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.