It isn't unusual, in the WTA, for semifinals to be more exciting than finals. But just about anything that happens on Saturday will be better than what happened in Paris today. Elena Dementieva, who has been dealing with a calf injury all week, retired today after she lost a first set tiebreak to Francesca Schiavone. Though her pain wasn't obvious during the first set, Dementieva was choking back tears during the tiebreak, and when it was over, she shook hands with the umpire and with an obviously confused Schiavone.
Dementieva said that she tore a calf muscle in the second round, and could have retired in the third, but she kept on playing. But today, the 5th seed reported, the pain was so intense, she could not go on. Disappointing as this is to fans--especially Dementieva fans--it has to be devastating to the Russian. So many time, she has been so close to winning a major, and her chances at Roland Garros were as good as anyone's. To watch her walk away was just too sad.
The other semifinal was sad in another way. A determined team of Sam Stosur and Jelena Jankovic easily defeated Jankovic 6-1, 6-2. Picked by many to beat the Australian, Jankovic did little more than stand on the court and make forehand errors. Her movement--usually world-class--was sluggish, she had trouble keeping the ball in the court, and she was, in every way, flat. This should have been a highly competitive match--maybe the most competitive of the tournament. Instead, it fizzled into an hour's worth of beat-down.