reached the QF stage three times (and not since 2011, and then at her favorite stomping grounds in London). #2 Radwanska is just another victim for her memory box. There may not be much space left in there for another trinket... but she'll have to make room for one more. At least.

Make no mistake, the Cliffs of Simona are quite dangerous. But some are hearty enough to traverse them without incident. Even in the dark.

And with such a feat comes an additional stab at life in Paris.

...the heavy rains came again after the two interrupted women's Round of 16 matches were completed, and after holding out hope for most of the day the tournament organizers finally pulled the plug on the majority of another slate of play in the early evening. There are still five women's 4th Round matches yet to begin. Now, if things are going to remain on schedule for a Saturday final, the remaining women will have to play four straight days. But that's essentially how things go on the regular tour during the season, so it's not THAT big of deal for the WS side of the action.

Well, you know unless the rain wipes out another day. Or two. Suddenly the U.S. Open doesn't look so stupid... it'll have its roof before Roland Garros.

- At least Caroline Garcia & Kristina Mladenovic completed their match today, winning over Anna-Lena Friedsam & Laura Siegemund to reach the QF. It's their eighteenth win in their last nineteen matches.

- The bad news for Swarmette tennis wasn't confined to Paris on Tuesday. In the WTA 125 Series event in Bol, Croatia, it was Madrid quarterfinalist Patricia-Maria Tig (to Jennifer Brady, 6-2/6-1) and '15 RG Round of 16ers Andreea Mitu (to Stefanie Voegele, 6-3/6-2) who joined Halep on the wrong end of scorelines.

Turkey had another good day, though, as Ipek Soylu advanced past Julia Glushko in three sets. #1-seeded Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova kicks off her latest attempt turn around her season tomorrow.

...LIKE FROM DAY 10: Rennae Stubbs twitter sniping all day about Tennis Channel's poor choices in match coverage, live and on repeat. ;)

...LIKE FROM DAY 10: Ash Barty is going quite well in Eastbourne...


Quick, Genie! Go inside and confirm how many holes it takes to fill Royal Albert Hall.

...NOT SURE FROM DAY 10: Has the Sharapova t-shirt thing nearly reached its end with this moment, or has it reached an ENTIRELY NEW level?


...A PICTURE (and two looks) SAYS A 1000 WORDS ON DAY 10: Sibling rivalry... or something

Also, I'm guessing the Mladenovic family has a pretty good gene pool.

...and, finally, another Lenglen moment.

Suzanne Lenglen came of age as a tennis player during "The Golden Age of Sport" during the 1920's, the product of a hard-driving tennis father who orchestrated much of the direction of her life. A beloved icon, a lightning rod for controversy and a transformative sporting figure, as well as a challenger of the generally accepted mores of the day, Lenglen burst onto the scene as a champion teenager with a game unlike that of any other. Her personality would change many things in her wake. She won her first Wimbledon title at age 20 in 1919, once World War II had ended and some semblance of "normal" life returned to the European continent, and often reached her greatest heights on the grounds of the All-England Club.

But things didn't end well there for her. One scheduling mix-up set off a chain of events that would see the end of her amateur career only a few days later. How she reacted, once again, allowed her to set a new course for the sport, even if she would never be around to see it. While a certain group of Hall of Fame men's players from the 1950's are often hailed as "The Barnstormers," Lenglen was one of the originals, carving out a professional path nearly three decades earlier.

BUD COLLINS (1929-2016)

And, now, I'll turn it over to the late, great Bud Collins, from his The Bud Collins History of Tennis book (2008):

=The Golden Age=
It was called "The Golden Age of Sport" -- hyperbolic, probably, considering the purple language of the sports pages of the past, although there was some truth to it. Sport came on strong in the "Roaring Twenties" as never before, held high by such highly-publicized stars as Babe Ruth in baseball, Jack Dempsey in boxing, Red Grange in football, Bobby Jones in golf, Man o' War in horse racing. Tennis was right up there, too, with players whose names had a broad public impact: Big Bill Tilden, Suzanne Lenglen, Helen Wills Moody, the Gallic "Four Muskateers" -- Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste. World War I was over, the trenches were silent and a prosperous period, with more leisure, seemed ripe for games-playing heroes and heroines who could be colored gold.

LENGLEN, age 15 (1914)

The year 1919 was the year of Suzanne Lenglen's arrival on the world tennis stage. She would dominate until she turned pro in 1926. A product of constant drilling by her father, Charles Lenglen, a well-to-do Frenchman, she had style as well as ability and, along with contemporary Helen Wills Moody, would come to be ranked among the greatest women players of all time.

Lenglen appeard in her first tournament at age 12. In 1914 Suzanne won the singles, 6-2/6-1, over Germaine Golding and doubles, with Elizabeth Ryan, in the World Hard Court (clay) Championships. She was 15, so she was not exactly an unknown when she came to Wimbledon upon the resumption of play following World War I. Playing on grass for the first time, Lenglen won the title in a match that is still regarded as one of the greatest Wimbledon finals.

Although the stocky Lenglen was no conventional beauty, and never married, she had a captivating allure and numerous love affairs, an appeal that was dynamite at the box office. Her magnetism and invincibility made the original Wimbledon too small, leading to the construction of the "new" (present) complex in 1922. Her long, Gallic nose and prominent chin were complemented by a fiery disposition, a chic appearance and dancer's movements. She was 20 and advanced to the Wimbledon challenge round past Phyllis Satterthwaite, 6-1/6-1, in the all-comers final to face the seven-time champion, Britain's Mrs. Dorothea Douglass Chambers. Chambers had won her first Wimbledon in 1903 and was two months from her 41st birthday.


Lenglen's dress created a sensation. The British had been accustomed to seeing their women in tight-fitting corsets, blouses and layers of petticoats. When Suzanne stepped onto Centre Court in a revealing one-piece dress, with sleeves daringly just above the elbow, her hemline only just below the knee, reaction ranged from outrage on the part of many women spectators -- some reportedly walked out during her matches, muttering "shocking" -- to delight among the men.


Bu everybody was also impressed by the young Frenchwoman's grace and disciplined shotmaking as she won the title, 10-8/4-6/9-7, the 44 games amounting to the longest female final until Margaret Court's 14-12/11-9 victory over Billie Jean King topped it by two games in 1970.


Future champ Kitty McKane, an eyewitness in the full-house crowd of perhaps 8,500 that included King George V and Queen Mary, wrote: "It was very hot afternoon, and I think Suzanne wanted to quit when she was behind, 4-1, in the 2nd set. But her father would have none of it, shaking his umbrella furiously at her, and tossing her sugar cubes soaked with brandy. After losing the second set, she seemed back in control with a 4-1 lead in the third. But Mrs. Chambers, who'd missed out on two set points in the first at 6-5, came back to win five games to 6-5 and 40/15 on her serve, on the verge of her eight championship with two match points. Suzanne was lucky on the first. Reaching for a lob she hit it barely, on the frame, and the ball hit the net cord; dropping over. But the second she saved with a backhand down the line. She was unstoppable after that."

Suzanne Lenglen, who hadn't lost a match to anyone since the end of the war, came to the United States for the first time and suffered the lone defeat of the life at the top -- on a default (vs. Molla Mallory, due to illness). It was one of the most stunning results in tennis, and was long talked about and cited whenever Lenglen was discussed.


The position occupied by Lenglen at the time of the great default was described by the eminent tennis writer, Al Laney: "She probably did more for women's tennis than any girl who ever played it. She broke down barriers and created a vogue, reforming tennis dress, substituting acrobatics and something of the art of the ballet where decorum had been the rule. In England and on the Continent, this slim, not very pretty but fascinating French maiden was the most popular performer in sport or out of it on the post-war scene. She became the rage, almost a cult. Even royalty gave her its favor and she partnered King Gustav of Sweden in mixed doubles more than once."

Suzanne Lenglen avenged her controversial default to Molla Mallory at Forest Hills the year before when she trounced Mallory in the Wimbledon final, 6-2/6-0. Lenglen's appear was such that before her first match, a 6-1/7-5 decision over Britain's Kitty McKane, "a line stretched more than a mile and a half from the underground station to the entrance to the All England Club," wrote Wimbledon official Duncan Macaulay. "People used to call it the 'Lenglen trail-a-winding' after the famous World War I song of those days ['a long, long trail...']." Lenglen won three Wimbledon titles for the second time, teaming with Aussie Pat O'hara Wood to win the mixed doubles, over Elizabeth Ryan and Randolph Lycett, 6-4/6-3, and, with Ryan, the doubles over McKane and her sister, Margaret McKane Stocks, 6-0/6-4.

After her loss to Lenglen at Wimbledon, Mallory, 38, returned to Forest Hills to win her seventh U.S. title, defeating 16-year old Helen Wills in the final, 6-3/6-1. It was the greatest disparity in ages for any major final.


[Wimbledon's Jubilee Year -- the 50th year celebration -- presided over by King George V and Queen Mary, bestowing medals on champions]
Marring the festivities was the unexpected demise of Lenglen's brilliant amateur career, coming to a sad end amid controversy at Wimbledon when she failed to show up on time for a women's doubles match at which the King and Queen were present. Due to a mix-up after a scheduling change, Lenglen arrived at Centre Court after the Royal Couple had departed. This drew a reprimand and she became hysterical and never quite recovered, though the officials agreed to postpone her match. Meeting hostility from the crowds and the press, Lenglen, with compatriot Didi Vlasto, were upended 3-6/9-7/6-2, by the eventual champs, Elizabeth Ryan and Mary K. Browne. It was Suzanne's solitary doubles defeat in 30 such matches at the Big W where her overall record was 90-3 (32-0 in singles, 29-2 in mixed). She won her first two singles matches -- 6-2/6-3 over Browne, the 35-year old ex-U.S. champ and her foil-to-be on the subsequent pro tour -- and 6-2/6-2 over Mrs. G.J. Dewhurst of Britain. She also won a mixed doubles match with Jean Borotra over Miss B.C. Brown and H.I.P. Aitken, both of Britain, 6-3/6-0, and those were her last matches as an amateur. She withdrew, never to play another amateur tournament.


Signing on as the first touring pro with American promoter Charles C. "Cash and Carry" Pyle, Suzanne went on a North American tour, winning nightly (36-0) over Browne. Unable to entice the Bills, Johnston and Tilden, to turn pro, even with big bills, Pyle settled for the next best American, Vinnie Richards, just 23. He completed the Lenglen troupe with Americans Howard Kinsey and Harvey Snodgrass. Frenchman Paul Feret and Browne, the original cast of barnstorming pros to make their way across the land on one-night stands.

After debuting at New York's Madison Square Garden on October 9, where they drew 13,000 fans and grossed $40,000, they traveled the U.S. and into Canada by train. Lasting four months over the winter of 1926-27, the tour was a success. It was reported that Lenglen was paid a $25,000 bonus beyond her $50,000 guarantee, and that Pyle, who had no interest in tennis as such, made about $80,000 while putting pro tennis into operation, and went off to other interests. Lenglen, barred from the significant tourneys as a pro, retired from competition and did some coaching until her death in 1938. She had traveled the pro tour like an empress: private railway car, chef, maid, press agent and lover, Baldwin Baldwin, a wealthy strangely-named American.

#1 Serena Williams/USA vs. #18 Elina Svitolina/UKR
#12 Carla Suarez-Navarro/ESP vs. Yulia Putintseva/KAZ
Kiki Bertens/NED vs. #15 Madison Keys/USA
#9 Venus Williams/USA vs. #8 Timea Bacsinszky/SUI
Shelby Rogers/USA def. #25 Irina-Camelia Beug/ROU
#3 Garbine Muguruza/ESP def. #13 Svetlana Kuznetsova/RUS
#21 Samantha Stosur/AUS def. #6 Simona Halep/ROU
Tsvetana Pironkova/BUL def. #2 Aga Radwanska/POL

Krejcikova/Siniakova (CZE/CZE) vs. #6 Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE)
#3 Chan/Chan (TPE/TPE) vs. #7 Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS)
#9 Xu Yifan/Zheng Saisai (CHN/CHN) vs. Gasparyan/Kuznetsova (RUS/RUS)
#5 Garcia/Mladenovic (FRA/FRA) vs. Bertens/Larsson (NED/SWE)

#1 HC.Chan/J.Murray (TPE/GBR) def. Kudryavtseva/Bopanna (RUS/IND)
#6 Hlavackova/Roger-Vasselin (CZE/FRA) def. Voskoboeva/Martin (KAZ/FRA)
Hingis/Paes (SUI/IND) def. #4 Shvedova/Mergea (KAZ/ROU)
Klepac/Huey (SLO/PHI) vs. #5 Vesnina/Soares (RUS/BRA)
#8 Vandeweghe/B.Bryan (USA/USA) def. Chuang/Kontinen (TPE/FIN)
#3 Mladenovic/Herbert (FRA/FRA) def. Xu Yifan/Draganja (CHN/CRO)
#7 YJ.Chan/Mirnyi (TPE/BLR) def. Jankovic/Zimonjic (SRB/SRB)
(WC) Cornet/Eysseric (FRA/FRA) vs. #2 Mirza/Dodig (IND/CRO)

Why did I have to ruin a cute couple photo ??

A photo posted by Daria Gavrilova (@daria_gav) on

2006 Wimbledon 2r (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 7-5,7-6(5)
2007 Stockholm SF (Hard) - A.RADWANSKA 6-4,6-3
2007 Wimbledon 1r (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-1
2007 Warsaw 1r (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 7-5,6-1
2007 Fed Cup (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-3
2007 Paris QF (Hard) - PIRONKOVA 3-6,6-4,6-3
2008 Istanbul SF (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 7-6(1),3-6,6-1
2009 Stuttgart 2r (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 6-3,6-3
2011 Fed Cup (Hard) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-4
2012 Eastbourne 1r (Grass) - PIRONKOVA 6-2,6-4
2013 Wimbledon 4r (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 4-6,6-3,6-3
2013 Madrid 1r (Clay) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-4
2015 Eastbourne QF (Grass) - A.RADWANSKA 6-2,6-2
2016 Roland Garros 4r (Clay) - PIRONKOVA 2-6/6-3/6-3

TOP QUALIFIER: Viktoriya Golubic/SUI
TOP EARLY-ROUND (1r-2r): #11 Lucie Safarova/CZE
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q3: Lucie Hradecka/CZE d. Grace Min/USA 6-7(4)/6-1/11-9 (saved 4 MP)
TOP EARLY-RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #25 Irina-Camelia Begu/ROU d. CoCo Vandeweghe/USA 6-7(4)/7-6(4)/10-8 (3:38)
FIRST VICTORY: #24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/RUS (def. Sorribes Tormo/ESP
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT (lost 1st Rd. to Osaka/JPN)
UPSET QUEENS: The South Americans (players from three S.A. nations in 2nd Round)
REVELATION LADIES: The French (second most players in 2nd Rd.)
NATION OF POOR SOULS: Italy (remaining Quartet members Vinci, Errani & Schiavone 0-3; retired Pennetta last not in MD in 2002)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: C.Buyukakcay/TUR, V.Cepede Royg/PAR, L.Chirico/USA and V.Golubic/SUI (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: M.Georges/FRA, V.Razzano/FRA, and T.Townsend/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST PASTRY STANDING: A.Cornet, K.Mladenovic and P.Parmentier (all 3rd Rd.)
MADEMOISELLE/MADAM OPPORTUNITY: Nominees: S.Rogers, Y.Putintseva, T.Pironkova, K.Bertens, M.Keys
IT "Turk": Cagla Buyukakcay/TUR (first Turk w/ GS match win)
COMEBACK PLAYER: Nominees: T.Pironkova, S.Stosur, V.Williams
CRASH & BURN: #3 Angelique Kerber/GER (1st Rd./Bertens - fifth AO champ out RG 1st Rd. in Open era)
ZOMBIE QUEEN (TBA at QF): Nominees: Pironkova (4th Rd. vs. Radwanska, down 6-2/3-0 and suspended by rain, no play next day, then ten straight games on rainy 3rd in 2-6/6-3/6-3 win; 3-11 vs. A-Rad); Bertens (10-8 vs. Kasatkina, on 7th MP)
Légion de Lenglen HONOREE: Alize Lim/FRA ("shorteralls" outfit)

Artist: Paul Thurlby (2013)

All for Day 10. More tomorrow.


Blogger Diane said...

Thanks. Now I can't get scenes from Picnic At Hanging Rock out of my head.

I actually have a bit of sympathy for Aga and Simona, especially Aga, whose wrist is kind of fragile right now. Do you remember 2010 when it was muddy and raining steadily and pitch-dark, but the umpire wouldn't stop the Henin-Sharapova match? That scared me, and I didn't think it was right.

Of course, in the end, it is indeed a judgment call, and both Sam and Tsveti were cool characters. (In these circumstances, I always tend to think that the latter is so preoccupied with the landscape of Planet Pironkova, she doesn't even realize how high the stakes are.) I'm fine with the way things turned out, and credit to Sam and Tsveti for "just doing it"--just wondering if both parties (FO and Aga/Simona) share the "blame" to some extent.

The curse extended to my house, where my Internet and cable TV went out. Tv is finally back, but I'm using my phone as a hot spot.

Tue May 31, 10:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Yeah, it's an unfortunate situation but, at least in Halep's case, I've sort of had the sense from the start of last week that she was going to slip off the edge of the Cliffs before long.

I just wish that both players in a match could agree about the conditions. But when the winners say they were fine to play in and the losers talk about it being "impossible" conditions to play in, it can't help but have something of a lingering aftertaste, I guess.

When you tweeted about that '10 match I went back and had a look at what I'd done with that match on it's first and second days. Never a bad thing to check back on an Henin match in the 24 hours before "Henin Day." ;)

For what it's worth, an update on my graveyard sojourn from the other day:

I found out the story behind those bells from Monday. Well, part of it, anyway. Apparently, the man who died, had no family, wanted the bell system built around his gravesite, and left the church a large amount of money for the construction and upkeep of the mechanism. It worked for years (providing, I suspect, an hourly 16-bell chime for the community), but eventually required repair. But, as it turned out, the church had started dipping into the funds for other projects (with no family to play watchdog) and the bells slipped into disrepair a couple of decades ago. It's still an eye-catching sight on the top of a small hill, but it remains, likely, forever silent due to the mismanagement, hypocrisy, lack of shame and plenty of gall of the people in charge.

Sort of a metaphor for a whole lotta things, I'd say.

Tue May 31, 11:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

The bells are beautiful, and--sad to say--the story doesn't surprise me at all. It's a shame there isn't anyone around to go after the thieves.

Well, that was interesting--to go back and look at that 2010 match. That was pretty wild stuff, I recall.

Thinking about today's matches--Stosur and Pironkova are, by nature, pretty laid back, though quite error-prone. Halep is definitely not, no matter what she says, and, yeah, the cliff has her name on it. I suspect that if Aga didn't have the wrist issue, she would have complained, but not as much. She sounds really angry.

The other thing is that I don't think either Sam or Tsveti is the type to say "it was no big deal" just to make their opponents look bad. I think they just had what it took to handle the situation.

Tue May 31, 11:52:00 PM EDT  

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