The match followed the Kimiko vs Monica match, which lasted about 3 hours and was an incredibly high quality affair. My expectations were kind of high
The match started off as an utter shitfest.
I think the first game went something like this.
15-0 winner off a good serve
30-30 Jie return UE
30-40 Kata forehand UE
deuce Jie return UE
Ad. Kata. Kata draws error from Jie
game Kata Jie backhand UE.
Hot mess. Kata wasted 3 BPs or so in the second game (crappy returns, some forced errors), and Jie went up 3-1. I would say for these first four games or so, Kata was kind of dominating the baseline rallies, but she messed up quite a bit with some random UEs. Jie was pretty bad off the ground then, at least by her standards.
Then, somewhere along the middle of the first set, Jie's groundies started clicking. Once that happened, it was pretty much
Kata. In the last game of the first set, Jie hit 3 amaze forehand/backhands in a row to set up SPs.
The second set followed this, except with Jie serving at 2-0, 30-30, Kata got a really lucky netcord. The ball hit the middle of the net before somehow ending up on Jie's side
Jie doublefaulted then on BP, and I thought this could be a turning pt in the match. Kata ended up holding in the next game, saving a BP with a nice winner. She then went up 15-30 on Jie's serve at 2-2. Kata then dumped a second serve return into the net
, Jie hit a nice backhand down the line, and an ace
After this hold, Kata seemed really deflated and I think she won 3 pts in the last 3 games of the match
The match ended on an amazing crosscourt backhand by Jie, one of the best winners of the match.
Overall, in spite of what the SB might say (I was surprised to find out she had served 62%), I thought her serve was horrendous. In the first set, she seemed to net half of her first serves
Even when it landed in, it never seemed too threatening. Jie's return was shitteous for the first few games, but after that point she had no trouble even returning Kata's first serves. There was some wind though, so that might have been a factor, but still.
Kata's forehand and backhand were also hot messes
She hit quite a few UEs, especially in the first, when Jie's game hadn't quite clicked yet. With all that said, there were positives too
Kata hit 4 or 5 dropshots, and she won all of these pts (or almost). Same for her net approaches, there were 5 or 6 of them and she won almost all of them. Her hands at the next were still amaze. Maybe she should have come to the net more often though.
There was a cute moment in the middle of the match when the wind was pretty strong and Kata threw the ball three times in the air before catching it each time. She was getting kind of exasperated and she just randomly threw a ball at Jie.
Jie was like, uh thanks?
and then said, smiling, take your time! It was pretty cute. (Kata ended up needing 2 more ball tosses before finally serving it
The handshake was very warm at the end. Kata leaned down and said something to Jie. They seemed to have a lot of respect for each other.
Anyway, I don't know what Kata will do from this point on with her singles career, but I wish her the best of luck. From what I saw of the singles match, it's not hard to see why she is still a kickass doubles player, and perhaps she can transfer that to singles too?