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Wozniacki Lives Another Day, Clijsters And Henin Also In the Round of 16

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Wozniacki Lives Another Day, Clijsters And Henin Also In the Round of 16


At the Sony Ericsson Open, for the second consecutive match, Caroline Wozniacki struggled. But, the world number two found a way to prevail 1-6,6-1,6-4 over Maria Kirilenko.

After holding serve, Kirilenko produced a volley winner to set up break point.  When Wozniacki’s backhand sailed long, Kirilenko broke for 2-0.  Subsequent to consolidating, Kirilenko’s aggressiveness by coming to net paid off again as she captured a second break.  Bothered by the humidity and a viral ailment, Wozniacki required a medical time out down 1-4. Kirilenko ran away with the first set the next two games.

As Wozniacki adjusted to the conditions, her play improved. Caroline took control of the second set forcing a decisive third.  At 3 all, Wozniacki obtained double break point.  Although Kirilenko got to deuce, down the road, with a couple of winners, Wozniacki broke for 4-3.  Yet, the next game, Kirilenko erased game point by her opponent and leveled the set at 4 a piece.  However, with a forehand error, Kirilenko donated double break point, Wozniacki accepted the gift with a forehand up the line winner.  Later, with a forehand crosscourt winner, Wozniacki secured the victory.

From MiamiTennisNews.com:
Q.  Do you think it was hard for Maria to play against you knowing she saw something might have been wrong?  Was [it] hard for her to change tactics or [did she think] you might not make it the whole match…?
WOZNIACKI:  I don’t know.  That’s difficult for me to say.  She played a great first set, and she gave me the chance to come back in the second, and then I got the belief and I started feeling better.  I just kept hanging in there, and my fighting spirit got to me and I was there.

Q.  You made it to the finals last week at Indian Wells.  Do you think maybe also part of it is fatigue that you’re experiencing with a lot of tennis the last few weeks?
WOZNIACKI:  I feel these are just  they’re really, really highranked tournaments just under the Grand Slams, and they are almost twoweek tournaments just like the Grand Slams. Everybody is playing.  It takes a lot of strength not only physically but mentally, as well.  You don’t really get to come down after such a big final, so I think maybe it just got to me. Then I had a huge match the first day where I almost went out, and I just think that just took everything out of me. Again, my fighting spirit didn’t give up, and I’m still here.

Short turnaround time for Caroline, she plays her fourth round match tomorrow.  Wozniacki battles Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who defeated Francesca Schiavone 7-5,6-3.  Therefore, the advice from MiamiTennisNews.com was “Get plenty of rest, plenty of fluids”:
WOZNIACKI:  Thank you.

Another easier than expected day at the office for Kim Clijsters; she crushed Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-0.  In two matches, Clijsters has dropped only one game.  Clijsters is unlikely to have a walk in the park her round of 16 match, she takes on defending champion Victoria Azarenka.  In great form, Azarenka beat Lucie Safarova 6-4,6-2.

Justine Henin’s third round match against Dominika Cibulkova was a see-saw ride with ten breaks of serve. In each set, Cibulkova got the early break, but failed to impose her will on Henin.  With a double break advantage, Henin was broken the first time serving for the match.  The second time around, after Cibulkova saved two match points, Henin closed the deal 6-4,6-4.  Therefore MiamiTennisNews.com asked Henin:

Q.  What was most troubling to you about her game?
HENIN:  Well, she plays well, you know, she runs a lot, and she has [a] pretty good backhand.  She’s a real fighter.  I mean, she has a strong personality, and it was the first time I’ve played against her.  That’s never easy to play someone you don’t know.  So that was something new for myself. But, I mean, I was glad about my reaction in both sets to come back.  And especially after a good win two days ago, it wasn’t that easy today, but I’m glad I’m in, you know, in the last 16.

Henin’s next round opponent is Vera Zvonareva.  The latter won in straight sets against Sara Errani.

In the night session, Jelena Jankovic vanquished Elena Vesnina 7-6,6-3.  Sam Stosur, Jankovic’s subsequent challenge, stormed back after dropping the first set to Virginie Razzano 4-6,7-5,6-1.

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Monday’s Agenda At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open

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Monday’s Agenda At the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open


The men wrap up their third round at the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open today while fourth round action commences for the women.

Mardy Fish tries to avoid the lull that postdates a triumph over a player of Andy Murray’s caliber. In the first match of the day, Fish confronts Feliciano Lopez.  Their three prior meetings, Lopez won twice on hardcourt while Fish on grass. Afterwards, Roger Federer takes on veteran Florent Serra for the first time.  Following is Venus Williams and Daniela Hantuchova.  Williams will be shooting for 10-0 record versus her opponent.  The day session caps off with a jewel of a match, Kim Clijsters against Victoria Azarenka. In Toronto last year, Clijsters was victorious at their maiden encounter.

On stadium court, the evening program has Fernando Gonzalez clashing with Juan Monaco.  Gonzalez has prevailed at their five preceding rendezvous. The finale is Justine Henin versus Vera Zvonareva.  Henin has won all five prior matches, the last one was in Zurich in 2007.  Zvonareva is without question a different player.

On the grandstand, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Marion Bartoli do battle. Later, Marcos Baghdatis plays Marin Cilic, the inaugural showdown for these players.  Two other top seeds in action at that location are Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling.

The outer courts have plenty of stimulating singles and doubles matches.  After fighting her way into the fourth round yesterday, Caroline Wozniacki is back to face talented youngster Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  Although Wozniacki carried their sole meeting in New Haven last year, with her dealing with a viral illness and Anastasia much improved, it will be a tough task.  In addition, Jelena Jankovic tussles with Sam Stosur for the second tournament in a row.  Jankovic has a 3-0 record versus Stosur.  Top doubles seed Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic collide with Nicolas Almagro and Tommy Robredo.  John Isner and Sam Querrey try to cut down fourth seed Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi.

Below is Monday’s full order of play :

MONDAY, MARCH 29

STADIUM start 11:00 am
M Fish (USA) vs [29] F Lopez (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] R Federer (SUI) vs F Serra (FRA) – ATP
[3] V Williams (USA) vs [19] D Hantuchova (SVK) – WTA

Not Before 4:30 PM
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 7:00 PM
[9] F Gonzalez (CHI) vs [22] J Monaco (ARG) – ATP

Not Before 8:30 PM
[WC] J Henin (BEL) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[1] S Kuznetsova (RUS) vs [13] M Bartoli (FRA) – WTA

Not Before 12:30 PM
Y Shvedova (KAZ) vs [6] A Radwanska (POL) – WTA
[10] F Verdasco (ESP) vs [23] J Melzer (AUT) – ATP
[25] M Baghdatis (CYP) vs [7] M Cilic (CRO) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
P Petzschner (GER) vs [5] R Soderling (SWE) – ATP

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) vs [8] E Makarova (RUS) / S Peng (CHN) – WTA
L Dekmeijere (LAT) / P Schnyder (SUI) vs [4] L Raymond (USA) / R Stubbs (AUS) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs N Almagro (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) – ATP
J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) vs [4] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) – ATP
F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
[19] S Wawrinka (SUI) vs [13] M Youzhny (RUS) – ATP
H Zeballos (ARG) vs [16] T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
[12] Y Wickmayer (BEL) vs T Bacsinszky (SUI) – WTA
[22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) or [28] E Vesnina (RUS) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) or [WC] K Clijsters (BEL) / K Flipkens (BEL) vs G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) – To Be Arranged

COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
[3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs T Bellucci (BRA) / M Lopez (ESP) – ATP
[7] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs A Clement (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP

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Nadal, Clijsters and Henin On the Schedule Sunday At 2010 SEO

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Nadal, Clijsters and Henin On the Schedule Sunday At 2010 SEO


The Sony Ericsson Open’s fifth session offers a plethora of fascinating matches.  The ATP begins its third round action with the bottom half of the draw which includes Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick playing. Conversely, the women’s bottom half which comprises players such as Jelena Jankovic, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin finishes off its third round.

First up on stadium court are Kim Clijsters and Shahar Peer.  At their only meeting in Sydney in 2007, Clijsters had a straight sets victory.  A quarterfinalist at the 2007 U.S. and Australian Open, Peer’s game has evolved over the three years. Therefore, this has the promise of an intriguing match.  After the ladies, Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian take center stage. Since coming back from hip surgery in 2009 and an abdominal tear this January, earlier this month, Nalbandian carried his country to a quarterfinal berth in Davis Cup. Although Nalbandian is now ranked 161st , with his having a winning record against Nadal, the Spaniard will be on his toes.

Later on stadium court, Maria Kirilenko collides with Caroline Wozniacki. The latter is 4-0 versus the former; they last met two weeks ago also in the third round at Indian Wells. The afternoon session terminates with Andy Roddick facing Sergiy Stakhovsky.  On his way to capturing the St Petersburg Open last year, Stakhovsky defeated former world number one, Marat Safin.  Although this is their initial showdown, Roddick could be tested.

On the grandstand, Henin battles Dominika Cibulkova.  A first encounter for both ladies, it will interesting to see which one stands tall after the match.  Victoria Azarenka meets Lucie Safarova.  The defending champion has a perfect 3-0 record against Safarova. Another first time meeting is John Isner versus Juan Carlos Ferrero.  On the outer courts, Sam Stosur and Vera Zvonareva both square off versus opponents against whom they have unblemished records.

At night, Jankovic clashes against Elena Vesnina.  Jankovic owns her rival 4-0 in their head to head series. That’s followed by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Phillip Kohlschreiber.  These players have split their prior two matches.

Here is Sunday’s full schedule :

SUNDAY, MARCH 28

STADIUM start 11:00 am
[14] K Clijsters (BEL) vs [17] S Peer (ISR) – WTA

Not Before 1:00 PM
[WC] D Nalbandian (ARG) vs [4] R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 3:00 PM
[32] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs [2] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
[6] A Roddick (USA) vs S Stakhovsky (UKR) – ATP

Not Before 7:00 PM
[7] J Jankovic (SRB) vs [28] E Vesnina (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 8:30 PM
[8] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [28] P Kohlschreiber (GER) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am

[33] N Almagro (ESP) vs J Chardy (FRA) – ATP
[27] T Bellucci (BRA) vs O Rochus (BEL) – ATP
[WC] J Henin (BEL) vs [26] D Cibulkova (SVK) – WTA
L Safarova (CZE) vs [4] V Azarenka (BLR) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[17] J Isner (USA) vs [12] J Ferrero (ESP) – ATP

COURT 1 start 10:00 am
N Grandin (RSA) / A Spears (USA) vs Y Chan (TPE) / J Zheng (CHN) – WTA
M Llodra (FRA) / A Ram (ISR) vs F Lopez (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP
[15] F Schiavone (ITA) vs [22] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs P Cuevas (URU) / F Gonzalez (CHI) – ATP
[6] B Mattek-Sands (USA) / Z Yan (CHN) or M Kirilenko (RUS) / A Radwanska (POL) vs [WC] K Clijsters (BEL) / K Flipkens (BEL) – WTA

COURT 2 start 11:00 am
V Razzano (FRA) vs [9] S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
S Errani (ITA) vs [11] V Zvonareva (RUS) – WTA
[15] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [24] I Karlovic (CRO) – ATP
[18] T Robredo (ESP) vs B Becker (GER) – ATP

Not Before 5:00 PM
[WC] R Harrison (USA) / N Lapentti (ECU) vs E Butorac (USA) / R Ram (USA) – ATP

COURT 3 start 10:00 am
J Coin (FRA) / V King (USA) vs K Jans (POL) / V Uhlirova (CZE) – WTA
J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) vs [6] S Aspelin (SWE) / P Hanley (AUS) – ATP
I Andreev (RUS) / M Youzhny (RUS) vs M Fish (USA) / M Knowles (BAH) – ATP
[3] L Dlouhy (CZE) / L Paes (IND) vs R Hutchins (GBR) / J Kerr (AUS) – ATP

COURT 6 start 10:00 am
[7] F Cermak (CZE) / M Mertinak (SVK) vs R Lindstedt (SWE) / H Tecau (ROU) – ATP
S Huss (AUS) / W Moodie (RSA) vs [4] M Bhupathi (IND) / M Mirnyi (BLR) – ATP
G Dulko (ARG) / F Pennetta (ITA) vs [2] N Llagostera Vives (ESP) / M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) – WTA
[3] N Petrova (RUS) / S Stosur (AUS) vs O Govortsova (BLR) / A Kudryavtseva (RUS) – WTA

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Djokovic Done In By Rochus, Wozniacki Worms Through

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Djokovic Done In By Rochus, Wozniacki Worms Through


Whilst rain had been forecasted in Miami at the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday, what was unexpected was Novak Djokovic’s second round departure.  Olivier Rochus ousted the world number two 6-2,6-7,6-4.  Simultaneously on court 1, Caroline Wozniacki, the women’s number two, was on the verge of an early exit herself.  However, Wozniacki survived against Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6,6-3,6-4.

Rochus broke in the opening game.  After consolidating, Olivier placed a beautiful backhand down the line winner to set up triple break point.  Rochus converted a second break when Djokovic’s backhand sailed long.  After erasing a break point and extending his lead to 5-1, Rochus closed out the set his next time out.

In the second set, Rochus again obtained triple break point and with a backhand down the line winner took a 3-2 lead.  But, Djokovic got back on even terms promptly breaking the next game.  The set went to a tiebreaker where Rochus got ahead early on.  Yet, Djokovic weathered the storm and stole the set.

The decisive set, after holding serve, Rochus was gifted a double fault by Djokovic and broke for 2-1.  Then, by donating to his opponent a couple of errors, Rochus lost his edge. Soon though, Rochus worked his way to double break point and capitalized when Djokovic’s forehand traveled long. Later on, Rochus fought off a break point and stretched his advantage to 4-1.  After failing to secure the insurance break, serving at 5-3, Rochus committed a string of errors allowing Djokovic to stay in the match.  Still, with miscues by Djokovic, Rochus manufactured break point/match point.  Olivier pocketed the match when another Novak forehand went astray.

After the match, MiamiTennisNews inquired:
Q.  Were you having problems breathing on the court?  Looked like the conditions were a little bit heavy out there.
DJOKOVIC:  Yeah, it was a bit humid, but, you know, he was making me run a lot so points were really long.  That was exhausting.

Q.  You’ve been playing a lot of tennis.  Are you thinking of maybe rescheduling for the clay season?
DJOKOVIC:  I don’t know.  I will have more time now I guess to rest and prepare well for clay.

On to the ladies, after dropping the first set to Pironkova, Wozniacki was behind in the second set.  The world number two battled back and captured the break for 5-3.  Subsequently, Wozniacki held to push the match to a third set.

In the ultimate set, Pironkova got a break early on and consolidated for 3-0.  After finally getting on the board, Wozniacki earned triple break point and converted.  Later at 3 all, Wozniacki took a go ahead break for 4-3.  However, Pironkova fought back to 4 a piece.  But, a resilient Wozniacki manufactured another break point and put herself in front 5-4 when Pironkova’s forehand up the line sailed long.  Then, on her third match point, as a forehand from Pironkova landed wide, Wozniacki punched her ticket into the third round.

With the rain backlog, Kim Clijsters’ match originally scheduled on stadium court was bounced to an outer court.  Regardless, for Clijsters, it turned out to be a practice session with a 6-1,6-1 thumping of Petra Kvitova.  Like Clijsters, Vera Zvonareva put on a clinic against Melanie Oudin 6-1, 6-2. Maria Kirilenko crawled out of a 5-2 deficit in the third set against Melinda Czink to pilfer the match in the tiebreaker.  After losing the first set, Lucie Safarova seized the second set tiebreaker then rolled over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6.7-6,6-2.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 22nd seed, continues to impress; the youngster beat Tamira Paszek  7-6,4-6,6-3 for a third round berth.   Before the rain came, Victoria Azarenka, the defending champion, had a 6-3,6-2 victory over Alexandra Dulgheru. Jelena Jankovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Elena Vesnina and Shahar Peer were straight sets winners.  Samatha Stosur was pushed to a third set by Carla Suarez Navarro and made it through.

Elena Dementieva, the 5th seed, suffered her 11th defeat to Justine Henin 6-3,6-2. Alisa Kleybanova, the 24th seed, fell to Sara Errani 6-4,7-5 while Jie Zheng, seeded 20th, was upset by Virginie Razzano in straight sets.  For Alize Cornet, it was another disappointing tournament with an early ousting, this time by Francesca Schiavone.  Schiavone prevailed 6-3,6-2.  After being on the road six weeks and some heartbreaking losses, Cornet’s 2010 record is now 6-9.

MiamiTennisNews wanted to know about Cornet’s state of mind:

Q. You look physically tired, are you also mentally tired?
CORNET:  Maybe a little, it’s already many weeks that I’m away from home.  I have not cut back in terms of training and I am someone who trains a lot usually. I rarely give myself time off, days of rest. I am becoming cognizant that I should take resting a little more seriously and from time to time award myself a day off. However, I think it’s difficult with long stretches of tournaments as such.

Djokovic was followed on stadium court by Rafael Nadal.  In no time, Nadal dispatched Taylor Dent 6-4,6-3.  Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a no drama night with straight set wins over their opponents Igor Andreev and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez respectively.  Ivan Ljubicic, the champion at Indian Wells last week, was forced to retire against Benjamin Becker after carrying the first set and the first game in the second due to a back injury.  It was a tough day for the American males with Sam Querrey and James Blake going down after winning their first sets to Jeremy Chardy and Thomas Bellucci respectively. But, John Isner avoided the upset with a 7-6,2-6,7-6 victory over Michael Russell.  David Nalbandian, Ivo Karlovic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Phillip Kohlschreiber advanced.

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WTA Aussie Open Mid Tournament Recap

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WTA Aussie Open Mid Tournament Recap


img_3627_jhAfter eight days, the Australian Open field has been narrowed.  Here’s a synopsis of the early round stumbles, near misses and a crack at determining a champion.

Maria Kirilenko rocked Rod Laver Arena with a first day, first round, first match upset of 14th seed Maria Sharapova.  With a suspect serve, will and grit could not pull Sharapova through her first competitive match of the season.  Not resting on her laurels, Kirilenko progressed to the round of 16 where she received an early Easter gift from Dinara Safina.  Nine games into the first set, Safina threw in the towel because of a back injury.  As a result, Kirilenko reaches her initial major quarterfinal and will play Jie Zheng, the 2008 Wimbledon semifinalist.  Zheng ousted 11th seed Marion Bartoli in the third round, then took care of Alona Bondarenko. Now, one of these women has the opportunity to advance to her first Aussie Open semifinal.

Waiting in the wing for Kirilenko and Zheng is perhaps Justine Henin.  The 2004 Australian champion had to work tirelessly to book a quarterfinal spot.  Henin’s second round meeting with Elena Dementieva lived up to the hype with top-notch groundstrokes by both players.  Upon surviving that encounter, Henin came close to saying cheerio in the third round.  Alisa Kleybenova demanded  Henin’s best before going down in three sets.  A similar performance was required by Henin in the round of 16 with U.S. Open semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer proving a tough kill.  Again, Henin needed to go the distance to seal the win and a date with Nadia Petrova in the quarters.

Petrova was probably regarded as the Russian least likely to succeed at the start of the Open.  However, after dismantling U.S. Open champ Kim Clijsters in the third round and ushering out French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova in round four, Petrova is no doubt a formidable adversary. Therefore, if Petrova continues along the same lines, Henin may be in for a colossal surprise.

Defending champion Serena Williams has been impressive in marching to the round of 16.  Serena has yet to drop serve nor a set.  Her toughest test will be Aussie hopeful Sam Stosur in the upcoming round.  With a big serve and a win over Serena in Stanford last year, Stosur has the tools to upstage the world number one.

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Analysis of the 2010 Australian Open Draw

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Analysis of the 2010 Australian Open Draw


australian_open_logoThe Australian Open draw is out.  More than any prior year, in this imprecise game of predictions, the only certainty is the uncertainty in determining a frontrunner for the trophy on both the ladies’ and gentlemen’s side.  With no one having a conspicuous edge, with few exceptions, anyone in the top ten can be regarded as a legitimate contender.  Moreover, on the women’s side, the return of some old faces with previous success at majors means that it’s is truly anybody’s title.

In the top half of the draw, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko and Robyn Soderling are the highest seeds respectively. Astonishingly, if the last couple of months are an accurate barometer, Davydenko is for the first time a true threat to make it all the way to the final.  After wrapping 2009 with the ATP World tour finals trophy, just  days ago, Davydenko brought down Federer and Rafael Nadal to take the title in Qatar.  However, the question remains as to whether Davydenko can translate that type of success to a best of five set tournament over two weeks. If the draw proceeds as expected, Davydenko will have a crack at Federer in the quarters and Djokovic or Soderling in the semis.

For his part, Federer has a pretty challenging road in attempting to reach the final.  In the first round, the world number one faces the ever dangerous Igor Andreev.  Subsequently, there are possible match-ups with Australian Open finalists Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis in the round of 16. Other than Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist in ’09, is a potential in the quarters. So, Federer will need to be on his toes to advance beyond the quarters.

Third seed Djokovic should have a fairly unobstructed run to the quarters.  Still, Richard Gasquet who is getting back in the swing of the game may be a problem for Djokovic in the round of 16. Furthermore, on that side of the draw, majors’ finalists Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Soderling could clash in the round of 16.  With both Tsonga and Soderling potential quarterfinal opponents for Djokovic and with both having wins over the latter, a Djokovic/Federer semifinal is in far from a foregone conclusion.

In the bottom half of the draw, for the defending champion Nadal and Andy Murray, technically, their path to a quarterfinal showdown appears uncomplicated. Yet, Radek Stepanek, a potential round of 16 encounter for Nadal, is perhaps the sole question mark.  In Murray’s case, a healthy Gael Monfils can spell trouble in the round of 16.  But, with Monfils fighting injury, Murray will not be bothered.

Last year’s semifinalist Andy Roddick has another golden opportunity to move at least to the quarterfinal despite Fernando Gonzalez seemingly in his way.  Also, with U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro fettered by a wrist injury, his progress deep into the draw is in doubt.  Del Potro is slated to see Marin Cilic in the quarters or Roddick in the semis.

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Petra Kvitova: A Promising Prospect

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Petra Kvitova: A Promising Prospect


The following article was authored by MiamiTennisNews.com and appeared on the pages of OnTheBaseline.com as part of their “2010 Players to Watch” series.  It is being republished on MiamiTennisNews.com with permission from OnTheBaseline.com.

players_to_watch_480x250-10Whilst the two consonants comprising the introduction of her surname may be a source of consternation as to its pronunciation, in Petra Kvitova‘s case, this will shortly be an aberration. In light of this teenager’s memorable accomplishments in 2009, it is safe to assume that her name will be fluidly rolling off tennis fans’ tongues for the foreseeable future.

Hailing from the Czech Republic, earlier this year, at the age of 18, Kvitova bagged her maiden Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title in Hobart by defeating compatriot and seasoned rival Iveta Benesova. With that victory, Kvitova cracked the top 40 for the first time. Weeks later though at the Australian Open, Kvitova had the misfortune of drawing 14th ranked phenom Victoria Azarenka in the opening round and made a prompt departure.

Still, Kvitova redeemed herself at the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. Facing the 2008 finalist Spain, Kvitova got her team off to a magnificent start by beating Carla Suarez Navarro, a recent quarterfinalist in Australia. Then, with a euphoric stadium cheering her on, the youngster bested Nuria Llagostera Vives to secure the Czech Republic’s semifinal berth. However, in April, after winning the initial rubber versus American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Kvitova ran into a glitch. Alexa Glatch routed her in two sets. Ultimately, the U.S advanced to the finals.

Mid year, Kvitova struggled with an ankle injury which kept her out of Roland Garros and contributed to a series of early losses including Wimbledon. Kvitova’s ranking dipped to 69. Attempting to get match fit, Kvitova played an ITF tournament in August only to be ousted in the first round by a lesser opponent. Days following though at the U.S Open, Kvitova showed that she indeed possesses the tools that will make her a prime contender.

With time constraints moving play from Ashe to Armstrong stadium, Kvitova ranked 72nd had the night of her burgeoning career. Using her six foot frame to serve effectively and her most potent stroke, her forehand, Kvitova saved three match points against Dinara Safina. Kvitova prevailed in a compelling third set tiebreaker, shocking the world number one in the third round. Fernando Gonzalez, the 2007 Australian Open finalist, was once asked the secret to his potent forehand, he replied in essence fearlessness. At the Open, Petra demonstrated that her forehand will be feared by her adversaries for some time to come.

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Reflections on WTA 2009

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Reflections on WTA 2009


img_1710It’s that time of year when we look back at what transpired on the women’s tour over the past season and view ahead at the upcoming year.  Here’s a recap of the great, the good and the down right ugly moments from 2009.

Last year, in many respects, can be characterized as bizarre. The majors commenced with a meltdown by Dinara Safina as Serena Williams thrashed her in the Australian Open final.  Months later after sensational results at lead up tournaments, Safina, newly crowned world number one, had another breakdown in the French Open final vis-à-vis Svetlana Kuznetsova.  As such, Kuznetsova grabbed the second major of her career.

At the All England Club, after Serena survived a riveting semifinal match against Elena Dementieva, she faced Venus in the finals for the second consecutive year.  However, this go around, Serena bested big sister to capture 2009′s third major.  Also a favorite to step to the finals at the U.S. Open, Serena encountered two stumbling blocks, her emotions and  Kim Clijsters.

After fulfilling her desire to procreate, Clijsters discovered that her retreat from tennis had left a void.  Thus, following a two year absence, Clijsters once again embraced the game. Subsequent to some impressive triumphs, Clijsters took on Serena in the semifinals. The weather may have been in part culpable, more likely though, it was Clijsters’ superb touch that got under Serena’s skin as a foot fault by a line judge roused Serena’s anger.  Unsavory words by Serena caused a point penalty with Clijsters having match point.  A day later, Clijsters went on to rope the U.S. Open trophy, the second major of her career.

Leading the pack of names that captivated the tour in 2009 is Dane Caroline Wozniacki.  The teenager became her country’s first competitor to reach a major final. Although downed by Clijsters, after starting the year in the top 20, Wozniacki closed 2009 at number 4.  Belarusian Victoria Azarenka continued her march in the right direction.  Azarenka demolished Serena at the Sony Ericsson Open to catch the biggest title of her career.

On the other hand, for the Serbs, it was  a year of sliding backward. Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion and former world number one, had trouble directing her forehand and serve. With neither stroke on the money, Ivanovic did not get pass the fourth round at any of the majors. Ivanovic reached one final, Indian Wells, but failed to hoist the trophy. Fed up, Ivanovic put a punctuation to her season in October and her ranking tumbled to 21st.  Number one at the start of the year, Jelena Jankovic, fared a little better than Ivanovic by collecting two titles.  However, Jankovic was equally a disappointment at the majors with only a round of 16 appearance in Paris and Melbourne.

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Opportunity Knocks:  Schiavone Scoops Up Kremlin Cup

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Opportunity Knocks: Schiavone Scoops Up Kremlin Cup


07_kremlin_cupItaly’s Francesca Schiavone and Belarus’ Olga Govortsova were unlikely picks to reach the final at the Kremlin Cup with Vera Zvonareva and defending champ Jelena Jankovic as the top two seeds at this premier tournament. Thus, this was especially sweet for Schiavone seeded eight as she made the most of her fortuitous circumstance in defeating Govortsova 6-3, 6-0 to claim her second and biggest title of her career.

The 29 year old Italian had been in her second 2009 final in Osaka just last week losing to Samantha Stosur.  Coming into Moscow, Schiavone had a horrendous final record, 1 for 10. On the other hand, for 21 year old Govortsova, this was her second WTA final although still with a title.  These competitors had split their prior two meetings.

After three uneventful service games by the players, serving at 40-15, Govortsova dumped two forehands into the net for deuce.  Then, with another crosscourt forehand error, Govortsova allowed Schiavone to get to break point. The Italian took a 3-1 lead after Govortsova mishandled Schiavone’s sliced backhand with a forehand error. However, Schiavone’s edge was brief. After placing a forehand up the line winner for two game points, Francesca double faulted and was unable to deal with a low ball causing her backhand volley to find the bottom of the net.  As a result of two forehand mistakes by Schiavone, Govortsova erased the break for 2-3.  Subsequently, in a marathon game with nine deuces, with a sensational forehand volley, Schiavone was once more with a break for 4-2. But, the Italian relinquished her advantage promptly with a sleuth of forehand miscues.  Yet, with a forehand up the line winner, a forehand crosscourt winner and a deep return which provoked an error from Govortsova, Schiavone had a couple of break chances.  Francesca capitalized when Olga’s forehand didn’t clear the net. This time, with a love game including a couple of aces, Schiavone wrapped up the set 6-3.

After the trainer attended to Govortsova’s back prior to starting the second set, with Schiavone’s amazing backhand dropshot winner, the Belarusian faced double break point. Subsequently, a backhand crosscourt error from Olga gave Francesca the break.  Schiavone consolidated with a second serve ace for 2-0.  Another mistake laden game by Govortsova resulted in triple break point for Schiavone.  A forehand miscue from the Belarusian extended the Italian’s edge to 3-0.  After a love service game, Schiavone broke one last time for 5-0.  With an ace, the Italian arrived at championship point.  Schiavone sealed the deal when Govortsova’s crosscourt forehand landed long.

With a second round win, Jankovic qualified for the final spot at the year ending championships in Doha which gets underway on Tuesday.  With Dinara Safina and Serena Williams neck in neck in the rankings, the Sony Ericsson championships will determine this season’s top dog.  The field is also comprised of Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams.

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Nestor and Zimonjic Defend Wimbledon Title By Toppling Bryan Brothers While Williams Sisters Also Repeat

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Nestor and Zimonjic Defend Wimbledon Title By Toppling Bryan Brothers While Williams Sisters Also Repeat


img_9036As the top men doubles team squared off in the Wimbledon final, second seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic defeated number one seeds Mike and Bob Bryan 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 to maintain their title. Moreover, after Serena Williams secured her eleventh major, she partnered with sister Venus to defeat Australians Rennae Stubbs and Samantha Stosur 7-6, 6-4 for their fourth Wimbledon doubles title.

After Bob Bryan put away a volley to hold at love, Zimonjic made short work on his serve to equalize things at 1 all. This was the pattern in the first set, with neither team getting close to deuce. Thus, the tiebreaker was called upon. With Mike double faulting, the opposition got up a mini-break for 3-1. However, when Zimonjic’s backhand volley sailed long, the teams were leveled at 5 all. After Zimonjic put away an overhead for set point, Mike’s volley found the bottom of the net giving the second seeds the lead.

Second set was a duplicate of the first as neither team could dent the other’s service game. The tiebreaker was required anew. This time with excellent volleying for winners, the Bryan brothers carried the set.

In the third set with Mike serving, a Bryan missed volley gave their rival their first break point of the match. Still, with a couple of service return errors, the Bryans held. Despite hairier games from both sides, neither team buckled. Another tiebreaker was in order. After Zimonjic and Nestor jumped ahead on the first point with a mini-break, the Bryans were unable to recover. The defending champions took a two set to one advantage. After Zimonjic held to start the fourth, his forehand return winner denied Bob game point. Subsequently, with two errors by the Bryans, the opposition edged in front 2-0. The next game with Nestor serving, a forehand down the line winner by Mike gave the Bryans double break point. But with three successive aces, Nestor scratched out any opportunity the Bryans had of closing the gap. With Zimonjic serving for the championship at 5-3, a couple of double faults gave the Bryans hope. However, with a couple of aces, Zimonjic clamped the door giving the second seed their second consecutive title.

A similar story was replayed as Serena and Venus took on the Australians. After break point chances were wasted, the first set was settled by a tiebreaker. With a topspin lob winner by Serena, the Williams built a substantial lead at 4-1. Then, with a volley winner, Venus sealed the set.

To open the second set, Stosur double faulted and with a backhand crosscourt winner from Venus, the Aussies faced love-30. Still, by forcing volleying errors, Stosur pulled out the game. With Stubbs serving at 1 all, with a forehand volley winner from Venus and a Stosur overhead going wide, the Americans erased double game point. Subsequently, Venus and Serena earned three break points which were erased by superb volleying from their counterparts. Nevertheless, there was a sense that the Americans were getting the upper hand. In the seventh game, Venus cranked with a forehand volley winner for 0-15. Afterwards, some crucial errors by the Aussies and a double fault gave the Americans break point. Serena capitalized by converting a backhand volley winner. Then, Venus consolidated by holding serve for 5-3. With Stosur saving match point, Serena was called upon to wrap up the championship. On the third match point, Serena produced an ace. This was the culmination of a fortnight dominated by the Williams’ whereby they even eliminated the top doubles team of Liezel Huber and Cara Black in the semifinals.

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