Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random Aussie Ramblings, Vol. VII: More guesses that are just going to be wrong

OK, that's what's great about Serena Williams, right? Love her or not so much, only very special athletes can summon their best game when they're on the verge of losing. Her win over Svetlana Kuznetsova was phenomenal. Yes, she might have gotten an assist from Aussie Open organizers, who opted to close the stadium roof after the first set, but she still was down 5-3 in the second set. Then she started hitting the ball. Really, what was she doing in the first couple sets? It was like she didn't want to break a nail. Anyway, she recovered from that dire concern to lay the smackdown on Kuznetsova, who, unfortunately, has to wonder again what happened to her in a high-stakes match. She can't just blame the closing of the roof. Just as Serena grabbed victory from defeat, she's got to believe she was just as capable of sticking one more volley. She definitely let Serena off the ropes.

Anyway, a few semifinals coming to a court near you (if you live in Australia):
Elena Dementieva v. Serena Williams: Still not ready to give Dementieva her props, and after watching Serena yesterday, not utterly convinced that she'll beat Dementieva, either. Maybe Dementieva's finally ready for her Grand Slam close up. If it gets tight, and it comes down to someone getting free points on the serve, well, I guess we all know Dementieva's not winning that battle. I'm hesitantly going with Serena in three.
Vera Zvonareva v. Dinara Safina: Too close to call. This is a huge moment for both these players. Safina's been to a major final before, but she is really playing with conviction now. For Zvonareva, this is the best she's ever done in a Slam, and it's hard to tell how a player will respond to that. I just hope they don't revert to their former selves at the same time on court. Could you imagine? Safina's over there smashing hell out of her racquet and Zvonareva's on the other side having a nervous breakdown. Here's hoping nerves don't get in the way of what could be a great match.
Andy Roddick v. Roger Federer: Federer in straight sets. I'm not drinking the Andy Roddick Kool-Aid. I don't care how much weight he's lost. OK, I do. Very impressive rededication to fitness, blah, blah, blah.
He needs to learn how to volley, and really make that serve work for him.

On a non-AO note, the U.S. Fed Cup roster was announced and the Williams sisters are absent. Scheduling conflicts or the skirmish between the USTA and Zina Garrison? Inquiring minds ...

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