One characteristic shared by great champions is that they don’t buckle when they hit a bad patch. The women’s semifinals were played yesterday at the U.S. Open. The first match, between Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, may turn out to be the best on the women’s side of the entire tournament – better even than the final. Sharapova came out swinging and took the first set in a walk. Azarenka dug in and won the next two sets and the match – not easily, not smoothly, and not quickly. But she won. Being down a set in the women’s game is like being halfway down Niagara Falls and dropping fast. Pulling the match out is like clawing your way back up the thundering Falls and walking out on the shoreline above – wet, tired, somewhat bedraggled, and victorious.
In the second semi-final 5’5″, 130 pound Sarah Errani played 5’10”, 190 pound Serena Williams. Serena is all muscle and sheer power. She hits the ball as hard and as fast as lots of the guys on the men’s side of the Tour. Realistically Errani never had a chance to defeat Serena. But Errani played every point as hard as she could. She got rolled by the bigger, stronger, more talented player – but she never let a point go easily.
The day in Seattle was gorgeous … and I spent much of it watching the two matches because I couldn’t tear myself away and out the door. Impressive, ladies. Very impressive.