Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Williams and Bartoli go to Miami semifinals

It wasn't always attractive, but it doesn't have to be. Marion Bartoli and Yanina Wickmayer, meeting for the first time, played a topsy-turvy semifinal in Miami this evening. There were 12 breaks of serve, and Bartoli double-faulted 7 times. 12th seed Wickmayer, when all was said and done, wasn't up to the task of dealing with Bartoli's return of serve, which is her best shot. In fact, when she isn't injured or otherwise preoccupied, it's the shot that wins matches.

The first two games of the first set were long ones, and they were indicative of how the entire match would look. It took her a while, but Bartoli broke Wickmayer four times to take the first set 6-4. In the second set, Wickmayer began to hit with more confidence. Bartoli kept up the pressure, though, and never appeared to waver in confidence, even when things went wrong. For example, she was broken after leading 40-0 in one game, but she handled it calmly. Serving at 4-5, Bartoli went down 0-40, but eventually held. She then broke Wickmayer, and held for a 6-4, 7-5 victory.

The last game of the match was also a microcosm of the whole thing: Bartoli had three match points. She double-faulted the first one, and Wickmayer saved the second one when a netcord roller went her way. But on the third, the 13th seed won a place in the semifinals.

Earlier in the day, 3rd seed Venus Williams defeated 6th seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-1. This match should have been more competitive, but Radwanksa has issues with her serve. Williams didn't: She had a first serve percentage of 77, and hit 8 aces.

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