Saturday, April 19, 2008

My personal Charleston soundtrack

There I was, sitting in the gloom of a balmy night on Daniel Island, listening to "Bad Day," and thinking--"Even the music selection staff wants to rub it in." Because I had a bad day. First, I saw my tournament favorite, Patty Schnyder--who performed so brilliantly last night--lose her way in a close quarterfinal match against Elena Dementieva. First, the shocker: Dementieva was hitting aces. In case you think I've been visiting the Lawn Bar too often, please note that I'm not kidding. Dementieva hit three aces, had a first serve percentage of 59, and a first serve win percentage of 67. She also had a second serve percentage of 59.

Schnyder did a better job of serving this evening than she did last night, but she gave up too many critical points to Dementieva, and was unable to hit enough winners to give her an edge. Dementieva def. Schnyder, 6-4, 6-4

I was terribly disappointed to see Patty go out, but I was able to cheer up a little bit as my second tournament favorite--last year's champion, Jelena Jankovic--came onto the court immediately following the Schynder-Dementieva match. But that hope was dashed, too, when Vera Zvonareva took control of the match, lost it, then took it back.

All credit to Zvonareva, who played some of her best tennis, but something was wrong on the Jankovic side of the court. JJ's trademark smile was absent, her movement was slow (for her), her brilliant backhand missed the mark too many times, and her forehand was all over the place. All Zvonareva really had to do was keep the ball in the court and wait for Jankovic to make errors. Zvonareva def. Jankovic, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2

With my two favorites knocked out one right after the other, I felt as though I'd been punched in the stomach. But there is one piece of very good news in all this: Jankovic served well. It was the first time I have ever seen her serve well for an entire match, and if she keeps it up, she will have overcome her most serious deficit.

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