I could hardly wait to see the Madrid third round match between Aravane Rezai and Andrea Petkovic; fortunately, for me, it was on Tennis TV at a time I could watch it. My expectations were met when the two big hitters engaged in what turned out to be quite a thriller.
Both Rezai and Petkovic can hit screaming winners, and both are dramatic on the court. And while my preference is to watch more Evert-like players, a bit of drama now and then is good, too. Rezai laid on the drama even more by wearing a black and gold lame outfit, which captured my attention several days ago because--well, how could it not?
Rezai also hit nine double faults, which is another matter altogether, and one which she needs to address.
It took Petkovic a while to get going, and Rezai took a 5-2 lead in the first set. But when the Frenchwoman served for the set at 40-0, she was not able to get a set point, and was broken by a spot-on overhead shot from Petkovic. This moment in the match turned out to be oddly prescient of what was to come later, when matters really became tense.
Petkovic held for 4-5, but then, on her fourth set point, Rezai took the first set 6-4. Both women played really well in the second set, and the drama began right away, when Petkovic was broken in the first, very long, game. She broke back and saved set points to force a tiebreak, in which she went down 1-6. Maybe it was that 5-2, 40-0 game I still had on my mind, or maybe it was just that I know what a fighter Petkovic is, but I had a strong feeling that 6-1 probably didn't mean a lot.
It didn't. Petkovic went on a tear, and saved one match point after another. At 6-3, she engaged Rezai in an amazing rally in which she had to reach--Jankovic style--to unknown places to get back a number of balls, and eventually, her performance paid off when she got an error from Rezai. Petkovic held five set points in the tiebreak, but failed to convert any of them. She saved six match points, but on the seventh, Rezai won the tiebreak 10-8, and the match was hers. Petkovic left the court in tears.
And while I'm talking about this match--shame on the people in the Spanish crowd who applauded when Petkovic double-faulted during the tiebreak. I, too, am a fan of David Ferrer, but the idea of wanting such a high quality match to end so he could get onto the court is an insult to Petkovic, Rezai, and the women's tour. It is also unspeakably rude.