Friday, May 14, 2010

Jankovic, Li and Petrova all upset in Madrid quarterfinals

Those of us who were looking forward to another Jelena Jankovic-Venus Williams match this weekend are out of luck. Williams may still go to the Madrid final, but her Serbian rival is out of competition. Aravane Rezai defeated Jankovic 7-5, 6-4 in a sometimes-thrilling match that showcased Rezai's relentlessly big ball-striking. In two sets, the Frenchwoman hit 38 winners, which--on red clay--is quite a number.

The second half of the first set was as wild as it gets. Jankovic saved two set points, one with a netcord ball. She broke Rezai and saved three more set points, then went down 0-30, but held. At 5-all, it became very tense. There were 11 deuces, with Rezai finally converting on the seventh break point. Rezai then took the first set 7-5, on her sixth set point.

There was an exchange of breaks early in the second set, then Rezai broke again. When Jankovic held at love for 3-4, a third set appeared to be in the making. But Rezai never let up, overcoming the 7th seed 6-4, and advancing to the semifinals.

Earlier in the day, Shahar Peer knocked out 13th seed Li Na, who hit 43 winners, but made 78 unforced errors. Peer took the match at 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Both players suffered with nerves, and Li fans got to see more of what makes the Chinese number 1 so inconistent.

A third unseeded player showed the exit to 16th seed Nadia Petrova. Lucie Safarova, who is having a wonderful clay court season, defeated Petrova 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. Petrova hit nine aces.

The only seeded player who won her quarterfinal match was 4th seed Venus Williams, who defeated 8th seed Sam Stosur 6-3, 6-3. Williams served really well, hitting eight aces and producing serving stat percentages of 68 and 55.

Williams, now the favorite to win the title, will play Peer in the semifinals. The more interesting semifinal match, in my opinion, will be the one between Rezai and Safarova.

In doubles, the current hot team--Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta--defeated last season's hot team (and number 2 seeds) Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals. The number 8 seeds will play Serena and Venus Williams in the final. The top-seeded Williams sisters defeated Shahar Peer and Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-2.


Anonymous said...

Congrats to Vee, I had Sam winning this match, glad my fav pulled it through. Venus is the only seeded player left. She came in as #4 in the world, monday she will be #2. I see Venus winning a tight semifinal match aganist Peer. As for the final if it's between Williams and Rezai, I'll just flip a coin

Overhead Spin said...

I love how doubles is getting some really big name players in the game. Makes it very interesting for all the specialised doubles players when singles players are not only competing in doubles as I am sure at some point it will raise the presence of doubles in tournament play. Serena tweeted today that her doubles career is going better than her singles. On to the matches. I watched all of them and boy did Venus and Rezai play well. Rezai just loads up and hits the fuzz off the ball. No thought, no wondering, nothing. Just steps in and rips the ball. Shahar needs to learn how to overcome her nerves and Li needs to control her temper. Richard Williams has been scouting Rezai's matches all week. I wonder if he knows something we all dont know. I wish the commentators would ask him his thoughts on women's tennis as I think he would have a lot to say that would be of interest to fans like myself. He seems to be watching matches even when his daughters are not playing and that is so good for the game. He is sitting there cheering and stuff.

Diane said...

I noticed Richard W. at one or two of Rezai's matches, too. Interesting.

Overhead Spin said...

Perhaps after hearing how she almost beat Serena in Sydney (now that was a match) he wanted to see her for himself. I just read Jankovic's quote about Rezai and I have to laugh because that was the exact same thing that I saw. She will be a force to reckon with during the hard court season if she can keep it up. I have to say that I am not a big fan of her personality. Too much in your faceness, but boy, I am a fan of her game.

Diane said...

"If she can keep it up" is what I'm thinking. I don't think she can. What she's doing is both physically and mentally so intense, I can't see her doing it on a consistent basis.

I've been watching Rezai for a long time. She has always been a huge hitter; now, she has more confidence, so she's hitting even harder.

Overhead Spin said...

It will be interesting to see how she matches up against Venus in the final. Venus is a big match player and she will be well motivated to cement that No. 2 ranking with a big prize of a premier mandatory win. For the old lady of the Tour she is doing exceptionally well this season. I just saw Rezai blow Lucie off the court but what I noticed is that on the rare occassions that Lucie was firing Rezai had no answers so it will be interesting to see how she approaches her match with Venus who not only hits with pace but also is able to mix it up and move her opponent around. Venus moves exceptionally well and Rezai does not move as well so it should be interesting to see how Richard approaches this match as he has been scouting Rezai all tournament long.

Overhead Spin said...

O/T - kitten update: how about Runty and Patches are now best friends. They play together and eat together and sleep together. I have no idea how it happened but it became a bit of a pain in the you know what having them both crying whenever I cage them and then when I started letting them out together to use the bathroom and stuff, instead of fighting they started running off together and hiding from me because neither one seemed to like the cage. A happy ending by all accounts.

Diane said...

Oh, Karen, I'm so glad. Most of the time, the cats do work it out.

Overhead Spin said...

Funny part of all this. My sister told me that they were not actually from the same litter which is perhaps why Patches was attacking Runty the way she did. I could swear they were from the same litter. It kind of explains everything now. LOL