Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Getting Religion
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Getting Religion 06/29/2010 - 1:52 PM

102516569 by Pete Bodo

Tsvetana Pironkova comes from Plovdiv in Bulgaria, a nation that has not a single grass court (although it sure has no shortage of consonants). It doesn't have a single tennis academy. Pironkova's father is a canoeing champion-slash-tennis coach, which is a little like being a shoemaker-slash-dentist.

Pironkova, ranked No. 82, lost in the first round in nine consecutive tournaments during one horrendous stumble in a generally dismal 2009 (she wasn't the only Wimbledon quarterfinalist who'd just as soon forget 2009; Kaia Kanepi crashed and burned in the starting blocks 11 consecutive times). And Pironkova had won exactly one match at Wimbledon before this year. But she never lost faith. As she said after her sensational upset of Venus Williams in the quarterfinals: "Wimbledon has always been, you know, like a religion to me." 

Which sort of implies that Venus Williams is something like Athena, Buddha, the earth mother, Joan d'Arc and Oprah all rolled into one. That made no difference to Pironkova, for even the gods get a little tired of hurling all those thunderbolts and imposing their will on recalcitrant mortals. Pironkova capitalized on Venus' alarming inconsistency (the five-time Wimbledon champion won just 38 per cent of the points played from the baseline, and hit the same low number of aces as her opponent—three—while tossing in four more double faults for a total of five). Pironkova played solid tennis on the key points, which is all that was really required to topple Venus from her pedestal today. The biggest mistake she avoided was trying to play too well.

Pironkova's reverence for Wimbledon is no small thing. It's easy for many of us to forget that in more of the world than not, Wimbledon remains the mecca of tennis, often the only outpost of tennis with which people are even vaguely familiar. Whether Pironkova's reverence for this tournament played a role in her career-defining moment was a factor today can be debated, but the daunting nature of her mission—to play well here in London—can be established. She hadn't set foot on a grass court until she traveled to nearby Roehampton to play Wimbledon qualifying. It was so long ago that she doesn't even remember the year (she guessed 2005); she may be just 22, but as she told us today:

"I started [tennis] ever since I was a baby actually, because my father is a tennis coach. Maybe the first time I hit the ball I was around three years old, and later on I started to play more seriously.  My first tournament I think I played when I was seven years old or something like that. That's pretty much it. My father is a coach. So I spent, you know, almost the whole of my life on the tennis court."

Trying to recall that first experience on grass at Roehampton, she said: "Back then, I thought, Wow, it's impossible. How can I play on this surface? But with every match that I play on grass I feel better and better."

All those hours spent entrenched on whatever baseline was handy back in Plovdiv, and her expanding portfolio on grass, paid off for Pironkova today—a day with a double-barreled surprise for the pundits. While Pironkova stood her ground against Venus, Kim Clijsters went to pieces against a young lady who knows a thing or two about melting down herself, Vera Zvonareva. Clijsters' collapse—although "paralysis" would be a better word to describe her general demeanor in the decisive third set—was especially shocking in light of how well she had played yesterday while wrecking her countrywoman, Justine Henin.

But never mind about that. Clijsters and even Zvonareva are known quantities, each in her own way a flawed competitor to this point in her career. Pironkova, though, is relatively unknown, through no fault of ours. She was refreshingly direct and clear-headed in her press conference. She said of her win, "Well, I didn't have a particular strategy against her. I just tried to play my game, which is like move her as much as possible. I tried to put my first serve as much as I could in the court. Yeah, I think I also did a very good defense. Well, I cannot say what surprised me. But I think it was quicker than I thought. Winning 6-2, 6-3, it was the biggest surprise for me. I expected like a longer match."

So did Venus. But give the older of the Williams sisters credit for how she handled this disaster, if not for how she played. She was forthcoming and humble during the post mortems; there was no trace of the familiar opacity despite the magnitude of her hurt.

"It's very disappointing," she said. "I felt like I played some players along the way who played really well. You know, I think she played really well, too, but maybe not as tough as my fourth round or my third round or even my second round. You know, to not be able to bring my best tennis today and to just make that many errors is disappointing in a match where I feel like, you know, I wasn't overpowered. I wasn't hit off the court or anything, where I just kind of let myself exit. So obviously I'm not pleased with this result, but I have to move on.  What else can I do?  Unless I have a time machine, which I don't."

Venus was particularly weak in the take-charge department. Pironkova is the kind of player who's expert at poking at the dog with a stick. She'll leave an opponent with a chance to take a fairly neutral, mid-court ball, daring her to do something with it, and trust in her own ability to retrieve or counter-punch. She lured Venus into going for too much—although the favorite's inability to produce even just enough was just as much a part of her undoing. Venus put it this way: "I just let it spiral and didn't get any balls in. I mean, I had a lot of opportunities and a lot of short balls. I just seemed to hit each one out."

She wasn't being coy; she made 29 unforced errors, to six by Pironkova.

Some losses—or wins, for that matter—are triumphs of technique. Others are propelled by emotions, intelligence, technique or strategy. In which of those departments was Venus most lacking?

"All." After waiting for the sympathetic laughter to subside, she elaborated: "I didn't bring my best tennis today. And sometimes, like I said, you really have to live in the moment. I got too caught up in the mistakes I was making instead of just letting it go and moving on. I expect a lot from myself, especially at this tournament.  When I missed a few shots, I think I just kind of, you know, maybe was a little too hard on myself. Usually I stay, you know, for the most part, pretty positive." 

By any standard, this was a most unusual quarterfinal day at Wimbledon; and here I was, expecting to focus on the journey taken by two fairly obscure players—Kaia Kanepi and Petra Kvitova—into the great unknown kingdom called Semis. As it turned out, neither of them embarked on the trip with a decent GPS. Kaia Kanepi blew a 4-0 third set and multiple match points to allow Kvitova to survive 8-6.

Kvitova was so transported by the challenge that she added a new phrase to the grunting lexicon. Upon winning any of a number of notionally "crucial" points in the final set, she turned to her coach in the player's box and uttered a short, sharp squeal - as if she had just seen a mouse, but had no stool to leap upon to escape.

102519472 All this means that either Zvonareva or Pironkova will play her first Grand Slam final come Saturday. And on Thursday, Kvitova will have to look across the net at Serena Williams, a cat with considerably sharper, larger claws. Still, Kvitova has a huge game; if she can find a heart to match, Serena will have her hands full. But I wouldn't count on it. Kvitova was asked in her press conference if she believes she can win, and she answered with a frank but not very confidence inspiring "No."

In some ways, Venus losing before she has to meet Serena might be liberating for the surviving Williams. After all, Serena need feel no conflict or stress about having to take part in another intra-family war. Nor does she have to peek at the draw to see how Venus is doing, which must always remind her of their unique, emotionally tricky situation. Did Venus think she made Serena's life any easier by losing today?

"Hopefully it makes everybody's life easier in the draw. . . maybe. But, you know, regardless, I hope that she can win."

Serena also chimed in on the subject, later: "No (it isn't a blessing). I obviously always want her to do well and want her to be right there."

No doubt about it, Serena towers over this reduced field of four. It's hard to see her leaving London an also-ran, but stranger things have happened. And that was just today.


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Posted by ActionFlunky 06/29/2010 at 02:09 PM

Enjoyed the post. Good stuff on Pironkova, about whom I knew little. One thing that interested me was her use of the slice FH. It seems like a shot from half of a century ago (and I suppose it is), but I'm surprised more players don't use it more often -- and no, the Federer-approved squash shot doesn't count.

Anyway, I think it could be a useful weapon against tall opponents (see Venus) or those who hit a ton of topspin. On the men's side I'm surprised I don't see it occsasionally from both Federer and Murray.

Posted by Master Ace 06/29/2010 at 02:23 PM

Well, two of the semifinalists before 2010 Wimbledon have won a grand total of one match and they could be facing each other in the final on Saturday(NBC will have their booze cabinets open all day as low ratings will reign).

During each 2010 Slams, we have had at least one surprise:
Australian Open - China having 2 players in the semifinals (Na and Jie)
French Open - Italy having their first WTA Open era Slam winner (Francesca)
Wimbledon - Bulgaria having their first player to play in SF (Tsvetana)

Posted by Mel 06/29/2010 at 02:24 PM

Me peeking at Roger at Wimbledon.;)

http://i50.tinypic.com/2rqohau.jpg

Posted by CherryNYC 06/29/2010 at 02:24 PM

that should be "survive 8-6 in the third" not "the fifth" -- although with these long, stressed-out 5-setters lately, I would do the same thing....

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 02:30 PM

This was great Pete. LOL on Kivitova, but strange thing have happened so who knows. Lu anybody. I think we're looking at a Bepa and Serena final and agree there is a bit of gap between Serena and the remaining players. I think both Markova and Klebey are better players than Pironkova. The thing was Vee didn't give them almost 30 errors to work with. All credit to Pironkova for taking advantage of it. In regards to Serena, I think she's playing better than she did at the AO, not dropping a set to either Maria or Li, two good players. And her serve, I have never seen her with these kinds of numbers, so many aces and only broken twice. She is Federer like in holding serve.

Posted by TGiT 06/29/2010 at 02:40 PM

Cool pic Mel.

Posted by CL 06/29/2010 at 02:45 PM

Mel- VERY cool...though Fed looks just a little 'wary' of you..lol.

Count me among the legions who had never heard of Pironkova. She played smart, effective tennis..sort of guided Venus into her own mistake...don't know how much further she will go, but it was fun seeing her play. Also, shallow end of the pool- she is very attractive in a non-glam sort of way.

Posted by Larry 06/29/2010 at 03:02 PM

I have seen Pironkova play once. I have also worked in a company in which clocks of different cities in Bulgaria adorned the walls. I think Plovdiv was one of them.

Venus is pretty much wrapped up as a Majors winner or finalist, I believe. Not as much sting on her shots, and the doubts of age creeping in. Too much wisdom.

Posted by tina 06/29/2010 at 03:18 PM

I would say I wish I'd seen this match, but in Venus's case, I've seen it too many times. With her ease at the net, I don't understand when Venus hits out too much on short balls instead of chipping and charging to finish at the net. 29 UFEs over a mere 17 games is unacceptable for a player of her caliber, and with her natural gifts at the net, I am baffled. Still, all credit to Tsvetana - what a fabulous Balkan name :) - for playing so smart. Using a slice forehand against Venus is smart, indeed.

I am happy that Serena doesn't have to think about family "issues" and hoping the rest of the tournament goes as smoothly as it has thus far. Vera was a big surprise today, keeping her nerves in check to come back against a tough Clijsters. That was my match "allowance" today - well, up to 5-3 in the second before football intruded.

Hey, weren't all of those Maleeva sisters Bulgarian, and didn't one of them get to a semi here?

Posted by Carlos Lopes 06/29/2010 at 03:23 PM

The media has been stubbornly trying to revitalize players who have already seen their best days. I read some of the articles telling us of the amazing look on Sharapova's eyes, something you read in comic books. Then it was Venus and her glorious past. The next day it was Cljsters and how amazing she looked at defeating Henin. And it all comes down to the same conclusion, they're wasted players who just can't keep the concentration in a long tournament. In a woman's field plagued by the most outrageous mediocrity, who knows, the next tournament we could see someone named Ramírez or Chu lifting the trophy. A total waste of time.

Posted by CL 06/29/2010 at 03:26 PM

"I have also worked in a company in which clocks of different cities in Bulgaria adorned the walls"

lol..that must have been a fascinating company to work for!

Posted by ilovetennis 06/29/2010 at 03:29 PM

totally right about pironkova

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 03:30 PM

I follow the WTA closely, so familiar with Pironkova's game. Her last big win was against Vee at the AO a few years ago, since then, she has struggeled, been very inconsistent in her play, no huge weapons. She's very much a retriever and counter puncher, but not in the JJ mode where she can consistently hurt top players. I don't think Vera will have many problems with her. In regards to Vee, I don't think you can say she's through winning slams. Vee has always been streaky, no matter her age, fully capable of playing at a very high level and fully capable of bombing big time. She had upsets by low rank players for most of her career. The magic of Vee is that she can brush off these type of matches, resume playing at a high level and she has always proved her doubters wrong.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 06/29/2010 at 03:32 PM

Yes, the slice forehand (not the squash-shot variety) is a very effective weapon against taller players and as a means to take the ball early and move forward. It is easy to disguise the direction, too, which might account for some of venu's surprise.

I, too, believe the Meleeva sisters were Bulgarian.

Posted by Mike 06/29/2010 at 03:40 PM

Really sad example of the current Womens Pro Tennis mind set to feel you have to be 'overpowered' or 'hit off the court' to be beaten. How many players did Hingis take to school in her prime without doing any of the above? ... or Graff? ... or Seles?

Posted by vetmama 06/29/2010 at 03:44 PM

How strange.

So if something happens to Serena (freak injury, really bad day at the office), we could have Zvonareva, Kvitova or Pironkova as Wimbledon champion.

Nah. Very unlikely.
But still, this has been a rather bizarre Wimbledon all around.

Posted by sokol 06/29/2010 at 03:48 PM

MA, have Vera ever reached GS SF?

Posted by sokol 06/29/2010 at 03:55 PM

Nevermind, I've checked myself, she reached AO SF last year. How could I forget about almost all-Russian SFs at AO?

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 03:56 PM

The problem for the remaining player is that they would need two things to beat Serena. 1. Play at their very best. 2. They would need Serena to bring her C game, no serve, many errors. I think Serena's B game beat the A game of all the remaining players.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 03:58 PM

Sokol: :How could I forget about almost all-Russian SFs at AO?". Sokol, as soon as you posted that I started to laugh and laugh really hard because I remember a previous post of yours when you listed players that you do not cheer for and I can now see why? No worries sweetie, I have the same mind set like you. LOL

Posted by Ed 06/29/2010 at 04:02 PM

I have been cheering for Pironkova for several years and hardly ever getting to watch her play. Must be frustrating for players like her that need to move up in the rankings but have to play top twenty players in the first round so many times. TV coverage of tennis mostly sucks as finding any match to watch is unusual and early rounds of the televised tournaments (except Grand Slam events) are never seen.

Anyway, it's nice to see her do so well in this event and even if she goes no farther, it was fun watching her play and enjoy herself doing it.

Posted by sokol 06/29/2010 at 04:02 PM

"I can now see why"

:-)

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 04:03 PM

Is it too early to start looking towards the US Open Series and the US Open. One question I would like Serena to answer if she gets to the final of both singles and doubles at Wimbledon and wins both of them, whether the story line for the Sisters will be: can they do it in New York in doubles and (2) have the New York crowd forgiven Serena for last year's outburst?

Will Cliijsters and Henin be met with joy in New York and will Sharapova's game be able to stand up during the hard court season. Man, the WTA, you cannot make this stuff up

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 04:05 PM

@sokol, LOL

Posted by skip1515 06/29/2010 at 04:10 PM

Shouldn't earth mother be capitalized?

"The biggest mistake [Pironkova] avoided was trying to play too well."

Man, truer words were never spoken, and could be spoken more frequently about the mistake too many players make too often.

Good post, thanks.

Posted by Anna 06/29/2010 at 04:10 PM

I am disappoitned in Venus, but she just didn't get into it today. It can happen. But I don't get Clijsters at all. She started well, and then what? It's not that she would have nerves against Vera. Just so disappointed with today's results. I usually do nto root for Serena, I do not like her attitude, but we need some kind of order in this year's Wimbledon! Maybe themen could give us a Fed-Nadal final???

Posted by skip1515 06/29/2010 at 04:11 PM

Sorry: "Shouldn't earth mother be capitalized? :) "

(Cannot count on inflection being understood online....)

Posted by Master Ace 06/29/2010 at 04:13 PM

Jamaica Karen,
Yes, the WTA will heat up during the summer if the WS was able to win the doubles as expected in a few days with one of the players being involved in an outburst then after winning the USO doubles, Venus told PMac to move on as he wanted to ask about the outburst two days later.

Posted by tina 06/29/2010 at 04:14 PM

Well, I knew for certain that Manuela, Katia, and Magdalena Meleeva were Bulgarian, but I was wrong about one of them making a semi here. I was a little surprised to see no reference to them in Pironkova's presser, though.

Go Original Martina and Jana!

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 04:14 PM

Nick Boliterri is an idiot. A senile old idiot. Listening to him on Radio Wimbledon he is so far up his own decrepit a** that he is just talking pure nonsense. Idiot.

Posted by Larry 06/29/2010 at 04:15 PM

It was an experience I'll never forget, CL. Trying to write about VoIP while learning Bulgarian cultural norms. It was a doozy.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 04:17 PM

What is he saying Karen??

Posted by Texastennis 06/29/2010 at 04:22 PM

I'm sorry I didn't see any of these matches for more than a couple of minutes. I did read Clijsters' presser though and I thought she was very astute - she said something like she didn't know all these girls well, but it's typical of the new generation ie can hit amazingly hard when they are on for a match or a week and hurt any top player in those moments, but they can't do it consistently. Absolutely true of the winners today except Serena. I'm not sure what the issue with consistency is with younger players today.

A couple of other issues - I don't think Venus will win another slam. Very very few women have won GS at her age or older. Venus is just 30 - Graf won her last slam right before she was 30, Navratilova I'm not sure of her last singles slam but you get the drift. Most GS winners much further away from 30. Of course, she can be amazing on any particular day but I don't think she has the consistency for a slam at this point.

Current hitting patterns and previous generation - Graf and Hingis are in completely different categories. Hingis didn't get much on the ball from the serve on but was a beautiful constructor of points great hands, one of the savviest match managers I can remember watching. I think someone with her skill set would sometimes be hit of the court but could still have a very good career. Graf was the first to my mind of the girls who really blast the ball - huge serve considering the racquets at that time, monster forehand (I don't think any body since has hit the forehand as consistently hard as she did and certainly not match in, match out, week in week out, year in year out), extraordinary consistency with that big hitting. (And other talents too of course, specially phenomenal athleticism, worked the point very well - far better than most players today who are hard hitter.) Seles hit the ball hard too of course, but nothing like the serve of Graf. (And other talents too - not much of an athlete but phenomenal big point player.)

Now we have Serena and Venus - at the end of their careers - up there with the dominant players of previous generations, but I really think there's a big gap between them and the next group, far bigger than before.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 04:34 PM

Just dissing Venus. Dissing her game. Just being really dismissive of her game and her tactics. One match is not any reason to write off a champion who has been written off more times than she has been praised.

As someone who cried with joy when she rose from one of those many burials in 2005 I will never give up until Venus cries no mas and as Venus is not ready to be buried then I am going to continue to believe until she no longer believes.

I am listening to Venus now and this is the first time I have ever heard her analyse her game so clearly. The fact that she expects to do well here and expects it from herself tells me that she still has the mind set of a champion, even if her game was just not there today. Yesterday we saw her pull a rabbit out of a hat and for whatever reason she could not do it today.

She is also right that she was not hit off the court but I agree with her that she just stayed in the moment whenever she lost a point. This woman still has the mindset of a champion and I think she will win another major.

I remember after Federer broke down and cried in Australia in 2009 many here wrote him off and said he would never win another major. Since that time he has gone on to win the Channel Slam and win another one just for good measure. Champions show their mettle by pulling themselves up from the ashes. Venus will do the same.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 04:38 PM

OK you guys really need to listen to Radio Wimbledon and the other idiot Matt Cronin. What has ever done in his own miserable life. Ugh

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 04:44 PM

Thanks Karen, I'm not ready to write her off based on one match either. Karen, he also said Sharapova was a major contender for Wimbledon and she went out early, so yeah what he says always happens. And I wish I had a dollar for everytime I heard Vee will never win a slam, like you said it goes back to 05. And I agree with Kim, right now, any of the new young players can take out the elite on a good day.

Posted by Ross (FOE) 06/29/2010 at 04:55 PM

From our front page:

NEW YORK (AP)—Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi are renewing their rivalry—and in the Big Apple, no less. John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, too.

Those four tennis greats—owners of a combined 37 Grand Slam titles—will participate in the 2011 BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition matches at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 28.

Pete and Andre was probably inevitable, but JMac and Ivan is a surprise.

Posted by Grace 06/29/2010 at 05:01 PM

@Mel extremely good picture, you were so close! Though Roger's look is maybe a little bit suspicious.

Posted by Master Ace 06/29/2010 at 05:04 PM

Ross,
Thanks for the information. Glad we won't have current players playing that exo at that time during the season. Now, I think they will sell out MSG unlike the current WTA stars in 2010 as Serena was injured during that part of the season.

Posted by BrooklynNY 06/29/2010 at 05:15 PM

Yeah, catch me courtside at Sampras. The AC exo was a blast last year, and I look forward to seeing Pete again. Mac also.

Posted by linex 06/29/2010 at 05:22 PM

What a pleasure to watch Hingis for a while playing doubles, I finally got a stream that worked to watch the second set ... I wish she would come back even it if it was only for doubles. She still has plenty of quality and looks fit.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 06/29/2010 at 05:23 PM

Tsvetana Pironkova somehow reminds me a biut of Dementieva in the faceial structure. A brunette Dementieva. Not a bad sight. Love her game. She never seemed to be trying to crush the ball, never overhitting. It's nice to see that that more tempered, measured (if you will) style still can work.

Posted by Ruth 06/29/2010 at 05:32 PM

I enjoyed the AC exo too, BrooklynNY. Too bad that the exo Ross mentioned is in February because, once I move to the South, I doubt that I'll be planning any visits to the North from December to February, if I can help it. :-)

Posted by BrooklynNY 06/29/2010 at 05:36 PM

Yea, but atleast you wont have to deal with the snow in the winter. And General unpredictability of NY weather lately.

cant wait!

Lets go Soderling!

Posted by alex 06/29/2010 at 05:37 PM

bobdo,bodo you are such ......

where are americans in Men’s draw 1/4 finals ??????????????????

where is american impact in Wimbledon ????

for Roland Garros you have predicted women final peer- jankovic!!!!!!!!!

for Wimbledon you have predicted 3 americans in Men’s 1/2 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

what are your picks for UO ????????????

Posted by Larry 06/29/2010 at 05:48 PM

I've been following tennis since the mid-70s (yes... we're getting old over here) and no matter what the press or the WTA officials think, in my opinion the last three years have been the darkest that the top of professional women's tennis has ever experienced. The huge problem is that there are no real champions from the generation between 18 and 25 years old. It's obvious that at 30 years old Venus will play well 3 or 4 matches in a row and when the fifth match comes she'll bump into a bad day, that's the first thing Chris Evert said the day she retired: "Bad days are happening too often now, there's four good matches and then all of a sudden there's that bad match that will cost you the tournament". Henin and Clijsters have come back to focus on a few selected tournaments for a couple of more years probably, but as they get closer to their thirties they're dealing with the same problems as Venus. The only one who has managed to remain permanently a real contender (and a clear favorite) for the big titles is Serena, but she's 29... How long will she last? Two more years? After King and Court (1965-75), Evert and Navratilova arrived (1975-1986), then Graf and Seles (1987-1996), until we had Hingis, Williams and Henin (1997-2007). From 2007 to 2010 there's the void... at least until now.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 06:05 PM

Larry, Serena is 28. Would disagree that Pirvonkova's style of tennis work. The reason why many people are unfamiliar with her is because normally "her style" of tennis has led to her being bounced out of tournaments in the first or second round. In 2009, she was beat in the first round of nine tourneys in a row. Her rankings have been in the high double digits throughout her career and she has never won a title. I'm not stating these fact to put her down, but to show that I'm not sure her style of tennis is what win matches. Like it or not, the power game is here to stay because it work. Serena's game which relies heavily on power and powerful serve is what work. Serena is 28 and still winning slams while Hingis who relied on finess was done winning slams at age 18. No, I don't think ball bashing is pretty, but it sure is effective.

Posted by Texas tennis 06/29/2010 at 06:06 PM

Larry - same tennis watching age! And agree about the current phase ...

Karen - I appreciate all Venus's many talents, but the difference between now and 2005 is that she was 25 then and she's 30 now. Huge difference. I'd forgotten the Chris Evert quote Larry gave but it's right on in terms of the difference that makes.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 06:09 PM

Larry, I hear what you are saying about the WTA, but take a look at the semi finalist at this year's Wimbledon and then take a look at the semifinalists at the other 2 majors this year. You will notice that experience is winning out over youth. The problem is not with the veterans who have been on Tour for nigh on 10 years, it is with the system that is producing players now.

At this year's AO, the four semifinalists were all over 25 years old. 2 of them were multiple Grand Slam champions. The other 2 have not been proven but they are good players. At the French Open the same thing obtained with all four semifinalists being over 25 years old. Most of them had been on Tour for a good many years.

Now, we come to Wimbledon and apart from Pironkova and Kvitiova, the other 2 semifinalists are veterans. I think one of the biggest problems that the WTA has to overcome is trying to get players who are able to think for themselves on court. The coaches who are in charge of these young players have made them into co-dependent persons.

When these veterans were in their youth, there was no on court coaching. You discussed with your coach the night before a match the different tactics that you would use. You also, I would assume, devise other strategy in case Plan A did not work. Now we find that at the Tour level as soon as something goes wrong, and as soon as it is allowed by the rules, a player will call her coach court side to discuss how to overcome her opponent. Immediately, after that talk the player goes out there and starts executing a new game plan and comes away with the win. It is then hailed by commentators as to how good the coach is.

That is the point. It is not the coach that I am paying to see. It is the player. When these players now come to the Majors, they cannot think their way out of a paper bag, or in this case, a court. They start missing because they have no idea what to do.

When I watched Wozniacki's match and Kvitova I was stunned. How can you be ranked No. 3 in the world and not know how to overcome a red lining opponent on your own terms. With Venus, you could see her changing her strategy mid match. It was a little too late and she was still making errors, but she tried something different.

The WTA needs to do away with on court coaching. Let them go out there and sink or swim.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 06:18 PM

Slice N Dice, I would agree that yes, occasionally Pironkova's style of tennis does work, and it works most often when your oponent gifts you with high double digit errors and forget how to keep a ball in the court, in spite of the many chances they have.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 06:21 PM

@SamE, agree with your 6;18pm - found it very funny

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 06:23 PM

I wanted to clarify my post because too often people think of Serena has only the power. I would disagree with this. I think she has a great deal of variety and angle that involve finess. She isn't just strictly about power or a serve.

Posted by Tennis Fan 06/29/2010 at 06:23 PM

Great write up very funny.

The other thing on faith was is in Pironkova’s TV interview after her win today. She said how she beat Venus in the past and “knew she could win” and therefore she went for it. That is faith, which many of the other players lack when going against the WS. I also think it has helped that no one in the press is familiar with her and she has been flying under the radar, while having the best success of her career.


“I follow the WTA closely, so familiar with Pironkova's game. Her last big win was against Vee at the AO a few years ago, since then, she has struggled, been very inconsistent in her play, no huge weapons. She's very much a retriever and counter puncher, but not in the JJ mode where she can consistently hurt top players. I don't think Vera will have many problems with her.”

I follow the WTA also and I have a special place for Pironkova but I don’t know why, maybe so much unfulfilled potential. I even have had her on my ranking spreadsheet from the beginning even though her ranking has always been below 40. Now I get to move her to the top.

First with regard to her last big win: She did beat Venus in the first round of the AO in 2006, when she was 18 and relatively new to the WTA. However, she has had others, she also beat Ivanovic in Rome in 2008, just prior to Ivanovic winning the French and gaining the #1 ranking (remember back when Ivanovic was relevant). She also beat Zvonareva, in Moscow, last October very handily and she recently beat Dementieva in Warsaw just prior to the French – although she did lose to Henin in the first round at the FO this year. She lost 3 times to Bartoli but finally beat her at Wimbledon.

She has been inconsistent, in that she has been unable to follow up a big win with another. Or win enough matches in a row to win an entire tournmanet. However, now she has won 5 in a row. And, she beat Bartoli then Venus. If she beats Zvonareva it may increase her belief and propel her higher. With regard to Venus making many unforced errors, this is the same thing she did in the loss to Pironkova in her loss in 2006. So it could be possible that the Pironkova game causes errors. She also lost to Sharapova in the first round of USO last year on Ashe Stadium. Maybe a lot of her problem has been being unseed and playing top players in the first or second round. The luck of the draw this year allowed her to get a few matches under her belt before playing top player. Could this be the difference?

What Venus said about Pironkova:

Q. This is a player who has now beaten you twice. What is about her and her game that does give you difficulty?

VENUS WILLIAMS: I mean, I don't even really remember anything from last time. I think, you know, one of her biggest strengths is she's pretty quick around the court.


What Zvonareva said about Pironkova:

“I played her in Moscow last year and I lost to her. …..I think she's all over the court player. You know, it's hard to predict what she's doing on the court. Sometimes she can slice; sometimes she can hit the ball; sometimes she can play slow; sometimes she can play fast. You never know what to expect, so you lose your rhythm. Then you start thinking maybe too much on the court.

I just know that in that match I will have to concentrate on myself and execute my game no matter what the score, no matter what she's trying to do. Just try not to look on the other side and try to concentrate on myself.”


“Also, shallow end of the pool- she is very attractive in a non-glam sort of way.”

The perfect player for the WTA marketing program!

This is also the first time I have seen and entire match live of Pironkova. I was impressed with her coolness under pressure. She never got to upset by a bad shot of hers or good shots by Venus. She kept a cool head. She tall, lean, can cover the court and shockingly has a pretty good serve. I think with “faith” she can go far.


Rankings watch: Serena guaranteed #1, JJ is #2, Wozniacki 3 and Venus 4.

5. Stosur
6. Dementieva
7. Clijsters
8. Schiavone
9. Li Na
10. Radwanska
11. Zvonareva

Zvonareva can move to 8 by getting to the final and 7 if she wins.

Kvitova’s win officially knocks Safina out of top 32 as Kvitova moves to 29. Safina very likely will not be seeded for USO unless something drastic happens.

Pironkova moves to 35 and into 20s if she goes further.

I’d like to see a Pironkova Serena final.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 06:26 PM

If Bepa plays a clean match, then she will take out Pironkova's "style of tennis", the same way that most player in the top 20 do, quick and without any problems.

Posted by Mike 06/29/2010 at 06:29 PM

Not all errors are gifts ... keeping the ball low and deep can cause even the best returns to wind up in the Net. It's also called exploiting your opponent's weaknesses. Sometimes the best players lose to another that is better on the day ... get over it.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 06:42 PM

Totally agree Mike that she was better on this day. No problem with that. My point was to question whether this style of tennis works on a consistent basis.

Posted by Mike 06/29/2010 at 06:53 PM

If you had actually put it that way ... as opposed to making umpteen condescending remarks about the poor girl, I would not feel a need to interject. Heck ... as an American, and a Tennis fan, I couldn't be more proud of the Williams sisters' accomplishments ... but if they lose, hats off to their opponents. Putting the latter down does not make your fave look better, IMHO.

Posted by Ruth 06/29/2010 at 06:59 PM

"Not all errors are gifts "

True, but all unforced errors can be called gifts (unintentional gifts, of course). Venus had 29 of them in today's match. Even allowing for some that may have been incorrectly labeled UFE's (mere human beings determine whether an error is unforced or not); that's too many for 2 sets of play. And if Venus didn't admit that she played badly today, I would have been very disappointed in her.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 07:03 PM

Mike, sorry don't agree that stating facts and figures to get your point across is condescending. I listed those facts about her loses, rankings, etc to illustrate that her style of tennis mayn't be effective over a long period of time. Again congrats to her and good luck in moving forward. My picks: Bepa in straight, Serena in three.

Posted by Tennis Fan 06/29/2010 at 07:13 PM

"Serena in three"

Serena is going to destroy Kvitova, as Kvitoa can't move.

I also think Pironkova will win as Zvonareva with throw a tantrum in frustration, even though I like Zvonareva and would also like to see her win.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 07:15 PM

OOP for tomorrow is out. Defending doubles champion open play on Court 2

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 07:15 PM

I think they should rename that court, Williams Court

Posted by Mike 06/29/2010 at 07:17 PM

Ruth, I would be a fool to say that Venus in her prime and playing her 'A' game wouldn't have trounced Tsvetana playing her best ... you just get tired of hearing the 'what ifs' after a fave loses, especially when it gets as low as making condescending remarks about their opponent. I think you know what I'm referring to ...

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 07:19 PM

Tennis fan, I was talking on the phone when I was making my post and I intended to say Serena in two. Thanks.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 07:38 PM

Just read the coolest interview of Hingis and Kournikova after their doubles. The reporter asked them about the new young players and they mentioned Caro. How cool is that.

Posted by tennisesq. 06/29/2010 at 07:38 PM

Samantha Elin,
Please promise me you will never leave TW. You provide me with countless moments of entertainment. I just saw your post on the previous thread regarding J. Cap and got a full ab workout from laughing so hard (which I needed after Vee's loss today). And I'm so glad we are on the same team with regard to Vee and Ree. You do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to defending the sisters.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 07:55 PM

Tennisesq, funny you should mention that, I just googled image on Capriati's boyfriend, Dave Da bone and he's pretty hot, butn't hot enough for me to ignore his occupation.

Posted by tennislover 06/29/2010 at 08:04 PM

the meaning of the name Pironkova in the Bulgarian language
Piron = nail, Kova = to hammer
not sure of her style of play, but she hammered a few nails in V's coffin...
i expect V to resurrect, however...

Posted by Master Ace 06/29/2010 at 08:10 PM

"I think they should rename that court, Williams Court"

Jamaica Karen,
LOL.

Posted by Master Ace 06/29/2010 at 08:14 PM

Samantha Elin,
Look like this year is the year of where a player can be hot for 5 to 6 matches:

Aravane - Madrid
Jie - Australian Open (and 2008 Wimbledon)
Maria Jose - Rome
Petra - Wimbledon
Tsvetana - Wimbledon

Posted by Jamaica Karen (WTA Rules) 06/29/2010 at 08:15 PM

tennisesq, I join you in commending SamE for her contributions to this board. She is so funny at times. I have to admit that when I saw the news item re JCap's boy friend, I busted out laughing. I was going to post it and then changed my mind. Depend on SamE to bring the gossip. LOL.

@MA, they may as well rename the darned court because both women seem to spend quite a bit of time on it during the Championships.

Posted by Catrice 06/29/2010 at 08:22 PM

I don't think we should ever write any player off. Can anyone remember Jimmy Connors run at the U.S. Open? I 'll bet the people who lost to him didn't expect to. Venus may or may not win another major, but I don't think she is done in tennis. If so, it really is pathetic that she is currently number two, soon to be in the top 5. What does that then say for the other,younger, healthier players, especially when she does not play as many tournaments? They said Agassi's career was over so many times I lost count.
Many players have hung on for years just existing in the top 10. It will depend on what she wants to do. Anyone can beat anyone on any given day...that is supposedly why they are professionals. People can also have an off day. Venus was off yesterday and should have lost then. She has nothing to feel ashamed up by making it to the quarterfinals. It is a round further than about 100 other players or so. No excuses, she lost. No reason to panic and second guess a player every time they have a loss.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 08:54 PM

Patrick, great point, tennis is littered with players who play above their norm for a short period of time and then come down to earth.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 09:04 PM

Forgot to add, they also get their 15 minutes of fans predicting how great they're going to be and then we never hear from them again.

Posted by Larry 06/29/2010 at 09:20 PM

Hi. This is the other Larry (Bob Newhart nod).

Some of you are really, really into this tennis stuff. Wow. :)

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/29/2010 at 09:31 PM

Ah Larry, this is tennis.com. I'm watching Kim's match, her FH was really off. I just kept thinking oh why couldn't you play like that against Justine. Kim plays her best against Justine, no flaws.

Posted by Cosi 06/29/2010 at 10:32 PM

I didnt see so much that was humble in Venus' press conf..... she said very little complimentary about her opponent and seemed more disgruntled than humble.. as far as Tzvetana, she deserves way more credit than she's getting, no surprise i guess considering who she beat. all those errors piling up for venus had alot to do with Pironkova moving her all over the place, keeping her out of any kind of groove, and just playing really smart, clean tennis. Venus was huffing and puffing so loud you could hear it during points, thats the loudest ive ever heard anyone gasping for breath during points, i think it had to do with how hard pironkova was making her work to stay inpoint, and how much footwork was required to do so. Pironkova has alot of weapons, first serve, speed, court sense, variety.. she's like a bigger stronger hingis with a better serve and some less quality at net. her failing has been lack of consistency, but she's only 22, still time to improve. As far as Venus' future, i definitely believe her best days are behind her. It's going to be ugly too, because she's not going to age gracefully as a tennis player, it seems and will hang around until she's losing in the second round all the time..

Posted by Cosi 06/29/2010 at 10:38 PM

as far as all the sour comments about the younger players, yes, the generation 4-5 years after justine, the williams etc has been disappointing, either fatal flaws in the game or total mental weaklings seem to have made up the majority, other than maria sharapova, but the NEXT generation, those aged 17-21 are coming up and i think we may have some stronger quality there in the future. eventually the new champs will arrive...

Posted by Cosi 06/29/2010 at 10:42 PM

samantha, justine falling on her dominant hand and messing up her elbow certainly took the sting out of her shots and the wind out of her sails., i expect that had something to do with Clijsters great "comeback win" against her. i certainly hope justine's luck improves, since her comeback started, her luck with draws, scheduling and injuries has been horrible so far.

Posted by Northern boy 06/29/2010 at 10:55 PM

Definitely a strange day. Clijsters losing after winning the first set was just appalling. Vera stayed steady throughout that whole match and Kim couldn't keep a FH in the court the rest of the way.

Great temperment from Kvitova to come back, such a shame as Kanepi had come all the way through qualifying, served well, played the best defense of her career against a big hitter, had 5 match points, a 4-0 and 5-2 lead in the 3rd, and just couldn't finish.

I like Kvitova's yelp, although she was busting it out even on Kaia's UFEs, which was less endearing. But at least she never gave up.

Without Clijsters in the mix though I have lost interest in the remaining matches as it will no doubt be a straight up Serena coronation. Li Na losing serve after leading 40-0 was pretty awful too. She was playing really well up until that point.

I have to say Venus at this point in her career benefits in the media from being Serena's sister. Her results aside from Wimby have basically been identical to the 2008-2009 version of Safina. Good win loss record but big chokes in all the important matches. Without the tag of being 'a Williams sister' I think she'd would endure more critcism for being a head case.

Serena, as Richard predicted, will long be remembered for being the superior player in every facet of the game.

Posted by Northern boy 06/29/2010 at 10:58 PM

Jamaica Karen, I like the points you brought up re: the current crop of up and comers. My first impulse was to agree that they're being overcoached, but then I thought of Steffi and her father imposing the harsh discipline and lack of social life on her and she did alright. As did Agassi.

Victoria Azarenka, for me, is easily the most talented young player - her game is huge, she serves and defends well, movement is good, but aside from Miami last year just doesn't have a big win. But for Serena I would have favoured her to win the AO this year. Vika played fantastic in that match, as she did in her 4th round v. Zvonereva.

Posted by "beautiful tennis" fan 06/29/2010 at 11:24 PM

I just watched the Pironkova press conference, and she kind of reminds me of Nadal. She was refreshing. I hope Pironkova and Zvonareva play a good semi-final match.

Posted by Master Ace 06/29/2010 at 11:25 PM

"Pironkova has alot of weapons, first serve, speed, court sense, variety.. she's like a bigger stronger hingis with a better serve and some less quality at net. her failing has been lack of consistency, but she's only 22, still time to improve."

Cosi,
Agree that she has time to improve but I do not think she will make it this far again at any Slam. She deserved the win today as she outexecuted Venus with her plan.

Posted by Ruth 06/29/2010 at 11:39 PM

cosi: I'd like to suggest that you write the appropriate tennis and inform them that those 29 errors made by Venus that they foolishly desgnated as unforced were really errors forced by the outstanding and wily play of Pironkova.Im sure that they'll be happy to crrect their statisitics and other records.

And, Northern boy, you may have provided the reason why some people think that Wimbledon, played on a surface that is used by professionals for a mere 2 or 3 weeks a year, is a vastly overrated event. How could a tournament in which a "head case" like Venus made 8 finals and won 5 titles in the past several years be taken seriously? How can some folk consider an event with such a player as its perennial champion the most prestigeous event in the tennis year? Ridiculous, no?

Now, I've exhausted my sarcasm quotient for the week or even the month. LOL

Posted by malasorte 06/29/2010 at 11:39 PM

Pironkova will again beat Vera :)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 06/30/2010 at 12:11 AM

Is Venus saying that Groth was a lot tougher than Pironkova?

Posted by phillykat 06/30/2010 at 12:21 AM

To add my .02 to the convo of Venus...

Must we all be of the "what have you done for me lately" mindset concerning a:
7-time Slam Champion in singles
12-time Slam Champion in doubles
2 - time Slam winner in mixed doubles
Olympic Gold medalist in singles (once) and doubles (twice)

She played a match on her "best" surface and lost.
It happens.
Should we be writing her epitaph now? She played horrendously for 2 sets, but 2 sets does not make or break a career. I mean it's not like she stunk up the joint through 4 rounds. I think we all KNOW Venus is capable of much, much more at Wimby, but for whatever reason, today, she just didn't bring it.

And for the detractors pointing out the fact that she has not been a force outside of Wimbledon for the better part of the last decade, I say SO WHAT. She's been a pro since 1994, that's a helluva long time, yeah she turned the big 3-0 too, so she's old in tennis terms, but with her glowing resume, if she wants to just play Wimby and nothing else, good for her.

Please don't dare compare Venus to Safina. I like Dinara, so it's not meant to spitefully disparage her, but until she racks up even half of what Venus has done, that's damn near blasphemy.

Posted by sub5pro 06/30/2010 at 01:12 AM

Phillykat~
"To add my .02 to the convo of Venus...

Must we all be of the "what have you done for me lately" mindset concerning a:
7-time Slam Champion in singles
12-time Slam Champion in doubles
2 - time Slam winner in mixed doubles
Olympic Gold medalist in singles (once) and doubles (twice)

She played a match on her "best" surface and lost.
It happens.
Should we be writing her epitaph now? She played horrendously for 2 sets, but 2 sets does not make or break a career. I mean it's not like she stunk up the joint through 4 rounds. I think we all KNOW Venus is capable of much, much more at Wimby, but for whatever reason, today, she just didn't bring it.

And for the detractors pointing out the fact that she has not been a force outside of Wimbledon for the better part of the last decade, I say SO WHAT. She's been a pro since 1994, that's a helluva long time, yeah she turned the big 3-0 too, so she's old in tennis terms, but with her glowing resume, if she wants to just play Wimby and nothing else, good for her.

Please don't dare compare Venus to Safina. I like Dinara, so it's not meant to spitefully disparage her, but until she racks up even half of what Venus has done, that's damn near blasphemy."

Halleluiah Phillykat!!!

That commentary is the most logical I've read so far. : )

Posted by temes 06/30/2010 at 01:22 AM

It's just one of those days for Venus and it's really not needed to give Pironkova much credit at all. Anyone who argues that Pironkova outplayed a well playing Venus in Wimbledon of places is frankly out of their mind.

Posted by Humble Pie 06/30/2010 at 01:23 AM

@Cosi,
and what did you expect Venus to say? "Yeah, you know like, she like beat me b4 and, so, you folks in the press should not be surprised and I played my best but it wasn't good enough to beat the number 82 player in the world even though I've won Wimbledon like three dozen times and I am the best living grass court female player"? Or something to that effect? Look, Venus was outplayed by a player who's probably not even good enough to be her hitting partner and you think Venus should be humble? That's just silly. Do you think Fed would have been humble had he lost to either Falla or the other dude (name too difficult to recall)? I think not. And, fact, Venus lost to this girl. Venus playing anywhere close to her ability on grass should have beaten this girl by matchsticks. The fact that she did not? Her own darn fault.

Posted by temes 06/30/2010 at 01:49 AM

Phillykat, I always want to remind people of Venus' many Grand Slam final appearances which she lost to her sister Serena. While you listed her major accomplishments, I think these finals make quite a big change in how to view Venus. If it wasn't for Serena, I'm positive Venus would be a 12-13 time Grand Slam champion by now. :)

Posted by wish_tignor_wrote_on_this 06/30/2010 at 02:12 AM

mr. bodo,
you obviously know nothing of shoemaking nor dentistry. your analogy is insulting to both crafts. it very much speaks of your ignorance and pitifully exposes your condescendence. as a writer, you should not be wasting language on descriptives that make you look like a simpleton. reading bodo in comparison to tignor is like the new york times to the post. how's that for you?

Posted by wish_tignor_wrote_on_this 06/30/2010 at 02:13 AM

bodo being the post, that is....

Posted by wish_tignor_wrote_on_this 06/30/2010 at 02:15 AM

bodo being the post, that is

Posted by survivordean 06/30/2010 at 03:02 AM

Oh Venus Oh why. This is very hard to understand. Why lose now in her most favorite surface and it's not simply a loss, it's a landslide loss and she slides a spot down from being number two in the world.

Posted by tina 06/30/2010 at 03:13 AM

Since this thread has clearly drifted, I just want to say that Jenny Capriati will be visiting Iva Majoli for some rest on the Adriatic this summer.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/30/2010 at 03:54 AM

Cosi, would disagree on the comment about Vee being done and would strongly disagree that Pironkova in anything like Hingis. I have watch Pironkova play to much to believe that. Hingis was very smart on the court, new exactly where her opponent was going to place the ball and NO I wouldn't agree that 22 is young for a tennis player, most of them are in the prime of their careers at that age. Remember what I said about a player having one or two great wins against a top player and then fans telling us how great they will be in the future. Now Pirronkova a player who has been ranked close to lOO throughout her five year career, a player who has gone out in the first round of many tourneys and who after a five year career has never come close to winning a title is now being compared to Hingis, a six time GS champion at the age of l8, and one of the greatest of her era. Folk, tennis has been saved because in Pironkova we have the second coming of Hingis. And as Cosi said, "she like a bigger stronger Hingis." As Mel says, "Believe". I know I do. Thanks Cosi. All credit to Pironkova on a great win, she out played Vee and was the better player. But the "get real" button needs to be hit very quickly. Good luck to her.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/30/2010 at 04:06 AM

Kim's press conference said it best, Kim said that at any point a young player can play very well and upset a top player but they CAN'T consistently do it. Pironkova in a five year career has 4 wins against top players, thus she's averaging less than one per year. She is the very definition of what Kim talked about.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Oh My its Pimms Time Again 06/30/2010 at 04:15 AM

Thanks Pete Well any player on any given day regardless of their ranking can get beaten

Getting ones self up day after day also in a GS tournament is a hard one though these players are professional and its just a part of what is needed to go deeper in a GS tournament or any other tournament for the matter.

Venus wasnt allowed in many ways to get into her "rhythm" at all.All credit to her opponewnt who at times kept her off balance.Venus also made too many u/errors at the wrong times which cost her dearly.Like the last point which she netted.

Pironkova had adrenline pumping in her veins she could smell victory.

All credit to her.

Though lets see how she handles her s/final? somtimes as we have seen in the past when a player who takes out one of the best grass court players ever might just have a let down.

We shall see.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro to the haters, don't you wish your pusher was hott like me. 06/30/2010 at 04:37 AM

Pironkova at the age of 18 beat Venus four years ago at the AO, and people predicted she would go on to do great things. Instead she faded into obscurity. Why? Because she couldn't maintain the same high level for a long term period. Any player is capable of playing far above their normal level for a few matches .Stevenson, Kournikova, Lucic, all semi finalists at Wimbledon or slams, and all faded. Tennis is littered with once in a lifetime great runs, by not very good players. But what separates the truly greats of the game from the hot for a moment is the ability to do it over long periods, not once every 4 years.

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