In less than an hour, Anita Baker will be on that red carpet singing “America the Beautiful,” and shortly thereafter, it’ll be time for Serena and Jelena.
It is, also, bigger than a Saturday night match or a Sunday evening match–the traditional time for the women’s and men’s finals, respectively–and the biggest primetime slot ever dedicated for tennis: 9 p.m., CBS, Sunday night (the only other primetime Sunday night match was that ridiculous “Battle of the Sexes” exhibition in 1973).
The downside is that the women’s final will have plenty of competition tonight: NBC has the first Sunday night football game of the 2008 NFL season; ABC has a primetime benefit concert that’s featuring Janet Jackson and Jessica Simpson; MTV has the Video Music Awards; HBO has the season premiere of Entourage.
But! It’s women’s tennis on a Sunday night with tons of ratings potential. The USTA is giddy over the fact that they’ve got Serena Williams to showcase their game in an Open final for the first time since 2002.
It’s also going to be a really good match. For all the talk over Jelena Jankovic’s nerves, and her inability to win in big matches, she’s never really crumbled under high pressure. Last year when she played Venus Williams in an incredibly close quarterfinal match at the Open, Venus took command to win it–Jelena didn’t choke.
With expectations sky high for Serena, don’t be surprised if we have a major upset tonight.