Friday, June 4, 2010

Paris In The Spring - RG Days 12, 13

by Savannah

I didn't get to post yesterday because my daughter graduated from college. After the ceremony we went to one of the better NYC steak houses. Needless to say I'm very proud of her.

Women's Semi Finals
If anyone thought that Francesca Schiavone had any inkling Elena Dementieva was going to retire after the first set they had to think again when the camera zoomed in on her. Her jaw literally dropped. Elena said that she had a calf tear that made it painful to walk. I noticed that after the end of the tiebreak she stumbled and that she burst into tears before walking over to Franny to congratulate her.

In my opinion Franny is going into the final having bested her semifinal opponent in a tie break. She intends to do all she can to win. Good for her.

Talk is still swirling around Samantha Stosur's game and how it's an ATP style of play. All I know is that she blew past Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic. Of her last three opponents only Serena did not say her style of play is masculine. It's true that her tennis is not the boring hit hard and harder style so many women employ these days. Is there anyone on the WTA tour who uses a kick serve?

Darren Cahill, the least fanboyish of the ESPN/NBC announcers has also compared her style of play to the ATP. He comment about how she hits the ball said that the way she hits the ball - that instead of hitting over the backhand, she prefers to run around the backhand to hit the inside out forehand "just like a man" is said to have been greeted with dead silence by his compatriots.

To be honest I don't know what the announcers, and players, are implying. Are they making allusions to her sexuality? Are they saying she's juiced? I don't know. I do know that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

At any rate one of these two women will be the French Open Champion for 2010, something no one would've predicted.

Men's Semi Finals

You can say what you want about John McEnroe but he can call a tennis match when the mood strikes him. As soon as he said it looked as if Tomas Berdych's legs were gone I knew the match was over.

As for the second match Jurgen Melzer realized he wasn't playing Novak Djokovic midway through the second set. He did make the third set competitive but he still ended up the runner-up.

The men's final will be played on Sunday.

In Other News...

Stefan Koubek, saying he was tired of being insulted by fellow Austrian Daniel Kollerer literally took matters into his own hands during the Austrian equivalent of WTT. I can only speculate that Kollerer didn't respond because he wanted Koubek to be thrown out. Some say there is a history of bad blood between the two men. I don't know about that. I do know that Koubek was disqualified, and that the fans booed Kollerer and cheered Koubek.


Matt said...

Hi Savannah,

Great post - always love your work. I have mutual friends with some of the Australian WTA players and Sam is indeed a lesbian. It's not common knowledge, and I find it deplorable that commentators are describing her play like this. I agree that they are alluding to her sexuality. It echoes the 1999 Australian Open women's final when poor Amelie Mauresmo was slated by the media.

I hope Sam hangs tough and doesn't let these comments affect her play tonight.

Karen said...

I have to disagree. I do not think the description of her style of play has anything to do with her sexuality. I think it has to do with how she plays. She gets more top spin on the ball more than any other female player. Top spin is what Nadal uses to push his opponent off the court and move them around. Sam does the same. She uses the same racquet as Nadal and while it may not be strung at the same weight, it may be very close to it.

She is not the only female player that has a kick serve. Serena Williams does as well. For what its worth, Serena has a better kick serve as she is able to place it in different positions on the court. Stosur's kick serve is usually to the backhand in the deuce court.

Finally, congratulations to your daughter on her graduation from college. It is a major accomplishment and one she should cherish.

Savannah said...

Karen, Matt, as I said I'm not sure why all the comments about how masculine her game is. Unfortunately Martina Hingis set the bar very low when it comes to comparing female tennis players to their male counterparts and when the "like a man" comments pop up ulterior motives have to be looked for.

You have to also remember that when she was out for so long with what is said to have been Lyme's Disease there were whispers that she was juicing and had had a bad reaction. When Justine Henin came back on the tour after 18 months many tennisheads - not the press - said openly that she had served a drug suspension and that the WTA had allowed her to "retire" instead of making the circumstances public. JJ bulked up big time a year or so ago and said that the extra bulk hampered her game.

That is why I made the comment about people in glass houses regarding the sources of some of the player criticism directed at Stosur.

I don't think it's a secret that Samantha is a lesbian. It's just not discussed by the MSM. I don't know if the WTA is ready to deal with an openly gay player. I notice in all the publicity pictures Stosur is presented in a feminine manner. Not all gay women dress as men but I remember Martina Navratilova posing for a women's magazine to try and "feminize" her.

The WTA has tended to want to make all of their top players into bombshells that appeal to the male viewing public. If Stosur continues to play well it's going to be interesting to see how they handle it.

Karen said...

LOL so true Savannah. Well, at least they will not have to try too hard as Francesca beat her today. You know sometimes I think I have this uncanny ability to see stuff that the so-called media does not see. During the match this morning I was posting over at TW while the match was being played and I said that Stosur was as tight as a drum. She denies it but apart from Fran playing lights out tennis, Stosur did not play as freely as she did when she played her last 3 opponents. She froze out there mentally and Fran just played unbelievable tennis. Very good to see.

One would think that the WTA would do well to go after a growing demographic to make the Tour relevant, but what do I know? LOL

Savannah said...

I'm doing one FO post.

I'll just say you see what the media doesn't because you're looking without preconceived notions.

vw said...

I know there were some remarks by Hingis regarding Mauresmo a while back. This time with Stosur though, it's more than just Henin, Jankovic making catty remarks. It's Cahill, Mary Jo Fernandez and others too. These people are used seeing and playing Martina Navratilova and other gays in the tour.I believe Schiavone is gay too and she has not had these kinds of remarks. They are all talking about her power being like a man's. This is why I wonder myself if she has found something like HGH which is not tested by the ITF.

Savannah said...

vw this is what is so frustrating about the Stosur situation. As you said the innuendo cuts both ways.

vw said...

Australia press:

Now, two years after feeling so weak she struggled to push a trolley around her local supermarket, Stosur is again achingly fit and imposingly muscled, even if Taylor says she has never done a bicep curl.
"To be honest, she has almost . . . the game of a man," Jankovic said yesterday, meaning it as a genuine compliment.