Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daily Reports: Cincinnati DAY 1!

Main draw action kicked off yesterday at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open, a Premier 5 category tournament held in Cincinnati, with fourteen main draw matches. After Monday, we already have two big upsets and also Sabine Lisicki played her first match on her comeback yesterday. Qualifiers did very well on Monday and most of them won their first round match.

Azarenka and Rezai out!
Victoria Azarenka, seed number nine, played her first match since winning Stanford two weeks ago. 21-year-old Belorussian was forced to pull out of San Diego last week due to a right shoulder injury. Serbian superstar Ana Ivanovic, former world number one, ranked 62nd at the moment, drew Azarenka in the first round.

It looked like Azarenka won't have any problems to win this match as she was controlling the match since the beginning. Azarenka remained unbroken in the first set, because Ivanovic wasn't able to win many points on return and the Serbian struggled with her serve as well. 22-year-old Ivanovic was broken twice which resulted in Azarenka winning the first set 62. Azarenka was break up until 62 54 in the second set when she went to serve for the match. The Belorussian couldn't find her first serve and made a lot of double faults, so she lost the lead and wasn't even able to serve it out at 62 65 as well. A tie-break had to decide about the second set winner. Ivanovic took a quick lead 3-0 in the breaker. Unfortunately for the Serbian, she lost her lead immediately, the same way as against Peer in Stanford two weeks ago. Azarenka levelled the score at 3-3, but struggled with her serve again, to give Ivanovic three set points, 6-3. Ivanovic couldn't convert any of those three set points, double faulted on the third one, so the score was levelled again. Finally 22-year-old Serbian showed her experience and fighting spirit to take the second set 8-6 in the tie-break. Azarenka continued struggling on her serve in the final set, while Ivanovic didn't face any break points and had no problems to hold her own serve. The final set was a copy of the first one, just with the other winner at the end. Ivanovic won the match 26 76(6) 62, and no doubts it will be a great confidence booster for her. Is this a start of her comeback? We can also speculate if Azarenka was bothered with her shoulder yesterday. It probably couldn't be that bad as she was able to play the entire match. Ivanovic will play Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan in the second round. Shvedova beat qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva in straight sets.

The second upset on Monday, was the clash between Aravane Rezai of France, seeded #14, and Serbian upcoming player Bojana Jovanovski. Rezai hasn't played up to her possibilities since her surprising Madrid run to the title this year. Her game is based on hitting the ball extremely hard off both wings, and is backed with a solid serve. Jovanovski's game isn't much different. From what I saw in Portoroz, the Serbian has big groundstrokes and a solid serve as well. The main difference between these two, has to be in how hard they hit the ball. There's probably not a player who hits harder than the Frenchwoman. Jovanovski won the match 46 63 64, hit 6 aces and 2 double faults. On the contrary, Rezai hit 4 aces and 7 doubles faults. There was a very long game at 1-1 in the final set, Jovanovski was serving and it lasted a few minutes before she took that game. Maybe it was a decisive game of the match. Unfortunately I didn't get to follow the scoreboard so I don't know how this match exactly went on. Obviously this is a big upset and could be in favour of another Serbian, top seed Jelena Jankovic, who will play qualifier Vera Dushevina on Tuesday. Jankovic already beat Jovanovski in Portoroz a couple of weeks ago. Jovanovski will play Akgul Amanmuradova, a qualifier who destroyed veteran Kimiko Date Krumm 61 62 in her first round match. We will have to wait if we will see a Serbian clash in the third round, girls need to win their second round matches first.

The Russian Dinara Safina, former world number one and multiple Grand Slam finalist, didn't disappoint her fans this time and managed to beat Roberta Vinci of Italy 75 64. This match was very up and down, especially in the first set. Vinci took a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, but Safina immediately broke back. Vinci was serving for the first set at 5-3 but absolutely failed to close it out, and lost eight points in a row so Safina levelled the score at 5-5. No problems for Safina to take that first set 75, Vinci was probably mentally down after that choke at 5-3, or Safina found her good old form for those games. The second set was dictated by the Russian until 75 32, Safina was 40-0 up on her serve but double faulted many times to give that game away and to give Vinci a chance for getting back into the match. Fortunately for the Russian, Vinci didn't take her chances and Safina was serving for the match at 75 54. Easily got up 40-0, having three match points. I couldn't believe it, but Safina double faulted three times in a row to lose all those match points. Like on a swing, Safina hit a second serve ace after and then finally converted her fourth match point to win this match 75 64. Safina will play #4 seed Kim Clijsters in the next round, she definitely should step it up to stand a chance.

Lisicki not successful with her comeback!
Tennis world was looking forward to the comeback of Sabine Lisicki, who has been out since Miami due to an ankle injury. It looked like the German could start off her comeback very well. Lisicki took a quick lead 3-0 in the first set against a qualifier, Monica Niculescu of Romania. But since that score, it was a disaster, Niculescu is a very tricky player though, so it couldn't be easy for Lisicki to play such opponent in her first match on her comeback. Unfortunately Lisicki lost 12 games in a row to lose the match 63 60. Even Lisicki's serve didn't work well at all. As she said, she is really disappointed with her loss and she knows she can do much better. The good thing is that her body feels fine, so she will be able to continue playing to get more matches under her belt.

Monday's results:
(Q) Vera Dushevina def. (Q) Anastasia Rodionova 62 76(7)
(Q) Akgul Amanmuradova def. (Q) Kimiko Date Krumm 61 62
(Q) Bojana Jovanovski def. (14) Aravane Rezai 46 63 64
Ana Ivanovic def. (9) Victoria Azarenka 26 76(6) 62
Yaroslava Shvedova def. (Q) Alla Kudryavtseva 75 64
Dinara Safina def. Roberta Vinci 75 64
(Q) Ayumi Morita def. Arantxa Parra Santonja 76(7) 62
(Q) Monica Niculescu def. Sabine Lisicki 63 60
Sara Errani def. (WC) Jamie Hampton 64 62
(13) Shahar Peer def. Olga Govortsova 63 41 ret.
(Q) Nuria Llagostera Vives def. (Q) Vania King 36 63 61
Alisa Kleybanova def. Alexandra Dulgheru 64 64
(16) Marion Bartoli def. Anabel Medina Garrigues 64 60
Alona Bondarenko def. Dominika Cibulkova 36 62 63

Order of play for Tuesday: http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/SEWTATour-Archive/posting/2010/1017/OP.pdf

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