Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jankovic and Zvonareva to meet in Moscow final

I wasn't surprised to learn that Vera Zvonareva had defeated Dinara Safina in their semifinal. From all I've heard, Safina is mentally (and perhaps a bit physically) exhausted. I was impressed that she had won her semifinal against Kuznetsova, considering all I had heard about her mental fatigue. Zvonareva defeated the number 2 seed 6-2, 7-6.

The other semifinal scoreline defies the imagination: Top seed Jelena Jankovic took out defending champion Elena Dementieva, 0-6, 6-1, 6-0. (In Stuttgart, Li Na defeated Serena Williams 0-6, 6-1, 6-4, but this is even stranger.) Jankovic said she thought she played well in the first set, but that Dementieva was just too good, and that she (Jankovic) became determined to take control of the match in the second set. That determination paid off.


walter armstrong said...

big jankovic fan here.
really hoping she can win three in a row and continue to show those many naysayers that she is as worthy a world no. 1 as others have been

jj has beaten zvonareva in the past two weeks doing what she does best, playing awesome defense, constructing and executing beautiful points, and basically frustrating her opponent out of her wits.
but the russian will be extra motivated to win the kremlin cup and also their matches are close

jj seems so tough mentally and also so smart about figuring out her opponent and how to win. people do not appreciate that without explosive power.

but she is gaining a faster serve and an eagerness to finish points at the net

very impressed at how fast she learns and improves

Diane said...

I couldn't agree more, Walter. Her serve is never going to be that fast, but her placement continues to get better.

JJ proves that--even in the era of "power tennis"--she, like Evert and Hingis before her, can win with her head.

I think we have to factor fatigue into the Moscow final, though. After her semifinal, she said she felt mentally fresh, but was pretty tired physically. Movement is such an important part of her game, and she may not be able to sustain her current level of play, especially against a really good opponent like Vera.

walter armstrong said...

not to belabor...

but JJ said the same exact thing about physically tired mentally fresh last week and pulled it out.

we'll see...

i don't get Tennis Channel, so if anyone wants to tape and post on YouTube, please do.

and i so much appreciate the blog to share tennis fanaticism (in this age of fanatacism, a pretty benign one, no?)

Diane said...

It's a pleasure to have you here, Walter. And you might want to check the Kremlin Cup website. My understanding is that they've been livestreaming center court matches.

walter armstrong said...

oh, and did i add that like everyone who loves or even appreciates Jelena Jankovic, her smile after points, and her sportsmamship, and even her drama, all make her a beautiful spirit and unique in the game.

in that sense, far superior to sourpuss martina hingis and the all-business evert, who has since shown what a enormous humor, honesty, and humility she was hiding all those years she was putting down legendary tracks...

Diane said...

I followed Evert very closely--she is probably my favorite player of all time (in terms of tennis--not so much in terms of other things)--so I sometimes did observe the humor and also the edge. She and Navratilova honed each others' characters in ways that were largely hidden from view. The news media, and therefore the public, projected all sorts of things on to them that were not accurate.

Evert is still the most mentally tough tennis player I have ever seen. Some of that she learned the hard way, but it served her well.

Jankovic is one-of-a-kind, and constantly foils attempts to project qualities on to her. The only (brief) conversation I ever had with her (beyond "thank you") was on a day when she was feeling insecure about her game. A few days later, she won the tournament, and I wanted to find her and say "I told you so."

JJ is who she is, and I don't think she's going to change. At least, I hope not!