Monday, 10 August 2009

Chargrilled Haystacks and other Warm Things...

“Coming in here after being off for a month, you want to find out where your form’s at, you want to get a bunch of matches in,” Roddick said. “I feel I’m on the right path toward the Open.


I think so too. I wasn't even sure who to root for, and found my levels of support divided keenly along the lines of form, talent and brand loyalty.

Evenly poised matches like this tend either to be char-grilled affairs, laden with the kind of skill and emotion usually reserved for the second week a Slam, or like one of those insipid productions that never seem to end, that you regret ever having signed up to, full of needlessly protracted rallies that demonstrate little talent and about as much flair as a haystack that's not even interesting enough to be hoarding a needle or two.

(Photo: AP)

This one was neither.

Truth be told, it hasn't been the most enthralling week of tennis I've seen in either the ladies or mens' events, but it's difficult to complain when the fifth and sixth best players in the world (and the top two seeds) make the final and neither has a let off.

Penetta capped of a near perfect week that's seen her score wins over Zvonareva, Sharapova and Stosur. Not bad.

But both Zvonareva and Sharapova are on the comeback trail and Stosur....well, that's now 5 and oh, in finals.

I'm not about to bash on what's been a very convincing year for her. She's more or less followed up on her well publicised statement of intent to focus on singles.

If there's one criticism I have though, it's that she seems to be approaching matches with the same risk-averse brand of structure and discipline that have done wonders for her on the doubles court. It's not very daring and allows players like Flavia to run away with the match if you're not having a good day.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Again though, it's difficult to criticise when two of your faves make the final in what seemed to be quite a strong field. Besides, I like my tennis players to exude warmth and humility. Female Italian Tennis players tend to score well in both those categories. And in coming out on top in what she describes as 'her biggest win ever', Flavia has given me further reason to warm up to her very earthy brand of warmth.And to feel warm in doing so.

Not that I ever needed a push in that direction.

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