Saturday, July 3, 2010

King & Shvedova win Wimbledon doubles championship

A casual observer who had just turned on the television could never have guessed that Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova were playing doubles with the 2010 Wimbledon championship at stake. They were having so much fun, smiling so much, it looked more like two friends were just out to have a good time on a Sunday evening.

Those two friends defeated Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva 7-6, 6-2 to become the first unseeded team to win Wimbledon since 1977, when Helen Gourlay Cawley and JoAnne Russell won the trophy. Both of the teams in today's final were unseeded, in fact, and both played very impressively throughout the tournament. To get to the final, the champions defeated Alberta Brianti & Alexandra Dulgheru, 14th seeds Monica Niculescu & Shahar Peer, 3rd seeds Nadia Petrova & Sam Stosur, 6th seeds Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik, and 5th seeds Liezel Huber & Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

The Russian team also pulled some big upsets, including the defeat of top seeds Serena and Venus Williams, in a match that featured a consistently stunning performance from Vesnina. Today, however, was not the team's brightest day. Zvonareva lost the singles championship to Serena Williams, and the mood on the Russian side of the net was a decided contrast to the good cheer emanating from the other side.

The first set was so close that it went to a tiebreak, which King and Shvedova won 8-6 after saving a set point. Zvonareva was never quite the same after that, and--set up by the steady baseline play of King, Shvedova proceeded to become a one-woman attack force, repeatedly slamming unreturnable volleys from the net. She didn't look too shabby in other parts of the court, either, serving forcefully, and hitting winners down the line. She and King got better as the match wore on, and won the second set 6-2, which gave them the match.

The champions' interview was as entertaining as their performance on the court. Apparently, Shvedova and King invited practically everyone they met recently--at the French Open, in an English pub, etc.--to come to Wimbledon. They came, too, and were part of a huge cheering section for the two women. I was quite disappointed that neither the champions nor the runners-up were invited to speak at the trophy ceremony, and cannot imagine why such a slight would be permitted to occur.

No matter whom you wanted to win the doubles title, it was almost impossible to be anything but excited for King and Shvedova, whose expert play and on-court charm made this a special championship.

11 comments:

TennisAce said...

I did not get to see the match as I was out doing Saturday errands but I was very happy for Shvedova. I picked her in the SP in the singles and got knocked out. I absolutely love her game. I love her composure on court. I love the presence she brings and I think if she can reign in her game she is a future top 10 or top 20 player.

I am so happy for her. Absolutely thrilled at this win. I have now gotten over my being kicked out of the women's Suicide Pool - LOL

I understand that Vera had a monumental breakdown after the doubles match. You know I said to a tennis watching friend of mine that with all that Vera has been saying about learning to keep her emotions in check, the fact that she has to be hiding under a towel in order to do so tells me that she has really not mastered that as yet.

I wish sometimes she would just break a racquet and get it over with. Serena threw her racquet on the ground today when she missed an easy return. She played exceptionally better after that. Vera should have done the same. I really thought it would go 3 but man oh man.

Anonymous said...

In the immortal words of Vic Braden - "laugh and win".

It's great to see that "fun" works on the professional level.

Diane said...

I've been a fan of Shvedova's since the first time I saw her play.

I don't think Vera covers her head with a towel to hide her emotions. I've been up pretty close to her when she covers her head, and I think she does it for exactly the reason she says--it keeps out distractions.

I don't know what she did after the doubles match; she was very unhappy after losing the first set, though; she and Elena had held a set point.

TennisAce said...

Diane I understand that she broke down so bad that Elena had to be wiping tears from her face. She has to learn to control this. Yes it shows that she cares about the game etc but it gives opponents a big advantage over you. She may think that it does not detract from whatever it is she is doing on court but her opponents will see it for something else. They will think that she is weak and struggling and therefore they will start hitting out more and she will lose.

That is what happened to her in the Pennetta match at the USO last year. She has to rein this in.

Diane said...

Yes, she shed some tears between sets; afterwards, she was quite composed. I, too, would rather see her break a racquet, like she did in Charleston.

Anonymous said...

Doubles finals were shown on TV today?!?! What channel? When I saw that NBC had such a big window for the women's singles final, I had my fingers crossed that I'd at least get to see a bit of either doubles final...instead I got a repeat of the second men's semi. I wish they'd let TC show the doubles finals.

Mel

Anonymous said...

Thrilled for Shvedova and King! Joy to watch.

Unfortunately, seeing Vera crying after the first set was a bit of a bummer. In one day, she's made more loot than most people earn in a lifetime. Am I harsh for not wanting to watch the waterworks?

I hope the WTA hires you away from us to help these women keep it together.

Diane said...

No, Mel, the doubles championship wasn't on TV in the U.S. I was speaking generally and metaphorically. I watched it on UStream, however. I was able to watch everything but the junior girls final somewhere on the Internet.

Something we need to keep in mind: There are some people who simply cannot control the activity of their tear ducts. I've known some of them. I don't have too much control over my own, in fact. (And it isn't an "emotional" thing with women--our tear ducts are constructed differently from men's.) I think Vera may be one of those individuals. And anyway, I doubt the money has near the meaning for her that winning a Wimbledon title would.

And thanks, but I don't know if I'm up to that job! And I'm pretty sure I'm not on the WTA's list of favorite people :)

TennisAce said...

OK I just unfortunately watched the women's doubles finals and boy Vera needs a psychologist like never before. There is just no way you break down like that on a tennis court. No way. I know the circumstances were tough. Losing 2 finals on the same day, but woman you have to learn to control that.

The commentators were right. She should have taken comfort in how unbelievably well she did in both singles and doubles. She came back from an injury that was career threatening. She beat the best doubles team that we have seen in a long while on their home turf.

She beat a Grand Slam champion after being down a set. She made the finals of both the singles and doubles at the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, and instead she spends half the match crying.

Woman pull yourself together. I am just aghast at this.

Anonymous said...

Why does she need to 'control' that? Is she violating a WTA or ITF code? Nope. It's just that displays of emotion make us all uncomfortable, hence we prefer it be done behind closed doors. I agree on some level it is destructive to her tennis, and some level of composure would certainly enable her best tennis. But the question remains, why should Vera behave in a sanitised way to keep us all happy?

TennisAce said...

@Anon, it is not to make fans happy. It is to ensure that she maintains a level of professionalism and to dismiss the stereotype that women are weak, ineffectual in competition and cannot face the challenges of life without dissolving into tears.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with crying in professional sports, but if you are going to go out there and compete against the best you need to put on your battle armour and be ready to face your opponent on equal footing.

Breaking down and crying in the way that Vera did not only disappointed the many fans that she made this fortnight (including me) but also left her partner stranded out there having to do yeoman's service in not only maintaining her composure and willing herself to do battle, but also having to prop up Vera because she was no longer able to maintain control on the battlefield.

Vesnina is by no stretch a mental giant herself, but she tried her hardest out there and it would have been good if Vera was able to at least help her partner out mentally as well as physically.