Sunday, September 5, 2010

The elders gather

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had an elbow problem during her U.S. Open round of 16 match, but she had an even bigger Italian problem: French Open champion Francesca Schiavone sliced, spun, and out-served the Russian, and won the match 6-3, 6-0 in just an hour and eight minutes. 19-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, the highest-ranking teenager on the tour, has had a variety of physical problems lately--her hip, shoulder and arm have all given her given her trouble. Today, she said, the arm pain spread to her elbow. The 30-year-old Schiavone, who is seeded 6th, used her signature one-handed backhand to keep 20th-seeded Pavlyuchenkova on the run, and set up a number of volleys, which she executed with style.

Schiavone will face another volleying 30-year-old in the quarterfinals. Venus Williams, the tournament's 3rd seed, faced one of the tour's biggest fighters, Shahar Peer, today. The first set was all about breaks of serve. Williams had trouble getting her first serve in, and Peer was keen to take advantage of this. They played some great rallies, and produced an outstanding game when Peer served at 5-6. Earlier in the set, she had come back to hold after being down 0-40, and she did it again in this crucial game. She double-faulted for the first time when she reached the 5th deuce, but hung on. On the 7th deuce point, Peer stretched out for a winning volley, and followed it with a winning forehand down the line. (It was Peer's forehand, in fact, that helped her compete with Williams throughout the match.)

Williams dominated the tiebreak, won it 7-3, then went up 2-0 right away in the second set. And though she was broken in the latter part of that set, she put on a display of volleying that left Peer behind. Williams, who won 20 of 26 net points, defeated Peer 7-6, 6-3, giving her a 6-0 record against the 16th seed. The 3rd seed did not appear to be troubled by her knee, but perhaps was troubled by the wind when she served. 

There was one other daytime round of 16 match, and it lasted only 59 minutes. Defending champion Kim Clijsters broke Ana Ivanovic six times and defeated her 6-2, 6-1. Ivanovic had trouble with her ball toss again, and held serve only once. She made 28 unforced errors, and did not display the improvement we've seen from her in the last few weeks. 

In the quarterfinals, Clijsters will play the winner of the Sam Stosur-Elena Dementieva match.


migi said...

And I wonder what dress Venus will show in next round...

Overhead Spin said...

I totally enjoyed today's ladies match, except for the so-called marquee match. Schiavone put on a clinic. These young players will have to learn how to deal with slice. It was not the injury that caused Pavs to lose. It was her inability to try and out think Fran on the court.

On court coaching needs to go. This is the reason why Peer, Pavs, Ana and many others cannot figure out the veterans on the Tour. Most veterans do not call a coach down on court and as a result they are able to figure out an opponent and make the necessary adjustments.

Peer kept looking at her coach to know even when to challenge a ball. Pavs kept looking up at her brother because she had not a clue what to do. The score in the Pavs match was 6-3, 6-0 and it was not even that close. Pitiful display from one of the Tour's brighter stars. And getting fit should become a priority, along with getting a forehand shot.

Diane said...

I understand that Pavlyuchenkova has hired a fitness coach. This is a good--and necessary--move. All the talent in the world isn't going to have any meaning if she isn't fit enough to handle being on the tour.

Did you happen to hear Luke Jensen talking today about the paucity of skills taught on both tours?

Overhead Spin said...

Diane, no I did not hear but I agree with him. All they are being taught is how to hit a forehand and a backhand. That is it. When I see someone like Wozniacki play, I am left feeling cheated. And then I see someone like Francesca play and I am left with a smile on my face.

She put on a clinic today. Venus did the same as well, with some awesome volleys.

Do you know who disappoints me as an all round player? Stosur. I am watching her match with Dementieva and even her previous matches, and with all her vaunted doubles skills she is a really poor volleyer. She just took the first set 6-3 against Dementieva. Elena as usual had her chances and just could not convert them. Story of her life.