Sunday, June 7, 2009
My French Open top 10
Here are my top 10 French Open occurrences, in ascending order:
10. I Wake Up Screaming: Maria Sharapova screams. Victoria Azarenka screams. Venus Williams screams. Their screaming bothers some people, doesn't bother others. Michelle Larcher de Brito's screams, however, appear to bother a lot of people. The French Open referee says her screams are longer. Perhaps, but where and how do you draw the line? Larcher de Brito herself noted that--during the French Open--there had not been a big production made over Sharapova's vocals.
9. Stand by for "the shoulder": It's only a matter of time. Serena Williams has already endured "the hand" incident with Justine Henin, and now "the arm" incident with Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. I don't know why these things happen to Williams, but they do.
8. Match point!: Rarely do you get to see a match point as wonderful as the one that occurred at the end of the round of 16 match between Virginie Razzano and Tathiana Garbin. Razzano won, but the point belonged to both of them. The rest of the match was pretty entertaining, too.
7. Oops, out so long I forgot I can't play on clay: Who knew that Maria Sharapova--never a big deal on clay-- after being off the tour ten months with shoulder problems, would reach the quarterfinals? Quite impressive.
6. Short on height, long on fight: It's a shame that Dominika Cibulkova was so anxious during her semifinal match against Dinara Safina. But even with her anxiety-produced errors, she played well enough to demonstrate her potential.
5. They don't call it "doubles" for nothing: Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual did what few do these days--they defended their French Open doubles title.
4. That scoreboard must be wrong: They are considered unbeatable, but Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Nadia Petrova thought otherwise, and defeated Venus and Serena Williams in doubles. The match was one of the most enjoyable of the tournament--with constant momentum changes--and the upset was significant.
3. What did I do to upset you?: There were so many very early upsets in this French Open--Flavia Pennetta, Amelie Mauresmo, Patty Schnyder, Kaia Kanepi, Anna Chakvetadze, and Daniela Hantuchova all went out in the first round. Zheng Jie, Elena Vesnina, Nadia Petrova, Alize Cornet, Marion Bartoli, and Anabel Medina Garrigues went out in the second.
2. Slammin' Sam comes through at last: With a great first and second serve, a strong forehand, and superb net play, Samantha Stosur should be ranked higher than she is. But a combination of mental fragility and a lengthy illness have held her back. She made a long-awaited breakthrough at Roland Garros, however--getting to the semifinals and taking a set off of Svetlana Kuznetsova.
1. You've got a lot of nerve: It's been five years since Kuznetsova won the U.S. Open. She is probably the best clay court player on the tour, and it has always seemed just not right to me that she owned no French Open titles. Now she does. Kuznetsova held her nerve, which is almost all she needed to do to finally hold the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. The bad news is that Dinara Safina collapsed mentally in the final, just as she did at the Australian Open.