Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wozniacki wins Pilot Pen

Anna Chakvetadze has added so much to her game (an obvious result of her having spent some time with Robert Lansdorp); now she has a mean winning forehand to go with her already excellent defensive game. She is also hitting the ball harder. On paper, the addition of these new skills should make Chakvetadze one of the very top players on the tour. But the one thing that has not been remedied is her mentality. After playing a very fine first set, top seed Chakvetadze repeated her error of last night's semifinal, and let her aggression run away with her. She also faced an opponent who shook off her nerves in the second set, and especially when there was a break point against her when she served at 4-5.

But in the third set, we saw a classic Chakvetadze mental meltdown. This frustrates me no end because I so admire her tennis, and I was so pleased to see the additions she has made to her game. Chakvetadze has always had some head problems, and they have become worse since she experienced a trauma last December. Her under-achievement makes me cringe sometimes.

Until she played this match, Chakvetadze had a perfect record in finals: She had won seven out of seven. Today, Caroline Wozniacki ended that perfect record, and did it with style. Once she got past her first set problems, the unseeded Wozniacki was able to sieze control of the match, even giving back to her opponent several Chakvetadze-style wicked court angles. It was another very fine performance from Wozniacki, and the first set of the final was the only set she dropped all week.

We'll see if the commentators can keep from getting their tiny brains scrambled by the fact that two of the U.S. Open Series tournaments were won by Wozniack and Wozniacki, respectively. And speaking of commentators...Mary Joe Fernandez, how hard is it to learn how to pronounce "Chakvetadze" when what you are paid for is saying her name? And Fernandez and Patrick McEnroe, how hard is it to learn how to pronounce "Wozniacki"? Apparently just too hard.

I had my own problems with this match. Because it was a CBS feed, I missed the beginning because the local CBS affiliate felt compelled to air a storm update and then air the news that should have been broadcast during the long storm update time slot. But the corker came when--at 2 p.m., right before match point--the local station cut in with another storm update. All I could do was write an angry letter to the programming department.

Wozniacki def. Chakvetadze, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1

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