Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rezai defeats Petkovic in Madrid thriller

I could hardly wait to see the Madrid third round match between Aravane Rezai and Andrea Petkovic; fortunately, for me, it was on Tennis TV at a time I could watch it. My expectations were met when the two big hitters engaged in what turned out to be quite a thriller.

Both Rezai and Petkovic can hit screaming winners, and both are dramatic on the court. And while my preference is to watch more Evert-like players, a bit of drama now and then is good, too. Rezai laid on the drama even more by wearing a black and gold lame outfit, which captured my attention several days ago because--well, how could it not?

Rezai also hit nine double faults, which is another matter altogether, and one which she needs to address.

It took Petkovic a while to get going, and Rezai took a 5-2 lead in the first set. But when the Frenchwoman served for the set at 40-0, she was not able to get a set point, and was broken by a spot-on overhead shot from Petkovic. This moment in the match turned out to be oddly prescient of what was to come later, when matters really became tense.

Petkovic held for 4-5, but then, on her fourth set point, Rezai took the first set 6-4. Both women played really well in the second set, and the drama began right away, when Petkovic was broken in the first, very long, game. She broke back and saved set points to force a tiebreak, in which she went down 1-6. Maybe it was that 5-2, 40-0 game I still had on my mind, or maybe it was just that I know what a fighter Petkovic is, but I had a strong feeling that 6-1 probably didn't mean a lot.

It didn't. Petkovic went on a tear, and saved one match point after another. At 6-3, she engaged Rezai in an amazing rally in which she had to reach--Jankovic style--to unknown places to get back a number of balls, and eventually, her performance paid off when she got an error from Rezai. Petkovic held five set points in the tiebreak, but failed to convert any of them. She saved six match points, but on the seventh, Rezai won the tiebreak 10-8, and the match was hers. Petkovic left the court in tears.

And while I'm talking about this match--shame on the people in the Spanish crowd who applauded when Petkovic double-faulted during the tiebreak. I, too, am a fan of David Ferrer, but the idea of wanting such a high quality match to end so he could get onto the court is an insult to Petkovic, Rezai, and the women's tour. It is also unspeakably rude.


Overhead Spin said...

Diane, what a match. Fantastic hitting from both women. I hope the Spanish fans are happy with getting the women off the court, since they then had to witness Ferrer beating down Cilic. Whatever. You know what irritates me about how women's tennis is portrayed. They make it seem as if there are no quality players in the WTA and that they all just stay at the baseline and hit balls. I saw 2 fantastic matches on back to back days and for me most of the men's matches have been nothing but snooze fests. They stand at the baseline and just blast the ball all the while groaning as if they are about to deliver. It is annoying, infuriating and downright disgusting to listen to it. In addition, you get all these unsportsmanlike conduct on the court, cheering your opponent
s errors and it does not help that the fans seem to get so involved in the matches to the point where players are losing their cool. Not good. Not good at all.

Erik G. said...

So that's why the Spanish crowd was rooting for Rezai! I wonder why they were so behind a Frenchwomen. Whatever. It was a great match and I wish Petkovic had figured out a way to get one of those set pts. to stretch it to a third. I agree it was the best match of the event so far. The men's side has been a bit of a snooze.

Overhead Spin said...

Eric, wash your mouth. If you follow some fan boards you would think the women's game is a travesty of errors and double faults. There have been some really wonderful matches this tournie most of them on the women's side and I for one am very happy for that. The men have been nothing if not a snooze fest.

Anonymous said...

First of all sorry for my English level. I was yesterday watching this match in Madrid, and I have to say that during the entire match but the end, the public was correct with both players. Probably because Rezai said “vamos” a Spanish expression or the way she runs for all the balls or perhaps because Petkovic throw her racket, the public support more Rezai but we applaud all the good points of both players. At the end of the match a lot of people come into the court to see the next match with Ferrer, they were not interested in this match. Just in the tie break, one of the best tie-breaks I saw, with a lot of winners, with those tension points form 6-1 to 6-6 , some people had an unpleasant behaviour with Petkovic. But not all the people, the most of us applause Petkovic when she did incredible points and when she left the court. I would like see another set, and probably the 90% of the public, because the match was very good, but I was happy because this small and brave woman Rezai won, and the way she did it.

Diane said...

Thanks for the report, Anon (and your English is just fine). It was only a small number of people who did the inappropriate applauding, but it stood out because everyone else was silent.

Both of these players are quite emotional, so I knew there would be some drama.