Bojangles, the Troicki of the WTA Serbs has not dropped a set in her Sydney campaign, which sees her in the semifinals after taking out Kaia, Aravane, and Flavia. That's on top of beating Sorana to qualify. She's done something that neither Ana or JJ could do here in Sydney: Give the Serb fans something to cheer about.
Last night's epic match against Rezza was, well, an epic match against Rezza. I was actually on my way out for the day, having assumed that play on all the outer courts had been called off for rain. But I followed the always familiar Serbian chants and found Bojangles and Rezza locked in a super tight match, with Bojana taking the first set in a tiebreak. In front of a crowd of 50 partisan fans, these two ladies played a really great match.
Of course, the stress would come to a boil. Towards the end of the second set, Rezza hit a winner that was called out. As there's no Hawkeye on Court 1, Rezza went completely ballistic. She walked up to the umpire, complained forever, and threatened to pack her bags. "If she wants to win like this than I will just pack my bags." I kept expecting Bojana to turn her back on the antics, but being the newbie that she is, she kind of just stood there, so she could see Aravane's dagger glares and finger pointing. I was sure the kid would get rattled.
As she kept going on and on and on with the ref the crowd started to get into it, yelling at her that the ball was out and just to keep playing. She stepped to the line and a woman shouted "JUST PLAY TENNIS!" to which Aravane turned, nodded her head and said "Thank You." Of course one woman couldn't let it go and yelled "But the ball was out." At this point, Rezza started crying and had to collect herself to get her serve off. She would lose the game and sit in her chair crying.
With a chance to serve it out, Bojangles couldn't capitalize. She had three match points but Aravane would collect herself and play those points solidly, breaking back and eventually forcing another tiebreak. I was sure that Bojangles would drop it, as the momentum seemed to switch to Rezza's side after Bojana couldn't convert the MPs. But she didn't! She closed it out in the tiebreak, much to Rezza's annoyance. Their handshake was, let's just say, what you'd expect. Bojana went in for the shake, Rezza put her hand out but refused to shake hands until she had some words with the kid.
I mean really, what else would you expect from Aravane? Heaping on her for being a total bitch is like constantly calling an ugly girl "ugly". That's just her face. As with Aravane, that's just her way.
So after that tense, physical match that saw numerous starts and stops because of rain, you had to wonder how Bojangles would do today against Flavia. Surely she didn't get to sleep before 2am and her match was set to start around 2pm. Well, never doubt the spring in the step of young legs. The 18 year-old came out and beat an out-of-whack Flavia fairly easily. Who's to say she doesn't have a shot against Nails tomorrow?
But I have to say, I have been thoroughly impressed by Bojana all week. I was asked today to describe her game. I actually had a hard time. The only words that came out of my mouth were "She's just a solid tennis player." Good movement for her height, and solid groundstrokes from both sides. She beat a ball basher and a spin/angle clay-courter easily. I think that speaks to the stability of her game. And getting through that tight match with Aravane speaks to her mental fortitude. She seemed quite even-keeled emotionally, quietly firing herself up here and there, but nothing like her Serb counterparts. She just seemed like a good, quiet, quality kid.
I'm really looking forward to what she does this year. There's no reason to think she won't be hoisting her first trophy in 2011.
(Pics: Forty Deuce)