Thursday in Eastbourne
June 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Any given (grass) Thursday…
– Daniela Hantuchova beat today Venus Williams for the first time in 11 meetings. Dani was helped by a poor serving day from Venus, but I believe the fact Williams is “coming back” is nullified when you put in perspective she has double digits wins against the Slovak. And was playing on grass. And her surname is Williams. Only good news from this one, anyway. Lovely to see such a skilled player as Dani finding her way back into top-level pro-tennis (last time she had made consecutive SFs was in 2007). Not any less amusing verify that Venus – despite turning 31 on Friday – is still a big fish and a top contender for the upcoming Wimbledon tournie. Final result: 6/2, 5/7, 6/2 Danka.
– Said it before, will say it again: I’m glad I was wrong when predicted Bartoli would merely play a secondary role until the end of her career. The 26-year old, owner of an unique, very pleasant style, reaches her fifth consecutive Eastbourne semifinal, and the sixth overall this year, seeking her third YTD final and the first title since 2009 – quite a while; she’s already deserving one.
– On her flip side, Victoria Azarenka. She suffered her 10th loss in 2011, but the fourth by retiring. In the previous three – Indian Wells v. Caro, Stuttgart v. Goerges and Rome v. Sharapova – her opponent went on to win the title. And even though her Wimbledon participation is not endangered, retiring four times in six months and 12 tournaments is clearly not a good sign. In fact, this is becoming annoyingly common right now.
– Opposite feelings and outcomes for Samantha Stosur and Vera Zvonareva. The last two players to beat Serena (the former, at Roland Garros last year and the latter last round) squared off for a place in the semifinals, and Vera quickly jumped ahead for a one set, one break lead. And then boom. Just like that. Sam forced a tie-break, and albeit Zvonareva had a 4-2 lead, she couldn’t close it. In the third set, Stosur was the one to get the double-break. She lost three games in a row from 5/1, but finished at 6/4 anyways. Sam, whose least favorite surface is grass, goes on to reach her 2nd consecutive AEGON International semifinal. It seems like she’s finally being relevant this year!
– As for Vera, who barely survived Serena (Williams would have mercilessly crushed her if she wasn’t just returning from a one-year lay-off), it might not feel good losing a match this way. Even more when she’s only a few days away from starting the runner-up defense at Wimbledon.
– In the other match of the day, Petra Kvitova beat AggieRad, 1/6, 6/2, 7/6. The Czech reaches her 2nd consecutive grass semifinal – the other being ’10 Wimbledon. Hmm…
– Semifinals to be played tomorrow – Dani vs. Kvits first, followed by Marion vs. Sam. P.K. leads D.H. 1-0 and S.S leads M.B. 2-1. None of the four matches were played on grass.