CATCHING UP

by Karen 

Sorry for the absence over the last few days but this event called work keeps getting in the way of tennis.  


As most of you know both Serena and Venus have worked their way to the quarter-final of the 2015 US Open.  Let us stop for a minute to analyse this remarkable achievement.  The combined age of Venus and Serena is 68.  Venus Williams is 35 years old.  Let us just pause for a moment to consider that remarkable achievement.  She is in the quarter finals of a Major at a time in her career when there are much younger opponents who have not had a sniff of a Major quarter-final in their careers.  To get there she had to play some tough opponents.  She failed on occassion to serve out sets and matches and she was pushed to 3 sets in her first 2 opening round matches.   She took care of this summer’s hottest player, Belinda Bencic, who beat Serena in Toronto and made light work of qualifier, Kontaveit, also in straight sets. 

Her sister meanwhile, reigning World No. 1, Serena Williams, made light work of Madison Keys.  Serena was as close to unplayable as we have seen her since dropping a bagel set on Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the previous round.  The World No. 1 played like a woman on a mission and from where I was sitting there was very little that Keys could do to withstand the tide.  


For years I always thought it was a bit of overkill when commentators said that the best way to beat Serena at a Major was in the first few rounds.  The more I watch Serena play the more I am now inclined to agree with that particular assessment.   


Kristina Mladenovic, long considered a dangerous opponent took out one of the more solid and consistent Slam performers over the last few years in Ekaterina Makarova. Mladenovic was pumped and used her wide variety of shots to up end last year’s semifinalist.  




She will next play Roberta Vinci who received a walk over into the quarterfinal following the withdrawal of Eugenie Bouchard. 

To say that Bouchard’s withdrawal is a disappointment would be putting things lightly.  Word is that Bouchard, after finishing her post match press conference on Friday night, went back to the locker room, was searching for the lights, slipped and fell and suffered a concussion.  She withdrew on Saturday from the women’s doubles and mixed doubles event and there was speculation that she would also withdraw from singles, an event which was confirmed by her withdrawal yesterday.  As many of you know the Spin team is a huge fan of the young Canadian and it was great to see her get some measure of confidence back on the court after suffering so many defeats since that Wimbledon final last year.  The Spin team sends regards to Genie and hopes she recovers and is fit and ready for the rest of the season. 

Thoughts from Week One 

In no particular order, here are my thoughts from Week One of the 2015 US Open:  

  • What has happened to Carla Suarez-Navarro?  Is she playing with an injury or is she just in a slump?
  • What is happening with Garbine Muguruza?  
  • Welcome to Week 2 Johanna Konta and may you continue to dazzle us with your tennis. 
  • Caroline Wozniacki needs to take a break and not worry so much about the rankings.  Wozniacki is one of the biggest fighters on Tour, but it seems to me  that the tenacity and fighting spirit that got her to No. 1 and made her a force to be reckoned with has either left or the Tour has caught up with her game.  In any event, her results at the Majors has been nothing but disappointing.  Perhaps the time has come for us to no longer consider Wozniacki a contender to win a Major. 
  • It was nice to see Petra Cetkovska playing great tennis.  One can only hope that this is not one of those times when she disappears after having a great run at a tournament. 
  • Young American women seem to have stalled somewhat during this year’s US Open.  The results of the US women from this year’s event has been disappointing.  Most notable of those are Sloane Stephens and Coco Vandeweghe.  Kudos to Bethanie Mattek-Sands who seems to be having the best tennis year of her life this year.  
  • Players need to seriously start thinking about their schedules, especially during the latter half of the season.  Karolina Pliskova and Lucie Safarova were two of those women who seemed to have played too much tennis heading into the US Open.
  • For all that Serena has accomplished, her clothing sponsor Nike has really fallen down in terms of providing her with a memorable outfits for her race into history.  Serena Williams is a dominant athlete.  She is a brand. An innovator.  Why then is Serena not wearing an outfit that surpasses anything that Nike could possibly do?  Her outfits for this year’s US Open are so bland that they are indistinguishable from what the rank and file of the other women, also clothed by Nike are wearing.  Serena should be different.  She should be wearing something exceptional.  She should be wearing an outfit that says Grand Slam champion. In all respects Nike has failed Serena and failed her miserably. 
The Real Tennis Fan Podcast reviewed Week One of the US Open in our live podcast last night.  In case you missed us, we reviewed our picks prior to the start of the tournament and see where we fell down.  Listen to us here

Today’s matches features the last eight from the bottom half of the draw.  Below are Spin’s Picks:

Court Assignment
Players
Arthur Ashe
Azarenka v. Lepchenko
Kvitova v. Konta
Stosur v. Pennetta
Louis Armstrong
Halep v. Lisicki

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