The predicted all Russian women's final will take place Saturday. Both Dominika Cibulkova and Samantha Stosur were overcome by nerves and let their Russian opponents pull out wins to set up the final pairing many had predicted since the quarter finals. Safina survived horrendous serving and what appeared to be weariness (It was later revealed that Dinara is battling the flu) and Kuznetsova used her experience to outplay a nervous Stosur who had forced a third set.
I actually wish that Stosur had found a way to win. Sveta in a final is usually a disaster. She managed to beat Dinara in the Stuttgart final and then failed to show up the next time they met in a final. Stosur would've had nothing to lose and would've made an interesting opponent for Dinara.
But that's all water under the bridge. Can Sveta beat Dinara? Of course. Will she play the kind of tennis that got her to the Final? I hope so. Sveta at her best can beat anyone.
On Court Coaching
Once again Dinara was looking to her coach after every point just like Justine Henin used to do. Mary Carillo spoke on it during the match again today. It's annoying. I can understand that at a critical juncture you look to your coach for reassurance (and maybe a hand signal or two) but after every point? Isn't part of the coaches job to teach on court strategy? It seems that today's coaches want their charges to be totally reliant on them for their every action on court. Tennis is about one on one combat, mano a mano, mind against mind. It's not supposed to be a video game where the on court players become mere two dimensional extensions of the game players will. I don't think I've ever seen either Williams sister constantly stare into the stands at either of their parents during a match. Their gaze is always inward. They search their memories for times they've been in the same situation or to think what tactic they should use at a particular point in a match. It's why they're so dangerous and beating either one of them is such a goal among their peers. People like me lament the state of women's tennis now. When Venus and Serena exit the stage things are going to be bad for a very long time.
Americans in Paris and Other French Open News
The Bryan Brothers are gone from the Men's Doubles Competition. The team of Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman escorted the twins to the Chunnel winning a three set match. The Bryan twins have played a lot of clay court tennis unlike the other American players male and female.
Junior Sloane Stephens has made it to the girls semi finals. She played Junior Fed Cup in Italy and won the Rome junior title.
Surprisingly the team of Nenad Zimonjic and Daniel Nestor were also shown the exit by the team of Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy in straight sets. Zimonjic and Nestor have dominated men's doubles.
American Vania King is playing Mixed Doubles with Braziian Marcelo Melo against the American team of Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber.
The Women's doubles final will feature the team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascaul against Elena Vesnina and Victoria Azarenka.
This and That
Martina Navratilova has spoken out about the howling some of the WTA players make when striking the ball.
"The grunting has reached an unacceptable level. It is cheating, pure and simple. It is time for something to be done."
"A player is in a difficult position because if they make too much of a fuss, the crowd can turn against them,” she said. “It is the umpires who have to act because if they start enforcing the hindrance rule and give point penalties, it will soon stop. The grunts are louder and lasting well into the opponent's strike zone."
The Times Online reports that the Grand Slam Committee is meeting today in Paris and that the situation will be on the agenda.
(FROM L to R) Chairman of All England Lawn Tennis Club Tim Phillips, French Tennis Federation (FTT) President Jean Gachassin, Unites States Tennis Assosiation (USTA) president Lucy Garvin, President of the International Tennis Federation Ricci Bitti and Australian Open President Geoff Pollard pose on June 4, 2009 at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris following a meeting of the Grand Slam federations.
The article notes the noise made by Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Michelle Larcher de Brito. Maybe it's me but I don't find Serena's grunting on the same level as the other three. And of the other three Michelle Larcher de Brito is by far the worse followed by Victoria Azarenka. Aravane Rezai's complaints about Larcher de Brito were justified in my opinion. My ears were still ringing an hour after her match ended and I'm sure there were calls to the emergency services of Paris by citizens thinking someone was being attacked. Azarenka's noise level is not far behind. Anytime Maria Sharapova gets ranked third in this category you know something is wrong.
Kim Clijsters talked about motherhood, family and the new girls on the block during an interview with the BBC. The interviewer called the up and comers "young machines". Kim's comments about the locker room, getting along and thinking on court are pertinent. Listen and enjoy.