We always say that JJ loves the stage. The Drama Serb, nee Glitter Queen, undoubtedly loves the attention. She wants to be watched, she wants to be talked about it, she wants to be in the mix. But if JJ loves the stage, then Francesca Schiavone *LOVES* the stage. She fucking owns the stage. She went down to Home Depot, bought the raw materials, spent years building the stage according to her own personal specifications, and then decided to sell her house and live on her stage. Fed Cup, the Slams, Fran smells the big moments and absolutely seizes them.
JJ on the other hand has never been able to truly embrace her Black Swan (or Pink Swan as it were this week). Just as she had Ana on the ropes in the third set in 2008, JJ totally had Frank on the ropes in the third set yesterday. She was playing terrifically in the beginning of the set, holding easily, pressuring Frank on her serve, while Fran's frustration seemed to reach a boil. It all came down to that 3-4 game, when JJ had 0-30 on Fran's serve. It looked like Fran was just going to give the game away, opening up with two easy unforced errors. Fran took a breath, harnessed her chi, and dug herself out of that game, which sent JJ into a tizzy. She turned and barked at her box, filled with her two brothers (I think) who had been loud and vocal throughout the match. Instead of continuing to plug away (after all, it was still on serve at 4-4), JJ just couldn't get her head out of that missed opportunity. She played tentatively for the remainder of the match, the sting off her backhand wing gone, with body language that screamed to the stadium that she was done.
Frank of course, did what she do in Paris. Inspired after that eighth game, she was bounding about, whooping and hollering, and basically sunk her teeth into the match and never let go. Not that JJ was trying vigorously to wrench back control. It was sad to see. She really had a chance here. But once again, she wilted in the big moment. She let the moment control her instead of forcing the moment to bend at her will.
Fran on the other hand is strong like bull. The moment didn't even have a chance.
Bend, baby, bend.