Simona 'scrubs up' very well I think when she lets her hair down and puts on a dress for a night out. The rest of the time, she's very cute.
My reflections on what we have just see from Simona these past few days ...
If there was any doubts after the AO Quarter-Final that Simona is not a big match player, I think they have been put firmly to bed. She got her mental preparation horribly wrong that day but, with Fissette on board, I feel sure she won't be making the same mistake again.
She looked so relaxed and free of tension throughout her matches against Errani and Aga in particular. Sure, she had her little moments where she was talking aloud to herself, but on the whole she was just serene in her demeanour. That serenity was reflected in the control she showed in her tennis. However, I do kind of like the little talks and arm gestures she gives to herself after a bad point. She even does it when she's a set and 4-1 up, in total control. Shows what a perfectionist she is!
Simona keeps on talking about playing with no pressure. I find this fascinating. I'm sure she really means 'playing with as little pressure as possible' because, surely, she can't be feeling no
pressure to do well this year. But, I can believe that this week she minimised the pressure on herself. It shows again that she is as tough as nails mentally (as does the comeback from 2-5 against Aga to reel off 8 games - how many others do that?!) I know she reads sports psychology books. Maybe a lot of players do, but for the vast majority of the WTA it would appear they don't learn from such books.
Simona, being a smart girl, obviously does!
Finally, the bit I would not dare to post in GM at the moment. Those who didn't see her matches in Doha would jump right on it, as well as maybe a few who did but aren't thinking things through. It looks heavily biased but hey, sometimes these things are true ...
Her 2 matches against Errani and against Aga (from 2-5 down) were number 1 contenders for the most complete and most entertaining displays of point construction and shot-making seen by a female player in the last year. Initially it may seem an outrageous statement, but people would just need to watch the matches again. She was breathtaking and it was sustained for long periods. Sure, Serena matched the effectiveness
of Simona's Doha game on many occasions last year but seriously, given a choice, would you rather watch Serena's serve-reliant game ending the point in 3 shots or would you rather watch Simona's masterclass in rallying, point construction & putting away the winner? It's no contest in terms of entertainment and commitment, and I don't see any other players who are currently matching the beauty of Simona's game in Doha. It was tennis played 'the right way'! Some people have said Aga played badly. I've re-watched that match. She did not. She was playing great tennis too for much of the match, even in the 2nd set. Sure, she made a lot more errors than usual but a lot of her UEs were forced by the quality of the ball she was consistently getting back from Simona. Simona was simply on a different planet to Aga.
Please tell me I'm not mad.
Sure, there's things in her game we could criticise her for. But, it would be silly for us to do so right now after such magnificent and dominant tennis. Let's leave that to Wim Fissette to sort out. I am so looking forward to the further improvements in time. Imagine that!
That Simona was able to bring such a brilliant level of tennis to 2 consecutive matches against top players, and was able to bring something fairly near that level to the final ... it says she has arrived. The upper reaches of the Top 10 should be quaking in their boots/tennis shoes (maybe Aga will tell them when she next sees them!) Who else hits 80 top-drawer winners and just 42 UEs in 3 consecutive Top 10 matches? It can't happen very often. I have few doubts that Simona will step up to her next challenge of maintaining something close to this form for large parts of the rest of the year and bringing it to get wins against Vika, Na & Maria.