Day 1: Fran/Dokic…Day 2: Serena/Aravane…..Day 3: Venus/Kimiko....
We’re only just underway, but this is not the first time the women have outperformed the men in terms of the quality they’ve brought to bear.
It’s also no fluke, in my opinion, that four of the above-mentioned women that brought that quality to bear, are aged 29 and over.
I’ve marvelled at Kimiko’s shortened backswing for almost as long as I’ve lamented at the super-swiped lassoed forehand that sadly, now, forms the staple of the womens (and much of the mens) tour – the amount of pace she generates seems inconsistent with the laws of physics.
But today, she went to town with it in a way which even I didn’t think was possible – and left Venus, the assembled count of 15,000 people, and many more around the world, breathless and confused. It’s like the anti-Lasso.
Every groundie, each and every volley, seemed precision-engineered to keep Venus off balance – which she did for around 80% of the match.
And not just once, she was able to put a 120mph Venus first serve away, down the line, for a winner. That would be Venus serving, on grass…..INDOORS. Again, no fluke.
Kimiko's shot selection should be required viewing for every WTA player under the age of 25. And if they refuse to watch, they should be banned from playing tennis – at least until they’re prepared to properly abbreviate their obscenely lassoed backswing which I consider to be nothing less than the scourge of civilisation.
As for Venus, you’ll hear a lot on how she “did what champions do”. There is some truth in that – there always is – but its also true that she was mere games away from going out. Kimiko was simply that good, and talk of “champions” simply obscures that very relevant fact – and that’s coming from a fan of Venus.
Even so, it is, of course, a credit to Venus that she was able to emerge from this intact. Her serve didn’t break down and she seemed to move increasingly freely as the match progressed. It can only bode well for her.
Whether or not this turns out to be ‘match of the year’, its right up there with the Australian Open match between Franny and Sveta – but I doubt you’ll see a better set of tennis all year than the opener.
Hats off ladies.
*2nd slow clap in two days*