Friday, May 15, 2009

Veterans' Day in Madrid

Amelie Mauresmo, written off again and again by both fans and the media, advanced to the semifinals of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open today, with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over Agnes Szavay. Mauresmo will next play Caroline Wozniacki, who defeated Vera Dushevina, 6-0, 6-4.

Top seed Dinara Safina defeated Alona Bondarenko in straight sets (6-3, 6-4) and will play Patty Schnyder, who knocked out Jelena Jankovic, also in straight sets (7-6, 6-3).

The Jankovic-Schnyder match featured Schnyder on her best game a good deal of the time, though there was a definite drop in her level at the beginning of the second set. However, when Jankovic began making errors, Schnyder saw the opening and again raised her level. It was the kind of match you expect on clay--many breaks of serves, and plenty of lobs, change-ups and drop shots. No one executes the drop shot as well as Schnyder, and today, she used it to great advantage against Jankovic. That isn't an easy thing to do, since Jankovic is such a good mover.

Both players missed several golden opportunities; twice, Schnyder double-faulted on break point. But in the end, it was Schnyder who played a cleaner match, and who was better able to exploit the weaknesses of her opponent. She also hit 29 winners.

Schnyder is 30 years old, and Mauresmo will be 30 in July. Sometimes experience is the key.

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