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Anyone for tennis?

TENNIS: French Open 2017 semis and finals

I didn’t see the women’s semi-finals although I had presumed that whoever won Halep vs. Pliskova would be the most likely to win the French Open.

Men’s semi-finals
I did get the chance to see the men’s semis (having booked the day off to stay up and watch the election results - and that’s all I’ll say about that - I only realised a few days ago that that meant I could watch the tennis, although I did doze off a couple of times because I was sleep-deprived). I watched the first four sets of Murray vs Wawrinka, leaving after the fourth because I had to do something, not because I had an inkling that Murray would collapse, although in hindsight, he had his chances in the fourth.

It was a thumping encounter, with Wawrinka walloping the ball and Murray retrieving and often walloping right it back. Wawrinka seemed the stronger, but Murray was tenacious and waited long enough to get back in, sometimes managing to take control and frustrate his opponent with drop-shots and lobs, but Wawrinka came back. I’m glad I didn’t actually see the fifth, and I hope Murray builds on all this on the grass. The more I think about it, this wasn’t a bad French for him, given his ill-health this year.

I saw a little bit of Nadal vs Thiem, and although Thiem was impressive, Nadal was clearly winning. I haven’t seen him play in the French, but he’s imperious and hungry and this is his clay. I’d favour him over Wawrinka, but the latter is playing well, so I hope it’s a decent match.

An interlude
I cannot over-emphasise how irritating it is that Inverdale uses ‘game’ when he means ‘match’. With tennis, you can talk about the game, as an unit where a server or receiver tries to score so many points to win it, or the ‘game of tennis’ but use the word ‘match’ when you’re talkin about the ladies’s best of three encounter and the men’s best of five. He’s been doin this for so long (too long and inexplicably so) he should know better.

Women’s final
Due to commitments planned before I realised it was the French Open finals weekend, I only started the women’s final as Ostapenko was thumping her way back to 4-4 in the second set. I grasped that she was going to push it to a third, learned that Halep had been 4-0 up in the second and had got passive. ‘Passive’ was the last word to describe the young player I saw going for her shots. Like the commentators, I gasped at her play. She was hitting her forehand at the same pace as the male no. 1. The number of winners/unforced errors were high, but the ratio was going the right way, and as soon as she broke back in the third, she believed. As Navratilova said, you’ve got to go for it to win a championship, and Halep seemed to have been expecting Ostapenko to fall off as well as watching balls go by in the end. A new champion then, who has forged a remarkable path to get there, but will she be able to back it up?

Men’s Final
I watched the entirety of Nadal demolishing Wawrinka. Wow. The first set was impressive enough and (probably like Wawrinka) I didn’t know how he could respond to that in the second set. When he was duly broken, there was a sense of utter inevitability because Nadal will be intense on all points and was clearly playing so exceptionally well, and then he improved and improved. There was a sense of silence around the court except for when he pulled off some beyond amazing shot or the crowd’s cheers when Wawrinka’s valiant play occasionally got him somewhere. But not very far. I absolutely think that losing the Aussie Open as well as the last few years of injuries have made this particularly special for Nadal.

So, it was the women’s final that was the most dramatically competitive, while the men’s was a bulldozer because of the excellence of Nadal’s play.

This entry was originally posted at http://feather-ghyll.dreamwidth.org/142238.html. Please comment wherever you prefer to.


Girl reader

April 2018



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