Friday, January 22, 2010

We have a Belgian-basher, and her name is Nadia

Remember Nadia Petrova? Early in her career, she was thought to be The One among the Russians, and with good reason. Petrova has one of the best serves on the tour, she hits powerful and accurate groundstrokes, volleys very well, and is a clever strategist. What she lacked was mental toughness, but even that changed in 2006. That year, Petrova went on a clay court tear, and appeared poised to go the French Open final, perhaps emerging as the champion. But an injury she sustained during practice right before the tournament caused her to go out in the first round, and she has--for various reasons--never again attained the same level of success.

I was expecting a very close, three-set match between Petrova and Kim Clijsters in the third round of the Australian Open, but my expectations were not met. Instead, Petrova gave Clijsters a 6-0, 6-1 beat-down. Clijsters--who said she was unable to feel the ball the entire match--was considered one of the two women most likely to win the tournament, but Petrova had other plans. Obviously playing at the high level of which she has always been capable, Petrova now has to face a countrywoman, Svetlana Kuznetsova. Kuznetsova had a difficult time dealing with Angelique Kerber, whom she finally defeated, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Both Kuznetsova and Petrova are known for running hot and cold, so anything can happen in their round of 16 match.


Jen said...

Folks seem genuinely perplexed, as does Kim herself. I give great credit to Petrova, who finally played to her potential in a major against a big-name opponent. It is still fair to question how deep Clijsters dug, and whether she really craved the impending "dream match" against Henin, but I'll let that rest for now. As for Nadia and Sveta, they probably aren't relishing the prospect of meeting Justine in the quarters either. How does a combined record of 4-28 sound? Kuznetsova, a fine player who has lost to Henin more times than anyone else (16, including 5 times in majors), generally handles Petrova. Justine could have the tougher ask, at least psychologically, against Wickmayer, who she has never played. Some great tennis ahead!

Nath said...

A French website ( wrote that yesterday, during her practice, Kim stopped for 10 min and cried.

It's the only website I've found about her tears, so I'm not sure if it's true.

I didn't see the match and I'm still shocked she lost 6-0 6-1.

Diane said...

Nath, if you hear anything else about that, please post it here. I've been in a workshop all day and haven't really had a chance to surf around regarding the tournament.

Jen, agree--Wickmayer may not offer the same comfort level for Henin as the Russians.

Anonymous said...

Good Job Nadia! knew you could do it

Sunny said...

What I liked about Petrova is that she didn't take her foot off the gas. In so many matches and in other sports, it seems that when an individual or team is so dominant, there is often a relaxation or lack of concentration that occurs on the part of the dominant team. But Nadia didn't take anything for granted. She kept up the great play. I am sorry that Kim lost in such a way, but it was good to see a player (Petrova in this case) keep up the excellent play during the entire match.