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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 04:52 PM

Unfortunately, missed the end of Caroline and Justine because of shopping. Congrats to Justine and fans and commies to Caro and fans.

Manuel: Thankyou ... I do much prefer the "softer" version.

imjimmy: Yes, it was very ugly and very poor from Rafa. Let us just hope for better things today and hope that it's just niggles from those pesky wisdom teeth.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 04:54 PM

Nico you had break points there and just gave them away with poor shots

Thinko!

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 03/31/2010 at 04:55 PM

Bummer for Worm fans: http://tinyurl.com/ykfyc3j

Hope it's not Ancic-strength mono or anything else that will be debilitating in the long term. :/

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 04:56 PM

Hi everyone.
The Crisis Centers are coming back? That's good news. I mean getting to almost 30 pages was kinda ridiculous. And it was hard to find you all.
I watched the first set of the Hott Wzo vs Justine, and i think Caro played the best i have ever seen her in some stages of that set. However, towards the end, you could see her FH was leaving her a little bit and it was starting to become the expected match, with Justine dominating most points. I guess she started to become more consistent and eventually found the way to win. Still, i think the Hott Woz should be proud, and build on the way she played that first set.
As for Justine, i had the same feelings her game gave me in Oz. I'm not sure about this new serve at all, and i still dont get the over-aggressive returning, specially on 2nd serve, with the groundstrokes and movement she has. But obviously she must now what she's doing.

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 04:59 PM

"Yes. But the question is "When?""

well that's the tough one

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 05:00 PM

I didn't expect Roddick to steamroll Nico, especially if Nico was getting a high percentage of first serves in.

This match would be even closer if Nico was playing his break points on Roddick's serve better.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:01 PM

For what i've seen of Andy-Nico, Almagro is being the most aggressive player in the rallies, which is no surprise. I didnt watch the 1st set, but i'm guessing Almagro made a lot of errors in one game, and Andy simple held hsi serve to take the set. But Nico seems to be the better player so far in this 2nd set. He probably should have broken in Andy's 1st serve game, when he sent 2 shots to the net in his 2 BPs. Against Roddick's serve, you are not gonna get that many chances to break, and you cant waste them like that.

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 05:01 PM

Oh gawd, Gimmelslob laying it on too thick again.

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

Their was no need for Almagro to take that ball out of the air and drive volleying it.

But it probably felt good to him crushing that ball, even if it flew over the baseline.

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 05:03 PM

"Who says Gimelslob isn't smarter than your average bear?"

i don't know, but we should strand him in the arctic with some polar bears so he can prove them wrong

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:09 PM

That was a tremendous point, and Almagro saves the BP to escape the problems he had gotten himself into. Great defense by Roddick in that point, but he really is doing nothing special with his groundstrokes. You could see Nico was a little tense in that point, but Andy didnt put pressure on him

Posted by Carrie *Proud founding member of the Nico "Lil' Stinker" Almagro Fan Club 03/31/2010 at 05:09 PM

The comment about polar bears makes me thing of Planet Earth and the segment of the father polar bear and his cubs. Heart wrenching stuff- has anyone else seen it? I can't even tell folks about the scene without crying.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 05:11 PM

Glad am not watching this then. The least you could have done Nico, is take this to a TB.

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 05:13 PM

Hah, he breaks with a 'good at net Andy' point. Nice.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:13 PM

And there's the break for Andy. This is what i know about him: he knows his game, and how to take as much advantage as possible of it. In that game, he saw that Nico was making a good number of errors, never missed a single ball, even if he didnt do much with his shots, played very good defense, and picked his spots to be aggressive, like in that last point.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:16 PM

It has to be very tough to face Andy, specially from the mental side, unless your serve is as good as his (and very few can say that-Ljuby was an example at IW). You know that you are gonna have very few chances to break by set, if any, so when you have them, you are under quite a lot of pressure to take advantage. Besides, he makes very few UFEs, so when you are serving, once you are in a rally, you gotta be thinking that you have to avoid the errors, because if you make too many and get broken, the set is pretty much lost.
That's probably why Andy is so regular, wins so many matches, and is capable of staying in the Top 10 year after year.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 05:18 PM

Just got back in and saw the score. When I left school, Caro was winning, and I was so confident she was going to do it, but she sure gave Justine a good run. Congrats to Juju. Huge disapointment for me because I was so sure she was taking that next step and to be so close. I think what is so great about this blog is the freedom we have to frankly give our opinions on players. The fact that our names appear before the post gives those who are bothered by a poster's opinions the freedom to scroll and that is what is so great. Anyone bothered by my post, PLEASE simply scroll as fast as you can. All in the car, I was thinking about what I was going to say because I was so sure she would do it, so a big let down for me. Now she has almost beat Serena and Juju, she's taking the big steps. I surf all over the web, mainly at the Scandinavian websites and I hope Caro knows that win or lose, we support her and how much she's loved in these area and how very proud she makes us. Caro, du er den bedste, Scandiavia's#1! You deserve to be world's#2. I think if she can improve her serve and go for her shots like she did today then she can be a slam winner and I have waited so long for that.

Posted by Tigress (back to basking in Sweet 16) 03/31/2010 at 05:18 PM

Grant:

Many tennis jounalists and other vultures are sitting in their trees, watching the lion ghoulishly for any sign of weakness and ever-ready to swoop in proclaiming "the King is dead!" and partake in devouring the carcass while proclaiming a new King. Then we'll know 'when'. Except when they're overly eager and premature, as in '08 and early '09. Time is on their side, so they'll be 'right' eventually, even after being wrong so often.

Posted by Carrie *Proud founding member of the Nico "Lil' Stinker" Almagro Fan Club 03/31/2010 at 05:25 PM

Looks like the upset will not happen and it is rather quick and non-dramatic win for Andy. Oh well. Can't hope for much as a Nico fan. But QFs at a hard court Masters is nothing to frown at. He is slowly getting better results than he used to on the surface (he used to get no results on the surface.)

Tigress- you could also say that some tennis journalists/fans have done that with Rafa as well. Now the common meta for some is that Rafa is done for good and it is foolish to think he will get in the winner's circle again. It may come to pass- but there are vultures for a number of players in tennis- not just Roger. I mean- per some Murray will never get a grand slam, Nole is doomed to be a one slam wonder and Delpo had his only moment in the sun. That may all pan out- but it is too early to say.

Posted by tina 03/31/2010 at 05:29 PM

Maybe the Worm wants to rest up before the wedding?

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 05:30 PM

You know what I find curious is that when Vika "almost beat Serena at the AO, people bragged about how good she was. Well Caro had three match points against Serena and now got so close to Justine. This girl is starting to play better and better against the best players. Watch, she will do it.

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 05:31 PM

Mr. X, good thoughts on Mr. Roddick. He's done a lot with the hand he's been dealt.

Samantha, you should be proud. Sounds like Caro put up a great fight today.

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 05:33 PM

Woohoo! Andy wins. Can't believe he got away with playing that far behind the BL but, I'll take. Commies to Nico fans.

What's with Gimmelslob mentioning Fre Couples at every broadcast, is he trying to get into the Rafa posse? Pfft.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 05:33 PM

Congrats Andy much better game from you today.Good luck in the semis

Nico bad luck,you had your chances to break earler in the 2nd set but poor shot selection cost you.Good tournament for you to get to the q/finals.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:33 PM

Andy wins, 6-3,6-3. Congratulations to his fans. I had him winning at the beginning of the tournament, and i'm feeling confident about that pick. It's gonna be tough for the players left to beat him. Nadal probably could do it, but he would have to play well, which is far from a given, and he has to beat Tsonga first, which is even farther from being a given. Sod is the other one who could probably beat Andy, but he already lost to him at IW.
Conmiserations to Almagro fans. Too inconsistent to stay with Roddick in this match, IMO. Still, he's had good results on HCs in this start of the season, which is something new for him. QFs here and 4R in the AO are good results for him.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 05:35 PM

izidane, Roddick played a doubles exo or something with Fred Couples in Miami. He was asked about it in his presser yesterday.
Congrats on the win.

Disappointing to say the least, Nico, but not totally unexpected.

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 05:36 PM

Izidane, to me, Gimmels seems to always be trying to get into ANY posse. :)

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 05:37 PM

Wow, the Worm has some health issues; first he is engaged to the black widow and now maybe Nicole is sucking the lifeblood out of him!
I think the man has bad luck with women; funny that I should say that because he manages to hook up with lovely ladies and I don't mean to be judgemental, but I just don't find him very physically attractrive.
That may sound shallow and I don't mean it to be; obviously he is a fine gentleman. His women are top notch so I would imagine he has qualities that we fans don't know of!!!!~

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:37 PM

Samantha,
I saw the first set of Caro's match today, and you should be proud. That's the best i have seen her play. She was going for her shots, and not relying only on her defense. However, you can see that she was making an effort, and towards the end of the set, when it got close, she went back to being too defensive. Looking at the stats from the rest of the match, it seems that she went back to her usual game, and that's not gonna be enough against a player like Henin. She probably knew it, and that's why she tried something else, i assume. But if she gains confidence from the fact that she could apply that way of playing for a set and builds from there, i believe she could be dangerous even to the top players.

Posted by Pspace (Proud Rafaelite since Shakira) 03/31/2010 at 05:38 PM

That looked straightforward. Congrats to Roddick fans. Commies to Nico fans.

---

On Roddick -- The guy is just a bundle of contradictions. Great serve, but wins less points outright with it than he should. Uses it to set up the point, but plays extremely defensively. He's got such a live arm that he doesn't really use offensive footwork and weight transfer as well as some other players, which is really strange with a guy who can slice so beautifully. I just don't understand his tennis. *throws hands in air*

Posted by Carrie *Proud founding member of the Nico "Lil' Stinker" Almagro Fan Club 03/31/2010 at 05:38 PM

Mr. X - like Sherlock want to say good comments about Andy. One thing about him is that he may make some shanks and has had some moments of mental frailty but overall he is quite strong mentally in that he rarely ever beats himself- the other player just beats him. And I admire that he keeps plugging away. It must be frustrating for him to have been so close a number of times but he does not give up and keeps going and plugging away despite the whisperings of "one slam wonder" around him. And he may only get one slam- but it will not be because he was a headcase. I kind of feel like his tennis tombstone should say "Andy Roddick- He Kept Trying."

Posted by Grant 03/31/2010 at 05:39 PM

"The comment about polar bears makes me thing of Planet Earth and the segment of the father polar bear and his cubs. Heart wrenching stuff- has anyone else seen it? I can't even tell folks about the scene without crying."

Planet Earth is just the best.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 05:39 PM

Poles is up an early double break on the Bryans as they serve at 3-0

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 05:40 PM

For the record, I called this straight sets win this morning.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 09:53 AM

I have a feeling Roddick will take care of Nico in straight sets. Nico's break point conversion rate yesterday was shameful (3/14) and Roddick is going to be way more consistent with his serving and ground-strokes than Nico.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 05:44 PM

Mr.X, I'm just so down about it because she was so close, and I want a GS female champion from my part of the world so much. Borg was way before my time so I can't really relate to him.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 05:46 PM

Also for the record GH I did see your post accepting Demerit Cards coming your way?

For wanting Joe to win over Rafa.mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by Or 03/31/2010 at 05:46 PM

I'm just amazed at Roddick's consistency, he played very, very well. I REALLY want him to win this. If he has a good clay-court season, it can put him right back in the race. Should be fascinating to see how he'll be ranked for Wimby.

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 05:48 PM

With apologies to Rafa, I switch allegiance tonight. I cannot resist Jo:

http://cowbell.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83423e30253ef0133ec5a29e5970b-pi

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:52 PM

From a selfish point of view, it's good to see demerit cards being directed to someone else:)

Samantha,
Today is exactly the day you shouldnt be down about Caro, IMO. She showed something else against a top player. Maybe her day will actually come in the future.

Diane,
I dont think you need to apologise for being shallow. Most of us do it all the time:)

On that note, i want to indicate that i have already posted 3 times about the Hott Woz today and not mentioned how good she looked:)

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 05:52 PM

AM, it might be a good thing for you, because my strongly rooting for him over Rafa can only mean one thing: Jo is going down in flames. :(

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 05:55 PM

Pspace You were never a Rafa fan to begin with Pfft.

GH Dont use the reverse physico trick with me?

Anyway unless Rafa gets his trrain wreck of a game together I can see Jow winning

Though if its like that Nightmare of a game back at the AO 08 I will die.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 05:55 PM

"With apologies to Rafa, I switch allegiance tonight."
Unbelieveable. The guy switches allegiance about twice per day, i think.
Meh, you are not tricking anybody. We all know who is still your guy:)

Or,
I believe the people at Wimbledon use a mathematical method to determine the seeds. So i guess it will depend on the ranking points they have, but if he's close enough, he could very well jump over guys like Sod, Kolya or even Delpo, considering that his results on grass are much better than theirs.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 05:56 PM

Mr X I wouldnt speak too soon if I were you

You hold that postion of no 1 quite comfortably.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 05:56 PM

Samantha E, you should be so up because she came so close. Caro made a world class player pull out all the stops to beat her. Surely this is a plus.
All she needs to do is develope one weapon and she will be contending for grand slams. She already has the weapon of consistancy, just a little more power in a stroke and she's there with the best of them.
Right now, I really don't enjoy watching her tennis, but I do think she is great for the game and as soon as she gets a bit more agressive, I will be a fan!

Posted by linex 03/31/2010 at 05:56 PM

At what time does Kim play?

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 03/31/2010 at 05:58 PM

I disagree about the media and rafa, they give him nothing but excuses and if he wins ONE tournament, he will be according to them back with a vengeance, whereas Fed loses a few matches and they cant wait to start the death march!

better now though, with all the records stuffed away, it doesnt matter too much, they might finally start to respect what he's done and not push him into retirement too quickly..

great for Henin to beat the moonballer, always nice to see the aggressive all court player come through...

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 06:00 PM

Tim My friend its called "The Tall Poppy Syndrome"

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 06:00 PM

OK, I'll ask.

I thought mother polar bears raised the cubs.

Were these polar bear cubs hanging out with the father because something happened to the mother?

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 06:01 PM

Mr. X, hehe, who is it? 'Cos I sure as hell don't know ;-).

Anyway, to put a positive spin on it, Rafa needs to get his wisdom teeth out. Best he loses today, so he can have the operation and be ready for MC.

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 06:01 PM

Pspace, you're developing quite a reputation. :)

"On that note, i want to indicate that i have already posted 3 times about the Hott Woz today and not mentioned how good she looked"

I was going to ask if you were feeling ok. :)

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

I don't know, I have two joint favourites in Jo and Rafa. Rafa had his chances at IW, and he blew it against a balding veteran with no legs. Jo is finally sorta beginning to play well, so I'd like him to keep this momentum going. Besides he's really unlikely to pick any points over the clay season. Hey, may be Jo will blow his chances tonight so they both can call it even on me. Blech.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 06:05 PM

Rafa Had every opportunity to get his wisdom tooth out while he was in Rehab? no he decides to hook up with a Cougar Latin Diva and make a music video? pfft.

There are no excuses for him.You can push through dental pain

What is this sport coming to?

Now back when men wore Real Tennis Shorts and Long Socks this kind of caper didnt happen.They would play until death

These days a broken toe nail and there out for bloody weeks.

Posted by Tim (Year of Red Rogie ) 03/31/2010 at 06:06 PM

but from what I saw, Moonball Woz did better than I expected with her Moons, glad Justine puller herself together though, the match was in her hands from the start

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 06:07 PM

AM, but in the days of Real Tennis Shorts and Long Socks, players could pop painkillers and a variety of other drugs.

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 06:07 PM

IMO, the name starts with an "F", Pspace:)

AM,
Maybe you would even be willing to say i'm the GOAT in that sense:)

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 06:08 PM

Tim, I would appreciate if you would leave Caro alone and stop with the moonball stuff. That isn't the only things to her game. Thanks Diane and Mr.X. Hey, how does everyone think about the Stosur, Kim match. I'll be cheering for Stosur. What do people think of her chances?

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 06:11 PM

I'm just laughing very loudly at how much AM's opinions about the video are exactly the same as my own mother's.
I keep what i said to her today: that only happens to them because they saw Nadal as "their boy".
And the guy isnt that much of a boy anymore.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 06:12 PM

Pspace aka Joe fan

What??? excuse time

I could say something to you in French but I will get moderated.

Its April Fools day here by the way.

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 06:13 PM

Mr. X, hehe, my Fed fandom is in a sorta state like what happened with Andre in his later years. I still like the guy a lot, but I don't really care that much if he wins or loses. Just sorta soak in the matches, and appreciate the good shots. Hmmm...honestly I don't know. I just like most of the players atm, but don't really bleed for any1...which is a kinda good place to be.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 06:14 PM

Mr X I could also inform you what Goats get up to but I am in Lent

By the way your mother is a most wonderful woman.

Posted by Christopher 03/31/2010 at 06:18 PM

"Borg was way before my time so I can't really relate to him."

Samantha-- I'll be pretty surprised if Caro doesn't win a slam in the next few years. She seems to have the right mental attitude and once Serena and Justine (re)retire, everything opens up.

But you hardly need look as far back as Borg for great Swedish players! Wilander, Edberg, even Soderling is looking pretty darn good at the moment.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 06:20 PM

Did someone mention Borg? lol!

Posted by manuelsantanafan 03/31/2010 at 06:24 PM

Samantha:

Sweden's Sven Davidson also won the French Open.

Perhaps you could relate to him.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 06:25 PM

Fyrstenberg and Matkowski are doubles headcases extraordinaire. When on fire, they'd just blow away opponents or fold like a cheap deck chair. 6-2 6-2 over the Bryans today in just over 50 minutes.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 06:29 PM

SamE, your welcome, but I only say what I think is fact. Caro wil be a force to contend with; at least I hope so. As I mentioned, all she needs is a forcing shot of some kind and she's there.
As far as Kim and Sam, I will be cheering for Kim; just think that it will be more exciting matchup!

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 06:34 PM

linex, Kim/Sam is not before 7pm TW time.

Posted by linex 03/31/2010 at 06:39 PM

Thank you greenhopper.

Posted by Sherlock 03/31/2010 at 06:51 PM

'Hopper, what country or countries are Fyrstenberg and Matkowski from?

Posted by izidane 03/31/2010 at 06:54 PM

' Rafa had his chances at IW, and he blew it against a balding veteran with no legs.'
~~~~~~~~~~
ghopper,
A bit harsh on Rafa, no? Baldy took the whole sheebang. BTW that dubs result against the twins is incredible, last time I watched Matkowski and Furst play was at the WTFs.

Firmly planted in the JoWilly camp tonight, hope both boys bring the fireworks tonight.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 06:57 PM

You will not guess that, Sherlock. Poland. :)

izidane, in retrospect yes, but Rafa was up a break in the 2nd set and could have closed him out sooner. Not saying he'd have beaten Roddick in the final, but given their head-to-head it could have been possible. But sure, that was mainly frustration talking.

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

Anyone know when the Spanish Armada doubles match will be played? How long has it been since Nico finished his singles match?

And where are match calls going to happen for Rafa-Jo?

So many questions...

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 07:03 PM

Greenhopper,
Agree about the Poles being hot and cold. They have improved on HC.

Posted by Jamaica Karen just say no to FeDal and on-court coaching (in love with Mark Harmon) and 3 days until chocolate 03/31/2010 at 07:03 PM

Good evening All. Congrats to Justine fans and commies to my fellow Wozniacki fans. She played a great match, but I have the following observations:
1st set - Woz was mixing it up, being aggressive on the returns, aggressive on the serve and controlling the rallies by moving the ball around and pounding Justine's backhand. It worked and she pulled out the first set.
2nd set - Woz was still mixing it up but Justine's aggression started kicking in and she was handling the no-pace junk that Woz was throwing at her. Woz then started to become unsure of herself and started getting defensive. Justine's aggression went up a notch, as well as her first serve and Justine won the second.
3rd set - Woz started getting tired - hard to say but she was. She had to be working so hard to even hold serve and she was seeing nothing on Justine's serve.
One of the problems that Woz had in relation to Justine's serve and her inability to get anywhere on the returns is where she stood to receive. She kept camping out on the backhand side while Justine kept going to her forehand. Instead of taking away Justine's one serve away from her she just kept doing the same thing over and over again and not having much joy. It was a good loss but a lot of deficiencies were shown up in Woz's game today and I am hopeful that she and her team will be able to address this during practice. At the end of the day she cannot continue to be moonballing and running down balls all day long against the better players. They will blow her off the court as they have an arsenal in their racquet bags and 90% of them are not about staying out there in 90 degree heat for 3 hours playing a match. They want it over and done with fast and if it means that they make a few errors during those matches, then so be it. Justine hit 61 UFE in the match today and 53 winners. Woz on the other hand only had 21 winners and about 35 UFE. I think that stat alone tells the tale of what happened out there today.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 07:07 PM

Thank you MSF and Christopher.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:08 PM

So it by a huge chance Rafa wins tonight he dosent play on Friday is that right

Gee I wish you guys were on the same day as I am here.Too confusing.Its Thursday here.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:10 PM

Samantha Elin I feel Caroline has a great game for the clay and will be looking for her to get good results in the up coming clay season

Posted by Pspace (Allez Tsonga!) 03/31/2010 at 07:10 PM

LOL, AM. Yes. Rafa will get a day of if he wins today....which is tomorrow on your planet ;-)

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:15 PM

Is anybody watching Kim-Sam? Kim is already up 3-0, and in the couple of points i watched, i saw Sam's slice BH has some similarities with Rafa's. It also sits up quite nicely for her opponent to attack.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 07:15 PM

Yeah. AM. If Rafa were to win (huge IF) - he'd get 48 hours off. So, the match would be Saturday morning our time (either nowish if a night match or a bit earlier if he got a day match).

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:16 PM

Tsonga fan Thanks.Which makes that Saturday here.I will still be able to keep my hair appoinment then.The things you have to do!

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 07:16 PM

Thanks AM, this isn't looking good for Stosur, and I want to see a competitive match.

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 07:16 PM

MA, I'm still appalled at how they missed qualifying for the WTF semifinals after starting out so strong.

Dang. Kimmy's off to a fast start. Anyone watching this?

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Duende? * 03/31/2010 at 07:17 PM

How has Woz traditionally performed on clay? I agree that her game does seem that it would be well suited for the surface. I also imagine that as she matures she will add more shadings to her game.

Speaking of clay- does anyone have an update on Safina?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:18 PM

GB Hang on Tsonga fan said Rafa wasnt playing out time on Saturday? which is it I have to reaarange my hair appointment.

Hell Sam?????

Posted by chicklet 03/31/2010 at 07:19 PM

Jeez, Kimmie has been on a tear in Miami. I think she's bageled an opponent in each round so far. Sam better get her serve together.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 03/31/2010 at 07:20 PM

Stosur is now 26, she needs to start challenging the elite just as Caro needs to. Please Stosur stay in this match.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:21 PM

I wish Kim didnt have to tear at my Sam

Posted by tommy 03/31/2010 at 07:22 PM

In NYC I have Kim-Sam on TC and Kim-Venus exo on MSG plus.
And Gunsmoke with Burt Reynolds from 1963 on Encore western.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 07:23 PM

Aussiemarg, since I returned home from Australia at the end of Jan. I still can't keep up with what day it is!
That trip was the worst for my timeclock, still haven't really adjusted. I stay up way too late and sleep most of the morning away, and hubby is doing the same thing!

Posted by greenhopper 03/31/2010 at 07:24 PM

"(huge IF)"

Betting odds are largely on Rafa for winning this. Their reason you ask? He leads the head-to-head 4-1 with all 5 matches coming on hard courts. Including on the fast courts of Rotterdam and the indoor surface in Paris playing in front of a hostile crowd when Rafa was in a supposed slump. Besides I think he comes out playing with a vengeance since THAT match happened.

I'd say it's a tiny if.

Posted by GB 03/31/2010 at 07:24 PM

Now I'm getting confused AM:) But, if he gets a day off, surely we just add 48ish hours to today's match, no?

And sb says the pretties are up an early break (2 -0) in the dubs! Vamos pretties!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:25 PM

Dianne lol! I can relate to that.Seeing we are always a day ahead here I have forgotton appointments cause I am always on your time.

Posted by Master Ace 03/31/2010 at 07:26 PM

Caroline has a final to defend at Madrid, a title at Ponte Vedra Beach, a final at Charleston, and a title at Eastbourne are the major objectives but she can gain at Stuttgart, Rome, French Open and Wimbledon.

Posted by Peg 03/31/2010 at 07:26 PM

AM, you are priceless. *wiping tears from eyes after reading your 6:05 pm rant*

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:27 PM

GB Dont ask me lol! its just I need to know cause I have a appointment on Saturday our time at Midday though its at Paddington which is about 1 hrs drive for me both ways.

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 07:29 PM

Roger states on Facebook "I'm back on the clay"

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa just get rid of those shorts 03/31/2010 at 07:29 PM

Peg That was one of my "mild rants".

Posted by Mr.X (Vamos Shaki, give him some confidence) 03/31/2010 at 07:31 PM

Sam has a good serve and FH. Problem is, in this match, Kim has a good everything.

Posted by Carrie *¿Dónde está el Duende? * 03/31/2010 at 07:31 PM

Thanks MA for those stats re Woz. It will be very interesting for her at RG....I imagine Justine will be considered the favorite, Serena a contender but not the favorite (which is the mo for her at RG it seems), and then Kuzzy and Woz maybe the second level favorites after Justine?

Posted by Diane 03/31/2010 at 07:32 PM

Aussiemarg, I give you lots of credit for how you get up at all hours to watch tennis that is so far out of your time zone; surely a tennis fan of great magnitude!!!

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