Melbourne, AUS - Could it be a mental problem? In their bid to the mixed doubles title, Jennifer Capriati and Marat Safin had few problems with their quarterfinal & semi final opponents. Both Clijsters/Rochus and Myskina/Johannson succumbed in straight sets to the American/Russian combination. A performance which landed Capriati her third doubles and first Grand Slam final.
Capriati: "Doubles really suits me. Being out there with someone who shares your joys and distresses really helps me through these kind of matches. Especially when the level is as high as today. Of course we were lucky to come across such as Kim [Clijsters] and Anastasia [Myskina]. No offence but the real big guns were in the other side of the draw. Vaidisova and Kuznetsova for instance."
The latter, coming of her first singles title, lost with compatriot Davydenko to Vaidisova and Novak Djokovic. With this semi final result, Jennifer would face the only Big Four member she had yet to come across with.
Capriati: "Nicole was definitely one of the last players I wanted to play in the final. One, I had no idea what to expect, seeing I had never played her before and two, her being part of that Big Four group skyrocketed my nerves, considering my past experiences against her 'collegues'. No, I was so not ready for this challenge."
The American's fears became reality when the Czech duo raced through the first set, which ended at 6-1. On what appeared to be a very windy second set, the momentum changed back and forth with Capriati/Safin coming back from a 1-4 deficit, only to succumb a few games later. Game, set and Grand Slam title Vaidisova/Djokovic.
Capriati: "Well, that first set really was one of the worst I've ever been part of. i was far too nervous for this big occasion and no matter what Marat said or I did, I just cramped on every single point. When the wind came out half way the second set, Nicole began to make some unforced errors, which compensated for my foolish errors. At the end of the match, it was just a matter of keeping the ball in the field, 'cause no-one dared to defy that terrible wind. Unfortunatley, Mother Earth liked Vaidisova more than me. I guess that Big Four thing is quite transcentendal, isn't it?"
I'll use Vaidisova's points because they are for a specific partnership. There will be no tournament starting on Monday. I'll post a tournament thread soon for the Berlin tournament next week - new points, on clay.
Melbourne, AUS - "Jennifer Capriati and Silvia Farina-Elia continue their domination. They are now so far ahead in the doubles rankings, it's scary." Could anyone have described it more 'beautiful'? After having captured their third doubles crown in a row, Jennifer Capriati and Silvia Farina Elia really are the dominant force when it comes to the world of doubles. By winning the first Grand Slam of the season, they have almost eluded their opponents' hope of sailing victory ever again.
Capriati: "When I stated earlier that the title would be ours, I really meant it. We are currently dominating this Ladies Tennis League in doubles. The only ones giving us some problems are Mary Pierce and Monica Seles, but we manage to overcome those problems time after time... Yeah, it feels wonderful to be that good! (smiles)"
There were indeed problems with Pierce and Seles. After having trounced Clijsters/Myskina in straight sets, the final promised to be a clash of the titans. The two pairs, meeting for the fourth time in as many weeks, were showing their talents from minute one. In a final of a discipline that not very people care about, the lack of public interest was nowhere to be found. Every corner of the Rod Laver Arena was filled and thousands of 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' came rolling of the seats towards the court, where the players gratefully thanked the crowd by hitting the ball even more precisely.
Capriati: "We owe a lot to the public today. Everyone supported in their creative way. Even some guys who kept calling "we want Maria", eventually gave in to the peer pressure. Too bad they had no idea who we were, but I guess "come on, chubby brunette and partner" isn't THAT bad, no? (smiles)"
A quite convincing 6-4 win in the first set was followed by an abysmal second one [0-6]. The third and final set was drama pur sang. A break each in the ninth and tenth game brought both pairs at 5-5. Jennifer and Silvia broke once more which enabled the Italian to serve it out. Game, set and match Capriati/Farina Elia and their first Grand Slam title of maybe many!
Capriati: "This tournament has been an absolute delight for me. A quarterfinal in singles, where I was the only non-seeded player among the last eight; a lost final in mixed doubles together with Marat Safin and as icing on the cake: a well-deserved victory in women's doubles with Silvia. Yes, you may call me the happiest girl on earth."