Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rome: Interesting first round matches

As always, we do not yet know who the qualifiers will be or which of them will play whom. That is usually not much of an issue, but it is in this case because--assuming the top-seeded qualifier, Alize Cornet, gets through qualifying--she is a threat to just about anyone she meets in the first round.

Interesting first-round matches we do know about:

Azarenka v. Safina: Wouldn't you know it? They just met in the Berlin semifinals, and Azarenka played through what was apparently pretty bad cramping in the second set.

Petrova v. Errani: Given Petrova's streaky play these days, the tenacious Errani has a chance.

Mauresmo v. Kirilenko: Mauresmo has had nothing but trouble for months and months--appendicitis, surgery, injury resulting from surgery, illness, rib injury--you name it. She has not had much match play, and she cannot possibly have much confidence. Kirilenko is an inconsistent player, but she may be able to get past Mauresmo (I hope not).

Srebotnik v. Pennetta: This one has to be good. Both women are good clay players and fun to watch. My only problem with this match is that I don't want either of them to lose.

Vakulenko v. Razzano: Julia Vakulenko, who hopes to be a Spaniard soon, continues to have her share of travails. She is talented, however, and the match against hard-working Razzano will most likely be one worth watching.

Vaidisova v. Bammer: Neither is having a good season. Both are good on clay. Who knows?

Paszek v. Wozniacki: I don't know much about Wozniacki on clay. However, both of these young players are quite talented, and we can probably expect a spirited match.

Cibulkova v. Dulko: If I could choose one match to watch, this would probably be the one. Dominika Cibulkova is becoming a very fine clay competitor, and Dulko--always strong on clay--has recently improved her serve quite a bit. The woman from Argentina may be small, but she can hit the ball solidly. Too bad one of them has to exit after the first round.

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