"I've heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father's armor, ran away from home, impersonated a soldier, deceived your commanding officer, dishonored the Chinese Army, destroyed my palace, and... you have saved us all."
What? It was either that or a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon quote.
It happened. It really really happened. Nails was looking down and out after a really sorry first set that saw her pressing way too much, clearly concerned about Caro's ability to get the ball back. She settled herself in the second set but found herself down match point when Caro served for the match at 5-4. She was able to save it and take the set, but from there the third set was a bit of a toss-up. We all know that Caro can't really terminate a rally (she would hit ZERO winners in the third set) so it was up to Nails to work the points, maintain her composure, and execute her shots when she had an opening.
It's a broken record with Caroline but once again she waited for her opponent to give her the match (via UFEs) instead of trying to take it herself. She would drop the final set 63 and leave the court in tears, her team of Dad and ADPD hunkering down in the player area trying to figure out what went wrong. I mean...it wasn't a mystery. She waited for Nails to make enough errors to play herself out of the match and Nails, because she's badass and stuff, didn't.
And so we have our first Chinese-born person, man or woman into the final of a Grand Slam. This is huge and Nails knows it. But what's so refreshing about Nails is the fact that you know she's not doing this for country or government. She's doing this for herself and for her team. If it helps China, then...ok. So I really feel like that's the only pressure she feels, the pressure from herself, not the weight of 1.3 billion people. That's pretty huge.
Of course, it wouldn't be a day of Nails awesomeness without some post-match hilarity. And boy did she bring it.
- Sam Smith told her it was her five-year anniversary and the look on her face can only be described as "HUH??? What you talkin' about, White Lady?"
- She said she couldn't sleep well last night because her husband was snoring, and even imitated the gutteral snore on court.
- Her mom never watches her play live and Nails said she wouldn't be coming to the final. "I say come watch the match and she say 'Why? I have my own life."
And some presser gems:
Q. Last year you were in semifinals. Now you are in final. What are you going to do next year? NA LI: If I win this year, maybe next year I will retire. (Smiling.)
Q. They call her the great Danish wall, but you have the great Chinese wall. So it was easy, no?
NA LI: I think Chinese wall more famous.
Q. Getting back to the match, was your game plan just to be very aggressive? Did you think you could outpower her?
NA LI: No, I never think about what I should do on the court. If you are focus on the court, you don't need to think about too much. Just focus. I mean, of course like between the point, only 20 second. What you can think? It's so short the time.
Q. You said after the match you didn't get much sleep last night.
NA LI: Yeah. I mean, I was wake up every hour, so I say, Stop. I couldn't sleep. My husband just like say, Relax. I say, How? Tell me how can relax because I couldn't sleep. So he was like, Okay, he just totally forget me. This morning, he was asking, How you sleep? I was like, Stop.
Q. Is he going to go into another room now?
NA LI: I think today he can stay in the bathroom.
Q. Was it your wedding anniversary today, or is it Saturday?
NA LI: I will think about two days later, but he was think about today. (Smiling.) So I don't know if I was thinking about two days later. Yeah, maybe I should ask my mom. (Laughter.)
She's like the Asian version of Franny. Totally entertaining, pragmatic, and endearingly honest to a fault. Personally, I loved her answer to the question as to why she was not "a typical Chinese" because she was funny and talkative:
Oh, yeah, maybe they couldn't speak English so they didn't know how to talk. Yeah, if you guys can't speak Chinese, of course they can make a lot of joke.
That was just such an insulting question. Come on. We're fucking hilarious.
She'll take on Kim in the final on Saturday after Kimmy pretty much steamrolled Bepa, who really didn't bring her A-game. It was, without a doubt, the best match Kim's played here in Melbourne and if she brings that form to the final then I doubt we'll be seeing our first Chinese Slam champion.
Then again, it's Kim. You just never know, you know?