Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Clijsters goes all Petrova on Safina

3rd seed Kim Clijsters, the favorite to win the 2011 Australian Open, gave the crowd a taste of her focus during her first round on the second day of the event. Clijsters defeated 2009 finalist Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-0 in just 44 minutes.

Clijsters knows what it feels like. Last year, she was beaten down 6-0, 6-1 by Nadia Petrova in the third round of the Open.

Prior to the match, as some of us were discussing earlier today, the commentators on ESPN chatted for some time about Safina's history of mental collapses, and need to do something about her mental strength. And while that discussion is relevant, it is simply not the whole story. For one thing, the big collapses occurred only in major finals. Also, the commentators--led by Patrick McEnroe--failed to mention the former number 1's career-threatening back injury that took her off the tour twice, and caused her to miss months of play. (In contrast, the same commentators were telling us every five minutes that Juan Martin Del Potro may struggle because he was out for so long with a wrist injury.)

A memorable match was played between 12th seed Agnieszka Radwanska (who Tennis Channel commentators forgot to mention--until the last mintue--has not played since September because of surgery for a stress fracture in her foot) and Kimiko Date Krumm. They each won a set, and the third set was a see-saw of momentum. It was impossible to predict who would win. Date Krumm went up 4-1, but then Radwanska had to take a medical break because her back was bothering her. After that break, Date Krumm was never the same, and it surely didn't help that the usually burning hot Melbourne court temperature was pleasantly cool. Still, it was hard to determine who would prevail, and toward the end, Radwanska inadvertently supplied some first-rate comic relief. Then she won the match, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

Ekaterina Makarova upset 19th seed and 2008 finalist Ana Ivanovic, Alicia Molik won an entertaining match against Roberta Vinci, Ayumi Morita upset 27th seed Alexandra Dulgheru, and Jelena Jankovic hit ten aces. Among those saying goodbye were Australians Anastasia Rodionova, Sophie Ferguson and Sally Peers. Melanie Oudin, Patty Schnyder and Auckland champion Greta Arn were also among the defeated on day 2.


Sunny nine said...

I was upset at P McEnroe's comments about Safina. First of all they kept billing it as the blockbuster of the night. C'mon we know (most of us) about Safina's back problems and that her chances at beating Kim or coming close were nil. I thought it was kind of cruel-yeah anything can happen, but Safina has been struggling due to lack of play and training because of her back. The media treated her badly enough when she was a healthy no 1 now this. No one was saying that she had a very bad back issue which was part of her slide. I was just mad. The media picks and chooses who it wants to believe or deal with on injury. Roddick had mono but apparently Roger didn't. Kim had troubles from Fed Cup injury but not much is mentioned about Wozniacki playing through the ankle injury. Another point-they forgot Zvonareva was in two finals already. Now this with Safina!

Sunny nine said...

I know it is easy for me to say but I hope Ivanovic takes something good out of last night's loss. She fought hard and she played well. Nothing to be ashamed of. She is moving forward and should continue to get better.

Diane said...

I suppose we should consider the source. McEnroe thought it was necessary, in his so-called memoir, to make a derogatory comment about Venus's appearance, so we should keep our expectations low.

I really miss Thrill Ride--her wit, her exciting comebacks, her press conferences. There is so much talent there; I keep hoping she'll get it together again. As for Ivanovic, I think she plenty to build on; the clay season will reveal a lot, I believe.

Overhead Spin said...

Sunny, don't you know that it is only those who kiss up with the media and whose handlers take every opportunity to talk about injuries that are believed.

The Williams Sisters do not discuss injuries etc., so when they pull out of tournaments with injuries, it is because they do not want to play lower level events (especially Serena). Now that she has missed 2 majors, you are still not getting the true picture. DelPo is out for how long and everybody and their mother is sympathising. Safina is out for most of the year and all you can hear is about her mental difficulties.

I did not watch the match but I got up this morning and checked the scores and saw the carnage. I feel for Safina, I really do and I hope that she can come back but unfortunately from where I am sitting I am just not seeing it.

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