Do I dare say it? Do I jinx it for all of Asia and hard-working, sassy, no-nonsense Asian girls? I've been trying to ignore Nails as much as possible but, just as sneaky Asians do, she's been quietly kicking-ass, gaining a head of steam, and she now takes the court with an air of inevitability. Petko definitely experienced the ass-kicking part, as she went up 2-0 in the first set before Nails reeled off the next six games. The second set was much the same.
Nails just looks to be a different class of player these days. She's a subscriber of the Sveta School of "JUST PLAY STUPID, STUPID". "If you thinking too much, of course you mistake a lot. So tennis, you don't need to thinking too much, just focus."
Focused is exactly the word to describe her right now. She's 10-0 for 2011, hasn't dropped a set here in Melbourne, hasn't dropped more than 6 games in any match here, and beat Kim in Sydney. She's playing with intent and direction, knowing precisely what she wants to do on every single shot. There's no hesitation and it really doesn't look like there's any thought. It's automatic. And when a player is in that "automatic" zone, all you can hope as an opponent is that a bucket of cold water drops from the heavens.
"I think she's going to win the tournament.
You know, I haven't seen the other players. It's more a feeling. It's nothing that I can tell you her forehand is good or her backhand. It's just the feeling, how she is on court, her confidence and the way she's playing. I just feel she has a great chance to win the tournament.
Sometimes you get the feeling during the match that somebody is really strong and just has that confidence going on, that aura maybe. Is this a word in English? Okay."
I'm pretty sure it's a word in Mandarin, too.
Could you imagine how huge it would be for an Asian player, let alone a Chinese player, to win this tournament? I mean, yeah, Rafa Slams and Britain snapping their streak are big stories, too, but Na Li pulling a Mulan and taking this title for China would change the tennis landscape overnight. We're talking about a nation of 1.3 billion people that has, so far, left a negligible imprint on one of the most lucrative global sports. Not only would we be talking of a new generation of Chinese tennis players in 10-20 years, the WTA and ATP Tours could potentially crack open a huge new market.
This would be a really big deal, is what I'm saying. Nails will have to get past Caroline first to even have a crack at it. But I can't say that this isn't my favorite storyline coming out of the WTA side of things.
I'm lighting incense and putting persimmons on the mantle as we speak.