Saturday, January 8, 2011

What a breath of fresh air. Greta Arn, that is. Ranked 177 in the world, she just keeps on keeping on as she steamrolls her way over the field at this week’s ASB Classic.

Not a grunt to be heard, either.

Already she had dealt to former world number one, Maria Sharapova, in the quarter-finals. This time it was the turn of 41st ranked German, Julia Goerges, to feel the tennis wrath of Arn.

Most would rightly expect such a lowly ranked competitor to at least have the decency to struggle through in three sets against more fancied opposition. Not Arn, though. No, she doesn’t have need for such offerings.

Here’s a woman that in a fifteen year pro career has won the princely sum of 500,000US dollars. There is many a modern day player that wouldn’t get out of bed for the opportunity to win less than that amount in one tournament, let alone over a decade and a half. Yet Arn does it all with the minimum of fuss.

There are no trainers in sight. Her coach is half way around the world, sitting at home, due to her having insufficient funds to fly him to New Zealand. She has no need to concern herself about which fancy outfits to wear. In between matches, she finds time to do interviews for television and the like, with a smile on her visage. Hell, she even manages the feat of smiling during her matches.

Just a little on the well rounded side then, it seems. The Hungarian does her country proud. A competitor that gets the utmost out of what ability she is lucky to possess. Unlike certain other pros. No names, of course.

Next year, tournament organisers, might like to shell out a few bucks on a free air ticket to bring Arn back to Auckland. They could do a lot worse. Big name she may not be. What she will give, at least, is every last little drop of effort she has to the cause. She certainly did that today in her 7-6, 6-3 victory over Goerges.

Perhaps it is the tough road that Arn has had to travel down all these years that allows her to keep her emotions under control when things don’t nessecarily go her way. Such as the time she led 4-2 in the first set, only to see her lead evaporate as Goerges rolled off three straight games, and had three set points over Arn in the tenth game.

Arn, ever the fighter, reduced the deficit to one set point, then, at 30-40, produced a high pressure ace to bring the game to deuce. Crisis averted, as she went on to level the match at 5-5. This all after her opponent had been on quite the roll. Georges’ serve had come into its own over the second half of the set. A mighty effort on the part of Arn, then, to quell the uprising of her opposite.

Both the next two games went to serve which brought about a tiebreaker.

Once again it was Arn who was the stronger mentally when the pressure came on, as she raced away with the tiebreak 7-3.

It had looked like, as in the first semi-final between Yanina Wikmayer and Shuai Peng, it was going to be a long afternoon for the two combatants.

But Arn put paid to any thoughts Goerges had of making a game of it, as she raced through the second set with relative ease.

Now all she has to do is play out another couple of sets in tommorrow's final and she will be able to collect a richly deserved payday.

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