September 4, 2011 Leave a comment
It is truly a pity that in the other end of an amazing, almost unbelievable comeback/heart-warming history of overcoming there is always someone heartbroken, lonely packing his/her stuff, throwing the towel behind the neck and leaving, head-down, timid waive to the crowd and some tears in the eyes.
It happened today.
Flavia Pennetta, straight out of a big win vs. Maria Sharapova and Peng Shuai played each other on the Louis Armstrong Arena, for a place in the US Open quarterfinals – Flavia had been there before, twice, but for Peng it would be a first.
Saying it was an instant classic won’t make justice to the match. O.K., I only watched it from the second set on, but still, it was a pretty boring tennis match. When it comes to tennis, however, the skills of the two players involved are never the only reason why a match is interesting. There is a very rare, almost unique, sauce out there, common in many sports, but only the professionals of tennis have mastered it to another level. For this rare spice, we call Drama.
And this we had galore today, mostly from the Italian part involved. From the very beginning of the second set, Flavia Pennetta started feeling ill under the blazing New York sun. From the middle of it, she was barely moving and sweating – a lot, like, really a lot, in an uncomfortable way even from viewers. But of course she wouldn’t let it go without a fight – after all, she was closer from the win than her Asian counterpart, since she had the first set already in her Adidas (I’m assuming it’s Adidas) bag.
So they played, with the constant threat of Flavia throwing up, the same way Peng was missing chances. Pennetta served for the set at 5/4, Shuai broke her, typical WTA thing. But the real deal was the tie-break.
Dry-heaving – and I’m not sure this is a verb, but what-ever – and with her movement heavily compromised, the Italian saw Peng open a 5-0 advantage, that became a 6-2 lead, with multiple set points for Peng – and who knows what would have happened to Pennetta in an eventual decider?
In the end, no decider was needed. I wish I had the video for the entire breaker, but unfortunately, I don’t. So the match point follows. It was Flavia’s fourth of the afternoon, and crowned one of the most emotional and dramatic comebacks I have seen in a while. Pure guts. In the end, you can’t just not feel bad for Peng and pumped for Pennetta.
But still, I believe it’s worth thanking Flavia – not just congratulating her for reaching the Open quarterfinals for the third time in the last four years – for sending us another reminder why we love this sport. Forza!
HERE A LINK FOR THE VIDEO, since I can’t incorporate it to WordPress. Meh.
In the quarterfinals, Flavia Pennetta will play unseeded Angelique Kerber; whoever will prevail, will debut in a Grand Slam semifinal.