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The Spartan Believer 03/29/2010 - 10:47 PM

96475752 by Pete Bodo

Well, it wasn't exactly Borg vs. McEnroe, Wimbledon 1980, but Sam Stosur and Jelena Jankovic played an entertaining and meaningful tiebreaker this evening under restless, roiled skies in breezy Miami.

It ended badly for Jankovic, the No. 7 seed and winner at Indian Wells last week, as Stosur held on to win the breaker 11-9, and with it the match. Jankovic's chance to win back-to-back Premier Mandatory events went pinwheeling off into the night like so many chickadees buffeted by the wind, but the palm fronds surrounding the court continued clicking and rattling, taking Jankovic to task for blowing an interesting opportunity.

Stosur had already laid a little wood on Jankovic's fanny when I walked into Court 1, under the erroneous impression that I had plenty of time to settle in and enjoy the show. I might have suspected the direction things were taking by the pair of menacing turkey vultures that rode the gusts like a rollercoaster right above the court. They dropped low often enough to make me wonder if one of them wasn't about to descend and peck out Jankovic's eyes, but some things are better left to coaches, moms, agents and other professionals.

I say that only half in jest, for while windy conditions are equal opportunity irritants, they ought to have been more manageable for Jankovic, one of the most lithe and adaptable of players. Instead, they seemed to have an unduly deleterious effect on Jankovic, at least judging by the scoreboard, and the way her sherbet-green dress kept boiling up around her waist, as if our favorite WTA flake were doing an interpretation of that famous Marilyn Monroe subway-grate photo, but on behalf of Anta.

It ought to have been the other way around. Slammin' Sammy Stosur's game is, on the whole, more dependent on precision and timing (more on that later), and acting out something very like set pieces, all based on her outstanding serve. That serve, she would tell me after win, has been the cornerstone of her recent success. "I've had some good results starting about this time last year, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm serving well. I've been getting a good percentage of first serves in, and no matter how well you serve the ball, if you're not getting it in, who cares?"

Jankovic, by contrast, is at her best when she's free to improvise, counter-punch, and use her natural flexibility to retrieve her opponent's most invasive questions. In fact, she's a lot like a yellow lab, or similar retriever breed of dog. She goes into a serene, focused state when when she's scampering east-to-west along the baseline, at full stretch, making desperate reaction-born fetches. She can do wonders chasing a ball, and never seems happier, or more in tune with what she's cut out to do. But like that lab, there isn't a whole lot she can do if you just give her the ball with the command, Okay, Jelly, now do something...

Whether it was the difficult conditions or Jankovic's flair for the dramatic, or some combination thereof, she was error-prone, grumpy and out of sorts; time and again she would drive a backhand into the net, or miss with the forehand, then volubly rue her fate, addressing the crowed with a slender arm elegantly extended - until she had to drop it to quell the hemline fluttering around her waist. 

Jankovic began to pull herself together in the second set, but she was up against a young lady who's as practical and disciplined as Jankovic is flighty and profligate. Stosur has gradually evolved into something like the consumate professional. When her own hot-salmon dress rode up, the serious tan lines on her upper thighs told the story - this is a woman who has spent a lot of time in shorts, presumably whacking balls under a broiling sun. The dedication shows in her game, too, and not just in the familiar ways. There's a point of diminishing returns where focusing on technique and execution, on maximizing your strengths and hiding our weaknesses, eventually leaves you with a game that, apart from anything else, looks studied. 

But such hard work has its rewards, even if it's at the expense of the natural. The serve is the one shot over which a player has absolute control; theoretically, at least, a player could go an entire match without having his or her serve returned. Stosur plays as if that's her aim, and the priority and focus she assigns the task is palpable. She's learned to trust her serve, and to try to get the most out of each delivery. She's built her game around it in a way that suggests that screwing up is not an option, and that's unusual on the WTA tour.

Jankovic returned her share of Stosur's well-placed bullets, but she was backed into a corner  throughout the second set. Stosur's ability to hold, and to work her way out of potentially sticky situations (15-30, or deuce) with the serve must have had a corrosive influence on Jankovic's game. Oh, the Serbian star kept finding ways to stay with Stosur, for that's what she does best; she's the human equivalent of the philanthropic world's "matching grant." But Stosur set the pace, and her ability to hold, slamming the door of opportunity shut each time she leaves it open a crack, eventually took its toll. It always does.

In the tiebreaker, however, Stosur served up a mortifying double fault at 1-1 (let's remember, it wasn't all that long ago that Stosur was a poster child for head case tennis players worldwide). But Jankovic responded in kind (see what I mean about "matching grant?"). From there on, though, both women played pretty tight tennis. Jankovic started points, then tried to figure out ways to win them. Stosur figured out what she needed to do, then started points - and tried to end them on her terms.

The tiebreaker points went on serve until Stosur reached match point, at 5-6 (with Jankovic serving). Stosur made a forehand error and in the blink of an eye Jankovic had a set point. But Stosur brushed it aside. Stosur had another match point at 8-7, but blew it with a wild forehand error. Then it was Jankovic's turn again, with a set point, but Stosur erased it with a good forehand. She ended it two points later with a backhand laser down the line.

Stosur is aware of her shortcomings and she's built around them just as much as she's based her game on her signature stroke. She's developed a streamlined game plan on her journey from electric but sometimes ghastly shotmaker (think Amelie Mauresmo, or Hana Mandlikova). She's become a spartan believer in "the game plan."

Of course, tennis isn't entirely about figuring it out; you have this little matter of physical and even mental limitations, a complex and inter-related set of strengths and weaknesses. Every player's game is unique, like a fingerprint. When a player does due diligence, the way Stosur has, it tends to heighten the visibility of her shortcomings as well as her strengths. In Stosur's case - and it really seems a novel one for a player with such natural feel and athleticism - the outstanding flaw is, ironically, something as fundamental and seemingly second-nature as body positioning relative to the ball.

You'd think that any world-class player would have this distance-to-the-ball thing down pat, but it's surprising how often Stosur overruns a ball, or ends up playing it too close to her body (one by-product of that is a slice backhand that lacks sting). I suppose it's a sign of bad footwork, or slow reflexes. The conditions certainly had something to do with her positioning difficulties tonight, but it was still clear that Stosur doesn't - make that can't - adjust nearly as well to the ball as does Jankovic. Never mind. Stosur compensated for the shortcoming by having a clear idea of what she was going to do, and deciding that nothing was going to stop her. She had the game plan.

When I asked if she was worried that the tiebreaker might slip away and leave her dead-even despite the great start, she merely shrugged and said: "Well, I knew what I wanted to do in that match (serve well, take the game to Jankovic, end points with crisp, positive tennis), so it didn't really matter. I had to keep pushing her. If I'd lost that second set, I would have gone on in the third doing the same thing."

And that's the spartan way, isn't it?


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Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 03/31/2010 at 12:57 PM

Diane: Yes, that is very true. BTW, hope you are feeling much better today.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 12:58 PM

is this where everyone is going to be for justine and caroline?

Posted by Tigress (no longer basking in Sweet 16) 03/31/2010 at 12:59 PM

Just watched the Fed-Berdych 3rd set again on tape.

I’m thinking of going back to the Happy Days before ’05 when I only watched Federer in Grand Slams. His Masters losses aren’t just losses. They are ingeniously contrived works of art in how to improbably wrest defeat from the jaws of victory. At IW, he blew match point after match point after match point against an uninspired journeyman by making weak passive returns of Baggy’s 2nd serves followed by UFE’s in neutral rallies.

What did we get yesterday? The usual: 2/10 on BP’s. 61 UFE’s. Misses his 1st serve on MP in the 3rd set TB. When his opponent is drowning and on the verge of going under, throw him a UFE life-raft. Keep him in the game at all costs , Keep him hanging around. Don’t close it out when you’ve got him on the run.

Lose every Virtual Match Point you encounter. 0-30 at 4-5 in the 3rd set, 2 points from victory and Berdych floundering. Take control of rallies and then make a silly UFE into the net on the crucial shot to keep from getting to double MP and then MP. 15-30 at 5-6 and 2 points from victory: Hawkeye saves your opponent by millimeters, then blow another point at 30-30 with an easy BH UFE into the net to blow getting an MP.

Go get a wildcard for Monte Carlo, Roger. Sorry, but you neither need nor deserve a rest. You need more match play and less passivity and rust. Stop writing these Tennis Horror novels!

Posted by Christopher 03/31/2010 at 01:01 PM

O.K. Samantha. Sorry if I misunderstood what you were trying to do with those posts. It seemed pretty clear from what you said, but I'm happy to let it be.

Good luck with your two favs playing today. I'll grant you this, you've linked these two players so strongly in my mind that I forget that for the tennis world beyond this board (if there is such a thing) there actually is nothing connecting them!

For what it's worth, though I don't have anything against Caro, I'll be routing for Justine. I'm much rather have her playing style be the one that inspires future WTA players.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:04 PM

Predictions for the day: Henin def. Wozniacki in a pretty straight forward fashion. maybe a set at 6-4 or 7-5.
: Clijsters def. Stosur 6-2, 6-3 to set up an all belgian clash.

Posted by imjimmy 03/31/2010 at 01:04 PM

""I will only say I was very disappointed about Rafa's match yesterday, it was the worst match that I have ever seen him play. ""

I'd say that his victory against Alamagro in Paris and in UsO 09 were the WORST matches Nadal's ever played. The former was such a train wreck that even the WTA would be embarrassed. That said, yeterday's match made my head hurt. Hope it doesn't become a habit for the clay warrior.

Posted by phillykat 03/31/2010 at 01:04 PM

just to rant...

echoing others comments that this being a HUGE tourney (the next biggest outside of the USO for me) that the tv coverage here in the states lacks so much to be desired.

AND...

trying to follow along on TennisWorld is becoming almost an equal chore. 29 pages or so, covering like 3-4 days of tennis on a thread that you have to go back 3 posts to find from the red meat post (?) that has the front page!?! I'm more of a longtime lurker who delurks to post during the bigger tourneys, so I kinda consider myself the casual fan (I think) they were trying to lure in with all the new redesigns. IMO this isn't cutting it (just my lowly opinion ok) waaay too much work to find the current thread where match calls, comments and such on the live matches. Casual fans may not even know/realize there are vibrant, funny and up-to-date commentary going on about the live (and just ended) matches. (that said, I am a devotee so I WILL scroll through until I find people :))

ok. got that off my chest. now to find a "free" stream to watch some tennis.

Enjoy the matches TWibers.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 03/31/2010 at 01:06 PM

london: that sounds about right.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/31/2010 at 01:07 PM

Even worse than the awful WTF match against Djokovic? *shudders at memories* At least he won the others. :)

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 01:09 PM

"yesterday's match made my head hurt."

i think a lot of people got headaches from yesterday's matches, seeing as the sky was falling on their heads

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 01:11 PM

LOL, Grant. That's perfect.

Posted by swalker007 03/31/2010 at 01:12 PM

C'mon juju, 6 love, 6 love please!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/31/2010 at 01:12 PM

Henin off to a good start. I like the bold shade of pink she's wearing.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 03/31/2010 at 01:13 PM

Watching on regular tv...yeah!

How can a player end the moonballing? Seriously. It keeps you pinned to the baseline and gives the moonballer all the time needed to get back in proper position. As much as I hate watching it, I must admit it works quite well. A player (maybe Serena?) once said when facing such an opponent that it felt like playing in the juniors....I must agree, I see it all the time when my son competes...moonballing is the desperate choice when being outplayed.

(I'm hoping Henin's play will answer my question!)

Posted by swalker007 03/31/2010 at 01:15 PM

jewell: I describe it as pepto bimol pink.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:17 PM

wozniacki and henin have begun! henin broke to start the match and henin is at duece on her serve.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 03/31/2010 at 01:18 PM

phillykat: I hope pete see's your 1:04 post. hope you drop in again today. if you can find us.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:18 PM

where is samantha E?

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 01:20 PM

Hi Everyone:-) Such a beautiful day in Gurnee and i'm inside watching tennis!hehe I think the way to stop the moonballing is to step in and crack a winner....but what do I know!(said from the comfort of my couch;-)

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 03/31/2010 at 01:20 PM

Samantha will be watching somewhere, I guarantee it.

Posted by CL 03/31/2010 at 01:22 PM

Grant - the biggest chunk of sky came down on T-Byrd and seemed to make him forget that he was supposed to choke the match away. Question is, will it be temporary amnesia, or will he continue to forget that he is mentally week? I forget who he is to play next. Hott Sauce? If so a battle of the (potential) cheese heads. And not the GB Packer kind.

c'mon T-Byrd - reverse the curse of the post big match blues!

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:23 PM

phillykat, i sooooooo agree with you!!!! i say we revolt and do match calls on his red meat post! who's with me?...................nobody? ehh figures......justine is broken right back. and that was a very close overhead.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 03/31/2010 at 01:23 PM

Justine at the net...yipee!

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:24 PM

and justine breaks right back. oh lord, will it be one of THOSE matches??? i hope not!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/31/2010 at 01:25 PM

Three games, three breaks...

I suppose it is rather a vivid shade, swalker007. :)

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:26 PM

omg i wish i was in miami right now! my favorite city.

Posted by CL 03/31/2010 at 01:26 PM

I have such an especially lovely picture of tennis on my tv...would that the tennis was as lovely. Must be something Byrdy and Fed left on the court last night, dragging down the level.

phillykat - quite agree about the TW chase. I feel like we are in a Road Runner Cartoon and have yet to establish who is the Road Runner and who is Wiley E. Coyote. If you see anything that has 'Acme" stamped on it, move VERY carefully away.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 01:26 PM

Thanks Lynn, much better today, fever is fianally gone and although Roger tried to kill me last night, I think I'll live!

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:28 PM

LMAO!!! at wozniacki's terrible decision to hit an overhead from back there!

Posted by CL 03/31/2010 at 01:28 PM

BTW- there is a new post up...something about lightning striking twice...can't possibley imagine what that is about. Shall we all move, or play 'confuse a cat' and stay here?

Posted by swalker007 03/31/2010 at 01:30 PM

Oh juju...stupid with the Allez

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 01:30 PM

I've never seen that call made before.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/31/2010 at 01:31 PM

Nice BP save from Justine - BH DTL.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 01:31 PM

Seriously, Caro. I know you're young and trying to figure out ways to win matches however it suits you, but please quit with the moonballs.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:31 PM

its not like her allez ruined caroline's shot. i think they should have replayed the point, thats what they did when serena shouted cmon at the yec championships, but instead the point goes to wozniacki.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 01:31 PM

Tigress, I admire you for having the strength to watch that 3rd set again; I prefer to think of it as a product of my fevered mind last night.

Posted by imjimmy 03/31/2010 at 01:31 PM

""How can a player end the moonballing? .moonballing is the desperate choice when being outplayed. ""

I guess that depends on playing style for a large part. The more spin you get on your shots, the less penetration you get on them. In Nadal's case it's hard to hit his kind of forehand, having a peak rpm, of 5000 without elevating and looping it. Of course that style really does not work as well on faster courts which are less conducive to spin and bounce. It's more like hitting practice for your opponent.

W.r.t ending the moonballing, when Nadal was in his prime he had changed his game for success on faster courts and decreased moonballing. He truncated his backhand. He started finishing his forehand follow through across his body as opposed to the reverse finish over his head. This sacrificed spin, but got him more depth and penetration. Obviously that is against his basic nature, so when he's not confident or under pressure he resorts to high percentage moonball tennis.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 01:32 PM

What was that call, Neveah? I missed it.

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/31/2010 at 01:32 PM

""How can a player end the moonballing?""

The goal, I think, is to end moonballing by hitting a flast fastball or a slice. Tough to reply to these balls using a moonball. How you do it is the difficulty. Generally speaking, there are a few ways:

1) Take it out of the air and hit a drive volley. Advisable only on shorter ones, and/or if the opponent doesn't have super passing shots....so you can follow to net.

2) Play a half volley. Totally unadvisable using a 1hbh, unless your name is Federer and opponent is not Rafa. Most people can do it against a similar level opponent with fh or 2hbh.

3) Flat drive from above the shoulder. Again you need to time it well, if the opponent has a lot of top. Easier if he/she doesn't. Impossible to do with 1hbh.

4) Slice -- easier and safer to play. Tough to get it down low enough though, especially if opponent has a great transition fh.

I think like all shots you just need to pick the right moonball to do it on. Keep moonballing till the right option presents itself. But, more than anything, one should not get pissed off and think it's beneath you. Surest road to disaster.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:34 PM

i dont even know anymore whether we should move but i say we should because this is starting to get ridiculous. justine up 3-1.

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 01:35 PM

Greenhopper,Justine said Allez because she thought she had won the point but she didnt.The Umpire called hindering and gave the point to Caroline.I thought she'd get a warning.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:36 PM

wozniacki holds after some scrappy play. henin to serve 3-2.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:37 PM

honestly, i though they shoudve just replayed the point.

Posted by karin1492 03/31/2010 at 01:37 PM

I realize now that I've never actually seen Wozniacki play before. I thought you guys were just exaggerating how much she moonballs. I've come to realize you give her too much credit. How is she #2 again?

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 01:38 PM

"If you see anything that has 'Acme" stamped on it, move VERY carefully away."

He he, CL. Maybe it's not the sky falling, but anvils? :)

Posted by karin1492 03/31/2010 at 01:38 PM

I guess moonballing is an offensive weapon if you aren't used to playing it or haven't played it since you were five and just learing how to hit a ball.

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 01:39 PM

@London..and yes replay the point;-)
@Karin..Consistency is why she's #2.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 01:39 PM

Thanks, neveah. That's gotta be a first, no?

Spacie, thanks for the tip. Totally saving this.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 01:40 PM

See Caroline staying in striking distance of Justine.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:41 PM

um where was henin's head on that drop shot?

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:42 PM

and wozniacki breaks. cmon justine roll her.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/31/2010 at 01:42 PM

I don't mind the moonballs at all, in fact I quite enjoy seeing the way they can frustrate an opponent - but I do dislike on-court coaching.

Wozniacki breaks back again off an Henin error, 3-3.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 01:42 PM

Can anyone give an update on how each player is playing so far as it is 3-all? Have Piotr been on the court yet?

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 01:42 PM

You're welcome GH;-) and Yes,that's the first time i've ever seen it.Caroline's moonballs draws errors from her opponents so it's an ugly but good strategy.

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/31/2010 at 01:44 PM

karin, I dunno. There's a whole continuum of moonballs, depending on how much action you can put on it. If you are able to generate a lot of top, you an get a fantastic moonball simply by changing the trajectory of your shot...say one foot better net clearance. Many ATP guys use their neutral forehands in this way. A good example is the Federer-Andreev match at Oz '10....those were some monster moonballs.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:46 PM

master ace, yes piotr (im assuming that is wozniacki's coach) has been on the court for woz on the changeover at 3-2. justine has been the aggressive one dictating the points. its either a winner by justine or an error by justine. except caro just hit a great backhand winner for 40-30 and a service winner for the game. 4-3 wozniacki.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 01:46 PM

Andreev's wonky forehands look a lot like moonballs. I cringe every time he has to hit one.

That was nice court coverage from Caro there to hit a round the net post backhand winner. Probably an important hold. Justine needs a few first serves here.

Posted by imjimmy 03/31/2010 at 01:47 PM

""I guess moonballing is an offensive weapon if you aren't used to playing it or haven't played it since you were five and just learing how to hit a ball. ""

I agree. It's hard for the opponent to hit moonballs that land right close to the baseline. If it's very deep try to half volley it. For most others, step in, take the ball on the up block the spin and hit through the line to get maximum penetration. I'd say it's a joy to watch Nalbandian handle(in most cases destroy) Nadal's moonballs.

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 01:47 PM

Caroline is hanging with Justine right now.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 01:49 PM

London,
Correct on Piotr(Caroline coach and Dad) as he comes once a set.

Posted by Kombo 03/31/2010 at 01:49 PM

I remember when I was a child and I saw my first moonball... that was what got me into tennis, such a wonderful shot.

Posted by imjimmy 03/31/2010 at 01:49 PM

BTW great post Pspace. Although regd. #2, I couldn't hit a backhand half volley to save my life. It always amazes me when Sampras and Fed do it so effortlessly.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:50 PM

ewww justine is 2/13 on her second serve.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 01:50 PM

Currently, Caroline has not won a match against an active player who has reached the number 1 spot.

Posted by Kombo 03/31/2010 at 01:51 PM

this match has no rhythm...

Posted by imjimmy 03/31/2010 at 01:52 PM

""I remember when I was a child and I saw my first moonball... that was what got me into tennis, such a wonderful shot.""

LOL Kombo. Made my day. Thanks for the laugh!

Posted by swalker007 03/31/2010 at 01:52 PM

Juju looked confuzzled with that point.

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 01:52 PM

"I don't mind the moonballs at all, in fact I quite enjoy seeing the way they can frustrate an opponent"

I don't really get how "hit an unreturnable shot once" is more valid than "hit a mostly returnable shot till your opponent misses it"*

*unless I have to watch it

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 01:53 PM

JJ used the serve out wide on both courts really well against Caro at IW. Justine needs a few of those to get cheap points.

Posted by Kombo 03/31/2010 at 01:54 PM

Wozniacki's a tank. A very cute tank.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:54 PM

i remember in high school tennis when this one opponent kept hitting moonballs (in doubles). it annoyed the heck out of me. so i would just moonball him back or try and come in to the net. henin holds after a tough service game. 4-4.

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 01:55 PM

Lindsay said "It was a short moonball"!*Dead*lol

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/31/2010 at 01:56 PM

Some lovely net play for 15-all - from both players.

I suppose "hit an unreturnable shot once" is less likely to give you tendinitis, sigh.

Posted by moonballs 03/31/2010 at 01:57 PM

How's the Queen deals with moonballs so far? frustrated yet?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 01:57 PM

"A Pinch and a Punch For The first of The Month Everyone"

Its also April Fools Day here lol!

I have Henin and Caro on my tv screen.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 01:58 PM

thank you justine for going down the line. if she does that more, she wont get into the long rallies. maybe she should try and come in a bit more too.

Posted by CL 03/31/2010 at 01:58 PM

***waves to Sherlock***

This is getting VERY confusing...half the people are over here, 1/3 of the people are on the new thread and the remainder are lost in the tall TWibe reeds. (OK math whizzes, how much is 1/2 plus 1/3?)

BTW - and this is completely OT...wildly so in fact, but since there are a few more people over here, I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a good book about post WW2 occupation of Japan? Fiction or non fiction. Any ideas?

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 02:00 PM

caroline is actually controlling these points now, which is quite shocking. and henin with a forehand error into the net. wozniacki holds for 5-4.

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 02:02 PM

"I suppose "hit an unreturnable shot once" is less likely to give you tendinitis, sigh."

What's cool about Rafa is that his 'defensive' shot, by having so much spin, is actually hard enough to deal with that it should be considered at least passive-aggressive.

Same with Fed's slice too, I guess.

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 02:02 PM

Let's see if Caroline can break for the set.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 02:02 PM

At USO, Caroline was serving for the first set against Kim but could not deliver as Kim won the last 3 games to take it. She is not serving at this point but if she breaks, the set is hers and the confidence that she may get.

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 02:03 PM

"This is getting VERY confusing...half the people are over here, 1/3 of the people are on the new thread and the remainder are lost in the tall TWibe reeds. (OK math whizzes, how much is 1/2 plus 1/3?)"

you are not a border collie

Posted by CL 03/31/2010 at 02:05 PM

No one will ever moonball as much or as effectively as Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Spain's #1 in all things Moonball.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 02:05 PM

Henin's ball toss and serve again Yikes d/faults

Goodness she was 40 love

Posted by karin1492 03/31/2010 at 02:06 PM

Up 40/0 and now deuce. Bad Justine!

Posted by CL 03/31/2010 at 02:06 PM

Grant - how do you know? Oh wait... I get it. A border collie would know how much 1/2 plus 1/3 is. At least in sheep. But we are not sheeple, dammit!

Posted by karin1492 03/31/2010 at 02:07 PM

Some nice serving got Justine out of what some bad serving got her into. Typical Justine service game.

Posted by london 03/31/2010 at 02:07 PM

awww snap justine blows a 40-0 lead. its duece now. justine comes to net and puts away the volley. ad justine. big service winner. 5-5. caro to serve.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 03/31/2010 at 02:07 PM

I loved watching Arantxa. :)

Decent hold for Henin, 5-all.

Posted by Neveah 03/31/2010 at 02:07 PM

She couldn't..5all hehe

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 02:07 PM

CL I will second that one.She was a Moonballer to end all Moonballers.

Posted by karin1492 03/31/2010 at 02:08 PM

Justine has hit some nice returns up the line against CWoz

Posted by carnap 03/31/2010 at 02:09 PM

CL: "Madame Butterfly - Pinkerton Jr. Was A Real Bastid."

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 02:09 PM

Blah Justine f/hand netted.Good thought though

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 02:10 PM

"Grant - how do you know? Oh wait... I get it. A border collie would know how much 1/2 plus 1/3 is. At least in sheep. But we are not sheeple, dammit!"

well, they're a smart breed, but what i mean is a border collie would've herded everyone here by now. they're too good at their jobs for fractions.

[also, every now and then i feel the need to say something cryptic]

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 02:10 PM

It looks like Justine's lost a wee bit of power on her shots compared to Melbourne.

Posted by imjimmy 03/31/2010 at 02:10 PM

""CL I will second that one.She was a Moonballer to end all Moonballers.""

3rd'ed. There something in Spain that produces great dirtballers and great moonballers.

Posted by carnap 03/31/2010 at 02:11 PM

Author: Suzuki

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 02:11 PM

CL, 1/5? :)

I've no idea on the book. I'd think MacArthur himself would have told the story many times somewhere. :)

Posted by karin1492 03/31/2010 at 02:11 PM

nice point

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