Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dulko gives it a try, but top seeds are out in Paris

I thought there might be a walkover in yesterday's doubles quarterfinal between top seeds Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta and opponents Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina. Dulko had to retire from her singles round of 16 match the day before because of a thigh injury. But the number 1 team showed up, and an odd match it was.

Dulko, because of her injury, had trouble pushing off for her serve, and she had trouble moving, in general. Pennetta did a good job of taking up the slack, but the top seeds failed to win a single game in the first set. However, on the other side of the net, Sania Mirza's game was declining rapidly; Dulko and Pennetta hit every ball they could to her.

By the middle of the second set, Dulko--obviously under the influence of that great substance, adrenalin, began to move better. During one rally, Pennetta--not realizing that her partner suddenly had legs--back up quickly to the baseline to get a ball, not realizing that Dulko had done the same thing. They almost collided, and neither of them was able to hit the ball.

Throughout the entire match, during changeovers and between sets, a man made up cheers for Vesnina and yelled them repeatedly, which somehow added to the unusual nature of the proceedings. It was hard not to think about the final of the Australian Open, and to expect Dulko and Pennetta to find a way to win the second set and dominate in the third. But this time, there was an injury involved. There was also Elena Vesnina involved, and she served beautifully and maintained a high level of play throughout the match. With a 6-0, 7-5 win, Mirza and Vesnina, the 7th seeds, advanced to the semifinals

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