Sunday, March 15, 2009

Boom or Bust

I don't know what's going on with the women's draw out in the desert because I haven't been able to watch a match. We know that two of the top "stars", No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic and No. 3 seed Elena Dementieva, have crashed out in their first matches. At least ElenaD managed to win a set. She said something about not recovering from all the tennis she's played so far this year and is happy to get some rest before Key Biscayne. This from one of the fittest players on the tour.

Quietly advancing, however, is the American Angela Haynes who got into the main draw after winning two qualifying matches as a wild card. She announced herself at the 2004 US Open where she advanced to the third round and followed it up at Wimbledon the next year where she took a set from a woefully out-of-shape Serena Williams in the first round. Since all of that, her brother died tragically in a motorcycle accident, and she's been off the radar ever since. Ranked No. 151, she hasn't played in the main draw of a Slam since 2005.

Now, she's is in the third round of the 6th Slam, after defeating in straight sets No. 20 seed Sugiyama Ai, who's no walk in the part no matter how much of a veteran she's become. The American hasn't dropped a set in her four matches, including qualifying.

That AP image you see above is the only photo anyone bothered to take of the 24-year-old Black woman from Compton. No, I'm not accusing anyone of bigotry or racism, so calm down. But Haynes probably considers the BNP Paribas Open a home event, seeing as though she was raised less than two hours away. And she's clearly playing some of her best tennis under the radar. Perhaps the crafty lefty with the swinging serve can use this event to get her career back on track. She must seize the day. No. 12 seed Flavia Pennetta is her next test. Let's see how she holds up.


Karen said...

I cannot comment either as I did not "watch" the match but I listened to the match commentary on Radio Tennis (if you have not listened to the commentary, you should, highly entertaining). From what I heard Anastaysia (cannot prounce or spell her last name) took it to JJ last night. She played aggressive tennis and she had the Serb on a string, moving her around the court. At the end of the first set, the NO. 3 player in the world called her svengali for advice. From the clip on the wta website this morning, he was telling her what she needs to do etc. Anastasia did not call a coach (she is ranked a lot of places below her compatriot). There were a lot of swing volleys (which the commentator called the Russian volley - he was hilarious) and she was very aggressive. It was a good match and the crowd really got into it. If you write to Radio Tennis they will actually read your emails over the air, that is except if you are sending shoutouts.

Craig Hickman said...

Thanks for the summary, Karen.

Why do I not care, though? ;)

Graf_sampras said...

Craighickman...i've been thinking, upon seeing the TOP TWO out ...

even while it's happened often that top two seeds and other top seeds are out in tournaments...

this one in indian wells shows something else:

that generally -- the WTA QUALITY of players -- "top players" included - has not "surpassed" that which was produced by the WIlliamses in their dominance years between 2000-2003.

it's funny -- but without the williamses -- WTA seems like a collection of "leftovers".

sorry to say,,,because of course I also continue to like particular players just like anyone and wish them to succeed too.

but -- that's the truth.

and absence of the williamses in Indian Wells...or their "return" ANYWHERE full strength just shows up this glaring fact.

the WTA is like a bunch of "mice playing while the CATS ARE AWAY".

and we know who the CATS are - one of them even liked to wear a "CAT SUIT".


Karen said...

Craig, it is just too funny that there is a lot of noise being made about the up and comers in the WTA and while I have always been a lover of women's tennis rather than the men, I am not sure that these players will really capture the imagination of tennis fans. Azarenka is showing signs of being a diva (saw her play in Brisbane I think it was and her attitude stunk). People are saying that if she had not fallen ill she would have beaten Serena - yeah right. She could not do it when Serena was fight, clearly she is going to do it when Serena is focused, even when she is losing it is hard to beat her - just ask Gisela Dulko (now where did that forehand come from and was it always there?). I still cannot get on the Safina bandwagon - her game has too many glaring holes, never liked LenaD - I actually do like Aga - think she has a really nice game and I like her on court attitude - also do like Caroline Wozniacki ever since I saw her play many years in Las Vegas.