Thursday, August 11, 2011

More top seeds knocked out in Toronto today

Toronto public art
The power went out today at the Rexall Centre in Toronto, and the metaphor could not have been more appropriate. The two top-ranked players in the world, Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters, were already out of the tournament, as was Marion Bartoli, one of the season's hottest contenders. Today, 3rd seed Vera Zvonareva was eliminated, along with Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 5th seed Maria Sharapova, and French Open champion Li Na.

"You never know how is it going in the head," Kvitova said in an interview earlier this week, dropping a hint that she perhaps wasn't mentally prepared for her first tournament since she won Wimbledon. The 7th seed took some time off, partly because of an abdominal strain that has bothered her since January, and with which she played seven matches at Wimbledon. Today, she brought the "old Kvitova" onto the court, as she hit, then hit harder, while continuing to make errors against a steady Andrea Petkovic. Kvitova's feel for the court just wasn't there, nor was she willing to slow down and change her strategy. It wasn't until Petkovic served for the match, in fact, that the Czech player looked a bit like the woman who plowed through the field at the All England Club. But it was way too little, too late, and Petkovic soundly defeated Kvitova 6-1, 6-2.

If it wasn't going too well in the head for Kvitova, it was going only slightly better for 6th seed Li Na. It's been a while since Li played, too, and it showed, as she was defeated 6-2, 6-4 by 10th seed Sam Stosur, who now has a 4-0 record against the Chinese player. Li was denied a chance to play as scheduled in the second round because she was given a walkover by Peng Shuai.

Vera Zvonareva, seeded 3rd, lost the Carlsbad championship last week to Anieszka Radwanska. They played again today in Toronto, Radwanska won the first set 6-4, then went down 0-4 in the second--then won the match 6-4, 7-5.

The "power outage" continued as qualifier Galina Voskoboeva, who had already taken out 9th seed Marion Bartoli, as well as Flavia Pennetta, went after 5th seed Maria Sharapova today. Voskkoboeva pulled Sharapova forward and backward with drop shots and lobs in what was not only an inspired performance, but was also a study in how to use variety to take control. Things took a bit of a turn, however, when Voskoboeva served for the match at 6-3, 6-4, 40-0. She double-faulted twice, then made two errors. When Sharapova to the ad point, Voskoboeva tossed her racquet, and then she was broken.

This was, of course, "supposed" to be the point at which Sharapova turned the match around against a lower-ranked (135 in the world), choking opponent, but it didn't go that way. Instead, she was broken back, and when Voskoboeva served for the match at 6-4, 6-5, she stayed calm and got the job done.

There was more in this notable 3rd round. Roberta Vinci, who sent top seed Caroline Wozniacki out of Toronto, beat Ana Ivanovic 7-6, 6-2 today. Francesca Schiavone, seeded 8th, lost in straight sets to Lucie Safarova.

Serena Williams had to work hard to win a very entertaining match against qualifier Zheng Jie, who looked better than she has in a long time, after sliding down the rankings because of injuries. Zheng's return of Williams' serve was outstanding, and she won the first set. Williams won the second, and at 3-all in the third, after a couple of momentum swings, it looked like the match could go either way. But then Williams increased the pressure on Zheng, and--as we have seen so many times before--the former world number 1 left the court the winner (4-6, 6-3, 6-3). This was an exciting match, and spectators got to see a lot of expert movement and shot-making.

Finally, 4th seed Victoria Azarenka escaped the fate of the tournament's other top seeds, and defeated qualifier Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1, 6-2.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

Galina Voskoboeva's play this week, ranked 135 has been nothing short of astounding ! Excellent wins to for Vinci, A-Rad, Lucie and Petko. Highly entertaining night match, Zheng so close to beating Serena Williams. The Rogers Cup may be my favourite non-Slam event of the year. A combination of that impressive arena (just the perfect tennis Centre Court) and super non-stop TV coverage.