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View Full Version : US Open - random notes


Corswandt
Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:41 PM
I'm putting this in here because I don't think it's worthy of GM, which probably doesn't need to be cluttered by further useless threads. Also, this will be about televised matches that everyone has watched, usually with a lag or a day or so, sometimes more, and nothing too detailed/useful/insightful.

But enough with the excuses.

Stuff about Day 1, prominently featuring the word "wack", is spread throughout a few threads and there's no point in also putting it here.

Jankovic d. Halep

It's the second time I see Halep play, and I still find it difficult to gauge her, as I feel that Jankovic, whose levels of intensity and commitment in this match ranged from "lackadaisical" to "comatose", made her look better than she really is.

Still, Halep isn't wack. Her groundstrokes have more than decent pace (despite all the spin in her FH), and she was overpowering Jankovic for much of what I saw of the match, going after the ball and gradually stepping inside the court to dictate. She fits the modern aggressive baseline grinder mould, much like Cibulkova or Oudin, but still suffers from inexperience - signs of it being her shaky ROS and of course the massive choking.

Maybe some of it was due to her unwisely deciding to run herself ragged contesting to the bitter end points that didn't really matter and then handing over those that did with random errors immediately afterwards, but I doubt that she has the resilience, athleticism and stamina required by her own style of play. We already know, for instance, that Cibulkova doesn't. It's no coincidence that the most successful grinders these days are those who take pace off the ball rather than those who crank up the pace of the rallies.

Sharapova d. Groth

I watched about a set's worth of this live (the rest DVRed), and I remember being bored senseless, and not just because Sharapova takes bloody ages to serve. There was nothing worthy of the name "rally", and Sharapova failed to dictate any points from the baseline. She didn't go for her shots (wisely - just about whenever she did so she made an error, even from her BH side) and wouldn't hit her groundstrokes with any kind of confidence or authority, most of the time settling for looping the ball and waiting for Groth to bash it into the net (it worked). Last year Sharapova's ground game might go on and off without warning, but it was still occasionally dazzling, while nowadays it's often just uniformly and drearily mediocre.

Bottom line I like first strike matches, but not like this.

Le Néant d. Chelsey Gullickson

Figures that when I see for the first time in years a newcomer (IMO, Chelsey should be regarded as a newcomer to the pro Tour) who can effortlessly hit such a clean, flat, penetrating ball off both sides, it's also someone who doesn't know how to play tennis. And it may be too late to learn. And it may also be too late to get a serve. Looking like a mashup between Dementieva and Golovin may earn her some fans though.

Figures that Le Néant would also pick a sexed-up outfit for the USO. It's not like she was going to dazzle the workers and peasants with her game.

Ivanovic d. Zheng

Thank you Vuelta for running behind schedule again and overrunning almost all of this mugathon.

Who would have said that Zheng used to be a very bad matchup for Ivanovic. Now her 110-130 km/h puffball serves are just target practice for Ivanovic's baseball batter FH ROS. A deceptively big serve (the toss isn't fixed because it didn't really need to be - Ivanovic, like Bozoljac, is strong enough to do just fine even with the most wayward of tosses) and that big FH ROS are pretty much all that Ivanovic has left, but that's still better than having nothing, which is what the next WTA #1 has.

Venus Williams d. Rebecca Marino

Marino, like Wickmayer and Petkovic, is the kind of natural born athlete who are the rule in other sports but are rarely seen in tennis these days - tall, strong, ultrafit and fairly agile for her size.

She's also a flashy player, of the kind that makes a big impression right away. Her ground game looks very wonky, even more so than say Petkovic's, but she's strong enough to bash the ball and still control it, at least for short rallies (there weren't any lengthy rallies as rusty Venus couldn't hit more than 3-4 shots without missing) - I suspect she'd show herself to be quite inconsistent if forced to rally for longer. Big serve, too - there were at least a couple of sidewinder aces to the ad court that I couldn't even see, and it was fun to see someone make Venus taste some of her own medicine by handcuffing her with fast body serves. She was completely hapless at returning Venus' rocket 1st serves, but then again so is 99% of the Tour.

Dementieva d. Bammer

From what I got to watch of this, I'm really at a loss as to why Bammer has been sucking so hard as of late. She was playing her usual game of hitting the same 3/4 pace, 3/4 depth ball over and over and over again, with the same rock solid consistency that she showed in her prime.

Dementieva seemed to be hitting the ball fairly well, but it's not like Bammer did anything to throw her off her robotic, metronomic rhythm like say Henin does.

Corswandt
Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:59 PM
Zvonareva d. Lisicki

I was fully expecting to be extremely worried, if not completely disheartened, at the chances of Lisicki returning to the top 50 ever again after watching this match. But far from it. I was pleasantly surprised with Lisicki, in fact.

Some of it, of course, was due to the fact that Zvonareva's generic game also brings out the very best from her opponents.

But - correct me if I'm wrong - Lisicki doesn't seem to just have picked up where she left before her injuries. She seems to be a different player, different for the worse in some respects (the rocket serve is pretty much gone, we'll see if for good), but different for the best in others. In several points, she was actually hitting impressive rally shots (her flashy kill shots regardless, the lack of authority and depth of her rally shots was one of her main weaknesses pre-injuries), her ROS and return game in general (very ineffective even in her pre-injury prime) were quite good, and her BH seems much improved, even though she still can't string a few groundstrokes together to open up the court to save her life. Her ability to hit big winners out of the blue remains.

The loose, needless errors I assume/hope are a consequence of lack of match play. Plus she's as fit as can be - the tight fitting outfit made it clear that there isn't even a hint of fat on her torso.

Zvonareva was genuinely bad at times. Not quite as bad as in the Canada final, but close. I was thinking of what Zvonareva's outfit reminded me of a couple of weeks back - turns out it's 1990s grunge dresses. By coincidence, IIRC she was wearing a plaid shirt for her ES interview.

Jankovic d. Lucic

Lucic's firepower seems impressive even today, and her relentless go-for-broke style is beyond belief. I was already a tennis fan when she first broke through, but I never saw her play (following tennis in the late 1990s without Internet and cable/satellite TV was tough), so I can't even begin to imagine what she must have looked like to tennis fans at the time.

Jankovic again seemed slow and lacking in flame. Evidently not at her best physically.