Friday, September 10, 2010
In the marquee semifinal ladies' match at the US Open today, Kim Clijsters pulled a few rabbits out of her Fila hat coming back from a set down to defeat 2-time champ Venus Williams 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 and reach her third consecutive final at Flushing Meadows.
It was match short on high quality play but long on D-RAMA with the defending champ getting blasted off the court by V's serving prowess and attacking game in the opening set. Kimmie was able to grab the early break in the second set, though, only to lose it while serving to even things. Lucky for her the third seed may have wanted the win a little too much, imploding in the tiebreak and leaking errors including consecutive double faults to fall behind 0-3.
After wrapping up the second set tiebreak, the Belgian lady baller earned an early break in the the decider but gave it back while serving at 4-3 with a swinging volley that may have landed in Brooklyn (I can neither confirm nor deny its location. I just live here.) Apparently V was feeling generous and handed the break right back (although an extraordinary lob winner on break point was all Belgian) allowing Kimmie to serve it out.
I really thought this was V's time not only because she was playing well (not having dropped a set until today) and seemingly pain free but because Kimmie was so streaky in her play for most of the tourney. However, the second seed has been the mentally tougher of the two in their H2H of late and it showed again today.
Okay, so I got this one wrong, too.
Vera Zvonareva backed up her finals appearance at the All England Club by reaching her second consecutive Grand Slam final out-hitting and out-steadying top seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3. The Russian was in sublime form controlling the center of the court, running Wozzi to all corners and dismantling the Dane's fragile forehand with her fierce ground attack. In fact, she was hitting with such ferocity she broke strings on four, yes FOUR, racquets and almost ran out of sticks before they had a chance to be replaced.
But it wasn't all baseline bashing: Bepa made numerous forays to the net to close out points connecting on 13 out of 17 attempts. After cashing in on match point she ended not with the screech she let out after winning her Wimbledon semifinal but a knowing look to Coach Sexy in her baller box and a confident stroll to the net to shake hands with her conquered foe.
Wozzi was a shadow of the lady baller who announced herself as a true contender for the US Open crown by torching through her early matches including a beat down of former champ Maria Sharapova. Her stat sheets are usually pretty quiet and her ratio of winners to errors close when she's playing in full flight. However, the 20-year old racked up 31 errors to only 13 winners compared to 25 errors and 18 winners for Bepa.
She never looked completely comfortable out there, moving sluggishly and looking frustrated through the 85 minute match. She's young and hopefully next time she's in a position to get to a major final she'll grab the moment by the throat and never let go. Like Bepa did.
[Photo(s): Getty Images]