Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mauresmo overcomes Jankovic, knee overcomes Williams

When I heard that Serena Williams had withdrawn from her semifinal match against Elena Dementieva in Paris, my first thought was, of course, that her knee was giving her trouble. Unfortunately, that was a correct guess. Williams said that her knee problem emerged again during her quarterfinal match against Emelie Loit, and that she felt pain during her warm-up today. She decided it wasn't worth making more trouble for herself, so Dementieva got a walkover.

Dementieva's opponent in the Open GDF SUEZ will be Amelie Mauresmo, the only Frenchwoman to survive the quarterfinals.

I hate it when one of my favorites plays another of my favorites, so it was with some uneasiness that I watched Mauresmo play Jelena Jankovic today. The first set showcased the Mauresmo we saw demolish Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals. She served extremely well, made some thrilling volleys, and maintained strong momentum to take the first set 6-2. Jankovic, for her part, was not serving that well or playing very aggressively.

In the second set, Mauresmo went away, losing her confidence and her serve. Jankovic had no trouble taking advantage of this situation, and she brought her own game up to a much higher level--the level that we expect of her. So lopsided was this set that Jankovic won it 6-0.

The third set did not begin well for Mauresmo--she was broken right off. But in a surprise turn, she broke Jankovic right back, then got the crowd even more involved than before. She then held, for the first time in a very long time, and--just like that--her confidence, and her serve, came back. She broke Jankovic to go up 3-1, then held, then broke Jankovic again. At 5-1, Mauresmo took the match on her third match point.

Despite the crazy nature of this match, it was nevertheless very enjoyable. As one of the commentators succinctly put it: Mauresmo won the short points, Jankovic won the long ones. There were some stunning rallies, with both women showing off their extreme athleticism. Jankovic's famous backhand down the line was on exhibition more than once, and Mauresmo showed yet again that she can volley her way to victory.

5 comments:

Westerly said...

"Goolagong walkabout?"

*closes eyes - takes a DEEP breath*

Diane, you right a lot of cogent, relevant things about the discrimination of women in sports. So I'm hoping that you realise that the slur 'walkabout', is frankly, a racist and discriminatory one?

'Walkabout' is white Australia's way of complaining whenever Aboriginal schedules, priorities and desires don't coincide with their own.

"Where are those lazy darkies - oh, they're not around or they've had the audacity to walk off the job. Clearly they're irresponsible, can't concentrate and whatever they've run off to do couldn't *possibly* compare to the importance of being at my beck and call or doing what I say."

Or, words to that effect. Just a subtle way of saying that darker skinned folk in the antipodes are lazy, unreliable and have suspect. The fact that this term was applied to tennis player Goolagong because she was of Aboriginal descent by a white media doesn't make it okay to replicate the stereotype.

You can suggest that a player has poor powers of concentration without (inadvertently I hope) dragging race/ethnicity into the proceedings.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - 'write', not 'right.

RoƱoso said...

Im i missing something here? Why is the Pattaya tournament being not "really" commented in your blog?

Sania Mirza is right where she belongs, in a final against a top 10 (top 5 actually)!!!

Getting back to track, im a huge Dementieva fan, since her first (and only) appeareance in Acapulco im waiting for her to get to the top spot... but Mauresmo is playing really great, should be a great final.

Diane said...

My understanding, Westerly, is that the walkabout was a right of passage for young Aborigne people, and that it later came to mean any "taking time off" done by indigenous people. Never before have I heard that such taking time off was considered laziness or noncompliance. All I have ever heard that it means is to "wander off."

I thank you for the education. You are the first person to ever provide it to me. Knowing that this term has racist implications, I certainly will not use it again. Steve Flink recently used it, too, and I imagine that he, too, does not realize its implications.

Rosono, the Pattaya City is not being commented on much because of recent time constraints on my part. I wish I had more time to comment on it. One of the things about the Pattaya Open that is bothering me is that Zvonareva is playing in it. Same goes for Wozniacki. I don't like it when highly ranked players enter these smaller tournaments. I, too, am glad to see Mirza in the final. I am going to put up a post about the semifinals soon.

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