At this time yesterday, was anybody really looking forward to the ladies final of the US Open anymore? Had anybody really even comprehended that Serena had went and lost a match she absolutely was not supposed to lose? You don’t want to go using the word destiny lightly, but after she had to block her own sister’s resurgence, you felt, well, she’d done that big dramatic win, and the only top player left by then was Halep. The story is not supposed to end in an anti-climatic loss to an Italian player who isn’t even seeded. It hurt especially because she got so close, and we had all the time to get excited, and become utterly convinced that yes, she’s actually going to do this. And then she didn’t. Talk about a bummer.
And yet…out of it we got today. Once we looked past the crushing disappointment of Serena not being destined for the grand slam after all, we saw an incredible sight. Not even just two players beating the odds to get to the final, but two Italian girls who came from the same place, shared their own bond-eventually the word sister would once again be used, even if there wasn’t any blood relations involved this time. And they went out, and they played, and then the winner claimed her own destiny, even more so, as she promptly announced her retirement too. And there was even another sisterly hug at the net. Flavia Pennetta might not have been the story we were demanding. It certainly wasn’t the story we expected. And yet, in its way, it’s just as wonderful a one as Serena’s grand slam would’ve been. She even got Serena tweeting about her.
But even then…no doubt had Serena done it, the first commercial after the final was done would have been one of her many sponsors airing a spot congratulating her. But instead, it was a commercial of her, looking like she’d just come off a lost, going for a run while listening to a song about rising up again. And Novak Djokovic said it after his own semi-final last night: she’ll be favored once again to do it next year. We don’t know how many more years at the top she really has left in her, but it’s hard to believe she’ll decline that soon. And next year there’ll even be an Olympics, so we could potentially be looking at her truly matching Steffi Graf with a golden calendar slam. Perhaps destiny was just saving that story for then.
If last night was the last time we see Venus vs. Serena, what was match to end with:
No holds barred, Venus rising to the occasion, and Serena, in the end, finding her way to the finish line again. The Calender Slam getting yet more likely, especially with Petra Kvitova now out today; and with Vika Azarenka going out minutes ago, just about the only player left now with even a prayer of stopping it is Simona Halep. And a sisterly hug at the end.
Also, it’s not news the cops are racist, and nor is it news that James Blake is a man with a lot of class. But…yeah.
I must say, as well as all its other benefits, it’s nice that moving the tournament back a week means that here in the States, we have a national holiday taking place when ESPN is still showing Wimbledon the entire day. Since it seems there will never again be a People’s Sunday, we need all the days off from work in which we can actually watch live that we can get.
Although at least they had the sense to use the roof today, and make sure everything was done in time for the big day of tennis Monday. Still, one did worry about if the gambit failed to get the match completed before curfew, and we instead had Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon coming out to play two games Monday instead(and when Monfils would’ve thrived on a People’s Sunday too, I bet). Quite frankly it was a relief when Simon didn’t have much trouble with the last set.
Today was definitely an odd one, in ways. Petra Kvitova going out even felt more of a shock than Rafa Nadal had Thursday; after he went down at the French, one almost feels like anything could happen to poor Rafa anyway. A bizarre episode involving medical timeouts begs the question as to whether it is proper to give someone who’s thrown you off with a medical timeout a taste of his own medicine, or, if that was not Andy Murray’s motivation, just how alarmed we should be about these back/shoulder issues. And James Ward losing, though it was a match that didn’t draw the attention or drama of Serena and Heather Watson yesterday, is kind of more heartbreaking than the latter. After all, Heather is still on the up, and did we really want her triumph to come at the expense of Serena’s possible calender slam, and a good all-Williams grass battle? But who knows if James Ward will ever again get anywhere near the chance he couldn’t grab today, and when the matchup he would’ve prevented would’ve been no great loss(seriously, why couldn’t Dustin Brown had followed up? I want more of that guy); hey, we might have even seen an all-British quarterfinal!(talk about the crowds going crazy…).
And now the question is, do we dare start believing in Madison Keys now? Or will she now get overhyped and then crash and burn, just like every other young North American woman who has shown promise recently?
Yep, Serena is definitely going to win this. Though really, the only time we didn’t know that was when we weren’t sure which version of her was going to show up in Flushing Meadows, so…
Since everyone else had lost already, I’m inclined to overlook this lapse on Eugenie Bouchard’s part, but the hype still makes it amusing. But meanwhile, while I previously thought Bencic could definitely beat either Peng or Safarova, now I’m wondering. Peng has essentially been doing the same thing as Bencic, after all. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see if whichever of them wins that quarterfinal can beat whichever of Errani or Wozniacki wins their quarterfinal. Wozniacki might be easier in that regard.
On the men, on the other hand, I’m just waiting for that Fedole final, and I will be severely disappointed if it fails to happen for any reason other than Murray winning tomorrow(and then I really hope the Scot delivers something worth watching in its place).
So now I would say there are officially two people left in the draw who can stop a Williams/Sharapova final, those being Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova themselves, and I honestly don’t see either of them doing it. So guess that final’s going to be a boring one.
But while most of my predictions have gone kaplooie again, but well, recalling my crazy prediction about Belinda Bencic for Wimbledon, I’m suddenly wondering if maybe I was on the right track, just one slam off. Hey, she could make the semis now. If she can take out Angelique Kerber, I can’t help but feel she can take out Jelena Jankovic, and she can certainly take out whichever of Safarova or Peng makes that quarterfinal.
On the men’s side, my views have changed on nothing so far, expect that next year John Isner and Philipp Kohlschreiber really need to be on opposite sides of the draw, or at least in different quarters, because this is just getting cruel to poor Isman.
Between watching them both play so far and Mandy’s crazy leg issues, I would say I think this is going to be another Fedole final, except that I suspect that if I did, one or both of them would then have a bad day and crash out, and given some recent history they both have, it definitely seems too early to predict that yet.
I would also say that if this Catherine Bellis person reached the round of 16 and then beat Eugunie Bouchard in it, I was going to laugh, except I don’t think she needs the hype she’d get hit with then, especially when her ability to deal with that kind of pressure is as yet a complete unknown. Though I suppose it would be nice for her to just reach the round of 16 anyway.
I will say I’m really sorry Serena and Kvitova are in the same half. I think that might just have made for a very competitive final, provided neither got shocked beforehand. Although perhaps Serena-Radwanska or Serena-Halep, could work, provided again Serena doesn’t get shocked, and Maria Sharapova doesn’t take out both the Pole and the Romanian.