Monday, May 3, 2010

Kuznetsova upset in 2nd round of Italian Open

Maria Kirilenko sent Svetlana Kuznetsova (who hit 10 aces) out of Rome competition today with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win over the 5th seed. Kuznetsova, the 2009 French Open champion, has not had a champion's year so far. She did make it to the quarterfinals of Miami, where she was the number 1 seed, but was upset by 13th seed Marion Bartoli. Kuznetsova reached the second round in Sydney, the fourth round at the Australian Open, the third round in Dubai (where she lost to a qualifier), and the second round in Indian Well (she had a bye in the first round). As defending champion in Stuttgart, she lost in the second round.

Four qualifiers, a wild card and a lucky loser (Pauline Parmentier, who became the lucky loser when 10th seed Sam Stosur withdrew from the tournament) went out in first round play today, and a couple of clay court experts took out a couple of big hitters. Italian veteran Roberta Vinci defeated Alisa Kleybanova 7-6, 7-6, and 13th seed Francesca Schiavone defeated Daniela Hantuchova.

There were also clay court experts who did not survive. In the "What do I know?" department, Sara Errani--whom I chose to be a dangerous floater in the tournament--lost to Alexandra Dulgheru. That is a bit of an interesting story: When Dulgheru, a qualifier, surprised everyone and won in Warsaw last year--in the first tour tournament she had ever entered--she defeated Errani in the second round.

The other clay specialist who did not survive today was Gisela Dulko, who did a lot of hard work in the third set, only to lose the match in a tiebreak. Dulko played fellow clay afficionado Patty Schnyder, who was up 5-0 in the third set, but, characteristically, had problems closing the match. Dulko broke her twice and held her own serve, also. Schnyder had a break point when Dulko served at 3-5, but could not convert it. Dulko then broke her again, and then again. Schnyder saved three match points at 5-6, then won the tiebreak 7-5. (Thrill Ride makes her 2010 Rome debut soon, and she will have to be really creative to top that.) The final score was 6-7, 6-2, 7-6.

11th seed Yanina Wickmayer barely survived. She defeated qualifier Karolina Sprem 6-3, 1-6, 6-4. Lucie Safarova hit 14 aces in her 6-2, 6-7 (9), 6-3 defeat of Olga Govortsova, and Ana Ivanovic, in her straight set win over Elena Vesnina, posted outstanding service win percentages of 81 and 69.

In the all-USA match, recent Fed Cup star Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Melanie Oudin 6-1, 6-3. For her effort, she will play 7th seed Jelena Jankovic. Mattek-Sands is now 3-0 against Oudin in tour play.

In doubles, the all-Russian team of Maria Kirilenko and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 7-5.


Karen said...

First things first Diane, fantastic write up of this event. I posted elsewhere that congratulations are in order to the Italian tour organisers for providing live streaming of this event from day 1. I was able to enjoy most of the matches today. I would have hoped that I would have got to see the Sveta match but I was only able to see the final set. Sveta was having her angst issues today and Kirilenko took full advantage. Have no idea what is going on with Sveta but she is not enjoying her tennis these days. I think a lot of the surprising results today have to do with players playing back to back tournaments as well as some folks returning from injury (Alisa). The Hantuchova match was really surprising to me as Hantuchova was playing really well and then kind of just faded and making tons of UFE. I am hopeful that I will get to see Venus' match tomorrow as well as Serena's but not optimistic. Patty is 9-0 against Venus and she played a tough match today. I would think if Venus' game is on she should progress.

Diane said...

Thanks, Karen!

I think that playing consecutive tournaments and coming back from injury are indeed problems, made worse by having to face clay court grinders who love the clay after a big rain.

I don't know what happened to Hantuchova, either, but I didn't think her chances were really that good against Schiavone (see above), anyway.

I hope I get to watch Venus and Serena, too. I have a little extra time tomorrow, so I may get to see them--or at least one of them. I'd really like to see Wickmayer vs. Rezai, though Rezai has dropped her level this season. And I'd really like to see Schiavone vs. Martinez Sanchez.

Karen said...

Whoo those match ups sound tempting especially the Schiavone/Martinez as it puts 2 different style of play against each other. That being said I would love to see Ana/Vika. That should be a battle of wills. One on the comeback and the other trying to find her form. Should be some really good match ups in this tournie.

Anonymous said...

Kuznetsova has now a career head-to-head of 2-1 against Kirilenko ( made a mistake).

Diane said...

That's odd because--in my own head--I though Kirilenko had beaten her at least twice, so the three times seemed right to me.