Friday, August 17, 2012

Cincinnati semifinals should be worth watching

Who would possibly want to get into a hitting contest with Petra Kvitova?

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova would! In a day of very enjoyable quarterfinals, Pavlyuchenkova may have lost, but she let everyone see why she is still one to be watched. In fact, the rally that the Russian won in the sixth game of the second set was easily worth the price of admission. Pavlyuchenkova served really well, and wasn't afraid to take a big (but sometimes subtle) game to Kvitova. In the end, though, it was Kvitova who knew what to do, and her 6-3, 7-6 victory takes her to the semifinals, in which she'll play Angelique Kerber.

Kerber played with great steadiness of mind as she defeated Serena Williams, of all people, in straight sets. Williams was clearly not feeling it, and her frustration was on display throughout much of the match. One can't help but think that fatigue was a major factor. Kerber defeated Williams 6-4, 6-4.

Li Na practically ran through Agnieszka Radwanska, and beat her 6-1, 6-1. Radwanska had her shoulder (you know, that shoulder) tended to in the second set, and part of the time, she seemed to be just barely setting up her shots. None of this bothered Li, who is suddenly looking like her old hard court master self.

And then there was Venus Williams. Williams and Sam Stosur engaged in a very well-played match, which could have gone either way, but it was Williams who prevailed, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4. The two players broke each other 11 times and played for over two hours and 34 minutes--and Williams looked filled with energy, even at the end. She was thrilled, and surely this match marked a turning point for her, because here she is, suddenly, in the semifinals in Cincinnati.

Earlier in the day, the ESPN commentators had a lot to say about Caroline Wozniacki, who lost her quarterfinal match to Pavlyuchenkova. They talked about whose "voice" Wozniacki really hears as she trains, and Brad Gilbert was adamant in stating that there should be only one voice. He also said he thought Wozniacki's number one priority should be to get her movement back to its former level. "Confidence equals two steps quicker on the court," Pam Shriver noted. In all, it was a thoughtful discussion.


Bobby Skipsey said...

I demur. Serena could not have been fatigued. She had not played for three weeks. More likely, she wanted the appearance money, played three rounds, and bowed out to rest and practice for the US Open. It's an old story and it is fraud on the tournament and the fans. If anybody should be fatigued it should be Li and Kvitova, who have played hard matches steadily for almost two weeks.

Karen said...

Yes Bobby but what did they do for the last few months? Let us look at what Serena has done. Played singles and doubles at Wimbledon. Won both. Flew across the Atlantic and played Stanford. Flew back across the Atlantic and played singles and doubles in the Olympics and won both. Flew back to the States and reached the quarters of Cincinatti. Nothing much. All for the appearance money. Meanwhile, look who has not played since the Olympics:-

Maria Sharapova - who had points to defend in Cincy.

Victoria Azarenka - who had points to defend in both Montreal and Cincy but who will be playing New Haven

Clijsters - who has decided that to hell with the regular Tour my last tournament will be the USO and that is it.

Yeah, let us hit Serena over the head with a frying pan for not putting in her best efforts

*kiss teeth*

Anonymous said...

Bobby's point is that Serena did not play until Cincinnati after the Olympics. That was a two or three week gap, plenty of time to rest. Since the Open era began, a problem for promoters has been that before the Majors, top players show up for a few rounds and tank or claim injury, in order to rest before the majors. It is not just Serena. Maybe her loss to Kerber was just a bad day, but maybe she tanked. We'll never know.