Tennis History .... maybe I witnessed a piece. On Tues. Aug. 27 -- Chuck and I got our "ground passes" and found a good spot here in the Louie A. stadium to watch the days proceedings. I had been looking forward to seeing my personal favorite play, Sam Stosur (#11).
At the time of the coin toss in the late afternoon sun (see coin below Chase insignia), I didn't know anything about Sam's opponent, Victoria Duval, in the first round.. only that she would probably get a tennis lesson and I would be getting dinner in the food court in a short while, because of a quick match.
Sam's warm Aussie personality and professional attitude on and off the court, endears her to fans and fellow players.
Her form is textbook and her conditioning beautiful. I was happy to be snapping these shots with my small, but powerful, Nikon P7000 from my stadium vantage point.
Sam's serve is one of the best in women's tennis ... creating a catapult action in her strong legs ...
... that launch a follow through of her upper body. A pronated wrist, directs the ball.
There is not much about the form of her game that I don't admire.
But her game must stay on focus, if she is to win against anyone. Mentally, she started off poorly with lots of unforced errors... hitting balls out of bounds or plowing them into the net .. routine stuff for a player of her caliber.
As her opponent, Victoria, began meeting and returning the Stosur forehand with her own lethal version, I was spellbound, and started snapping what I was seeing. Sam's best shots were coming back at her in long blistering, rallies.
Victoria's serve was adequate but not a weapon ... but Sam was not taking advantage of it with good returns.
Victoria was moving like greased lightning, anticipating the Stosur play.
Setting up in time to direct the ball with incredible accuracy to the corners of Stosur's side of the court.
Stosur had barely taken the first set 5-7 and was struggling in the second. She could see that her serve and ground strokes where not wilting her opponent ... and the stats of her unforced errors were stacking up.
And Duval just seemed to be enjoying herself... not fazed at all by "nerves" in the clutch points.
YIKES .. she was only 17 !! I was hearing her story from the crowd around me. A product of Haiti, she came to the US with her own harrowing history.
She was exhibiting oodles of ability and a will and positive attitude to match.
Duval was beginning to believe ... and so was the crowd. We could see Sam was in trouble in the third set ... this wasn't a fluke. It is interesting to be a part of something that makes this kind of a shift. Very exciting.
I knew I was witnessing something special and maybe a little tennis history on Tues. night. All I kept thinking was, "And she doesn't even have a mature serve yet."
And when Victoria served her last and winning point .... the crowd came unglued .. and so did she with her joy.
Stosur was stunned and gracious...
Duval threw her head back then immediately sank to the court on her knees in an emotional overload.
Stosur make a hasty exit and the media descended on Duval. Sam will think a long time about this one. She was soundly beaten in the last two sets.
5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
And then we all heard her SPEAK... the sweet voice of a child, so full of happiness and gratitude. Listen to the YouTube interview.
Telling the story of how she got to this place in time ... with her box cheering behind her. Her father who had been buried and injured in the Haiti earthquake, had just flown in from Canada. He has probably not stopped smiling :)
And neither have I !!! Just so glad to have seen a bit of it.
May Victoria Duval have a long and healthy career .. I will be watching. I am happy to share. Gretchen, the Tennis Fan.