Sunday, November 13, 2011

The year that was - January

The beginning of 2011 was first marred by announcement that twice defending champion Serena Williams would be unable to play in the Australian summer while she continued to rehabilitate a niggling foot injury. In the absence of the 13 times major winner it was time for young and old to take advantage.

In the very first week of the year, tournaments were held in Brisbane and Auckland as well as the IFT organized teams event in Perth. The Hopman cup saw American's Bethaine Mattek Sands and gentle giant John Isner take out the diamond balls over alternates from Belgium Justine Henin and Ruben Bemelmans. Brisbane provided, once again, a quality field and a final between two rising stars who would eventually prove to be the surprise packets of the 2011 season, Petra Kvtiova and Andrea Petkovic. In the final Kvitova proved far to strong the German demolishing her to the tune of 6-1 and 6-3. The win assured the Czech would enter the top 30 for the first time of her career. Across the Tasman sea seeds fell left right and centre. China's Peng Shuai took down two time Grand Slam Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in  the second round, while that was impressive it didn't come close to then, 31-year-old Greta Arn's victory over Maria Sharapova in the quarter finals. Arn would then go on to defeat defending champ Yanina Wickmayer in the final it was the Hungarian's second title in her long career.
Week two saw the first Premier event of the year and saw Li Na make history, a theme that would follow her throughout her entire season. In the second round however, top seeds Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva stumbled in rusty performance's to begin the year. Li Na and Kim Clijsters were the last two standing in an odd final to say the least. Kim got off to a flying start winning the first five games, Li Na wasn't going to go away just yet and mounted an incredible come back winning the match in straight sets, 7-6 6-3. The win saw Li become  the first Chinese player to win a Premier level tournament. During the mean time, just past the Bass Straight in one of the most picturesque sceneries in the world, Jarmila Gajdasova gave home crowds something to cheer about winning her second career title, first in Australia. In the final American Bethanie Mattek Sands continued to build up her confidence from Perth by making the final, being over powered by Jarka and the patriotic crowed.

Slam time, and the first slam of the year. From my reports everyone had a great time at the Pimms tent...I'm sure the tennis was alright too. There were shocks and thing we were supposed to be shocked at, but weren't really. The first round promised something great, something interesting, a Clijsters v Safina battle. Of course, with most things tennis when something spectacular is promised its rarely delivered, so would be the same for this match as Kim won with two bagels. Fast forward to round three and things start getting interesting. Petra Kvitova takes down 5th seeded Aussie Sam Stosur, Venus Williams pulled out of her first ever grand slam match trailing Andrea Petkovic 0-1 0-15. Justine Henin was defeated by Svetlana Kuznetsova in round three and decided to quit tennis...again.
Week two got off to an astonishing start as Kuznetsova and Schiavone battled out for 4 hours and 44 minutes, the longest Women's match in Grand Slam history. Schiavone prevailed 6-4 1-6 16-14. Petkovic must not have been to happy having her third round match cut short as she destroyed a title favourite in Maria Sharapova in the forth round, 6-2 6-3 to advance to her maiden Slam quarter final. Already surviving a busted raquet, taking down a ball boy, testing the chair umpires catching skills and only decideing to play in Australia at the last minute, Agnieszka Radwanska thought she'd try out saving match points, she prevailed in her challenge defeating Peng Shuai 7-5 3-6 7-5, having saved two match points. Quarter final time and Francesca Schiavone still wasn't tired, up against world number 1, Caroline Wozniacki, the Italian raced off to a 6-3 and 3-1 lead. It was at this moment she realised she had just played on court for nearly 5 hours and the Dane rallied to 3-6 6-3 6-3 victory. In the semis Wozniacki looked poised for her first slam final in Australia, holding match point against Li Na at 5-4 in the second set. The determined Chinese super star, decided she'd give the history books one last push and before she knew she was not only China's but also the first Asian national to make a slam singles final. Man or woman. In the battle for the world number two rank, Kim Clijsters continued to upstage Vera Zvonareva in the important matches winning 3 and 3.

Li Na and Kim Clijsters, the last two ladies standing.Was Li Na nervous? Maybe for a game but with nerves of steel Li powered her way through the first set, seeing the ball like basketball winning it 6-3 and getting an early break in the second set. Having previously won three Slam titles Kim knew what she had to do, and how she had to do it. In the end Kim was too strong and 'Aussie Kim' finally was 'Aussie Kim' and Li Na had won the hearts of millions of Australian's with her quirky, fun personality and pressers.

See y'all in February


caps321 said...

who is that chest bumping kimmie in the animated gif? looks like she almost got 'knocked' out!

fell off ladder onto sidewalk yesterday - using left hand with mouse and/or remote control.

think it might be a snuff box injury, wrapped in a splint, minor swelling, no doctor as of yet.

Angry Big Mac said...

Caps I hope you recover quickly and nicely. Check with doctor if you continue to feel discomfort.

At first I thought it was Henin that Kookie Monster was bumping but I believe is Vera Z.

Clefairy: When I said I couldn't comment from cell maybe I didn't mean cell phone, perhaps I meant cell as in incarceration haha. XP

Captain I think is too early for year in reviews. Can it wait till December? :)

BTW did check the nicknames for Lucinda and Angus? Did you find find them funny or lame?

I conclude that I don't like gifs.

caps321 said...

pippi longstocking?

i hate gifs especially the emoticons.

but i do like this one of aggie/ula:

Angry Big Mac said...

Caps how are you feeling?

Pippi Longstocking Caps? :/

Note to Clefairy: people don't like gifs on profile pics it gets annoying after thirty seconds.

And why in the world I'm eating words on post? It has been going on for a while. Now I have to triple check.

I'll ask the question again, Did anyone check the nicknames for Lucinda and Angus? Did anyone find them funny or lame?

caps321 said...

lucinda = pippi

not aware of other nicknames

who is angus?

learning to do things w/left hand is lame; will prob test out right wrist in a week or two

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Its Sammy Stosur chest pumping Kimmie!

Carlos I liked the first one :P That you liked but Lucinda didn't

Angry Big Mac said...

Sam Stosur?!? I suck at this game haha :P

Lucingus it is Captain!...I foresee angry emails and Tweets in the future...

Caps, Angus is the better half of Clefairy.

Lucinda and Angus = Lucingus

For me: Clefairy = Lucinda
For you Caps: Pippi Longstocking = Lucinda

Note: Any dispute on this blog the Captain shall be the mediator. In this case the Captain gets to choose which nickname suits better for the lovely Lucinda, Pippi or Clefairy. My personal opinion, as long as she gets a nickname haha :P

In the previous post I wrote a few more nicknames for the Lucingus.

Speaking of previous post Mr. Caps, you never answered the question, should I keep Angry Bird on the side since now I'm seeing Ms. Licki Bean?

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