Saturday, 10 September 2011

USO: Sooper Dooper Saturday.


For all the analysis that you’ll see in the build up to this one, I’m not much convinced anything matters more than their respective form coming into this…which has been sublime.

Both men know how to play on all surfaces. Both rely on a multitude of weapons rather than any single WMD to bring their opponents down. Both have an appetite for victory which is, perhaps, second to none – preferably over each other. 

Sure, Novak might have the slight edge in terms of age and what he’s achieved this year – but how much does that really matter with the day’s rest and both having only dropped a set to get here?

I want five sets. We’ll almost certainly get four.  Broken glass and blood all over the place.


Oh I know he got “medieval” on Roddick’s a*s last night, and I also know how one match like that is sometimes all Rafa needs to light the touch paper. I’m still not much convinced his level of play is quite up there with the rest of the top four – and certainly not comparable with what we’ve seen from Novak and Roger over the past week.

Murray’s made all four Slam semis this year: almost an  academic point now that he’s a regular feature of  the business end of most majors. Even so, that has to count for something, as does the fact that all his wins over Rafa have been on hard courts.


In some ways, an even more loaded match than any of the mens semis.

If Serena plays the way she did in the first set against Vika, Caro will be lucky to get more than a handful of games.

Except that hasn’t quite been the story of the fortnight.

If she plays as loosely as she opened against Ana or Pavlyuchenkova, Caro is well-equipped (perhaps more than anyone) to make her work for it.

What happens from that point on depends largely on Serena’s ability to shorten rallies and keep the UFEs in check. Caro’s only chance lies in doing the precise opposite – if she can move Serena around and lengthen the rallies, she certainly won’t be the first to tire, Serena will.

What will probably take place is something in between those two extremes.

It’s certainly not impossible for Caro to pull through in a tight third set. I think I might even prefer that if only to see her haters squirm. We also need to see an end to the “real number one” debate. I’ve never been one of those that thought the rankings system was at fault – but if she pulls this off, bitchers will continue to bitch and the hatred will be exposed for the vindictive, ideological hoax that it is.


What or who is Angelique Kerber? And since when does Sam Stosur make Slam semis again? On surfaces other than clay?

If you’ve been following the scheduling kerfuffle over the past few days you’ll know that we’re not supposed to be treating either of these two women as serious Slam semi-finalists.

Even now (“Super Saturday”), there’s not a single photo of Stosur in Yahoo’s tennis photostream. Not one. (Hint: The shabby treatment extends further than mere tournament administrators).

I get that the schedulers have had to deal with an insane number of nightmarish factors this time round, including rain delays, a visit by FLOTUS, 911 commemorations and water bubbles appearing on Louis Armstrong. I get that this has sometimes meant those schedulers coming in for an unwarranted shellacking by hot-heads that don’t know or care to understand the competing concerns they face.

I also know straight up disrespect when I see it.

Leaving aside that Sam is a two-time Slam finalist, this might be the one and only time Kerber ever gets to breath the air on Ashe.  These, in short, are the moments players (however lowly) play for and live for – a far cry from a R1 loss to Laura Robson at Wimbledon this year. Heavens knows, she’s earnt the right.

Sam should pull through (you’d think) but heaven hath no fury like a journeywoman scorned.

And boy has she (and Sam) been scorned.
Let there be no illusions about that.


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