Monday, September 29, 2008
Another slate of tournaments has gone by with Andy Roddick, Maria Kirilenko, Jelena Jankovic and first-time titlist Jo-Wilifried Tsonga grabbing the tournaments in Beijing, Korea, Beijing again and Thailand, respectively. Congrats to all the winners, especially my man Jo-Willie on bagging his first bit of first-place hardware.
However, the biggest story I feel to come out of the weekend's tournament results was what happened in Beijing on the women's side: Svetlana Kuznetsova fell to Jankovic pretty easily, a week after knocking her off on her way to the finals in Tokyo. The big deal about this is that Kuz has now lost 10 of her past 11 finals (thanks, Freakyfrites, for the numbers).
Folks, that's a pretty staggering amount.
You can look at it from the glass half-empty/half-full perspective: She's coming in second, but hey, at least she's getting that far. I think there's a little too much half-full-viewing going on over there because even if you were to look at it the past two weeks, the scorelines in the finals have been pretty one-sided. I don't think it's a matter of physical conditioning; she's consistently getting deep in draws, even over back-to-back weeks. Is it the intensity level falling off when she gets there? Being content? What? I know it is kind of baffling that a recent U.S. Open champ can't seal the deal on picking up a regular title.
In a way, it kind of reminds me of something that was going on with me in my younger days: When I was playing in the juniors and my first couple of years in college, my goal for my tournament-playing season was to at least get to one final, whether it was singles or doubles. That way, I could still focus on my partying! Then, the guy I was playing doubles with was winning every tournament in sight, and I thought, "Hey, I should set my goals a little higher." I did try harder; however, I 've gotten into a feeling-the-pressure kind of loop as to where now, if I win a match or two at a tournament, it's a mini-miracle.
I just hope Kuz doesn't fall into that cycle. It's a rough one to get out of.
(Photo: Getty Images)