Samantha Stosur finally played the tennis I'd heard so much about. Under threatening skies at the National Tennis Center she unleashed her forehand with lethal consequences for her opponent, Serena Williams.
Serena can be a slow starter. She can also be flat. She was both yesterday and it was Stosur who stepped up and took control of the situation. Only when Serena got in a dispute with the chair umpire over what she (and I) thought was an incorrect call did anger spur her to begin to move the way the tennis world has grown accustomed to seeing her move. Unfortunately that didn't last long.
I could say I was surprised at the tennis heads on Twitter coming out of the woodwork to insult Serena's angry outburst. I'll never understand why an angry African American scares so many people. Serena, who never uttered one word that could be said to be a curse word, was called "classless". Someone said she's always in touch with her "inner brute". It's comments like this that inspired one person to post that the comments show why tennis will never become a big time sport in the United States calling the comments, a bit euphemistically, examples of the country club mentality. Andy Roddick has said and done worse on court. Ryan Harrison, following in Roddick's footsteps, has already, at 19, said and done worse on the court. Mardy Fish directed the epithet "dumbass" at whoever was listening. But these American's are said to be "passionate" while Serena, who at her worst called the chair umpire a "hater", is seen by some as their worst nightmare. I should mention that one idiot said that the word "hater" is the catch phrase for the "classless", "unthinking" lesser educated. I guess they haven't been listening to their children.
But this is a column about Samantha Stosur's victory. She overcame the bias of the crowd, a US Open crowd that for once was behind Serena, and kept her cool and played her game, a game that yesterday was better than the WTA #1 player.
Does Stosur beat a fit and totally rested Serena? Probably not. For about five minutes of yesterday's match we saw that she doesn't have the weapons against Serena.
It can't be said enough that the scheduling by the USTA did a lot to determine the outcome of the Women's Final. Stosur, who was publicly unhappy about her semifinal match being put on an outside court with a starting time that put her up against a men's semifinal, in the end got the better deal. She was back in her hotel and resting by the time Serena took the court late Saturday night.
I don't think tennis fans should overlook the importance of Stosur's second set tiebreak against Maria Kirilenko in the fourth round, a tiebreak Kirilenko won 17-15. After losing a tiebreak like that many players would've mentally packed their racquets and gone home. Instead Stosur, again overcoming a hostile crowd, came back and won the third set. She followed that win with another one over the WTA #2 Vera Zvonareva, another confidence boosting victory.
Fans should also keep in mind that Stosur has played Serena well and that no matter what this was going to be a match Serena would've had to bring her A game in order to win. She didn't and that was all she wrote.
Much is being made about the fact that Stosur, formerly known mostly for her doubles, is the first Australian to win a major in dog years. They're already comparing her to Australian Davis Cup Captain Patrick Rafter.
So congratulations to Samantha Stosur on her victory. It was well earned and well played.