Wimbledon 1998: Jana Novotna d. Natalie Tauziat 6-4 7-6
After two prior finals losses, including the infamous choke against Graf in ‘93 and a loss to Hingis the year before, Jana finally captured the one title she craved most.
She beat Venus and Hingis before getting the Frenchwoman in the final. I remember Martina Navratilova saying on HBO the night before, “if she doesn’t win this one, then she should retire.” On paper, this was a match Novotna had no business losing, only her demons of Wimbledons past could stop her.
Jana was such a wizard at the net; I watch these highlights and just marvel at some of the volleys from both players. Jana really rewarded her fans for sticking by her through the shared emotional anguish over the years. As for that service motion, neither before nor since have I seen anything quite like it.
Skip to 08:35 for the winning moment. Feels like yesterday.
Also, check out this clip of an 18-year-old Venus Williams losing it during her QF against Jana.
Can you imagine having the joy of reaching #1 in the world being tempered by having unseated your sister in the process? These are the types of things that Venus and Serena dealt with that we will never understand. Theirs is a unique dynamic.
This is the first in a series that focuses on the best tennis rivalries. I kick things off with the Williams sisters in honour of National Siblings Day!
Not A Good Look: A bit of fun at Sloane’s expense. She suffered yet another shocking loss today, this time going down 3-6 3-6 to Mariana Duque Mariño in Colombia.
The Changeover does a good job of dissecting some of Sloane’s recent comments. This was the third straight tournament that Stephens has turned in a lacklustre performance. Her words are matching her output on the court. Not a good look.
I don’t know what Pam Shriver meant by this tweet tonight, but I do know it comes off as small and petty. She offered this gem shortly after Serena crashed out of the Family Circle Cup in straight sets to Jana Cepelova:
A Tale Of Two Sisters: Rough Day For Williams Sisters In Charleston.
Serena Williams crashed out of the Family Circle Cup today, falling 4-6 4-6 to Jana Cepelova. Fighting an injury that required a visit from the trainer early in the second set, Serena was unable to overcome her feisty, consistent opponent. This was not the start I imagine Nike envisioned for Serena’s new tennis kit, a sharp black and gray number. In her post-match presser, Serena pointed to fatigue and an impossible schedule over the last two years that have finally left her needing a break from the tour.
Venus also threatened an early exit prior to Serena taking the court, before rallying to take the match 6-3 0-6 7-5. Vee had been fighting a bug that limited her movement in the second set, when she suffered a bagel at the hands of Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Having fought her way to the finish line, the draw is now wide open for Venus to continue her remarkable return to form in 2014. Eugenie Bouchard awaits her in the 3rd round.
Cricket has played a very important role in my life; I’ve even written a Masters thesis on West Indies Cricket and Colonialism. Brian Lara is my all-time favourite. Messiah, Pariah, he played many roles during his career. The one constant through it all was his genius. Many have had questions about his character and commitment, but NEVER his talent.
I am currently working on a more extensive piece on Lara, but in the interim, here’s arguably his greatest work. This innings against Australia came at one of the most tumultuous times in his career, 153* to steal an improbable win for West Indies. He was the Messiah that day.
Watch that cover drive at 0:18 off Glenn McGrath, breathtaking.
SIXES & STUMPINGS: West Indies stomped all over Pakistan today to reach the semis of the T20 World Cup. Pakistan were in control after restricting the defending champs to 84/5 from the first 15 overs, then it all fell apart. West Indies pummelled them to the tune of 82 from the last five and 59 from the last three overs.
West Indies had many heroes today. Bravo and Sammy disfigured the typically reliable Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, while Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine laid further claim to being the best spin duo in the shortest format. They were aided by Denesh Ramdin who facilitated four stumpings to run through the middle of Pakistan’s batting. Set 167 to win, Pakistan folded for a paltry 82.
On to the last four where West Indies will face Sri Lanka in a rematch of the last T20 World Cup final. South Africa and India will contest the other semi-final.
So happy for Mao Asada and Carolina Kostner! After a shocking short program in Sochi that knocked her out of medal contention, Mao rebounded to capture gold at the World Figure Skating Championships. Meanwhile, Carolina Kostner matched her Sochi bronze medal showing, finishing just behind Yulia Lipnitskaya.
Mao’s indicated she might retire after these World Championships, but hasn’t seemed to definitively make up her mind. Her short program, in which she landed a triple axel, broke Yuna Kim’s world record from Vancouver 2010. For Kostner, this was her last competitive skate. Should this be the last time we see both women on the international stage, they both went out in style!
Rafa’s facial expressions say it all, no? Very disappointing result against Nole in the Sony Open final. The result, a 6-3 6-3 win for Novak, cements the Serb’s position as best hardcourt player on tour.