At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, it isn't so easy to get out of the first round. Yesterday, Nicole Vaidisova made an exit, and today, those leaving included Agnes Szavay, Flavia Pennetta, Alize Cornet, and Dominika Cibulkova. To quote an inappropriate and sexist commentator we all know, "Oh, my."
Szavay has not had a good season. I have no idea what is wrong. In today's case, she did come up against a very tough opponent--Victoria Azarenka, so the loss was hardly shocking. Pennetta was shown the door by Kateryna Bondarenko, Cornet was defeated by perennial giant-killer Tsvetana Pironkova, and Cibulkova fell victim to Marion Bartoli, as one might expect. Of these losses, the two surprises were Pennetta (who lost in doubles, too)--though Bondarenko can play some very good tennis when she puts her mind to it--and Cornet. All of the matches were competitive in terms of the draw--Cornet vs. Pironkova, maybe not on paper, but you know how Pironkova can be in an early round.
The resurgent Anna-Lena Groenefeld will have to wait a bit to show her comeback skills; she was pretty much run over by Venus Williams--6-1, 6-2.
Tomorrow should be just as competitive. In further first round play, Patty Schnyder plays Svetlana Kuznetsova, who just lost the final in Beijing. Schnyder has usually done very well on indoor surfaces, though Kuznetsova will give her all she can handle. Vera Zvonareva plays Daniela Hantuchova, and that, too, should be worth watching (if only I could watch it).
Watch for these second round contests:
Serena Williams vs. Li Na
Victoria Azarenka vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
Alona Bondarenko vs. Jelena Jankovic
In the second round, Nadia Petrova will get the winner of the Schnyder-Kuznetsova match, and Bartoli will play the winner of the Zvonareva-Hantuchova match. This is some competitive stuff.