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Archive for the ‘li na’ Category

This Stuff Matters.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 31, 2011

A brief selection of photos I particularly liked. Did you know Li Na / Na Li (still not really happy with that, to be honest) is the first Chinese Slam finalist?

You do now.

Posted in australian open, li na | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Aussie Kim.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 31, 2011

The dust has settled, all bets are in and it’s the bookies’ favourite, Kim Clijsters, holding the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. If you’d canvassed popular opinion before the tournament, I think most people would have picked Clijsters for the very position she’s in now. But it’s a credit to the Happy Slam (also known as the Oh Help Me God I Need To Sleep Slam) and the WTA that up until the last moment, it never felt like a foregone conclusion.

For the first five rounds, Clijsters did not look in imperious or unbeatable form. Ekaterina Makarova and a match-shy Agnieszka Radwanska both came nicely close to taking a set from her, and the fact that they didn’t really said more about them than Clijsters. Even in the semifinals, when she knocked off Zvonareva 3 and 3, that had more the feeling of the inevitable capitulation of Zvonareva in the big match than Clijsters imposing her will on the Russian. The sparkle of the tournament had largely come from the guts-and-glory play of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone, both of whom were out, and in Li Na she was facing probably the form player of the Australian Open who had accounted for Victoria Azarenka, Andrea Petkovic and world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. To summarise, neither in theory nor practice was this match as easy as Clijsters’ last two strolls through Slam finals and Li Na’s surrender of her serve to love in the opening game suggested.

Credit where credit’s due, and Li Na certainly showed up for this match; as the men’s final demonstrated, that’s not necessarily a given. After her initial nerves subsided, she played like a woman enjoying the greatest form and confidence of her career, dominating with her breathtaking all-out aggressive style. She defended and scrambled better than I’ve ever seen her, playing a real all-court game. Unfortunately for her, nobody plays that game better than Clijsters. Her defence is as ridiculously eyecatching as Djokovic’s, and when she starts to alternately bludgeon and find angles with her forehand as she did in the second and third sets, there’s almost nobody who can beat her.

There were moments in this match when the tennis was so fun I lost sight of the fact that it was a Slam final. As Kim’s reaction on championship point shows, she never did. Tearful, almost disbelieving, she looked like someone who’d been wandering in the wilderness a long time, not someone who won the last Slam and was a strong favourite for this one. It was a great surprise to see her react that way, as much as it was to see Li Na taking defeat in her stride and beaming as she talked about her husband and her supporters at home.

God knows, the “mom” angle is done to death when talking about Kim Clijsters, and it drives me crazy; from the hammed-up jaw-dropping amazement that a woman can combine life as a wife and mother with a successful professional career, as if women around the world don’t do that every single day, to the barely-concealed relief that she can be neither unfeminine nor a sex object, because she’s got a working uterus, Jada Jada Jada. Perhaps because it’s the first time that she’s really been pushed in a Slam final since her comeback, I saw with fresh eyes her balls-out competitiveness and willingness to fight, and fierce joy in winning. I love that those things can not just coexist, but reach their peak, in a woman whose family and personal life seem as happy and well-balanced as she does. It felt like such a healthy triumph, and I loved it.

Well done Aussie Kim.

Posted in australian open, kim clijsters, li na, titlists | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Business End of Slams Can Be a Bit Dull.

Posted by gauloises1 on January 25, 2011

Too good.

Too focussed on tennis.

Too …. fond of sleeping?

Too outclassed.

Too fucking epic for this Slam.

That concludes your pictorial round-up of a slightly boring day nine at the Australian Open.

Posted in andrea petkovic, australian open, caroline wozniacki, francesca schiavone, li na, novak djokovic, roger federer, stanislas wawrinka, tomas berdych | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Wimbledon Manic Monday Preview: Ladies

Posted by gauloises1 on June 28, 2010

And now for the distaff side.

Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova

H2H: 5-1

Strawberries-and-cream vs. upturned rose (apparently), one of these women has looked in devastatingly awesome form so far, and the other is Maria Sharapova. Admittedly Maria has won all her matches in straight sets, but the only one I’ve watched (against junior nemesis Barbora Zahlalova Strycova), she looked clumsy, sluggish and tentative. I’ve no doubt that she will get it up against Serena, but I still think this match might turn out to be a bit of a damp squib. Prediction: Serena in straights.

Winner to meet …

Na Li v Agnieszka Radwanska


H2H: 1-2

It’s been a quiet Wimbledon for both these ladies so far and I haven’t seen either of them play (although we all owe Na Li a vote of thanks for getting rid of Anastasia ‘toys so far out of the pram they have been adopted by other kind homes’ Rodionova). I’m going with Agnieszka, because her game works beautifully on grass and she’s a two-time quarterfinalist in SW19. Prediction: Radwanska in three.

Caroline Wozniacki v Petra Kvitova

H2H: 2-0

Kvitova has had one of the most eye-catching results at this tournament so far, coming back from a break down in the first to not just defeat but bagel Victoria Azarenka (oh, Vika). That will have given her a lot of confidence, but you can’t really bet against slow-and-steady Caroline, can you? Sadly. Prediction: Wozniacki in straights.

Winner to meet …

Klara Zakopalova v Kaia Kanepi

H2H: 0-1

There are some players that I just get irrationally annoyed when I see them win. These are two of them; Zakopalova because she’s got a sour expression on her face even when she’s winning, and Kanepi because you can never tell from tournament to tournament which one of her is going to turn up (and when it’s Good Kaia, she generally announces her presence by beating one or more of my favourites). However, both of them are on excellent mini-runs. Zakopalova has beaten Meusberger, Rezai and Pennetta; Kanepi, Sam Stosur, Edina Gallovits and Alexandra Dulgheru. On the basis that the former is a shade more impressive and I don’t really care, I’m going with Zakopalova. Prediction: Zakopalova in three. She won’t smile.

Kim Clijsters v Justine Henin

H2H: 12-12 (3-1 on grass)

The other match to look forward to, particularly if you’re one of those who bemoans the last few years in the WTA. Kim has cruised so far and looks in some ways ripe for an upset, while Justine has played as well as anyone in the tournament in her defeat of Nadia Petrova. Still, I think that Justine wants this too much and that, coupled with the changes she’s made to her game this year which still don’t seem to sit right, will cost her. Prediction: Kim in three.

Winner to meet …

Vera Zvonareva v Jelena Jankovic

H2H: 5-6

Vera has been quietly coming through in the bottom of the draw, largely unheeded with solid wins over unspectacular opponents until the third round when she demolished Yanina Wickmayer. The buzz is that she finally feels that she’s got her form back. JJ, meanwhile, after her win over Laura Robson, dropped a set to Aleksandra Wozniak and called the trainer after bagelling Alona Bondarenko. Not to mention that this court will be played on court 12, which JJ will need a helicopter or at least a team of Sherpas to find. Prediction: Zvonareva in two.

Tsvetana Pironkova v Marion Bartoli

H2H: 0-3

Every Slam I reckon there has to be one round-of-sixteen match-up which makes you go, “… how did this happen?”. This is mine. Er, Pironkova beat Dushevina who beat Schiavone, and Bartoli is a former finalist, so …. I don’t even know. Prediction: Bartoli in straights.

Winner to meet …

Jarmila Groth v Venus Williams

H2H: 0-0

It’s been a very nice tournament for the adorable Jarmila. Shame it’s over. Prediction: Venus in straights.

So that’s what I think. What do you reckon ..?

Posted in agnieszka radwanska, caroline wozniacki, jarmila groth, jelena jankovic, justine henin, kaia kanepi, kim clijsters, klara zakopalova, li na, maria sharapova, marion bartoli, petra kvitova, serena williams, tsvetana pironkova, venus williams, vera zvonareva, wimbledon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Li Na Takes Edgbaston Title

Posted by gauloises1 on June 14, 2010

Li Na d. Maria Sharapova, 75 61

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see any of this tournament apart from the final. According to reports, however, Maria’s performance today was something of a drop from the standard set throughout the week, as she found herself outserved and outplayed by Li Na (who beat her in the semifinals last year). Cracking match from Li Na and a well-deserved title.

Also a well-deserved gravy boat.

Posted in birmingham, li na, maria sharapova, titlists | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

WTA: Warsaw Semis Set, Strasbourg Rained Off

Posted by gauloises1 on May 21, 2010

Better take quick stock of what’s happening in the tournaments I’ve totally ignored so far this week in an attempt to ready myself for Roland Garros … In Warsaw, after the exits of Elena Dementieva and Caroline Wozniacki, it’s all about the Chinese ladies who could face each other in the final. Zheng Jie will face qualifier Greta Arn, who took out Alona Bondarenko in three sets, while defending champion Alexandra Dulgheru – who has parlayed last year’s surprise victory into a solid 2010 clay season – faces Li Na.

In Strasbourg things were a bit more of a damp squib. Kristina Barrois and Vania King (yes – the tiny American girl) are already through to the semis in straight sets, but Maria Sharapova and Anabel Medina Garrigues were both rained off and will have to complete their quarterfinals tomorrow.


Singles – Quarterfinals
(5) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 63 ret. (right ankle injury)
(3) Li Na (CHN) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 62 61
(Q) Greta Arn (HUN) d. (6) Alona Bondarenko (UKR) 57 64 64
Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. (Q) Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) 64 75

Doubles – Semifinals
(1) Black/Yan (ZIM/CHN) d. Govortsova/Jans (BLR/POL) 61 64

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(3) Hsieh/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 67(3) 64 105


Singles – Quarterfinals
Kristina Barrois (GER) d. (7) Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 61 75
Vania King (USA) d. Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) 64 75

Suspended due to rain
(1/WC) Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Julia Goerges (GER) 32
(5) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs. Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 62



Center Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Li Na vs. Alexandra Dulgheru
2. Zheng Jie vs. Greta Arn
3. Hsieh/Zheng vs. Ruano Pascual/Shaughnessy (after suitable rest)


Centre Court (from 11.30hrs)
1. Maria Sharapova vs. Julia Goerges (tbc)
2. Kristina Barrois vs. Vania King (NB 13.50hrs)
3. [Maria Sharapova or Julia Goerges] vs. [Sofia Arvidsson or Anabel Medina Garrigues]
4. Cornet/King vs. [Coin/Pelletier or Craybas/Goerges] (NB 16.00hrs; after suitable rest)

Court 3 (from 11.30hrs)
1. Sofia Arvidsson vs. Anabel Medina Garrigues (tbc)
2. Coin/Pelletier vs. Craybas/Goerges (NB 14.00hrs; after suitable rest)
3. Barrois/Woehr vs. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova (NB 16.00hrs; after suitable rest)

Posted in li na, warsaw, zheng jie | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Stuttgart, Fes: Wednesday’s Results, Thursday’s OOP

Posted by gauloises1 on April 29, 2010

Wow. Give it up for Li Na, who defeated defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Shahar Peer, who took out Agnieszka Radwanska in Stuttgart today.

In other news, JJ had a routine win and Victoria Azarenka beat Flavia Pennetta 61 64. Not sure what’s the biggest upset there.



Singles – Second Round
Li Na (CHN) d. (3) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 75
Shahar Peer (ISR) d. (5) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 63 67(4) 62

Singles – First Round
(4) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Gisela Dulko (ARG) 62 62
(6) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 61 64
(7/WC) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Marion Bartoli (FRA) 62 61
(8) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 63 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (Q) Selima Sfar (TUN) 26 30 ret. (right ankle injury)
(WC) Justine Henin (BEL) d. (WC) Julia Goerges (GER) 76(3) 61

Doubles – First Round
(2) Peschke/Srebotnik (CZE/SLO) d. Jans/Uhlirova (POL/CZE) 64 75
Huber/Jankovic (USA/SRB) d. Marosi/Scheepers (HUN/RSA) 26 63 107


Singles – Second Round
Anne Keothavong (GBR) d. (1) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 56 ret. (right ankle sprain)
(2) Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. Ioana Raluca Olaru (ROU) 63 36 62
(Q) Laura Pous Tio (ESP) d. (3) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 63 62
(5) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) 62 62
(7) Iveta Benesova (CZE) d. (Q) Claire de Gubernatis (FRA) 62 64
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) 62 62
Renata Voracova (CZE) d. Katie O’Brien (GBR) 60 75
(Q) Simona Halep (ROU) d. Olga Savchuk (UKR) 63 61

Doubles – First Round
(2) Hradecka/Voracova (CZE/CZE) d. Kerber/Védy (GER/FRA) 63 64
(4) Czink/Parra Santonja (HUN/ESP) d. Kosinska/Thorpe (POL/FRA) 60 61
Cabeza Candela/Pous Tio (ESP/ESP) d. Bovina/Klepac (RUS/SLO) 46 75 106



Center Court (from 14.00hrs)
1. Caroline Wozniacki vs. Lucie Safarova
2. Tsvetana Pironkova vs. Jelena Jankovic (NB 15.45hrs)
3. Yanina Wickmayer vs. Justine Henin (NB 18.20hrs)
4. Agnes Szavay vs. Dinara Safina (NB 20.15hrs)
5. Goerges/Woehr vs. Govortsova/Rosolska

Court 1 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Alexandra Dulgheru vs. Samantha Stosur
2. Anna Lapushchenkova vs. Victoria Azarenka
3. Dulko/Pennetta vs. Huber/Jankovic (NB 17.00hrs; after suitable rest)


Center Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Laura Pous Tio vs. Iveta Benesova
2. Anne Keothavong vs. Alizé Cornet
3. Simona Halep vs. Patty Schnyder
4. Coin/Cornet vs. O’Brien/Olaru

Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Angelique Kerber vs. Renata Voracova
2. Cabeza Candela/Pous Tio vs. Hradecka/Voracova (after suitable rest)

Court 5 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Manasieva/Zakopalova vs. Czink/Parra Santonja
2. Benesova/Medina Garrigues vs. Groth/Keothavong (after suitable rest)

Posted in agnieszka radwanska, fes, li na, stuttgart | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Stuttgart, Fes: Tuesday’s Results, Wednesday’s OOP

Posted by gauloises1 on April 27, 2010

I absolutely love Stuttgart. The draw is ridiculously loaded so you get great match-ups right from the start, and they have night sessions so I get to watch after work. It’s all good. Anyway, the first full day’s play already threw up some interesting results. Agnes Szavay outlasted Andrea Petkovic in a marathon night session, 75 in the third; after Petkovic found her range, she played with by far the greater energy and commitment, but fell at the final hurdle. It’s a tough loss after a tough Fed Cup weekend, especially at home, but Szavay did well to get herself together and will face Dinara Safina in the second round. Shahar Peer also battled against Polona Hercog, but all the seeds came through in straights, including Svetlana Kuznetsova against Katarina Srebotnik and Li Na against tough clay-courter Sara Errani.

Most people had their eyes on Agnieszka Radwanska against Ana Ivanovic, however, which ended pretty much the way you would expect.

Obligatory photo of Ana’s dress. You won’t be seeing it again in Stuttgart.

I hear that Ana played and particularly served a lot better than she has done in living memory, so. Onwards and upwards, as she herself would say.

Some interesting results in the criminally unphotographed Fes today; the top two seeds both dropped a set but came through, Medina Garrigues served up a double bagel, and unlikely winners Alize Cornet, Bojana Jovanovski and Simona Halep upset Petra Martic, Barbara Zahlalova Strycova and Lucie Hradecka respectively. Fed Cup and boob reductions. I’m just saying. And a pair of Tims won. C’mon!



Singles – First Round
(3) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Katarina Srebotnik (SLO) 61 62
(5) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 76(4) 64
Li Na (CHN) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 61 61
Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 63 36 61
Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 63 26 75
Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. (Q) Tatiana Poutchek (BLR) 62 62
(Q) Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. (LL) Margalita Chakhnashvili (GEO) 63 64
(Q) Anna Lapushchenkova (RUS) d. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 64 61

Doubles – First Round
(1) Dulko/Pennetta (ARG/ITA) d. Kostanic Tosic/Sfar (CRO/TUN) 64 62
(3) Black/Peer (ZIM/ISR) d. Birnerova/Birnerova (CZE/CZE) 63 64


Singles – First Round
(1) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. Anna Floris (ITA) 61 57 61
(2) Patty Schnyder (SUI) d. (Q) Greta Arn (HUN) 46 75 61
(3) Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. (WC) Lina Bennani (MAR) 60 60
Renata Voracova (CZE) d. (4) Melinda Czink (HUN) 64 76(5)
(5) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (WC) Fatima Zahrae El Allami (MAR) 60 61
Alizé Cornet (FRA) d. (6) Petra Martic (CRO) 76(3) 64
(Q) Simona Halep (ROU) d. (8) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 75 61
Arantxa Parra Santonja (ESP) d. Vesna Manasieva (RUS) 26 63 63
Katie O’Brien (GBR) d. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 62 46 63
Anne Keothavong (GBR) d. Julie Coin (FRA) 63 06 64

Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 63 61
(Q) Laura Pous Tio (ESP) d. Jarmila Groth (AUS) 60 76(4)
(Q) Claire de Gubernatis (FRA) d. (WC) Nadia Lalami (MAR) 76(1) 63

Doubles – First Round
Coin/Cornet (FRA/FRA) d. (3) Savchuk/Zalameda (UKR/USA) 76(3) 76(1)
Manasieva/Zakopalova (RUS/CZE) d. Kondratieva/Lefèvre (RUS/FRA) 63 26 103

Wednesday’s OOP is brought to you by Sveta’s feet of clay.


Center Court (from 12.00hrs)
1. Gisela Dulko vs. Jelena Jankovic
2. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Shahar Peer (NB 14.00hrs)
3. Flavia Pennetta vs. Victoria Azarenka (NB 15.45hrs)
4. Justine Henin vs. Julia Goerges (NB 18.20hrs)
5. Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Li Na (NB 20.15hrs)
6. Jans/Uhlirova vs. Peschke/Srebotnik

Court 1 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Marion Bartoli vs. Samantha Stosur
2. Yanina Wickmayer vs. Francesca Schiavone
3. Selima Sfar vs. Lucie Safarova
4. Huber/Jankovic vs. Marosi/Scheepers


Center Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Anabel Medina Garrigues vs. Laura Pous Tio
2. Arantxa Parra Santonja vs. Alizé Cornet
3. Ioana Raluca Olaru vs. Patty Schnyder
4. Carla Suárez Navarro vs. Anne Keothavong

Court 1 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Angelique Kerber vs. Bojana Jovanovski
2. Claire de Gubernatis vs. Iveta Benesova
3. Simona Halep vs. Olga Savchuk
4. Kosinska/Thorpe vs. Czink/Parra Santonja

Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Katie O’Brien vs. Renata Voracova
2. Kerber/Védy vs. Hradecka/Voracova (after suitable rest)

Court 5 (from 13.00hrs)
1. Cabeza Candela/Pous Tio vs. Bovina/Klepac (after suitable rest)

Posted in agnieszka radwanska, ana ivanovic, fes, li na, stuttgart, svetlana kuznetsova | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Who’s Out …

Posted by gauloises1 on February 19, 2010

High-profile casualties since we last spoke:

Out to Shahar Peer in Dubai.

Out to Agnieszka Radwanska in Dubai.

Out to Venus in Dubai.

Out to Li Na in Dubai.

Forced to retire against Shahar Peer with back pain.

Out to Vera Zvonareva in Dubai.

Out to Victoria Azarenka in Dubai.

Forced to retire against Lukas Lacko in Memphis after beating Fernando Verdasco.

Lost to Sofia Arvidsson after a promising beginning to the tournament.

And … Radek Stepanek (Memphis), Fernando Verdasco (Memphis), Nicolas Almagro (Buenos Aires), Gilles Simon (Marseilles), Richard Gasquet (Buenos Aires), and probably many more I forgot to mention.

Posted in anastasia pavlyuchenkova, caroline wozniacki, dubai, flavia pennetta, li na, marion bartoli, melanie oudin, memphis, svetlana kuznetsova, vera zvonareva | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Dubai: Off-Court

Posted by gauloises1 on February 15, 2010

Have a few photos of the ladies doing media things in Dubai, because I think they all look very pretty and I like to recognise this fact.

Your top seed, ladies and gentlemen.

Hoping to spoil the party.

Talk to the hand.

Love Venus in enigmatic media mode.

Such a badass.

Valentine’s Day snuggles.

Posted in caroline wozniacki, dubai, jelena jankovic, li na, venus williams, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »