Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Defending champion Sharapova advances to French Open semifinals

In one of today's French Open semifinals, some might say that Chaos ruled. Indeed, Jelena Jankovic delivered some vintage JJ--on a bagel, no less--to Maria Sharapova in the first set. JJ looked so much like her old self that it wouldn't have been a surprise if a ball machine had been set off on the other side of the court, and the 18th seed had returned all of those balls successfully, too. She was moving expertly, she was waiting for just the right moment, and she was firing winners.

Sharapova, for her part, didn't really seem to fully comprehend what was going on, and gave Jankovic all the help she needed by making repeated unforced errors, in addition to the errors being brought on her by her opponent's skill.

JJ with a 6-0 set against Sharapova? It could go only one way then, and it did, but not until there were a few more twists and turns.

Jankovic was broken in the first game of the next set, the break seemed "unnecessary," that is, Jankovic's mood had already turned from confident to a bit cranky, and it would get worse. The JJ Show, including muttering, yelling and especially yelling at her coach, ensued. Sharapova got better, to be sure--who didn't think that was going to happen?--but Jankovic got emotional and shaky.

When Sharapova served at 5-2 and Jankovic broke her, it looked like things might change. When Jankovic held for 4-5, it got tense. But Sharapova won that set 6-4, and that was pretty much that. Almost. JJ was broken, and looked like she was going to break back, but her momentum was gone, and Sharapova won the final set 6-3.

In the other semifinal, Maria Kirilenko (who sustained a hip injury today) and Victoria Azarenka broke each other a half dozen times in their first--very long--set, but then Azarenka won the tiebreak 7-3, and after that, as one might expect, she gained momentum and won the second set 6-2.

In doubles, defending champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci moved to the semifinals, as did 2011 champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka. Also advancing was the team of Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik, who beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova, and Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, who put an end to the run of Kristina Mladenovic and Galina Voskoboeva. This means that the four top-seeded teams have made it to the semifinals.

Hradecka and partner Frantisek Cermak have reached the mixed doubles final. Their opponents will be Mladenovic and Daniel Nestor.

Top junior seed Ana Konjuh won her third round match today. The match lasted 2 hours and 37 minutes; Konjuh defeated Petra Uberalova 6-7. 6-4, 6-4.

The first of tomorrow's singles semifinals will feature Sharapova and Azarenka. A final between either of them and Serena Williams will be a much-heralded event. Azarenka has never before reached the semifinals at Roland Garros.  She leads Sharaapova 7-5 in career matches; Sharapova leads Azarenka 2-1 on clay (however, in one of those matches, Azarenka retired).

The second semifinal will be played between world number 1 Serena Williams and 2012 runner-up Sara Errani.


Todd.Spiker said...

Seriously, that was about as "JJ" as JJ could get. She's up 6-0 and she's already starting to get frustrated and "self-destructy" in the FIRST game of the 2nd set.

Jankovic and her "other side" might never fully learn to coexist successfully, but the prospect of once again being able to watch them try in big matches IS fascinating and entertaining. ;)

Diane said...

Silly me. I thought she might have learned something after Charleston.

Todd.Spiker said...

Jelena may have, but QC didn't. Of course, telling the difference between them is hard sometimes. :)