Tennis Prose




Jan/18

22

Hsieh’s Magic Tennis Awes Evert

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By Scoop Malinowski

Count Chrissie Evert as one who was shock and awed by the brilliant display of otherworldly tennis performed last night by Su-Wei Hsieh against Angelique Kerber in their epic fourth round duel eventually won by Kerber 46 75 62.

Just look at these superlatives and praises by Evert, who won 18 singles majors and three doubles in her illustrious career.

“Her tennis looks effortless. Blase.”

“She can do anything she wants with the ball.”

“She doesn’t look impressive but she’s very smart out there.”

“She’s saving energy. No emotion or drama out there.”

“She’s showing that tennis isn’t all about physical power.”

“I didn’t have the variety, like, the hands.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this! Never seen anything like this!”

“Who plays like that? (Mansour) Bahrami?”

“Did you see that (drop shot)? Started with two hands then whipped it with one.”

“I’m sure everyone in the locker rooms is rallying around the TVs watching this match.”

“Look at what Kerber has to do to win a point, what she has to go through. A lot of effort for every point.”

“She has no idea of the patterns of Hsieh. She doesn’t either. She plays instinctive. She makes her decision where to hit the ball in the last instant.”

“Then you find yourself watching her – to see what she’s gonna do. Then you take your eye off the ball.”

“The question for me is can Hsieh keep this up?”

“It’s nice to see another style.”

“She uses every inch of the court.”

“That was a fade little cross court touch shot. That’s going to humiliate (Kerber).”

“She is in the ZONE.”

“She never looks rushed. She looks like she has so much time to set up her shots.”

“Her movement is unbelievable. She anticipates beautifully.”

“It would be not human to keep up this level.”

“She’s playing a better match than the other two (with Radwanska and Muguruza). She’s coming up with impossible shots.”

“Remember the name (Su-Wei Hsieh).”

‘I don’t think she has any plans or patterns. She plays instinctively. That’s when you play your best tennis.”

“(Kerber) doesn’t understand where these angles are coming from.”

“She was down 3-1 then we saw the touch come alive. The drop shots, the angles.”

“She’s a reminder this game is not all about power, it’s about finesse. For those young girls out there, she’s an inspiration.”

As it became clear that Hsieh began to tire late in the second set from all the energy she had exhausted to summon perhaps one of the most uniquely special performances ever seen on a Grand Slam tennis court, Evert noticed and said, “She’s putting into this game whatever she has left. Hopefully this tournament will get her the recognition she deserves.”

“She doesn’t want to leave the court. She wants to stay out there.”

Pam Shriver, analyzing from court level for ESPN with Evert and Chris Fowler, added her own high compliments. “I don’t remember ever being more entertained courtside by a match than this one.”

After the magical display concluded, neither could Kerber hold back her respect for Hsieh. “She played unbelievable. I was running all over the court. We will see a lot of her in 2018, that’s for sure.”

Hsieh will have a day off then play the quarterfinals of the doubles with Shuai Peng (versus Strycova/Safarova).

But this masterpiece effort by Hsieh will surely live in the memories of all tennis enthusiasts who were lucky enough to see it. It was tennis of a quality and caliber that even Chris Evert said she had never seen before.

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23 comments

  • catherine · January 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Gosh ! Hyperbole !

    ‘ of a quality and caliber that even Chris Evert said she had never seen before’.

    That’s just simply not true. Has everyone forgotten Serena already ? And Steffi ? And any other players who remembered how to dropshot and lob ?

    I’ve watched some of the match. Hsieh played with great shots and angles and touch, but I believe a lot of the praise showered on her is a reaction to the sheer novelty of her style. I seriously doubt she will dominate in 2018. And I neither do I think she’ll inspire girls to want to play like her. Would be great, but it’s not going to happen.
    Players like Hsieh are one-offs.

    Something I’d agree with – Kerber plays her best when she can pick the patterns. Confuse her there and she can be in trouble. But most coaches these days seem to like patterns so Angie can make hay.

    And if Hsieh was that great she’d have won in two.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 22, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine. Evert, winner of 21 majors said, "I've never seen anything like this. Never seen anything like this." Actually it's not a one off or a three off – Hsieh whopped Radwanska and Muguruza earlier this week. She has many big wins like this in her career in singles, beat Konta at French Open. Beat Maria a lot in juniors. No. 1 in the world in doubles. I've watched Hsieh for many years now. Serena and Graf play their own styles, nothing like how Hsieh plays. People love to see Hsieh play because she plays a style no one ever has. She is a true original. Please read the article and all the superlatives Evert sang about Hsieh's game.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 22, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    The closest thing I've seen to Hsieh was Rios, who was known to "freewheel" it with no apparent strategy. Like Ever says, Instinctive tennis is how a player plays their best tennis. Kerber was quite instinctive yesterday because she had to be, she had to improvise off of what Hsieh was doing. Like all of us, Kerber had no idea what Hsieh was doing yet she still found a way to dogfight her way to victory. Kerber had nothing but enormous praise for Hsieh after the match, she knew she beat a player who was in the zone.

  • catherine · January 22, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I have read the article Scoop, otherwise I wouldn’t be commenting on it. Maybe I’m averse to hyperbole. I’m not taking anything away from either player – wonderful match and a great standout in the dross that fills much of the draw.

    But over the years I’ve heard Chris say similar things about several players.I remember her praising of Simona, as though no one had ever hit a running dropshot before, and Chris had Halep as the Second Coming of women’s tennis.
    And BTW, I’d love Simona to win this.

    I believe Chris tends to these comments because she played a plain game, played it very well, but deep down had an exaggerated respect for other women who played with greater variety – she had no reason, everyone’s different and Chris made the most of her talent. But the admiration is there.

    Long ago in Britain footballers had the same feeling about George Best. They perhaps overrated him because they all secretly would have given anything for those magic feet.

    Hsieh met her match with Kerber. (Whopping Muguruza and Radwanska is sadly not that much these days. Let’s be honest.)

  • Hartt · January 22, 2018 at 9:55 am

    I recorded the match and look forward to watching it. Pliskova vs Strycova just finished and it was an entertaining match overall. It was a pleasure to see 2 women who serve well, either with power or accuracy, so it was not break, break, break, like we get in so many women’s matches.

  • catherine · January 22, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Hartt – I was interested in Pliskova’s match because Karolina poached Strycova’s coach, as you probably know. For a while I thought there might be an upset but K was just too powerful I suppose-or has the better coach πŸ™‚

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 22, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Catherine, to beat Muguruza and Radwanska and then be three points from eliminating Kerber is quite an astonishing feat, especially for a 32 yr old veteran ranked in the 80s. But I guess it all pales in comparison to what Tennys Sandgren is doing this fortnight. Unfortunately my prediction of his beating Thiem got lost in the shuffle, see Sensational Sandgren article.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 22, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hartt, they did add another classic match to this most eventful day of tennis. Was expecting a 63 62 snoozer but it was anything but. Pliskova is cruising under the radar to possibly her first major title win.

  • catherine · January 22, 2018 at 10:32 am

    With all respect Scoop, Muguruza has been a serious disappointment this year – I really would like to see her find some form again because I like her style of play and she and Angie played one of the best matches of 2017 and I’d like that to happen again.

    Radwanska ? She’s not a top scalp now. She had a chance to move up a notch and I think she turned it down, for reasons best known to herself. A pity.

  • Hartt · January 22, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Catherine, the Czech women seem to have poaching coaches drama nearly every year, and this time Strycova, hardly a shrinking violet, made the dispute very public. I was impressed with Pliskova’s play in this match. Along with her usual good serve and power, I thought she moved well, not always her strength.

    Lucie Safarova managed to avoid the latest drama because, as we discussed earlier, she had the good sense to reunite with Rob Steckley. Lucie and Strycova are still in the doubles.

  • catherine · January 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Hartt – the Czech women seem to prefer Czech coaches, apart from Lucie, and I imagine there’s only a certain number to go round. Bit like musical chairs πŸ™‚

  • Hartt · January 22, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Yes, when I had a look at the Czech women and their coaches I was struck by how they preferred Czech coaches. When Lucie split with Rob she hired a Czech coach, Frantisek Cermak. In keeping with the coaching carousel, he was a former coach for Kvitova. So it makes sense that there are not enough Czech coaches to go around.

    From a Canadian point of view, Rob Steckley not working with Canadian players (as he has done in the past) is a loss. But he and Lucie seem to have something special. She certainly had great results with him and I hope she can be very successful in the future.

  • Duke Carnoustie · January 22, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I hate to agree with Chrissie but Hseieh was magical to watch. Love her style. Crazy that she reached the 4th round in 2008 and 2018.

    Here she is after the match:

    Q. You have been mentioning Su-Wei style to describe your game plan and what you do out there. How would you describe to somebody who’s never seen you play what Su-Wei style is?

    SU-WEI HSIEH: I call like to play freestyle. Like today I go on the court. If I don’t have a plan, then I do whatever I can. When the ball come, I decide at the last moment where to hit, so sometime the girls say, oh, I don’t know where she hit. But sometimes I don’t know where I hit, too (smiling).

  • catherine · January 23, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Hartt – the Czech coach preferrment may be partly a language thing. Not many people outside the CR speak Czech and fewer coaches I imagine. Slavonic languages are difficult. And Czechs, understandably considering their history, are very nationalistic.

  • Hartt · January 23, 2018 at 8:08 am

    I had thought about the language aspect. The Czech women speak excellent English and although doubtless it is better to be able to speak your native language with your coach, they could still work well with an English-speaking coach.

    But no way for a non-Czech coach to speak Czech if he/she wasn’t brought up speaking it. I have traveled in the Czech Republic and talk about an impossible language! πŸ™‚

    Bethanie Mattek-Sands was asked if she had learned any Czech from her partnership with Safarova and she said maybe one or two words.

  • catherine · January 23, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Yes – I’m impressed by the high standard of English spoken by Czech players, but English is taught in schools there and I imagine the motivation to learn English would be strong. As a college teacher I helped a few Czech students who were dyslexic and although spelling was obviously a problem their spoken English was good. (And I have to say the awareness of such conditions in Eastern Europe was some way ahead of ours in Britain ).

    As far as coaching goes, even if English were not a problem with the player you’d have to take into account that everyone around, the team etc, would probably only speak Czech. Could feel isolating.

    On this language subject – I continue to be baffled by Angie’s poor English. Even if she hadn’t learnt it at school I’d have thought over a decade on the circuit might have heped with basic phrases, which are not really complicated. And German and English have common roots.

    Still,I’m one to talk – English is the only language I’m fluent in – and even then πŸ™‚

  • Joe Blow · January 23, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Kerber kicking Keys ***, got that one wrong big-time

  • catherine · January 23, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve posted above on this. It’s almost over. Just as I expected. Keys can’t compete at this level. She hasn’t a clue.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 23, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Keys is an enigma, she is prone to playing dud matches. She is very nice person and also very sensitive, maybe too nice and not ruthless and mean enough to kill certain players. "To be the best you have to get blood on your hands." – Phil Anselmo.

  • catherine · January 23, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Yes – MadisΓ³n is probably Angie’s easiest match this year – she has nothing to fall back on. As you say Scoop, probably just too nice and technically comes up short.

  • catherine · January 23, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Over – 6-1 6-2 in under 60 mins.

    Who’s going to give Angie a fight before the final ? Or in the final ?

  • catherine · January 23, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Actually Keys hasn’t beaten Angie since 2014 so that went with form.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 23, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Scoop Malinowski writes:

    Hsieh sure did toughen up Kerber and definitely forced her to raise her level. Could be her very best level of her career right now. If Kerber wins the title she should break off a piece of that cup and give it to Hsieh πŸ™‚ Brilliant performance tonight by Kerber.

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