Oh hai. *waves*
Well, that was crazy stressful. After demolishing Errani in the first set 61, Sam got all wonky in the second set, though Errani's improved play definitely played a part in that. She was taking her returns early to try and mitigate the kick serve and it was working. Errani wasn't doing anything particularly impressive other that, but she was running down balls and making Sam hit that extra ball, which she was. Into the net. It was a thoroughly frustrating set to watch and it even elicited a loud "HIT THE BALLLLL!!!" from Sam after she sent a poorly executed (and unnecessary) forehand slice long.
And so it was on to the third set, where for whatever reason, Sara was holding easily and Sam was finding herself needing to dig out of deuce games and break points. Sara was finally able to break and served for the match at 5-4. And boy, did she feel it.
Up 40-15, she started sending in 65mph puffball first serves into Sam's forehand and Sam stepped up, hitting out on some returns and taking immediate control of the points. She ended up saving 4 match points in that game (with Sara DFing on one of them) and finally broke to even the match, eventually pulling it out, 7-4 in the tiebreaker. After the match she said that she thought Sara played really well and made her work but agreed that she may have been a bit rusty from her break.
The good news? Well in addition to living to fight on another day against the winner of Nads/Bethanie, she says her arm feels perfect. She hadn't hit more than 30 serves in any of her practices leading up to today and given the cold conditions she didn't know how it would turn out.
But it's all good. So let us breathe.