The Australian Open Wildcard semis were nothing short of spectacular today. The women’s matches were both over in straight sets with CoCo Vandeweghe defeating Beatrice Capra and Lauren Davis defeating Krista Hardebeck. I watched more of Coco’s match than Davis’ and I’ll tell you what… that Coco is full of fire and spunk no doubt. And boy is she tall! She has a tremendous amount of power and Capra did not know how to retaliate against Vandeweghe’s weapons. Should be a great final between Coco and Lauren Davis starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Now on to those fiery men who all brought their goods today for sure. Jack Sock was unstoppable to say the very least and in such impressive form. Even after rolling his ankle he managed to close it out in straights against Kudla, and Denis was not playing badly by any means. I think that just says a lot about Sock; he has the talent, the spirit and the passion to become an elite player. Mentally he is so stable. And his touch at the net… beautiful. He reminds me of someone so much older than an 18 year-old. So sweet and humble. One just hopes that he stays that way.
Jack Sock serving in his match against Denis Kudla
The most intense and “edge of your seat” match was between the two “Ryan’s”… although Williams spells his name “Rhyne”, which I love because it is so unique. To be perfectly honest, the match was Williams’ to lose. He had the match on his racquet the entire time, but I think fatigue was his enemy today and I mean that more from a mental standpoint than anything else. Harrison has been through this kind of thing before and Rhyne just couldn’t close it out unfortunately. I could tell, he was getting mentally exhausted and frustrated towards the end. Everytime he would put the ball away, or so he thought, Harrison would just get it right back into play.
Rhyne Williams serves in his match against Ryan Harrison
The two have such similar games and their ground strokes are just punishing. Incredibly impressive! They can keep up with anyone at the level they are playing; it is quite extraordinary to watch. I really felt like I was at an ATP event in the semis, not a wildcard playoff. Expect so much more from these two players in the future, but especially from Williams because I don’t think a lot of you are as familiar with him and his game as you might be with that of Harrison. Both are big bright stars, as is Sock.
The final tomorrow at 3 p.m. between Harrison and Sock will be a treat for us tennis fans. I can’t wait!
Some other things to note that I picked up on throughout the last couple of days: Sock has an older brother Eric, who is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska, and he plays tennis for the Cornhuskers as well. Speaking of Nebraska, I’m sure you all know that Andy Roddick is also originally from there. So the two have become friendly, and Roddick has invited Jack to his home in Texas already, where they have practiced together. I got a chance to chat with Jack’s uncle and he also mentioned that Jack is thinking about attending college (Coach Manny Diaz and Will Glenn, Isner’s coaches from UGA were there to see Sock, amongst other things). One of their new recruits Nathan, also from Georgia, was there to watch the action as well.
Jack and big brother Eric
One thing his uncle mentioned though is that if Jack were to win this tournament tomorrow, it’s possible that all bets could be off with him attending college. With the onslaught of new endorsements and sponsorships, etc, it could mean he just goes pro without attending a university.
Needless to say, I was able to get to know the Sock family over the last couple of days and can I just say that they are one of the nicest families on the planet! Sock is one of my new besties for sure – I just love him.
On another note, while I was watching the Harrison-Williams match this afternoon, I was able to chat with Jamie Hampton from Auburn, Alabama and Melanie Oudin for a while. Such sweet ladies. We were talking about some of the tourneys that are becoming combined men/women: Auckland, Rome, Cincy. We all agreed that one of our faves was Memphis because of how intimate it is and how close you can get to the players, etc. Mel stated that after her ’09 US Open run it was very hard on her because she was just bombarded with fans there.
I had a chance to go to that tourney in 2010 and it really is a terrific tournament. Sam Querrey was signing kids foreheads because you are just that close to the players! Good stuff! By the way, The Racquet Club of the South is where Melanie Oudin trains and will also be the site of the ATP tournament (the Atlanta Tennis Championships) in 2011, since the Atlanta Athletic Club is hosting the PGA tournament around the same time next year. FYI.
So tennis fans, I am going to call it a night but will be right back with more news tomorrow when things start up again in ATL for the finals. You can tweet me @Stephiesport if you have anything you want to ask me. The roof must be made out of steel at RCS because it is very difficult to get reception, but I am getting all your messages coming in. However, I need to step outside in order to message you back.
Until tomorrow my friends!