Archive for the ‘Kimmy’ Category

30 Jan 2011

She came. She saw. She was Kimpressive. The win was Kimminent. Nothing is Kimpossible.

Dammit, BG.

Since I’m a bit late, I’ll just use this post to wrap up my overall WTA thoughts. Those thoughts are mostly full of “holy, that was awesome”. While the US Open seemed to be viewed entirely through a “no Serena” filter, everyone got over the no Serena thing, at least I think, and viewed the WTA for what and who it is over this Australian Open. And damn, did it deliver.

Whether you want to talk about Kim’s continued kickass play, Bepa’s continuing consistency, Franny’s insane fight, Nails’ hilarious on court interviews and awesome attitude, or just the overall high level of play, it made both ATP diehards and non-tennis fans clue in, even if just for a little bit.

For me, this tournament was almost like a “I told you so” to tennis press and those who often have difficulty finding a reason to love the WTA outside Serena and the big names. No, there’s no “big 4” or “big 2”. There’s weird upsets, there’s surprises… but that’s the appeal. And at the end of the day, we ended up with all four semifinalists within the top 8.

Are there going to be matches with lots of breaks? Puzzling upsets? Sure. But I hope both the awesomeness of the ladies this past fortnight, and the general blandness/predictability of the men (in my opinion, at least) will poke your interest at least a little bit. Rock on, ladies.

Mom Knows Best

Posted by Brodie under: Kimmy, USO

12 Sep 2010

Deja vu? Kim destroys another unworthy opponent in the US Open final and wins easily. Bepa plays amazing all tournament but can’t hold her own in the final. Another 2 set ladies’ slam final.

The good news? Kim is the greatest thing ever.

For all the detractors of women’s tennis or for their slam finals (or for Kim, if they somehow exist) the pictures of her and Jada should once again warm your heart into a soft, goopy mess.

Well done to Kim, though. Post-retirement, she’s become an absolute beast late in slams, as well in finals. Last night, she was prepared to pull the trigger on every single ball that came her way. It’s the stuff champions are made of.

11 Sep 2010

Before we get all crazy with this, can we just stop for a moment and have a hand for how well Bepa’s been playing this year?

I’ve been thinking about writing something on Bepa for a bit now, and there’s two things that really stand out. First, her new coach Sergey (a whole bunch more on that in a second) and the incident in Charleston. We all know it by now. Youtube it if you don’t. Bepa absolutely lost her shit while getting demolished by Sam in the final. It was as classic as Bepa spazouts go. That’s a word right?

However, in the larger context, it also reminds me of Marcos at the Australian Open. Down two sets to love against Ferru (oh, Ferru) he smashed his racquet, sat down… and pulled another one out of the bag, and straight up smashed it sitting in his chair. It was absolutely absurd and hilarious (my dad was watching and thought it was the dumbest, gooniest thing ever)… but it worked. The commentators noted it and showed it later. Marcos clenched his teeth, pumped himself up, and won the damn thing in five sets. Charleston almost seems to have been that moment for Bepa. She hit the limit of the drama, and it’s been nothing but business ever since. The other factor? Sergey.

Much a fuss has already been made about Sergey… for his looks. Sure, he’s hotter than your average Russian underwear model. But what about his coaching? First of all, being younger, I get the feeling Bepa likely relates a bit better to him, and you know, actually listens to him. Secondly, he refuses to come down for on court coaching during matches. You’re out there on your own, girl. Lastly, along the lines of the first thing, from what I saw during a practice on the second show court in Montreal, the dude leads a solid evening hit. It wasn’t match intensity, but there was a certain seriousness to it, and you could tell Bepa was out there to put in the work, and Sergey was certainty laying into some balls. I had never seen Bepa practice before then, but a good practice hit (especially when it’s with your coach) is always a good sign.

The moral of this story? It’s not Bepa’s game that’s improved, it’s her brain. Her smacks at her legs are no longer of anger, they’re to pump herself up. That intensity has always been there with Bepa, the problem has been that it’s cracked at key moments. When things start coming undone at the seams, the key is to turn the intensity into a positive one, and gosh darn, Bepa’s found the way to do that. At 26, she’s got the experience and changed the way she thinks, and at an age where her game is at the best of level it’s ever been.

That’s some serious killer instinct, and that’s what is important in the brain of every champion. Pedal to the metal, foot on the throat… however you want to put it. You’ve heard it a million times. This is the second time Bepa will be in a slam final this year, don’t count her out for a second.

As for the actual “keys to the match”? Well, let’s look at the head to head. They’ve played twice since Kim’s been back. In Montreal, Bepa won in 3 sets, but I don’t really like using that. Kim played and won Cincy the week before and was likely worn thin. Bepa did beat her at Wimbledon, however. As depressing as a match as that was for me, Vera played out of her mind and was an absolute brick wall from the baseline. Kim won all 5 meetings before then, 4 of which were in 2006 and 3 of which were on hard courts (Bepa was only in the top 30 for one of them).

The Wimbledon match is a big one to look at. Bepa is an interesting player, she can have counter-punching tendencies, but also the power and killer instinct to spank winners. What do I mean? First of all, she deals with power very well. She’s totally fine with moving and taking the ball early, as well as changing directions. She’s also not afraid to nail that big time, down the line, JJ like backhand. However, she has a pretty gigantic forehand that can also get her winners.

Kim is pretty obvious. Flat, huge, and spraying everywhere. The interesting thing is that both of these players can have a tendency to get wild, and with the speed Kim plays at, that means momentum could shift very quickly for either player.

For Kim, she’s going to have to do what she does best early. Come out hitting huge, playing her quick style, and getting the crowd behind her (which I think should be pretty easy). Getting that first set won’t crack Bepa put it will apply a ton of pressure, and… well, it’s still Bepa.

For Vera, patience is thy name. I’d like to see her try and use those good counter-punching abilities early to work her way into the match, and more specifically Kim’s service games. Turn the power around, get comfortable, see how she’s playing and see where you’re at. Then you can figure out what’s working, and start trying to go for the forehand and expose some holes.

I really do love both of these players, and am totally pumped for this final. If this were any other slam, I’d probably like to see Kim win, but since she won it last year… well bloody hell, Bepa’s been having a career year, an even better past couple of months, and has hit an absolute peak right now, which is pretty amazing considering a lot of people wrote her off after her injury last year and because of her meltdowns. Go get ‘er, girl.

Running Free

Posted by Brodie under: Kimmy, USO

8 Sep 2010

Last night was one hella intriguing match, specifically the first set. The equivalent of tennis porn, both ladies were smacking the crap out of the ball, Kim with her flat as hell blasts, and Sam utilizing some spin and a bit more angle. I really think it was a battle of the modern ladies’ power game and what could be the future of ladies’ power, using the spin in combination… but more on that later (as in a different post).

It was a shame that the match ended the way it did. The third set was full of breaks, save for a key, simple hold from Kim which allowed her to cruise to the victory. It’s pretty safe to say that Kim figured out Sam’s kick serve and patters and it was all down hill from there.

I have a bit of the same feeling about the ladies’ as I did last year. Kim beat Venus in the quarters fourth round, and took on Serena in the semis. The other half of the draw seemed painfully weak and it was pretty clear that the winner of the tournament was likely coming from the Kim/Serena half. While the other half of the draw (the one that’s playing today) isn’t nearly as weak as it was last year, it’s tough to think that a Caro, Bepa, or Kaia could take out Kim or Venus if the conditions are ok, and they come to play. Still, both can be prone to getting into bad ruts, and Bepa and Caro have been absolutely rock solid for weeks now, really. We should be in for a great finish.

To Wish Impossible Things

Posted by Ana under: Ana, Kimmy, USO

5 Sep 2010

Kim and Ana

The two nicest players on tour will face each other in hours. This is definitely going to be one of the toughest matches for me. I can’t deliberately root against one of them so, I’m just going to sit, enjoy and be happy for whoever wins it.

They were great for each other on their pressers. Kim was asked about Ana and here’s what she said: “She and I are good friends, and I’m happy to see her doing well again. I followed her very closely obviously when I wasn’t playing, and saw her win the French Open and kind of from there just lost it a little bit. You know, had some injuries as well when I played her in Cincinnati in the semifinals. I mean, the first three games we played I think were pretty good tennis so far, so, you know, I hope she wins and that we can kind of have a rematch there.”

Ana played after, so on her presser the journos told her what Kim had said about her, Ana smiled and answered: “That’s really nice to hear, because she is such a nice person. I do, ever since I started on tour, I thought highly of her and really admired her for everything she achieved. I still do. I have great respect for her. It’s true also when I was struggling, she was messaging me. She was very supportive. That’s really rare and really nice to see. In those times, you know who your friends are. She’s definitely a nice girl. We always have a nice time catching up. So it’s going to be fun.”

How can you not love them? So, can they both win, please?

Hang On In There

Posted by Ana under: Cincinnati, Kimmy, Masha

16 Aug 2010

Masha Kim

First of all, let me just say tennis won this week.

I can’t put into words how happy I was to see Ana playing good tennis again. Of course the tennis gods must hate her because she ended up with a sprained ankle and it’s a race against time to be ready for the USO. Anyways, I think she might be getting back on track. Hopefully this injury won’t bring her down again. Also, Pavs had an amazing tournament. She crushed Elena and had two great wins over Peer and Wickmayer. She was only stopped by Masha, but didn’t go away without fighting. Props to her. Youngest player in the Top 25.

Back to the final. I was really excited to watch it. Two GS Champions and former #1’s. What’s not to like about it? Masha had won their three previous meetings, but they hadn’t met since Kim got back on tour.

Masha had a better start and was serving some bombs. She broke Kim twice and saved the two BP she faced. I really thought she had it. Kim’s serve was letting her down and she made a lot of unforced errors. In the 2nd set the Russian went up a break and had 3 match points, but couldn’t convert them. Then, everything changed. In the blink of an eye it went from a sunny day to darkness and pouring rain. They stopped the match with Masha leading 6-2, 5-3 (deuce).

When I got back to it, I was really surprised that not only had Kim held that crucial game but she had also broken Masha to even things up. The match eventually went to a TB that Kim won 7-6 (4). I think the rain delay somehow helped her to regroup and refocus. In the end of the 2nd set Masha called the trainer out. She had the left foot taped and it was clear that she was in pain.

You know there’s something wrong with Sharapova when she goes silent, right? That’s what happened. Huge props to her for not retiring in the 3rd set, though. You can say what you want but that girl is a fighter. She was barely moving but never gave up. Actually, when Kim was serving for the match Masha hit two return winners that blew me (and I think a lot of other tennis fans) away.

So, Kim wins the 3rd title of the year (Brisbane, Miami and Cincinnati) and is up to #4 in the rankings, the highest since her comeback.

Masha had to withdraw from Montreal due to injury. Hopefully it’s just a precautionary measure.
And last but not least, with Kim winning playing far from her best (that says a lot about her ability) and Masha crushing the ball, it’s safe to say we have two huge contenders for the US Open title, right? Bring it on.

No More Love

Posted by Brodie under: Bepa, Kimmy, SW19

29 Jun 2010

Wimbledon and I have been a bit… weird over the past two years. You know those short and weird relationships?

The first week starts out great. You love spending time together. As much as possible. You can’t stop thinking about each other. You wonder where this person (grass surface) has been all your life (season). Generally speaking, there’s so much awesomeness going on that you can’t complain. You’re just soaking it up.

Then you don’t see each other for a couple of days. Maybe just one. You meet up. Ah, everything is so bright and fantastic. But then you notice something weird. Definitely not normal. What the hell was that? Must have been something… yup, was definitely something. Ah, that’s definitely not right either. Before you know it, everything has gone to hell. You feel like you have nothing in common. You’re not sure how you ever even liked this person in the first place. It’s all become such a mess, and you smack yourself for not realizing that of course, OF COURSE, it was going to end up in a mess like this.

And so goes Wimbledon. Sven grants Kim not one, but TWO gracious net cords to get the break back in the second. Bepa somehow doesn’t flinch. Kim pees in the wind. Bepa still doesn’t flinch. Second set Bepa.

Then she plays the third set as the mentally stronger opponent. By far. And wins. In the third set. In a grand slam. Quarterfinal. Get out while you still have your freedom.

Bloody Belgian Battle

Posted by Brodie under: Justine, Kimmy, SW19

28 Jun 2010

While a Maria/Serena match is guaranteed to be competitive and fierce (and filled with lots of strange noises) and Kim/Justine match is about as certain to have equal amounts of weirdness. In both meetings this year (Brisbane and Miami) Kim won in the third set tiebreak in matches filled with wild consistency and random spurts of brilliance.

Today was just as strange. Justine game out, working that psycho killer game, hammering forehands, backhands, coming to the net. It kept Kim off balance, hitting tons of errors, missing first serves. And Kim just kept being Kim, driving us all nuts by playing at the speed of light and sticking in a totally crap rhythm. First set Justine, 6-2, in the blink of an eye (under a half hour).

The turning point, however, was early in the first set, where Justine slipped coming to the net, lost her racquet, and fell awkwardly on her arm. She got treatment for it twice, once during the first set and once after it. All of a sudden, the backhand started going. Makes sense, it’s tough to hit a one handed backhand if your arm is hurting. It was in her head.

And just like that, Kim flipped the switch. More first serves, cracking the forehand. Looking fearless. And into the magical Kim rhythm. She took the second set easily, 6-2, and then the third set 6-3.

Q. How much did it bother you after it happened?
JUSTINE HENIN: Well, it’s very hard to say. I mean, of course, it’s been mentally not easy to deal when I fall down on the court and the few games after. It was mentally not easy.
But after that, I mean, it was warm, and I could play. I don’t really now how it affected it. So we’ll see in the next few days.

Q. Was there a particular shot that it bothered you on the most?
JUSTINE HENIN: On serve and backhand a little bit. But we’ll see.

BG said it best when he said “she’s trying to play a bigger game than her size.” Especially when the backhand isn’t work… indeed.

23 Jun 2010

Q. John and Mahut are in an incredible marathon. You had your marathon last year. What happens when you get deep into a fifth set and it just goes on and on? Do you go to a different place? Is it harder to focus?

ANDY RODDICK: I played a couple. Obviously last year, Davis Cup with Tursunov, the El Aynaoui match way back when.
It’s so important to stay there mentally, especially on grass. You know, you got to harp on those first points of every service game, try to get that. Love‑15, 15‑30, that starts becoming dicey. So they’re doing a pretty good job of putting themselves in good position as far as serving with a lead.
Beyond that, you know, you always kind of try to convince yourself it’s only going to be another 10 or 15 minutes, even if you might not believe it at the time.

Q. What’s given you that better attitude on grass than you had earlier?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I don’t know. I think probably the biggest difference that I can think of is in the past, uhm, obviously I was probably playing the French Open, you know, about two weeks before or a week before I was starting on grass. And I think the adjustment was something that took me a little bit longer. By the time that I felt that I was, you know, feeling comfortable on clay, you know, we were moving on to different surface, grass. I think maybe it took me a little bit longer.
I think now, not being in Paris, was frustrating, but I think maybe it’s helped me to adjust a little bit faster on grass.

Q. Having that in mind, do you think it does make some sense to have a fifth set tiebreak like the US Open?
ROGER FEDERER: I think it’s perfect the way it is. It’s unfortunate these guys are going to be a little bit tired tomorrow and the next day and the next week and the next month. I’ve been following this as closely as I could. I walked on court at about 11 All in the fifth. They’re still going. This is absolutely amazing, yeah.
I mean, in a way, I wish I was them, in some ways I wish I wasn’t them. So this is a very special match. I hope somehow this is going to end. I don’t know. They’ll be fresh again tomorrow, I guess. If they have to come back, it’s unbelievable. I don’t know what to say.

Q. Kim says she likes being at Wimbledon because you can set up a family home and go around.
JUSTINE HENIN: Yeah. Yeah, I love. But I see this differently than in the past. I don’t know. It’s like I really open my eyes now. In the past, after the French, usually I’ve played well at the French, and emotionally I was coming here with a lot of pressure. I was No. 1 also at that time.
Now I see really things differently. I mean, I’ve played on Court No. 2. I thought it’s beautiful court and a lot of things have changed. But the atmosphere is just fantastic. You really feel the passion of the game.
It’s true, being at home, that gives something different. At the middle of the season, that’s what you need because it’s already a few tournaments behind you. It’s good that you feel, yeah, with my family also. My sister arrived today, so it’s a nice feeling.

21 Jun 2010

Q. What carries over for you moving forward? That fifth set or the struggles earlier?
ROGER FEDERER: I think you got to be ‑ how do you say ‑ realistic saying like there was a big threat today. I did get lucky today. It’s important to take ‑ how do you say ‑ the right things out of this match. There was positives and negatives, obviously. But then again every player, thank God, in some ways plays different.
The next guy is a righty, big‑serving guy, nothing to do with the guy I played today. Because you struggle today doesn’t mean you’re going to struggle in the next match, too. Same thing if you win in straights; it doesn’t mean you’re going to win the next match in straights. That’s just the way tennis is.

Q. A big court. It was an important opponent. But you seemed to play with no fear out there.
LAURA ROBSON: Uhm, I was a lot more nervous this morning when I woke up, uhm, in a good way. And then when I got onto the court, I was just trying to focus on not losing 6‑Love, 6‑Love. So I think I did pretty well.
Q. Did Jelena offer any words of encouragement after the game, compliment you on your efforts at all?
LAURA ROBSON: Like when do you mean?
Q. After the match, did she compliment you at all.
LAURA ROBSON: I haven’t seen her since the handshake, so no.
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Episode 7 – US Open Week 2 Wrap-Up