Simona Halep hangs up on Serena Williams  

Thrown (Ţâpat) in , , ,

Serena won and Simona lost, but this game is so much more than this result. In short it’s all a psychological thriller with some touches of physical endurance and skill, and Simona seems to have given up (video highlights: 4 min, 10 min, 34 min).

Serena Williams and Simona Halep LoveI’m not a tennis “fan”. I seldom watch sports on TV (or YouTube) and when I do, it’s usually not tennis. But I watched Simona Halep’s exploits because her meteoric rise is so extraordinary and, as I learn more about the sport, I can’t help being amazed.

How meteoric? Apparently, according to the Romanian Tennis Federation president, she was the most controlled tennis star in 2014 (rng-doping). She now has what I hope is a very lucrative contract with Adidas – watch her alone, in Take Today, or together with Jeremy Lin and Gareth Bale in Uncontrol Yourself.

Before telling you what I think about this particular match, let’s look at what happened.
  • Williams prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in 2h 8min
  • Williams made 45 unforced errors and 38 winners. Halep struck 10 winners and 24 unforced errors.
  • "I actually had a fun match," Williams, who collected win No. 701 of her career, was quoted as saying by the WTA's website. "I just feel it was on my racket. I had chances in the second set but didn't take them. That's something I can't do going into the grand slams coming up."
  • "Her game was great," Williams said. "She plays so well, and it's so good to see her play so well. She's so young, and I actually love watching her play. I'm actually a fan of hers. I really like her attitude on the court. I like how she gets pumped up. I like how she fights. I like how she plays. It's definitely a refreshing type of game."
  • Halep, the third seed, from Romania, was so focused on the challenge at hand that when she held serve in the next game, she was unaware at first that she had won the set. She finally realized that it was time to sit down, and she did so laughing to herself. “I didn’t play for the score,” she said. “I played just to try to play my best tennis, to try to be close to her, and just to hit and to fight for every ball.” (nyt-ser)
  • In turn, Halep was asked in her post-match press conference whether she's a fan of Williams. "I've been one for a long time," Halep replied. "I've learned many things from her. When she won a Grand Slam I was like a kid, and I like watching her, how she's playing and fighting until the end. She's still No.1 and winning titles, so it's amazing. I respect her career and as a person." (wta-ss)
  • "I admire her a lot," Halep said of Williams. "I really want to meet her because I'll become stronger after I play against her."
  • "My dream is to win a grand slam," said Halep, whose best finish in a grand slam was reaching the finals of the French Open last year. "I don't know if it's going to happen in this life, but I just want to work hard every day to reach the title."

It’s tough separating fact from fiction, but here on this blog is what we often try to do.

Let’s go through the game as it’s been reflected in the world press – i.e., more fiction than fact.
  • Serena Williams' semifinal clash with Simona Halep at the Miami Open was billed as a blockbuster. And with good reason. Williams, the 19-time grand slam winner, hadn't lost a tennis match since last October at the year-end championships in Singapore. Her conqueror that day? Halep, who not only downed the American but handed Williams one of the worst losses of her career. (cnn-ser)
  • The duel was supposed to happen last month in the California desert in . But Serena Williams’s winning streak finally did collide with Simona Halep’s winning streak, and it was worth the wait. It was punch against counterpunch late Thursday night. It was Williams’s dictation against Halep’s deft baseline typing. And although Williams fluctuated between ruthlessly efficient and surprisingly shaky, she managed — as she has so often against her most dangerous opponents — to find the lines and the solutions under greatest duress.  (nyt-ser)
  • Later in the set, holding a 5-3 lead over the Romanian, Serena had the opportunity to serve out the match. But was unable to get past Halep’s strong defense and things were square again at 5-all with the Romanian holding serve in the following game and surprisingly, the crowd was rallying for Halep throughout which got Serena frustrated. (twu-sw)
  • As loved as Williams has come to be in what she calls her hometown, Halep and her contingent of Jalapeno t-shirt wearing rowdies turned the bleachers at the Crandon Park Tennis Center into “little Romania.” It was noticeable to Williams who appeared frustrated by it and tried to urge her American fans to be more vocal. “It was definitely odd, but I think maybe she had a lot of fans,” Williams said. “At the end of day it doesn't matter. You know, it's good for the sport to have so many people excited about it.” (tnc-fierce)
  • During a semifinal match in Miami, her home of the last 13 years, Serena Wiliams was viciously booed at times by pockets of Romanian fans cheering on Serena’s opponent, Simona Halep. Though there were plenty of cheers for Serena too, it was a disappointing display from the Miami crowd, who never challenged the Halep backers and seemed apathetic to Serena getting booed and trash-talked. Nothing against people who want to cheer their countrywoman loudly, but according to ESPN’s announcers, the trash talk was a little harsher than you normally find on the courts. On one changeover, umpire Kader Nouni told Serena not to take it personally. But she seemed to. The world No. 1 lost her composure in the second set, as the Romanian fans were getting louder during her serves, in the middle of points and then cheering unforced errors or faults. Cheering is one thing, having no regard for an opponent is another. This wasn’t a Davis Cup or Fed Cup; there’s no room for that in a regular tournament. (u2d-booed)
  • South Florida’s Romanian community did all it could to will third-seeded Simona Halep to the Miami Open final, chanting “Si-Mo-Na!’’ from the rafters of Stadium Court during the women’s semifinal Thursday night. They helped get her to the third set they so craved. But when it mattered most, in the deciding last games, top-ranked American Serena Williams was too strong and prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to advance to Saturday’s final. Williams will be going for her eighth title in Key Biscayne, and her third in a row. “I barely was able to regroup, was frustrated, really happy to get through that,’’ Williams said. “I never gave up. Wow, I’m in the finals, unbelievable.’’ (mh-wow)
  • Après avoir survolé le premier set, Serena Williams a dû s'employer pour battre Simona Halep (6-2, 4-6, 7-5), dans une ambiance électrique, et se qualifier pour la finale. (..) Williams a multiplié les fautes permettant à Halep d’enlever la deuxième manche (4-6) dans une atmosphère rendue de plus en plus chaude par les supporters roumains présents en nombre dans le Stadium de Key Biscayne. Comme un signe, Halep réussissait un seul coup gagnant de toute cette manche : sur la balle de set.Agacée, laissant parfois échapper de gros cris de frustration, se parlant quasiment à chaque jeu pour se remotiver, Williams faisait une première fois le trou dans la manche décisive avant de se faire reprendre à 5-5 puis de conclure dans la foulée (7-5), plus soulagée que véritablement heureuse à la fin des 2h08' de match. (eq-enf)
  • L’Américaine et Simona Halep ont offert au public de Miami un superbe spectacle en demi-finales. Et malgré sa belle résistance, la Roumaine a dû s’incliner face à la numéro 1 mondiale (..). Dès lors s’engageait un terrible bras de fer entre les deux demoiselles. Vexée, Serena Williams attaquait le dernier acte le pied au plancher (3-0) avant de servir pour le match à 5-3. Sauf que là encore, la Roumaine trouvait des ressources insoupçonnées pour rééquilibrer la balance (5-5). Seulement, à force de plier, le roseau Halep finissait par casser sous la pression de l’Américaine. (lef-choc)
  • Ad Indian Wells il ritiro di Serena Williams aveva lasciato l'amaro in bocca perchè aveva tolto agli appassionati una partita intrigante, forse la migliore che potesse offrire il circuito WTA. Ma stanotte, a Miami, è andata in scena una delle partite più belle degli ultimi mesi: grande match sia dal punto di vista tecnico che emozionale. A spuntarla è stata sempre lei, Serena Williams, su una Simona Halep mai doma. (twi-epica)
  • La pequeña de las hermanas Williams, número uno del mundo, ganó hoy a la rumana Simona Halep, tercera cabeza de serie, por 6-2, 4-6 y 7-5 en un partido que se le complicó a última hora la campeona en Miami en siete ocasiones, las dos últimas de manera consecutiva. (efe-juga)

One thing I have not talked about in my previous article on Indian Wells has to do with Serena Williams and racism. Back in 2001, Serena was supposed to play her sister, Venus, who instead forfeited the game. This came following pre-existing speculation that their father decided which daughter wins, causing spectators to react angrily, booing Serena. (Only two years before, in 1999, Serena played at the same Indian Wells against Stefi Graaf, the same Stefi who won against Jana Novotna and made her cry.) Following the booing (and, most of all, hearing the word “nigger”), the Williams sister boycotted Indian Wells. That’s why her Pre-Tournament press conference, her first game with Monica Niculescu, and her retiring before the game with Simona are perhaps more important events than they appear to be. There was also an incident with Caroline Wozniacki who wore some fake boobs and bum which may have been interpreted as racist by Serena. As for Simona, her cousin had committed suicide only a couple of weeks prior (twu-csn).

So what do I mean by “hang up”? Between them there seems to be an admiration and mutual respect that transgresses what is required or expected to save appearances. They both seem to give their best to the fight, but they also seem to care for one another. Serena has an older sister look when taking a peek at Simona, while Simona looks up (well, it’s also height) at Serena as one looks at an idol and involuntary / passive mentor. They both seem to consider each other a worthy opponent.

"I didn't expect that I would win that title, but I had confidence that I'd have my chance there," Halep said of winning at Indian Wells. "Here, I'm coming more relaxed now because I have a big title in my hands and I have a lot of confidence."

In all fairness, Serena is a formidable player. She’s a towering figure not just in terms of accomplishments but also physically, a monument of muscle, vision, power and precision. Her shots seem almost perfect and impossible and commentators overuse the word “lethal” when describing her:

there is the raw power, which on its own is typically enough to gain control of most points she plays. But when you combine it with the ultra-aggressive court position, the ball gets back to the opponent so fast that it robs them of the precious tenths of seconds to get their hands and feet prepared for the next shot. Reaction mode is usually all that can be accomplished. (wta-pred)

Underneath all these strengths there is, sadly, the side-effect of having been so different for so long and what seems to be an oversensitivity (sometimes motivated, see above) to what may be racism and hatred.

Kudos to the Romanian diaspora who is really helping Simona be her best. Just please, refrain from going too far and especially stay away from anything racist – I’m sure Simona would not want to win against Serena that way. And there will surely be more wins, everybody knows it and feels it, and everybody loves Simona!

Sources / More info: cnn-ser, nyt-ser, tn-after, rng-doping, w-ts, wta-ss, twu-csn, twu-sw, tnc-fierce, u2d-booed, mh-wow, eq-enf, lef-choc, twi-epica, efe-juga, wta-pred

Thank you for reading (mulţam fain pentru cetire)! Publicat Friday, April 03, 2015 . Similar articles under the following categories (poţi găsi articole similare sub următoarele categorii): (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe), (Subscribe) . Dacă ţi-a plăcut articolul, PinIt-uieste-l, ReddIt-eaza-l, stumble-uieste-l altora, trimite-l pe WhatsApp yMess şi consideră abonarea la fluxul RSS sau prin email. Ma poti de asemenea gasi pe Google. Trackback poateputea fi trimis prin URL-ul de sub Comentarii.
Aici vei găsi ştiri inedite, articole hazoase, perspective originale in politică, societate, economie şi relaţii interumane. QUESTIONS (Intrebări)? We got Answers (Răspunsuri există)!  
blog comments powered by Disqus