When I was in New York I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to someone in Bepa's camp. I told them that she looked fantastic in that NYTM piece and that the fans really loved it. He was surprised (a) to hear that Bepa had fans and (b) because according to him she doesn't think she's beautiful enough to do those types of shoots.
And I was sad.
Bepa's played lights out tennis throughout the fortnight and put an exclamation point on her campaign so far with a solid and fairly thorough beating of Caro today to make her second Slam final in a row. I'm not sure anyone walked away from that match thinking the better player lost today. Bepa showed her variety, pace, guile, and movement to outclass the kid who everyone had already written into the final. It was fantastic to see.
Of course, the match was not without its Bepa moments. She somehow broke the strings on five racquets and actually ran out of racquets. Sergei had to send a racquet down to the court until the stringers could get her some fresh ones. I was sure that the whole debacle would rattle her. But it didn't. She stayed calm and composed and pretty much made the Johnny Mac and Mary Carillo look like idiots for all their harping about her propensity to meltdown. In fact, after she was finally broken in the second set, John announced "Prepare yourself for a meltdown."
If by "meltdown" you mean a win, then yes.
As for Caro, it was a good tournament and nothing to hang her head at. I think she did a lot to get many of her detractors (including moi) off her back. But at the end of the day, she's totally beatable by the top players. We knew that coming in and we know that going out. But her win over Masha has to give her confidence that things are going the right way.
One interesting comment was brought up on Twitter. Can Caro win a major title without the benefit of on-court coaching? Carlos Ramos admonished her today to make sure her box stopped with the chatter. I think there's something to this theory given her listless play in that second set. She just didn't look like she knew what to do out there. That's an experience issue. She's only 20. You need some years of "tennis education" to get to the point where you can figure yourself out of matches. She's way ahead of the curve on this (I think she's one of the smarter younger players) but she didn't have it today.
Much love, Vera. I can't wait to see all the ink you're about to get. It's so satisfying to see people take notice of you. Much deserved to the forgotten Russian.
We should all be so lucky.