Thursday, May 16, 2013

Halep continues her run in Rome

Simona Halep, who had already eliminated 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and world number 4 Agnieszka Radwanska from the Italian Open, took another step today when she defeated Italian clay expert (and 13th seed) Roberta Vinci in straight sets. Next up for the under-the-radar Romanian is Jelena Jankovic.

Jankovic defeated 2011 French Open champion Li Na 7-6, 7-5 today, and what a ride it was. Li made 62 unforced errors, which kind of tells the story of the match, but not really. Jankovic found a way to win, though it wasn't pretty. The turning point of the match came in the seventh game of the second set. It took Jankovic ten break points to finally break Li, as both players made impressive shots and unforced errors in succession. When Li double-faulted for the second time in the game, the opponents (who are also former doubles partners) could do nothing but smile.

Jankovic held in the next game, but then Li broke her--and it took her seven break points to get the job done. In the end though, after over 2 hours and 39 minutes, Jankovic prevailed. She and partner Mirjana Lucic-Baroni prevailed in doubles, too, defeating 7th seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke.

Both Maria Kirilenko and Ayumi Morita retired in their 3rd round matches today. Kirilenko's opponent was Sara Errani, and Errani's victory makes her the new world number 5.

Also today, Sam Stosur got her first ever win over Petra Kvitova.

Here is the quarterfinal singles draw:

Serena Williams (1) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro
Simona Halep vs. Jelena Jankovic
Samantha Stosur (9) vs. Victoria Azarenka (3)
Sara Errani (7) vs. Maria Sharapova (2)


Anonymous said...

When Simona Halep's serve is working passably, she's a danger to anyone. She is a nice counterpuncher with terrific variety and great shot selection. Recall that she was the number ONE junior a few years ago and that she won the French as a junior. As a pro, she put fright into the likes of Serena, JJ, Kuz, Daniela, Roberta and others. She will have to beef up the serve to compete with the big hitters consistently. A few passable serving days will not do it. Great touch, as she demonstrated against Vinci, Kuznetsova and Azarenka this week. Good luck to her. Smart as can be out there. And more powerful than Radwanska, with whom she has much in common.

Diane said...

I've always enjoyed Halep's game, and watching her does make me think of Radwanska. Same problems as Aga, too. I hope she does get a better serve so that we can see her more often in later rounds. Younger players can learn from watching Halep because her brain and her hands/feet work in sync, even under pressure.

Karen said...

She came back from the dead today against JJ. I doubt she will have anything in the tank to take down Serena tomorrow but man what a fighter. Looks like it will be a Vika/Serena final. I just don't see Stosur getting past Vika, no matter the surface

Doug said...

Gotta love Simona! None of the erratic mental fragility that is there in too many young players. Tenacity plus great groundies. Depth and variety on her complete repertoire of shots. Deft touch at net too.

Eric said...

Gulbis: I like joint tournaments because at least you see some ladies around. Otherwise, the men’s tour can get on your nerves sometimes. [A joint event] has its minuses, of course, because you don’t get all the practice courts. But I like to see women around. Women are a big part of my life and it makes me happy.


Bobby said...

Halep beat JJ too. A few years ago, at the US Open, she served for the match against JJ, but had nothing left and folded. Today, she was at the edge of exhaustion again, but with improved fitness and great resolve, she took it, coming back from two breaks down in the third. Go Simona!! Her serve is big for a small girl - This was noted by Serena after their match at Wimbledon. Halep took a set there. I hope that she's on her way to big things.

Diane said...

Eric, Ernie is always good for a quote!

And JJ never has an easy time of it with Halep.

Bobby Skipsey said...

If memory serves, Halep gave Sharapova a real scare at the China Open last year. I think that it ended 7-5, 6-4
with Halep not intimidated in the least and matching Masha stroke for stroke in power and direction. Simona's serve was much better way back in 2009. Here's a video (go to 2:09). The arm motion was as smooth and continuous as Serena's. It was a huge serve. Now, she lifts the arm too high too soon, slows it nearly stopping and then hits. This is the source of her recent back troubles but the coaches are clueless about the service motion. If they were not, there would be a lot of players hitting the Williams or Sampras serve.

Bobby S said...

Oops. Here's the video

Diane said...

Thanks, Bobby. I was starting to think my memory was really off because I remembered Halep as having a pretty big serve.