Saturday, March 24, 2012

Take that, Sjogren's

Venus Williams had not played a competitive for seven months before stepping onto court in Miami and suffers from the autoimmune illness, Sjogren's Syndrome. All this however was not going stop her from upsetting Wimbledon Champ and world number three, Petra Kvitova.

Many people, including myself, we're pessimistic about Venus' return and to some extent doubted that it could happen. Not only did she prove me wrong on that one she also stunned me by taking down Kvitova, especially with the ease of the third set.

One break separated the pair in the opening set as Venus Broke Kvitova in the 10th game of the set to take the first set 6-4. The second set featured three breaks, two to Petra and one to Venus, as the Wimbledon champion pushed the match into a decider taking the second 6-4. The final set was all one way traffic and Venus Williams who "didn't really realize the third set was 6-0" stormed through the final set in just over half and hour.

Fellow comebacker, Alisa Kelybanova, was less fortunate as Maria Kirilenko got the better of her in just under 2 and a half hours in just her first match back after winning the biggest battle of her life, against Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Vera Zvonareva was the other top 10 seed to fall in the second round has she was defeated in straight sets by rising Spanish star Garbine Muguruza Blanco. Zvonareva stormed to a 4-0 lead in the first set before her young opponent battle backed to win 6-4 6-3.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

American Dream

Angelique Kerber has continued her love affair with American hard courts, battling into the quarters of Indian Wells. Having made the semis of the US Open last year, losing to eventual champ Sam Stosur in three sets, Kerber continues to back up her results and puts any questions over flukes slowly to sleep.

Indian Wells has been interesting for Kerber, to say the least. In her two matches (3rd round opponent withdrew due to illness) she has saved seven match points and battled from the edge of defeat to rising American stars twice. After her first round bye, Kerber fought back from 2-6 1-5 down against Sloane Stephens saving three match points to eventually win 2-6 7-5 6-4. Today, against Christina McHale, who defeated Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova in round three, Angelique again found herself looking like needing to book a ticket to Miami. after splitting the first two sets 6-3 in the third McHale raced to a 4-1 lead, with Kerber serving, and held a break point to extend the lead to 5-1. Kerber showed grit and determination to level the score but again faced three match points, this time serving down 5-6. Throw in another match point saved and the match edged to the tie breaker where a little more experience prevailed over youth in the end.

In the first match on court one for the day, world number one Victoria Azarenka improved her unbeaten run to 20 matches defeating Julia Goerges 6-3 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinal of Indian Wells. Her opponent will be Agnieszka Radwanska who advanced to the quarters virtue of her opponents retirement. Jamie Hampton seemed to be getting the better of the fifth seeded Pole, when unfortunately cramps got the better of her trailing 0-1 in the third set she collapsed in pain. In need of medical attention, Hampton was treated on court, at the cost of two games, but it was too much in then retiring just points later.

Hampton's retirement marked the 19th time a match could not be completed in Indian Wells this year, with most players falling victim to a viral infection sweeping through the locker room.