Na Li is very good at tennis. We forget that. I mean, *I* forget that. She made the final at AO, the semis at Madrid and Rome, and has progressed to the quarterfinals or further in 5 of the last 7 Slams. And no one was talking about her, me included. I'm feeling like a bit of a prat now.
You can't blame anyone. She went three months after Melbourne without winning a match. She dumped her husband as coach, and, I mean, she's inconsistent! She just...is!
So two days after she dumped out sexy-pick Kvitova, she runs up against the oddsmakers' fave, Vika. Vika's been cruising through her very easy draw. She's been coming out on court bopping to music, she's been struttin', and she's been making faces she should just never ever ever make. She's had that swagger, wah-hooing about like she *knew* she had this thing in the bag.
I mean, Nails beat Vika in Melbourne, but again, shit, I FORGOT. EVERYONE FORGOT.
So what does the Badass of Billions do? She takes the court and gets a pretty clean straight-set kill over Vika, who seemed to freeze in the moment and couldn't think her way past Nails' game. While the two stayed neck and neck for most of the first set, Nails pulled away by playing steadier tennis, while Vika fell away by making poor decision after poor decision. Nails rolled from there.
Oh, Vika, Vika, Vika. You almost got me this time. You really did. If I had to put my last $5 on who would win RG before this fortnight began I would have reluctantly put it on you. You're just scary good when you're playing well. But once again, when everyone was talking about you and expecting things for you, you failed to progress past the quarterfinals of a Slam. I won't be fooled again, Vika. I have no doubt you will win a Slam one day. But I won't be betting any money on it. Surprise me.
And so Nails continues her Grand Slam mastery, becoming the first Chinese player and second Asian woman (what up, Kimiko?) in the RG semis and making her second straight Slam semifinal, where she'll go up against one Ms. Maria Sharapova. That is one tasty matchup.
Oh, and you should read Nails' presser. But only if you like laughing. If you're allergic to laughing DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK.
(Pic: Getty, Reuters)