First there was this.
I’m known for pulling squinty, wincey faces whenever I hear of sport and world peace being mentioned in the same sentence.
It’s not clear what exactly two blokes hitting balls together can do to draw attention away from problems that in some cases go back over half a century, but I doubt there was a dry eye in the house when Bopanna and Qureshi made their runners up speeches.
Qureshi’s words, in particular, struck a note, in my opinion, precisely because he chose not to recite some dull platitude about world peace.
Choosing instead to articulate a far more grounded and I’d say far more relevant sentiment of the silent majority of his country.
Well played boys.
Then there was this.
Look, I’m really happy that people have finally discovered Bepa and I’d be a lot more charmed by their assessment of her as an “intelligent”, “articulate” and “underrated” player if they weren’t the same people hoping, praying for another “Crazy Bepa” meltdown during the match.
She broke the strings of all four racquets in her bag and had to continue with a spare handed to her from the stands….’cept the meltdown never came.
And it’s put her in second consecutive Slam final.
Caz….I bear you no ill will. There’ll be no schadenfreude street festival here today.
Personally I had you reaching the final before going down to Clijsters or even an on-song Vee.
But in some ways Bepa serves as an even greater vindication of all my objections.
There’s a reason the Serena’s and the Kim’s (and I daresay the tours more potent shotmakers once they find their range) will always have their way with you.
There’s a reason you’ve had to play two seasons worth of tennis in one to maintain your top five ranking. As JJ found, you can only continue to do that until the age of about 22 before your immune system goes on an extended sabbatical with the faeries.
Put simply you need more than one string to your bow. You need to do more than just push – or else you’ll be shoved. Fortunately, you already know this.
And then, of course, there was this.
By this point there was such a proliferation of good will in the air that I was actually finding it difficult to root against Kim.
You read right. I’ll still be rooting for Bepa – but a Kimmie victory will no longer leave me feeling cheated.
I was also sensing the need for some kind of wistful karmic payback: Enter Venus Williams.
It was a crumbly, disjointed, unconvincing performance from both women.
Kim’s veneer of focus and confidence is just that – a facade. I'll be very surprised if she storms through the final the way everyone thinks she will.
Vee stormed through the first set and then totally blew a 2nd set breaker – she would never recover.
What’s more is she may never again have such a great stab at an ungrassy Slam again. And it hurts.