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L.A: Flavia of the Month

Posted by gauloises1 on August 10, 2009

Flavia Pennetta d. Samantha Stosur, 64 63


Great win for last year’s finalist. While Stosur was clearly struggling with nerves (will she ever win a WTA title? I’m serious), Flavia did more or less what I love to see her do – played sensibly and with a clear head and sense of purpose. I like to see her do well, just because she’s such a thoughtful tennis player.


Sam, meanwhile, is rapidly laying a claim to being the best player on tour not to have won a title this year. She certainly has a shot at most radically improved.

More pictures, just because Flavia’s pretty when she’s happy:


flav coach

sam flavflav

Smiles all round.

Posted in flavia pennetta, los angeles, samantha stosur, titlists | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

L.A: Stony Panettone

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.

sam sorana

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: , , , | 2 Comments »

L.A: Stosur, Shazza, Flavia Through

Posted by gauloises1 on August 8, 2009

In ‘the other match I saw last night’, Samantha Stosur beat Zheng Jie Jie Zheng 46 63 64.


I’m thinking radioactive spider bite.

Zheng got off to a flier, but by the middle of the second set Sam was picking up her serve much better and finding her range on the forehand, and that was pretty much all she wrote. Another great run for Sam, who has the chance to make her first final of the year when she faces a blistered Sorana Cirstea in the semis tonight.


A shame for Zheng, who is frankly adorable. I just wish she’d put together results like this on a  more consistent basis.

Next up was Shazza, who beat Urszula Radwanska 64 75. I can’t speak as to what actually happened in this match as I was asleep, but I’m getting the impression that Shazza was once again plagued by double faults. Still, Urszula must have put up some fairly determined resistance. I actually think she’s better than Agnieszka, or at least can bring more to the court, but lacks her sister’s level head. And AmyLu agrees with me, so I must be right.


I would like to know what exactly Urszula thinks she’s wearing, but that’s neither here nor there. I can’t decide if I love it or hate it. It definitely beats Agnieszka’s outfit, that’s for sure.

And in the quarter-final that it seems nobody saw, Flavia Pennetta beat Vera Zvonareva 64 62. Not a huge surprise. At least Vera seems to have recovered her tantrum-throwing form with impressive speed.

flaviavera racquet smash

So the real question is, can Flavia put an end to Shazza’s run and make the final again? What do you think?

Today’s OOP:

Stadium (from 12.00hrs)
1. King/Niculescu vs. Chuang/Yan
2. Stosur vs. Cirstea (NB 14.00hrs)
3. Sharapova vs. Pennetta (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Kirilenko/A.Radwanska vs. Hsieh/Peng

Posted in flavia pennetta, los angeles, maria sharapova, samantha stosur, urszula radwanska, vera zvonareva, zheng jie | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

L.A.: Soranana, Soranana, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye

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.


Go girl.

Posted in agnieszka radwanska, los angeles, sorana cirstea | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

L.A.: Just In Time For Streaming …

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.

dinara talk to the hand

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.

dinazjjz celebrates

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)

Friday’s OOP:

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: , , , | Leave a Comment »

L.A.: Shazza Outlasts Blondarenko, Stosur Ousts Ivanovic

Posted by gauloises1 on August 7, 2009

Good to see Sharapova backing up her win over Azarenka; she beat Alona Bondarenko in three sets, including a bagel.


Pose later, play now.


That’s the stuff to give the troops.

A nice revenge win for Shazza over Alona, who beat her in Warsaw and if memory serves had some unflattering things to say about the state of Shazza’s game afterwards. Considering she’s up against Urszula Radwanska next, she has an excellent chance of making the semis.

On the other side of the draw, Sam Stosur rolled over Ana Ivanovic in straight sets to set up a probable quarterfinal meeting with Dinara Safina, assuming she gets past Zheng Jie Jie Zheng.


Ana was reportedly her usual smiley, blathery self in her post-match presser, saying that she feels as if she’s headed in the right direction and that she’s “really [been] through a lot in the past couple of months”. Hmmm. Changing coaches and getting a new boyfriend is pretty tough. I’d still have to give the edge to Stosur though, what with the Lyme disease and viral meningitis and everything.

But seriously. Can we have the old Ana back? This is getting boring.

Posted in alona bondarenko, ana ivanovic, los angeles, maria sharapova, samantha stosur | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Dinara Plays Through the Pain

Posted by gauloises1 on August 7, 2009

Nice little article on Dinara from the L.A. Times where she reveals she was on painkillers for an inflammation in her left knee from Stuttgart up until Portoroz. She hasn’t mentioned it because she doesn’t like to “find excuses”.

Starting with the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Germany through Wimbledon, Safina said she was taking up to 100 milligrams of anti-inflammatory pills to help mask the pain of a patella inflammation in her left knee.

During that time, her serve wasn’t as overpowering as it can be because she often couldn’t bend that knee.

“Sometimes I would see stars every time I had to bend.”

Her most recent tournament, the Banka Koper Slovenia Open in late July, was her first without taking any pills, she said. She won there too, and after it was over, she told her coach, “I can finally serve without pain.’ ”

Good news for her, bad for others.

“Now I can serve now for half an hour without problems,” she said. “Before, it would be, ‘OK, let’s serve half a basket and then see.'”

I also like Zeljko taking the opportunity to damn with faint praise, naturally.


Doesn’t mention what’s up with the bandaged hand, though … Michael Jackson tribute?

Posted in dinara safina, los angeles | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

L.A.: Vera, Flavia, Radwanskas Through

Posted by gauloises1 on August 6, 2009

Vera Zvonareva came through another marathon three-setter tonight, defeating Yanina Wickmayer 76(5) 46 64 in a match that included more breaks of serve than I could count. (I can’t count very high, by the way.)



I rather like the Belgian Sharapova, but really this is not a good look. Go sit in a corner and think about what you just did, Yanina.

Zvonareva will play Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals, who had a good win over Nadia Petrova. So at least one of my predictions is still looking reasonable. And both the Radwanskas are through; Urszula courtesy of a walkover against Li Na Na Li the injury-prone, to face the winner of Shazza-Blondarenko, and Agnieszka beating Chakvetadze 63 62. She’ll get the winner of Cirstea-Licky.


Posted in agnieszka radwanska, flavia pennetta, los angeles, urszula radwanska, vera zvonareva, yanina wickmayer | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

L.A.: She Who Screams Last Screams … Last

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: , , , , | 3 Comments »

L.A.: Good Place for a Comeback

Posted by gauloises1 on August 5, 2009

Vera Zvonareva continues the process of regaining her position on the tour after her long lay-off with an ankle injury, beating Peng Shuai Shuai Peng in a tight third-set tiebreak.


vera z

Looking a bit orange, but good nonetheless. I always think I’m not particularly a Vera fan, but then I get surprised when I do watch her how much I like her game. Then I forget again. It’s a mildly vicious circle. Anyway, I hope she can regain the form she had earlier on this year.

What else? Ana Ivanovic managed to subdue pint-size Vania King in three sets,  Li Na Na Li and Zheng Jie Jie Zheng moved on, and Sam Stosur rolled over Monica Niculescu. She’ll face Maria Kirilenko in the next round, I believe.


Singles – Second Round
(2) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 36 63 76(6)
(6) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (WC) Vania King (USA) 64 46 61

Singles – First Round
(12) Li Na (CHN) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 60 20 ret. (GI illness)
(13) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Monica Niculescu (ROU) 61 62
(14) Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (Q) Olga Savchuk (UKR) 75 16 62
(17) Sabine Lisicki (GER) d. (Q) Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 76(5) 26 75
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. (Q) Melanie Oudin (USA) 67(3) 62 62
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (WC) Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR) 64 75
Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) d. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 75 75
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Melinda Czink (HUN) 36 64 61
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 46 63 61
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Julie Coin (FRA) 61 62

Doubles – First Round
(2) Hantuchova/Sugiyama (SVK/JPN) d. (WC) Craybas/Gullickson (USA/USA) 64 61
Garbin/Schiavone (ITA/ITA) d. Shaughnessy/Spears (USA/USA) 61 64
A.Bondarenko/Vesnina (UKR/RUS) d. Kleybanova/Makarova (RUS/RUS) 64 76(4)


Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Petrova vs. Peer
2. Vandeweghe vs. Pennetta
3. Safina vs. Hantuchova
4. King/Niculescu vs. Pennetta/Raymond
5. Sharapova vs. Azarenka (NB 19.00hrs)
6. Wozniacki vs. Cirstea

Court 4 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Cibulkova vs. U.Radwanska
2. Sugiyama vs. A.Radwanska (NB 12.30hrs)
3. Wozniak vs. Li
4. Makarova vs. Lisicki

Court 5 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Vesnina vs. Zheng
2. Craybas vs. Wickmayer (NB 12.30hrs)
3. Safarova vs. A.Bondarenko
4. Stosur/Stubbs vs. Ruano Pascual/Zheng

Court 7 (from 11.00hrs)
1. Chakvetadze vs. Kleybanova
2. Stosur vs. Kirilenko (NB 12.00hrs)
3. Hsieh/Peng vs. Poutchek/Savchuk
4. Kudryavtseva/Rodionova vs. Kirilenko/A.Radwanska

Sharapova vs. Azarenka and Wozniacki vs. Cirstea? Remind me why this isn’t televised at all, anywhere, in any fashion?!

Posted in los angeles, vera zvonareva | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »