Toronto Day 7: Blech.
Was I the only one majorly underwhelmed by the Toronto semis and final?
Elena Dementieva beat Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova both in straight sets to take the title. On paper, it sounded impressive. In reality, the sheer topsy turvy dynamics of those two matches made me want to eat my own fist.
Because that’s not a bad idea at all.
I was actually warming up to the WTA again. But in the last two weeks, the performances of Venus, Safina, Azarenka and even Dementieva herself have left me cold.
In any of the matches they played, there was no stamp of authority, no flashes of brilliance that made me leap off the couch and scream “YEE HAW!”
Instead, I growned at the double faults piling up like my unwashed laundry, unforced errors flowing from both ends of the court, breaks of serve exchanged like candies, and most of all – a total lack of fire.
Well done to Elena though. In the end, she managed to out-grind everyone and wobble over the finish line to receive her glass racquet.
And you wonder why some recent women’s matches featured empty stands. Bleak I tell ya, but as a friend of mine (a typical casual tennis fan) said to me this week, “after the Australian Open women’s final this year, why would I ever pay good money to watch the girls play?”
Can you really blame her?
Of course, you could never blame Masha Fierce for a lack of fire. The girl is nothing if not a fireball, burning through the sky, two hundred degrees that’s why they call her Ms. Fahrenheit…
Where was I?
Right. I didn’t expect Masha Fierce to win her first final since coming back from shoulder injury. Her groundies are getting better with each tournament. As for the serve, she’s starting to get some “good serving days”, which suggests to me that she’s slowly getting used to the new motion. Pity that the last two matches have caught her on her bad serving days.
Girl, you managed to out-fault Elena D. Achievement.
Q. With the double faults, which is something new for you since your comeback, but they don’t seem to get you down, or do they? Do they get you down when you have a couple in a game, or do you just — you seem to be able to shake them off.
MARIA SHARAPOVA: No, it’s coming back from something that’s a pretty serious injury with the shoulder, and when you use it so much and all your groundstrokes and your serve, and you know, my serve is, you know, one of my biggest weapons in the game, and then coming off the injury and kind of tweaking your motion a little bit, it takes a lot of time for adjustments when you do something, you know, for your whole career since you were young and you’re used to doing it a certain way, when all of a sudden you have to change it at a very elite level. It takes time.
With every tournament I feel like I’m progressing with it, I’m understanding, you know, what feels better, you know, what I can do better, you know, working with the spins.
But you also have to be really smart. Like on the days off, as much as I want to practice it and work on it, I really have to be smart about the amount of balls I hit, you know, just to make sure that I don’t overdo it on the arm. That’s also pretty critical. So it’s a take and give.
Despite the loss, it’s been a good week for the Pova. She’s gotten the semifinal monkey off her back and hasn’t lost before the quarterfinals of a tournament since Wimbledon. That’s a lot more than I can say about anyone in the top 5 right now. It also means she’ll be seeded at the US Open with a top 30 ranking.
So… which of the top girls want to play Sharapova Round 3 of the US Open?
Clijsters or Sharapova – take your pick.
And yes. I really am going to just ignore the Williamses and their non-slam non-showings. Oh yes I am.
and then you wonder why there are many people bashing the wta?
I’m a Dementieva fan. This wasn’t her best performance, but she’s also capable of playing much, much better. Like in the Wimbledon semifinals. (That was a match that casual fans emailed me about, saying “Wow!” Then, of course, it was followed by the Dinara vs. Venus beatdown. . . sigh!!!!)
I’m really looking forward to the women’s side of the US Open this year – it’s like the first chapters of an English mystery novel – so many suspects, but only one “whodunnit” (or in this case “whowilldoit!”) Of course it’s hard to beat Serena and Venus, but I think Elena has both the form, and now the confidence to pull off the upset.
That Wimbledon semifinal was a saving grace for the women’s game. Match of the year, if you ask me.
Not a Dementieva fan (too grindy, and slightly “Davydenko” in consistency, number of tournaments played and lack of guts at a slam level). I’m actually hoping that JJ would sneak a slam onto her resume at last.
The Wimbly semifinal was awesome, if we had a few more of those, women’s tennis would be in a good place right now.
But for Dementieva, even though she won Toronto, her game has taken a step back since that semi. And that’s taking into account the total of 1 game she won against Venus in Stanford, and the 4 match points she squandered against JJ in Cincy. If she wins the USO, I hope she’ll win with better tennis than what she’s come up during the USO Series, we haven’t had many exciting matches on the women’s side of things for a long time (Wimbly semi aside).
I’m sorry but I cannot muster that much love for the WTA. Since Justine left and thus, the departure of the beautiful game on the women’s side, I’ve rarely checked out the women’s games since. It is highly unfortunate that Amelie is a mere shadow of the player she once was. Major props to Maria for remaining as tenacious as ever but I will never be fond of that game — or most everybody else’s — the way I am of Justine’s. And am not masochistic enough to constantly subject myself to the godawful shrieking/screaming of Maria, Vika, de Brito, the Williams sisters et al. [The agony of some of Roger’s matches I can subject myself to, willingly.] Sabine Lisicki’s serve and forehand caught my attention at one point. She’s a work-in-progress, however, but I hope she goes on to do well. The WTA cast just has way too many distractions, both on-court and off-court, that get in the way of producing good tennis. Unlucky for the women that they do not have a Federer, one whose focus — to paraphrase the NY Times — in a summer that has been full of distractions, has given the men’s game a center that the women’s game has lacked.
Hi Mia, Justine retired so abruptly that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate her game and how unique she was in modern women’s tennis. 😦 Makes me determined to enjoy Roger’s game for all its worth.
I do however love Maria’s game, she has this … I don’t know – “metaphysical presence” on court. In the sense that there is nothing as “present” as Maria Sharapova when she’s playing. She forces her court presence on you like no other player.
I wish Justine had stayed on longer to start a rivalry with Maria. Some of their matches over the years were just phenomenal and rank high among my all time favourites in women’s tennis.
No you’re not the only one underwhelmed – Toronto was a near washout. Which it shouldn’t have been with the way in which Shaza, Serena, Elena came throuugh – or Jelena SHOULD have come through.
That said, I’m finding it difficult to complain too much as I’m a big Dementieva fan. Craptastic serve or not – she deserves a Slam
Hehehe since I’m not a Dementieva fan, I’d say that you shouldn’t get into this “deserving a slam” business. Many players on the WTA tour deserve a slam no? Dinara Safina for example. JJ’s another one. Ana probably deserves another slam. If Vera Zvonareva hadn’t been injured, I would’ve liked to see her have another crack at a slam too. *sigh*
I’ve nearly given up watching women’s tennis, I’m only interested in Venus Williams but she’s only interested in grass, since Justine Henin left I haven’t really paid that much attention, i couldn’t really care less who wins any of the WTA events or in the grand slams, it would be nice if Elena won something but she’s missed her chance, I’ve lost faith in her not that i had much in the first place. Besides all of the women have lost my respect for their riduclous inconsistency and screaming, grunting, shrieking, whatever it is that they do.