Thursday, August 28, 2008

US Open 8/27/08 Day 3

by Savannah

Joshua Robinson of the New York Times describes it like this.
With Andy Roddick serving for the match, Fabrice Santoro stood six feet behind the baseline with his hands on his hips. A few seconds later, when Andy Roddick’s 15th ace slapped the backstop and sealed his 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory, Santoro’s racket still hung at his side in defiance.

Roddick’s previous serve, which came as a 140-mile-per-hour bullet, was not sitting well with Santoro. He had to duck as it zipped past him. Roddick said after the match that the near-miss was accidental. Santoro said it was unnecessary. Roddick was in the second round. Santoro was out.

“I was really excited about the way I was playing,” Roddick said. “To kind of end like that, it was a little, I guess, disappointing.”

But if the hard feelings took the sheen off the victory for Roddick, the fans hardly reined in their emphatic support at the site of his only Grand Slam title. He won the United States Open five years ago.

I missed it of course. By the time Roddick's demolition of Fabrice Santoro was over I was on the express bus on my way home. I'm kind of glad Fabrice didn't even bother to try to return that last serve though and I agree with his "unnecessary" quote regarding the previous serve that Andy said was a mishit. I sat through the first set and watched Roddick serve 147 mph bombs that landed nowhere near his opponent's head. I'm not saying Andy set out to hit Fabrice. It's that 147 mph serves, in my opinion, are unnecessary.

All of you know that I am not a fan of hard court tennis. But there is hard court tennis - the Blake vs Young match for example - where the skill and artistry (yes I used the word artistry and James Blake in the same sentence) of the players are put on display. Tommy Haas and Richard Gasquet played hard court tennis. Then there is hard court tennis of the type I saw last night where there is very little tennis and a lot of serving. This is a style peculiar to the United States and one that I'd hoped to see the end of. Roddick came to serve. Santoro came to play tennis. It made for a very bad tennis match for this viewer. There were some highlights in the first set and they came when Santoro was serving and actually put the ball in play. Andy did show that he still has some nice shots and that the forehand is still powerful but those moments were few and far between. We left with Andy up 2-0 in the second set. His fans were delirious. I felt that I was making a strategic exit form an alternate universe.

The first match of the night was not much better. Lindsay Davenport, who had lulled me to sleep on day one, was playing a young Russian named
Alisa Kleybanova. She is obviously on the see food diet. Some women can play with the extra pounds. Alisa is not one of them. She also has a serve that sat up for Lindsay most of the night. It was a long, dreary match and Lindsay during her on court interview put it best:

“I’m happy that I was able to pull it out in both sets and just get through this match,” Davenport said. “Because I didn’t feel it was very pretty tennis. Some of those days you have to just make it through.”


Source for both quotes.

Jelena Jankovic got up close and personal with the concrete surface of Arthur Ashe Stadium during her match with Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden. I guess she asked for deliverance while she was down there. She was prone for so long the chair asked if she was all right. Drama Queen moment over Jelena got up and went on to win a match that at times appeared to be slipping away from her.
As has been said over and over Jelena does not have a big weapon. That was painfully clear yesterday. If Arvidsson had a little more experience and had not lost her nerve she would have scored an upset.

Both Serbian women had difficult first round matches. Ana Ivanovic plays Julie Coin of France today on Armstrong. I don't know much about Julie.

The men's match of the day featured the return of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to active play. He looked rusty as well he should and dropped the first set to veteran Spanish player Santiago Ventura . The second set saw Jo return to form and he went on to win his match in four sets. Some of the best commentary came during this match where for once the match was actually put front and center, well, as front and center as tennis commentary gets in the States. A lot of it centered around Jo's injury issues and whether or not he will be able to play a full season next year. A French tennishead posted on TalkAboutTennis that the French Federation plans Tsonga's tennis playing based on what is apparently a very serious back injury. They want him to peak for the Slams. That is truly tennis loss.

End Note

I guess when the NY Times decides to cover tennis they cover tennis. The above picture accompanies an article on Aleksander Bajin, Serena Williams warm up partner.
A match day for Williams goes something like this for Bajin:

¶Arrive early at the courts, usually by bus.

¶Warm up with Williams for 30 to 45 minutes.

¶Make sure she has help stretching, from him or her physiotherapist.

¶Make sure her rackets are strung correctly and her grips are just so.

“I handle all the on-court things,” Bajin said. “I book the practice courts, make sure she has the food she wants and just try to keep her happy.”

But his primary job is to get her game as fine-tuned as possible.

Ray Krueger
Nice work if you can get it no?


oddman said...

Nice report, Savannah. When do you go back to the USO, or are you going again? Kinda too bad you didn't have tickets for tonight's session with Serena and Rafa, no? However, I envy you just a bit, as I'm so far away, with such prior committments, I doubt I'll ever get to a slam in person. It's on my wish list, but.....
Right now I'm watching this Vesnina girl hit some screamin' good winners - she's game, but pretty much toast, in a few minutes.

Savannah said...

I have tickets for Super Saturday.

oddman said...

Now I'm really envious! But in a good way - happy for you too. Hope it's all you could ever wish for, your favorite players, fabulous tennis, the whole package...

Rafa looking good right now - c'mon, put Ryler out of his misery. Do not pass GO, but collect your losing paycheck and celebrate with your fiancee.

I'm getting a bit annoyed that the crowd is so 'cheery' for Ryler, I know that's silly of me, but can't help being a bit protective of my boy, lol.

Savannah said...

US Open night crowds are annoying sometimes. The people nearest the court know zip about tennis for the most part and have been drinking most of their time at BJK. The real fans are stuck up in the nosebleed section.

Ashe stadium is just too big.