Thursday, June 24, 2004

I just watched one of the best Tennis matches I've ever seen. You've heard about it already. Karolina Sperm, nineteen years old, unseeded, first time in Wimbeldon, defeating, in straight sets, two-time Wimbledon champion, two-time runner-up Venus Fuckin' Williams.

I've been a loyal Tennis watcher for close to a decade now and I haven't seen a match that tennis, dramatic, and eventful since...a very long time. The Women's Australian Open final of 2002 comes close (battling severe heat) and the classic Man-In-Black Sampras v. Agassi match of the US Open.

The big Chair Umpire mistake during the second set tie-break is going to cause big controversy, but take it from me, Sprem would have won anyway. She saved four (count'em - four!) set points over the course of the match. Lost her confidence once or twice, came back, forced Williams into errors and desperate maneuvers that just doesn't happen. Even the best in the game - Davenport, Hingis, Capriti - can't cause Williams sister that much grief.

I am in awe.

Reminds me of the first time I saw Justine Henin-Hardenne play and was blown away by the most gorgeous backhand I've ever seen.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Williams sisters. I hate when they play against each other in Finals because they obviously dislike it but I usually love watching them kick the crap out of any opponent. But I was rooting for Sprem here. She won me over almost instantaneously with a rousing opening few games that clearly showed an incredible player. I don't know if she's "the next big thing," frankly I don't know if she's going to win her next match; it doesn't matter. Her achievement today, stepping onto Centre Court, arguably the largest most watched tennis stage, and beating a Williams sister (that should be in double-bold, with gold-plated highlights) is easily the most amazing thing I've seen in Tennis. Wow.

(And the added bonus of the umpire mistake is going to be like LSD-dipped-candy to the English press who will go to sleep tonight dreaming brilliantly colored dreams.)

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