You know the US Open Series is getting serious when big guns like Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Andy Roddick return from their post-Wimbledon mini-vacations and start pounding the hard courts. So in the weeks ahead, I'll be keeping track of what's going on as we all lead up to the creme de la creme, the US Open.
My Friday DVR recordings were all screwed up because ESPN2 and The Tennis Channel decided to jerk me around. I set my DVR to record six hours of TTC expecting to see some Acura Classic and Legg Mason action and what I got was Nadia Petrova deep sea fishing with Luke Jensen, yet another viewing of the Sampras induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Williams' sisters tour from last winter. When tennis finally got started it was on ESPN2 and Maria was pounding the up and coming Sania Mirza. The only reason I know this? The Outback where I was having dinner had the match on at the bar.
Venus' quarterfinal against Anna Chakvetadze at the Acura came on at 10PM on ESPN2. No sooner was I thanking my lucky stars that the tennis scheduling gods didn't make me miss that one, Venus goes and loses the match. She comes back from 2-5 down in the first set, takes advantage of Chakvetadze's nerves and wins it in a tie-break 7-5. She then proceeds to double fault on match point in the second set to let Chakvetadze win that in a tie-break 7-3. In the third set the heat and fatigue seemed to do Venus in just as much as the re-energized Chakvetadze. Venus lost it 6-2.
Even though I'm liking Anna a lot these days, I was not a happy woman. Not only did I stay up til 1 AM to watch this match---after averaging six hours of sleep a night this week---I got cheated out of a Maria/Venus semifinal. I was not a happy woman.
1. I can't remember the last time Venus had match point and then lost the match. Anybody out there have the answer?
2. In Saturday's Acura semifinals Maria barely had to show up to put a beat down on an exhausted Chakvetadze. I never saw the Patty Schnyder/Elena Dementieva semifinal, but Schnyder evidently took great advantage of Dementieva's pitty-pat serve, especially in the first set.
Demetieva's one of my favorite players but it's long past time she did something about that serve. I know she's tried things in the past...hypnosis, tai-chi, serving lefty, and nothing has worked. I suggest she now look into exocists.
3. Roddick took care of the 10 foot tall American John Isner 6- 4, 7-6 at the Legg Mason. The most I saw of that match was the super easy overhead that Isner shanked. Maybe he should hire 5 year old Jan Silva for some pointers.
4. And speaking of the pint-sized phenom who'll play for ice cream, tennis circles are still buzzing about the California ex-pat since his appearance on "The Today Show" last week. Could his parents please hire me as his official guardian? They can take care of the parenting---all the day to day stuff except tennis---and I'll take care of the barracudas who circling this kid like a pint of "O" negative. As long as they pay me enough to blog full-time, I'm theirs for the asking.
5. On a related topic, Jennifer Capriati was at the Acura on Saturday. Her on air interview with Mary Jo Fernandez didn't include any questions about her revelations in last week's New York Daily News article, but nonetheless it was good to see her out and about in the tennis world.
6. Why is it that all the tennis betting scandals appear to involve Russian players? If any of these details were part of a mystery novel plot, the Russian mafia would be holding a Russian player's family hostage while the player is forced to throw matches at will. Anybody seen Nikolay Davydenko's family lately?
7. Take some time to see the very funny outtakes from the US Open Series "Road Trip" commercials. The link is on the bottom of the US Open series home page. The clips actually made me start to warm up to Sharapova a little. But only a little.
8. Take some time also to read Jon Wertheim's column on tennis cheating. The only one I'd never heard of was number four. Funny stuff.
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