During my days away from blogging I was watching tennis. In fact I just saw the real French Open Women's final. Oh I know the match between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Serena Williams was a quarter final one and that the winner will now face surprise semi finalist Samantha Stosur but the tennis played by both Sveta and Serena is the best I've seen from the women the entire tournament.
That said I wonder what the reasoning was behind putting Serena and Sveta on the slower Lenglen court as opposed to Chatrier which is playing like a hard court this tournament? Both Sveta and Serena are in the top ten and even on paper their match was obviously the better of the two. One could argue that the mysterious and unknown "they" wanted to blunt the effect of Serena's serve and ground strokes and make sure the final did not feature one of the Sisters Williams. One could say that "they" want Dinara Safina - who had played absolutely nobody until yesterday when she met Victoria Azarenka - to win a major and justify her number one ranking, something the previous Slamless Wonder, Jelena Jankovic, couldn't do. Azarenka was done in by her lack of experience and emotions in her match allowing Safina to slow the pace and take control of the match which she went on to win.
As you all know I'm not a big fan of Victoria but she blew Dinara off the court during the first set. She set a quick pace and jerked Dinara around like a marionette while hitting winners left right and center. How embarrassing is it for the WTA's number one player to be screaming at her coach to "tell her something" to do during a Grand Slam quarter final? That alone should be the impetus to stop the nonsensical on court coaching that takes place in non Grand Slam events for WTA players.
As Mary Carillo and Mary Jo Fernandez noted during the ESPN tape delayed broadcast yesterday what image does it send to the world that women athletes are always whining for their coach - usually male - to tell them what to do. Why don't we go back to making the women play in long skirts and petticoats?
I hope Dinara gifts her coach very well.
As for the other women's quarterfinal between Dominika Cibulkova and the golden child Maria Sharapova what can you say? Cibulkova is not an offensive player and she relies on her opponent to give her pace. She took all the pace Sharapova was generating and gave it back to her in spades. The women commentators on ESPN kept saying Maria was tired after all the three set matches she'd played coming into yesterdays match and that she just couldn't keep pace with the energetic Dominika. That's not what I saw. I saw Dominika absorbing all that power and sending it back to a surprised and flummoxed Maria Sharapova. When I saw Maria coming into the net I knew she was in trouble. I saw a Maria Sharapova who had no answers for the questions Dominika was asking her. If Dominika hadn't gotten tight at the end she would've served up two bagels to the Queen of the WTA. Tired indeed.
So who do I like to make the final? Despite her performance against Serena today Sveta in a final is a disaster. I've seen too many tournaments where Sveta plays great tennis coming into the final and then goes on walkabout. I really haven't seen Samantha Stosur play yet so I have no opinion on her right now. I'll watch the replay on ESPN. She's an Aussie and I'm guessing she's good on a fast playing court.
As for Dinara vs Dominika it's a toss up. Dinara can be taken.
As a side note I wish I had seen some clay court play from the WTA. Kuznetsova plays clay court tennis and it showed today against Serena. Other than her I don't think I've seen any clay court play. It's kind of sad.