Kim Clijsters outplayed Serena Williams in the US Open semifinals on Saturday night, despite being only three tournaments into a comeback and having a dismal pre-retirement record against Serena. (Saturday’s straight-set victory brings Clijsters win-loss record to 2-7 vs. S. Williams.) The unseeded Belgian will play teenager and first time Major finalist, Caroline Wozniacki, for the title on Sunday evening.
This should be the big US Open story after almost two days of rain delay, but it isn’t. Instead, we have The Great Serena Williams Meltdown of 2009.
Here’s the sterilized statement from the Tournament Director:
Statement from Tournament Referee Brian Earley regarding the end of the Kim Clijsters vs. Serena Williams match: Serena Williams was assessed a Code Violation, Warning, for racquet abuse after losing the first set, 6-4.
At 5-6, 15-30, Miss Williams was called for a foot fault on her second serve, making the score 15-40. She then yelled something at the line umpire, who reported it to the chair umpire. Based on the report, Miss Williams was assessed a Code Violation, point penalty, for Unsportsmanlike Conduct, ending the match.
Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Earley, but inquiring minds want to know: What exactly did Serena say to the linesperson who (mistakenly?) called the foot fault?
Answer: “I swear to God I’ll fucking take this ball and shove it down your fucking throat! Do you hear me? I swear to God. You better be glad–you better be fucking glad that I’m not, I swear.”
1. Unedited live broadcast on Westcoast.
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1. Closer shot of Serena’s outburst at the lines woman.
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To recap. . .
Brian Earley to the linesperson: “What did she say to you?”
Lines person: “She said ‘fuck you.'”
Serena runs up: “Are you scared? Because I said I’d get you? I’m sorry because a lot of people have said a lot worse.” Awkward pause and then Serena digs her hole a little deeper: “I didn’t say I would kill you! Are you serious?”
(Psst! Serena! You’re only making it worse.)
In her post match presser, Serena admitted that she’d misheard the linesperson’s report – the linesperson actually didn’t tattle about Serena’s threats.
Q. On court it was picked up where you said, I would never say such‑and‑such to you.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Because I think she said I would kill you, and I was like, What? I was like, Wait a minute.
But then I had misheard. She had never said that. So that was just something ‑‑ I was like, Whoa. Because I was like, Wait a minute. Let’s not ‑‑ because I’m not that way. So.
She was like, No, I didn’t say that. She said something else. I said, Oh, okay. I get it. And I was totally fine, because at that point I realized I got a point penalty and it was match point.
What can I do? I’m not going to complain. It was what it was.
Am I the only one who finds all of this mildly amusing? Maybe I’m just twisted. Too many tennis snuff films.
It appears that Serena was remarkably subdued in her post match press conference. (I’ll try to update with a better quality one when it becomes available):
Best excuse ever: “My idol is John McEnroe.”
But this is the line Serena will need to cut out and tape to her bathroom mirror: “It pays to always play your best and always be your best and always act your best no matter what.” Amen.
Click here for the full transcript.
What’s your take?
The always upbeat Kim Clijsters Twittered her thoughts at around 2am, NYC time:
That’s great, Kim, but get some rest, okay? The women’s final is Sunday evening, broadcast live on ESPN2 starting at 9:00pm, Eastern.
Serena will be looking for consolation/redemption on Monday, when she and Venus play for the US Open doubles title. Their opponents are still TBD – the Black/Huber vs. Stosur/Stubbs semifinal will be played on Sunday. The women’s doubles final will be broadcast on Monday at 1:00pm ET on ESPN2.
Oh, and to “wrap” Day 13: Rafael Nadal is finally into the semis with a straight sets win over Fernando Gonzalez. He and Juan Martin del Potro will play on Sunday at noon, ET – the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Federer vs. Djokovic follows at 4:30pm. CBS will broadcast the match, ominously, “following football.”
At least we don’t have the old “Roger gets lucky with the scheduling” controversy. Right?