Thursday, September 07, 2017

U.S. Open tennis --- women's semi-finals

Having an all American semi-finals in the women's draw at the U.S. Open was completely unexpected.  It is so stunning that the media has yet to fully appreciate how unlikely this outcome was.  With American men's tennis in a prolonged doldrums, U.S. tennis excellence in recent years has been maintained primarily by the Williams sisters.  Now this.

Venus Williams at 37 is playing a veteran's game.  Her skills are still strong but no longer dominant, while her approach to matches is impeccable.  She plays as if a match is an ongoing mosaic, point by point, game by game.  Every piece has a meaning.  Patience will be rewarded, but if not it will be accepted.  Coco Vaneweghe is not a reliably good player from tournament to tournament, not at all, but the majors have been her place to grow this year.  She plays with an unbridled enthusiasm that works with the crowd and shows how much she enjoys being out there.  Sloane Stephens is making a comeback from injuries and from a certain malaise following her success in her rookie season in 2013.  Her game is steady, close to boring at times, but she does not go away.  Madison Keys is viewed here as the most unlikely semi-finalist as her performance literally can vary from game to game.  By the time one of the challenged announcers has finished explaining why she is faltering, she is back on track.  She is growing into her personality as a player, whatever that may turn out to be.

Nadal will win the tournament on the men's side.  He is in his usual fine physical shape.  His occasional lapses in momentum can be overcome and he is by far the most talented player remaining.


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