Friday, 4 September 2009

Flushing Meadows: "Deserving" Causes?

Shvedova d. Jankovic 6-3, 6-7, 7-6

I hadn't closely observed much of JJ in her opening match, so I didn't quite know what to expect when she stepped out yesterday opposite Yeroslava Shvedova.

What I
didn't realise is just how hopeless JJ would play for the first half of the match.

The commentators were left speechless at how sluggish and disinterested she looked out there, eventually terming her performance 'a disgrace'.

Quite unlike that of Safina who, her recent wobbles not withstanding, at least looked willing to fight her way out of trouble, coming back from another one of those poor opening sets - one which ended with another unfortunate double fault I've now learnt to treat in the way I sometimes tolerate klunky Hollywood dialogue, or Tom Cruise delivering it..

I heard later that JJ's grandmother had just passed away; with that knowledge, the way she attempted to turn things around
really deserves recognition.

By the last set her trademark defence, mysteriously absent for a set and a half, was back, perhaps recalled from from a state of stupour by the demands of the woman on the other side of the net.

It really did require what some are terming a career performance from Shvedova to break JJ down. But break her she did.

It perhaps wouldn't have been a thrilling experience watching JJ stumble her way through unconvincingly, had fate
not intervened. As it stands I can only offer up condolences and hope for her speedy return. She seemed all set to go after Cincy.

Safina d. Barrois 6-7, 6-2, 6-3

If you can bring yourself to ignore the '15' doubles -- something now almost deserving of jacket status -- you should perhaps admire the gutsiness of her performance, in the way many commentators were almost falling over each other to yesterday.

I'm still finding it rather tough to swallow. The problem with staging turnarounds, the like of which she did with such staggering success against bigger and better opponents last year, is that her game is not on the same upward spiral. You just get the feeling that one of these testy three set encounters might prove a match too far.

Djokovic d. Ball 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

"It's only a game mate"

Great performance, but perhaps a little
too much enthusiasm shown by Djoko in victory?


He's been a regular feature of the second week in Slams over the last few years, seemingly having little trouble getting there. Just why he found such highly charged bouts of self berating necessary (not to mention the animalistic chest pumping), after going two sets up against an opponent ranked 151 places beneath him, I'm not sure I quite understand.

Ball looked like someone who'd come out for a pleasant Sunday afternoon hit, and ended up getting his hair scorched by straying too close to the dragon's den.

Has someone on his team called for a return of all of what we found so indefensible? He's not been the player he was ever since he toned things down - but I'm not sure I care too much for the shadow that's left behind.

Oudin d. Dementieva 5-7, 6-4, 6-3

Not quite ready to deal with this. The biggest, baddest upset of the tournament by far. And the greatest disappointment.

Oudin is a superb player as evidenced by her upset of Jankovic at Wimby this year.

Difference is that Jankovic hasn't been in the same place Dementieva has for much of this year.
And ever since Wimbledon, Elena seemed ripe for Slam success.

Now I'm inclined to think of her as over-ripened, and destined for precisely nothing.

That may be over stating it a little.

But Dementieva really should have gotten through this if we are to take the "best tennis of her career" that seriously.

There was a sizeable window of opportunity available after Henin's departure last year, but with Kimmie and Shaza back, and a brute of a brigade of younger players making their way up the rankings, it's quite possible Elena, Jelena and Dinara have missed their best chance.
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