Monday, June 20, 2011

Wimbledon begins in a very Wimbledon kind of way

It rained. Then Francesca Schiavone and Jelena Dokic had to wait almost an hour for the roof to be put on and for all the accompanying preparations to be made. It was 1-all in the third set, and Schiavone got a break, but was broken back. She broke again, though, and advanced to the second round with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory. And though I certainly didn't think that the comment that would make me cringe the most today would come out of the mouth of Chris Evert, it did. She wondered out loud whether the 6th seed would ever have thought of going to the net more if she didn't have a coach tell her to do it during the rain delay. And while it's true that Schiavone did get to chat with her Wimbledon coach and he gave her solid advice --she's 30 years old, she's been coachless for most of her career, and she won the French Open--it's hard for me to imagine she would have been totally clueless had there been no rain delay.

Dokic was not the only former Wimbledon semifinalist to go out in the first round. 17th seed Kaia Kanepi, a semifinalist just last year, was defeated 6-3, 6-3 by Sara Errani. She wasn't the first seed to go out, though--that would be 22nd seed Shahar Peer, who was also the first seed to make an exit at the French Open. Peer was defeated 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 by Ksenia Pervak.

Though it's a smaller upset on paper, the real upset of the day for me was Christina McHale's 2-6, 6-1, 8-6 win over 28th seed Ekatarina Makarova. Makarova is a good grass player, and--unlike Kanepi and Peer--is not having a bad season. What made the third set especially interesting was the memory of McHale's massive choke in the first round of the French Open. She held herself together this time (which actually seems more in character for her) and advanced to the second round.

2nd seed Vera Zvonareva got a bit of a fight from Alison Riske, but prevailed, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3; Riske did become mentally paralyzed in the third round. 12th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova had even more of a fight from Zhang Shuai, but emerged the winner with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 score.

Five-time champion Venus Williams had an easy straight-set win over Akgul Amanmuradova, Kimiko Date-Krumm defeated Katie O'Brien, Yanina Wickmayer defeated an injured Varvara Lepchenko, and the talented Anna Tatishvili defeated Anastasia Pivovarova. Also advancing to the second round were Elena Vesnina (def. Laura Pous-Tio), Pauline Parmentier (def. Sorana Cirstea), Aleksandra Dulgheru (def. Jill Craybas, and  Monica Niculescu, who defeated Sybille Bammer. Bammer retired from professional tennis after the match.

Victoria Azarenka and Magdalena Rybarikova played a set and a half, with Azarenka leading, when the rain came. That match will be continued tomorrow. Also playing tomorrow will be defending champion Serena Williams (vs. Aravane Rezai), world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki (vs. Arantxa Parra Santonja) and French Open champion Li Na (vs. Alla Kudryavtseva).


Anonymous said...

"Schiavone did get to chat with her Wimbledon coach and he gave her solid advice --she's 30 years old, she's been coachless for most of her career, and she won the French Open--it's hard for me to imagine she would have been totally clueless had there been no rain delay".

Hey, according to your blogger buddies, she's "Franny the tranny", probably too preoccupied with other things to formulate a match strategy.

There is no acceptable context for that kind of slur. I know, you bloggers stick up for your own, like a screeching baby's momma in Walmart, but maybe you'll acknowledge that the best of the best in tennis deserve a little more respect.

Diane said...

I don't know of "Blogger buddies" who says this; I know of only one person. I have, for the record, never heard that person say that Schiavone would be distracted by "other things" in any given situation. Quite the opposite, in fact--the particular blogger has heaped pages and pages of praise on Schiavone.

I understand your disapproval of the nickname; I would never use it. I have issues with probably hundreds of other things, like assuming that courage equals maleness ("having balls," or, as a certain WTA star would say, "manning up"), or referring to men's tennis as "tennis," or calling women "girls," or saying that a WTA player with muscles is "masculine," or referring to a man as female genitalia (or a similar euphemism) in order to describe him as weak.

You could never know how much these things bother me.

I also know that people (in fact, most people these days) are going to disagree with my protests. The culture is what it is, and it is my lot to put up with it on a daily basis, and to make a case when I can.

People I like and respect because they are likable and have earned my respect will not always do and say what I want them to! That doesn't change the fact that they have earned my regard and respect.

What someone says and does is always said and done in a context. If that weren't the case, all stand-up comics would be offensive 24/7, as would many of the rest of us.

Making accusations like the one you have made is out of line. I stick up for whomever I feel like sticking up for. I stick up for you in that I totally understand your anger. But swinging by and attacking me presumes I have some kind of power that--believe me--I don't have. And it assumes an either/or that, unfortunately, does not apply to life as I know it.