Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hold your head up, movin' on!

At the end of the drama-filled masterpiece that was the first-round Wimbledon match between Eastbourne champion Tamira Paszek and former world number 1 Caroline Wozniacki, ESPN showed a montage of moments from the match and played The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams." Wozniacki's dreams may not be of the sweet variety, however. Despite playing extremely well, she was bested 5-7, 7-6, 6-4 by a fiery, confident and frightenly free-swinging Paszek.

The match, which began yesterday and was suspended at 2-all in the opening set, really should have been a final. It had everything--expert shot-making, exceptionally hard hitting, huge momentum swings, and heart-stopping comebacks. Paszek served at 5-3 for the first set, and held four set points, which she saw gobbled up by Wozniacki, who went on to break her and win the set. The former world number 1 went up a quick break in the second set. Given her improved aggression and what might have been a significant letdown for Paszek (who not only saw four set points disappear, but who also just played a long week of tennis in Eastourne), it wasn't hard to believe that Wozniacki was about to take care of first-round business.

But wait--this was Tamira Paszek, who plays best when she's in trouble. Serving at 6-5, Wozniacki held two match points, but then Paszek unleashed two massive backhand winners and wiped them out. The set went to a tiebreak, which Paszek won.

Paszek went down a break in the final set, just as she had in the second, but she never showed signs of giving up. In fact, the the more grueling and risky the match became, the more the Eastbourne champion looked like she believed she could win it. She did serve for the match at 5-3, but became a bit shaky and was broken. Paszek's failure to win the match on her serve made things look better and better for the always-patient Wozniacki, but when the Dane served at 4-5, Paszek finally put an end to things. She hit a forehand down the line to deliver match point, and after three hours and twelve minutes, Wozniacki experienced her first-ever Wimbledon first-round loss. The 7th seed reached the round of 16 in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Paszek's groundstrokes are stunning, and she can change direction quickly. There is also a calm  on-court poise about her, even when things aren't going so well. It would benefit her to add more variety to her game as she advances in this tournament, but--for now--she's doing well enough to take out the 7th seed. Paszek's next opponent will be Alize Cornet.


Anonymous said...

I was impressed by Paszek beating Kerber at Eastbourne and now her first round at Wimbledon. She did get to the quarters last year. Maybe after a couple long injury breaks she is back. But we will have to see the rest of the tournament and how she plays on other services to make that conclusion.
As for Thomas Johannson(sp)-is he out as Caro's coach? You can't really blame him when she ran into a hot player and has been digging herself into a deep hole all year.

Diane said...

I don't think he was ever really her coach, but more of an assistant. In fact, she kind of said that, but in different words. Can anyone see Piotr giving up the top spot?

Whether Johansson will last much longer, I don't know. I thought Wozniacki played really well today.