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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good Prevails Over Evil in Australia

Sometimes it seems that we live in a dark world in which evil always triumphs. When the American populace slipped from inexcusable ignorance to downright, well, evil-ness by re-electing the Bush Cabal in 2004, I had to sigh and admit that Satan was real and God was not, and that Hell was right here, right now. OK, I exaggerate a little, but you get the point.

Sometimes though, there is a ray of light, and the sun has burst forth in all its glory this year at the Australian Open, where four of my favorite women's tennis players have made the tournament their own and driven those evil, bestial denizens of Darkness, the Williams sisters, back into their subterranean lair where their only recourse is to suck the rotting remnants of the marrows of the sports fans they had deluded in the past. That's right, Venus-nasty and Serena-monster were both defeated in the quarter-finals.

And the good guys (girls) all won in straight sets. On Tuesday (Monday night to us here in Amerika), 22-year old Serbian player Jelena Jankovic, justifiably seeded third, accomplished the most important task by slaughtering the Beast (Serena). You all know of my vast love for Serena. On the same night, my fiancee Maria Sharapova accomplished surely the upset of the year by beating first seed Justine Henin in two sets, the second at love. I have no problem with Henin; she just finished the best year of her career and she deserved every minute of it. Maria just ended Henin's 38-match winning streak. But it's nice to see Sharapova finally coming into her own; she's already won two Grand Slams, starting with Wimbledon at 17 (her own first defeat of the Beast, an annihilation in grand style), but she just moved to a whole new level. This could indeed be the Year of Sharapova.

On Wednesday (last night), my other girlfriend Ana Ivanovic put the second nail in the Williams' coffin by defeating Venus. Oh, yeah, the Goombah Sisters had already gone down in defeat in doubles to a couple of Chinese players the day before, so the monsters have plane tickets home. I suspect they are riding back in those same coffins, with the mother earth of whatever land they came from (Compton?) packed tightly around them.

Which leaves us with four of my favorite players headed into the semi-finals, which I am informed will take place tonight on some cable channel, broadcast starting at 9:30 Central time. First, Maria vs. Jelena, followed by Ana vs. Daniela Hantuchova. Hantuchova is a young Slovakina player who seemed ready to hit the big time a few years ago, had some health and other problems, but has been on the comeback and is now playing in her first Grand Slam final. I don't see her taking Ana, but good for her anyway.

There are two interesting things that could happen tonight to set up an interesting final. First, if Jelena beats Maria (Jelena is the higher seed because Maria had injuries last year that kept her out of tournaments and hurt her ranking) and Ana beats Daniela as expected, we could have an all-Serbian final, the unlikelihood of which is only paralleled by the all-Belgian matchup of Clijsters vs. Henin at the French Open years ago. The second, which scares me a little, is a meeting between Maria and Ana. I certainly hope they don't talk about me; I'll be busted for sure.

But it really doesn't matter. The final will be Friday night (Saturday in Australia). No matter who wins, we'll have won. The Williams sisters have been banished. Good has prevailed. There is a God, at least in the Australian world of women's tennis, at least for now.

And I don't get to this topic very often, so let me just say, it's sad for me and for the world that Martina Hingis couldn't be here. She proved that she could come back, though she couldn't quite get to the top again, and it's sad that her retirement had to be hounded by silly doping charges. Someday I really want to raise and discuss the issue of why non-performance enhancing drugs (cocaine in the case of this accusation) are banned in the first place; if you remember those Winter Olympics, why should we care if the best snowboarder in the world can do it stoned? But back to tennis: If only Maria Kirilenko would begin to perform up to her potential, I could die happy.

That's all for now.

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