These days, any reasonably good player wakes up in the morning believing she can beat Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova; neither of them is very scary at the moment. Wozniacki made her exit from Rome today in the first round, compliments of Bojana Jovanovski.
Kvitova was another story, though the story has gotten old. She won the first set against Sabine Lisicki, 6-4. The second set was over almost before you could say "Oh, Petra"--Lisicki won every game. Watching Kvitova in that set, I wondered "Who is this player?" The big serve was absent, the powerful groundstrokes were absent, the wicked angles were absent.
Serving at 1-2, Kvitova went down 0-40, but saved three break points. Lisicki broke her anyway, to go up 3-1. And then the Mystery Switch began to hum, as the Czech player slowly turned it on. At 5-all, she broke Lisicki, who--by this time--was playing at a lower level--then won on her own serve to take the match. It's painful to watch Kvitova go through this routine (which is often unsuccessful, as well), but it's become predictable.
In the next round, Kvitova is probably going to play Sam Stosur (unless Peng Shuai has something to say about that), who has her own issues. Kvitova is 4-0 against Stosur, with her last win coming at Fed Cup.
It was an especially bad day for Agnieszka Radwanska. Qualifier Simona Halep has been known to take out a top player or two, and today, she let loose on Radwanska in what was practically a clinic. It helped that the 4th seed was slower of foot than usual; she's been making quite a few errors lately, too. Halep defeated Radwanska 6-7, 6-1, 6-2. The victory is especially notable because, almost every time a player loses a first set tiebreak to a better player, the challenger is mentally done in. Not Halep, though. She brushed off the tiebreak loss (7-2) and went about business.
Urszula Radwanska fared better: She beat Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. Laura Robson won four games against Serena Williams, Carla Suarez Navarro beat Nadia Petrova, and Romina Oprandi beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-0.
Tomorrow, Julia Goerges takes on Victoria Azarenka. Goerges has only two settings--impressive giant-killing and multiple error-producing. Unfortunately, she leans toward the latter much of the time. It's a shame. too, because Goerges has a lot of things going for her, especially on clay. She won the Stuttgart event in 2011, taking out Azarenka, Lisicki, Stosur, and Wozniacki along the way.