Thursday, May 30, 2013

"La Chaussette" makes news in Paris

It has always been a matter of frustration to me--how talented Bethanie Mattek-Sands is and how cursed her career has been by chronic injury. Fortunately, the WTA's anti-fashion (and I mean that in a good way) icon has made a big name for herself in doubles. But then, during her healthy periods, one sees how much potential she has in singles.

Like today, for instance. The 28-year-old American literally beat 2011 French Open champion Li Na at her own game, displaying the kind of aggression that makes her a joy to watch.

At first, the match appeared to go "as planned." Li won four straight games, but then Mattek-Sands won four right back, and the fight was on. Li took the first set 7-5, then both players had to deal with light rain, as well as rain delays. And the more the 6th seed lost her way, the more Mattek-Sands took it to her. The world number 67 won the last two sets 6-3, 6-2 and hit 32 winners. Up 5-1 in the third, Mattek-Sands faced a suddenly feisty Li and wound up having to serve for the match twice. A losing Li can be a dangerous Li, but her surge came too late this time.

Mattek-Sands will play Paula Ormachea in the third round. Ormachea defeated Yaroslava Shavedova in straight sets today.

Meanwhile, a still-cranky (and especially after the rain delay) Victoria Azarenka faced up-and-coming German Anika Beck, who generally appears fearless when she opposes higher-ranked players, and who generally makes those players work for the points. Today was no exception. Aazarenka won, 6-4, 6-3, but it wasn't pretty.

Jelena Jankovic beat Garbine Muguruza, and Marina Erakovic beat Dominika Cibulkova (what a terrible season she's having). Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic lost to Sam Stosur, but Frenchwoman Alize Cornet advanced to the third round with a win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

Jamie Hampton and Sloane Stephens won their second round matches. There are four American women still in the draw.

Of note: Petra Kvitova hit 30 winners and won her match against Peng Shuai in straight sets.

There was a notable upset in first round doubles play. Irina-Camelia Begu and Magdalena Rybarikova defeated 6th seeds Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones. 2011 French Open champions Andrea Havackova and Lucie Hradecka advanced to the second round by defeating Alize Lim and Aravane Rezai.


sunny nine said...

I couldn't believe Kvitova did it in two sets. I didn't get to see it. And I wasn't surprised by Mattek-Sands. She made noise in Stuttgart and I think the "stuff" has been in her all along. The USA commentators or writers made a big deal of all the young USA women. I think they should wait until the third round to do that. It probably jinxed Keys, Oudin et al. I was happy about Hampton getting through. I think it is great that Puig is making some noise. Someone from P.R. - when have we had that? Or is my memory messed up. As usual I enjoy the early rounds. I get to see these young players and make some notes. I have an excel thing going to keep track of how the 1990's women and men break out. I am grateful to Tennis channel for doing some live streaming. I don't have to hear ESPN2 and I can't afford the cable package that includes the TV tennis channel.

Diane said...

I started watching Puig years ago in Charleston qualifying. I think she's worked hard and it's nice to see her get some recognition.

Great, Sunny, that you're tracking the 90s players. Feel free to share with us any interesting patterns or stats.