Monday, June 29, 2009

2 upsets, new roof, new hope for world number 1

A lot went on today at Wimbledon in the round of 16. It would have been nice if I could have seen most of it. As it is, I saw a little and heard a lot. The new roof was used, and 2006 champion Amelie Mauresmo became the first person to strike a ball under it. Her opponent, world number 1 Dinara Safina, became the first person to win under that roof, as she defeated Mauresmo 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. I am a fan of both players, but Mauresmo is my absolute favorite player, and when she went up 3-0 in the third set, I was thrilled. It didn't work out for her, though. When she left the court (I saw half of the match after the fact), she looked a bit stunned by the crowd's enormous response to her. It was touching. The Radio Wimbledon commentators indicated that this match was one of the best--if not the best--so far. Naturally, I couldn't see it.

Safina has never before gotten past the third round of Wimbledon, and now, here she is, in the quarterfinals. And in that round, she will face Sabine Lisicki, who upset 9th seed Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-4.

The other upset today was pulled off by Francesca Schiavone, who defeated 26th seed Virginie Razzano 6-2, 7-6. Schiavone's run is one of the standout stories at this year's Wimbledon. Not only has the Italian veteran faded from the top portion of the rankings--she is not a player you would expect to win big at Wimbledon. But she does have that slice, and--though known to fade away in finals--Schiavone is a fighter from way back.

Both Williams sisters easily advanced, though Venus's move to the quarterfinals involved a retirement by Ana Ivanovic. At the beginning of the second set (Williams won the first set, 6-1), Ivanovic sustained a painful groin injury and could not go on. Serena needed only 56 minutes to defeat Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets (6-3, 6-1), so the two biggest favorites to win the title get a nice rest.

Elena Dementieva (remember Elena Dementieva?) also won in straight sets. She defeated Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-3. Victoria Azarenka needed three sets to defeat Nadia Petrova, which she accomplished with a score of 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 (despite double-faulting 10 times). And Melanie Oudin's outstanding Wimbledon run was stopped by Agnieszka Radwanska, who hit fewer winners than Oudin, but also made fewer unforced errors. She took the close match 6-4, 7-5.


Anonymous said...

The William sisters won. They played their doubles match a couple of hours later an won. Now their resting. Go Venus Go Serena!

Diane said...

Yes, I'll be doing a doubles post a bit later. It was a really good day for Venus and Serena.

U said...

I'm sorry, Diane, you couldn't watch Safina and Mauresmo. :( Yes, they lost their nerves, made errors, but it was great fight with superb winners, volleys, serves... - a real female-gladiators clash. I enjoyed. Defenetlly one of the best matches this year.

Diane said...

I saw some highlights, and I'll probably see some more later. I'm upset that I missed it, though (at least I got to see Murray vs. Wawrinka).

Anonymous said...

oh Diane, momo vs Safina match was the first one of momo's I could watch on my tv (they usually only show center court/ court 1).

there were moments of absolute brilliance from momo, vintage 05/06 form. like the slice back hand that glides like a bird, her overhead smash volleys, one gentle as a feater half volley from by her feet that sent the ball no more than a meter over the net, the unleashing cross court backhand hand that kissed the side lines and of cause even a glimpse of the incredible retreival of safina's smashes (& winning the point too a-la 05YEC vs Mary style).

but ultimately there were also too many UE, dare I say basic momo shots that she would've gotten a few years ago. unfortunately a few very sloppy games let her down.

credit also to Safina though, I thought she might implode in the third when momo was 3-0 up, but she didn't. and perhapes that's an indication of things to come for her as well.

overall a suspenseful match, I am in love all over again with momo's game but not likeing the UEs.

poignant moment: while the players where walking off court to the thunderous full house, momo stopped and for a moment, looked up around her at the crowd on center court. taking in the atmosphere, savouring the moment, the cheers for her. was she thinking this may be her last time on center court? I sure hope not.


Diane said...

I watched the last set, and I saw her look up and around. I thought she was taking it in, too, and I also thought she was a bit stunned by the affectionate crowd response to her exit. It made me sad.

Thanks for the great descriptions, Dani.

Anonymous said...

Caught just a bit of the Mauresmo-Safina match -- ON NBC!!! -- from 5-2 of the second set after the roof had closed. I'm wondering if that mightn't have affected Amelie's play. I also saw her looking around after the match -- she turns 30 on Sunday -- and wondered if she was storing up more memories of Centre Court in case she retires.