Thursday, March 29, 2012

Radwanska and Sharapova to meet in Miami final

There were constant breaks of serve. A limp-inducing injury foretold a possible retirement. The power went out and there were no lights. Any moment, I expected a storm to strike the stadium and for Jelena Jankovic to appear.

The drama revolved around the second semifinal match at the Sony Ericsson Open. Agnieszka Radwanska and Marion Bartoli faced each other for a spot in the final but neither of them could hold serve. Finally, in the seventh game, Radwanska did hold, only to be broken when she served for the first set at 5-3. Unfortunately, Bartoli's lingering thigh injury returned, and it looked for a moment like the Frenchwoman would have to retire, but for the last year, she's been playing through injuries, and she did just that tonight.

Radwanska won, 6-4, 6-2, with Bartoli never holding serve. And though Bartoli appeared to be in considerably less pain as the second set wore on, she lost her edge. The first set, however, was quite entertaining, with Bartoli frequently "pulling a Radwanska" in order to get a point. We are so used to Marion Bartoli's relentless groundstrokes, we sometimes forget that she, too, can hit some keen angles and volleys.

The power outage didn't last too long, so the players left the court at a reasonable hour.

In the first semifinal of the day, Maria Sharapova came on very strong in the first set, going up 4-1, 40-30. But then she became a little shaky, which set off a run of five straight games from Caroline Wozniacki, who took the first set 6-4. The second set began like the first, with Sharapova going up 4-0, but this time, she kept the pressure on, winning the set 6-2.

Sharapova went up 5-2 in the third, and though Wozniacki fought back one of the breaks, Sharapova served the set out at 6-4. The match lasted over two and a half hours, and featured a bit of drama over a service call (Wozniacki left the court without shaking the chair umpire's hand).

Sharapova is a three-time runner-up in Miami. Previously, she was defeated by Kim Clijsters, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Victoria Azarenka.


Sunny nine said...

Is the Tennis Channel thing a US problem? Just curious about other countries. I can't afford Tennis Channel but it seems to me that a person would just ask the player how to pronounce their name. Hey, maybe take along a tape recorder and record it for everyone to learn.

Diane said...

Or they could look it up on the tour site. Unfortunately, both of these things require effort, and perhaps making a change, which just seems to be "too much." It happens on other USA networks, too, and it happens in Great Britain. I can't speak for other countries, though.

Karen said...

I am now convinced that Brian Webber is an idiot and I use that term nicely. Even worse than his commentary last night, was the fact that this is a Premier Mandatory event and they were almost a full 2 games behind. Persons in social media took great exception to this but I doubt if there was any change despite folks tweeting to them directly, including myself.

I just do not understand why TC and its commentators do the things they do and even worst, fans were so turned off by the commentary that they just stopped watching the match.

I just cannot get on the Bartoli bandwagon. The histrionics, the constant fidgeting and the desperation fist pumps etc just leaves a bad taste in my mouth each time I see her play. As well, I am with the French Federation in relation to the whole coaching thing during Fed Cup. The rule has been there for years, if you change it for the Bartolis no doubt you will have to change it for every single player.

If representing your country is something that you would dearly love to do, then kick daddy aside and go play for your country.

Karen said...

I have heard Jason Goodall and Rob Koenig pronounce the names of players from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia in the manner in which it is to be pronounced. In addition I had to lift my hat the other day to Jason Goodall because he called a match with Radwanska and I can't remember who it was but he broke down their games like no one else I have seen. He did not constantly criticise the errors that the women made, but he just told viewers what made these women so good.

Aaah yes it was Vika against Radwanska in Dubai.

Also I have heard Virgina Wade do commentary at Wimbledon and it is superb commentary.

Todd.Spiker said...

Diane, I thought the end of the Wozniacki/Sharapova match was a good example of what you've said in the past about how childish Wozniacki sometimes acts on court, but it never called out for it.

I kept waiting for someone on ESPN2 to bop her on the head (figuratively, of course) for her petulant reaction to Nouni's overrule (a correct one, by the way), anger over not having any challenges left (her own fault) or that she showed a great lack of sports(wo)manship when she refused to shake his hand and then scurried off the court with that unbecoming pout on her face.

Of course, even after a specific replay showing her brush-off of the umpire, no attention was brought to her actions. Imagine if Serena had done that... they'd still be talking it about today.

Diane said...

Karen, Jason Goodall is one of my favorite commentators. I really like Robbie Koenig, too.

Thanks for pointing that out, Todd. She gets a pass every time. If someone does point out her behavior, it's a case of "Well, she doesn't usually act like this." Not shaking Nouni's hand was just out of line.

Jeppe said...

I agree that Wozniacki was wrong not to shake hands with Kader Nouni, and I hope she regrets it. But she didn't curse or threaten anyone, and as for any underlying pattern of bad behaviour, I just don't see it. The last time I remember her acting petulant towards an umpire was at Roland Garros last year, but if you want to paint her as a misbehaving brat, then by all means go ahead.

Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to the Radwanska v. Sharapova match.

Unknown said...

Hi Diane--I just returned to Los Angeles after covering the college baskebtall Final Four in New Orleans so I apologize for my tardiness in replying to your post.

As I mentioned two years ago when I responded to a critique of how informaton was distilled during a brief synopsis of a match summary graphic during WTA Madrid, I welcome all feeback whether it be positive or negative. One of the primary reasons I was interested in becoming a broadcaster years ago was my passion for sports. It's what drove me as a youngster to implore my Father to take me to Forest Hills to see the US Open in person in the mid 197O's, which sparked my life-long love of Tennis. So I fully appreciate the amount of zeal that fans possess for our sport. That energy and intensity fuels my industry and I feel very fortunate to have worked as broadcaster since I graduated from Stanford.

But while everyone is entitled to have an opinion--especially in an age of social media---they are not entitled to create their own facts. I'm sorry if there may have been a misinterpretation of what I was attempting to do during the Radwanska-Bartoli match last week. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my explanation on the air.

If you recall, I cited that Matt Cronin--- the tennis journalist who writes for a myriad of websites---had pointed out on Twitter the previous day that "Aga" is the preferable way to identify Radwanska if one were to use a nickname, not "Aggie," because of her family's Polish heritage. It was a passing comment in a stage of the match that had featured a series of breaks. I completed my thought by saying that I preferred to refer to all players by their full names. To elucidate that example, I mentioned that I don't refer to Caroline Wozniacki as "Caro." I could have offered the observation that I don't use "Nole" to refer to Novak Djokovic.

I'm sorry if my attempt at levity by mentioning that I was not in the "inner circle" of Wozniacki did not resonate. I can assure you it was merely an effort to offer an ancillary thought to the larger context of the match.

If viewers ever have an observation, I welcome all feedback. You can email me at or tweet me at The viewer's experience is inherently subjective so I'm always interested in how things may be perceived---or in this case misperceived.

Since I cover other sports, I sure you will be disappointed to learn that my scheduled has forced to curtail my Tennis assignments:) But I continue to find your blog informative in many areas and wish you continued success.