Yesterday the 82nd ranked Lu downed the ARod in five. Today the 82nd ranked Pironkova downed five time champ and world #2 Venus Williams for a place in the semis.
If the numbers really have it, then I’d say the number is 82.
I’m sure I’m the eighty-second-best-in-the-world at something. And I intend spending the rest of the week finding out exactly what. Procrastination probably. Which means I’ll likely never know.
I know I’m meant to say horrible things about V and the remainder of her career and yeah, for someone of her calibre, it was a truly shocking display.
But here’s my difficulty. During the match, constant references were being made to the “fine display of tennis” Pironkova was putting on, without truly emphasising how far off base Venus was.
Pironkova deserves every possible accolade coming to her and likely many others that aren’t. Like Lu yesterday, never once did Tsveta flinch from taking her opportunities, never once did she appear overawed by the enormity of the occasion and never once did she let the aura of either her opponent or Centre Court get in the way.
Now the ugly side of things: 29 UFEs from V (a number only kept that low because of how quickly it was all over) and being taken to break point in every one of her service games in set two.
“I just didn’t get enough balls in today,” said Williams. “I let it spiral and didn’t get any balls in. I had a lot of opportunities, a lot of short balls and I seemed to hit each one out.
“If there was a shot to miss, I think I missed it. … I didn’t bring my best tennis today.”
And now back to the problematic side of things.
After the match was over there was the usual sustained bout of hand wringing over how poorly V played, with some suggesting she might never win another Major again and some even calling for her retirement.
Somewhere amongst the chaotic deluge of Schadenfreude and opinionated misinformation lies a rational sentiment trying to fight it’s way out. So far I haven’t been able to find it.
Venus either played a shockingly poor match which then, like it or not, simply has to have a bearing on your assessment of Pironkova’s very deserved victory.
Or, she simply had a bad day (like many other top seeds at this event) against an unflinching, unwavering up-and-comer who knew the value of taking her chances - in which case we shouldn’t be calling for either her retirement or for her head.
So which is it? You sure as sh*t can’t have it both ways.
Yet again, the Belgian performance leaves me with many questions, a certain amount of confusion and some concern.
When Kimmie’s on (and to be fair she usually is) she can sweep through the opposition and beat the Williamses back-to-back en route to winning a Slam.
When she’s not (and there’s been a fair few of those moments too), she can fall in a flat 6-0, 6-1 defeat to Petrova and look desperately ineffective against Bepa - both of whom being players she should beat.
I was backing Bepa. I have my reasons (too much talent, not always in control - fan for life).
But if I’m being honest, Bepa simply kept her nerve and went through the motions after dropping the first set. Much in the way Kimmie went through hers against Henin yesterday.
All this leaves us with Serena/Kvitova and Bepa/Pironkova as our Wimbledon semi-finalists for 2010.
If you were the 82nd best bookie in the world you’d have had a pretty decent shot at calling that.