Friday, June 17, 2011

Azarenka leavs Eastbourne with groin injury. Kvitova survives one more scare.

It is doubtful whether Daniela Hantuchova flounced back into the locker room at Devonshire Park and proudly proclaimed, "No one beats Daniela Hantuchova 11 times in a row", as Vitas Gerulaitis was supposed to have done after ending a run of 16 consecutive defeats to Jimmy Connors.

The leggy Slovak said her record against Venus Williams never entered her head but she looked pretty happy when she brought Williams's comeback to a halt at the Aegon International here yesterday. There are, however, the mitigating circumstances of Venus's five-month lay-off.

There are limits to what even the Williams sisters can achieve and winning a third match in four days against the cream of the women's game after such absence turned out to be one of them. In cold, blustery conditions that would have tested a skilled yachtsman never mind a tennis player, she found Hantuchova just a bit too steady for her – just as the world No1 Caroline Wozniacki had done at the French Open – and she lost 6-2 5-7 6-2.

Not only had Hantuchova lost 10 times out of 10 to her opponent – and eight times of nine to Serena – she had only ever won one set against Venus, so serving for the second one in nine years took some nerve. And when Venus came back to level at one set all, last week's finalist in Birmingham stayed strong.

Hantuchova's semi final opponent will be rising star, Czech Petra Kvitova. Kvitova set up the semi-final clash with Hantuchova with a comeback victory over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska. The Czech star lost the opening set 6-1 but recovered well to take the following two sets 6-2 7-6 to win the two-hour tussle.

In the other half of the draw, Australian Samantha Stosur fought back from a set down to dispatch Russian top seed Vera Zvonareva in a titanic two-hour-48-minute match.

The turning point appeared to be game 11 in the second set, when Stosur held her serve following 11 deuces, the seventh seed going on to seal a 4-6 7-6 6-4 win.

Stosur goes on to face Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli in the semi-finals after her Belarusian opponent Victoria Azarenka was forced to retire at 2-6 0-2 down.

"Marion's a very tough player," said Stosur of her last-four opponent. "She's been playing very well lately and grass is probably her best surface. But I'll give it my best shot."

Pic - Tennis Dresses

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