Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Today, the tennis gods were out to trick me. I had to leave my house for an appointment right at the moment that Aga Radwanska had match point against Dominika Cibulkova in the second set of their quarterfinal match in Miami. I didn't think too much about it, except to make a mental note of how well everything had timed out for me. What I didn't know was that the moment I turned off my television, Radwanska would hit that match point, only Cibulkova would challenge it, would win the challenge, and then turn the entire match on its head.

The second set went to a tiebreak instead, and Cibulkova won it. Cibulkova--with her new, healthy thigh/hip and her new mental approach--is now an official danger to just about anyone. She would go on to win the match 3-6, 7-6, 6-3, and by doing so, to enter the top 10 for the first time in her career. I would go on to kick myself for leaving my house, though I'd probably keep my appointment (with my trainer--I'm strict with myself about this) if I had to do it all over again.

Radwanska, even after missing out on match point, went up 5-2 in the tiebreak. A bad line call also seems to have shaken Radwanska, but the concept of Radwanska's letting something like that get the better of her is completely foreign. Still feeling bad after Indian Wells, maybe?

It wasn't like it was an easy task for either of them; the first set was really just break after break after break. But this is the sort of match that Cibulkova used to lose, and now it's the sort of match that she wins.

Cibulkova's opponent in the semfinals will be Li Na. That's who the Slovakian star lost to in the Australian Open final. Li defeated Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 7-5. Tennis Channel commentator Brett Haber referred to the "Carosel of coaches" the Dane has gone through. Actually, it's more of a "Carovan," but I get the point.*

The other semifinal will be yet another meeting of Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, and how dreary that must be for 'Pova. But she does get another shot at cracking the code, and should she succeed, she'll reach her sixth Miami final.

Sharapova defeated Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1 yesterday. Kvitova was coughing and sweating a lot, and was obviously affected by her asthma, but she, too, appeared to be done in by a line call sort of thing. She was never the same after she unsuccessfully challenged what she saw as a double bounce on Sharapova's side of the court.

Williams defeated Angelique Kerber 6-2, 6-2 in her Tuesday quarterfinal.

In doubles, wild cards Martina Hingis and Sabine Lisicki have reached the semifinals.

*If any of you is wondering why Piotr Wozniacki is now "Victor," Todd Spiker has unearthed the explanation. Caroline Wozniacki has now added a "new" coach without even making a phone call.


Anonymous said...

A video replay confirmed (to tv watchers) that the ball was 'not up'. Two bounces. Sharapova should have been gracious a la Andre Agassi by giving the point, and a 30-0 lead to Kvitova. But she was not elegant at all. The ref should have called it, because it happened right below her chair.

Diane said...

"gracious al a Andre Agassi" is a term not in my repertioire! I get the comtext, though :) Are we sure that Sharapova saw it?

Luna said...

Maria knew it, even her muted celebration after the point proves it. That point affected Petra big time, just like Novak's racket over the net affected Andy.

Diane said...

I saw the racket over the net incident. And one of the commentators said--about both incidents--why can't we use the technology to determine those kinds of calls? Why can't we?

The other part of this equation is that Petra and Andy have to learn how to get past this stuff.

svente said...

Yeah, it does seem absurd that only some things are reviewable. We have the technology, let's use it.

That said. While I think it's somewhat sporting to give a point or admit a fault, in a high-stakes professional setting the refs (and technology) should get it right and the player is under no obligation to "fess up".

And lastly, as Diane said, they are professionals, they need to move past it. They've all benefited and not benefited from bad calls.

Anonymous said...

Andre used to grant the point to his opponents when the call was bad. Really.

Jim Lumpkin said...

The replay showed the ball a good bouncing for the second time at least eight inches from the racquet. Of course, Maria knew it. If it had been, say, one or two inches, then it would have been hard to know, as she was running. Find the video. There's a close up of the ball bouncing for a second time just where I've described it above.

Jim said...

I don't know where 'a good' came from in the post above. Please ignore it.

Diane said...

An argument can be made both ways--that a player "should" grant the point if she knows there was a mistake made, or that a player is under no obligation to do an umpire's job. It's an old argument. The real issue, to me, is: Why aren't we using the technology?

Sabey said...

I like to think that tennis is a sport where an honor code matters. Those of us who play even recreationally know that you have to fess up. I am always disappointed in the players who game the system. It's just not how I see the sport of tennis.

Anonymous said...

There's a difference between a rule-based society and a principle-based society. The principle-base is the correct one if we are to be truly human. Pragmatism has done incalculable damage in this respect, since it denies right and wrong, substituting 'whatever gets the result that you want' for honesty. Them's da facts, folks. The intellectual bankruptcy that we're living with is nothing short of disgusting. It's everywhere.