I only caught highlights of the women’s semifinals yesterday. In fact, around 9:45 p.m. Hawaii time I was forcing myself to watch the last few games of the match between Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams. Around half an hour later, I woke up realizing I had missed those games and had already begun entry into dreamworld. I’m glad that when I woke up this morning on top of my glasses I had not crushed them!
Although I gasped much earlier in the day when I found out that Pliskova had won in straight sets, I was still not surprised. Every once in a while, a player comes along in a major tournament where he or she carries an air of Inevitable Champion. That is how Pliskova, with her tall, regal bearing, her graceful but forceful groundstrokes, and her effortless, near flawless serve has struck me. Serena yelled a great deal yesterday. It did not appear to faze Pliskova in the least. She did her job, and she is one match away from becoming US Open champion.
The men take the court today after I publish this post. It’s been a while since I’ve truly had a favorite player, but in the last few years, Stan Wawrinka’s matches are the ones I watch the most. He’s a bit of a late bloomer — someone who showed great potential as a junior but who didn’t quite catch fire in the very top echelon of the game until about three years ago. He does not have the classic, sculpted physique of an elite athlete, but rather a barrel-chested, mildly scruffy and disheveled look, like he just finished chopping wood for two hours. I like it! With Novak Djokovic’s form this tournament a bit of a question mark, I’m thinking Stan the Man may come through. We’ll know by Sunday!