It's 3:15am so I'm gonna make this quick. That was a hell of a win for Caro today. She took down the biggest scalp of her young career, dusting an in-form Masha in straight sets, and never really looking all that threatened while she was doing it. She defended well, served well, and was as aggressive as she needed to be to get Masha running and, more importantly, to get inside Masha's head.
You could almost see Caro cribbing from Kim's tactic against Ana:
I knew once I got out there that Ana is the type of player -- she's playing with a lot more confidence, and if I can stay with her in the beginning of those first few games where she was playing really good tennis, if I could just stay with her and kind of just, yeah, make her once in a while doubt a little bit. Or just, you know, even when she's playing her best tennis, trying to retrieve a lot of balls and just try to get her to make the mistake, I really felt that was the case in the first five games we played today.
She starts making a few little unforced errors and a couple of double faults. I really tried to use the chances that I had, and that's what I did really well.
Yup, pretty much. The kid went out there and absolutely won this match. She's ready for Primetime.
I'm going to need more time to ruminate on what I think this loss means for Masha. I know it means something. It's not just a random blip that you just dismiss. But I need to tumble with it for a bit.
So let's keep the focus on the kid. Look, I don't think I'll ever be a fan. And that's not you, Caro. It's me. I just don't like your brand of tennis even though I absolutely recognize, particularly after seeing all the improvements in your game which have been on display over the past few weeks, that it is an excellent brand of tennis. You're consistent, you do everything well, you've developed just enough pop on some of your shots to make yourself more than a "pusher", and you're just getting better with each year, and you're mentally strong. On top of all that, you're a perfectly nice kid, a good personality for the sport, and you seem to have your head on straight. Good on your parents, Piotr and Anna, for raising such a sweet kid.
But at the end of the day, I like Coke, not Pepsi. I like Budweiser, not MGD. I like BMW, not Mercedes. I like...other tennis players, not you.
It's nothing personal. It's just a preference.
Now go out there and make the final, hopefully against Kim, and let's see what you can do. You finally have our attention. Do with it what you will.