A nice win for Sam today over a very tough Wicky. I'm bummed to hear that the match wasn't broadcast anywhere (despite the fact that TC/ESPN covered the other three matches) so you'll have to excuse me if my coverage is a bit skewed Sam's way. I mean, sure, I'm a bit biased but nobody was able to watch this match. So here's the skinny.
One thing you have to get used to if you watch a Sam match is the lack of rhythm. As I said to Marissa, a Sam-Noob, if you will, Sam's matches are men's matches from 15 years ago. The holder generally holds and the the points are pretty damn short. That's mainly due to Sam's style: her serve allows her to hold easily and then on return games, she tries to crush returns, which either works (third set!) or it doesn't (uh...second set). It's what I would imagine A-Rod's game would be if he actually hit through his forehand.
The first set was fairly straightforward. Both players were holding easily and Wicky finally blinked, giving Sam the break she needed to take the set. Sam played a pretty bad second set, though that was attributable to Wicky, who served well through the match and was able to play enough defense to get Sam into some rallies. Sam's forehand and backhand slice were pretty atrocious through this set. Hence, 6-3 to Wicky.
I wasn't sure what to expect in the third set. Wicks was getting all fired up and shit, screaming and fistpumping, and Sam was visibly frustrated, slamming a ball into the ground after she was broken. But midway through the third set Wicks got really tentative. I never understand underdog players getting tentative in tight moments. You have nothing to lose. Go down swinging!
Barefoot Dave is my new favorite thing.
But no, she wasn't hitting through the ball and started leaving the balls short, giving Sam the opportunity to clock some forehands and find her groove again. From there she was able to cruise to a 6-3 third set. It was a good test for Sam, and Chris and I found ourselves debating whether or not she can be considered "clutch". I think we both agreed "not so much...yet", but she's made a hell of a lot of progress from being the woman who was pretty famous for choking with third set leads.
"Yup. That's my girl."
Sam seemed pretty pleased with the win. Team Stosur was all smiles on the track as Sam cooled down:
Holding court with her carnie hands.
Clips of the match after the jump:
You're welcome for the commentary.