One of the really fun things about being a tennis fan is emotionally/psychologically/financially (kinda) investing in a player only to see them actually break out and do well. I definitely felt that way with Ana, who I began following for no other reason than I thought her forehand was AWESOME. It was only later that I learned she was actually a good, nice, normal kid. Well, as good, nice, and normal as you can be when you suck at tennis, anyway.
Well now, nearing my one-year anniversary of seeing Pavs for the first time at Indian Wells last year, she's done gone and won her first WTA tournament of her career, beating Dani (ok, boo) 16 61 60 in Monterrey. Now *that* is a WTA scoreline.
I still remember sitting next to Mrs. Saifn marvelling at this unknown kid's moxie as she beat then #3 JJ in the second round. We were both totally blown away by her power and her ability to take balls out of the air despite only standing 2 feet inside the baseline. It was awesome. We were immediately fans. A few days later we saw her walking around the grounds and she was adorable. I think I made some crack to her about having to find a shorter way to sign her name. I was being dumb.
But I've been tracking her progress ever since and it's so cool to see the kid win her first title. She seems like a genuinely nice kid with a good head on her shoulders. And the braces. Oh the braces.
See you in Indian Wells, Chevy Nova. Oh, and while you're in the car for the two hour drive from LA to Indian Wells, can you please call up the WTA and change your profile pic? We know you're Russian. We don't need pictorial evidence.