Sunday, January 28, 2007

Final thoughts on the Australian Open

I enjoyed this year's Open, except for ESPN and its so-called "live" coverage. But ESPN can ruin any tennis event, so I should be used to it by now. The ESPN commentators were not as bad as usual; even Pam Shriver managed to stick to her job and not meddle in tournament affairs, stir up nonexistent controversies, or make offensive remarks about the players.

Australian Open Radio was great. The color commentary was entertaining, and the play-by-play was superb. Australian commentators, however, mispronounce players' names as much as American commentators do (one commentator even misprounced the word "pronunciation"). The tournament's official website, though not as chock-full of goodies as other Slam sites, was easy to navigate, and provided plenty of match reports and great photos.

Unfortunately, the women's final was a bit of a drag, over in an hour, with a total beating of new world number 1 Maria Sharapova by Serena Williams. On the other hand, the drama of Williams' comeback made up somewhat for the lack of drama in the match itself.

And a thank-you goes to the Australian Open for finally having a woman, the esteemed Sandra de Jenken, umpire the men's final.

Disappointments:

  • Defending champion (and my favorite player) Amelie Mauresmo getting knocked out in the round of 16
  • Martina Hingis not getting past Kim Clijsters--again
  • Clijsters blowing her semifinal against Sharapova
  • Patty Schnyder losing in the round of 16
  • Jelena Jankovic's poor performance, even though I was expecting it and I predicted it

Delights:

  • Shahar Peer has to top this list--Peer came within two points of knocking out Serena Williams, gave Williams her most challenging match, and showed once again that she is one tough customer
  • The dramatic resurgence of Williams as a top tour player
  • Camille Pin's moment of glory in the first round, even though she choked it away
  • And--though this blog covers the WTA only--one of the greatest delights of this open was the rise of Fernando Gonzales as a major force on the men's tour. It goes without saying that the incredible Roger Federer is always a delight.

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