Tenaciously Tennis

Wozniacki Wins; Harrison Qualifies for US Open Main Draw

Caroline Wozniacki beat Elena Dementieva in the semifinals of the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament in New Haven to make her third straight US Open Series final, winning the event as a result. In an exciting, drama-filled match, Wozniacki played just a little more consistently in the final few games to win in the deciding tiebreak. She advanced 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

After Dementieva looked to be in control of the final set with an early break, she served for the match at 5-4, but failed to convert. Wozniacki then held multiple match points at 6-5, but couldn’t win as Dementieva raised her game. In the end, Wozniacki lived up to her number two ranking in the world, showing she’s meant to be the US Open’s number one seed as well.

The Dane next faces Nadia Petrova, who shook off negativity and errors in the beginning of her match versus Maria Kirilenko to win 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. Petrova, ranked 19th in the world, is actually a wild card in the event after Ana Ivanovic declined it. Petrova entered last minute, and she’s probably very glad as this result is her first final all season.

I predict Wozniacki cruising to take the title for her third time. Petrova needed a lot to beat Kirilenko mentally, and she has a much tougher opponent in Wozniacki. Basically, Wozniacki plays Kirilenko’s game, but much better. Therefore, I see Petrova melting down a little as her shots miss and Wozniacki’s consistent, counter-punching style overwhelms.

At day four of the US Open Qualifying Tournament, American Ryan Harrison got into the main draw after defeating Ricardo Hocevar 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. This win shows a positive sign for the teenager’s young career and the future of the sport here in the US. Hopefully, he continues playing at this high level and gives it everything in the first round.

Other qualifying matches of note: Nicholas Mahut, who lost to John Isner in the longest match ever, is one step away from qualifying. He beat Uladzimir Ignatik 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-2. Wild card Blake Strode lost, joining the 14th seed Ilija Bozoljac in defeat.

In the WTA event, Michelle Larcher de Brito dominated Anastasiya Yakimova 6-0, 6-0, and Sania Mirza qualified for the main event with a 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 win against Catalina Castano.


Top Seeds Roddick, Davydenko, Jankovic and Petkovic Struggle

The top seeds at their respective tournaments, Andy Roddick, Nikolai Davydenko, Jelena Jankovic, and Andrea Petkovic all struggled in early rounds. Three lost their matches, while one survived.

Roddick, the lone top seed to advance of the four, barely got past compatriot Rajeev Ram at the newly revived US Open Series event in Atlanta. Roddick — whose foundation will be building a tennis center in Texas — beat Ram 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-3. After a disappointing Wimbledon, Roddick needs to do well to prove he’s still relevant going into this year’s US Open.

The next disappointing result belongs to Davydenko, whose year so far has been less than stellar due to injury. The Russian lost to the 79th ranked Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-4 at the Hamburg German Open. After making a run to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, which ended with a roller-coaster loss to Roger Federer, Davydenko didn’t play at Roland Garros and made it to the second round at Wimbledon. I don’t see this being Davydenko’s summer to shine.

On the WTA tour, Jelena Jankovic pulled out of the Banka Koper Slovenia Open after struggling to a third set against qualifier Anastasiya Yakimova. Jankovic didn’t play the same after leading 6-1, 2-1 and twisting her ankle when attempting to get to a ball. This was her first match since retiring from the fourth round of Wimbledon with a back injury. Something’s going on with Jankovic, and I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s just more of the same old drama she’s been known for, maybe it’s being burnt out from all the play. Whatever the reason, she won’t be winning a Grand Slam title any time soon if she continues to sabotage her own potential.

Finally, Petkovic failed to advance at the Bad Gastein tournament after losing to Alize Cornet 6-2, 7-5. She won the event last year.

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