Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Frenchy 2017: What the French just happened?

I know that I said the French Open always produces surprising results, and that it is almost impossible to predict at times. But I have also come to realize that I have some incredibly awful prediction abilities. I probably always have. But thanks to social media, now there is concrete evidence.




Y'all should follow me on Twitter, where I make an ass of myself daily!
So, lesson being learned, I was mostly quiet during the final between Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka. Nadal won his tenth French Open title due in some part to me staying off Twitter, meaning now that our fates are now inexorably linked.
Makes sense to me.
OK, but seriously. What happened at the French Open that's worth discussing?

5. I am just saying I'm right about Angelique Kerber: Last year, I paid a shaky tribute to Kerber's ascent to No. 1. There's no questioning how she got there -- she won two slams and beat Serena Williams in the process of winning Australia. I questioned then if her game is built to last at the top, and it's starting to look like the answer is no. Was there anyone who follows tennis who actually expected her to win against Ekaterina Makarova in the first round? Now, I heard people floating around the idea that she was injured, and although she's had issues earlier in the year, she hasn't said recently that she's struggling with injury. What she has said is that she's having trouble handling the pressure of being at the top. That happens a lot (definitely not looking at you, Garbine Muguruza), and really the best time for this to happen is now -- if Kerber can get past the yips. The top four slots in women's tennis are just there for the taking for whoever is bold enough to cash in until Serena and Victoria Azarenka return. Yes, I expect both of them back in the top 5 after their maternity leaves. No, that's not undue pressure.

4. Bagels were served quite often at the French Open: Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. Novak Djokovic. Juan Martin del Potro, Fabio Fognini. Genie Bouchard. Anyone who played Nadal. It's sort of funny when you think about this happening so often to men because, as we all know, women's tennis is traditionally considered the weaker variety. Of course, the bagel epidemic has caused proponents of best-of-three matches for men to reanimate. There are far too many high-quality men's matches still going on to make that a solid argument. But ... I am watching the trend.

3. The future is pretty much now: That bagel Djokovic took came from Dominic Thiem. Last month, Thiem beat Nadal on clay. He's beaten all the Big 4 already. All of this as Alexander Zverev still struggles for consistency. Guys, I think Thiem might win a major this year, like

2. Jelena Ostapenko: Like, WHAT.: OK, for the first hour of this match, I fought to keep it on my television. It was that hard to watch. Halep played probably the best I'd ever seen her, but Ostapenko? If it wasn't a winner, it was an error. Sometimes, my husband calls me "Two-Hit Nancy." The first half of this match was like watching me play, and it was pretty horrifying and also reminds me I should call my life coach. Anyway, all of a sudden, Ostapenko's shots began staying in the court, and for all the defense in the world, Halep couldn't keep up. For a 20-year-old kid to come back from a set and 3-0 deficit in a Grand Slam final just defies all logic, and that's kinda what makes tennis great. But also, can we briefly run through some of the people Ostapenko beat over the last two weeks? There's ... Sam Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki and Timea Bacsinszky.

1. My bae Rafa: OK, that forehand down the line in the final was SICK and you know the one I'm talking about. During the ceremony to mark Rafa's achievement -- not done before in the Open era -- they played the stinking thing again with poor Wawrinka standing there! The idea that Nadal's form on clay looked better than ever is not great for the competition. Tennis observers think the grass is playing slow these days, too. Oh, man. I hope he wears that sleeveless white top again.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Frenchy 2017: Tennis-ing is Hard

I've been doing this blog for a long time, and the French Open has always been the outlier-hot mess tournament, so naturally, the top seed is gone by the second round. Annnnd, the person who beat her is also not out of the second round. The sad part is that only one of those results is a real surprise.

What the hell, A. Kerber.: Not only did Kerber lose in the opening round, she only managed to win four games -- and she was lucky to get those. I'm not going to lie, when I filled out my draw, I hesitated at this one. But in the end, I couldn't see Kerber withstanding a stiff challenge in the first round, in this case from Ekaterina Makarova. She needed a break and she got broken. Know what I'm sayin'?
Now for the unexpected part: Makarova takes advantage of this path through the quarters BY WINNING FOUR GAMES ON THE WAY TO DEFEAT IN THE VERY NEXT ROUND. Because of course. Let's move on to better news.

Yes, Petra is back!: Petra Kvitova was attacked in her own apartment by a knife-wielding intruder and was badly cut on her hand in the process of fighting this person off. This week, she came back to tennis. Her stay was brief (second-round loss to Bethanie Mattek-Sands). But she's back. I hope she's OK -- physically and emotionally.

... and Serena? ... Not gonna lie -- I saw this photo of Serena and her coach and thought, "I knew it! She's gonna play!" She is allegedly -- "allegedly" here to watch Venus, although I think her true motives were somewhere in here:



What the hell, A. Zverev.: I can't even be mad at Alexander Zverev for blowing up my bracket for frankness like this:



The Cornet-iest quote that has ever lived: