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Meltdown of the Week


Players know Serena Williams will kick their ass if they try to get in the way between her and a Grand Slam trophy.  Little did Eva Asderaki know this includes umpires.  Asderaki got her butt verbally kicked after she penalized Williams a point against Samantha Stosur in the 2010 US Open championship.  Williams, down a set, had screamed, "C'mon!" while blasting a forehand to break Stosur in the first game of the second set.  Asderaki ruled it a hinderance.

Nothing hindered Serena during the changeover.

Watching this, I know why Serena became a certified nail technician.  It makes your hands so much prettier when you're making those "talk to the hand" moves.


On the Sideline

Entries in Rogers Cup (2)


Safarova Meltdown Puts Na in Rogers Cup Final vs. Kvitova

Lessons on winning from Li Na: Get the ball over the net and into your opponent's court. Courtesy The Canadian Press.If there's anyone who's probably hating tennis right about now, it's Lucie Safarova.  The 16th-seeded Czech was one game away from upsetting 10th-seed Li Na and earning a place under the lights in the Rogers Cup final tonight against Petra Kvitova.

But her 5-1 lead in the third set in yesterday's semi-final evaporated into a 7-5 deficit after Safarova got complacent and waited for the 2011 French Open champion to make mistakes.  Li advanced, winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

"I was thinking she made a lot of mistakes in the games before, and I just didn't put enough pressure and she used that situation to turn it over," said Safarova.

I'll say.  Li won six games in a row while Safarova produced all the unforced errors. Safarova said she let the match slip away.

That's tennis -- until the last point, it's not finished.  I should have gone for it more, taken more risks, and tried to go for winners, not wait for her mistakes."

Li, meanwhile, wasn't thinking about winning or losing.  She was just focused on keeping the ball in play. "This is tennis," she said.  "You put the ball back in the court and over the net.  It looks easy, but sometimes I couldn't do it."

Sounds like she took a lesson from the classic baseball film, "Bull Durham." "You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball."  No lollygagging.




Exhausted Olympians Dropping Like Flies at Rogers Cup

Screaming in pain? Who knows, it's Victoria Azarenka. Courtesy AP.Victoria Azarenka won gold in mixed doubles and bronze in singles last week in the London Olympics, turning her knees to tin for this week's Rogers Cup in Montreal.  She withdrew from the tournament, citing a knee injury.

She was tied, 3-3, in her second-round match against Tamira Paszek when it was suspended by rain.  That must have given her the chance to realize just how spent she was.

"I have to kind of stop and just take a little bit of time off because I absolutely had no rest for a long period of time," said Vika.  She's skipping the Western and Southern Open next week in Cincinnati, to rest up for the US Open.

Going down swinging, and swigging Pepto Bismol. Maria out with tummy ache. Courtesy AP. She joins Olympic silver medalist Maria Sharapova on the sidelines.  Sharapova withdrew Wednesday because of a virus.  She's also bypassing Cincy.  And 4th seed Samantha Stosur will find no redemption for her surprise first round ouster at the London Games.  She was booted by 16th seed Luci Safarova in two close sets, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (5) in the Round of 16.   

The top men are also in a post-London fog.  Gold medal winner Andy Murray pulled out yesterday, saying he had a knee injury.  Roger Federer withdrew a week ago.  "After a long stretch of tournaments, I'll need some time to recover," he said at the time.

And this was before he played in the Olympic championship final against Murray.

Rafael Nadal has been home in Spain with his feet up since Wimbledon (the Slam, not the Olympics; the defending 2008 gold medalist didn't defend his title, out with knee tendonitis). So defending Rogers Cup champ Novak Djokovic is all alone in Canada.  He and Tommy Haas were on serve in the deciding third set of their quarterfinal match at the time I was writing this in the late, late hours of Friday night.  Would love to watch it, but even has gone to bed.

Olympic exhaustion and injury will be the corrosive threads in the warp and weave of the hard court season.  It will play a factor at the US Open.  I think there could be early round upsets and injury retirements for some of the top seeds.  

Keep that in mind when you make up your I Hate Tennis US Open Cake Brackets in a few weeks, Haters!