Clijsters Plays the Crying Game in US Open Final; Bryan Win Doubles Title
by Staff | September 10th, 2010, 7:10 pm

Vera “The Crying Game” Zvonareva is one of the most mentally unstable players on the WTA Tour, but in the pressure-packed semifinals of the US Open on Thursday, it was the Russian who held things together while top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki crumpled 6-4, 6-3 in a self-doubting, tentative display in Flushing Meadows.
Zvonareva forced early breaks in each set, and was the aggressor while Wozniacki appeared unsure of when to step into the court and attack or when to play defense. But waiting for the Russian to miss was folly. In the end it was Zvonareva finishing points at the net while Wozniacki, in an example summing up the match from her end, at one point rather than taking an extra step forward to volley away an easy floating ball, stepped back to let it bounce then, still off-balance, stroked a two-handed backhand wide.

“I had chances, and I don’t know, I made some mistakes today that I usually don’t do,” Wozniacki said. “Yeah, it was a tough day for me in the office, and unfortunately it was today. That’s the way tennis is sometimes.”

Zvonareva’s composure almost cracked when, after breaking her fourth string-job on a racquet, she needed to have racquets brought in from off-court, and started gesturing and looking exasperated when they were not to her liking. Late in the match she began talking to herself in an effort to calm down and close out the match, and while at times her face took on the three-year-old-about-to-burst-into-tears look, she kept it together long enough to gain her second Grand Slam final of the year after Wimbledon.

“I am wanting to celebrate this win now and not talk about the past,” said Zvonareva, who last year exited the Open in a sobbing, racquet-smashing fit.

The loss broke Wozniacki’s 14-match winning streak, and was perhaps testament to the Dane playing so many events right up to the beginning of the two-week Slam, where her usually-steely concentration and nerve seemed to leave her on a windy Friday afternoon. Entering the match two wins away from wrestling the No. 1 ranking away from Serena Williams, Wozniacki now looks toward the European indoor season and the year-ending WTA Championships as perhaps a chance to attain the No. 1 ranking for the first time.

In the final Zvonareva will be the slight underdog against defending champion and No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters, who came from a set down on Friday to defeat No. 3 Venus Williams 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.

“I just tried to make the points,” Clijsters said in her on-court interview. “I tried to step up and accelerate a little bit, I tried to keep the pressure on her. I’m glad she made a few double faults in the tiebreaker. It wasn’t easy but it was a fun night.”

Zvonareva is 2-5 career against Clijsters, but both those wins came earlier this year at Wimbledon and Montreal, both in the quarterfinal round, and both from a set down. In fact five of their seven matches have gone three sets, dating to their first meeting at the 2002 US Open where Clijsters won from a set down.

Clijsters improved to 7-7 in career Slam semifinals, while Williams fell to 14-5.

In the men’s doubles final on Friday, American’s Bob and Mike Bryan Bob and Mike Bryan won their third US Open championship. The 32-year-old identical twins defeated No. 16 seeds Rohan Bopanna from India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi from Pakistan in two tiebreakers for their 65th career title and ninth Slam title.

They are now two Slams behind the all-time record of Australia’s “Woodies,” Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, and are also on course to finish the year No. 1 for a sixth time, which would eclipse another Woodies record.

“This was the best match we’ve ever played,” Bob Bryan said. “Bopanna and Qureshi played awesome. We just matched their energy and played incredible. The flood gates have kind of opened since (LA) and we’ve played the best tennis we’ve ever played. This is the craziest summer we’ve ever had. To win Toronto, Cincinnati and the Open is a dream come true.”

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11 Comments for Clijsters Plays the Crying Game in US Open Final; Bryan Win Doubles Title

rackettec Says:

I enjoy readin your blog and the creative use of adjectives, makes the articles more interesting, I enjoy watching Zvonareva but would have to agree on your take.

keep up the great reporting

David Says:

I’m thinking you’ve got to be a mature person and player to make 2 consecutive Slam finals. She’s 26 years old now and sort of seen it all on the WTA Tour.

Hopefully her crying days (at least in public, while losing a tennis match) are behind her.

Sounded like a mentally stable woman in the post-match interview, by the way.

Gregoire Gentil Says:

“three-year-old-about-to-burst-into-tears look”: that’s good writing!!!

I don’t think that Caro lost because of too many matches. It’s just another syndrome of “this little thing missing to win a slam”. She is joining the circle of experts Dementieva, Jankovic, Stosur and others… And Andy too.

They are all good players who don’t succeed to step up the last stage. That should be very frustrating :-(

Let’s hope that she will break the curse. Four months to wait now.

Gregoire Gentil Says:

Don’t you have another picture??? Your men pictures are usually very bad, but women pictures are horrible… It’s really time for Tennis-X to invest in a tennis image bank.

Hypnos Says:

The final was some serious doubles tennis — great tactics, timely serving by both teams, and amazing reflex volleys.

If it’s always that good I’ll have to watch doubles more often.

Diane Says:

I don’t think Zvonareva is that mentally unstable. With all the crying (maybe she has a little extra prolactin) and racquet-breaking (which works for some players), she no longer tends to blow big matches because of choking or meltdowns. Other top-rated Russians may not be as expressive, but–at this point–they self-destruct in matches much easier than Vera does. These days, you pretty much have to beat her.

jane Says:

For margot :)

Also, I read that Bollettieri has expressed interest in coaching Andy M. I think the article was in the Daily Mail.

margot Says:

jane: Ooofff..had to reach 4 the smelling salts sharpish..he’s a heck of a pretty guy! And to think Woz has Trump in her box :)
Although, in my estimation, the Daily Mail is no higher than a gnat’s knee cap, I did read the article. A coach needs to steady the ship and fix Andy’s serve, not much else. Reckon Boliterri could do that. Also said he knows and likes Andy, which must be a good start! Now, on Andy’s web site it said he’s looking 4 a coach be4 Asian swing so who knows?

mike Says:

to g, thats the point, they put awful photos of the players to make us smile

Kimmi Says:

this is not the Kim of way!

Hope she concentrates all the way to the end. Go Kim

Kimmi Says:

Congrats kim for defending the title. 3rd grand slam and third USO.

Good luck on the rest of the season

Sorry for vera though, she played much better yesterday. was Kim too good or was she just too nervous?

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