Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oh Petra, and other Dubai happenings

If you're keeping up with events in Dubai, you may feel that you've fallen down the rabbit hole. This is one twisty tournament. For example, today, defending champion Petra Kvitova went out in the second round (her first round of play) after having multiple opportunities to win her match against Carla Suarez Navarro. It seemed to take forever for Kvitova to close the first set; in tennis terms, it did take forever--she did it on the ninth set point. And after winning that set 6-1, Kvitova went up 4-2 in the second set, which Suarez Navarro won, 6-4. Kvitova served for the match in the third set but was broken. She went up a mini-break in the tiebreak, but lost that, also.

All credit, by the way, to Suarez Navarro, who never gave up, even though things looked bad for her. But let's be honest: Kvitova is no longer a player to be feared. Suarez Navarro knew that if she hung around long enough, her chances would improve.

But that was just part of the story. No one can re-invent herself quite like Flavia Pennetta, and today, she played as though she were in the middle of a Fed Cup final, taking out 2nd seed (and 2013 finalist) Aga Radwanska 6-4, 6-1. Then there was the Revenge of the Russians, as Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, defeated in singles by Serena and Venus Williams, respectively, beat the Williams sisters 6-4, 4-6, 10-4. Don't mess with the Russians!

Sorana Cirstea gets a big mention here, for taking out both Roberta Vinci (when is she going to get past a first round?) and Sara Errani in her first and second round matches. We all know that Cirstea can do it, but she is as streaky as they come.

In doubles, Pennetta and Sam Stosur, playing as wild cards, defeated 3rd seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik. Stosur, however, was already out of singles competition; she lost in the opening round to Annika Beck (who was beaten today by Caroline Wozniacki).

Sadly, Doha champion Simona Halep had to retire yesterday in the first round. It isn't that surprising, though; Halep has been dealing with Achilles tendon problems.

Alize Cornet, Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic all advanced to the quarterfinals. Venus defeated Ana Ivanovic, and will face Pennetta in the  next round.


Todd.Spiker said...

Kvitova's career is coming close to being a carbon copy of Kuznetsova's: an early slam winner, an almost #1, and a Fed Cup star. But, even with so much good, an oft-injured/ill, enigmatic disappointment whose level of play can drastically drift from pillar to post over the course of a match, making no loss particularly shocking. Yet she's still a player who could win another slam (as Sveta did) and have THAT surprise no one, either.

Diane said...

The comparison is spot-on, and kind of sad.

Todd.Spiker said...

Although, I guess there's still time.

Bobby Skipsey said...

Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl, Jana Novotna, Hana Mandlikova. All Czechs who had trouble learning how to win. Martina and Ivan got over the hump. Will Petra?

Diane said...

Mandlikova won four majors, so I'm going to say she succeeded, too, though she certainly "should" have won more. But that surely was her demon throughout her (otherwise brilliant) career.

Fingers crossed tightly for Petra.

Todd.Spiker said...

In a way, too, Mandlikova's major wins are even more impressive when you consider she won them in an era in which Evert and Navratilova both won 18 each. Majors were pretty hard to come by, and all four of her losses in slam finals were against Chris and Martina.

Doug said...

Alize played the smartest match possible today against Serena, winning it in straight sets. Cornet has matured tremendously. It began about six months ago. Playing tougher and recognizing what had to be done, she pinned Serena back by hitting deeply and out-steadying Serena. Very strong mentally. Alize, unlike many, made it clear that she knew what Serena would do, for instance, that under pressure at break points against her, Serena would almost always go for the bomb down the middle. She was ready and it paid off. Few are calm enough to analyze the goings on while they're going on. Go Alize. She's a cute cartoon out there. (I mean that as a positive.) Her reactions are delightful and she's not afraid of her own emotions, unlike so many others.

Diane said...

Alize is a cute cartoon indeed! It's nice to see her thinking and feeling at the same time.

Good point, Todd. Hana was stuck inside the "power sandwich" in her era the same as Arantxa was stuck between Graf and Seles. Yet each woman managed to bring home multiple huge trophies.

Anonymous said...

Thinking and feeling at the same time. It is what we are supposed to do. Many find it hard to do. We learn the hard way that emotions are estimates of the beneficial or harmful relationship of things and thoughts to our well-being. That last is the view of Magda Arnold, and I think that she's right. Estimates can be right wrong or somewhere less definite. We have to weigh the estimates and make adjustments.
There, I have rambled. But it does have to do with life and tennis, which last has been described as life.

Diane said...

Ah yes--appraisal theory.

Thoughts create emotions, and emotions can be "sorted through" with thinking. But one must develop self-awareness.

We admire Chris Evert, Aga Radwanska and Venus Williams for their poker-face approach (I confess my own bias runs in that direction), but Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Marat Safin, and Serena Williams have shown us that there is another way. The discharge (or lack of) of emotion seems to be a matter of personal and cultural style.

Interesting subject!

Anonymous said...

Yep, introspection is required of us if we are to own our estate of humanity.