Saturday, January 30, 2016

Australian Open. Blowouts coming

It really is a shame it has to boil down to this. Of all the gifted tennis players in the world, both male and female, you'd think the finals of a major tournament would feature more competitive matches. 

But the Australian Open seems to have two lop-sided affairs coming up.

On the XX chromosome side, we have American Serena Williams, age 34, going up against German Angelique Kerber, age 28. Serena has yet to lose a single set in this year's tournament, and when's the last time you heard of Angelique's name being mentioned? 

Granted, Ms. Kerber is a bit long in the tooth as tennis players go, but Ms. Williams is absolutely ancient. Though still very much a dominant player, one is left to wonder when Serena's great fall will happen. Her sister Venus, merely a year older, crashed and burned years ago as a world-class singles player, and was ousted by an unknown in the opening round of this year's Aussie Open. Color Venus gone. But Serena keeps marching on in her banana/canary outfit. Here's at least hoping she has it laundered between matches. 

Nevertheless, her day will come, but not in this tournament. Look for Serena to blitz Angelique. The media will start their usual "grand slam sweep" possibilities and the younger Williams sister will pose for a few more ads along the way. Hopefully not in yellow. It is difficult to reconcile a woman trying to pass herself off as ladylike and chic when one has witnessed all the grunting, screaming, and sometimes chimpanzee-esque actions she typically displays on a tennis court. But she's going to win this one -- likely quite easily.

On the XY chromosome side, we have Novac Djokovic, a Serb, squaring off against Andy Murray, a Brit. Djokovic bested the seemingly ageless Swiss Roger Federer in the semi-finals, while Murray outlasted Canadian Milos Raonic as well. All four are terrific players. With the seemingly early swoon of Rafael Nadal, Federer would likely have added a few more major titles to his already bulging showcase -- if not for Djokovic. But that's the way it works out sometimes. On that note, one can also wonder when Federer will crash and burn himself. Surely, it has to be coming soon.

Time out. A guy named Milos Raonic is a Canadian? Really? What province did he come from?

Andy Murray will likely be the crowd favorite when he faces off against Djokovic in the Finals. After all, the Aussies still retain a lot of British heritage, considering they were once a colony of His or Her Majesty's Empire. Don't they still have provinces of their own named Queensland and New South Wales? But wait a second. Didn't they rise up and throw their English oppressors out a century or two ago so they could be an independent country free of such tyranny? And they'll likely be rooting for a Brit to win their championship? That seems odd, but so did Crocodile Dundee falling head over heels for that dorky American big city girl that didn't know a kangaroo from a can of tuna fish. But I suppose the folks Down Under have their ways. Go figure.

At any rate, the men's Finals will likely be another blow-out as well. Andy Murray is without a doubt a world class tennis player. He doesn't grunt like Serena, or scream on every shot like so many other female players do. God, that's annoying. But he has his own little high pitched squeak when he serves. Kind of like the last sound one would expect to hear of a mouse as the trap slammed shut on its neck. 

Andy is certainly animated, and can become even McEnroe-ish on the court with his verbals. He rants at himself, the umpire in the chair, and likely to the Almighty above when things aren't going his way. Or sometimes when they are. Let's just say he wears his emotions on his sleeves. 

On the other hand Novac remains quite stoic. He might mumble to himself occasionally, but rarely will we see an emotional outburst from the Serb. Djokovic has become almost android-ish when it comes to playing tennis. The man has no weaknesses, never gets "gassed" no matter how long a match may drag on, and seems oblivious to a hostile crowd rooting against him. He just keeps playing and hitting winners. 

Murray might win a set. Maybe. But in the end, Djokovic will win the title. Like Serena, at this point in time, the competition doesn't even matter. Both of them are far above whatever opponent managed to survive the other half of the bracket to make their way into the Finals. 

Though the matches have to be played, they're just a mere formality. 

Barring some sort of injury, they will likely both be blowouts. 

Serena and Novac are just too damned good. Period. 

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