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Posts Tagged ‘victoria azarenka’

AO Day Three: Your Day in Picspam

Posted by gauloises1 on January 20, 2010

Condensed bloggage tonight due to time (and timezone) constraints …

It took Marin untold hours and absurd amounts of effort to beat a small child with swine flu.

Not pictured: swine flu.

Aravane was dismissed by Angelique Kerber, thus making the Australian Open 1% more fashionable and at least 3.7% less awesome.

The eternal sad puppy that is Pavs was given a thorough kicking by Kuznetsova.

Gonzo won. In an angry fashion.

Ditto Dinara.

La Monf continued his winning ways.

Flavia was shown the door.

But by Wicky, so it was OK.

Florent Serra backed up his upset of Jurgen Melzer by beating Jarkko Nieminen.

Despite having no legs.

Has Marion been wearing the same kit for about three years, or what?

The Passion of the Nose Job.

I love this outfit. I don’t know why, because it’s disgusting. Anyway, she won.

Have an attractive photo of Rafa. No hate mail for me today!

Like looking into a mirror. And having your reflection repeatedly beat you.

Men’s Results

Singles – Second Round
[2] R Nadal (ESP) d L Lacko (SVK) 62 62 62
[4] J del Potro (ARG) d J Blake (USA) 64 67(3) 57 63 108
[5] A Murray (GBR) d M Gicquel (FRA) 61 64 63
[7] A Roddick (USA) d T Bellucci (BRA) 63 64 64
[11] F Gonzalez (CHI) d [LL] M Ilhan (TUR) 63 64 75
[12] G Monfils (FRA) d A Veic (CRO) 64 64 64
[14] M Cilic (CRO) d [WC] B Tomic (AUS) 67(6) 63 46 62 64
[19] S Wawrinka (SUI) d I Kunitsyn (RUS) 63 62 62
E Korolev (KAZ) d [21] T Berdych (CZE) 64 64 75
[24] I Ljubicic (CRO) d A Golubev (KAZ) 63 36 62 63
[27] P Kohlschreiber (GER) d W Odesnik (USA) 64 36 63 62
F Mayer (GER) d [29] V Troicki (SRB) 46 64 76(2) 61
[33] J Isner (USA) d [Q] L Sorensen (IRL) 63 76(4) 75
F Lopez (ESP) d R Schuettler (GER) 63 26 63 62
F Serra (FRA) d J Nieminen (FIN) 36 64 57 76(4) 75 – Saved 2 M.P.
I Karlovic (CRO) d J Benneteau (FRA) 26 61 63 63

Doubles – First Round
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d M Berrer (GER) / S Greul (GER) 64 75
[2] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) d [WC] S Groth (AUS) / J Kubler (AUS) 76(5) 63
[5] L Kubot (POL) / O Marach (AUT) d J Chela (ARG) / D Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 67(1) 63 61
[7] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) d R Hutchins (GBR) / J Kerr (AUS) 64 26 76(4)
[8] M Granollers (ESP) / T Robredo (ESP) d [WC] M Ebden (AUS) / B Klein (AUS) 62 64
A Clement (FRA) / J Erlich (ISR) d [10] J Knowle (AUT) / R Lindstedt (SWE) 67(3) 64 64
A Montanes (ESP) / M Vassallo Arguello (ARG) d J Acasuso (ARG) / S Prieto (ARG) 64 64
L Mayer (ARG) / H Zeballos (ARG) d [12] M Melo (BRA) / B Soares (BRA) 76(3) 64
[WC] R Junaid (AUS) / P Luczak (AUS) d [15] J Levinsky (CZE) / T Parrott (USA) 46 76(5) 62
[17] J Melzer (AUT) / P Petzschner (GER) d M Lopez (ESP) / A Ventura (ESP) 64 61
C Fleming (GBR) / K Skupski (GBR) d Y Lu (TPE) / J Tipsarevic (SRB) 75 64
L Arnold Ker (ARG) / H Tecau (ROU) d W Moodie (RSA) / M Youzhny (RUS) 46 76(4) 75
[WC] P Amritraj (IND) / S Devvarman (IND) d J Cerretani (USA) / T Rettenmaier (USA) 57 64 75
J Brunstrom (SWE) / J Rojer (AHO) d [Alt.] A Falla (COL) / S Giraldo (COL) 62 63
[WC] K Hensel (AUS) / G Jones (AUS) d [Alt] P Lorenzi (ITA) / C Rochus (BEL) 76(3) 36 76(2)
R De Voest (RSA) / S Lipsky (USA) d R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) 46 61 76(6)
P Marx (GER) / I Zelenay (SVK) d [WC] N Lindahl (AUS) / M Reid (AUS) 63 64

Women’s Results

Singles – Second Round
(2) Dinara Safina (RUS) d. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 63 64
(3) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 62 62
(WC) Justine Henin (BEL) d. (5) Elena Dementieva (RUS) 75 76(6)
(8) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Katie O’Brien (GBR) 62 62
(11) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. Sandra Zahlavova (CZE) 64 64
(Q) Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (12) Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 76(2) 61
(15) Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) 63 63
(19) Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 64 64
Zheng Jie (CHN) d. (24) María José Martínez Sánchez (ESP) 26 62 63
(Q) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (26) Aravane Rezai (FRA) 62 63
(27) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 64 63
Elena Baltacha (GBR) d. (30) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 62 75
(31) Alona Bondarenko (UKR) d. Polona Hercog (SLO) 64 75
Sara Errani (ITA) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 62 63
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (Q) Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 63 61
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Vania King (USA) 76(7) 75

Singles – First Round
(4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 64 62
(7) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (WC) Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro (FRA) 62 60
(9) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. Kristina Kucova (SVK) 62 60
(16) Li Na (CHN) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 62 60
(22) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Viktoriya Kutuzova (UKR) 36 61 75
Tathiana Garbin (ITA) d. (28) Elena Vesnina (RUS) 76(5) 64
(29) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Lucie Hradecka (CZE) 67(5) 62 61
Agnes Szavay (HUN) d. Stéphanie Dubois (CAN) 63 62
Iveta Benesova (CZE) d. Chang Kai-Chen (TPE) 75 62
Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) d. Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 64 62
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) d. Melinda Czink (HUN) 75 67(5) 97
Julia Goerges (GER) d. Tamira Paszek (AUT) 60 36 63
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) d. Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 64 64
(Q) Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) d. (WC) Jarmila Groth (AUS) 62 46 64

Doubles – First Round
(1) Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) d. Malek/Petkovic (GER/GER) 64 64
(2) Williams/Williams (USA/USA) d. (WC) Ferguson/Moore (AUS/AUS) 61 61
(3) Llagostera Vives/Martínez Sánchez (ESP/ESP) d. Dokic/Kvitova (AUS/CZE) 75 60
(4) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) d. Goerges/Parra Santonja (GER/ESP) 63 64
(6) Raymond/Stubbs (USA/AUS) d. Koryttseva/Kustova (UKR/BLR) 64 61
(8) Mattek-Sands/Yan (USA/CHN) d. Flipkens/Oudin (BEL/USA) 63 62
Jans/Rosolska (POL/POL) d. Molik/Shaughnessy (AUS/USA) 26 75 64
Hlavackova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) d. Chakvetadze/Paszek (RUS/AUT) 64 63
Chan/Niculescu (TPE/ROU) d. (WC) Adamczak/Kriz (AUS/AUS) 63 61
Bacsinszky/Garbin (SUI/ITA) d. Medina Garrigues/Wozniacki (ESP/DEN) 64 64
Coin/Pelletier (FRA/CAN) d. (WC) Groth/Rogowska (AUS/AUS) 63 75

Posted in aleksandra wozniak, anastasia pavlyuchenkova, aravane rezai, australian open, bernard tomic, caroline wozniacki, dinara safina, fernando gonzalez, flavia pennetta, florent serra, gael monfils, marin cilic, marion bartoli, thomaz bellucci, victoria azarenka, yanina wickmayer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sydney: Serena, Elena to Meet in the Final

Posted by gauloises1 on January 14, 2010

So it isn’t surprising that Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva will contest the Sydney final. It’s kind of surprising how it happened. Serena beat Aravane Rezai 36 75 64, and Elena beat Victoria Azarenka, 63 61. And yes, I did get those scores the right way round.

Poor Aravane. She played absolutely spectacularly to lead 63 52, and then Serena … was Serena. It’s just what happens.

The last time I properly watched Elena Dementieva, she was getting her ass absolutely handed to her by Licky in Perth. Something has clearly clicked between then and now, as she dismissed Victoria Azarenka in straight sets. I’m not sure whether to ascribe this to Azarenka being Azarenka, or Dementieva playing well. Either way, the scoreline looks very good for Demmy.

“WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!”

“….”

Singles – Semifinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Aravane Rezai (FRA) 36 75 64
(5) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (6) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 63 61

Doubles – Semifinals
(1) Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) d. Granville/Spears (USA/USA) 61 61
Garbin/Petrova (ITA/RUS) d. (4) Groenefeld/King (GER/USA) 63 75

Posted in aravane rezai, elena dementieva, serena williams, sydney, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

WTA Wednesday: Semifinals Set

Posted by gauloises1 on January 13, 2010

And on we go. As aforementioned, Aravane Rezai is the sole unseeded player in the semifinals lineup, crushing Flavia Pennetta 63 60. Her reward? A meeting with Serena Williams, who disposed of Vera Dushevina 62 62.

Without even standing up.

In the bottom half of the draw, Elena Dementieva is in with an excellent chance of defending her title, defeating Dinara Safina 62 63.

She’ll face sixth seed Victoria Azarenka, who played her third three-set match (out of three) against resurgent Dominika Cibulkova, eventually triumphing 75 in the third.

Fasten your seatbelts; 2010’s going to be a bumpy ride.

In Hobart, qualifier Kirsten Flipkens is quietly doing her part for the Belgian resurgence, reaching the quarterfinals after disposing of sixth seed Aleksandra Wozniak, while third seed Kateryna Bondarenko fell to Sara Errani. And hometown hopes Alicia Molik and Jelena Dokic fell to Carla Suarez Navarro and a ruthless Shahar Peer.

Great to see Shahar back on song after all the crap she’s had to put up with of late, isn’t it?

Hobart

Singles – Second Round
(2) Shahar Peer (ISR) d. Jelena Dokic (AUS) 62 62
Sara Errani (ITA) d. (3) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 76(8) 64
(5) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (WC) Alicia Molik (AUS) 76(3) 36 63
(Q) Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) d. (6) Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN) 75 62

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Hsieh/Peng (TPE/CHN) d. Medina Garrigues/Rybarikova (ESP/SVK) 57 63 108
Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (2) Mirza/Ruano Pascual (IND/ESP) 63 75
Chuang/Peschke (TPE/CZE) d. Benesova/Hradecka (CZE/CZE) 76(5) 63

Sydney

Singles – Quarterfinals
(1) Serena Williams (USA) d. Vera Dushevina (RUS) 62 62
(5) Elena Dementieva (RUS) d. (2) Dinara Safina (RUS) 62 63
(6) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 26 62 75
Aravane Rezai (FRA) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 60

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Black/Huber (ZIM/USA) d. Dushevina/Rodionova (RUS/AUS) 63 46 108
Garbin/Petrova (ITA/RUS) d. (WC) Dellacqua/Rezai (AUS/FRA) 61 64

Posted in alicia molik, dinara safina, elena dementieva, hobart, serena williams, shahar peer, sydney, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WTA Week Ahead: Auckland, Brisbane

Posted by gauloises1 on January 3, 2010

Two international tournaments to kick off the 2010 WTA season proper.

Auckland

Draw here.

With defending champion Elena Dementieva playing Hopman Cup, the draw still looks pretty good. For some reason I never trust Flavia Pennetta’s form in the early part of the season, but she has a pretty smooth quarter apart from Bali champion Aravane Rezai, with the big question mark being Dominika Cibulkova who is returning from her rib injury. Francesca Schiavone and last year’s finalist Elena Vesnina should meet in the quarters, with the only real wildcard being Alize Cornet, who hasn’t produced any results of note since this time last year.

The bottom half of the draw is full of players who could do anything or nothing: Virginie Razzano, Maria Kirilenko, Kaia Kanepi, Anna Chakvetadze, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Yanina Wickmayer, Shahar Peer and Li Na. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but it should be fun.

Brisbane

Draw here.

The eye is immediately drawn to the top and bottom of the draw; top seed Kim Clijsters and wildcard Justine Henin, who will be playing the top seed Nadia Petrova. I’m inclined to say ‘poor Nadia’. Wildcard Alicia Molik could face Clijsters in the second round, but it’s hard to see anyone giving Clijsters too much trouble on her way to the final. It feels like anything could happen in the bottom half, and yes, I am copping out again …. First-round matches that catch the eye: Dokic-Ivanovic, Errani-Vinci, Kleybanova-Pavlyuchenkova, and Safarova-Groenefeld. Good stuff.    

Posted in auckland, brisbane, elena dementieva, victoria azarenka, wta week ahead | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Your Victoria Azarenka News Round-Up (With Porn Music)

Posted by gauloises1 on December 21, 2009

So someone’s been busy. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Victoria Azarenka has split with her coach, Antonio van Grichen. There’s been no official word on the reason for the split, but a report from Portuguese media blames ‘communication problems’.

There’s also been no word on who might coach Azarenka now, but van Grichen has reportedly already moved on to Vera Zvonareva – who’s also snapped up Ana Ivanovic’s old fitness trainer, Scott Byrnes.

Although not speaking out on the coaching issue as yet, Azarenka has confirmed her participation in the Family Circle Cup at Charleston and been featured in SOBeFit magazine. Which is apparently a thing.

Also, please enjoy this instructive ‘behind the scenes’ video. With porn music. Not that I know what that sounds like or anything.

Posted in vera zvonareva, victoria azarenka, video | Tagged: | 12 Comments »

Can’t Think of Any Jokes That Aren’t Mean …

Posted by gauloises1 on December 14, 2009

How Victoria Azarenka is spending her off-season …

(via her twitter)

Posted in victoria azarenka | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Doha Day Four: Meet Your Semifinalists

Posted by gauloises1 on October 31, 2009

Your YEC 2009 semifinalists, ladies and gentlemen:

serena williams doha 2009caroline wozniacki doha 2009

jelena jankovic doha 2009venus williams doha 2009

Check the poll. We’re mainly idiots.

JJ was the second to secure her place after beating Wozniacki – who was, let’s face it, not in great shape – 62 62. Venus followed, in the sense of not really doing very much, when an on-form Kuznetsova demolished Dementieva 63 62. I thought Kuznetsova, with her usual finely-honed sense of timing, played fantastic tennis to win, but I feel bad for Dementieva, who worked so hard to get her win over Venus. Regardless, on Venus goes to face JJ tomorrow.

The final semifinalist wasn’t decided until the last match of the day, which lived up to expectations in the most soul-crushing way possible. After playing an excellent first set to win 64, and going 52 up in the second, Victoria Azarenka … well, she did what Victoria Azarenka increasingly does in that situation. She lost. She served for the match twice and simply couldn’t get it done, ending up edged out of the second 57. At which point I turned off the TV (or at least flipped over to Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two). I simply couldn’t bear to watch the predictable third set implosion (and I wanted to see how Phil Tufnell was coming along with the tango). Hence I did not see Azarenka go 1-4 down, nor her subsequent retirement with cramps. (But I can tell you that I have doubts about Tufnell’s ability to conjure up the requisite staccato footwork, flexed knees and general dramatic aggression which will be necessary in a week 7 tango).

victoria azarenka agnieszka radwanska doha retirement cramps

Weirdly, my first reaction to seeing that she had retired with cramps was relief; at least it wasn’t that (or not purely that) she had completely fallen to pieces mentally. Then I thought about it a bit and that relief died a quick and yet oddly painful death. The simple fact is that she shouldn’t have been in a third set at all. I don’t want to take anything away from Radwanska, who I thought played well throughout, but I didn’t see her raising her level significantly to take the second set; I saw Azarenka’s level plummeting like a bowl of goldfish dropped from a spire to smash on a cathedral floor, to paraphrase Douglas Coupland. And then once again on finding herself in a third set, she began to struggle both physically and emotionally.

So I’ve thought about it and I think Azarenka’s first priority should be conditioning, because I’m having serious doubts about her fitness and heat-tolerance. Maybe training in Minsk and then coming to play in heat and humidity has something to do with it, or am I completely mad? (Third possibility: I’ve got my hemispheres entirely wrong and it’s summer in Minsk). I genuinely think that developing her stamina to the point where she knows she can last three tough sets would do wonders for her mentality and prevent that element of increasing desperation from creeping into her game as she nears the business end of the match. I know that approach has sometimes proved to be a double-edged sword for Murray, but I think Azarenka has good aggressive instincts, when they’re not drowned out by the howling chorus of demons busily shredding her psyche before her eyes. Anyway, that’s what I think. And god knows I need her to do something to break this pattern, otherwise I may die choking on my own rage by this time next year. I say that out of love, Victoria.

Anyway. Not to sound rampantly insincere, but congratulations to all the semifinalists. No, I really almost mean that. No, I do. It’ll be interesting to see which JJ and which Venus come out to play; I’m betting Tuesday’s JJ against Thursday’s Venus. Draw your own conclusions. And I’m tempted to point out how far Wozniacki will get against Serena with a 1 mph serve, but hey, apparently the stroke of death is as a lover’s pinch for the gritty, glamorous Dane (as I understand we’re now referring to her). So who knows what will happen there? (I’m pretty sure we all do.)

As for the rest … thanks for playing, ladies.

victoria azarenka doha cramp2

vera zvonareva doha 2009

 dinara safina doha 2009

svetlana kuznetsova doha 2009elena dementieva doha 2009

agnieszka radwanska doha 2009

Posted in agnieszka radwanska, caroline wozniacki, dinara safina, doha, elena dementieva, jelena jankovic, serena williams, svetlana kuznetsova, venus williams, vera zvonareva, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Doha Day Two: Safina Withdraws, Azarenka Implodes, Serena Beats Venus

Posted by gauloises1 on October 29, 2009

Agonising day of tennis in Doha today. I think I went off tennis altogether, and I only watched two matches.

Caroline Wozniacki (4) d. Victoria Azarenka (6) 16 64 75

caroline wozniacki dohavictoria azarenka doha 2009

Just thinking about this match makes me want to kill myself. But let’s get this out of the way: hugely impressive win by Wozniacki. There is no way she should have won that match, and they should invent a new word to describe how mentally tough she is. OK? I also noticed some stuff in her game – specifically, her ability to generate pace off her forehand when she’s given time on the ball – which I’ve not seen before. Which was very good. Or whatever.

That being said, there was pretty much no excuse for Azarenka losing this match. Don’t get me wrong, I love her (hence the *pain* of it all). But this was yet another of those matches that shows how far she has to go. She played a brilliant first set, very calm, very cool, showing a nice blend of patience and aggression, and completely shut Wozniacki out of it. Which is how it should have gone on. But something happened in the second set – I don’t know what – but she lost it. Instead of dictating points and opening up her court with the forehand, she started more or less pushing it in, giving Wozniacki (who has a hamstring injury, let’s not forget) acres of time to set up for her shots, which allowed the Dane to dominate play. I mean, Wozniacki actually had more winners. You can’t tell me that’s right.

I was hoping the ten-minute heat break after the second set would let Azarenka get herself together, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. She was visibly struggling with the conditions, and although she broke Wozniacki every time she served for most of the set – sometimes to love, and often playing quite brilliantly to do so – she simply couldn’t hold serve herself. Often she worked the point nicely, set herself up – and then made a hash of what should have been an easy winner. She even had the chance to receive it out at 5-4, and of course that would be the first time Wozniacki held serve in the set. There was an air of inevitability after that, and when she smacked a ball out of the stadium and then smashed her racquet when she went break point down, with the resulting code violation costing her her serve, that was it.

The more I think about it (and certain aspects of Azarenka’s bone-headed play will be flashing before my eyes every time I close them until I’m ninety), the more I think that this match really came down to confidence. Azarenka has had a poor second half of the year, ever since being demolished by Serena in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, while Wozniacki has won an absurd number of matches this year. It showed. Not that that’s an excuse. Not that there really are any excuses for a loss like that. Yuck. Azarenka is in the dog house with me.

Jelena Jankovic (8) d. Dinara Safina (1), 1-1 (ret.)

jelena jankovic doha 2009dinara safina doha 2009

“What, is her last name Jankovic? Oh.”

Sad sad scenes as Dinara Safina was forced to retire at 15-40 down in her second service game with a back injury she’s been suffering from for some time:

“I’ve been playing on in pain, on anti-inflammatories, on everything. It’s been about three months. My body just gave up.

“I did everything possible to play here. I went yesterday to put injections, cortisone, but I could not handle this pain any more.

“I think I should have taken a break after the US Open but I was chasing this number one, so I was fighting with my body.

“Maybe I had to stop after the US Open.”

[…] “It’s under question the beginning of next year,” she said. “When I speak to the doctors it doesn’t sound so nice. So it’s possible that I might not be 100 percent fit for the Australian Open. Maybe I’ll have to skip it.”

“At this stage my health is more important. Until I recover fully, until my back is recovered and I can feel that I have no pain, no fear, then I’ll not play.

“Definitely there is no surgery. It’s just time. This is going to be a very long procedure.”

dinara safina withdrawal doha 2009

Presumably, Vera Zvonareva will be tapped as first alternate. It’s a truly low note to end a season which, with all its tribulations, has been a career-best for Dinara and pretty amazing by anyone’s standards. Major, major sad face.

Serena Williams (2) d. Venus Williams (7), 57 64 76(4)

serena williams doha 2009venus williams doha 2009

I was too depressed after the aforementioned two matches to watch this. All I can say is that I’m surprised it went to three after watching their first matches, and that Serena now presumably has a lock on the year end no. 1 spot and a semifinal place in Doha. Oh, and that Venus presumably won’t get out of the round-robin stage.

Anyone have any thoughts on this one?

Posted in caroline wozniacki, dinara safina, doha, jelena jankovic, serena williams, venus williams, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Doha Day One: Azarenka, Serena Win; Dementieva Downs Venus

Posted by gauloises1 on October 28, 2009

I literally couldn’t look away today and the matches weren’t even that great. That’s how much I love Doha. Apart from the emptiness of the stands and the fact that’s it held in Doha. Still, Istanbul from 2011, I think.

White Group

Victoria Azarenka (6) d. Jelena Jankovic (8) 62 63

jelena jankovic doha day onevictoria azarenka doha day one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean kill for Azarenka on her debut in Doha, a tournament which is not traditionally kind for first-timers. Let’s make no bones about it, JJ was not playing well by any stretch of the imagination. She was obviously working on hitting with plenty of depth, to keep Azarenka pinned behind the baseline, and trying hard to be aggressive, but she simply couldn’t find her range. Or, frequently, the court. But I thought Azarenka played a very mature match – which is not something you can often say about her – doing an excellent job of keeping her cool when JJ started hitting out in the second set, and generally earning the win.

After the match, JJ wasn’t easy on herself in evaluating her performance:

“I basically gave her everything. I beat myself. That was really unfortunately the case. My game was completely off […] I would hit one or two balls and then the third one would go everywhere except in the court. I was a shadow of myself.”

I rather enjoyed Azarenka’s response:

“I’m glad she gave me the match and she was not in the mood. It worked out pretty well for me.”

Well played.

Maroon Group

Elena Dementieva (5) d. Venus Williams (7), 36 76(6) 62

elena dementieva doha day onevenus williams doha day one

Didn’t see this coming. Neither women started well, but Venus was playing that bit better and when she was 61 31 up I thought that was it. So much so that I wandered off and missed Dementieva breaking back for 3-3. From that point, though, Venus more or less imploded. I really can’t think of any other word for it. Both women were living and dying on their first serve percentage, and Venus’ dropped steadily throughout the match (getting foot-faulted ten times probably didn’t help). Once Dementieva found her rhythm from the back of the court, she was winning every long exchange as Venus inevitably was the first to make the error. More than anything else though, Venus didn’t seem clear about her game plan or what she was trying to achieve. She was getting nothing done from the back of the court and having great success moving forward, but missed opportunity after opportunity to do so. Her hitting partner was shouting for her to stay positive, but she did the absolute opposite. It’s becoming a bit of a familiar story for the defending Doha champion.

Great win for Dementieva though, who stayed resilient and kept fighting despite being plagued by double faults. By the third set, she was playing some fearsome tennis. After the way her year has panned out (remember back in January when she was winning everything?), a big win like this has to feel good. And it was certainly well-earned.

Serena Williams (2) d. Svetlana Kuznetsova (3), 76(6) 75

serena williams doha day one svetlana kuznetsova doha day one2

I only saw the first set of this, but I imagine the second set was fairly similar. I get the feeling that these two have a huge amount of respect for each other’s tennis, which unfortunately often translates into an unseemly haste to get the first strike in, well, first, and results in a lot of UFEs. Svetlana had much better results when she took a little off her shots and played with more patience, and that approach in fact got her to the point where she was serving for the first set, but she reverted to her default mode of play and it cost her.

Serena looked very impressive, though, considering she seems to have barely played since the U.S. Open (I don’t even remember who she lost to in Beijing – some randomer?). My initial Venus-for-the-title feeling is shifting inexorably towards a Serena-for-the-title feeling, as it goes.

And that was day one in Doha.

Posted in doha, elena dementieva, jelena jankovic, serena williams, svetlana kuznetsova, venus williams, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Doha Draw

Posted by gauloises1 on October 26, 2009

So, in my hurry to criticise the dresses, I didn’t actually get around to posting the draw earlier.

Here are the groups:

White Group
Dinara Safina
Caroline Wozniacki
Victoria Azarenka
Jelena Jankovic

Maroon Group
Serena Williams
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Elena Dementieva
Venus Williams

Lest we forget, the top two finishers from each group will advance to the semifinals, where the top-placed player from the White group will face the second-placed player from the Maroon group, and so forth.

Honestly, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’d bet good money on the eventual champion coming from the Maroon group, but that’s about it. Bonnie Ford at ESPN has a good breakdown on what’s at stake for each of the ladies, and Tennis.com has some interesting statistics. In lieu of predictions, I’m going to put up a poll. Fun!

And now back to the pretty ladies.

victoria azarenka

Victoria Azarenka does her best impression of a perfume advert.

Seriously. She looks amazing.

jelena jankovic doha

Still love this dress.

elena dementieva doha

Screw Dracula, I would vamp her in this.

svetlana kuznetsova dinara safina

Svetlana is doing Blue Steel. And I think someone just asked Dinara about the no. 1 ranking.

venus williams doha

Venus would like you to know she’s now fully poseable. Posable? Whatever.

victoria azarenka caroline wozniacki serena williams doha

I would officially kill for Azarenka’s hair. That is all.

Posted in caroline wozniacki, dinara safina, doha, elena dementieva, jelena jankovic, serena williams, svetlana kuznetsova, venus williams, victoria azarenka | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »