operation domination.

So clearly I lied about weekly posts but I definitely did not intend to leave so much time before my next one. Anyway, being at the US Open during the labor day weekend has given me the necessary fuel to get back on here.

Normally the first week is filled with lop-sided matches for seeded players who seem to advance to the 4th round and quarterfinals relatively unscathed. I’m mainly talking about the women’s side here since men tend to have much more competitive matches in the earlier rounds. The 2009 Open has been much more interesting to watch because, for the most part, you could really never be too sure who would come through. You had Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Amelie Mauresmo, Dinara Safina, Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova ALL go out either in or before the 4th round to players who you would bet against nine times out of 10. 

Only half of the final eight are seeded, three of which are in the top ten (S. Williams, Caroline Wozniaki and Penneta). Thanks to women like Oudin, Bondarenko and Clijsters, we have more than the usual two or three suprising upsets. There have been plenty of exciting matches that have made it great to be a tennis fan during the last major of the year. The mens draw has certainly had its share of exciting matches but look at who is in the final rounds. The only person really missing was Andy Murray, who seemed to be down and out from the beginning of his final match.

I felt like I had to comment on this because there are a lot of mens tennis fans out there who choose not to watch women’s tennis saying it is predictable and therefore, boring. It’s just interesting that when you look at it, specifically with regards to grand slam winners, mens tennis is more predictable recently. Let’s start with the 2004 Australian Open. We are on the 24th grand slam since then.  Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have won all but three of those titles. ALL BUT THREE!! Do you understand what you’ve just read?

When you look at the same grand slams on the women side, those titles are split between nine different women. Only Serena Williams and Justine Henin have won more than three. So please, spare me the whole why-watch-when-we-know-who-will-win argument because it isn’t valid. I have no problem really when people say they don’t like women’s tennis. I’m not offended if that’s how you feel. To each his own. I just want you to dislike it for the right reasons.

I mean, the reasons are there: top players don’t perform at smaller tournaments, there are too many breaks, players get injured too often, you don’t like the players that seem to get most of the air time, blah blah blah. But again, predictability shouldn’t be your reason to prefer men over women. I think this makes it more fun when a player does have a period where they dominate the rest of the field.  For example, if Serena Williams could have won the US Open this weekend, she would have won three out of the four in 2009. For me, that’s a great story. It isn’t boring, it’s impressive. Nevertheless, the womens final will have unseeded, comeback kid Kim Clijsters against the ninth seeded Caroline Wozniaki of Denmark and the mens final will have Juan Martin Del Potro against Djokovic or Federer. You tell me which matchup is more surprising.

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~ by ksportsb on September 13, 2009.

One Response to “operation domination.”

  1. Agreed. What’s more predictable than seeing Federer in a semi-final of a grand slam (22 straight). The 2009 US Open made headlines for the upsets and drama on the women’s side not the routine success of the ATP tour’s perennial top 10. This Open’s story was 17 year old Melanie Oudin’s historical run to the quarterfinals. Which player in the men’s draw received that much attention? None. Not to mention the attention the drama in the Serena Williams/Kim Clijsters match has had. Irregardless of that craziness, Clijsters coming back and winning the Open after retiring for two YEARS and becoming a mother is unfathomable. It’s comical to try and find an equivalent on the men’s side. The closest “come back” story would be Rafael Nadal who has been out for a whole two MONTHS due to knee tendinitis.

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