Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: sailing my ship
Shiver's Take on the AO Final
I know that AO is over, but I wanted to post this article and see if anyone else read it. It is Shiver's take on the final and she has some interesting things to say about both players.
Saturday, January 26
Women's final was one-of-a-kind
By Pam Shriver
Special to ESPN.com
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Jennifer Capriati's successful effort to fight off four championship points was just historic. It was like nothing I've ever seen. I talked to Billie Jean King after the match and she said she'd never seen anything like it.
Whether you were calling it, watching it or playing, it was just amazing.
In the first set, Martina Hingis led 5-1 up two breaks when Capriati staged an amazing comeback that fell short. In the second set, the heat began to take its toll -- especially on Hingis.
The combination of the heat and the nerves as Hingis tried to close out the championship became too much. Capriati managed to play out four championship points. That's just bravery.
So much of this match was about the intangibles of conditioning. If it wasn't for the heat index rule that allows for a 10-minute cool down, who knows if either player would have been able to finish the match.
It was 2-2 in the third set when Hingis started indicating to her mom in the stands that her legs were bad. At 3-2 when the trainer came out, Hingis was pretty much done. If it was boxing, they would have stopped the fight.
If Hingis is going to kick herself over anything, she will regret those first two championship points when she played hoping for a miss by Capriati. Players frequently try for a miss, but when you're playing against someone as stubborn as Capriati, hoping won't work.
Hingis is going to be devastated and demoralized after once again failing to close out the final of a Grand Slam. It's going to be the biggest tennis hangover of all time. The only other person who suffered a defeat close to this one was Jana Novotna in the 1993 final at Wimbledon against Steffi Graf. Novotna was up two breaks in the third, but she never even got to championship point -- nothing like letting four championship points slip away.
Hingis is supposed to play Tokyo next week, but you have to grieve after a match like this. You don't just lose it, get up in the morning and move on. This is the most devastating thing that's happened to her. What she's feeling now is grief.
Capriati has got to feel a mile-high. She's also got to know that she's incredibly fortunate. She lost her composure badly on a line call early in the second set and got down 4-0. She deserved to lose the match based on that loss of composure. The calls were inconclusive on the replays, and she really overreacted to that.
I've never seen a match with so much drama and emotion. Emotional matches at lesser tournaments are great to watch, but when you get a match like that at a major, one of the four crown jewels of the sport, it's just so much more meaningful and historic.