Saturday, January 29, 2011

Battlers (not little Aussie ones)

This was a women's final worth waiting for.

It wasn't the match of the tournament, because hello, Franlana. Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova definitely take the cake on that one. But it was a damn good match between two ladies that definitely deserved to be there.

I think what I liked most about was that it was a freaking battle. I like both women - I was pulling for Li, but Clijsters-hate, you will not find it here - so my investment in the outcome was not as major as it might have been. Instead of making me nervous (yes, Roger, I am looking at you), this time, the battle was kind of exhilarating.

After she pulled herself out of that 2-0 hole in the first set, I thought no one was going to be able to take Li Na down. She was on FIRE. Like WHOA. I'm not surprised she started a little slow - first Grand Slam final and all, but boy, did she make up for it with speed and power after that. Like CRAZY. Seriously, there are no words to describe the awesomeness of her play in the first set.

Clijsters didn't know what hit her - and faced with an opponent so obviously streaking, and to whom she had lost so recently, it would have been very easy to fall off the pace right there and let Li run away with it. But she did exactly the opposite - she stepped it up majorly.

And that is the difference between Kim 1.0 and Kim 2.0. Kim 1.0? Fragile, mentally. She did lose four Slam finals before she won one, which must have taken a toll. Kim 2.0? Made three finals, won all of them. The Second Coming of Kim Clijsters is made of stern stuff, and she showed it in this match, because with the way Li Na was playing, I didn't give her a chance. Shows what I know.

Li did fall back to earth a little. This is not to say that she suddenly played awful or anything, but no player can be on fire forever. But she was right in there - right in there the whole way. Even during the third set, where Kim got on top quite quickly, there was always a possibility that Li could come back.

Even though it was three sets, the scoreline - 36 63 63 - doesn't truly signify the battle this match was. Kim Clijsters expressed in her speech that she wouldn't mind playing more Slam finals with Li Na, and you know what? I wouldn't mind seeing a few.


(And also, I was so happy that Kim Clijsters got to celebrate this victory on court on her own. Not that her family aren't adorable or anything, but I think it's time that we celebrated Kim for Kim, and not just for being Jada Lynch's mum. Jada is cute as a button, but Kim is so much more than this supermum label she's been tagged with! And also, can we please stop calling her Aussie Kim? Can we just let her be Belgian? WHY MUST WE TRY TO STEAL PEOPLE ALL THE TIME? Remember how that attempt to poach Baghdatis turned out?)

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