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Friday, September 10, 2004

A Funny Thing Happened at the U.S. Open

Poor Jennifer Capriati. She beat Serena Williams two nights ago in the quarterfinals, only to have the AP writer who penned the story write it from the angle that a bad linesman's call that the chair umpire refused to overrule cost Serena the match. Sure, the call was a bad one, but how about the eleventy billion unforced errors that Serena had in the match, probably more unforced errors than she had in her last five Grand Slam singles matches combined? Serena is a great player, Capriati the once-and-future great player who is now a very good one, but good 'ol Jen (on the verge of pro tennis tour AARP at the ripe old age of what, 27?) didn't get the credit that she deserved two nights ago. She won the match, deserved a few more accolades, but was treated like a loser.

Poor Jennifer Capriati. You fast forward to today's women's semifinal matches, and you had to like her chances. If she got past slightly higher seeded Elena Dementieva, she would face the winner of #5 seed Lindsay Davenport and #9 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. And she'd have to like the odds. Except for one thing -- she had to get past Dementieva, and she didn't. What she did do was play win a 49-stroke point and play in one of the best matches in U.S. Open history, including, from what the commentators have said was one of the best third sets in U.S. Open history. She lost this match, got some nice accolades, and was treated like a winner.

Poor Jen Capriati. She lost the match, and she lost a golden opportunity to win the U.S. Open. Poor Lindsay Davenport. She did the same thing.

And poor CBS, who had hoped that at least they'd get one American male in the men's final and perhaps two American women or the telegenic Maria Sharapova in the women's final. And what could have been better than that (except, for male viewers, a Sharapova-Kournikova final, but the odds of that happening were probably as good as, say, an all-Russian final that didn't include, well, Maria Sharapova)? So there's no Andy Roddick on Sunday, no Andre Agassi, heck, no Vince Spadea. And there's no Serena Williams, no Venus Williams, no Jennifer Capriati and no Lindsay Davenport.

And ratings that probably will be only slightly better than those of color commentator John McEnroe's talk show on CNBC.

Which, several weeks ago, garnered a 0.0 rating.

You can just hear the chants now at the U.S. Open.

J-E-T-S, Jets! J-E-T-S, Jets!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you didn't see the Serena-Capriati match, and it sounds like you didn't, the call went a little differently than you described. Serena hit a ball near the line, but clearly in. In fact, it didn't even hit the line. The linesman correctly called it in. The point would have given Serena advantage on Capriati's serve (it was a deuce point). The chair umpire, almost as Capriati was about to serve, overruled the linesman and called the ball out. Frankly, it's the worst call I've ever seen in tennis.

That call obviously upset Serena, who lost the next point and with it, her break chance.

She did hit jillion unforced errors, so that one call didn't do her in, but it definitely had a huge impact on the third set. Tennis is such a mental game and if you think you are being robbed, it has to have an affect.


5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave: You're right that I didn't see exactly what happened; I was multi-tasking at the time. I'm sure that the bad call (and the way it happened) had an effect -- professional athletes are human too. In my opinion, given her talent level, Serena shouldn't have been in the position where that point mattered so much. She's a lot better than Capriati. SportsProf

3:49 PM  

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