Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Which Serena is in Paris?

It was hard to tell, from her first round match, which Serena Williams is playing in the 2009 French Open. Is it the Serena who struggles mightily in the first round, then gets better and better and wins the title? Or is it the Serena who shows up at a major, and--in her words--"goes crazy"? Williams needed a record nine match points to defeat Klara Zakopalova in a three-set first round match that clearly had the number 2 seed and 2002 French Open champion very frustrated. Zakopalova defeated Williams in the first round in Marbella, and it seemed unlikely that Williams would let that happen again, but Zakopalova made that outcome as tough as possible.

Playing in windy conditions, Williams held five match points in the second set, but could not convert them because Zakopalova just wouldn't go away. Finally, after two hours and twenty-five minutes, Williams prevailed, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4. Stay tuned...

As if we haven't had enough old favorites exit in the first round, out went Daniela Hantuchova today, also, a victim of Virginie Razzano's forehand and her own second serve.

In a match that was held over from last night, Caroline Wozniack defeated Vera Dushevina, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. Dushevina had the match on her racquet at a set and 3-0, but a bad return kept her from going up 4-0. Then, at match point--when it was obvious she wasn't positive that Wozniacki's ball had gone out--she stopped play. The ball was in, which gave Wozniacki set point. Dushevina's behavior went into the "What the hell were you thinking?" category, and today, it was all Wozniacki.

31st seed Peng Shuai was upset in the first round today by clay specialist Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Three more Frenchwomen--Claire Feuerstein, Nathalie Dechy (yet another favorite veteran) and Kristina Mladenovic--went out today in the first round, and, of course, Razzano advanced to the second round. Alize Cornet won her first set, but her match against Maret Ani had to be postponed because of darkness. The players will resume tomorrow at 4-all in the second set.

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