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Friday, September 8, 2017

Madison and Sloane - Finally A Grand Slam Title Almost at their Reach!



For someone like me who knows all the top 100 tennis male and female players at any given week, it's always a joy to see non-marquee names (at least to those who are not really tennis addicts, yung Federer and Nadal and Williams sisters lang ang kilala) finally realize their true potential.
Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens have been in the top 10 before and both have reached a grand slam semi-final prior to this historic all-American, all-African American, and no Williams on-either-side-of-the-net US Open women's final.
So for tennis addicts like me, they truly deserve their finalist slots and to have similar Cinderella stories, coming-back-from-injury tales, it just shows that, sports is very similar to life - if you fall down, just get up and find that fire again.
Of course, it helps a lot if you have talent as well.
I have seen both women play before, and usually, I assess women players by the way they handled their games against Serena Williams, who, undeniably is the gold standard in the women's game.
On paper, Madison looks like she should win this title, with an amazing, almost perfect execution of her game plan, against fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in their semi's. (Coco now seems to have a history of wilting in the grand moments)
But Sloane's well-deserved standing ovation performance against Venus Williams shows how very mentally tough she is at the moment. I really thought she would lose the match when Venus was up 5-4 in the 3rd set.
But what happened in the next two games were some of the more amazing games I've seen in the women's game and to beat Venus, who is a giant in this sport, when she is leading,is a testament of how mature now, Sloane's mental toughness is.
Before, like Coco, she would normally wilt easily in very tight situations like this, which is very irritating to watch, especially if you know how good they really play.
Stressful situations can either bring the worst - or the best - in a person, and in sports, it's always a joy to see when the athlete's show their best.
If Sloane still has enough gas in her tank, she should win her first grand slam title.
If Madison wants to win this, she should not allow any cliffhanger moments to happen during their final, because beating a Williams in a very close match in a grand stage like a US Open semifinal, can really make a player believe that anything is possible - and I'm sure Sloane has lots of it right now.

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