-- Ernie, on his, um, situation last year.
-- Ernie, on his, um, situation last year.
Fed dropped a set before avenging his loss to Ernie, and Rafa had no problem against Gael. Rafa is definitely the more in form player right now, but Fed seems to be gaining in confidence (though the first set saw completely shambolic Fed).
Fed will have to get through Daveed first. And Rafa will have to contend with Nico. Don't be retarded, Nico. Go away.
Sam brought her B+ game. Too bad Venus brought her A game.
In what seemed like a dude match on grass: big serving and big hitting. The big serving came from Venus, who served at 70% with 8 aces. She put on a serving clinic. Sam brought the big hitting. Her forehand was just balls to the wall awesome. Unfortunately she didn't get a chance to dictate play, seeing as Venus was serving lights out and Sam couldn't buy a first serve for much of the match. All that said, Sam had her chances. Lord did she have her chances. But when your game plan is to play aggressively and attack the return, you're going to miss. Sometimes, a lot. And that's what happened here.
Oh, and in case you don't follow the FD Facebook page, I had a lightbulb moment last night: Sam Stosur is built like a corgi. Incidentally, I have a corgi. It worked a lot better when she had her orange kit, but yeah, hello new nickname!
Confirmed: Kim is out of RG.
For all the talk about the number of top seeds leavin' on a jet plane, there are some really fantastic quarterfinal match-ups for the ladies. Are they all blockbusters? Probably not. But I think they're all pretty evenly matched so they should at least be competitive.
And if you watch your WTA for pure drama and hijinks, you could do no better than Aravane vs. JJ. Aravane has made it clear how she feels about JJ (to paraphrase, she thinks JJ's sportsmanship is somewhere between "crap" and "non-existent"). And JJ has made it clear how she feels about...other people. Neither feel compelled to keep their opinions to themselves. So...tune in!
If you watch your WTA for quality tennis, you could do worse than Sam vs. Venus. Sam is on an absolute tear on clay and could finish this tournament in the top 5. Venus has just clinched the #2 ranking. Big serving, big hitting. If that's your flavor, buckle up.
Oh, you want some feel good tennis? How about Shahar vs. Nails? Nails is donating her winnings to charity. Shahar...well, how can you not ever root for Shahar to do well after all the crap she's had to endure. They're both pretty damn badass and pretty evenly matched here.
Um. And then Nads and Lucie are playing. Which...is a thing. I guess.
Pardon me as I have a moment.
Ok. I'm good. That was nice.
The faves keep cruising on the men's side, as Rafa, Fed, and Muzzard keep trucking. I realize now that I'm using "faves" loosely with my inclusion of Muzzard. But you guys know what I mean. Rafa had a tougher scoreline but seemingly easier match against Isner in straights, Andy demolished Hanescu 2 and 1, and some guy named Federer beat another Swiss guy.
This sets up some tasty match ups tomorrow with none tastier than the Rome rematch between Ernie and Fed. Nice to see Ernie follow up his Rome results with a strong run here. Also on tap: Rafa vs. Gael (my knees swelled up at the mere mention of this one), Muzz vs. Daveed (you're toast, Andy), and Douche vs. Nico (two dudes I can't really stand).
With a little help from a rolled ankle, Douche bounced Fernando out of his home tournament in straight sets. FeVer was able to play on the ankle so it shouldn't be too serious. That said, he's got 12 days to get it all healed up for Roland Garros. Stress.
I have my hooks crossed.
JJ finally beat Ana on clay. And you know what? This match was just horrible. JJ wouldn't hold her own serve until the second set. Ana definitely had her chance to take it in two. But neither player could really get into a rhythm. It was just...bad on both sides.
Also, I got drunk during the match and passed out in the third set. So...I don't know, maybe there was good tennis in the third set. Somehow I doubt it.
Oh, and then there was this:
Manolo Santana (from 12.00hrs)
1. Ana Ivanovic vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. ATP: López vs. Roddick (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Dolgopolov Jr. vs. Nadal (NB 16.00hrs)
4. ATP: Ferrer vs. Baghdatis (NB 20.00hrs)
5. Lucie Safarova vs. Alexandra Dulgheru (NB 21.30hrs)
Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario (from 12.00hrs)
1. Huber/Medina Garrigues vs. Chuang/King
2. Arantxa Parra Santonja vs. Peng Shuai (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Almagro vs. Soderling
4. ATP: Murray vs. Chela
5. ATP: Tsonga vs. García-López
Stadium 3 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Dekmeijere/Kleybanova vs. Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez
2. ATP: Youzhny vs. Gulbis (NB 14.00hrs)
3. Francesca Schiavone vs. Venus Williams
4. Serena Williams vs. Nadia Petrova (NB 17.30hrs)
5. Peer/Schiavone vs. Raymond/Stubbs (after suitable rest)
Court 4 (from 12.00hrs)
1. ATP: Schwank vs. Cilic
2. ATP: Bellucci vs. Mónaco
3. ATP: Mayer vs. Wawrinka
4. Dulko/Pennetta vs. Rodionova/Schnyder
Court 5 (from 12.00hrs)
1. Mattek-Sands/Yan vs. Ruano Pascual/Shaughnessy
2. ATP: Petzschner vs. Monfils
3. ATP: Karlovic/Vemic vs. Knowle/Ram
4. ATP: López/Verdasco vs. Kohlschreiber/Petzschner
5. ATP: Almagro/López vs. Cermak/Mertinak
Court 6 (from 12.00hrs)
1. ATP: Hanescu vs. Muñoz-de la Nava
2. ATP: Isner vs. Giraldo
3. ATP: Melzer vs. Fish
4. ATP: Bellucci/Soares vs. Isner/Querrey
5. ATP: Fyrstenberg/Matkowski vs. Fish/Knowles
"Why hasn’t clay been as easy for me as the other surfaces? Why haven’t I been as dominant? It’s because on the other surfaces I can play my game without thinking. Everything happens naturally: I can go from defense to attack when and how I want. On clay you don’t need a volley or a serve. You just need legs, an incredible forehand and backhand, and to run after every ball. I’m not trying to take anything from Rafa: he has been successful in other surfaces as well. But on clay you can get away, you can be competitive even with a very incomplete game. I’m not saying it’s so simple, but it’s too easy. I’ve had to learn to control my aggression. I love to end points quickly, with a couple of shots. On clay, you can do it 50% of the time, but if you take too many risks you’re gifting the other 50%. I learned to play from way behind the baseline and to use angles. It was a lesson in geometry. On clay you can play well and lose. What you have to do is to play smart."
-- Fed, on why his super amazingly complete and beautiful game isn't suited for the crude dirt of clay, where incomplete athletes are consistently rewarded. Or something.
In case you missed it, Vika retired from her match down 0-3 to clay powerhouse Peng Shuai. Sorana was able to take a set off Flavia before losing and Estoril finalist Arantxa Parra Santonja ended any Cinderella hopes for Virginia Ruano Pascual, beating her 3 and 2. That was a really short retirement tour.
As for the boys, Techno, who beat Nole last year at RG, lost to a qualifier, Nico beat Viktor, and Apricot lost in three tough sets to Mayer.
Singles - Second Round
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 67(2) 76(5) 76(5)
(4) Venus Williams (USA) d. Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 75 63
(15) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (WC) Sybille Bammer (AUT) 62 61
Singles - First Round
(2) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. (Q) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 64 62
(Q) Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. (3) Dinara Safina (RUS) 76(1) 76(3)
(8) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 76(3) 75
(WC) Peng Shuai (CHN) d. (10) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 30 ret. (right thigh strain)
(13) Li Na (CHN) d. (Q) Beatriz García Vidagany (ESP) 60 62
(14) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 61 16 61
(16) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 46 62 63
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. (Q) Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 63 62
Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. Agnes Szavay (HUN) 52 ret. (right thigh injury)
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. Zheng Jie (CHN) 36 63 62
(WC) Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) d. (WC) Virginia Ruano Pascual (ESP) 63 62
Doubles - First Round
(7) Mattek-Sands/Yan (USA/CHN) d. Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) 67(6) 62 101
Kirilenko/Radwanska (RUS/POL) d. Dushevina/Makarova (RUS/RUS) 63 62
Peer/Schiavone (ISR/ITA) d. Garbin/Kops-Jones (ITA/USA) 61 62
Rosolska/Shvedova (POL/KAZ) d. Cirstea/Peng (ROU/CHN) 60 63
Singles - First Round
 G Monfils (FRA) d S Robert (FRA) 62 75
F Lopez (ESP) d L Kubot (POL) 63 63
B Becker (GER) d [WC] C Moya (ESP) 60 62
[Q] O Dolgopolov Jr. (UKR) d A Seppi (ITA) 63 64
[Q] S Giraldo (COL) d P Kohlschreiber (GER) 16 62 63
N Almagro (ESP) d V Troicki (SRB) 61 76(3)
J Melzer (AUT) d [Q] K Anderson (RSA) 62 26 64
L Mayer (ARG) d J Benneteau (FRA) 67(9) 75 64
Doubles - First Round
M Fish (USA) / M Knowles (BAH) d [WC] D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) / I Navarro (ESP) 63 61
Manolo Santana (from 12.00hrs)
1. Patty Schnyder vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
2. Samantha Stosur vs. María José Martínez Sánchez (NB 13.30hrs)
3. ATP: Federer vs. Becker (NB 16.00hrs)
4. ATP: Verdasco vs. Karlovic (NB 20.00hrs)
5. ATP: Nalbandian vs. Berdych
Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario (from 11.00hrs)
1. ATP: Fognini vs. Petzschner
2. ATP: Gulbis vs. Montañés (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Granollers vs. Wawrinka
4. ATP: Youzhny vs. Lacko
5. Klara Zakopalova vs. Aravane Rezai
Stadium 3 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Andrea Petkovic vs. Flavia Pennetta
2. ATP: Baghdatis vs. Chiudinelli (NB 14.00hrs)
3. Marion Bartoli vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues
4. Alona Bondarenko vs. Caroline Wozniacki (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Elena Dementieva
Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. ATP: Mathieu vs. Schwank
2. ATP: Bellucci vs. Riba
3. ATP: García-López vs. Gimeno-Traver
4. ATP: Muñoz-de la Nava vs. Querrey
5. ATP: Isner vs. Rochus (NB 17.00hrs)
Court 5 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Shahar Peer vs. Alisa Kleybanova
2. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Nadia Petrova
3. Williams/Williams vs. Rosolska/Shvedova
4. Li Na vs. Dominika Cibulkova
5. ATP: Melzer/Roddick vs. Granollers/Troicki
Court 6 (from 11.00hrs)
1. ATP: Cuevas vs. Chela
2. ATP: Hanescu vs. Andreev
3. ATP: Cuevas/Mónaco vs. Knowle/Ram
4. ATP: Chardy/Monfils vs. Almagro/López
5. ATP: Brunstrom/Rojer vs. García-López/Montañés
6. ATP: Hernández/Marrero vs. Lindstedt/Tecau
Court 7 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Lucie Safarova vs. Olga Govortsova
2. Domínguez Lino/Parra Santonja vs. Raymond/Stubbs
3. Dulko/Pennetta vs. Peschke/Srebotnik (after suitable rest)
4. Kirilenko/Radwanska vs. Chan/Zheng
5. Rodionova/Schnyder vs. Petrova/Stosur
Aga's permascowl never fails to make me laugh.
"That's just her face."
Feli won. And then was beamed back up to the mothership. Or BabyDaddyShip.
Either work for the purposes of this joke.
So, you know, Caro's doin' her thing.
Venus' ruffles and mismatched top outgutted a tight match with Bepa.
That's two straight first round losses on clay, three straight since Miami.
Also, whuck is going on with her WTA Profile Pic.
Gael is back, wearing K-Swiss, and being otherwise entertaining yet overly dramatic.
Nails is donating all of her prize money from Madrid to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. Specifically, her donation is earmarked towards helping the victims of the Yushu earthquake, a 6.9 quake that struck China on April 14th.
Li Na announced that she will donate all of her prize money from the Madrid Open to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation.
Her donation will help Yushu earthquake victims where 2,200 people died, 70 are missing and were 12,135 injured. Good on ya, Nails. You're awesome.
But we already knew that.
The Daily Mail summarizes all the JJ quotage on Ana's lack of participation in the last Fed Cup tie.
I wonder if Ana's camp will respond. I mean, other than the icy stares from Dragana, which really, is all the response needed.
Bring it, ladies! As Liezel would say, "WHO'S MORE PATRIOTIC?!?!?"
As far as I'm concerned, if you beat Fed you should automatically win the tournament. I just feel like those are the rules. So congrats, Alberto.
I had the lovely opportunity to meet Matt Cronin at Indian Wells. Ana was playing Sevastova that night and Matt intimated (I'm being kind here) that Ana would have no problem with Sevastova. I piped up and said I didn't think Ana would win the match that night because, well, she sucks, and Sevastova had just come off beating JJ in Monterrey. Sure enough, the kid, who looks like she could be fellow Latvian Ernie's little sister, beat Ana easily. Now she has her first WTA title in Estoril. Keep an eye on her. She could be a bracket buster. Perhaps this year's Rybarikova?
Over in Munich, Mischa scored a solid win over Marin to take the title. I don't know what's up with the lanky one. I'm starting to think that's not actually Marin, but Mario. He came out of the gate flying and has sputtered ever since leaving the continent of Australia.
But yay for Mischa! Champagne jizz for all!
Now pardon me as I make a horrible pun and put on my sunglasses as The Who scream forth.
And let's give a nice send off to Virginia Ruano Pascual (not sure who the kid in the pic is -- as far as I can tell he's not hers). She's announced she'll retire and Madrid gave her a wildcard so she could play her home tourney. She won three singles titles but made her name in the doubles alleys, winning 42 doubles titles and 10 GRAND SLAM TITLES. That's one hell of a career.
Manolo Santana (from 12.00hrs)
1. Serena Williams vs. Vera Dushevina
2. ATP: Robert vs. Monfils (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Kubot vs. López (NB 16.00hrs)
4. ATP: Moyá vs. Becker (NB 20.00hrs)
5. Dinara Safina vs. Klara Zakopalova (NB 21.30hrs)
Sánchez-Vicario (from 11.00hrs)
1. Zheng Jie vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues
2. Virginia Ruano Pascual vs. Arantxa Parra Santonja (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Dolgopolov Jr. vs. Seppi
4. ATP: Kohlschreiber vs. Giraldo
5. ATP: Almagro vs. Troicki (NB 17.00hrs)
6. ATP: Gimeno-Traver vs. Fish/Knowles
Stadium 3 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Peng Shuai vs. Victoria Azarenka
2. ATP: Anderson vs. Melzer (NB 14.00hrs)
3. ATP: Mayer vs. Benneteau
4. Petra Kvitova vs. Caroline Wozniacki (NB 17.15hrs)
5. Vera Zvonareva vs. Venus Williams
Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Elena Vesnina vs. Nadia Petrova
2. Sorana Cirstea vs. Flavia Pennetta
3. Samantha Stosur vs. Gisela Dulko
4. Cirstea/Peng vs. Rosolska/Shvedova (after suitable rest)
Court 5 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Mattek-Sands/Yan vs. Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova
2. Francesca Schiavone vs. Sybille Bammer
3. Li Na vs. Beatriz García Vidagany
4. Garbin/Kops-Jones vs. Peer/Schiavone (after suitable rest)
Court 6 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Akgul Amanmuradova vs. Alisa Kleybanova
2. Agnes Szavay vs. Patty Schnyder
3. Dushevina/Makarova vs. Kirilenko/Radwanska (after suitable rest)
RG favorite Heh?Nah was bounced in the first round of Madrid by gold lame Aravane. Justine said she wasn't feeling well and didn't have the energy to dig deep in this one. I mean, I guess. But like, you bageled in the third set. That's a whole lot of give up.
Nice win for Aravane, though.
In less surprising news, Masha's out too, losing to Lucie in straight sets. Given how long the Masher's been off the court and Lucie's solid play of late, this isn't all that shocking. What's shocking is that Maria only served four double faults. She'll try and continue her RG preparation at Strasbourg next week.
Loved this from Maria after the match:
Love the perspective.
After this setback, she started with the usual platitudes about being too slow off the mark; wishing she had more matches under her belt and moving forward.
Then someone asked her if it was a pain for her to have to change her travel arrangements because of this early loss. Weren’t the logistics a bit difficult?
“That’s why we get paid so well,” she shot back and then went on to reveal a little about her philosophy of life.
“We don’t get paid because everything is brought to us on a gold plate every single day. We don’t wake up in the morning with someone brushing the clay off our shoes. We go out there and we work as many hours as we need to become better. There’s no real secret to success. People ask you why you won this and why you became that. I don’t know. That’s the way life goes. Why is this a difficult period for me? I don’t know. It’s a lesson.
“I still have to go out tomorrow and change my flights and it’s not a big deal – I mean it is a big deal but it’s just another thing. The bottom line is that you rely on a strong family back home. Because realistically a tennis match is a tennis match. We hit a yellow tennis ball with a racket and it’s actually quite funny when you think about it. But that’s my life at the moment and I enjoy doing it and I know what comes with it.”
Madrid is bananas. Gotta love joint tournaments. Men's draw here, women's draw here. Nole withdrew, bumping to Rafa to be seeded #2. In fact, barring a disasterous showing, Rafa should be able to overtake Nole with the #2 ranking overall and head into RG at #2. For those of us who want a Fed/Rafa final, this is a good thing.
Okay, I don't *want* a Fed/Rafa final, but you know what I mean.
There are so many insane early matchups that I got overwhelmed trying to do a draw breakdown. But let's just say I'll be sitting with a hot pot of coffee for the Ana/JJ second rounder.
Oh, and Masha's back. No big deal.
Manolo Santana (from 11.00hrs)
1. Maria Kirilenko vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
2. Maria Sharapova vs. Lucie Safarova
3. Justine Henin vs. Aravane Rezai
4. ATP: Ferrer vs. Chardy (NB 17.00hrs)
5. Stefanie Voegele vs. Venus Williams
Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario (from 10.00hrs)
1. ATP: Alcaide vs. Muñoz-de la Nava
2. Francesca Schiavone vs. Alizé Cornet (NB 11.00hrs)
3. Safina/Szavay vs. Amanmuradova/Hsieh
4. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Daniela Hantuchova
5. Ruano Pascual/Shaughnessy vs. García Vidagany/Soler Espinosa
Stadium 3 (from 10.00hrs)
1. ATP: Chela vs. Cipolla
2. ATP: Korolev vs. Karlovic
3. ATP: Mónaco vs. Greul
4. Chan/Zheng vs. Black/Vesnina
5. Errani/Vinci vs. Chuang/King
Court 4 (from 10.00hrs)
1. ATP: Dolgopolov Jr. vs. Fish
2. ATP: Rochus vs. Hernández (NB 12.00hrs)
3. Dominika Cibulkova vs. Iveta Benesova
4. Govortsova/Kudryavtseva vs. Rodionova/Schnyder (after suitable rest)
Court 5 (from 10.00hrs)
1. ATP: Anderson vs. Navarro
2. Olga Govortsova vs. Tathiana Garbin (NB 11.00hrs)
3. Vera Dushevina vs. Kirsten Flipkens
4. Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Melinda Czink
Court 6 (from 10.00hrs)
1. ATP: Giraldo vs. Volandri
2. ATP: Russell vs. Gimeno-Traver
These two pale white stalks of lank will battle it out in the finals of the Serbia Open. On clay.
This is the first time two Americans have been in a clay court final (excluding Houston) since the Agassi/Courier RG final in 1991.
My mind has been jelly since Wednesday so I am of no use to you in trying to understand this. But it's happening. Congrats to both!
But, you know, go Halpert! His straight set win over Stan was impressive.
Oh, and over in Munich, the top two seeds, Marin and Mikhail will contest the final.
Hey Sveta. You have a title to defend in a couple of weeks. Just throwing that out there.
And in case the American media hasn't told you yet, The Great White Hope lost to Bepa in the first round of Madrid. OH THE HUMANITY!!!
Doesn't mean I have to like it.
MGMT did what she does, confuzzling JJ much as she confuzzled everyone else this week to take the biggest title of her career with a 76 75.
"It was really difficult. She plays very differently to most girls, lots of drop shots, serve and volley and she's left-handed. She mixes up her game, she doesn't have one weapon. She's tricky with all these things she does."
Fed's out of Estoril in straight sets to Montanes. Fed says he's not worried about RG because "it's so far away." Uh, ok. I mean, 14 days, but I guess time moves slower for rich people.
In the last FD Podcast, Brodie went out on a limb and said he thought this was the year Fed's semifinal streak ends. We all laughed. Brodie's looking smarter and smarter as the weeks wear on.
All that said, Fed could completely change the narrative in Madrid. That's the annoying (and awesome) thing about tennis.
Nole was forced to retire from his match against Filip Krajinovic due to, I assume, his allergies and respiratory issues.
I went to law school in a farm town. If I came outside during the Spring and saw a yellow film on my car, I immediately turned around and went back inside my apartment. There was no way in hell I was going to deal with that much pollen in the air. I also hated school so, there was that.
Sucks for Nole. No reason he'd want to withdraw or retire from his home tournament. If it's really allergies is there a reason he should withdraw from Madrid? Isn't that an indoor tournament?
Oh, man. Tignor nails it.
I can relate to del Potro, and, as I’ve written here before, I can also relate to Ivanovic, both in her inability to hit a specific stroke, and the total loss of confidence that comes with it. When I competed for real, I went through periods where it felt like I was finding a way to lose, that even if I played well for a few games, or a set, in the back of my mind I was waiting for the truth to come out. The truth being that I couldn’t win a tennis match. Are you surprised that I didn’t win a whole lot of matches with this mindset?
Watching Ivanovic this year, I recognized similar signs in her attitude. If something went wrong in the first game, she was quick to pull her visor down over her eyes in embarrassment and anxiety, as if to say, “I knew this was going to happen,” or “I know what’s coming, and I can’t look.” It’s a terrible feeling to believe that you can’t win. When I’m in that state, the beginning of a match can feel like I'm standing at the bottom of a mountain, with no clue where to start climbing. Errors confirm the truth about yourself, good shots seem like pathetic mirages, delays before the inevitable.
Does this sound overly dramatic, or a little depressing? I’d say it’s the nature of tennis. If your basketball team or baseball team or soccer team is losing, there’s some distance between that failure and yourself. It’s not fun, and it will get to you, but it’s a little like your company not doing well. You may not be good at your job, but it’s still a job, it’s not you. That distance doesn’t exist in tennis. The sport is you.
Today Ivanovic’s run of strong play in Rome ended in the semifinals. Over the course of the week, she’d gone from giddy in victory to quietly satisfied, as if she was beginning to expect to win again. The upside of the personal nature of tennis is that it doesn’t take long for you to start thinking good things about yourself, just like it doesn’t take long to believe the worst. It’s an intensified and compacted version of the swings—from joy to despair and every irrational point in between—that we all go through in our heads each day.
Near the end of her match, Ivanovic did a brief visor clutch after a lost point. The despair had, for the moment, returned. That’s what you get when you’re brave enough to play a sport where you’re never more than two points from changing your entire opinion about yourself. In tennis, you're always poised, hanging, dangling—two points from hope, two points from doom. You never know which way you're going to go.
Great article. There's stuff on DelPo as well.
That's all I can think whenever I see MGMT, who beat Ana 64 62.
The junkballer played some very effective junkyard tennis to completely throw Ana off her game and bring out the pissy frustrated Ana that we haven't seen all week. Drop shotting second serves, drop shotting three strokes into the point, dinking, doinking, putzing, flipping, IT WAS FUCKING ANNOYING. Put it this way, it makes me long for Caroline Wozniacki. There. I said it.
You know how when you watch most tennis players and you're like "man, it would be pretty cool to be able to play tennis like him/her?" I have none of that reaction to MGMT. I mean, good for her that she's able to and she's having a bit of a career resurgence and a really great season with that lame-o game-o. I mean, what is she, 38? Kidding. Congratulations, Oracular Spectacular.
Anyway, it's annoying that Ana had to lose to her but it still doesn't impact my high from this week. This week was more of a success than I could have imagined for her. Everything after Vika was gravy for me. Ana showed some positive signs of improvement and she has a lot to be encouraged about going into Madrid.
Where she will most likely lose in straight sets to JJ in the second round. But, you know, baby elephant steps.
So...guess who won?
Congrats to JJ for gutting out the three set win. It wasn't a pretty match. Lots of ebbs and flows and it just never felt like both players were playing their best at the same time. But down match point, JJ somehow found a way to return a screamer of a serve to save it. That "framer", as Serena would call it later, may have just won her a third title in Rome.
As for Serena, she claimed she choked. I don't know. Maybe. I'm more inclined to give JJ the "win" here rather than Serena the "choke". That said, as pissed as she is that she didn't close this match out, the fact remains that she made it farther in the tournament than most of us predicted. Let's not forget, this is her first tournament since the Australian Open in January, on the surface that most mitigates her weapons and exploits her weaknesses. I mean, she should just be happy she got out Rome with her body intact.
Oh, yeah, and then there was this. During the third set tiebreaker JJ lost her shit because Serena put her hand up while JJ was serving. JJ went off, forehead veins bulging, screaming, I mean, reminding the umpire that Serena has to play at her pace. We all know that JJ likes to quick-serve opponents while at the same time taking forever and a day between serves to catch her breath. She's not wrong here, I'm just saying.
After match point, Serena had a chat with JJ at the net and it sounds like she said this: "Don't think that I would ever treat you like that...don't think I would do that. I'm not Justine." Take a listen. See if you agree.
Nice of Serena to go out of her way with the sportsmanlike apology. Really, it was a classy move. I mean, classy in a Serena way, of course.
"I think every player in one way or another goes through a tough time, and I think it is not how many times you fall but how many times you get back up. This tournament and these victories that I have had this week mean a lot to me because I have put in so much work, not only in the last months but also the last year and it was just not happening. Now I am just so happy to be back on track."
“Honestly, I’ve been feeling really good on court for a couple of weeks now and I really felt it could happen any week. I just needed to get some more momentum and start playing matches because that is what I’ve been lacking for so long. To have these wins here means a lot.”
“(Coach Heinz Gunthardt and I) have been working a lot on my serve and honestly, it needed a lot of improving and it is still work in progress. I still think I can serve a lot better and I am getting to a point where it is great to get some free points and it gives me a lot of confidence. Today, at a certain moment I served really well and also last night, and so it is good to get good feedback from all of the work that I put in. It is an important part of the game and today, you know Nadia was serving really, really well and it was great for me to be able to hold my serve because it was very difficult for me to return hers. My serve has been a big issue for me for over the past year-and-a-half, two years and now obviously it helps me in my game and puts less stress on other parts of my game because I feel more confident than I can hold my serves.”
One of the things I love about Maria is how she makes every guy in the world (except for her boyfriend, I guess) look like a midget.
She was participating in some publicity event that involved cameras, serving, and motorcycles. My brain is too exhausted after today's earlier events I can't even be bothered to understand it. But she looked good, though all I could think when I saw this pic was "GIRL! PROTECT YOUR SHOULDER!"
It's like middle school all over again.