Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sharapova through to Wimbledon third round

Play resumed today in the interrupted second round Wimbledon match between world number 1 Maria Sharapova and the Wimbledon zone of danger otherwise known as Tsvetana Pironkova. Pironkova was down 1-3 in the second set when they began playing again, but she broke Sharapova, and that set, too, went to a tiebreak. Sharapova's serve went to pieces and Pironkova won the tiebreak and the second set.

I wondered whether to settle back for a long thrill-ride third set, but Sharapova had other plans. In a stunning example of "putting it behind her," the 2004 champion proceeded to wipe Pironkova right off of the grass, which is no small feat. It didn't hurt that Pironkova's rather wicked serve had decreased in effectiveness as the match went on. Sharapova won the final set 6-0 in 29 minutes.

Pironkova wasn't the only grass expert to go today. 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli was taken out in straight sets by Mirjana Lucic, who was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 1999. Lucic hit 33 winners and made only 11 unforced errors. Her defeeat of Bartoli is Lucic's first top-10 win in 13 years (she was off the tour for several years).

Defending champion Petra Kvitova won her first set against Elena Baltacha 6-0, but, of course, she had to have a little "off" time in the second set--which she won 6-4. Serena Williams beat Melinda Czink, Victoria Azarenka beat Romina Oprandi, and Alize Cornet took only three games off of Tamira Paszek. Christina McHale is still around, as is Francesca Schiavone. Angelique Kerber took out grass court threat Ekaterina Makarova, and Varvara Lepchenko beat 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Kim Clijsters' next opponent will be 2010 finalist Vera Zvonareva. No one is talking about Zvonareva because she's having a dreadful season, but now, here she is in the third round of Wimbledon, playing against someone really good who is also unpredictable. This is a match to keep an eye on, for sure.

Sloane Stephens takes on 2011 semifinalist Sabine Lisicki, Heather Watson has to face Agnieszka Radwanska, and--in what could be one of the better matches of the day--Christina McHale plays Angelique Kerber.

In doubles, defending champions Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik advanced to the second round, as did top seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond. Also winning were 2nd seeds and French Open champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, and Serena and Venus Williams. Grass court players Marina Erakovic and Tammy Tanasugarn defeated Peng Shuai and Zheng Jie, and Irina Falconi and Chanelle Scheepers defeated Gisela Dulko and Paola Suarez.

Next up for the Williams sisters are 4th seeds Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova.

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