Monday, September 6, 2010

Top seeds falter, but advance to U.S. Open quarterfinals

It's probably a good thing that Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta are close friends. Dulko showed the expected (but perhaps hard to come by) restraint and support today when Penenetta hit volley after volley into the net, and then hit a few volleys long. The Italian's volley nightmare occurred in a U.S.Open round third round match the top seeds played against 13th seeds Monica Niculescu and Shahar Peer. I lost count of the number of volleys Pennetta missed in that set, and I have no idea what happened to her.

It was no surprise, given the net issues, that Dulko and Pennetta failed to convert several set points (five or six--I lost count of that, too), and lost the first set in a tiebreak. Pennetta arrived on court for the next set a different player, and she and Dulko won it 6-1. They won the final set 6-2. The stand-out player in this match was Dulko, whose returns were often inspired, and who moved fluently around the court, operating with keen doubles instinct.

The other stand-out doubles player I saw today was Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who--backed up by Meghann Shaughnessy's big serving--helped take her team to a 6-4, 6-1 upset of 4th seeds Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik. Mattek-Sands and Shaughnessy are seeded 15th.

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