Kateryna Bondarenko watches her sister, Alona, play. After Alona raised the level of her game, Kateryna soon showed a new level of talent, also, as did the Bondarenkos' countrywoman, Yuliana Fedak. But since then, all three have had problems with consistency, as has the other notable Ukrainian player, Julia Vakulenko.
Poor Alona Bondarenko. After having a really good 2006, she's had a lot of ups and downs this year. It has been a mixed year for Ukrainian tennis, in fact. Yuliana Fedak raised her game to a much higher level, and now has taken a step backwards. And Bondarenko's sister, Kateryna, also raised her game, but not with enough consistency.
Today, Alona Bondarenko, FORTIS Championships defending champion, was taken out in the first round by Marion Bartoli, 6-3, 6-2. This match-up was no fun for me--I'm a fan of both players and hated to see either of them make an early exit. It says a lot about Bondarenko's year, however, that she was not seeded high enough to get a first round bye.
In other Luxembourg first round play, phenom Tamira Paszek was removed from the tournament hastily by her countrywoman, Sybille Bammer. And Ukraine's other talented player, Julia Vakulenko, was defeated by Meilen Tu, one of the women no one likes to see across the net in an early round. Bammer, by the way, will play Bartoli in the second round, which should be a really good one.
To make things worse, both Ukrainian doubles also lost in the first round.