Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.
The story around the tennis world is of course Serena’s unfortunate outburst and the the most famous foot fault call in tennis history. Although Serena’s actions are inexcusable, there is something to be said about the most inconsistent call in the sport of tennis. The foot fault is a common occurrence in pro tennis and how strict these judges are in calling these things should be looked at. Serena (along with her sister) is notorious for standing so close to the line on her serve. If you’re going to call foot faults do so the entire match, not on the crucial 2nd serve points. Simple as that. Anyone who believes that this was the only time she foot faulted in that match is absolutely nuts.
For your viewing pleasure, here are some other players who have and have not reacted so well to bad calls.
Bruno Echagaray loses it after being called on a 2nd serve foot fault on MATCH point in a 50K challenger against USO darling Jesse Witten. Tell me if you see a difference between the 1st and 2nd serves.
Roddick keeps his cool after his foot fault call.
Safin is not very happy after his foot fault call.
Not a foot fault , but a crazy reaction from Mikhail Youzhny.
The last straw for me was hearing Chris Folwer talk about 114 ranked WC Vania King upset of 15th seeded Australian Samantha Stosur as “not a youngster.” Yes, Vania King has been around for quite awhile, and received her first WC into the U.S. Open in 2004 (qualifying WC). The fact of the matter is, Vania is ONLY 20 years old! I’d say she’s still a youngster!
She may seem like a journeywoman, but she’s still progressing and growing. She broke into the top 50 at the age of 16, won her first title that year (2005 Bangkok) and played the bulk of her Fed Cup in those years. So, yes she’s fallen on tougher times. She isn’t even old enough to drink!
So, perhaps we should give Miss King a break, and really enjoy the fact that she’s made the 3rd round a grand slam for the first time. She’s only 20 years old for pete’s sake!
On the flipside French veteran Amelie Mauresmo joined Sam Stosur in the loser’s circle after a 6-4, 6-0 whomp by French Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak. These upsets are especially disappointing considering the huge strides these players have made during the Olympus U.S. Open Series.
Agi Radwanska also lost to Adidas beauty Maria Kirilenko. Kirilenko is playing her first tournament as an Adidas clone, after being dropped from the Stella McCartney line (who now has Caroline Wozniacki as her muse). It seems to have spark some added fuel to the fire for Kirilenko who’ll need all of that and more when she takes on Li Na of China in the 3rd round.
Li Na crushed a furious Michelle Larcher de Brito who moaned, squealed, and screamed through the 2R clash. Any unforced error of of Li Na’s racket equaled a fist pump and cheer from Larcher de Brito. I found her on court antics disgusting, and I don’t care if you’re 16 or not, you need to act professional, if you want to play professional tennis. She only had two winners this match, yet still found a way to fist pump/cheer every other point. Go figure.
For many top players, the opening round of a grand slam is a nervous affair. We saw Venus Williams struggle against Vera Dushevina last night, earlier today Dinara Safina was on the ropes against the Australian qualifier Olivia Rogowska, and in year’s past we’ve seen Camille Pin take Maria Sharapova to extra innings. Needless to say a random player, taking advantage of a nervous top seed, and nearly upsetting them is almost commonplace. Almost always, the top player shows why they are a top player, and comes through even when it looks impossible. Unfortunately for the 11th seed Ana Ivanovic, she wasn’t able to find the extra gear against the always dangerous Kateryna Bondarenko (who defeated Venus Williams earlier this summer).
Perhaps it was the sudden shock of being in this situation to begin with. Ana started the match strongly enough, and seemed to be in total control when she won 9 of the first 12 games, and lead the match 6-2, 3-1. Then something switched. Ana, who was once relentlessly punished her lower ranked opponents (she had never before lost in the opening round of a grand slam), froze up. Her forehand was finding the net more then it was finding the court, and Kateryna grew in confidence. Before you knew it, Kateryna strung together 9 of the next 10 games, and now the younger Bondarenko lead the match 2-6, 6-3, 4-1, which was a lead of two breaks.
Showing her true grit, Ana seemed to get things back under control, and was about to set things in place, puts things in order and finish off this match. Even though it wasn’t perfect, there was no doubt in my mind that Ana was going to pull off the third set tiebreak, and live another day. When she had a match point at 6-5, it seemed like it was over. When Kateryna clawed back and gave herself a match point at 7-6, and double faulted, I don’t think anyone thought she’d be able to recover. The true grit it seems, was actually within Kateryna, despite the double fault, she won the next two points (fittingly won on another error off the Ivanovic forehand), and claimed the biggest scalp in her grand slam career.
Where Ana goes from here is anybody’s guess. She’s fallen out of the top 10, and does not look like she’s gaining form anytime soon. Perhaps she should take a page out of her compatriot Jelena Jankovic’s book and take some time off. JJ did so after Wimbledon and has come out strong, and she won swiftly today.
Ivanovic wasn’t alone in being a seed going down today. The 16th seed Virgine Razzano has had a career best seasons so far, but Yanina Wickamayer’s comeback from injury seems to be going very well as she pulled off the upset in straights. Kleybanova lost her second straight match since her semifinal finish at Toronto where she beat Ana’s rival Jelena Jankovic, tumbling out to Petra Kvitova (incidentally her other loss since the SF was to Wickamayer). Agnes Szavay’s (pictured) come back to the top 20 was halted by another player looking to get back there Israeli Shahar Peer.
From what I’ve read so far, the early reaction to Venus Williams's dress is a mixed bag. I personally love this dress, the bright pink looks great against her skin tone, the racing stripe is awkward, but this dress certainly needed something in the front. The side pleat-situation gives Venus some curves, which she could definitely use. I think the pink is a great color for the U.S. Open too. It's just nice to see Venus in something new.
Dress aside Venus needed all of her game to fend off the charge of Russian Vera Dushevina. Dushevina took charge of a lethargic Venus from the get go, and really displayed some fine tennis against the much favored American. Dushevina gave herself a chance to serve out the match at 7-6, 5-4, but was unable to convert. That set off 7 games in a row for Venus to get her to 4-0 in the third set. Vera, not ready to give up just yet, fought all the way back to 4-3, before Venus closed her out 6-3 in the third.
According to the Australian media, Ai Sugiyama is set to retire at the end of 2009. The Japanese veteran has played over 60 grand slams, and has played more grand slams then any active player. Although Sugiyama has struggled lately in singles, she’s still keeping herself relevant in doubles. Partnering Daniela Hantuchova, they made the finals at the Australian Open (saving match points en route against the #1 ranked doubles team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber), before falling to the Williams Sisters.
Not much was expected of her against the red hot Samantha Stosur, the 15th seed, who’s continued her incredible year through the U.S. Open Series. Despite going up a break and serving at 4-3, Sugiyama was unable to finish off the hard hitting, and epic topspin that Stosur was producing. In the end Stosur won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, not a bad way to end your grand slam career. Hopefully, even if she were to retire in singles, she’ll continue to play doubles. She’s a workhorse, and always seems to be enjoying herself out there, a true role model for the sport which is often inflicted by spoiled brats, who never seem to enjoy their court time.
17th seed Amelie Mauresmo looked to be cruising against young German Tatjana Malek taking what seemed to be an insurmountable lead of 6-2, 5-1. In what seemed to be a blink of the eye, Malek had climbed her way up to 5-4, and looked to threaten to take the second set away from the veteran Frenchwoman. Amelie who’s not had a great year, shown some great signs of life in defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova last week in New Haven. Amelie composed herself and finished off the German and will face Canadian Aleksanda Wozniak in the next round.
In the biggest surprise of the day 210 ranked qualifier Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei upset the 25th seed Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 2-6, 6-0 to win her first main draw match at a grand slam. This is actually Kai-Chen’s first ever grand slam, and is surprisingly the only player from Taiwan to qualify for the main draw (higher ranked Yung-Jan Chan & Su-Wei Hsieh both fell in qualifying 3rd and 1st Rd respectively). Another Asian qualifier Yurika Sema’s upset bid against Anna Chakvetadze took a halt after she won the 1st set, falling 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Another upset falling short was that of Meghann Shaughnessy, unable to defeat Daniela Hantuchova [pictured]. Hantuchova won 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
Other seeded winners today were (2)Serena Williams, (7)Vera Zvonareva, (8)Vika Azarenka, (10)Flavia Pennetta, (12)Agnieszka Radwanska, (14)Marion Bartoli, (18)Na Li, (20)Anabel Medina-Garrigues, (26)Francesca Schiavona, and (31)Elena Vesnina.
28th seed Sybille Bammer was the only other seed to join Kaia Kanepi in losing on opening day. This ruins the epic rematch of Bammer and Serena Williams. Bammer has beaten Serena twice, including once this summer.
The 2009 U.S. Open Qualifying tournament begins on Tuesday, and one of the players I am definitley interested in following is Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan. If you haven’t been paying attention to tour qualifying and the lower echelons of the WTA tour, Kimiko Date-Krumm is making a comeback on the WTA Tour after a 13 year absence!
Date-Krumm, who will turn 39 in September, lost in the opening round at Flushing Meadows the last time she played in 1996. Date-Krumm did make the quarterfinals at the last grand slam of the year in 1993 & 1994.
Date-Krumm, now ranked 160, will open her qualifying campaign against Ekaterina Ivanova. The 21 year old Russian was 5 years old when Date-Krumm first made the quarterfinals here in 1993. Ivanova is ranked a bit higher, but I think Kimiko’s retro game will be enough to outduel the Russian.
Earlier in 2009 Date-Krumm qualified for the Australian Open before losing a three set heartbreaker to 25th seed Kaia Kanepi. She was forced to withdraw from her opening roung qualifying match at Roland Garros to the “Dropshot Dame” Romina Oprandi, and then valiantly lost another three setter to top 10 player Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
Let’s hope Kimiko can have a bit better success (and luck with the draw!) this week at Roland Garros.