My night in Dubai-The finals
I reached the Aviation Center and bought myself a white T-shirt, on the front of which I wrote GOOD LUCK MONICA and I FLEW TO DUBAI ONLY TO CHEER FOR MONICA and on the back I wrote MONICA SELES: THE REAL #1.
I entered the stadium and Navratilova/Kuznetsova were leading 6-3. I saw the entire second set and was amazed at Navratilova's amazing volleys and atheletic ability and Kuznetsova's power.Black/Likhovtseva played well, but in the the better pair won. Svetlana's kick serve was extremely effective. As Martina was exiting the stadium, she signed my magazine.
Then I stood up with my poster and waited for the players to come onto the court. I looked around and the stadium was full of Belgian supporters. Belgian flags were all over the place and lots of people had posters saying "She's just in" with a Belgian flag. I was the only person with any show of support for Monica. When they came on the court I was cheering loudly and standing, but a Belgian fan shouted at me to sit down and I had to, only because I was blocking his view. Anyways, onto the match and Monica started off really well and with a tactic that more than surprised me. She was coming into net. The first game, she hit two volley winners to go up 40-0. then a doublefault before holding. Henin went up 4-2 before Monica really turned it on. Monica struggled to hold for 5-4 though, but then Henin got really nervous, serving 2 consecutive doublefaults at 15-15 and Monica converted on setpoint #2 to go up 6-4. In the second, Monica got off to a good start leading 3-1. Justine fought though and made it 3-3 and soon it was 5-4 with matchpoint for Monica. Then came the rally. That rally was absolutely brilliant. Both ladies hit so close to the lines and were going for broke and hit with such tremendous pace and when Monica finally netted backhand she just threw her head back and had this HUGE smile on her face, almost like she was laughing. If they were to replay that point, there was nothing Monica did wrong(except the final shot!). Justine held on for 5-5 and then had a good service game at 5-6 to take it to a tiebreak. Monica quickly went down 3-0 as Justine kept on attacking and Monica never really stood a chance in that tiebreak. Justine was playing with a new lease on life. She attacked and soon it was level at one set all. Monica went to the bathroom and came back in a lilac skirt(as opposed to starting out with a black one!). I have to add that the linespeople at this tournament were the worst ones I have come across. Both women suffered at their incompetence. There was a serve by Justine that was clearly a fault and Monica said,"Oh my God! Look at the mark." and I screamed out,"No way! That ball was out.". As far as support, Monica did have people cheering for her and calling out "Go Monica" and "Come on Monica", but the Belgians clearly outnumbered them. I was sitting near a bunch of annoying Belgians who were supporting Justine because she spoke French like them and because when they saw Monica's skirt fly up during the warm-up, according to them "that was just nasty" and they would start giggling whenever I would say "Come on, Monica" and whenever Monica would have a smash or drive volley, they would say, "Miss it." and if she did(once I think), they would applaud. I was already seething.
In the third set, Monica was just playing terribly. Justine on the other hand was beyond brilliant. She just attacked and attacked. Monica strrugled in every service game, she couldn't even buy a first serve, rarely coming up with a 1st serve. What worried me was that most of her first serves ended up in the net. Monica had Justine at 0-30 at 3-3, but Justine attacked, got big, first serves in and held for 4-3. Then Monica went down 0-40 and won 5 points in a row. At those points Justine just couldn't get a return in. Once it was because Monica came up with a big first serve and the other times Justine just missed badly. Monica broke Justine in the next game with Justine, you guessed it, doublefaulting on breakpoint. When she doublefaulted, I got up and screamed,"YEAH!!" and got the requisite dirty looks, but I didn't care. Monica had broken to serve for 5-4. Then came a torrid game from Monica where she served poorly and made wild errors and it was 5-5, just like that. Justine was serving very well by this point(not counting the double-faults) and went up 0-40 on Monica's serve again at 5-6. Once again Monica brought it to deuce. But Justine got a 4th matchpoint and won it when Monica netted a backhand.
Overall, Monica played very well the 1st set and a half and she fought hard in the 3rd and kept on coming up with superb shots, but in the end, it was her serve that let her down. Justine, deserves a lot of credit because Monica did not get nervous or fold. Justine took it to her and served better than her and hit the groundstrokes with equal pace and more sting. Justine was attacking everything in sight and even turned defensive shots into offensive ones. Justine played a very good match as did Monica, only Monica slipped towards the end. It was a thriller with great drama and great tennis and neither lady deserved to lose. Unfortunately, my favourite came second.
FUCK YOU, SEWTA.[/SIZE]