Friday, February 12, 2010

4 left standing in Paris

Move, over Dinara--there's another Thrill Ride in town. Ever since the U.S. Open, Melanie Oudin has performed in Safina-like fashion, coming back from being down a set and a break. She did it again today in Paris, against Agnes Szavay. Szavay took the first set 6-2 and went up 3-1 in the second. At that point, two things happened: Szavay's confidence started to collapse, and Oudin--sensing what was going on--moved in for the victory. Oudin won the second set 6-4, then went up 5-0 in the third before Szavay held. Szavay then broke Oudin when she served for the match, but Oudin broke her back to win.

A more interesting quarterfinal match was the one between top seed Elena Dementieva and Andrea Petkovic. Petkovic, who took out 5th seed Aravane Rezai yesterday, played such stunning tennis in the first set that it seemed inevitable that she would go down a level in the second. She did, but not by a whole lot. Experience took the day, however, and Dementieva was able to take the match with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 score.

Petkovic, like countrywoman Sabine Lisicki, descends--so to speak--from the likes of Fraulein Forehand, and the young German's forehand was on fire today. In women's pro tennis, we have become accustomed to seeing strong backhands, but perhaps this trend is changing. Ana Ivanovic, of course, has a splendid forehand, and so do Lisicki, Petkovic and Melanie Oudin. Petkovic's lively net play was also exciting to watch. One hopes that, with experience, she will be able to show off her considerable game to more and more fans.

The other two quarterfinal matches were brief affairs. 2nd seed (and wild card) Flavia Pennetta defeated Tathiana Garbin 6-1, 6-3, and Lucie Safarova upset 6th seed Shahar Peer, 6-3, 6-0.

In the semifinals, Dementieva will play Oudin, and Pennetta will play Safarova.


Sunny said...

I like that Safarova and Peer are getting off to good starts this year (well Peer's did well at the end of last year.) I think I already told you what I thought of Petkovic in your cat blogging section. It is nice to see some Germans (Petkovic,Lisicki) getting into the mix. Oudin should do well if she is intuitive about the other player's confidence level. I watched the match and just couldn't believe Oudin pulled off another Houdini act. I think this will be her first semifinal at the tour level. It will be interesting to see how Dementieva handles her after the latter's lost to Oudin at the US Open. Should be fun on Tennistv tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point Diane about the backhands in women's tennis being a much safer shot over the last 10 years or so. Hingis, Jankovic, S & V Williams, Clijsters... their two handers have always been their more stable shot. Interesting to see players like Ivanovic and co. with stronger forehands. Not sure I agree with Oudin's forehand being better though... over the Australian summer season it was definitely off. Nice to see her back on track though. Go Lucie S in her next match!!!!

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Diane said...

Oudin's forehand did break down earlier this year, but I think that may have been part of her current struggle to deal with all of the pressure. In general, though, it appears to be a real strength.