Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday opener in Charleston a crowd-pleaser

Big-serving Aleksandra Wozniak won her 2nd round match
Fans who showed up at the Althea Gibson Club Court this morning to see Aleksandra Wozniak play Barbora Zahlavova Strycova play their second round Charleston match got all the entertainment and mild weather they could have asked for. They got some great tennis, too. It was a little warm and often cloudy, and a light breeze kept everyone comfortable as the players put on a display of shot-making that often dazzled spectators.

Zahlavova Strycova showed off her speed and her ability to consistently hit successful overheads. The Czech player served for the first set at 5-4 but was broken. The set went to a tiebreak, and at 2-4, Zahlavova Strycova missed a smash for the first time in the match. During the tiebreak, she lunged to return a sharp forehand Wozniak hit into the deuce court, and fell down, her racquet flying into the air. The crowd became very quiet, and Wozniak approached the net to check on her opponent. Zahlavova Strycova recovered quickly, however. It was 4-all.

Zahlavova Strycova saved a set point, but then hit a ball long, which gave Wozniak the tiebreak and the set. In the second set, the Czech player became increasingly frustrated. Some fans, it appeared, had not watched her play before; they seemed a bit surprised to hear her scream, mutter to herself while making dramatic gestures, and throw her racquet. This is how Zahlavova Strycova lets off steam.

Zahlavova Strycova celebrates a point
Wozniak, on the other hand, remained cool and relaxed, just as she did in her first match against Christina McHale. She again served at a very high level, and was able to handle most of what her opponent threw at her. The seventh game of the set went on for a long time and contained multiple deuces, as well as break points that were dramatically saved by Zahlavova Strycova. But finally, Zahlavova Strycova hit a forehand just beyond the baseline, and she was broken. Wozniak won the almost-2-hour match 7-6, 6-2.

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