I went to work today. I know, in the U.S., it's Labor Day, but I went to work. And just when I thought I would miss watching matches, the rain came. Unfortunately, it kept coming--hard--during my long break. In the end, I didn't get to see that much. The match I saw the most of, however, was the one I most wanted to see--Simona Halep vs. Flavia Pennetta. What I saw was Halep minus the confidence, rushing through points and making errors. It didn't help that the rain delay began right when Halep was at set point in the second set.
As for Pennetta, well--seems like old times. The Italian veteran likes the U.S. Open and has a good U.S. Open history. Now she's again into the quarterfinals, and will play countrywoman (but of course) Roberta Vinci.
Pennetta beat Halep 6-2, 7-6. Vinci beat (countrywoman) Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2. The match between Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic, scheduled for tonight, has been postponed until tomorrow. In the meantime, Alison Riske took Daniela Hantuchova to three sets, but Hantuchova prevailed, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. She also hit 15 aces.
Here is the quarterfinal draw:
Serena Williams (1) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro (18)
Ekaterina Makarova (24) vs. Li Na (5)
Roberta Vinci (10) vs. Flavia Pennetta
Daniela Hantuchova vs. either Ana Ivanovic (13) or Victoria Azarenka (2)
I'll watch them all, but I'm looking especially forward to the Makarova-Li match and the all-Italian match. So many Italians, so few rounds left!
For several weeks now, the commentators on ESPN have been irritating me beyond tolerance with their re-invention of tennis's markers of highest achievement, in their attempt to give the Bryan Brothers glory. They are now referring to the Grand Slam as the "Calendar Slam," implying that there's more than one way to win really big. And while I'm glad to recognize what we call a Career Slam (winning all four majors at some point in one's career), a Grand Slam is a Grand Slam, and that's it. You have to win all four majors in the same year.
This nonsense started when Serena Williams dubbed her four-in-a-row the Serena Slam. It had a nice ring to it, yes, but it was the beginning of the chiseling away at what is a truly outstanding accomplishment--winning the Grand Slam. If the Bryan brothers do win the Grand Slam, that would be very big indeed, but anything else is just number of majors-in-a-row. A very great accomplishment, but not a Grand Slam.
Over at the LPGA, they have an interesting problem because a fifth major has been added to the calendar. So there is discussion about whether the Grand Slam should remain the way it is--winning four majors in a calendar year (with winning all five to be called the Super Slam), or whether it should be winning all five.
That's a legitimate argument, and a tricky one. But calling a Grand Slam a Calendar Slam to make winning consecutive majors in different years "Another Slam" is an insult to those few players who did win the Grand Slam. ESPN has even gone so far as to say that the Bryans have won the Golden Slam, which they have not. They have won a Career Slam, plus an Olympic gold medal, and they even held all four major titles at once. That is a really big accomplishment. However, the only tennis entity to ever actually win the Golden Slam was Steffi Graf.