Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kerber upset in Rome

Every season, at least once, I ask the question, "Why isn't Petra Cetkovska ranked higher?" Then I remember that she has had multiple injury issues for a long time. And while we usually expect her to be at her best on grass, today, the "other" Petra took 7th seed Angelique Kerber out of the Italian Open in the second round of play.

It was quite a match, and--while qualifier Cetkovska got a whole lot of help from a very errant Kerber (her back injury is now a chronic issue)--she nevertheless played an entertaining, if frustrating, match. It was hardly her best moment, but it was enough. And in case you forgot how much Cetkovska uses the backhand slice, your got your memory prompted today. Over and over.

At 3-all in the second set, there was game that seemingly would never end. Finally, after 16 deuces, the Czech player prevailed, breaking Kerber and then going on to (easily) win the set 6-3. What was amusing was Cetkovska's attitude. After a while, when she failed to convert one of many break points in that seventh game, she would crack up. I enjoyed it. After all, what could she do but laugh at herself?

Cetkovska went on to win the third set 6-4. There was almost a rain delay in the match (there actually was one, but it lasted less than a minute), and one wonders whether the Cetkovska momentum would have been hurt by a rain break. It's hard to know because the whole thing was so error-filled, anyway. Cetkovska had 24 break opportunities against Kerber, and converted nine of them. In turn, Kerber broke her opponent seven times. It's clay season!

On to the Italians. Wild card Camila Giorgi defeated 9th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 7-6, and Sara Errani prevailed over Chanelle Scheepers. Roberta Vinci, however, fell in straight sets to Ekaterina Makarova.

Qualifier Belinda Bencic defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who is generally not too shabby on clay. Up next for Bencic is Flavia Pennetta, who will have huge crowd support.

Oh, and 5th seed Petra Kvitova is out, upset by Zhang Shuai. What's to be done?

Several notable doubles teams have gone out in the first round: Kops-Jones and Spears, Chan and Chan, Kuznetsova and Stosur, Hingis and Lisicki.

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