Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jankovic beaten in straight sets

The way that seeds are dropping at the Australian Open, one wouldn't be surprised to find a garden blooming--perhaps a garden featuring Golden Flowers. In the 2nd round, the Peng Shuai pulled off the biggest upset yet: She defeated 7th seed Jelena Jankovic 7-6, 6-3. Jankovic was up 5-2 in the first set, and served for the set at 5-4. Formerly the picture of consistency, she looked sluggish and off-rhythm throughout most of the match. Peng not only played well, but remained steady, and readily took advantage of Jankovic's lack of strategy. I'm a bit tired of asking "What has happened to JJ?" so I'll skip that question for now.

18th seed Maria Kirilenko fell in straight sets to Iveta Benesova, who had one of her brilliant streaks. Why can't Benesova do this in singles matches more often? She served (and she does have a really good serve) at 78 and 53%, and hit 24 winners. Her forehand was more than Kirilenko could handle. Benesova defeated Kirilenko 6-3, 6-1.

The increasingly dangerous Simona Halep took out 24th seed Alisa Kleybanova 6-4, 7-6. Kleybanova hit a lot more winners than Halep, but she also made 46 unforced errors. Halep put on quite a show, running down balls and hitting with confidence and precision.

Alize Cornet upset 26th seed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, a player who has an unusually good serve--except when she doesn't. Martinez Sanchez sometimes just loses the feel of her serve and goes for too much; in the 2nd round, she double-faulted eight times and lost the point on most of her second serves. She did lead 5-3 in the first, but was broken when she served for the set. Still, she had several opportunities to get the set back, but she wasn't up to the task. Cornet then ran away with the second set, and defeated the 26th seed 7-6, 6-1.

3rd seed Kim Clijsters, 5th seed Sam Stosur, 10th seed Shahar Peer, 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, and 16th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova all advanced in straight sets, as did 13th seed Nadia Petrova and 22nd seed Flavia Pennetta. Brisbane champion and 25th seed Petra Kivitova quietly moved into the third round with a straight-sets defeat of Anna Chakvetadze.

2nd seed Vera Zvonareva had to really work for her 2nd round victory. Bojana Jovanovski, the young Serbian player whose down-the-line shots on both sides are already her signature, dictated play against Zvonareva, and took the first set 6-2. Zvonareva, whose movement and speed were on lengthy display, remained patient, and forced Jovanovski to hit more balls than she might have wanted to. Jovanovski is a superb hitter, but she doesn't do much of anything else, so the unforced errors eventually came, and then more of them came. One hopes that the just-turned-19 Jovanovski will learn some variety and give herself some breathing room because she is one fine hitter. The experienced 2nd seed defeated her 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, and they were both fun to watch.