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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Serena Not Acting Like a Champion

I was enjoying Kim Clijsters performance against Serena Williams. Collected and measured with deep ground strokes, quick defense and at least one great offensive lob. Serena was managing to pump herself up at around 4 all in the second set, serving a number of aces and some tough play to fight off 3 break points to hold serve. It looked like a classic only-play-my-A-game-when-I-really-have-to display from Serena. She's done it many times and it's the biggest reason that I'm not a fan -- or it was.

She gave me another reason not to be in her corner tonight when, at 15-30, second serve, a line-person called her for a foot fault, giving Clijsters 2 match points. John McEnroe, doing commentary for CBS, said he saw no foot fault. The two replays we saw had inconclusive angles. The person with the best vantage point in the stadium made the call. Serena, you're down during a potential match game, you don't put your toes so close to the line that it might get called; they were definitely very close -- I suspect that more angles will appear in photos or other motion cameras. But the foot fault didn't cost her the match, what she did next is what cost her the match. She railed at the line judge. Shook a ball at her as she was cursing at her (we couldn't hear what she said, but we were told it was profane). Then she got even closer and shook her racket at the line judge. She walked back like she was going to serve, but went back again and yelled some more. One of the women commentators eventually said it was not how champions behave. John McEnroe, though, continued to blame the bad ending on a possibly errant foot fault call. Sorry, John, you're out of line, too. The lines person behaved 100% appropriately -- if she saw a foot fault she needs to call it; even if it had been match point. But the unsportsmanlike conduct was all on Serena Williams. And this was her second code violation of the match (the first was for racked abuse when she lost the first set). Second violation cost her one point -- in this case, match point.

S. Williams was out of line and deserved no special consideration. I do feel a bit bad for Kim Clijsters, not getting to win the match on her own racket. She had done the work, and was, at most 2 points from winning. I think she would have won, even if Serena hadn't lost it for herself.
Both the finalists seem like great sports. It'll be tough to root for one over the other. Go Kim Clijsters! Go Caroline Wozniacki!

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