Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Taking a break!

Hi to whoever is reading this!
I'm going for a holiday in Bangkok and will be back on next Monday!
So I won't have the time to update this blog.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading my entries and I'll be back! :)

Serena on Centre Court

After being demoted to Court 2 in her opening round, Serena gets to play in Centre Court in her 2nd match.

2nd round:
(6) Serena Williams vs. Melinda Czink
Elena Baltacha vs. (4)Petra Kvitova
Anne Keothavong vs. (10) Sara Errani
Romina Oprandi vs. (2) Victoria Azarenka
(14) Ana Ivanovic vs. Kateryna Bondarenko
Anastasiya Yakimova vs. (22) Julia Goerges
(21) Roberta Vinci vs. Marina Erakovic
Mirjana Lucic vs. (9) Marion Bartoli
(26) Anabel Medina Garrigues vs. Jana Cepelova
Tamira Paszek vs. Alize Cornet
(28) Christina McHale vs. Mathilde Johansson
Kiki Bertens vs. Yaroslava Shvedova
Kristyna Pliskova vs. (24) Francesca Schiavone
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Varvara Lepchenko
Ekaterina Makarova vs. (8) Angelique Kerber
Galina Voskoboeva vs. Yanina Wickmayer
Aleksandra Wozniak vs. (25) Zheng Jie
Klara Zakopalova vs. Olga Govortsova

Match focus:

Romina Oprandi vs. (2) Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka was less than convincing in her first round match as she served tons of double faults despite winning easily. I'm sure she will try to improve on that statistic. Oprandi is a crafty player who loves to use drop shots. Victoria has to be alert and be ready to move forward to get some of these ridiculous balls. Still, I expect Victoria to get through as Oprandi isn't exactly mentally strong enough to upset a top seed.

Pick: Azarenka in 2 sets

Anastasiya Yakimova vs. (22) Julia Goerges

Yakimova won a match! She beat Minella in her first round. Mandy must have been stinking up the court as Yakimova doesn't belong to the top 100. Anastasiya is more famous for whoring up lowly challenger events like 25Ks and losing them even though she is in the top 100. What a weird and cheap way to gain points. Anyway, Julia will devour her in this match, no doubt about it.

Ekaterina Makarova vs. (8) Angelique Kerber

These 2 meet again after contesting in Eastbourne last week. Will the results be any different? Kerber did lose that final against Paszek despite leading in that final set. But I doubt that loss would rock her confidence. Makarova can learn from last week's match and try to exploit Kerber's weaker second serve. I expect a better showing from Makarova, but not a win.

Pick: Kerber in 3 sets

Anne Keothavong vs. (10) Sara Errani

Top ranked Briton Anne Keothavong meets Paris finalist Sara Errani in this 2nd round. Sara isn't exactly a grass court player so Anne is not without a chance. Anne needs to serve well and return Sara's weak delivery aggressively. Still, Sara's scrambling game and the tremendous pressure of the British people will not help Anne. An upset is possible, if this is not played in United Kingdom.

Pick: Errani in 3 sets

(14) Ana Ivanovic vs. Kateryna Bondarenko

Ana overcome a tricky first round opponent in Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and faces yet another challenge. Kateryna Bondarenko is a good gras court player and has already taken out grass court veteran, Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round. Ana has to be careful not to leak too many errors as Bondarenko will make her pay. You have to wonder if Ana is still bother by her injury that caused her to withdraw from Eastbourne. If Ana's healthy, she will prevail.

Pick: Ivanovic in 3 sets

Sure win bets: Petra Kvitova, Serena Williams, Julia Goerges
Upset alert: Yaroslava Shvedova, Roberta Vinci

Who took Caro's oxygen?

Contrary to what I predicted, quite a few upsets and some were totally unexpected.

Singles - Second Round
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 62 61
Arantxa Rus (NED) d. (5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 62 06 64
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (11) Li Na (CHN) 63 64
(12) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Sílvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 61 36 61
(15) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 36 62 86
(17) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) 61 62
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (23) Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 76(6) 46 63
(30) Peng Shuai (CHN) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 76(4) 63
Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 63 63
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) d. Stéphanie Foretz Gacon (FRA) 64 61
Heather Watson (GBR) d. Jamie Hampton (USA) 61 64
(Q) Camila Giorgi (ITA) d. Anna Tatishvili (GEO) 63 61

Suspended due to darkness
(1) Maria Sharapova (RUS) leads Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 76(3) 31
(2) Nadia Petrova (RUS) leads Timea Babos (HUN) 64 55

Singles - First Round
Tamira Paszek (AUT) d. (7) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 57 76(4) 64
(10) Sara Errani (ITA) d. (Q) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 61 63
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) d. (13) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 64 61
(14) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 63 36 63
(22) Julia Goerges (GER) d. Shahar Peer (ISR) 62 62
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. Nina Bratchikova (RUS) 60 76(1)
Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) d. Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) 57 63 63
Olga Govortsova (BLR) d. (Q) Annika Beck (GER) 63 36 63
Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) d. Mandy Minella (LUX) 46 63 63


Tamira Paszek (AUT) d. (7) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 57 76(4) 64

Caroline Wozniacki couldn't be faulted for not trying. She was at her most aggressive but still came up short. However, you could really see tension when she had 2 match points in the second set. She reverted back to her defensive style and was heavily penalised. Tamira played a brave match, still going for her shots despite committing many errors and remained calm. Tough opening round for Caroline. If she faced anyone else, she would have won comfortably. Maybe it's punishment for releasing that god damn awful single "Oxygen".

Arantxa Rus (NED) d. (5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 62 06 64

Alright Sam! We know it now. You don't like grass. But could you at least try to make a fight for it? After evening out the match with a bagel, Stosur lost all momentum again and when serving to stay in the set at 5-4* 40-15, went on to hit 4 errors. What a performance. It was like Sam was thinking, "F*** it. I'm going to concentrate on the hardcourt season." Dear Sam, there's Olympics this time round and with your performance, everyone will be dying to draw you.

Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (11) Li Na (CHN) 63 64

This is a seriously "WTF" loss. But Li is a totally unpredictable player so... Sorana isn't a powerhouse on grass and Li has won Birmingham before. Extremely disappointing loss for the Chinese. It seems like after winning Roland Garros last year, there's too mucb pressure piled on Li. And she doesn't seem to handle it well at all. She snaps at any criticism directed at her. Well, I guess winning a Grand Slam isn't what she thought it would be.

The Kim and I (last part)

Kim followed up by defending her US Open title in 2010, when I just started my current job. Despite playing well below her best level, Kim peaked for the final and won it with relative ease. It’s always nice to see Kim celebrate her victories with her cute young daughter Jada. You could see happiness in her eyes, and that she was more proud to be a mother than a champion.

2011 arrived and Kim was the hot favourite for the title. Kim had never won there before despite being called “Aussie Kim” by the affectionate Australian fans. So winning there will mean a lot to Kim. After an impressive drubbing of Safina in her opening round, Kim’s level dropped off but it was sufficient enough for her to reach the finals. A day before the finals, an old friend contacted me. We kind of lost contact for a while and he wanted to catch up while watching the finals. My friend was with me when we caught the 2005 US Open semi-finals together, so he knew how crazy I am when it came to Kim. 

Anyway, we watched the final at his place and reconnected, amidst all the crazy cheering. It was very comforting to see that events like this can bring people back together. We talked about how much has changed since then and the missed opportunities in life. Also, I wished him all the best and hoped that he stays strong for whatever challenges he has to face. Of course, Kim won the tight final and it brought a nice end to a warm meet-up. 

There are many other moments when Kim’s play coincided with events of my life but that will be too boring. I just wanted to say that Kim has been a role model for me on how to treat people and knowing what’s important in life. Watching her play has been my privilege and I will definitely miss her when she retires after US Open this year. I don’t think I’ll ever be as fanatic as I was with Kim with any other tennis player (which might be good), but it was a sweet journey growing up with Kim. I will close this long tedious write-up with a quote of Kim’s,

“You don’t have to hate your opponents to beat them.” 

That’s what I’ve been trying to implement in my life and I hope I can achieve this someday. Thank you Kim for making a difference in my life and it was a nice ride. :)

"You'll be missed, Kim."

The Kim and I (part 4)

At the ripe old age of 26, Kim Clijsters was invited to play to commemorate the completion of the roof in Wimbledon. Although she was totally rusty, I missed seeing Kim play. She was still hitting some wonderful balls and moving around like she never left. Imagine my elation when she announced her comeback in the American hard-court season. Finally, she gets another chance to redeem herself! 

Going into US Open, I had completely no expectations of Kim. She did after all lose to her pigeon Safina in her warm-up event. So I took each win as a bonus. But boy did she win. Once Kim started winning, she can’t stop. Round by round, she starting playing better and better. She faced Venus Williams in the 4th round and even bagelled her in the first set. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe she has another chance? Reality soon crept back in as Venus woke up and bagelled Kim back. Still, I hoped for a miracle. Then came the crucial break. Kim broke Venus and will be serving out the match. At 15-30, Kim played 2 of the most clutch tennis I’ve ever seen her play. The Kim of the past would have missed those shots but she didn’t. When Kim closed it out with an unreturnable serve, she had tears in her eyes. You knew how much that means to her. 

Then came the controversial semi-final match. Kim was going toe-to-toe against Serena, not intimidated by the younger sister’s serve and power. Serena was perhaps surprised at the amount of balls Kim got back and went for too much. You could see her frustrations boiling inside. Hitting yet another error, Serena lost the first set and her racket. 

I was totally shocked at this turn of event. Kim always had trouble with Serena even at her peak. Just fresh from her comeback, she had just taken a set of Serena Williams. Am I dreaming? Turns out I’m not. Kim continued imposing her game onto Serena and fought to the bitter end. Then, the notorious outburst happened. Like everybody else, I was shocked at what happened. And I was even more surprised when Serena started walking towards Kim to shake her hand. Did she quit? Was she defaulted? Disbelief soon turned to happiness as I realized that no matter what happened, Kim was now in the finals and a firm favourite for the title. Unranked and just in her 3rd event, Kim managed to reach a Grand Slam final! I must be dreaming. 

At that point of time, I had just graduated from university and the job market was quite bleak. I remember clearly that when the final was being played, I was going for my job interview. Instead of being more anxious about the interview, I was more eager to check livescores of the match. After the interview finished, Kim also won her match. I got the job eventually as well! Perhaps my life has been intertwined with Kim’s career.

The Kim and I (Part 3)

There was a fellow Singaporean who is also a Kim fan in Hong Kong. We contacted each other and went on a mission to try to take a photo with Kim. Dementieva and Vaidisova were fighting it out on court but we didn’t care. We stationed ourselves outside the stadium and waited patiently for Kim to walk to the player’s lounge after watching the match for a while.

But to my horror, I saw a familiar figure walking into the lounge as we came out. “KIM!” I shouted to my friend. We were too late! Kim had already entered the lounge. Crestfallen, we craned our necks and hoped to catch Kim’s attention so that she can come back out. Just ten, a familiar looking man than walked past the gates next to us. It was Leo Clijsters, Kim’s father! He must have noticed our desperate looks as he went in and told Kim about us. Kim turned around and no questions asked, posed for the photos. I will never forget this moment and I am eternally grateful to Leo for his help. He’s definitely up there in the skies now.  

"Attack of the giant chin! RUN KIM!"

Zheng Jie was the next one we saw. Being Chinese, I asked for her autograph in Chinese and took a photo with her (as practice so that my friend would know how to operate when Kim walks in). Zheng was very polite and petite and waited patiently as my friend fumbled with the camera. (See? It wasn’t that easy!) Kuznetsova walked past us next. She was listening to her earphones and we didn’t dare to disturb her. Shortly after, we saw a young Caroline Wozniacki finishing her practice and exiting to the player’s lounge. Bored, we asked her for her autograph. She was surprised that anyone wanted her autograph and even asked if we wanted her hitting partner’s one as well. It was getting late and there was still no sight of Kim. We saw Patty Schnyder hitting the courts for a practice and when she was leaving, a group of fans crowded around her. We joined in and Patty was so friendly, as she put her hands over my shoulder as if we were best buddies when taking the photo!

"Best buddies!"

Kim went on to win the tournament, capping off a marvelous week. “I can die a happy man now”, I thought to myself. Sadly, Kim’s form didn’t carry on as she didn’t continue past the clay court season, winding up her career after a freak loss to Julia Vakulenko. I thought that it was quite an anti-climatic ending and it’s sad that Kim lost her passion for competing. Then I found out why. Leo Clijsters had been diagnosed with cancer and Kim wanted to spend as much time as she can with her dying father. That’s when I realized victories and glory can never replace your loved ones once they are gone. And Kim knew that.

"Smile Kim!"

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Day of no upsets?

Day 3 schedule:
Maria Sharapova vs. Tsvetana Pironkova
Su-Wei Hsieh vs. Stephanie Foretz Gacon
Petra Cetkovska vs. Sloane Stephens
Bojana Jovanovski vs. Sabine Lisicki
Vera Zvonareva vs. Silvia Soler-Espinosa
Andrea Hlavackova vs. Kim Clijsters
Christina McHale vs. Mathilde Johansson
Ekaterina Makarova vs. Angelique Kerber
Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Elena Vesnina
Heather Watson vs. Jamie Hampton
Nadia Petrova vs. Timea Babos
Anna Tatishvili vs. Camila Giorgi
Na Li vs. Sorana Cirstea
Lourdes Dominguez Lino vs. Maria Kirilenko
Shuai Peng vs. Ayumi Morita
Aranta Rus vs. Sam Stosur

Match focus:

Andrea Hlavackova vs. Kim Clijsters

An easy match-up on paper for Kim but Hlavackova is a dangerous opponent when on. She hits big and isn't afraid of going for her shots. Kim needs to make her think more by getting more balls back and keeping the errors low. If Kim plays to her normal standard, a victory is never in doubt.

Pick: Clijsters in 2 sets

Na Li vs. Sorana Cirstea

And these 2 meet again. After drawing each other in the first round of Paris, the 2 reunite for a 2nd round meeting. Will the outcome be different? Very unlikely. Li's flat strokes are perfect for this surface and Sorana's serve will become a liability. I expect another straightforward win for the Chinese.

Pick: Li in 2 sets

Vera Zvonareva vs. Silvia Soler-Espinosa

Another weak opponent for Vera to scrape through? Soler-Espinosa is a strict clay-courter who had the privilege of drawing another grass clown in round 1. Even then, she struggled to beat Edina Gallovits. So Vera should be able to prevail IF she stays healthy. No wonder she didn't withdraw seeing what a soft draw she has.

Pick: Zvonareva in 2 sets

Aranta Rus vs. Sam Stosur

Both not exactly grass court specialists here. It will be interesting to see how Samantha fares here. Arantxa did well to see off a good grass player in Misaki Doi but Samantha's game is another level. Rus needs to use her lefty serve well and direct balls to Sam's weaker backhand. She cannot be irritated by Stosur's chips and must take the initiative. A potential upset is very possible here but I believe Sam will prevail.

Pick: Samantha in 3 tight sets

Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Elena Vesnina

This should have been Venus Williams vs Agnieszka Radwanska but Vesnina spoilt the party. Well, Venus kind of spoilt it herself by not showing up in her first round match. To be honest, Vesnina didn't even need to play her best. Venus was just missing. So I expect Radwanska to take this easily. Vesnina as usual, will falter at critical moments and lose her belief when it matters.

Pick: Tight first set with Radwanska winning, then Agnieszka runs away with an easy 2nd set.

Sure win bets: Sabine Lisicki, Maria Kirilenko, Maria Sharapova
Upset alert: None, maybe Anna Tatishvili

Svetlana Klutznetsova - official name change

Day 2 results:

(2) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Irina Falconi (USA) 61 64
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) 64 64
(6) Serena Williams (USA) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 62 64
(9) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Casey Dellacqua (AUS) 62 64
(12) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 26 76(3) 64
Kiki Bertens (NED) d. (19) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 63 60
(21) Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. (WC) Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 62 64
(24) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (WC) Laura Robson (GBR) 26 64 64
(25) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. Stéphanie Dubois (CAN) 46 64 63
(26) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 36 61 62
(28) Christina McHale (USA) d. (WC) Johanna Konta (GBR) 67(4) 62 108
(31) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 61 62
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (32) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 62 63
Marina Erakovic (NZL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 64 64
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 62 63
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 62 75
Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) d. Greta Arn (HUN) 64 62
Anne Keothavong (GBR) d. Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) 63 63
Romina Oprandi (SUI) d. Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 76(3) 64
Elena Baltacha (GBR) d. Karin Knapp (ITA) 46 64 60
(Q) Melinda Czink (HUN) d. Johanna Larsson (SWE) 60 62
(Q) Mirjana Lucic (CRO) d. Alexandra Panova (RUS) 46 63 64
(Q) Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 62 62
(Q) Jana Cepelova (SVK) d. (Q) Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) 63 36 61
(WC) Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 76(5) 76(5)

Suspended due to rain
(7) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) is tied with Tamira Paszek (AUT) 22
(10) Sara Errani (ITA) leads (Q) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 61 53
(22) Julia Goerges (GER) leads Shahar Peer (ISR) 62 21
Alizé Cornet (FRA) leads Nina Bratchikova (RUS) 60 55
Mandy Minella (LUX) is tied with Anastasiya Yakimova (BLR) 33


Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (32) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 62 63

Seriously Svetlana... For a former Grand Slam champion to be playing this badly is disgraceful. It's not like Sveta doesn't know how to play on grass. She reached the quarter-finals here before. But I guess now her head's just not in the game. Yanina just got thrashed by Daria Gavrilova last week for goodness sake. Who knows? Maybe Gavrilova can beat Kuznetsova as well. Just disappointing.

Kiki Bertens (NED) d. (19) Lucie Safarova (CZE) 63 60

Ouch... I know Lucie doesn't play great on grass. But losing with a bagel to a newcomer is shameful. What is it with Czech girls and their distaste for grass? (Except Kvitova obviously) If Lucie really hates grass this much, she should give up her place in the Olympics team as someone would gladly fill up this void and have more chances of winning a match. (eg. Hlavackova) I thought Kiki's title run to Fes was a one time event but she's backing it up well. Another new player to take note.

(12) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 26 76(3) 64

VERA ZVONAREVA WON A MATCH!!! Holy sh*t! She didn't retire! LOL... I love Vera but any win from her is worth celebrating. In a match between 2 ultimate slump queens, the Russian prevailed. Mona is now on a 6 match losing streak. Starting the year brilliantly, Barthel somehow went on a free-fall mode with no signs of recovering. I really wonder if the pressure has gotten to her or she has some other personal problems. Vera will take any win now I guess but please take an extended break after Olympics to let your injuries heal completely.

Marina Erakovic (NZL) d. Urszula Radwanska (POL) 64 64

Another early casualty for someone who performed well in a warm-up event. Urszula had a nice run during the grass season but fell on the first hurdle of the main event. Shows how important it is to peak for the right one.

Alizé Cornet (FRA) leads Nina Bratchikova (RUS) 60 55

This match is not finished yet so Nina still has a chance to win it. But, losing a bagel set to Cornet, ON GRASS? And don't forget, this is a Grand Slam event where Bratchikova will always peak for. Maybe a turn-around here? Anyway, maybe the French Tennis Federation was right in sending Cornet to the Olympics. She not as hopeless after all. ;)

The Kim and I (Part 2)

Semi-final day came and I went to my friend’s house to watch the eagerly anticipated match between Kim and Maria Sharapova. Before this match was Mary Pierce vs Elena Dementieva, where Mary took an extended medical time-out to break Elena’s momentum. I was irritated, because Mary’s timeout and fight back means that Kim would have a later start. And in Singapore time, it was already 1 to 2 am in the morning. Still, I was quietly confident as Kim has never lost a match to Sharapova until then.

Finally, it started. A weird match where both players were struggling to find their rhythm, Kim finally settled down faster and claimed the first set. Sharapova was absolutely misfiring and I secretly hoped that that will continue. Second set started and Maria continued her erroneous ways and Kim was leading in no time. With Mary Pierce in the final, Kim had her best chance to win her maiden slam! However, Maria started to swing more freely as she had nothing to lose. Slowly but surely, Maria crept back into the game and the set. When Kim lost the second set, I was infuriated and disappointed. I thought that Kim’s a goner and stopped watching to go to sleep. My friends were shocked at my reaction but they understand. However, I couldn’t sleep at all. I thought to myself, “Stupid Kim, stupid Maria, stupid grand slams!” Suddenly, my friend came up to the room and told me that Kim is winning again! “Don’t lie!” was my immediate response. True enough, when I saw the television screen again, Kim was 2 games away from the match. Maria staged a mini-fightback but Kim shut the door finally. “COME ON!” I screamed in delight. My friends must be wondering if I’ve gone crazy, making such a huge din in the early hours of the morning. 

No such drama in the finals as Kim strolled to her first Grand Slam win. I still remember her reaction when she hit that unreturnable serve on her match point. I had tears in my eyes. It’s probably not healthy for someone to be so involved emotionally in tennis but now I know, tennis isn’t the same without Kim for me. 

2006 went as a forgettable year but near the end of that year, Kim announced that she is going to Hong Kong to play an exhibition tournament in January 2007. HONG KONG! That’s like the nearest place to Singapore that Kim would ever be! I cleared my savings, booked the air tickets and bought the tickets to the event to get the chance to see Kim live. (Well, I have to thank my family as they also took the chance to tour Hong Kong while I’m watching the tournament.)

I will never forget the moment when I first saw Kim walk into the stadium. She looked slimmer and still carried that warm smile on her face. Amidst the overwhelming cheer when her name was announced, she waved shyly as she entered the court for the opening ceremony. Kim was slated to play China’s Zheng Jie in her first match after the ceremony and I anticipated eagerly.

"Kim's looking my direction!"

Just during the warm-up, you can see that the speed the players hit is much faster than what is perceived on television. Kim hit a practice serve which hit the hollow backwall of the court, and it sent booming vibrations across the stadium. Zheng couldn’t handle Kim’s game and although she fought gallantly, she lost. It was a marvel to watch Kim playing live. Her speed and power were even more impressive in person. After the match, Kim signed all the requests for autographs patiently (including mine!) and thanked anyone who congratulated her. What a lovely lady. Next mission: to get a photo with Kim!

"End of the match"

Monday, 25 June 2012

Early exit for Caro?

Day 2 features the defending champion in action!

Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) v Petra Kvitova (CZE)[4]
Irina Falconi (USA) v Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[2]
Serena Williams (USA)[6] v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[7] v Tamira Paszek (AUT)
Laura Robson (GBR) v Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[24]
Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) v Anne Keothavong (GBR)
Lucie Safarova (CZE)[19] v Kiki Bertens (NED)
Mirjana Lucic (CRO) v Alexandra Panova (RUS)
Shahar Peer (ISR) v Julia Goerges (GER)[22]
Vera Dushevina (RUS) v Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)[31] v Sofia Arvidsson (SWE)
Greta Arn (HUN) v Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ)
Polona Hercog (SLO) v Kristyna Pliskova (CZE)
Johanna Larsson (SWE) v Melinda Czink (HUN)
Urszula Radwanska (POL) v Marina Erakovic (NZL)
Alize Cornet (FRA) v Nina Bratchikova (RUS)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) v Romina Oprandi (SUI)
Olga Govortsova (BLR) v Annika Beck (GER)
Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) v Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
Anastasia Yakimova (BLR) v Mandy Minella (LUX)
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) v Marion Bartoli (FRA)[9]
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)[32]
Roberta Vinci (ITA)[21] v Ashleigh Barty (AUS)
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP)[26] v Simona Halep (ROU)
Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) v Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) v Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
Jana Cepelova (SVK) v Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
Elena Baltacha (GBR) v Karin Knapp (ITA)
Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v Sara Errani (ITA)[10]
Stephanie Dubois (CAN) v Jie Zheng (CHN)[25]
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)[13] v Klara Zakopalova (CZE)
Ana Ivanovic (SRB)[14] v Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)

Match focus:

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[7] v Tamira Paszek (AUT)

Caroline is trying to make changes to her stagnant game, which is a good thing. She has changed her service stance and also her string tension in a bid to add more power to her game. HOWEVER, her serve is the only redeeming thing in her game and her tenacity is the only weapon she possesses. So changing those things that work for her might spell disaster for the Dane. Also, these changes should be implemented during off season, not right smack in the middle of the season. So I'm not sure what Caroline is thinking about. Maybe she is desperate. Anyway, she will have her hands full with Tamira Paszek who just won Eastbourne. A very possible upset with all those new changes in Caro's game.

Pick: Paszek in 3 sets

Laura Robson (GBR) v Francesca Schiavone (ITA)[24]

British hope Laura Robson faces Francesca Schiavone in her first round. Everybody's looking for an upset here. Laura's game works well on grass but Francesca will fight to the end as evidenced in her match against Begu last week. Will Laura be strong enough to handle the pressure? Or will Schiavone scrape through with a gutsy win?

Pick: Schiavone wins in 3 tight sets

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)[32]

Coming off a freak loss in Rosmalen, Wickmayer will be shaky in her confidence level. Not to mention she lost a totally winnable event in Bad Gastein. This match should be easy-pickings for Svetlana Kuznetsova. No warm-up is better than 2 bad warm-ups. Also, Yanina's one-dimensional game shouldn't trouble the Russian much as Svetlana does everything as good or better.

Pick: Kuznetsova in 2 sets

Ana Ivanovic (SRB)[14] v Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)

Ana Ivanovic withdrew from Eastbourne citing injury. Has she recovered? She will face an unconventional opponent in Maria Jose. Maria Jose loves to serve and volley, which will be very disruptive to the rhythm. Can Ana handle the funky strokes of the Spaniard? I believe that Martinez Sanchez has the game to take out Ana, but both players are not at their best. Whoever is mentally strong in the end will emerge the winner.

Pick: Ivanovic in 3 sets

Laura Pous-Tio (ESP) v Anne Keothavong (GBR)

Anne Keothavong must be thanking the draw gods. She drew clay-courter Laura Pous Tio in her opening round. With all the attention of Laura, Anne should be able to win this easily with less pressure on her. Like Heather Watson, Anne shouldn't have a problem with this match.

Pick: Keothavong in 2 sets

Sure win bets: Nina Bratchikova, Aleksandra Wozniak, Petra Kvitova
Upset alert: Caroline Wozniacki, Roberta Vinci, Johanna Larsson