Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Defending champion Bondarenko out of Luxembourg in first round

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.


kris said...

I didn't even recognize that pic of Bondarenko. When I saw her at the Open and at Pilot Pen she had dark hair.
I wasn't too impressed with Alona. She was very pouty when I saw her--both in practice and playing doubles with her sister at the Open.
Bonus of that match was that Fedak was on the other side and I had never seen her play. She is so tiny. And not Amanda Coetzer tiny. Fedak does not have the muscle development I have seen in other smaller players. How does she fare against the bigger, stronger players I wonder?

Diane said...

That picture of Kateryna is from 2005.

Alona is a really talented player, but I do hear she is moody. I missed it--I was watching another match--but a couple of years ago in Charleston, she and her sister were playing doubles together and had a major fight on the court.

Fedak used to be kind of "okay but not good enough," but in the past year, she has raised her game considerably and has had some very nice wins. Now she seems to be spiraling down a bit again. I assume she gets those wins with strategy. I met Fedak this year and she was quite charming.

Look at Dulko--she is considerably smaller than Fedak. I saw her come very close to taking out Ivanovic earlier this year. She can hit well enough, and she can exploit errors. Being a doubles player helps. Somewhat of a choker, though.