We had a deliciously eventful final weekend at Roland Garros. We got Serena and Novak in the respective finals, as expected. And we saw two very different outcomes.
This is now the third straight major that Serena hasn't won. She's still at 21 Major titles, one behind Steffi Graf. This quest seems to be grinding her down.
There was a major difference between her losses to Roberta Vinci and Angelique Kerber at the US Open and the Australian respectively, and her loss here to Garbiñe Muguruza. Both Vinci and Kerber played like they had nothing to lose, and there was a strong sense that Serena in substantial part beat herself.
Mugu didn't play like she had nothing to lose. She played like she had something to win. From the way the match unfolded, from Garbiñe's demeanor throughout, you'd think she was the favorite and Serena the upstart challenger.
In the US Open and the Australian, Serena lost. Here, she got beat.
On the men's side, nerves caught Novak during the first set, and despite a strong beginning in which he broke Murray at love in the first game, Novak lost his first two service games to find himself down 4-1. From that point on, he settled down and began to impose himself. His movement on the court improved, and he began to turn defense into attack more regularly. He started taking control of points and putting Murray under stress. He wasn't able to get the break back, but he changed the tenor of the match, and by the start of the second set he was firmly in control. But for a return of nerviness serving for the match at 5-2 in the fourth, and again for his first two match points at 5-4, he pretty much dismantled Andy Murray. He showed again that when he's playing his best, no one can touch him.
And now the French Open is done. I'm gonna go ahead and say that I watched too much of it--being in front of the TV that much was not positive for my mental health. But based on my zero drafts and my notes, I think I have some solid material for a really interesting piece, something far more ambitious than anything I've published here so far. This one's gonna take a while to write. Look for it sometime after the summer solstice.