It was billed as the Changing of the Guard. Serena v. Generation Next. As soon as the draw was published everyone pencilled in the fourth round encounter between supposed Mentor and Mentee (because they are black). For the first few games it did live up to the hype until "that is why she is No. 1 for a reason" showed everyone that Serena Jameka Williams is not ready to step aside to allow the USTA hyped Generation Next to take her tiara.
Serena did not serve big. She served well. She did not try to overpower Sloane, she simply showed why there are many facets of her game for which she gets absolutely no credit. People talk about Serena's power, but they never talk about her athleticism or her court sense, or her awareness of where the next ball is going to land. They never talk about her finesse (hello drop shot/lob combo), her volleys or indeed her transition game. They never talk about her mental acuity, that je ne sais quoi that separates her from the rest of the Tour. No, all they talk about is power.
Serena showed in her match today against Sloane why there is so much difference between her and Generation Next.
As for Sloane, I only have one word "footwork". On the backhand side, moving up to shortballs, transition game, on the run, her footwork was the death of her. Sloane botched every single short ball which required her to move her feet and get into position to take care of a short ball. Serena realised this early on and kept dragging Sloane forward on short balls. The balls were spinny, loopy, and required a great degree of manoeuvring around the ball and Sloane missed every single one.
Aga Radwanska does not like the US Open. That is all.
Tennis Channel needs to disappear. Last night in one of the most anticipated matches at this USO (Li v Jankovic) we were treated to the most awkward interview ever of Novak Djokovic who had simply demolished his opponent. I get that IMG wants its athletes out there front and centre. I also get that IMG co-owns Tennis Channel, but it would be nice if IMG realised that not everyone wants to see its players at every given opportunity shilling for them. There were many complaints on social media last night about Tennis Channel's abysmal coverage, especially having regard to the tight match that was being played on the Grandstand by the last American male standing. Tennis Channel thought its viewers would be better served watching interview of Djokovic.
Ace's Matches to Watch today on Day 8
Camila Giorgi vs Roberta Vinci – Giorgi has won six matches at USO capped off with a 3 set win over Wozniacki by taking the match. Despite not having a good summer, Vinci has done nicely defeating solid opponents. We will have at least one Italian in the quarterfinals and this is a match with contrasting styles. Giorgi goes for her shots while Vinci is crafty especially with her backhand slice.
Simona Halep vs Flavia Pennetta – After playing a tough three setter against Watson, Halep has lost only 4 games pummeling Larcher De Brito and Kirilenko in the process. Pennetta has returned from injury and has created the magic of 2009 defeating Errani and Kuznetsova in the process. Halep has turned out to be the favorite in the quarter to make the semifinals while Pennetta is trying to make the next round like she did in 2009. Since the French Open, Halep has lost 5 matches while winning four titles. However, Pennetta won their last meeting in Bastad.
Alison Riske vs Daniela Hantuchova – Riske has made the USO organizers proud with the wild card given to her. In her last two matches, Riske has defeated two seeded players capped off with an easier than expected win over Kvitova. Hantuchova should have lost in straight sets to Glushko but found a way to win the match. In the past, Hantuchova would have lost this match easily. Can Riske continue her unlikely run in the tournament giving ESPN2 something to talk about or will Hantuchova experience eliminates a third American player.
Ana Ivanovic vs Victoria Azarenka – After cruising in the first two rounds, Ivanovic had to break McHale late in second set to stay alive and once in the deciding set, her experience in big matches took over. Azarenka had to rally from a set against an inspired Cornet to continue her run to her first Slam that is not located in Australia. This is a matchup that CBS may have secretly hoping for Labor Day Monday and hope it is not disappointing like the American blockbuster on Day 7.
Spin's Day 8 Picks
Camila Giorgi v Roberta Vinci
Simona Halep v Flavia Pennetta
Alison Riske v Daniela Hantuchova
Alison Riske v Daniela Hantuchova
Ana Ivanovic v Victoria Azarenka
Enjoy today's matches