Sunday, August 19, 2012

Li wins Cincinnati championship

Sometimes a match has such a distinct turning point, one can almost place a bet on the outcome after that point has passed. Such was the case today in the eighth game of the second set in the Cincinnati championship match between 5th seed Angelique Kerber and 9th seed Li Na. After winning only one game in the opening set and going down a break in the second, Li fought for around 13 minutes in that eighth game, watching multiple chances to break go by. But break she finally did, and after that, the match was all about the Chinese star.

This was Li at her best, playing a smart game (with new coach Carlos Rodriguez) and not falling into the same fate as Petra Kvitova did. Li slowed herself down and took every advantage of an exhausted Kerber, who appeared to be having some trouble with one of her thighs. Li hit three times as many winners as Kerber, and she served well. Kerber's defensive skills are high, but she faded in the third set, as Li moved her around the court expertly and took almost total control of the match.

This is Li's first title--a big one--of the year, though she played in three other finals. Depending on how Kvitova does in New Haven, Li could win the U.S. Open Series. At any rate, she can now be considered a serious contender at Flushing Meadows.

The doubles title was taken by Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who defeated Katarina Srebotnik and Zheng Jie 6-1, 6-3. This is the eighth title for the team. Hlavacova and Hradecka won the French Open in 2011, and they were the runners-up this year at Wimbledon.


Doug Messenger said...

Maybe I underestimate Kerber. Na Li was 3 for 18 break points across the first two sets. Kvitova was 0 for 8 in the first set yesterday against her.

That is hellacious defense. Angelique is a pusher (and often a counterpuncher). She is solid all around, more tenacious and quicker than Wozniacki or Jankovic. That is a lot. A late bloomer, she's been on the tour for more than six years.

Diane said...

If Kerber can add a bit more offense, she'll be a real threat. She is sometimes compared with David Ferrer (one of my very favorite players, and a player Kerber admires); the comparison is a good one. And just look at what he has done!

Todd.Spiker said...

Carlos could get used to this sort of thing... again. They DO say that timing is everything. ;)

Dean Daggett said...

I've watched a lot of Petra's matches. Her biggest issue as far as losing goes is: she has been a different player when holding break points this year. 0-15 against Maria in the third set in Melbourne. 0-8 in the first set against Angelique last week. That will not get it done. The mid set walkabouts are less important than her backing up a bit when holding break points. In Melbourne she mentioned that she was 'waiting, waiting to see what would happen' late in the match. Odd from a girl who was fierce last year when holding break points. That is the first order of rectification that she should tackle.