Monday, August 24, 2009

Brave New World

We really had a great week of men's tennis last week - and come to think of it, the week before was pretty great too. We had the top eight in the semis in Montreal and the top four in the semis in Cincinatti, with arguably the two top contenders for the US Open crown, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, each bagging a title. Heading into the US Open next week, I think we can say that there is active excitement.

And then there's the women's game.


I feel really bad saying that. I want to like women's tennis. I really do. And I've enjoyed women's tennis a lot in the past. But does anyone else get the feeling that the only reason people win tournaments at the moment is because everyone else loses first?

And then the Williams sisters, Serena especially, come out at Slams and blow everyone away. But then they barely even show up to anything else, which is totally lame. This is why Dinara Safina, Slamless as she is, is still ahead of Serena and Venus in the rankings. Because she is - sorry, Dinara, you know I love you, but at this moment it's true - better at not losing than everyone else on the whole.

I want to see struggles. I want to see blood and sweat and tears. I feel like the guy at the end of Brave New World, when he's all like, 'I want Shakespeare and pain and hope and...' a whole bunch of other stuff. There is nothing there in the women's game at the moment. If it were possible for no one to win a tournament, I reckon that would be going on right now. Because I cannot name a single player who has really stepped up to the plate.

This is why I would not be at all surprised if Kim Clijsters wins the US Open. Because she, at least, has got a little somethin' somethin' going on.

Ladies, I'm throwing down the challenge. I don't expect you to catch up to the menfolk immediately, not considering the golden age of men's tennis we're in at the moment, but at least bring something. Win matches, win tournaments, by winning, not by not losing till the end.

Play tennis.

It occurs to me that that actually sounds incredibly insulting. I don't intend it that way, nor do I wish to disrespect the amazing athleticism of the girls on tour. But something is missing - some drive, some determination, something - that is making the entire WTA tour suffer in this incredible torpor. I want vivacity. I want life. So bring it, ladies - and let's play ball!

Today's Results

Pilot Pen Tennis (New Haven)

Men's Draw

Taylor Dent def. Ivan Ljubicic, 6-3 6-4
Florent Serra def. Steve Darcis, 6-3 6-3
Paul Capdeville def. Jarkko Nieminen, 7-5 6-3
Janko Tipsarevic def. Fabio Fognini, 7-5 2-0 retired
Leonardo Mayer def. Denis Istomin, 6-2 6-4
Marc Gicquel def. Martin Vassallo Arguello, 6-3 6-4
Simone Bolelli def. Christophe Rochus, 6-3 6-4
Potito Starace def. Mischa Zverev, 6-3 2-6 6-3
Pablo Cuevas def. Andrey Golubev, 6-3 6-4
Kevin Kim def. Teimuraz Gabashvili, 6-4 5-7 6-3
Bjorn Phau def. Benjamin Becker, 2-6 6-2 6-3
Robert Kendrick def. Frederik Nielsen, 6-3 7-5
Frederico Gil def. Marcos Baghdatis, 6-4 6-3
Yen-hsun Lu def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-2 6-2
Jose Acasuso def. Maximo Gonzalez, 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 6-2

Women's Draw

Anna Chakvetadze def. Nadia Petrova, 0-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4
Sybille Bammer def. Anabel Medina Garrigues, 7-5 6-4
Alona Bondarenko def. Meghann Shaughnessy, 4-6 6-3 7-5
Agnieszka Radwanska def. Roberta Vinci, 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7-5)
Virginie Razzano def. Patty Schnyder, 6-3 3-6 6-3
Elena Vesnina def. Gisela Dulko, 7-6 (8-6) 6-2
Iveta Benesova def. Varvara Lepchenko, 4-6 6-2 6-1
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Ekaterina Makarova, 6-3 6-3
Magdalena Rybarikova def. Francesca Schiavone, 6-4 6-4

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