All Balls Don’t Bounce

Completely Random Sports Non Sequiturs From A Completely Random Hip Hop Head

Posts Tagged ‘u.s. open’

Serena Breaks the Fuck Down

Posted by hiphopmama on September 12, 2009

serena foot fault
Wow. I can honestly say I’ve never seen this one before. After getting broken in the final game to lose the first set to Kim Clijsters – and picking up a warning for breaking her racket – Serena found herself down 15-30 on her own serve at 4-5 in the second. She was then called for a foot fault on her second serve, giving Clijsters two match points. Serena stepped back momentarily in disbelief at the call, asked for the balls for her next serve, and then approached the linesperson with her typical on-court venom. She pointed at the woman, showed the ball to her, and appeared to tell her, “You’re lucky I don’t take this ball and shove it down your fucking throat.” She had some more words for her, which she uttered while shaking her racket at her, before she finally retreated to the court to prepare to serve. The linesperson then, either on her own or after being prompted by the chair umpire, approached the chair, reported what had been said, and watched things unfold from there.

US Open officialdom came out onto the court and consulted with the chair to decide Serena’s fate. Her previous warning really did her in, because it meant the second violation resulted in a point penalty, which just happened to come on match point. Game, set, match Clijsters and the bizarrest ending to a match I’ve ever seen.

Watch for yourself:

I don’t think I’m alone in asking, WTF??

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Fed Makes It Five

Posted by hiphopmama on September 9, 2008

Federer became the first man to ever win five consecutive titles at two different grand slam events – Wimbledon and the U.S. Open – by beating Andy Murray in straight sets, 6-2 7-5 6-2. It was a satisfying victory for Roger, who has looked noticeably subpar by his stratospheric standards, having made it till September without a Grand Slam title after winning three out of four the last two years. It’s a testament to his dominance that this year has been perceived as a disappointment when he made it to three finals and one semi-final with one major title to boot. Hopefully this will get him back on track for ’08. As he said, “One thing for sure, I’m not going to stop at 13. That would be terrible.” He’s one shy of Sampras’ record of 14.

Andy Murray was essentially outclassed. His one glimmer of a chance came in the second set when he broke back, then broke a second time to take the lead. It all slipped away, however, and it was downhill from there. 

I’ve been a Murray hater for a while, but he looked, played, and acted great this tournament, almost winning me over and converting me to comfortably neutral. He got a little down on himself toward the end, but who doesn’t against Federer? He was gracious in defeat as well. Most importantly, he put himself on the map. I believe he’ll move up to number 4 in the rankings, and I would wager he’ll stay in the top 5, top 10 at least, for a while to come. If Federer and Nadal ever give up their stranglehold, he and Djokovic will be the next ones waiting in the wings.

And finally, will Mary Carillo please shut the fuck up? She’s always bitching about something, and tonight it was the challenge system. She’s been one of the few to dislike the system since its inception, and she’s always coming up with different reasons why it sucks. Tonight, it was the mere existence of line callers that irked her, as she asserted that all the lines should be called by Hawk-Eye. I agree, in the sense that tennis should begin moving in this direction. But I feel like the current system is a good middle ground, a stop gap until they can make sure the technology is just right and get everybody on board. For such an old-ass, traditional sport, I’ve been impressed that tennis has incorporated the line-calling machines at all. As for Carillo, her whining about it seems to just be an excuse to talk some more. With her reasoning always on the move, I don’t really believe she has some principled opposition to it. Her argument that you shouldn’t have to stop a point to get the call right is correct in the abstract, but at least having the opportunity to do so and check where the ball landed is an advantage the challenge system provides, rather than having to just take the calls as they come. I’m sure the system will continue to get better, hopefully getting to fully automated line calling sooner rather than later, but in the meantime I think it’s working just fine. Get over it, Mary.

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Serena Bests Jankovic for U.S. Open Title

Posted by hiphopmama on September 8, 2008

It was a fun match to watch, at least if you were a Serena fan. She didn’t exactly tear through her like I thought, but it wasn’t much of a struggle, either. Serena won the first set handily, 6-4, but Jankovic rallied to capture then lose then re-capture a break advantage in the second, eventually losing it 7-5 after failing to convert a couple set points. 

I’ve been unsure how to feel about Jelena Jankovic since she came on the scene, but she definitely won me over tonight. She can come across as a bit of a pouter sometimes, but she was all smiles here, even in defeat. Plus her mom is awesome. I’ve never seen another tennis parent be so calm and objective about their kid, even when said child is losing. Nothing seems to faze her. I also respect how she made Jelena stay doing school, which prevented her from rising up the rankings earlier and faster than she did. If she would cut out her Djokovic habit of calling the trainer for every hangnail, I’d be able to root for her wholeheartedly. 

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s men’s final, even at the odd hour (5 eastern/2 pacific on a week night?). Andy Murray has looked much more mature and composed, but I still can’t forgive him his previous sulking. Maybe if he sticks with the new approach for a little longer. In the meantime, go Federer. Let’s make it five in a row.

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Djokovic Admits to Overreacting to Roddick’s Comments

Posted by hiphopmama on September 7, 2008

Maybe the guy does have an inkling of sense after all. Having complained to and about the fans at the U.S. Open and gotten all prickly over Roddick’s poking fun at his frequent need to call the trainer on the court, Djokovic finally softened up after his loss to Federer in the semifinals and conceded that his response was out of hand.

“He made a joke and it was a misunderstanding. 

Maybe I exaggerated and reacted bad in that moment. I apologise if I reacted like that. This was just impulsive.”

It feels a little like Hillary Clinton endorsing Barack Obama way after the fact – like, great, now that we’re all past the point of no return let’s go ahead and make things right. Still, I’m impressed he owned up to his fussing at all. It’s not usually like him. Birth of a kinder, gentler Djokovic? I think not, but here’s hoping.

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Nadal-Murray In Suspended Animation

Posted by hiphopmama on September 7, 2008

It was a bizarre day at the U.S. Open. Because of the certainty of rain later in the day, they moved the start time up for the matches, with Federer and Djokovic starting an hour earlier than originally scheduled. Then, around the second set of that one, they started the Nadal-Murray match on Armstrong simultaneously instead of having them wait till the conclusion of Federer-Djokovic to play on Arthur Ashe. Fed managed to finish off Djokovic in four sets before the rain kicked in, but Nadal and Murray had to stop short in the third set. Nadal had lost the first two sets to Murray, who was playing simply out of his mind, although Nadal was up a break in the third when play halted.

It was a disappointing (start of a) match to say the least, especially for someone who roots against Andy Murray as avidly as I do. I hear he’s toning it down a little lately, but he still acts like too much of a baby out there. My husband and I always laugh about his yelling at his coaches from the court, at one point in one match shouting, “I’m trying my hardest!” Oh really, Andy? I’m pretty sure everyone is at this level, so get over it. He’s no Djokovic, and I’d be much less disgusted to see him win the whole thing than Novak, but if he pulls out the win over Nadal I’ll be pulling that much harder for Federer. Not to count out Rafa yet, which you should never do, but he’ll need a major overhaul tomorrow if he wants to force a fifth set. We shall see.

All this means that the women’s final between Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic will take place tomorrow and the men’s final will be on Monday. I’m excited, but I’ll miss the tennis when it’s over. At least the European soccer leagues have started up, so I’ll have something other than baseball during the tennis break.

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Federer Takes Third Set Against Djokovic

Posted by hiphopmama on September 6, 2008

This one is still in progress, but I had to get my two cents in. Federer probably should have won the second set, but I gotta hand it to Djokovic for hanging in there. Late in the third, however, he started letting the crowd get to him and generally lost his composure a bit, just enough for Roger to capitalize and grab the set and take a 2-1 lead. The crowd has been clearly rooting for Fed, even cheering when Djokovic would miss a first serve, and at one point he even gave the crowd a sarcastic thumbs up when he missed a shot. 

What does he expect? He was essentially taunting the crowd after the Roddick match for rooting against him, as if that was any surprise. Roddick is right: if you’re gonna dish it out, as Djokovic does in his admittedly funny impressions of other players, you gotta be able to take it too, as he proved unable to do when Roddick poked fun at his unending list of “injuries.” 

Come on, Roger, let’s finish this one off in four.

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Mary Carillo Praises Common For His “Clean” Life

Posted by hiphopmama on September 6, 2008

During Serena’s match against Safina – which she won in straight sets – Mary Carillo took the opportunity to expound, in her great wisdom, on Serena’s relationship with Common (Sense), the legendary Chicago rapper best known in hip hop circles for his allegorical ode to the culture, “I Used To Love H.E.R.” off his legendary album Resurrection. She had the following to say about Serena’s first set and her new boyfriend:

“Well, what was pretty about it was how calm and serene Serena stayed and she has developed an uncommon friend in that man right there, Common. [camera on Common] You can see Greg Norman behind him. Uh…he has…uh…he’s been around this year and he goes against all the attendant cliches you think of when you think about rappers: you know living hard, dangerous. Chris Everett in the black cap behind him. This guy, everybody loves this guy…says he’s been the best thing…um…for Serena. Her relationship with him has been nothing but good. He lives a very clean life, VERY serious fellow, a rapper, an actor. He was in that Angelina Jolie movie that came out earlier this year.”

Maybe it’s a bit more subtle, but it sounds a little too much like Chris Rock for my taste, when he notes that white people love to compliment Colin Powell and other blacks for “speaking so well.” As Chris said, “speaks so well” is not a compliment. That’s something you say about a “retarded kid who can talk.” Fuck outta here. It’s nice to know that Mary Carillo can pick out the “good ones” and can appreciate a rapper who lives a “clean life” and is very “serious.” I know she was trying to give a compliment in this case, but it was damn sure a back-handed one. If she knew anything about the hip hop culture she was so flippantly characterizing, she would keep her mouth shut and just call the game. I think we’d all appreciate that.

And now to let Common speak for himself. Here’s a link I found to the aforementioned classic track, “I Used To Love H.E.R.” Check the lyrics on to get the full scope of the song. 

Common – I Used To Love H.E.R.

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More Boo-Hoos From Mr. Djokovic

Posted by hiphopmama on September 5, 2008

Okay, so Djokovic beat Roddick about as easily as he should have. Deep down I knew it had to happen, but I can hope, right? Of course, Novak still had to bitch and moan about his unfair treatment to the crowd after the match:

“Andy said I have 16 injuries. Obviously I don’t,” Djokovic said, drawing boos from a crowd dominated by Roddick supporters. 

“Like it or not, it’s like that,” Djokovic said. “They are already against me because they think I’m faking everything.” 

“That was not nice to say in front of this crowd that I have 16 injuries and I’m faking it. The momentum is not nice.” 

I won’t even go into what else isn’t nice about Djokovic himself, considering how many words I’ve already devoted to that subject, but I will add to the mix his shirtless strutting after victories. Really, dude, no one wants to see that.

Now my hopes rest with Fed. Everyone wants to see Federer-Nadal in the final, but seeing Roger get there at Djokovic’s expense would make it so much nicer. Payback for Australia, maybe?

I know I’ve spent a lot of time tearing into Djokovic, but I don’t want you to think I have singled the guy out. I actually bear a striking hatred for a number of players whose names simply haven’t come up yet. But don’t fret – you’ll hear about them sooner or later. Next up on my shit list is Andy Murray, so look out for that one. I know. You’re on the edge of your seat.

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Roddick-Djokovic Should Be Good

Posted by hiphopmama on September 4, 2008

Did I mention I can’t stand Novak Djokovic? Please, Andy, PLEASE tear this string bean a new one tomorrow. Roddick goes overboard sometimes, especially in his ridiculous banter with the chair umpires, but he’s generally a likable guy on most days and will be the easy fan favorite against Nole. 

There is some acrimony between these two, especially after this year’s Kids’ Day festivities featured the two squaring off in dueling imitations of each other. Djokovic’s impressions are always dead-on and hilarious, but Roddick’s mimicking of his insane number of ball bounces before a serve should have been the more unnerving of the two. I mean, it’s one thing to have a meticulous routine that you go through each and every point (a la Nadal), but it’s entirely another to irk your opponent by selectively developing these nervous tics before big points. Slow the match down some other way: grab a towel (or, rather, have one of the ball minions BRING you a towel, which is ridiculous in and of itself), take some deep breaths, focus on your center. Pretty much anything else will do. People hate that schtick at every level, from youth tournaments on up, so you can’t say he’s unaware.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, Roddick had some choice words about his opponent’s predilection for calling the trainer after his use of the tactic against Robredo:

“What is it, a back and a hip?” he said. “And a cramp. Bird flu. Anthrax. SARS. Common cough and cold.”

“Do you think he’s bluffing?” someone asked.

“No, there’s just a lot,” Roddick said. “He’s either quick to call a trainer or he’s the most courageous guy of all time.”

That’s good stuff. Can’t wait for the match tomorrow.

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Serena Over Venus In Two

Posted by hiphopmama on September 4, 2008

That was easily, without a doubt, the best match I’ve seen between the Williams sisters. Yeah, Wimbledon this year was good, and the quality of play has generally gone up since the early days, but nothing can hold a candle to this one. How often have you seen either of them pump their fists during an all-Williams match? They were both into the match tonight, especially Serena, who somehow managed to hang on and pull out a win.

The match was Venus’ to win from the beginning. She had a total of 10 set points – 2 in the first, 8 in the second – and failed to convert any of them. I’m still unclear on how Serena turned things around in both sets, but she gritted her teeth and gutted it out. It was a fine performance, and a great show to boot. I used to dread watching them play each other, so it’s nice to see some good tennis come out of their match-ups now. Can anyone realistically match them?

p.s. Poor Nadal and Fish. How can they justify having them play so late? If we hadn’t been watching the blowhard Murray’s match so late, maybe they could have gotten to these night matches at a decent time.

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