Earning it

Focused, cold-blooded (as if), and gorgeous. That's it, Sharapova is a disguised KGB agent.

I never played a Grand Slam. Probably, never will. Which is a pity. I’m known here in my hood as a mix between Hewitt, Rafter, Safin and McEnroe – I can be as prick-ish as Hewitt and McEnroe were. I like the net (though I’m totally clueless there) like Rafter. And I have my tantrums as Marat. I wish girls considered me as hot as they consider him, but no. Whatever, why am I saying that? Oh, right.

I never played a Grand Slam – that you already know. I never knew what is like to wait in the tunnel and walk into the main court. I don’t exactly know how a top-dog get ready for a semifinal match. But there are certain things you don’t practice for, you don’t get ready for. You are. Just like that.

Sharapova, for example. She is a fighter (though all her “Come On”s are a bit too much unnecessary). You (like me — I still have some reservations) may not like her style, but you can’t question her mental investment in a match. Like today. She was down 0/3 in the first set to Cinderella Lisicki. Sabine had held, broken her to start and held again, showing a great display of tennis and confidence enough to, after only seven minutes, get halfway there to win the set.

Then they sat. Next it was Sharapova’s turn again to serve. Two more double-faults – the routine, something she just can’t avoid – and a tight game it was. Sabine had the break-point to go up 4/0, that could have changed the story of the match. But she didn’t. Sharapova held, and went on to win six of the next seven games, closing the first at 6/4.

And that was enough for Sabine. While Maria pushed even harder, it was Sabine’s turn to have a slow start. And that doomed her chances, as Shara seized a love-break and quickly put herself up 3/0 in the second – still hitting routine double-faults. It didn’t matter. Even with 13 DFs, Sharapova barely had problems to spoil Lisicki’s first Major final and snap her 11-win streak. 6/4, 6/3, and the fifth Major final for Sharapova, second at Wimbledon. And oh, did I mention she will return to the top-5?

I found it awesome how, in a given moment of the match, while Sharapova had the advantage and the German was serving to stay in the match, she kept pushing, giving 100%. Of course, her weak serve helps with the decision of going for insurance breaks but… she had me in that very moment. Even little Pete here, who’s openly not a big fan of Maria, clapped her. Because would be irrational not to praise her, being a tennis fan, by definition someone who likes tennis well-played.

So, yeah, Maria. I’m not going to sign up for your fan club, but I appreciate your style. (Until you start shouting Come Ons and stuff, but I can deal with that) (I think)

 

PS: This was supposed to be a post for both of the Wimbledon finalists, but it’s… a bit long now. So I’m closing this one out.

Advertisements

Magic Monday

Must admit that when I first started talking about how magic grass is, I did not know Wimbledon had it officially, all written with a cute letterhead and stuff. This day, after the famous Middle Sunday is known as the Magic Monday. Or Manic Monday. Whatever. Will call it Magic Monday.

And for more ATP puts on such an herculean effort to keep the adjective – whatever it is – out of the ‘Monday’ (only Mardy Fish dared to change the rules today; not sure Bernard Tomic’s triumph over Malisse can be considered such a huge example of transgression) we have WTA – ALWAYS – to make up for it.

The ladies opened five courts tomorrow. Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Sabine Lisicki did not left any room for littluns Peng, Petrova (not so little) and Cet’who’vska to feel the minimum excitement. And really, one could not expect an upset or surprise from Paszek/Pervak.

Allez, Marion!

But the fifth element… is always the charm. Not sure you can call Bartoli’s win over Serena properly an upset – Marion is having a great year, while Serena is not having a season at all, but heck, her last name is Williams and she was the defending champion. Hence, props to Marion Bartoli for her 6/3, 7/6 (8) win. And props to Serena, for saving four match points and fighting to the end.

"Work hard, sun-to-sun and someday you will be as good as me" - Tsvetana Pironkova

One Williams losing = wow. What about two? In the same day? At Wimbledon. Must be Magic Monday. No, better, it’s Tsvetana PironGOATova – she beat Venus for the second consecutive year, 6/2, 6/3. Do I have to say anything else beside “I told you so”, re.: Pironkova? We all should know by now she’s too humble to keep her Wimbledon momentum during the rest of the season. Otherwise, it would be Steffi’s 1988 all over again.

For the second consecutive Slam, a Slovak spoiled Caro's dreams.

Last, but not least. Dominika Cibulkova 1/6, 7/6, 7/5 Caroline. I have this little theory people were not expecting her to win – not with Venus, Serena, Shara, etc, etc. in the draw. No, they wanted her to lose – so the hating wave could strike again. I’m not the biggest Caro enthusiast, but chill out, people. She doesn’t have to complete the Calendar Slam to deserve the #1. But about the winner: Domi heavily depends on her confidence. When she’s on, she’s on: winners minus unforceds = yeah. But when she’s off… unforceds minus winners. Playing Sharapova next, she’s better count with the first option. Otherwise…

The other match of the day was a blow out. Kvitova routinized Yanina, ugly ugly scoreline.

 

QF meetings: Pironkova vs. Kvitova, Azarenka vs. Paszek // Sharapova vs. Cibulkova, Bartoli vs. Lisicki

Two statements

When it comes to Grand Slams and main courts it’s hard to please everybody. Too many matches involving too many top players, someone is always going to be relegated to an outside court.

The criteria DA uses? Not sure, but I believe “history” and “prospect” play a pivotal role on it all. And if sometimes the gambles fail, other times they pay – a lot. Something like a flood of golden coins falling off the slot’s mouth into your bucket.

But in even rarer cases, these matches reach a whole new level. They become unforgettable pieces of artwork, that will make future generations feel sorry they didn’t watch it. These some-of-a-kind matches are statements.

Luckily for us, Wimbledon’s Centre Court – the most central tennis court of the Earth – saw two of these statements in consecutive days. And since my toothless words won’t make justice for them, I’ll leave you the highlights and a quick thought in the end of the post.

Just play the videos and enjoy!

 

[23] Venus Williams def. Kimiko Date-Krumm – 6/7 (6-8), 6/3, 8/6

 

 

Sabine Lisicki def. [3] Li Na – 3/6, 6/4, 8/6*

 

 

Some people say WTA is lame nowadays. This is the best answer. Better than ANY ATP match I’ve watched so far.

 

 

*: Not the best highlights video, but the best I could find. There will probably be better ones later. I could update this post, then.