Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't try this at home

I stayed up very, very late last night to watch the quarterfinal match between 3rd seed Dinara Safina and wild card Jelena Dokic, and my reward was to observe each player seemingly begging her opponent to take her out of her misery. Double faults, puffy second serves, wild second serves, netted balls, desperate strategy--it wasn't pretty.

I'm going to cut Dokic some slack, though. She hasn't played on the tour at this level in many years, and she hasn't played in a major for 5 1/2 years. She is also the first woman in history to play five consecutive three-set matches at the Australian Open.

I can't cut Safina any slack, though. All the head-case characteristics of old came back last night, and after match point, Safina briefly acknowledged the crowd, then sat down with a disgusted look on her face and hit her racquet to the ground. The one thing she can be proud of, however, is that when things looked really dangerous--serving at 5-4, 15-40--she pulled off a win. That is the tough part of Safina, but she has to call on it way too often.

I imagine that Dokic feels worse than she is letting on--not so much for losing the match, but for thinking back over the almost countless opportunities she had to put Safina away.

Safina def. Dokic, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4


Sasha said...

It's a shame that a match up with so much potential had to end in such dismal fashion. Having seen Zvonareva's match I very much doubt that Dinara will get past her, but then again, my predictions have so often been wrong.

Anonymous said...

Jelena definitely had her chances. Dinara should have won this in 2, she double faulted the second set to Dokic, at least get the ball in play. Dinara just could not take control even when Jelena was visibly hitting tired shots; I think the pressure really mounted on Dokic at 4-all, she realized she probably could win the match and got a bit tight. She had already mounted 2 comebacks against Wozniaki and Kleybanova, so this was probably too much to ask. But I also forgive her since it was her first slam in a long time and she was one of the last 8 standing in a 128 player draw.
And what about that terrible line call at 4-5, 0-30 on Dinara's serve, I'm not saying she would have broken back, but it does hurt a little.
I am a Safina fan, but her performances the last two matches were not great.