Posted by gauloises1 on September 21, 2009
Tough ask for defending champion Maria Kirilenko in the Hansol Korea Open this week. She’s unseeded and sandwiched between Francesca Schiavone and Vera Dushevina, the third and seventh seeds (assuming Dushevina can beat Urszula Radwanska, her first round opponent). Top seed Daniela Hantuchova has a much softer quarter which includes a first-round match between Katerina Srebotnik and Alisa Kleybanova. Fun. The third quarter is definitely all about the young ‘uns, with slumping Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Sorana Cirstea – foregoing the defence of her Tashkent title – as the seeds, although Cirstea has a tricky first-round match with Anna-Lena Groenefeld, who can be dangerous. And the fourth quarter is just madness, with first rounds that include Bammer-Makarova, Rybarikova against the Guangzhou finalist Alberta Brianti, and Petkovic-Medina Garrigues. Madness, I tell you.
Funny to think that last year the final was between Sorana and Licky, and I didn’t really know or care who either was. Anyway, the draw this year’s a bit less sexy, with Yaroslava Shvedova (JJ’s US Open conqueror, lest we forget) and Shahar Peer the top two seeds, although whether Peer will make it after her Guangzhou exploits remains to be seen. Yeah … I’m going to struggle to get excited about this one.
Posted in maria kirilenko, seoul, sorana cirstea, tashkent, wta week ahead | Tagged: maria kirilenko, sorana cirstea | Leave a Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on September 4, 2009
So with so many seeds biting the dust, who exactly is left progressing into the third round? The fake No. 1, Dinara Safina, struggled mightily with Kristina Barrois but actually won, unlike certain other players who shall not be named. So well done there.
Svetlana Kuznetsova put paid to Anastasija Sevastova in straight sets, 64 62, and Caroline Wozniacki disposed of Petra Martic with the loss of just one game. She’ll meet Sorana Cirstea in the next round, after the Romanian beat Stephanie Dubois 64 57 64. Cirstea knocked Wozniacki out of the French Open and beat her in Los Angeles, but this time .. who knows?
Gisela Dulko bundled out seeded Alona Bondarenko 64 60, but younger sister and Ivanovic-slayer Kateryna salvaged the day for the family, putting out American qualifier Shenay Perry 61 61. Petra Kvitova beat Tathiana Garbin 61 63 and Yanina Wickmayer in a good shout put out Shaui Peng, 26 61 64.
Nadia Petrova continues to progress quietly, putting out last year’s Ivanovic-slayer Julie Coin in straight sets, and Sara Errani upset the mercurial Patty Schnyder. Shahar Peer had an excellent 62 60 over Carla Suarez Navarro, who is turning out to be nearly as disappointing as male counterpart Ernests Gulbis, and twenty-first seed Zheng Jie withstood a tough first set challenge from Alize Cornet to progress in three.
Never change, Alize.
Unless it’s to start winning a bit more.
Posted in alize cornet, dinara safina, sorana cirstea, us open, yanina wickmayer, zheng jie | Tagged: alize cornet, dinara safina, sorana cirstea, yanina wickmayer, zheng jie | 1 Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on September 2, 2009
Have to take a moment before I crash to give some love to a few of my favourites on the WTA side who won today.
Sorana Cirstea demolished Ayumi Morita of Japan in straight sets and looked fairly good doing it, in all senses.
Licky had a tough ask against Aravane Rezai, especially considering she’s been out with a shoulder injury, but came through in three sets in a match that was one of my favourites from today. Beautiful ball-striking.
Tough loss for Rezai, but there was some real warmth at the net and Licky bowed to the crowd in a frankly adorable fashion.
Oh, and JJ got some revenge on Roberta Vinci who nearly beat her in Marbella, rolling through in straights. Sadly the design lives, but thankfully the yellow has died.
Posted in jelena jankovic, sabine lisicki, sorana cirstea, us open | Tagged: jelena jankovic, sabine lisicki, sorana cirstea | 1 Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on August 9, 2009
It will be Samantha Stosur vs. Flavia Pennetta in the finals of Los Angeles tonight. And do you know what that means? It means I got one of my WTA predicted finalists right. I will now pause for applause.
OK, so first up Stosur beat Cirstea 63 62 in a routine match that was, let’s be honest, less then enthralling.
Not too much to say about this one really. Stosur was simply too good for Sorana today. It’s OK, she’s still pretty raw and she had a great run here. She’ll be back.
Then at an inconveniently late hour for those of us who live on the right side of the Atlantic, Flavia Pennetta beat Maria Sharapova 62 46 63.
I had a sneaking suspicion this would happen, but still, well done Flavia.
I’m not quite sure where the three sets came in; when I fell asleep, Flavia was up a set and a break and completely outplaying Maria. I can only assume that she wobbled a bit at the prospect of closing it out and that famous Shazza fighting spirit took advantage.
As for Shazza, I still don’t think her game’s anywhere close to where it should be. I think 90% of her matches, she’s winning on the aforementioned famous fighting spirit alone. I can see Rafa doing the same in Montreal (if he doesn’t just come back good as new). Everything can be pretty much knocked into shape with time, but the serve is a genuine long-term worry, I think. Opinions? Corrections? Vituperations?
Anyway, well done to Flavia. She gets a celebratory picspam, just because I like pictures of her.
Love love love the dress.
“How could this happen to me?!”
Is that a wrist tattoo?
Oh Flavs. We love you.
Posted in flavia pennetta, los angeles, maria sharapova, samantha stosur, sorana cirstea | Tagged: flavia pennetta, maria sharapova, samantha stosur, sorana cirstea | 2 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on August 8, 2009
Sorry. I really am. I just couldn’t resist. Quick, look at this cute picture.
Sorana the microwaveable kitten beat Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets, 76(4) 16 75. This was a topsy-turvy match to say the least. Sorana started off with a dreadful service game and was broken immediately, only to settle down and play a great first set, breaking and earning set points on Radwanska’s serve on 5-2. Then it all went a bit Pete Tong when she served for it, losing the next eleven straight points to Radwanska; she got pegged back and had to fight extremely hard to even make it into the tiebreak, which Radwanska initially dominated but finally lost as Sorana was solid where it counted.
The less said about the second set the better, really. Sorana received medical attention for what looked like blisters on her feet at the end of the first, and by the time she dropped the second 6-1, she was in tears in her chair. This is exactly the moment when I fell in love with Sven Groenefeld, who calmed her down and advised her to be judicious in going for her shots. She did, and in a third set which included some excellent play from both, eventually prevailed 75 on a Hawkeye challenge that proved to be correct.
So Agnieszka has now made eight quarter-finals this year, and won none of them. That’s a happy stat.
Not Sorana’s best performance, but she stepped it up where it counted and played through the pain. Semi-finals are a great result for her here, I just hope her feet will be in shape to make the most of it. She will face the winner of Zheng Jie Jie Zheng and Sam Stosur.
Posted in agnieszka radwanska, los angeles, sorana cirstea | Tagged: agnieszka radwanska, sorana cirstea | 7 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on August 7, 2009
So a couple of mildly disappointing results last night in L.A. First of all, Licky had to retire trailing Cirstea 63 10 due to a shoulder injury. And she doesn’t look too happy.
Oh dear. Get better soon, Licky! I want you kicking ass this autumn!
And in the upset of the tournament so far, Dinara Safina lost to Zheng Jie Jie Zheng in three sets, 75 46 64.
I wasn’t awake to scoreboard this one at all, but I gather that Dinara was on top with a 4-2 lead in the third set before she had a bit of a nervy b, double-faulted away the break, lost eight straight points and indeed the match. Dear oh dear. I bet Zeljko had some choice words for her after this one.
Still, it’s a great result for Zheng, who’s been languishing in the wilderness a bit of late. And it opens up the tournament, because really, who’s going to win from here? Answers on a postcard … or you know, in the comments.
Singles – Third Round
(14) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (1) Dinara Safina (RUS) 75 46 64
(2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 76(5) 46 64
(10) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (5) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 63 63
(13) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. (6) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 63 62
(8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 63 62
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (12) Li Na (CHN) w/o (right knee injury)
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (17) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 10 ret. (shoulder injury)
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Alona Bondarenko (UKR) 46 60 63
Doubles – Quarterfinals
Kirilenko/A.Radwanska (RUS/POL) d. (1) Stosur/Stubbs (AUS/AUS) 63 76(3)
Chuang/Yan (TPE/CHN) d. (2) Hantuchova/Sugiyama (SVK/JPN) 16 63 107
(4) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) vs. A.Bondarenko/Vesnina (UKR/RUS) w/o (Vesnina: low back strain)
King/Niculescu (USA/ROU) d. Garbin/Schiavone (ITA/ITA) w/o (Schiavone: right hamstring strain)
Stadium (from 12.00hrs)
1. Cirstea vs. A.Radwanska
2. Zheng vs. Stosur (NB 14.15hrs)
3. U.Radwanska vs. Sharapova (NB 20.00hrs)
4. Pennetta vs. Zvonareva
Posted in dinara safina, los angeles, sabine lisicki, sorana cirstea | Tagged: dinara safina, sabine lisicki, sorana cirstea, zheng jie | Leave a Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on August 6, 2009
So on a day when the WTA had one of the nicest line-ups it’s had all year and we didn’t get to see a hit of it, Maria Sharapova beat Victoria Azarenka in what looks like quite a tight match (at least for the first two sets).
I can’t say I’m entirely surprised, while at the same time acknowledging that yet another of my WTA predictions has gone by the wayside. This was Azarenka’s first match since Wimbledon, and the part of Shazza’s game that’s the weakest – the serve – was always going to be less of a factor against Azarenka than, oh, say, Venus Williams. Still, it’s a shame for Azarenka. Move on, missy. Do better next time.
Happily for my chances of there being someone I like left in by the time streaming does start, Licky beat Makarova in straight sets, and Sorana Cirstea had a great win over Caroline Wozniacki. Don’t get me wrong, I like Wozniacki as much as the next person who quite likes Wozniacki, but I just find Cirstea so much fun to watch. I think she’s great.
In other notable results, Urszula Radwanska had a very good win against seventh seed Dominika Cibulkova, and Dinara Safina had a solid win over Daniela Hantuchova, 62 64. And thank god she’s stopped wearing that dress. I like her so much more like this.
Singles – Second Round
(1) Dinara Safina (RUS) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 62 64
Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (3) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 67(4) 64 62
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 16 64 76(5)
(5) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Shahar Peer (ISR) 64 26 63
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (7) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 64 67(6) 64
(8) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Ai Sugiyama (JPN) 62 61
(10) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (WC) Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 62 64
(12) Li Na (CHN) d. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 46 64 62
(13) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 62 64
(14) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 64 46 60
(17) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 61 64
Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 57 64 75
Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) d. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 63 36 61
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (Q) Jill Craybas (USA) 76(2) 61
Doubles – First Round
(1) Stosur/Stubbs (AUS/AUS) d. Ruano Pascual/Zheng (ESP/CHN) 64 64
King/Niculescu (USA/ROU) d. (3) Pennetta/Raymond (ITA/USA) 75 63
(4) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) d. Poutchek/Savchuk (BLR/UKR) 62 63
Kirilenko/A.Radwanska (RUS/POL) d. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (RUS/RUS)
62 46 104
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Wickmayer vs. Zvonareva
2. Stosur vs. Ivanovic (NB 12.30hrs)
3. A.Bondarenko vs. Sharapova
4. Cirstea vs. Lisicki
5. Safina vs. Zheng (NB 19.00hrs)
6. Chuang/Yan vs. Hantuchova/Sugiyama
Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Chakvetadze vs. A.Radwanska
2. Petrova vs. Pennetta (NB 12.30hrs)
3. U.Radwanska vs. Li
4. Garbin/Schiavone vs. King/Niculescu
Court 5 (from 15.30hrs)
1. Stosur/Stubbs vs. Kirilenko/A.Radwanska (after suitable rest)
Posted in caroline wozniacki, dinara safina, los angeles, maria sharapova, sorana cirstea, victoria azarenka | Tagged: caroline wozniacki, dinara safina, maria sharapova, sorana cirstea, victoria azarenka | 3 Comments »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 24, 2009
Check out Sorana Cirstea being interviewed by racquet makers Wilson on her life on the tour:
She’s adorable. Kind of in that kitten way where you don’t know whether to play with her or put her in the microwave, but still.
Also, so much word on the hair straighteners. Never leave home without them. (Also: emergency booze, Diet Coke and painkillers, but maybe that’s just me.)
Posted in sorana cirstea | Tagged: sorana cirstea | Leave a Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 3, 2009
Samantha Stosur defeated Sorana Cirstea in the battle of the surprise semi-finalists, 61 63.
Great result for Samantha Stosur. REALLY great result. Sorana was clearly overwhelmed by the occasion and didn’t play well at all in the first set, but the second was much harder fought and SamSto stayed strong. So wonderful to see a player who’s had so much to deal with in her life doing so well.
Great run for Sorana though. She’s really put herself on the map here. I hope we get to see more of her.
Good on yer, SamSto.
Posted in french open, samantha stosur, sorana cirstea | Tagged: samantha stosur, sorana cirstea | Leave a Comment »
Posted by gauloises1 on June 2, 2009
Based on the available evidence, Sorana has a bad case of the pumps.
Maybe Wimbledon really should ban fisting.
Posted in french open, sorana cirstea | Tagged: sorana cirstea | Leave a Comment »