It is no secret that I am not exactly the biggest tennis patriot ever. However, I was/am genuinely interested in the Fed Cup tie between Australia and Italy going on in Hobart, and I am totally devo that they are only showing it on pay TV, which I do not have.
The live scoreboard is good, though. Why don't they use it at all the tournaments?
It's also no secret that I currently find men's tennis more interesting than women's tennis, but the Italy/Australia tie is as good a match up as you will ever hope to see and kicks the arse of a lot of Davis Cup ties. In the Italian corner, we have Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta. In the Aussie corner, we have Samantha Stosur and Jarmila Groth. Let the games begin.
It's one of those ties in which no result is surprising. I wouldn't have been surprised to find either team 2-0 up after the first day, and so 1-1 is, I guess, kind of an expression of that. And yet it was still surprising. The one point for Australia comes from Groth, who upset Schiavone. Stosur went down to Pennetta.
And yet, even though Stosur is ranked way higher than Pennetta at the mo, I am somehow not surprised. Because all four singles players playing this tie are 100% absolute quality.
I couldn't tell you how Stosur lost or why Pennetta won or anything like that, because of the whole not having TV problem. What I can say is this: this is one of the best results of Jarmila Groth's career. Beating a Grand Slam champion and defending Fed Cup champion... wow. That is something else.
Particularly after coming back from one set to love down as well. That is an awesome result. When I saw Groth play Wickmayer at the Aussie Open, my immediate impression was of a player with heaps of talent and all the shots, but who could go AWOL mentally at any second. She could light up (ie. second set) but also come crashing down to earth without any notice (third set).
What Jarka showed me here in Fed Cup was that she can grit her teeth and get it done. And if she keeps gritting her teeth and getting it done... well, I could see her definitely making top twenty. Because she is majorly talented. And she is, in her own words, not a fucking tourist.
Reverse singles today (and doubles), with Groth taking on Pennetta and Stosur taking on Schiavone. I'm going with another split result here - I say Groth and Schiavone coming out on top. I don't see Frankie losing two days in a row, and I think Jarka might be on a roll. So this fascinating tie could come down to the doubles...
This is the kind of tie Fed Cup needs. I often talk about how maligned Davis Cup is, but Fed Cup is worse. Probably also because it has such a boring name. But with awesomeness like the awesomeness in this tie... Fed Cup could be on its way up.
(Also, Nicolas Mahut is into the final in Courmayeur! He'll play Gilles Muller. And also, he and Gicquel won the doubles. And I think making the final will send him into the top hundred! Mahuberfans unite!)
Roger: older and not quite out
6 months ago