Thursday, 7 June 2007

Big champion, little champion

Maria Sharapova lost in straight sets.

After the Patty Schnyder incident the other day, I can't say I'm altogether upset. But there was a moment of truth during the match. Ana Ivanovic, all 19 years of her, was absolutely panning the Russian world number two. The Serb was 4-0 up in the second set but 0-30 down. I watched and wondered: Is, to use Schnyder's phrase, Ivanovic a little champion or a big champion? She pulled out some crunching first serves to answer the question and win the game.

Going 5-0 up in your first grand slam semi-final against a player with two grand slam titles under her belt put the Schnyder comments into perspective. Moreso when Ivanovic served out for the match on her first opportunity.

Ah Patty, you served for the match three times. You could have been a contender. Oh the joy and anguish of competition. Of course Ivanovic will be playing an altogether different machine on Saturday afternoon.

Justine Henin has won the French Open three times; in 2003, 2005 and 2006. And if she's victorious this year, she'll emulate Monica Seles who collected a hat trick of crowns back in the early 1990s.

Whoever wins it will be a good story. The young Serb for overcoming a non-existent tennis tradition or the driven Belgian who dreamed of being a champion but lost her mother.

Both strands have the makings of a film. I'm not yet sure who'll they'll get to play Henin or Ivanovic for that matter. Maybe I can dream up suitable candidates as they toil for glory on Saturday afternoon.

But I don't think I'll expand on my findings during my radio reports.