There’s something special about bug-eyed pictures of athletes. Maybe it’s because I’m a baseball fan, and you see a lot of them there… but there’s something really special about that “oh yeah, that’s the ball I was looking for” look.
It might be Sergey’s silent, steely resolve, it might be a natural maturation, it might just be a new self-belief… whatever it is, the resurgence of Vera over the past year has been an impressive one. Thursday, she was pushed to three hours by Dani, a player who had just beaten her in Pattaya not long ago, and pulled out the third set after being down a break in the third. The next day, she was pushed to the limit once again by JJ. Down 0-40 at 4-4 in the third set on her serve, she flipped the switch and absolutely crushed her way to taking the final set 6-4. Boom. In days gone by, a break or 0-40 late in the third set against a good opponent likely would have done Bepa (and her racquet) in. Now it’s nothing but determination and grit.
Despite what seems like limitless success and numerous finals for the Russian, she hasn’t won a title in a year. Number 3 in the world? That just isn’t right.
Unfortunately, in the final, Vera will be running into the brick wall that is the world number 1, who is having another superb week. The good news for Vera is that Caro has been playing for two straight weeks, and might be a little tired. I really think it should be a good final, and I would not be surprised to see it go three. Regardless, it’s been a fantastic start to the year for both ladies.