Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Serena admits fault for her actions at US Open final

Fanatic Omes:
"My emotions did get the best of me this past weekend when I disagreed with the umpire. It has been a long road to get back to the US Open this year, and I am thankful to have had such a great two weeks in New York." - Serena
Good good.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

US Open 2011: Rafa Reflections

Fanatic Omes:

I don't think I'm going to write a neutral post about Nole only because I've done it before and nothing's changed - if you want to know what I (neutrally) think of him and his season (fine then, and fanatically too) - go here and just add in his hard court results. 

Well what can I say? Do I feel like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat has ripped out my heart through my stomach? Yes. Do I want to hurl my laptop, TV and myself out the window? Yes. But am I unbelievably proud of Rafael Nadal? Hell to the yeah! He had NO serve and probably a total of two cheap points the entire match. He was up early twice, only to get broken back straight away. He was facing a monster-alien with the "luckiest" returns in the business that served for the championships. I can't imagine how much that 24 hour game in the 2nd set took a toll mentally. But he fighted. Boy he fighted. I've never seen anyone fight that hard on a tennis court - he had no right to win that 3rd set, break point down, but every right thereafter. 

And yes I do believe if Rafa brought his best from the start, it could've gone either way. But many times he wasn't allowed to do that both as a result of his opponent and the disappearance of some crucial aspects of his game (dude, where was the forehand down the line? And seriously enough with the short balls; thankyouplease). Regardless, he's not totally unhappy with the match: 

"I am happy with a lot of things, much happier than the previous matches against him. ...I go back home knowing that I am on the way. You know, I like to fight, I want to enjoy about this battle against him. Six straight loses, for sure that’s painful. But I’m going to work every day until that changes. So I have a goal, easy goal for me now. It’s going to be tough to change the situation, but the goal is easy to see. To have a goal always you know how to work every day."

And he's definitely on the way. I now see this as a work in progress. No one has been better than Nole this year, and to expect Rafa to snap out of a 0-5 final scoreline just like that would be unfair. He knows what he needs to do and that's a huge step up from being totally lost at Wimbledon. 

Things are definitely looking up - this will not last forever. And if the thing that Nole has sold his soul to makes it so that some way it does (kidding guys), being the sort of champion that he is, Rafa has nothing to left to prove. 

So just can say, BRAVA to our man and bring on 2012! Oh wait, it's Davis Cup this weekend (vamos España) then Shanghai, then Paris then the World Tour Finals. Tennis never ends.


(Pic: Getty)

Sam Stosur: 2011 US Open Champ

Neutral Omes:

For me, Sunday's ladies' final was more about Samantha Stosur who played the best match of her life, and less about Serena Williams who didn't conduct herself in the best of manners. 

Stosur played a flawless match. Her movement was impeccable, she employed the glorious tactic of slicing Serena on the backhand to draw her to the net and pass her - and said backhand did not break down. Her winners from both wings were innumerable, and she remained mentally stubborn from start to finish.

I defy the entire tennis world to deny that they put their money (or at at least their mouth) on Stosur being dominated by her 13 time Slam winner opponent; but she felt something we all couldn't  - she knew could win. Even after all the commotion, save a momentary lull to lose a break, she kept her head - she was not about to let anything get in the way of her first Slam. When you look back at her tournament, she seems to have had one of those performances poised for such a moment. She's responded well to adversity - unintentionally undermined by the USTA and their scheduling difficulties on more than one occasion; not to mention the injustice of reaching the final without once having played on Ashe. She's broken US Open records including the longest women's tie-break with 32 points and the longest US Open women's match in the tie-break era which lasted for 3 hours 16 minutes. She's won tough, easy, come from a set down, a set up; and yesterday she found herself the underdog with no pressure and nothing to lose.

For Serena - an American playing her home Slam final on the melancholic 10th year anniversary of 9/11 - there was all the pressure. Fatigue may have played a part in her final performance - she didn't arrive back at the hotel till 2.30 am after the men's semi-finals ran late - in fact for the first set her legs looked uncharacteristically heavy. With her first serve percentage finding itself in the 30s in the first set, she was in definite need of a lift, but especially considering 2009, no one would have guessed she'd find that lift in the way that she did at the start of the second. A loud "come on" on a heavy forehand before Stosur had a chance to get her racquet on her ball saw umpire Eva Asderaki invoke the hindrance rule. Serena was livid to say the least. Despite being in the rule book, arguments could be made on Serena's behalf- should the umpire have used discretion to replay the point, choosing to deem Serena's actions as 'unintentional'? It's hard to believe it would have been intentional. However no argument can be made in favour of her consequent offensive behaviour towards the Asderaki, who cannot be blamed for Serena's poor play. That being said (and it's certainly not an excuse but,) it was an extremely high pressure moment - it's not easy with all that expectation to feel the trophy slipping from your grasp partly due to you failing to bring out your best. 

The anger seemed to bring the American back to life and it looked as if we finally had a match on our hands. But Samantha. The way she didn't let it phase her. Even after Serena took that long pause, which saw some 22,500 members of the Arthur Ashe stadium let out a sustained roar, to gather herself, Stosur kept her composure and the level of her game beautifully. She isn't the most emotional or extroverted character on the tour and you got the feeling that this sort of event could have left her wanting to run away; but the exact opposite was true. In her mind there was no way anything but exceptional play from Williams was going to get in the way of her maiden Slam. And when she got the break she played with audacity and broke to close it out. This was a prime example of will to win taking over - Stosur had had a fantastic hard court season, but prior to that, her results certainly did not reflect her 9 in the world ranking. Not only that, but it should be pointed out that this US Open trophy is in fact her third title ever. Ergo it certainly can't be said that experience in finals led her to the win; and while confidence did play a huge part, as did ability - it was more of a case of the Australian just bringing out her best, not failing to make the most of the opportunity at hand.

It was gutsy but measured, calm but aggressive - finally Stosur played the sort of game that she, a few months back, didn't dream, but the rest of us knew, she was capable of. 

Congratulations to the deserving 2011 US Open champion.

(Pic: Getty)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

US Open semi-final blurps.

Novak's box.
Fanatic Omes:

- I can't even talk about the match, I'm so devastated for Rog. 2 sets to 0 up playing lights out tennis, then serving for the match (THAT FOREHAND) only to double-fault to give it away and lose the next service game so his opponent could serve for it and ohhhhhh, it's so sad. Mirka and the girls have some work to do. Rog says he is now "extremely hungry going into Australia" - oh shoot, he's gonna win the damn thing, isn't he?

- Andy just couldn't pull it together against Rafa. Even the upwards of four imaginary friends to berate wasn't enough to lift him. He had a resurrgence in the 3rd, but lack of appropriate wristbands saw him lose his serve at 1-2 in the 4th and that was it. Rafa thought that that was his best match of the year! I thought his best match of the year was the semi at Wimbly...against Andy. Poor fuzzy bear. Oh, and WOOOOOOOOH!

- And so I will try to doge the obvious outcome of these two semi-finals and say, hope everyone had a good weekend. I will be needing a sick-bucket all of Monday.

- Couldn't stay up till after 4am to watch Rere and Wozza (I know, grow up, right?) but heard that the great dane just couldn't cut it against a below par Serena. Well a Serena/Sam final makes sense doesn't it? We got there in the end, even though there was a whole lot of crazy en route. If Sam plays 100% she can bother the big butt-ed one - half a percent less and she's toast.

(Pic: Andrew Ong/USTA)