Sunday, September 11, 2016

US Open - final thoughts

First up, the ladies!

I am somewhat peeved, or maybe just disappointed, that I've read disparaging remarks in response to Kerber's ascent to WTA #1.  She is the Oz champ, Wimby finalist, and now also the USOpen champ.  Yes, she plays more than Serena, but is Kerber to blame for that?  Maybe the #1 should be the one willing to go out and test fitness and put up consistent results over the entire season, and not just some handpicked big ones.  On the other hand, when you've been playing as long as Serena and as dominant as her, I could see why she would not want to play all the tournaments.  But it comes at a price, and now we have a new, and IMO well deserved, #1 player.  Congrats Angie!

And she did it against a very tough, upcoming, and *impressive* player!  This tournament has been the first time I've really paid attention to Pliskova.  It is very easy to label her a baseline basher who will make a lot of great shots but also a lot of errors, but she proved herself to be much, much more.  Of special note are her hands around net...she was very willing to come forward and when she did, displayed very good feel.  Sure she's never going to have the defensive skills and movement of a Kerber or Halep, but she's got the goods and weapons to be at the top of the game.  Mentally she more than proved herself in her matches against Venus and Serena (when the crowd was so against her) as well as the final.  I'm excited!  Let's hope she continues this and we don't see a 'sophomore slump' next year.  (not that this year is over, but y'all know what I mean)

The men's final just wrapped up, but before that was a very fun, competitive women's dubs final, with Safarova/Mattek-Sands coming back from the literal edge of defeat to snatch the title away from French duo Mladenovic/Garcia.  The French duo did themselves in, IMO, with the lack of response and fight after the Mattek-Sands woke up and got her team back in the match with aggressive net play.  The absolute delight on the faces of Lucie and Bethanie after their win was almost as awesome as Bethanie's socks.  Almost.

And the men!  Whew!  One almost had to think, what with Nole's string of retirements along the way to the final, that he would be the fresher.  But the lack of matches costs a player too, because a player needs those matches to test themselves and build up confidence.  Much was made over commentary about how negative Nole's body language was, and how Stan had the crowd, and that was most definitely the case at the beginning of the match.  But the crowd also cheers for whoever they need to in order to see more tennis!  And at the end they were pretty even behind the two battling for the title.
Stan's win was well deserved, and his aggressive play and fight just wore Nole down, possibly literally wearing away the very skin from his toes!  It was an exciting match, but always hard to see the disappointment on the 'loser's' face at the end, especially after such a battle.  Evidently it was 143 to 144 points in the end.  So Stan won the big points at the right time.  Ahhh tennis, such a fickle game!

Hopefully all this tennis watching will bleed itself into my game somehow...personally I have 40+ Mid-Atlantic sectionals, 7.5 VA combo, and then the big one...18+ Nationals on the calendar.  Combo might get nixed though, even though its a favorite tournament in one of my favorite locations, due to not being able to take that FRI off of work and also having to work until 11:30...won't be driving down to VA Beach after work like I had originally hoped!  We shall see!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

US Open Thoughts, part 1

As I sat here, finally watching some US Open tennis (after a grueling week, not to mention a couple of years), I had some thoughts.  I shall share them now.

  • I had Nadal as a dark horse.  Not so much now.  He had been kind of under the radar (for him), especially after recent absences at Roland Garros and Wimby.  Its obvious his dominance is nearing its conclusion, and has been for awhile.  But why?  Is it the change of racquets?  Is there something else for the reason of the absences (which is always being whispered about in tennis circles)?  Has his style of play finally caught up with his body?  Or is he simply being passed by younger, stronger players who are not afraid to challenge him?
  • Krygios.  I agree with McEnroe.  Lots of other things to do, please top wasting court time.  Either get a coach and get serious, or get off the court.  I was never a fan, became less of one after his antics and comments on court to Wawrinka, less after his 'partnership' with Bouchard (and more on court shenanigans), less after he said he didn't even have a coach, and less more now.  Yup, I think I'm out.  
  • Oh Venus.  So nice to see her in the second week.  And so close against Pliskova!  
  • I had also given up on Monfils, much like I feel about Krygios.  Has he seen the light?  Is it too little too late?  Time will tell.  
  • Madison Keys.  It is time to buckle down and learn how to construct points and be patient.  Don't go for winners when you're stretched way out of the court.  Wozniacki was able to withstand the power and out think the young American, who remains such a promising star.  But she needs to learn strategy and how to use her wonderful weapons, or I do not think she will get any further than she is now.
  • Taylor Townsend.  Ok.  We get it.  You don't think you need to actually be in shape to play pro tennis and need to USTA.  Take a good luck around.  Do you see anyone else on the women's tour who looks like Townsend?  No.  And while she is unquestionable talented, talent will go only so far.  There are lots of talented players out there.  Talent combined with hard work and dedication is what gets players to the top.  Tick tock tick tock...time is running out. Body shaming?  I'm not sure it is.  She's supposedly a professional athlete.  And it IS an issue, as anyone who has seen her stand flat footed while her opponents hit past her will tell you.  Yeah she has weapons, but on this level, just about everyone does and that big forehand will come back to her.  Then what?
  • Wozniacki.  I like what I am seeing, even if she took out one of my favorites!  All around player, but able to step it up when she needs to (case in point, her match against Kutzy).  
  • Ana Konjuh!!!  Wow!  Just 19 years old, but plays an all around game, great serve, very willing to come to net, and while nobody would have blamed her for getting rattled serving out the match against Aga, especially after some bizarre feedback incident...she did not blink.  Loved watching her play and she, in my opinion, shows the most promise of all the young players.  Nice seeing Majoli in her camp too.  
Of course, on the women's side, it remains Serena's show.  Can anyone who is left threaten her?  Her next opponent, Halep (my favorite player right now, though she is also so frustrating sometimes!) has a chance, but Serena will look to attack the Romanian's serve.  Halep will not be able to have her usual ups and down against Serena.  Semi opponents would be either Konjuh or Pliskova, and Serena would be heavily favored against either. If the seeds hold, we will see another Kerber/Serena final, and as we know, Kerber can do it.  Though, will we see the same Kerber as we did in Australia?  Much has been reported about how she is mentally and physically tired at this point of the season, compared to Australia where just about everyone is fresher.  If she continues her form, I do not doubt that Wozniacki can and will take out Kerber if they meet in the semis.  Sevastova's run, I believe, will end against the Dane.  

As I write this, Monfils is up against Pouille, and is up a break in the third set.  Nole takes on Tsonga tonight, and Tsonga has been quietly winning.  If Nole has any arm issues and Tsonga is on his game, the Frenchman can certainly oust the #1 seed.  Down in the other half, I think it unlikely that Murray will not come through, though I think the delPo/Stan match will be the most entertaining of the men's quarters (with Nole/Tsonga second).  Most likely we will see Nole/Murray in the final, and I don't necessarily think it is a given for either player.  Delpo, if he keeps booming that FH, could certainly play a spoiler in there though.  So nice to see him playing at a hight level again, especially after so many surgeries and a lot of doubt if he'd be able to come back and compete at a high level at all again. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I shall blog again?

Ironic, reading that last post in July. The worst was yet to come, but yes, still standing.

Always was one of my favorite songs!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Playing B...

B is a fellow teacher, which means, like me, she has some time to play during the day for two months. A few summers ago, we started meeting up regularly to play, and she never lost to me...until last summer. B is super fast...almost deceivingly while you're sitting there admiring your winner, she runs it down, gets it back, and you're so flustered that you make a mistake! She is also capable of putting the ball away herself, but most of the time, because she is so consistent, she doesn't need to.

We've already played once this summer, when I was in some severe back pain, and somehow I squeaked out a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 win. B is really good at hitting a high, deep looper, and when I loop it back, she'll take my looper off of the bounce and hit a short, flat, low shot that I can barely get to. The first time we played, because of my back, I didn't even *try* to get to them.

We played again today, and even though I was moving better and playing better, I lost! GRRR! I lost 1-6, 6-7. Predictably, it took me an entire set to warm up. I also switched racquets (and thus, strings) for the second set. I think I may be due for restringing. Using cheap PSGD is great on the pocketbook, but I'm starting to wonder if it loses tension too quickly. I launched a lot of stuff way out of the court today. Yikes! Still trying to 'fix' the serve. When I get it right, it is great. The problem is...I only get it right maybe 30 percent of the time!!!

I also play a higher risk game than B, and I'm wondering if I should be doing that at this point...instead, maybe I should be working on becoming more consistent myself. Yeah, I have great put-aways, but if I can't keep the ball in play long enough to get that put away shot, then I don't get to win many points with it. As usual, I'm pretty sure the problem lies with my feet as well as my head. Must get the feet in position, and musts keep head down through the shot. Even B could see me pop out of my shots sometimes.

We're playing again Tuesday morning! I'm trying to not worry too much about winning/losing, and instead work on the things that I need work weaknesses. So, before we play, I will try to come up with 3 weaknesses that will be my focus for that match, and stick to working on them during the match no matter what the score!


Tomorrow is full of tennis! First clinic, then meeting up with some TWMAC folks to hit, and then heading to the Asian festival all nice and sweaty and gross! :)

Friday, July 24, 2009


Funniest moment of hitting tonight...JRK and his new best friend say hello to the camera!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Friends don't let each other in singles!

Today, in preparation for playing singles at districts this weekend, one of the other singles players on my team (S) and I met up to play a practice match.

On paper, she should win. She has a far better record than me, and has taken some scalps along the way (KZ being one of them). She, I suppose, could be classified as a 'pusher', though I don't like the negative connotations that go with that label. To me, consistency is gold, and something that I still consistently...lack. Like me, she is a teacher, only her medium is PE, and she can run everything down, return it into the court, and do it for hours. Her only weaknesses is that she doesn't hit with much pace (this could also be a strength at 3.5 since generating our own pace while keeping the ball in the court always proves to be a singular challenge), she has a weak serve (see 'no pace'), and she will not hit winners...on purpose. Her short dinks sometimes end up being winners, but I'm not sure if she means for them to end up that way or not. And lastly, she is quite uncomfortable at net, so bringing her up on purpose is a good strategy (if you can execute it!).

So, again, since I was denied my chance to play 'the diamond' and practice coming in, I was excited to try it out today.

It was a tight first set, with S edging me out 6-4. I was having trouble, like I usually do, returning her soft serve...I kept launching it out. I also wasn't coming up enough...when I did, I usually won the part. I still don't always pick the right time to do it, but that's why we're practicing, right?

Second set, I noticed some patterns in her baseline play (notably that she always tries to pass me cross court from her backhand), she really didn't like if I got some slice on my serve, and I was able to come in A LOT more, which put pressure on her. She tried coming in herself, but made errors and then gave up on it. I was also more patient, I think, and waited for my moments to hit a winner, and my most successful shot was my FH down the line. On returns, since they were so soft and slow, I set up like a regular groundstroke to hit them, and focused on placement and setting up the point rather than trying to hit a winner. Ironically enough, lots of times this resulted in a winner!

We still played long games, but this time I seemed to have the edge, and I took the second set 6-2. Like during regular league play, we don't play a full 3rd set at districts...instead we do the 'champion's 10 point tiebreak', so that is what we did today. After a few long rallies, I raced out to an 8-1 lead. Again, I showed that I get too lazy and/or sloppy when I'm ahead, and it wasn't until it was 8-6 that I finally won the next two points and won the match.

I'm not too 'gloaty', though, since I know I play better (and more relaxed) when it doesn't 'count' for anything. She was peeved, though, I could tell. She is a very friendly, though competitive person, and I think she expected me to hit enough errors that she would win easily. I can't blame her...that is my M.O. But maybe, just maybe...I'm starting to change that.

Tomorrow is packing and clinic at night. Maybe some light workout in the morning. Thursday we head down (possibly without our own captain, as S told me that the rumor is she decided to play with another team of her's that is also headed down to districts. Not. Cool. IMO. I don't care how shorthanded *they* are...she's *our* captain!!!).

I hope to remember to take the camera so I will have some pictures to go along with match write ups from districts!

I'm excited, because I played well and I executed a game plan! When I lost the first set, I adjusted instead of just doing the same thing over and over again.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I'll keep it here, and talk about what I want, whether or not it has to do with tennis or not. Not that anyone is reading, so I suppose almost no chance of complaints! Excellent!