USO Day 13: Back to Bedlam.

It rained cats and dogs over Flushing Meadows today as the tennis world waited around for some actual tennis action and complained about the lack of a roof. And when we finally got to see some tennis, it was blissful bedlam




Conscious of the fact that the way the match ended overshadowed the rest of the contest, I’m going to try to talk about the actual match: 

It was gripping. It was tense. It was filled with well-struck, well-constructed points. Serena and Clijsters played like the polar opposites that they are – one was full of passionate intensity, the other – an aura of maternal zen. One attacked with ferocious pace while the other absorbed that pace like water. Bruce Lee would’ve been proud. 

I must admit Kim Clijsters was never a player I was crazy about back in the day. I had the same sort of problems with her back then as I have with the Dementievas and Safinas of this world now – too neurotic, slightly bland, no fire in her belly…

Don’t look so shocked – I’m as surprised as anyone to find myself seated first class on her comeback train. It might be the fairy tale nature of it all. Perhaps it’s the fact that a mum who’s out there still creating a career for herself, especially in the field of professional sport, is deserving of admiration just on that merit alone. Or maybe it’s because the field has weakened since Clijsters last played, highlighting the quality of her tennis. 




Or maybe, Clijsters has come back a different player. She’s calmer, almost Federeresque in her zen demeanor on court. Even her defensive shots had more pace, greater depth than what we’ve become accustomed to seeing from JJ or Wozniacki. And they were hit with more conviction and commitment.

After watching Dinara and Vera implode in the last few weeks, it’s refreshing to see Clijsters with her head held up high, calmly constructing points against Serena. No inferiority complexes, just positive body language emanating out of her

The Kimpossible did more than just to wait for Serena to self-destruct. She took it to Serena, mixed up her shots with the slice, moved Serena around. She caused Serena to feel tense from the very start

As a result, Clijsters became the first person (I believe) since … Justine Henin at the 2007 US Open to beat both Venus and Serena en route to a title – as a mother, a “former retiree”. As someone who’s been away from the game and the public eye for the last two years. 

I ain’t giving it to her just yet, but barring a total implosion, I don’t see Hot Woz winning. Everything that Caroline can do on a tennis court, Kim can do with more zing. 




Perhaps fitting to the overall vibe of the WTA, the gripping match ended with even more gripping drama. We’ve all seen what happened – a controversial foot fault, and an even more controversial reaction to the foot fault. 

To state the obvious:

– The call was dubious.

– It was made at a bad time.

– The lines woman did nothing wrong.

Was it the best choice to call a foot fault? Nope. It was totally inappropriate given the moment and occasion. Do we really believe in the myth that lines persons can be robots who just call what they see? Do we honestly think that there is no discretionary decision-making involved in a call – however momentary and fleeting that decision-making process may be?

But from a purely positivist perspective, rules are rules. And there’s not a whole lot you can hold against the lines person. 

Even so, Serena should’ve never reacted the way she did. It came off as a petulant, muscular diva threatening a small Asian lines person. ‘Might’ against ‘right’. Reading some of the reactions to the drama on fan forums and youtube, it’s disappointing to see cultural stereotypes seeping into popular perceptions of the event. 




I’d cut her some slack though, as overboard as her reactions were, she wouldn’t be Serena Williams if she didn’t explode into expletives. That’s part and parcel of the way she functions. I’m hoping for Serena to change her tune and issue a formal apology. Most likely, the ITF will give her a cursory slap on the wrist for it too: 


…Williams will be asked to explain her actions and comments toward a female line judge at the end of her semifinal defeat to Kim Clijsters on Saturday night. A source revealed that representatives from tennis’ governing body – the International Tennis Federation – plus members of the Grand Slam Committee, which oversees the four major tournaments – will convene along with U.S. Open referee Brian Earley on Sunday

The group is expected to review video footage of the incident, seek clarification from the line judge and most likely hand down a heavy fine to Williams. A representative from the WTA Tour is also expected to be included, although the Tour does not have jurisdiction over Grand Slam events.


Let’s hope they don’t treat Serena’s overreaction with an overreaction of their own. 


In other matches, CWoz finished off Wickmayer as expected. I only watched the last game after the Clijsters match ended, so I can’t say much. From the single game I saw, it looked as uninspiring as it promised to be. 




For the men’s side, Gonzo turned up braindead for the last set against Rafa, who pounded his topspin forehand high to Gonzo’s singlehanded backhand for a quick 76 76 60 victory. Well … that’s good practice for playing a certain Swiss.  

Ahem ahem. Who was the person who thought Rafa would do well at this US Open against a chorus of “hahaha..ummm..noooo…kthxbye”? That would be Yours Truly. Thank you very much. 

As for tomorrow’s semis: should Roger lose to Djokovic, you’ll find me in bed … with Vodka.

Should both Federer and Nadal get through their respective semis, I’ll be preparing myself for nuclear armament as every heathen descends on tennis world to launch full-scale internet haterade





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20 responses to “USO Day 13: Back to Bedlam.”

  1. girl from michigan says :

    As we move closer to a possible Roger/Rafa final, my frazzle level is reaching epic proportions.

    I’ve been frazzled all week, thinking that at any moment Rafa was going to pull out due to his ab injury. It doesn’t help that JMDP has beaten him recently. As for Roger, he’s been playing well this tournament and he’s got a good record against Novak, so not so much frazzle there.

    Please guys, just get to the final. After that, I can be happy with whichever one of you win it.

    • dootsiez says :

      Must be nice to have two bites at the cherry! Lucky Fedal fans, I’m leaning way towards one than the other these days, but a few years ago, I was probably in the same win/win situation. 😦

      I’m not so confident about Roger v Nole. Mainly because of the rain – I expect Federer to be a little out of rhythm, which might work to his detriment. And Djokovic has become the type of player that feeds on other players’ mistakes lately.


      As for del Potro v Rafa. Based on form I’d give it to Delpo, based on proven mentality, I’d take Rafa every time.

      • FortuneCookie says :

        The idea of a Fedal final is great and ‘oh my fucking god i might have a heart attack with the stress of it all!’ in equal measure…
        Thinking back to last matches Fed played against Nole,it’s not so frazzleworthy…But then for some reason I keep thinking about the match before that,and the racquet smashing etc,so um FRAZZLE…
        Then with Rafa,last match in Madrid was great from Fed,but match before that?OH LET’S NOT GO THERE…
        Little bit of positivity in my craptastic trail of thought?We all know what happened last time Fed and Delpo played on hard court 😉

      • dootsiez says :

        ^ err what about the last time they played period? At the French Open?! When delpoop ALMOST destroyed the dream of a humanity united for Fed?


        • FortuneCookie says :

          Yup,that was the point at which I realised my whole ‘the last match they played was good,the one before shit’ analogy doesn’t totally work…
          I think I was the most nervous in that match than I’ve ever been watching tennis,pretty much on Wimbly 08 levels,had to go turn off the tv and come back half an hour later,where thank god some normal order had been restored…Although,come to think of it,Acasuso,TOMMY BLOODY HAAS?!
          How did we Fedfans come out of that tourney alive??

        • dootsiez says :

          LOL Speak for yourself. Some parts of me never made it out of that tournament alive – brain cells and toenails included.

          Made me SICK watching Nole, Rafa and Murray drop out of the tournament knowing that Federer was struggling and he could be next. *SHUDDER* But the ending was so, so satisfying.

  2. breadstix says :

    I’ll be drowning myself in some vodka of my own should Roger lose today. However uninspiringly Nole’s been playing of late, Feddy’s still capible of some mighty brain farts. If Del Pooboy turns up with his head screwed on and plays like he has been recently, then I think he has a chance at the final. If now, like you said, it’ll be arms and frazzles a plenty for me. :S I’ve been wishing for some good quality Fedal recently but now that the chance’s staring me in the face… well, let’s just say I may just have developed cold feet.


    • dootsiez says :

      Del poop definitely has a chance, I’d say 50/50 but I’d still give it to Rafa given the experience.

      Fed brainfarting is my worst nightmare. Don’t even mention what happened in that city in Florida…dude’s gotta keep it together or I will polevault my way to NYC to barf all over him.

      • FortuneCookie says :

        Okay,so there’s not going to be a Fedal final,and Fed has beaten Delpo every time they’ve played,but still *UBER FRAZZLE* after that absolute beatdown of Rafa…
        And we’ve still got to deal with the frazzling over Djoko before we can think about the final,arggggghhhhhh

  3. Liz says :

    Yes, we keep asking for those Fedal finals, but when we finally get our wish, it’s under the covers we go! I keep a nice warm blanky next to me on the couch so I can hide my head during the frazzles.

    With the quality of the remaining opponents, I think Rog has to play his best tennis, which he hasn’t necessarily been doing this tournament. But our man didn’t win all those majors for crashing out in the last rounds!

    • dootsiez says :

      Warm blankets and a hot chocolate for comfort. That’s essentially what I was doing during the Aus Open. Roger times himself to just get through the first week and ace the second week of slams. My main concern is that he’ll lose that timing because of the rain delays. Add to that the variable that you never know when Federror will rear his ugly head and kidnap TMF.

  4. Tashi says :

    *FRAZZLE* I’m supposed to be studying for my two tests this week but I just can’t concentrate until this is over. My Fed Fan Zen has evaporated completely.

    BTW, the women’s final was moved to ESPN2 instead of being shown on CBS. That’s a slap in the face to the WTA.

    Well said on the Rere/Kimmy front. The only thing I don’t agree with is cutting Rere some slack. I’ve always seen her as bratty and frankly, a major bitch, but that just took the cake. She was out of line and I hope they give her a big fine and make her apologize to the that woman.

  5. JFK says :

    I’m in frazzle mood too. Glad to see I’m not alone. I’m just focusing on Roger’s matches now. GO ROGER and GO KIM!

    Ps. doots, I was able to scrounge up only ONE of the Kim Catrall ESPN intros on youtube, enjoy

  6. Julie says :

    I’m still confused about Serena’s match! I mean Goddess, a dubious footfault, her reaction, the linesperson’s reaction (she felt theeatened), Rena’s press conference… I feel like I’m in some sort of bizarro-world. I can’t even grieve for Serena because I’m still wondering WTF happened!!!!

    If Roger loses on top of that, Im going on a long tennis-free vacation! I don’t care about that MA thesis, it’ll be too much traumatism. You hear that Fed, my mental health rest squarely on your shoulder . Play with that in mind!

  7. TopSpin says :

    That was an outrageous response by Serena. She knew she risked a point penalty with one code violation alreayd in the bag. And I’ve seen her dismiss worse before (c.f. Mariana Alves 2004).

    But that call was on another planet. I know she was only trying to enforce the rules, but discretion in the area of foot faulting is also a part of the rules, something she’s probably been trained on dozens of times.

    Serena was going to lose this one anyway, we didn’t need incompetence to lending its helping hand.

    • Julie says :

      I disagree about the part in which Serena was going to lose the macth anyway. It’s Serena we’re talking about. Dementieva had matchpoint against her at Wimby and she came back. Who knows what would have happened? But the ending of the match was absolutly terrible. Both for Kim and Serena (even if it was partly her fault). That foot fault call was wrong in my opinion (her foot was in the air) and there should also be some kind of penalty for bad linespersons, the Federer-Djokovic certainly proved that!

    • dootsiez says :

      Hey topspin and Julie, Serena was losing at that point. But importantly, at 5-6 15-30, she was still in it. You could tell from the last few games that she was digging deep. I totally agree the call was totally horrendous. And those who are arguing that “rules are rules” are missing the point. I’m with JMac on this, a foot fault should never decide a match, unless it’s flagrant. In this case, the margin was so fine that the benefit of the doubt should’ve gone to Serena.

  8. TopSpin says :

    “lend” its helping hand even

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