Simona Halep served for the match today at 5-4 in the third set. She and her opponent, 4th seed Jelena Jankovic, played an error-filled mess of a match that Halep might have won had she been at a higher level of fitness and prepared to face the intense heat. But credit to JJ: When it came down to the end, something snapped into place, and she forced consecutive errors from her exhausted opponent to (finally) win 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Halep was up 5-1 in the second set, and almost ran away with it, as Jankovic made a string of unforced errors. (During the third set, my mind wandered to that Australian Open first round in which Jankovic saved herself at the last minute from an upset by Tamira Paszek.)
8th seed Li Na, a semifinalist at the Australian Open, did not fare as well. She was defeated 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 by 2009 quarterfinalist Kateryna Bondarenko, who took advantage of Li's run of unforced errors. Also going out were 26th seed Lucie Safarova (def. by Tamira Paszek), 30th seed Yaroslava Shvedova (def. by Lourdes Dominguez Lino), and Bronx challenger winner Anna Chakvetadze (def. by Urszula Radwanska).
Jarmila Groth took a set off of Maria Sharapova, but then went to pieces mentally. She double-faulted 14 times--an unfortunate trend among big servers on the tour. Sharapova defeated her 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
The Coco Vandeweghe Watch is over. Vandewegh won one game against
Sabine Lisicki, who is trying to put her game back together after
experiencing a series of injuries and illnesses and a consequent loss of
form and confidence.
The player who probably feels the worst today, though, is Magdalena Rybarikova. She believed that Aravane Rezai's last shot in a first set tiebreak was out, but it called good, and Rezai won the tiebreak 7-5. Rybarikova had the second set on her racquet at 6-5, but blew it with a forehand error. She then went down 0-5 in the tiebreak, and fought her way to 5-all. Rezai, the 18th seed, won that tiebreak 9-7.
As close as that contest was, however, I have to acknowledge the competition between John McEnroe and Chris Fowler over who can blather on the most while possessing the least amount of knowledge--not just about the women's tour, but even about U.S. Open procedures. ESPN, I have a deal for you: I'll do the job, and display a quarter of the ignorance for half the money. And I won't insult half of the players.
Was there a watch for Coco? It was good to see Sabine back on the court today. What a beautiful woman and what a lovely no frills game she has? One of my favourite players to watch.
Jamila Groth either needs to believe that she can win matches or she may as well pack her racquet bag and head home. I was very disappointed to see a professional player shake her head and say "I cannot win". Get off the court if you feel that way and tell everyone at Tennis Australia to stop investing in your future. She was an embarrassment out there today. Lose, but lose with dignity and go down fighting.
Halep needs to work on her fitness. JJ won that match today simply because of her outstanding fitness and her ability to keep the ball in play one last time. Halep has game, no doubt about it. Saw her during the clay season and was very impressed. Maybe next time.
"Was there a watch for Coco?"
LOL. After commentators and the like tossed Oudin to the curb, they started promoting Vandeweghe. So much for that.
Lisicki does have a nice no-frills game. Her serve has been misinterpreted as huge and "booming." In reality, her serve is quite varied and tricky, and she has one of the best drop shots around. Of course, she hasn't been herself for a while, but let's hope she's on her way back now.
Poor Oudin, she should either hope she loses in the next round or goes one better than she did last year. What a burden to carry for a nation?
I am not very fond of people kind of dissing player's games because they have a good serve. They bemoan the state of women's tennis when the women double fault, yet when a woman uses her serve to her advantage they demean it by talking about "she won the match because of her serve". If that is your biggest weapon, why not use it.
I guess the US commentators have to hype some American players because after Venus and Serena, they really do not have much to cheer about. I have to say that from what I have seen of Coco she has not really made much progress since I saw her 2 years ago. If anything she may have regressed. I remember her match against JJ at the USO and she played very well. Now she just hits hard, and when that does not work, she hits it even harder. That game went out with the dinosaurs.
When I saw Coco in April, she looked really out of shape, but when I saw her on TV recently, she seemed to have taken care of that. But that thoughtless ball-bashing needs to be changed.
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