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Shocked but not upset

| Monday, September 14, 2015

The upset keeps the world of sports on its toes. Just when you’re getting too far ahead of yourself, the underdog is there to (rudely) bring you down. And sometimes those are the best moments.

Serena Williams saw the biggest upset of her career — arguably one of the biggest in sports — in the U.S. Open semifinals on Friday. She had just two matches to win and she would have won all four Grand Slam singles titles. The last time that was done was in 1988 by Steffi Graf, whom Williams would have also tied for the most major titles with 22. Williams would have made tennis history.

Sadly, Williams didn’t make history. She lost to Italian Roberta Vinci, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. The world’s number one player against the 43rd. Williams had a 4-0 record against Vinci. Serena should have easily had this match in the bag.

As a huge Serena fan, I was bummed. As a tennis player, I felt her pain in losing. I think I speak for most people, sports fan or not, when I say I was devastated for her. To me, this was not one of those great upset moments.

She was so close to the biggest moment in her career, and just like that it was gone.

As a sports fan, I always love seeing a good upset; it’s exciting. Think of the New York Giants beating the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl, Notre Dame surprising Louisville in its five-overtime win in 2013 and the U.S. men’s hockey taking down the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics. But this upset is not like those. This was much more painful.

Even if you’re not a Serena fan, you have to admit you feel bad for her. How could Vinci do that?

We were about to witness one of the greatest feats in sports history, and the unranked Vinci took the possibility of that achievement away.

You’d think after all this, Vinci would at least win the U.S. Open title, but she didn’t! She ended up losing to fellow Italian and former doubles partner Flavia Pennetta, 7-6, 6-2, in Saturday’s U.S. Open final.

In my mind, her upset was totally pointless. It didn’t even get her a title.

But, I guess that’s the game we call sports. Stellar athletes like Williams are human, too. They have their good and bad days on the court, field, rink, etc., and those not-so-famous stellar athletes like Vinci are the underdogs who keep the game fresh. While this upset wasn’t my favorite to see, that is the name of the game.

Maybe Serena’s 33-match win streak was getting a little boring. Maybe it’s about time we see some fresh faces on the tour. It could be time to give the Vincis and Pennettas a little more notice.

Like I said, it is the underdogs who surprise us and keep us coming back for more.

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About Kit Loughran

My name is Kit Loughran, and I am a senior at the University of Notre Dame. I am a Marketing major and Journalism minor. I write for the Sports Department of The Observer and cover Men's Soccer, Lacrosse, and Golf.

Contact Kit
  • Two points:

    1.) “In my mind, her upset was totally pointless. It didn’t even get her a title.”

    To any athlete at any level, no win, even an “upset one”, is “pointless”. To both “winner” and “loser”. A comment like this belies a complete lack of knowledge of or experience with what it’s like to be “in the moment”, in “crunch time”.

    2.) “Maybe it’s about time we see some fresh faces on the tour. It could be time to give the Vincis and Pennettas a little more notice.”

    Ah…
    Serena Williams: birthday, 9/26/81, 33 years of age
    Roberta Vinci: birthday, 2/18/83, 32 years of age (now retired)
    Flavia Pennetta: birthday, 2/25/82, 33 years of age (future playing plans unclear at posting time)

    A little research? maybe?? perhaps???