Wasn't I ranting about American tennis commentators not being familiar with their sport? They always say better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove you are. Unfortunately Lindsay Davenport opened her mouth today and proved my statement to be true.
Arantxa Rus has been on the ITF and Junior circuits for some time now. She's one of the juniors I've been keeping an eye on for a few years. Yet Lindsay said that she'd never heard of her. Really Lindsay? It's just amazing to me that the American tennis establishment is so wilfully ignorant. I'm not saying that they should know every junior but a briefing on the non American qualifiers should be part of production meetings.
Then again I doubt too many people thought that young Ms Rus would not only disrupt Kim Clijsters timing - the key to beating her as I've said here ad nauseam - but played without fear and defeated Clijsters in straight sets. Clijsters looked flustered and totally confused by the attack mounted against her but if you listened to the commentators Clijsters failed to play well and Rus coming out and executing her game plan to perfection had nothing to do with it.
I'm not predicting that Rus will make the final or anything. I'm just saying that more objective commentating would increase viewer's knowledge and enjoyment.
The pensive young woman pictured above also got people to sit up and take notice of her today. If you follow the ITF and Junior circuits you've seen the name Caroline Garcia. She is French and while she doesn't play every week she plays enough for her name recognition to be moderate. For a set and a half today it looked as if she would repeat Arantxa's feat and eliminate Maria Sharapova. Sharapova, unlike Clijsters, did get some clay court play in prior to coming to Paris. Unlike Clijsters Sharapova is more than a glorified pusher. She was better able to pull herself together and play offensive tennis. Unlike Rus Garcia, who is three years younger, got tight. Sharapova, seeing that, was able to do something about it.
After today I wonder why Clijsters came back so soon. She had little to no preparation and it was going to be difficult for her. The commentators were saying it was the injury but she showed no evidence of discomfort. It is possible that she experienced some discomfort but that isn't what she said in her post match presser. Peons like me were lucky enough to see clips from it. For more detail we'll have to wait for the grand poobahs to tell us what was said.
Keep in mind both Rus and Garcia were wild cards.
Lukas Rosol is another surprise. He defeated
Jeremy Chardy and Gilles Simon completed their match in darkness. Unless you had access to a livestream or ESPN360 you were shit out of luck if you wanted to see it. ESPN2 ran reruns from earlier in the day.