Friday, April 4, 2014

Charleston quarterfinals to be played Friday

The ESPN-televised Family Circle Cup quarterfinal on Friday will certainly be one worth watching: 2nd seed Jelena Jankovic will play 6th seed Eugenie Bouchard. Jankovic, who won the event in 2007 and was a finalist last year, has shown very good form this week, and has also gotten in some work in doubles. Bouchard, who defeated Venus Williams today, has created quite a bit of excitement in Charleston.

Following the Jankovic-Bouchard match, Lucie Safarova will play Andrea Petkovic. Safarova was the runner-up here in 2012; Petkovic has cruised through the draw. Petkovic has a 3-2 record against Safarova. They have never before played each other on clay.

The third quarterfinal will feature clay court specialist Sara Errani and Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic, the last qualifier standing. The night match will be played between Slovaks Daniela Hantuchova and Jana Cepelova. Hantuchova is flying way under the radar at this event, but all that will change on Friday night.

Bouchard has her Genie Army in tow, and today she thanked everyone for all the support and added, "keep the stuffed animals coming." The Canadian wasn't the only with a cheering squad, though. This year, the "Aussie Aussie Aussie!" chant for Sam Stosur was pervasive, with the "Aussie" part yelled from one end of the stadium and the "Oi" part yelled from the other end. Nice.

The Petko Dance has returned!

And, speaking of Petko, time for a few words about Sabine Lisicki. The 2009 champion posted first and second serve win percentages of 36 and 28 in her 55-minute match against Petkovic today. Lisicki won one game. At her press conference, she confirmed that her shoulder wasn't yet "100 per cent." When asked whether a shoulder problem inhibited her serve, she simply repeated that her shoulder wasn't yet fully healed.

Lisicki, who has sustained repeated injuries and illnesses in the past few years, isn't exactly forthcoming. Recall that, when asked on Monday how many injuries she had sustained in the past six months, she replied "You can look it up." Today, in the midst of major defeat, she took a medical timeout to treat a cut on her finger. And so it is her right. But it's always something. Whether she's retiring mid-match, getting hauled off the court on a stretcher, or getting a lesson in mental fortitude from Mademoiselle Bartoli, drama surrounds her. Not legs-in-the-air JJ drama, or even exceedingly foul mood Vika drama--but rather, predictable and uncomfortable drama with a big "D." And far too much of it.

Photo by Daniel Ward

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