Friday, January 29, 2010

2010 Australian Open: Women

Being unable to watch any tennis has severely hampered my ability to, well, formulate opinions on any of the matches. Up until now I've consequently followed everything very peripherally, noting only that the Chinese seemed to have a very good time at this tournament. This didn't really do much to heighten my interest, though, because Na Li took out Caroline Wozniacki, who was the only player left I cared about by the time the quarterfinals (or was it even before then?) rolled around. It got slightly interesting when Li really took it to Serena Williams in the semis, but as usual Serena found a way out (actually she almost lost to Victoria Azarenka in the quarters, and probably would have if a) Serena weren't Serena and b) Azarenka didn't have a tendency to headcase out in three-setters, especially with a lead). On the other side Justine Henin marched her way to the finals, completely demolishing Jie Zheng in the semis.

As long as we're talking about Chinese tennis players, can I digress? These two players need to start going by Na Li and Jie Zheng all the time, and not half the time while they try to assert their country's linguistic traditions by going by Li Na and Zheng Jie. Look, it's do as Romans do, and the fact that both of their names sound equally likely as first and last to foreigners without exposure to Chinese only complicates things more. This actually goes for Yu-Na Kim as well. Someone needs to tell international athletes that first names go first and last names go last, because other than creating unncessary confusion it's just a blatant disregard for international conventions and blind stubbornness. Anyway.

It's hard to believe that Serena and Henin have never played each other before in a Grand Slam final. Actually I don't really understand how that works (have they always somehow ended up on the same side of the draw?) but this should make for some interesting tennis. I'm not much of a fan of either of them, but I think all considered I have to throw my support to Henin. Whether she'll win is hard to say... but I think that she has a good chance. She comes in fresher than Serena and is more consistent, with none of the boredom that usually comes with the word. This will be a great match to watch--a lot of athleticism without any of my personal stake--too bad it airs at 3:30 AM EST. Right. Bottom line: Henin in 3?

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