Jiya Shin, ranked No. 10 in the world, captured her second career major shooting 71 and 73 in a 36-hole final Sunday at the 2012 Women's British Open at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club with a record-breaking 9-shot victory. Shin's victory at the Open meant that for the first time in the Ladies Professional Golf Association's (LPGA) history, all four major titles in one season are held by Asian-born players, 3 by South Koreans.
Shin joined Sun Young Yoo who captured the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Na Yeon Choi who won the U.S. Women's Open, and Shanshan Feng from mainland China who won the LPGA Championship. The rest of the leaderboard included Inbee Park as the runner-up and American Paula Creamer at 3rd, joined by two other Americans in the top ten, Stacy Lewis and Katie Fucher. The weather as usual in British Opens was the major issue putting a dampener on the players, especially Karrie Webb, the 72-hole leader.
The Scot Andy Murray's countrymen and the rest of the world can get off his back as he wins the 2012 US Open beating Novak Djokovic in the longest men's final of almost 5 hrs., 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. Murray in his fifth final caps off a golden summer beating Roger Federer in the Olympics with his first Grand Slam title.
Not since Fred Perry in 1936 has a British man won a slam. Murray also broke the 100 some year Olympic void when he won this summer. Virginia Wade helped the Brits by winning three slams, and set the nation off in glee by winning the women's singles at Wimbledon in 1977. Murray should get a parade for his Herculean efforts.
After winning the first set and going up 4-0 in the second, Murray had his typical lapse. When Djokovic won the next two sets, it seemed that he couldn't break his curse of just being talented, ala Anna Kournikova.
Murray said that he was most improved in his fitness. The proof was in the fifth set as Djokovic was getting treatment for cramps, Murray had enough left to get in some key second serves and persist in some long rallies.
Turn your volume down if you're watching women's tennis this week-end. Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka have played three times this year and each time, after a few games I felt the need to turn my volume down. Nothing was worse than Friday in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York during the US Open Semi-final match which Azarenka won 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. They out-dueled each other not only in strokes but shrieks, with the third set unbelievably loudest of all. Both could rival rush hour on Wall Street or a 757 landing at LaGuardia Airport. Can you imagine the resounding sound in Ashe Stadium?
This brings up an on-going issue of grunting in women's tennis. It was so bad in the Australian Open by the two aforementioned players that it re-opened an issue that had died out since the days of Monica Seles in the 90's.
Some things still seem the same as when I started playing in 1959 trying to emulate Maria Bueno, the national winner that year. My first U. S. Open was in 1971, the 91st year of the event, as a 16 yr. old trying to play on the grass courts of Forest Hills in Queens, NY and be the next Evonne Goolagong. I ran into Althea Gibson figuratively and literally. She was nice as I rambled on giving me the moniker of "Little Girl." Until she died she never called me anything else. I went in with Althea that day as she talked more about golf than tennis reminding me that, "No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you," as we sat outside the door of the club's kitchen.
Let's not do a disservice to Sloane Stephens by anointing her the next Serena Williams or next great American champ, even though we need one. Although quite talented, we should let the 44th ranked player in the world, especially when she feels confident, be her own person and not have to shoulder additional expectations. Let's just let her enjoy being 19 and having a good 2012.
After beating Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champ, in the first round of the US Open, people are too eager to make more of a match result and a good summer after getting to the fourth round of the French Open. Last year, Stephens reached the third round of the Open.
Stephens showed uneasiness in her 2nd round match to Tatjana Malek winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. She had difficulty constructing points to offset the constant changing tactics of a player almost 100 positions lower than her. Absent was her strong serve and opportunities to set up her best shot, her forehand crosscourt. Stephens made a match of it by hanging in there on a bad day where both players had many unforced errors, and by trying to come in and getting in some good slice serves.