Tag Archive | "Petrova"

A Breakdown Of Week 1 At Sony 2009

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Breakdown Of Week 1 At Sony 2009


img_0942Fittingly, as the Sony Ericsson Open turns twenty-five this year, the first week of competition has already provided tons of fireworks on the courts. Here are just a few of the most memorable occurrences.

The initial two days were taken up by the qualifying rounds. Despite receiving wildcard entries, former major champions Swede Thomas Johansson and Argentine Gaston Gaudio did not move on to the main draw. In addition, the Americans teenager Donald Young and veteran Vincent Spadea failed to advance. On the other hand, Taylor Dent, whose career has had fits and starts due to niggling injuries, progressed into the primary field along with Michael Russell, Amer Delic and thirty-something Jill Craybas.

As the action got underway for real on Thursday, Dent’s hot hand continued.  The American beat two top twenty players in the second and third rounds, Spaniards Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo respectively.  In the round of 16, Dent will face Roger Federer; this will be their first encounter. Albeit the world number two has had multiple kinks in his game, Dent will need to pull off the performance of a lifetime in order to vanquish Federer. Surprisingly, the 14th seed Argentine David Nalbandian made a second round exit while James Blake, the 13th seed, was halted in the third round by Czech Thomas Berdych.

The sole top ten male to scent any whiff of difficulties in the third round was Frenchman Gael Monfils. The 9th seed clawed back from a double break deficit and saved two match points against Marat Safin, the 22nd seed and former major champion, before prevailing in a third set tiebreaker. Top seed Rafael Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Juan Martin Del Potro, Gilles Simon, Fernando Verdasco and Jo- Wilfried Tsonga are also into the second week.

Much of the ruckus appeared to be on the women’s side. The rain was not the only nuisance at Crandon Park on Sunday as a ragging storm decimated through the elite ten. Actually, the turbulence commenced Saturday evening with the last match of the day featuring world number three, Serb Jelena Jankovic. The usually steady Serb was ushered out by Argentine Gisela Dulko.  Jankovic’s game has been stagnating; for the second consecutive tournament, she has made a second round exit. After the euphoria of the previous night and the quick turnaround, Dulko lost the next afternoon in straight sets to Czech Iveta Besenova. Another Serb Ana Ivanovic, the world number 7, was also excused in the third round by gifted Hungarian youngster Agnes Szavay in three sets.

Read the full story

Posted in Local News, NewsComments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Australian Open Heating Up


Along with the summer temperatures, the action on court is scorching at the first major of the year. Let’s review the key developments of the initial week and try to predict what could unfold the last days at the Australian Open.

The unexpected casualties in the preliminary rounds were Ana Ivanovic and Venus Williams, the fifth and sixth seeds, respectively. Venus was shocked in the second round by Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro after having the match on her racket.  Suarez Navarro, a quarterfinalist at last year’s French Open, is now in the round of 16. Ivanovic, the 2008 finalist, was eliminated in the third round by 19 year-old Russian Alisa Kleybanova.  This was not a great surprise.  Since winning the French Open, Ivanovic has yet to make it past the third round at a major. Agnieszka Radwaska, the ninth seed, fell in the first round, beaten by Kateryna Bondarenko. The biggest upset on the men’s section was David Nalbandian, the tenth seed, going down in the second round to Yen-Hsun Lu ranked 61.

As we enter the meat and potatoes part of the tournament, the top four men remain on track to collide in the semifinals. With the exception of Novak Djokovic, the defending champion, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have looked extremely sharp. Of the two Americans left, Andy Roddick, the seventh seed, may represent the biggest headache pending on Djokovic’s side of the draw. Roddick’s recent weight lost and coaching change appear to be paying dividends. Andy has dispatched his opponents expeditiously, so an upset could be brewing. James Blake, the ninth seed, has played very well. However, Blake will meet last year’s finalist, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in the round of 16. Vanquishing Tsonga may be too tall an assignment for the American. Nadal will face Fernando Gonzalez, the 2007 finalist. Gonzalez may not have much left in the tank after his high quality, over four hour long, five setter against Frenchman Richard Gasquet. Federer will battle Tomas Berdych. Should Roger advance, waiting will be either Juan Martin Del Potro or Marin Cilic, two tough customers. The French are assured of having at least one man in the quarterfinals with Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils playing one another next. With the leftover field competing so well, the odds maker may need to reshuffle their numbers. The favorite may have to be Nadal, Federer and Murray in that order.

Read the full story

Posted in NewsComments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

No Mercy For Zvonareva As Jankovic Mows Over Another Russian In Moscow


For the third consecutive week, Serbian Jelena Jankovic faced a Russian in the finals. At the Kremlin Cup, her opponent was Vera Zvonareva. The result was the same, as Jankovic beat Zvonareva 6-2, 6-4.

Zvonareva’s first tier I final in front of a partisan crowd was not a delightful experience. After opening the match with a forehand crosscourt winner, Vera threw away a game point and with a bunch of errors gave Jankovic the break. Subsequently, Jelena literally pinned Vera into a corner resulting in four straight forehand errors for a love game 2-0. After blowing a 40-15 lead, Zvonareva finally got on the scoreboard after Jankovic produced a couple of forehand errors of her own 1-2. After holding serve comfortably, Jelena pressured Vera with her deep groundstrokes resulting in four consecutive forehand errors on the Russian’s best shot. Now, the Serb had a double break lead 4-1, then, dominated to take the first set.

Just as she had done in the first set, Jankovic started out the second by imposing her game. A sequence of unforced errors by Zvonareva gave her triple break point; Jankovic capitalized by curling in a forehand winner from way off the court. Despite being frustrated, Vera did not wither. After a backhand down the line by Jankovic misconnected, the players were at deuce. Later, Zvonareva connected on a sensational topspin lob for a break point which she converted 1-1. At that point, momentum appeared to have shifted. Moreover, Zvonareva obtained another break point when Jankovic misfired on a ball that skidded off the line. However, successive unforced errors by Vera equalized the set at 2-2. With a swinging volley and two forehand winners, Jankovic regained the lead 3-2. But refusing to cry uncle, Vera received another opportunity when her backhand hit the net and dropped in for a winner to give her double break point. Zvonareva converted and the players were back on serve 4-4. However, the ever-crafty Jankovic fabricated two backhand down the line winners for a double break which she capitalized on for a 5-4 lead. Then, with repeated unforced errors from Zvonareva, Jankovic secured the match.

Zvonareva can still rejoice. With this showing, she will climb up a notch in the rankings from 9 to 8. On the WTA, the ranking shuffle continues. With Serena Williams withdrawing from this event due to an ankle injury, Dinara Safina, Zvonareva’s opponent in the semifinals, will become the new number 2.

Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik dismissed the number one women’s doubles team Cara Black and Liezel Huber 6-4, 6-4 to take the cup. The men were also in action in Moscow. Russian Igor Kunitsyn defeated fellow countryman Marat Safin 7-6, 6-7, 6-3 to win his first ATP title.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jankovic Pelts Petrova In Germany To Ascent Back To Number One


At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final, a tier II contest, Serbian Jelena Jankovic clashed with Russian Nadia Petrova currently ranked 18 but formerly as high as number 3. Jankovic’s steadiness from the backcourt unnerved Petrova who ultimately fell 6-4, 6-3.

Jankovic began the match by breaking when Petrova missed a backhand volley. Then, the Serb fought off a couple of break points by getting the Russian to make some unforced errors for a 2-0 lead. With her big serve, Petrova kept the first serve within reach. But her primary nemesis continued to be the unforced errors; this cost Petrova a break point in the fourth game. On the other hand, Jankovic whose weakest stroke is undisputedly the serve, delivered a couple of aces to stretch her advantage to 4-2 and connected on another to lock away the first set.

Nadia started the second set behind the curve by missing a swinging volley and a backhand shot to give Jelena the early break. Petrova attempted to get back by stringing together a couple of winners for love-30, eventually getting a break point. Yet again, with successive unforced errors, Nadia lost the game. After a strong service game at 2-3, with an outright service return winner, Petrova got another break point which she converted when Jankovic at last made an unforced error. However, Nadia’s elation was brief; a miscue on the forehand and a backhand down the line winner by her opponent gave Jelena double break point. Subsequently, Jankovic kept herself in a long rally with a splendid defensive shot resulting in the error from Petrova. Thus, Jankovic was back on top 4-3. Serving at 3-5 to prolong the match, Petrova faced triple match point after she misstruck a forehand volley, made a crosscourt forehand error and Jankovic produced another backhand down the line winner. Then, Petrova netted a forehand to allow Jankovic to claim the set.

For Jankovic, Christmas came early. By Serena Williams losing in the second round to China’s Na Li, Jankovic reclaimed the number one ranking which she had held for just a week a few months ago despite not having a major trophy to her name. Another perk was that Jelena had her choice of a red Porsche convertible versus a $100,000 paycheck.

Turning to the doubles final, wildcard entrant and nascent team of German Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Swiss Patty Schynder defeated top seed Australian Rennae Stubbs and Czech Kveta Peschke 6-2, 6-4.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s Four In A Row As Del Potro Wins The Legg Mason Classic


Argentine teenager Juan Martin Del Potro claimed his fourth straight ATP title by beating Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-3 in the finals at the Legg Mason Classic. Seeded second Del Potro was the overwhelming favorite, but Troicki who ousted Andy Roddick, the top seed, in the quarterfinals proved to be a formidable challenger.

Del Potro early on showed signs of nervousness allowing Troicki to break and lead 3-1. Yet, despite not being in peak form, Juan Martin’s recent triumphs clearly have imbued him with confidence. Del Potro picked on Troicki’s poorer shot, the forehand, and with his crafty play and acute angles obtained two consecutive breaks to win the first set 6-3.

At the start of the second set, Troicki tried his best to pressure his opponent. The Serbian’s best opportunity to turn the match around came at 3-3 when he had double break point. But Del Portro’s ability to hit with depth and power was too much for Troicki. After failing to convert his break points, a deflated Troicki went on to lose his serve to give Del Potro a 5-3 lead. Still as Juan Martin served for the match, Viktor demonstrated that he was a tough rival to put down. The Argentine dismissed three break points and finally on championship point number four served an ace to close the deal.

Russian Nadia Petrova captured her first title of the year by crushing France’s Nathalie Dechy in the finals 6-2, 6-1 at the Western and Southern Financial Group women’s open in Cincinnati, a tier III event. Former world number one, Amelie Mauresmo also had a good run making it to the semifinals where she succumbed to compatriot Dechy in three sets.

The women and men will play this week at the Pilot Pen tournament where Del Potro will attempt to extend his 20 match winning streak and possibly become the winner of the U.S. Open series whereby he would be eligible for bonus money at the U.S. Open should he reach the finals. Russian Anna Chakvetadze, who has had a disappointing year thus far, will head the women’s field.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Safina Snaps Up Back-To-Back Title


The Rogers Cup final, a tier I tournament, was a contest between the experienced Russian Dinara Safina and the novice Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova. Safina’s steadiness was too much for her 19 year-old counterpart; Dinara cremated Cibulkova 6-2, 6-1.

Although there were flashes of brilliance from Cibulkova, the result never seemed in doubt. After holding serve to commence the proceedings, Safina broke her opponent to take 2-0 lead. After falling behind 1-5, Cibulkova hoped to turn things around as she had done with Jelena Jankovic, coming back from that exact deficit to win the set. After giving Cibulkova an opening as she served for the match and being broken, Dinara took advantage of Dominka’s service problems to take the set.

Under pressure at deuce the first game of the second set, Safina threw in consecutive aces to close out the game. After breaking Cibulkova, Safina went down break point which she erased with a second serve ace, then replicated another ace to seal the game for a 3-0 lead. Mainly a defensive player, Cibulkova failed to get many errors from Safina. The 2008 French Open Finalist continued to play smart tennis, pressuring Dominika to go for low percentage shots. After breaking Safina, Cibulkova lost her serve at love to go down 1-5. Serving for the match, Safina did not stumble and went on to make a second serve ace to seal the victory.

To make it to the finals, Cibulkova crushed Elena Dementieva in the second round, Nadia Petrova in the third round, Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals and Marion Bartoli in the semifinals. Cibulkova’s ranking will leap from 31 to 20 while Safina’s will creep up a notch to 7. With this win, Dinara tops the standings for the U.S Open series bonus money. The Rogers’ Cup is Safina’s second tier I title of the year.

At the Nordea Nordic Light Open in Sweden, a tier IV hardcourt tournament, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark crushed Russia’s Vera Dushevina in the finals 6-0, 6-2.

Maria Sharapova aggravated a previous shoulder problem in Montreal and will be sidelined for the Olympics and U.S. Open. Ana Ivanovic suffered a thumb injury during the tournament but should be present in New York. By losing to Tamira Paszek in the third round, Ivanovic will cede the number one ranking to countrywoman Jankovic.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wimbledon 2008: A Preview Of The Singles’ Draw


Once again, the Wimbledon seeding committee has upset the apple cart by utilizing its prerogative of not formulating the draw according to rankings. It is the only major that does not always abide by the rankings.

Thus, on the gentlemen’s side, Richard Gasquet currently the world number nine has been seeded ahead of James Blake ranked number eight. This is far from a minor detail. Gasquet’s semifinal finish last year probably influenced that decision, but his performance so far this year has been disastrous. For Blake, the implications are huge. Instead of meeting Andy Roddick seeded sixth in the semifinals, the two could potentially clash in the round of 16.

Marcos Baghdatis also reaped the fruits of his quarterfinal showing last year. Now ranked 25, Baghdatis is seeded tenth. Meanwhile, Stanislas Wawrinka, world number ten, in spite of his excellent season has been bumped to the number thirteen slot. Otherwise, the top seven players were seeded as expected.

For world number one Roger Federer, the road to the finals is paved with stones. In the first round, Federer faces former top ten player, Dominik Hrbaty. From there, things get more complex with Lleyton Hewitt, Fernando Gonzalez and possibly Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. For Rafael Nadal, it is harder to isolate potential pitfalls. Nadal recently beat Roddick on grass who is also on his side of the draw. Perhaps if Blake makes it to the semifinals, this may be problematic for Nadal considering that Blake leads him 3-2 in their head to head but they’ve always met on hardcourt.

The ladies’ seeding followed the rankings. Analyzing the top half of the draw, Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams should technically make it to the semifinals. For Ivanovic, speed bumps could include Patty Schnyder, Nicole Vaidosova and Agnes Szavay. On the other hand, Svetlana Kuznetsova or Agnieszka Radwanska may prevent Serena from getting to her projected engagement with Ivanovic. Defending champion Venus Williams’ journey to the trophy will be tough with Jelena Jankovic, Vera Zvonerava or Flavia Pennetta standing in her way in the quarterfinals. While Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina or Elena Dementieva may be semifinal obstacles for Venus. Similarly for Sharapova, her side of the draw is stacked with fellow Russians such Safina, Dementieva or Petrova who may stop her from advancing.

So, there is a lot to contemplate as we look ahead to next couple of weeks. On the women’s side, the draw appears wide open. Past major champions may have the edge because of their experience. With the gentlemen, considering that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic with their talent have distanced themselves so much from the rest of the field, it is hard to foresee another player as having even a marginal shot at the trophy. The question to be answered is whether this will be Federer’s sixth consecutive title or whether Nadal or Djokovic will manage to snatch it from Federer’s grasp.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Polish Pride: Radwanska Triumphant In Eastbourne


The International Women’s Open finals, the last grass court competition prior to Wimbledon, featured Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwanska, ranked 14th in the world and seeded 4th , against tour veteran Russian Nadia Petrova, ranked 22nd and seeded 8th . The day belonged to the youngster. Radwanska, a former Wimbledon junior champion, captured her first grass court WTA title by defeating Petrova 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.

In the middle of the first set, the players exchanged a few breaks of serve. The critical difference came at 4-5. Petrova after breaking to get back on serve, leading 40-15, lost the next four points and the set due to brilliant play by the teenager.

Although Petrova possesses a big serve, she aided her opponent’s plight by throwing in a few double faults. But, in the second set despite some initial difficulties, Petrova managed to hold on to her serve. Further, the Russian pounced on whatever second serve came from Radwanska. That tactic along with increasing her first serve percentage and moving forward to finish points at net proved very effective. Petrova was rewarded with a break point and went up 3-1. Yet, in the eight game, with a double fault and missed volley, Petrova’s lead vanished 4-4. Serving to extend the set with a tiebreak, thanks to a net court and an error on the return, Petrova prevented Radwanska from claiming the title. In the tiebreak, the Russian saved three match points. Finally at 11 points all, Nadia served an ace which got her to set point. A weak second serve by Radwanska produced a deep return reply by Petrova, resulting in Agnieszka making an error. Now, it was on to a third set.

Despite Petrova skating on thin ice at times, there were no break chances for either player in the first eight games. The golden opportunity came for Radwanska in the ninth, which she took to get in front 5-4. Then, the Polish teen kept her composure and closed out the match on her service game. Albeit Radwanska won three prior titles this year, as a tier II event, Eastbourne marked the biggest win of her career. Currently, she has a perfect record in finals 4-0.

The only top ten players at Eastbourne Svetlana Kuznetsova and Marion Bartoli, seeded one and two respectively, were upset. The former dispatched in the second round and the latter ousted in the semifinals by Radwanska. Could this be a peak at Agnieszka’s future success next week at Wimbledon? It’s hard to predict. Justine Henin was victorious the last two years at Eastbourne. Yet, the last woman to win both trophies was Jana Novotna in 1998.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Facebook

Twitter

Archives