Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Laissez le bon temps rouler

by Savannah

I know we're well into Lent and that Mardi Gras was last week but as far as the United States tennis establishment is concerned it's time to let the good times roll. I'm betting that their celebration is more like what you'd find in Rio and that I should call this post "Deixe os bons tempos." That's what Google says the expression should be in Portuguese.

Why the celebration? The man pictured above got the party started. I'm sure that when the men's draw came out and showed Andy Murray's name penciled in against Donald Young's quite a few pints were raised in celebration and who would blame the Murray team for heaving a sigh of relief.
I'm sure clan Murray felt that his first match was a no brainer and that he would easily move into the third round.

Instead Murray, still alive in doubles, is watching the singles draw from afar. Sure Young lost his next match but that really isn't the point. Young showed that he can play real man tennis, that he can leave the juniors behind and show some of the potential he's been said to have for so long.

When I saw that 17 year old Sloane Stephens would play Caroline Wozniacki my only hope was that she would make it respectable. If you watched the match you saw a true diamond in the rough. Sloane has a great forehand and can hit the snot out of the ball. She needs to work on her backhand and improve her movement. She may never be a gazelle on court but she has to at least learn to move her feet. Hitting hard will not be enough on the pro level. She has to learn strategy. Still I felt that she had a good showing. Her coach has a very good courtside manner and a la Richard Williams back in the day he takes a lot of notes. It looks like Sloane is in good hands.
Ryan Sweeting, Bahamian by birth but now a United States citizen also showed he can play with the big boys. He had to be frustrated that he had to face the number one player but he didn't stink up the joint. He needs to work on his court smarts and his thought process but like I said he didn't suck.

Young Christina McHale also showed main tour potential. It was experience that allowed veteran Nadia Petrova to pull out a three set win over the young American. The victory was McHale taking the match to three sets. It seems that she is being brought along slowly just like Sloane. This is a good thing.
I'm sure the celebrations reached a fever pitch when Sam Querrey won his match last evening. Querrey, who seemed at times to need a sports psychologist more than a coach defeated Fernando Verdasco who has been struggling with a foot injury. Of course the big thing here is that Querrey didn't go into "woe is me" mode and won in straight sets.

I was unfortunate enough to see Ryan Harrison's match. He was showing his ass so much I couldn't even appreciate his win. He needs to get over himself and fast. Milos Raonic may help him calm down.

Andy Roddick, still the top American, will face pretender John Isner in a steel cage match.

Still the U.S. tennis establishment has to be buoyed by what has taken place so far at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. It will be interesting to see who comes out of the pack to lead the American charge.

The other big upset is news not because it happened but because of who caused it. Dinara Safina, hitting groundies like she used to back in the day ushered the underwhelming (in my eyes) Samantha Stosur to the exit. Under Dinara's onslaught Stosur became tentative and unable to execute her game plan. Maybe Davide Sanguinetti, her new coach, has installed an aura of calm around the volatile Russian. Sure she had her moments - a particularly big one from what I hear - it didn't derail her.

Maria Sharapova has been playing very well. Even though my ears still ring for a while after she leaves the court she is showing that she is able to win the matches she should.

I was surprised that Vera Zvonareva lost to Dominika Cibulkova. I shouldn't say the loss is that surprising it was the way she lost. Then again, Dominika, when she's on, can beat almost anyone. She was on. Vera was flat.

And I'm sure everyone was expecting Ivo Karlovic to defeat Gilles Simon right?
The commentators seemed to hope that they could will Robin Soderling to a victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber but Soderling, who had been in bed for five days with a fever, and suffering with a foot injury, wasn't able to put Kohlschreiber away. Doesn't mean Kohlschreiber's victory is less surprising or wasn't earned. It's just that the illness has to be mentioned.

End Note

I apologize for this being my first post about Indian Wells. My computer battery decided it had had enough and I was just able to replace it today. I have been watching every day since Tennis Channel here in the States decided we deserved to see live tennis. The good thing is they're doing wall to wall coverage and sometimes the commentators actually manage to talk about the matches taking place. That is a good thing.


TennisAce said...

No Savannah, the being in bed with a fever did not need to be mentioned. Just as how Fed never had to mention that he was carrying an injury and Nadal never had to mention that he has been having a fever etc., etc., etc.,

I am tired of all these pro players finding some form of excuse to explain a loss. Kohls has beaten Sod 4 out of the 5 times that they have played. Kohls is no joke and each time I see his name in the draw against my fave I know that he can pull out a win. He has a very good all around game and he deserved not to have his victory tainted by "I was sick, injured, on my period or whatever the hell was wrong with Soderling"

TennisAce said...

As for the women. The match between Stosur and Safina was abysmal. I cannot imagine why Stosur is ranked so high. I really cannot. The woman has absolutely no mental game. A big serve, a big forehand and then what?

For all the flack that Wozniacki takes in tennis land one thing you have to say about her... you have to beat her. She never beats herself. I watched during her match tonight against Klebs and she was being outhit on the court in the first set. She realised (with dad's help) that she could not outhit Klebs from the caseline so she went to Plan B and that was all she wrote.

If someone like Sharapova or one of the pretty girls had gutted out that win, they would have been commended for being tough mentally, but because it is Woz all she gets is being called a pusher.

I know you have not, but just venting *sorry*