Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 3: Nine Match Points

Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after winning her match against Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris May 26, 2009.
Reuters

I'm so tired, I can hardly see. Not because Serena Williams wore me out by choking not once, but twice, to add far too much drama to what ought to have been a routine straight-set drubbing. Instead, she couldn't put away 8 match points against serve, in the middle of that she double-faulted to drop the second set, and despite serving for the match twice, both times having been down a break only to reel off 5 straight games to earn match points, both times she fell behind 0-40 and ultimately dropped serve.

I couldn't stop thinking about Mathilde Johansson from Day 1 as I twittered and tweeted all my frustration.

The gritty, slapstick-hitting, side-eye giving Klara Zakopalova, who dismissed Serena in three sets in Marbella a few weeks back, fought like a wounded animal to save 8 of 9 match points on her own serve. It took a forehand error on the 9th for her to finally surrender.

6-3, 7-6(5), 6-4.

Serena responded as photographed above. You can see her girls were about to jump out of their tight, tight cage.

No. I'm not so tired I can hardly see from any of that. I was in the field preparing it for summer crops. We had a light frost last night, so I'm glad I waited until the first week of June to plant or transplant.

Some of you know I'm a farmer. While the tennis players battled it out on the dirt in Paris today, I battled it out on the dirt in Maine.

I didn't see any other matches, so I trust our illustrious readers will supply more comments, post more links to the good stuff, and forgive my absence till tomorrow morning. It's supposed to rain hard around here so I should be glued to tennis all day.

26 comments:

Karen said...

Now that is what I like to see. Believing even when nothing is going right. Wanting it so bad you can taste it. Who said that this girl is not committed. Have you ever seen any other player photographed with so much need about a tennis match. Fighter all the way.

dapxin said...

gr8 post.

The Serena drama - untiring at its very slowest, and breathtaking at its peak - continues....

:) :) :wink

Pamela said...

As Richard Williams said:

"What I see was a champion that found a way to win on a day that she didn't play good. In order to be a champion, you have to win when you should lose."

As her opponent said:

“I think Serena will be playing better and better each round, so it was the best chance to at least play with her or beat her,” Zakopalova said. “She’s Serena.”

I hope that much is true for at least a couple of rounds. Maybe the doubles play will help her dial in. That's six sets of tennis she's played today, and they didn't even finish the doubles match. They called it at 9:45 on serve.

dapxin said...

"She's Serena."
-----------

Did she say that truly?

Has to be the most complimentary piece I ever got any1 dropping about Serena.

says sooo much. She's indeed!

Graf_sampras said...

MAY ALL THE REAL FARMERS LIKE CRAIGHICKMAN -- WHO FARM BECAUSE THEY LOVE THE EARTH AND ITS GIFTS -- FOREVER PROSPER .

MAY THE MOTHER EARTH ALWAYS BLESS THEM WITH THE BEST SHE GIVES.


unlike the fake "farmers" of the monsantos and corporations. who only "farm" and "harvest" money and profits. lol.

Graf_sampras said...

ROGER FEDERER:

"when you are trying to be the best...you have to think you ARE BETTER. maybe even better than you ACTUALLY ARE".

from a tv interview

Graf_sampras said...

dapxin said...

"She's Serena."
-----------

Did she say that truly?

Has to be the most complimentary piece I ever got any1 dropping about Serena.

says sooo much. She's indeed!

Tue May 26, 04:56:00 PM

==========

for the FEDCUP --

USA in ITALY next...

one of the italian teammates said:

"I HOPE the williamses are not there".

lynney62 said...

what is it with james Blake???? he looked like he needs to go back to the qualies .....nothing there at all! He needs to either start taking tennis seriously or retire and go into modeling!

Graf_sampras said...

lynney62 said...

what is it with james Blake???? he looked like he needs to go back to the qualies .....nothing there at all! He needs to either start taking tennis seriously or retire and go into modeling!

Tue May 26, 06:07:00 PM


=========

ah -- -someone actually used the word MODELLING....

it is as I have said for YEARS about blake.

he ought to have stuck to being a pretty faced metrosexual and earn kaboodles of money through wall street's fancy advertising and promotion industries....


he's talented -- but as a supposed "world class" player since being billed as part of the "new balls please" guys that were supposedly so much TOUGHER and BETTER.....


he's a MAJOR disappointment.

he has had his days of very GOOD performances showing his potentials....

but you know what they say about potential:

the great thing about potential is -- it hasn't happened yet...

and blake is the master of potential "just around the corner, anyday now"......


since 2000....

oddman said...

Nice post about the farmers, Graf_Sampras.

Yes, God bless them, for they feed us and nuture the earth for us all.

Thank you, Craig.

You may be tired, but it's a satisfied kind of tired, and that's the best kind.

b said...

Someone explain WHY Venus' singles match is scheduled LAST on Chartrier tomorrow...... and their Doubles match is also scheduled LAST on Court 2? Assuming she has opportunity to finish both in the fading evening light.... are they trying to ensure that she loses one of them? I don't see why the singles match is any later than 3rd, let alone why a "to finish" match is scheduled last... would have made most sense to let her go 1st or 2nd.

And the singles is against Safarova, who can be a giant killer when she's on.

b said...

Snippet here - I LOVE the last sentence..... However the 2nd to last line from Serena is what really made me laugh - I should probably look for it in *context* ie.e original interview .... but STILL... she just cannot refrain from giving journalists material.... they've already been trumpeting the "real #1" endlessly at every opportunity....

""I think I played a very good match and I think Serena will be playing better and better, so it was my best chance to beat her," said the 27-year-old Czech.

Zakopalova was given great support by the crowd on Court Suzanne Lenglen for a gutsy display that saw her frequently frustrate Williams and force errors from the American.

"The public were fantastic," Zakopalova added. "I'd never played in front of a crowd like this in my life. I'd like to thank the people here in Paris because it was unbelievable."

606: DEBATE
Who is your tip for the women's title?

Williams was just relieved to make it through against the world number 100, admitting she had not been at her best.

"I played horrendous," said the American.

"I played junior tennis or even worse. I hadn't won a match on clay all year so I was just desperate for a win." "

Junior tennis...

Karen said...

Got to give the girl credit she speaks the truth always. She looks a bit pudgy around the middle

sG said...

I was so friggin' happy she won! I love that she didn't even wait for the ball to hit the ground before jumping up and down like child.

Karen said...

You can see from the tie break that she started thinking about the third set

Karen said...

I understand that James' brother was actually the one with the talent but because of injury he turned to coaching

Graf_sampras said...

Karen said...

I understand that James' brother was actually the one with the talent but because of injury he turned to coaching

Tue May 26, 09:12:00 PM

=============

Hi, Karen.

James Blake HAS TALENT. he has TONS of talent.

but it is a problem that he seems to have a very poor way of putting it together...whether it's from how he is trained or how he prefers -- or just a permanency of a mindset that seems to have "settled" his style in such a way that it has become more often a LIABILITY rather than a strength.

he is like a pianist who - having such great power and force and speed - relies on that so much that he has forgotten how to play "refined" passages and subtleties and changes and mixes to give liveliness and variety and spontaniety and complexity to his playing.

so he is known mostly as a "banger" and then when things go a bit wrong -- the only thing he can do is bang harder and harder until his fingernails bleed. ..thinking that by banging on the piano some more and playing it until the instrument just starts to groan and can't give anymore

the piano player ends up sound so BRUTAL and UGLY and UNMUSICAL.

THAT is exactly what James Blake is.

ALL FIREPOWER and SPEED


no control.

that's just stupid.

Graf_sampras said...

one of the most PHENOMENAL pianists i have ever heard (and i KNOW what I am talking about)

is Ahmad Jamal - the american virtuoso jazzer..incredible firepower that could break an instrument if he wanted to...

BUT he has great subtlety

and the combination gives the most overwhelming kind of musical experience.

blake ought to play like that -- and he CAN win majors if he just "shifts" that mentality a bit.


he's THAT talented if he just lets it.

Graf_sampras said...

GREAT players are like the great artists.

as in music performers -

the great ones like horowitz, rubinstein , etc. can Throw Lightning and THunder and Tsunamis of sound like nobody's business if they wanted to....the same with great singers and voices and other instrumentalists...

but as EASILY they could weave the most refined tapestries , the softest things that could break any obstacle like a surgical knife even at the slightest featherlike touch.


that's what the Federer's , Samprases, Nadals, McEnroes, Beckers, Kuertens have done.


James Blake has, on his own merits and choices and discipline and clarity of the moment and in preparation and study

the ability to belong to that group.

Graf_sampras said...

just look at the difference between james blake and ivan ljubicic.


ljubicic is NOT that natural nor talented in moving, in hitting, in "constructing" a game.

BUT he , despite his rather mediocre quality as an athlete and tennis "talent"....did all he can to enrich or broaden his vocabulary .

it has served him as well as his native talent is able to bring him -- a measure of success many others would envy

who actually have MORE talent.

Graf_sampras said...

oddman said...

Nice post about the farmers, Graf_Sampras.

Yes, God bless them, for they feed us and nuture the earth for us all.

Thank you, Craig.

You may be tired, but it's a satisfied kind of tired, and that's the best kind.

Tue May 26, 07:33:00 PM

========

My father and late brother were farmers too, Oddman ...so i always have respect for the farmers - the real ones..

those that have love of the earth and what it can give and try to understand it.

Karen said...

Does anyone know whether Serena did the winner's wave after her match. It looks like she just packed her bags and left the court

Graf_sampras said...

even with all our favorites....


IF - a BIG IF -- someone ELSE other than the big names WON the FO --

WHO would you like it to be?

NOT INCLUDED in the discussion:

NADAL, FEDERER, SAFIN, RODDICK, FERRERO, etc....you know what i mean.

i am talking about :

Monfils, ouanna, tsonga, and those that spent most times in the past 3 years in challengers but are beginning to make themselves "felt".

i think i just put up my three TOP choices, hehe!!

pompelmo said...

Karen, she did the formality.

Tennisfan said...

Off topic..

Federer, Federer, Federer. I really wish Roger would take this one.. :)

:) :) :)

I would like to see Gulbis does well.

Graf_sampras said...

Tennisfan said...

Off topic..

Federer, Federer, Federer. I really wish Roger would take this one.. :)

:) :) :)

I would like to see Gulbis does well.

Tue May 26, 10:53:00 PM

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hehehehe -- even if I am not to hot about federer taking this FO....

IF he does,

i WILL be very happy for YOU as his fan. hehe