Monday, January 19, 2009

Radwanska out, Garbin in

The official shock match of the Australian Open, so far, is the defeat of world number 9 Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round. Knowing the wild inconsistency of both Bondarenko sisters, it did cross my mind that Kateryna could have one her very good days. She did, defeating Radwanska 7-6, 4-6, 6-1. It took Bondarenko four set points to take the first set, but she kept going, eventually cruising through the third.

Just as surprising, however, is the defeat of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova by Tathiana Garbin, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5. I do not intend to demean Garbin at all by saying this; it's just that Pavlyuchenkova is one of the tour's most promising young players, and many of us assumed she would go to the second round. But Garbin has something Pavlyuchenkova does not have--experience. Garbin was down 0-4 in the third, then 3-5, and Pavlyuchenkova held a match point.

It is often very difficult for young players to handle the pressure of playing in a major, and it may take Pavlyuchenkova a while to become comfortable with this pressure.

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