Monday, 7 September 2009

Flushing Meadows: "Microbial" Tennis

"There's life beyond the Williamses."

Conclusive lab testing conducted under the most exacting of conditions late into the night leaves little doubt.

The only question remaining is just how microbial and enduring it may or may not be.

Clijsters d. V.Williams 6-0, 0-6, 6-4

The flip-flop scoreline of the first two sets really does tell the whole story. For what seemed like an absolute eternity, but was actually only around 23 minutes, Venus flailed around like she was lost in a dust storm, unable to buy a first serve, and not many more groundstrokes either. They switched roles in the second, with Clijsters this time going AWOL and Venus assuming the role of the aggressor.

Things were eventually decided in an evenly contested last set with Kimmie managing to serve it out after going a break up:
something many of her critics probably thought they'd never live to see.

Fairly uninspiring stuff until that last set, though an absolute boon in comparison with the womens matches on offer this week.

Pennetta d. Zvonareva 3-6, 7-6, 6-0

Quite unlike this one though. This was in a class of it's own.

That was the first of six match points Flavia wrenched painfully from Vera's grip who went on to lose that set and with it her grip on reality.

I didn't stay up to see the final set, and am now glad to see that I didn't miss very much, other than the sight of Vera unravelling even more rapidly than her heavily strapped legs.

She even involved Lynn Welch in a skirmish over whether she ought to be allowed to get the trainer on to attend to the damages to the strapping she herself had inflicted. Welch politely declined.

But I forgive Vera her histrionics this time.

For the hitting from these two women in the first two sets, was nothing short of astounding.

It made up, very satisfyingly for the smut masquerading as womens tennis this last week.

We all know of Vera's talent. If anything, she was playing a better quality of tennis than she did at Indian Wells.
But it's Flavia that's the really transformed player. Despite her win over Venus Williams last year, there still seemed to me to be a lot she could improve.

On the back of this performance however, you can't in all seriousness doubt her top ten credentials.

Suddenly the double bagelling of Mirza, which at the time I put down as a believable, if somewhat curious result, makes perfect sense. So does the fact that it took a match the like of which I don't expect to see again for a very long time, for her to drop her first set of the Championships.

I made a call that whoever came out on top in this match had a more than respectable chance of going the whole distance. I remain convinced of that, though you still have to think that Serena would have to have a slow start to allow Flavs to impress herself on the match.

I'll be rooting for Flavs.

It's not just that we need a new face in womens tennis and it certainly feels strange to take a position against the best player on the planet.

But I need to believe that it's not all microbial life out there, with the correspondingly shortened lifespan, playing to the limits of their very limited tennis, before dying mysteriously having not managed to string more than a couple of convincing wins out there.

Who else am I gonna rely on? Kuzzie?


Am I the only one not on the Oudin bandwagon?

It's not that I don't think she deserved each of those wins, but you'd have to have oversized blinkers on not to recognise the way each of the Russians more or less rolled over. As did Petrova today. I tell a lie - Shaza was injured.
Or did the media miss that too? Rolling over isn't something she's accustomed with.

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