Friday, January 21, 2011

Top players advance to round of 16

Top seed Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the round of 16 on day 5 of the Australian Open by defeating 29th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 6-3. Cibulkova upset Wozniacki recently in the second round of the Medibank International in Sydney. The top seed played a clean match, as usual, and made only eleven unforced errors. She looked relaxed and in control throughout the match.

I've seen a lot of tennis press conferences over the years--some of them funny, some of them sullen, some of them angry, some of them consisting of near-silence from the player. But I don't think I've ever seen anything like Wozniacki's post third-round press conference. Intentional or otherwise, it was a send-up--but not a good one---of every press conference Maria Sharapova has ever done. The affect, the mannerisms, the gestures, even the pauses--were all very broad imitations of Sharapova. I have no idea what's going on, but: Whoever took Caroline Wozniacki--please return her.

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Justine Henin in a major for the first time in her career, and improved her overall record against Henin to 3-16. It took Kuznetsova over two hours to get her 6-4, 7-6 victory. In the second set, both players were visibly anxious and were frustrated by unforced errors. Henin, especially--despite moments of wonderful shot-making--was awash in unforced errors (41 for the match), and she double-faulted nine times.

Kuznetsova served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, and anyone who was a reasonable guesser figured she was going to get broken. She did. She then broke Henin at 5-all, but was broken back when she served for the match a second time. Henin began the tiebreak with her seventh double fault, and she double-faulted again at 4-3. She saved three match points and had a set point, which she didn't convert, and she double-faulted again at 8-all. Kuznetsova won the tiebreak 10-8. It was a really tense affair, and it was obvious that Henin's greatest post-injury deficit is a mental one.

9th seed Li Na and 8th seed Victoria Azarenka both won their third round matches in straight sets, defeating Barbora Zahlavova Strycova and Chanelle Scheepers, respectively. Anastasija Sevastova advanced to the round of 16 with a win over Vesna Manasieva.

6th seed Francesca Schiavone cruised 6-0 through her first set against Monica Niculescu, but then lost her focus, as she is sometimes prone to do, and let Niculescu in. Schiavone dug back in, though, and won the second set in a tiebreak. (Note--yet again--to commentators: It isn't "copying Federer" when you've had the shot in your repertoire for your entire career)


Unknown said...

Of course Schiavone's not copying Federer, because they both are copying Gabriela's "Saba-tweenie." :-)

Fog Mountain said...

I'm mystified how you could conclude that Caro's response to criticism by Matt Cronin and Stephanie Myles was really all about Maria Sharapova.

Diane said...

I'm not discussing the content of what she said (which I think could have been handled in one sentence, and most successfully in no sentences), but her persona. She seemed to be a completely different person. And the more I watched, the more I realized I was seeing something like an o.t.t. Sharapova persona. I don't know if she was having a go at the press (it doesn't take much to do that), or if something else was going on.

Diane said...

And I do miss seeing the "Sabatweenie."