USO Day 7: Tears and Fears.
As bummed as I am about Venus getting booted out so early in the tournament, I must admit Kim got to me with her sincere reactions to the 6-0 0-6 6-4 victory.
How can you not want to reserve your seat on the Comeback Train after this?
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Tennis-wise, it wasn’t fantastic until the last set, but the match was just sheer drama.
Venus was about as mummified as her knee during the first set. Kim tensed up and braincramped through the second. And the third set just thrilled and delighted the energetic crowd.
Venus had a chance to save the match when Kim served for it at 5-4 and fell behind on serve. But unlike much of the Kimpossible’s early career, she didn’t succumb to nerves and soldiered on.
I didn’t need my morning coffee after those last four points of match, that’s for sure.
Welcome back to the Big League, Kim.
The problem with the women’s draw isn’t that there aren’t any exciting players left, it’s that they are all pitted against each other.
After the Kimpossible downed Venus, it was Flavulous’s turn to duel with Vera in the best match of the tournament so far on the women’s side of things.
It just had it all:
Fabulous tennis? They were swinging for the fences with properly constructed points.
Drama? How about a steady flow of profanities and tears in the third set?
Double faults? Unforced errors? Kept to a respectable minimum, thank you very much.
Killer smiles? YOU BET.
For the first two sets, Vera looked close to her Indian Wells best. Set two was a closer contest that reached its crescendo at 5-6, when Flavulous saved match points on serve with the gutsiest play imaginable.
I always knew she played intelligent and focused tennis, but who knew Pennetta had this much fire? She was fabulousness personified.
Ultimately, Vera payed the price for being too conservative on her match points, but even so, nothing called for the meltdown of biblical proportions that typified the third set.
Not only did she walk off to sob her heart out in the tunnel before the third set started, when Vera came back, she acted like a player who demanded too much of herself but fell short of her own lofty standards.
Within a few points, she started ripping tape off her knee and venting to Lynne Walsh for refusing to let her cut the tape before a changeover. She cracked her racquet on the net post, slapped her knees in frustration, heaved her shoulders through much of the third set, and drowned herself in expletives.
All this was then topped off with Vera leaving the court muttering to herself something that sounded suspiciously like “I hate this crowd/country/crap.”
Oh Vera! Even your brainfarts smell good.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
On the men’s side of things, Rafa had a straight sets victory over Almagro that was far from straightforward. If you tuned in during the match, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a WTA match – the pair traded 13 breaks of serve until Rafa finally won out – 7-5 6-4 6-4.
Rafa and Almagro were both hampered by injuries throughout the match. Tough for Rafa, but a blessing in disguise for the Rafa Porn Appreciation Society.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
Rafa, if you ever need a tummy rub – ye know who to call…
Rafa will have to up his game next match against Gael Monfils, who was up 2 sets to love against Jose Acasuso before his opponent retired. Monfils posted clean stats during the match, with 27 winners, 9 unforced errors, 10 aces and saving the one breakpoint he faced.
Now I’m conflicted.
The other retirement of the day came from Gilles Simon, who – like so many other players who may or may not be named Rafael – was hampered by tendenitis.
Simon retired after getting down two sets to one against a healthy and reenergized JCF.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about your summer and your resurgence. You look like the player we saw the last few years.
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: Uh huh.
Q. What’s different?
JUAN CARLOS FERRERO: I told you the other day, physically I’m completely different. I’m feeling great on the court, so I can play a lot of rallies as long as it is.
I recovered well after matches, so that’s the big difference in maybe couple of years.
Be it Hewitt, or Ferrero, and even Clijsters – isn’t it ironic that it was only after a lengthy absence that these players found their way into my heart?
Oh yeah. Jo-Willy won in straight sets. OH YEAH!
Time for a happy dance!