Tenaciously Tennis

Despite Loss, Jovanovski Poised for Future Success

Bojana Jovanovski has proven that she’s one to watch in the coming months.  Ranked 58th, she recently gave world number two Vera Zvonareva a fight in the Australian Open’s second round. With powerful strokes on both sides and a strong fighting spirit, Jovanovski handled herself like a future top ten player. She lost to the Wimbledon and US Open finalist in three sets, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

As the youngest player in the top 100 at age 19, Jovanovski came into the Aussie Open with some solid wins  to begin 2011. She advanced to the semifinals at Sydney, beating Kaia Kanepi, Aravane Rezai, and Flavia Pennetta (all ranked inside the top 30) in straight sets. Jovanovski lost to the eventual champion Na Li of China.

If she can improve her fitness and get more experience as the season progress, the third-ranked Serb — after Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic — will be an even greater threat.

Watch below for a fun interview of Jovanovski from Brisbane earlier this year.


Australian Open 2011 Predictions: WTA Tour

Note: Please see my most recent predictions for the WTA tour’s 2011 Australian Open here.

Serena Williams is out of her second consecutive major, and that means only one thing: the draw opens up substantially. Who can rise to the occasion with the favorite out of the mix? Will it be Kim Clijsters, who comes fresh off wins at the US Open and the year-ending championships, and has done well so far in 2011? There’s also Caroline Wozniaki trying to prove her number one ranking by her maiden Grand Slam title. Last year’s finalist Justine Henin must be mentioned, while Venus Williams plays after a knee injury kept her off tour. The Australian Open this year is bound for some surprises. Here’s a breakdown of the brackets.

Caroline Wozniacki’s Section:

The top seed should make it to the fourth round with Wozniacki’s toughest competition being Dominika Cibulkova. The 29th-seed recently scored a straight sets win over the Dane in Sydney. In the bottom of that portion of the draw, Yanina Wickmayer could very well defeat Marion Bartoli with confidence inspired by her finals showing in Auckland. Bartoli, however, does enjoy a 2-0 head-to-head record over Wickmayer.

In the bottom half, last year’s finalist Henin looms as the 15th-seed with Svetlana Kuznetsova as a potential third round match. The reigning French Open champion Francesca Schiavone also looks promising to advance. Henin, however, has won seven of eight matches against the Italian.

Ones-to-Watch: Australian Jarmila Groth recently won the Hobart tournament and may pose trouble for Wickmayer in the first round. The two met only once in 2009 with Wickmayer pulling through in three sets. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Wimbledon semifinalist, who has been struggling since the result, also appear in Wozniacki’s bracket.

Bottom Line: Wozniacki has some tough tests, but I believe she’ll advance to the quarterfinals over Wickmayer. Henin shouldn’t have a problem against Schiavone.

Venus Williams’ Section:

Here’s home to the fourth-seed, Venus, who faces a couple tests before the fourth round. In the third round, Andrea Petkovic could push her. The two have never met, and Petkovic looks confident with a recent string of wins in Brisbane. In the fourth round, however, Venus potentially meets Maria Sharapova. The head-to-head makes the Russian’s  possible success slim as Venus leads 5-3 in their head-to-head. She’s also won the last three matches in straight sets.

It’ll be a toss-up between 2010 semifinalist Na Li and the ever spirited Victoria Azarenka in their probable fourth round match.

Ones-to-Watch: The other seeded players, Kaia Kanepi (no. 20), Aravane Rezai (no. 17) and Daniela Hantuchova (no. 28) also appear here.

Bottom Line: Venus will likely defeat Sharapova, while Li can take out Azarenka in a battle.

Kim Clijsters’ Section:

Possibly the most open part of the draw belongs to Clijsters, where she’ll no doubt benefit. Competition comes in the form of Nadia Petrova and Ana Ivanovic. Clijsters, however, should get through to the quarterfinals unless Ivanovic can out-perform her in the fourth round. It’ll be an interesting match between Clijsters and Dinara Safina in the first round.

With a struggling Jelena Jankovic as the seventh-seed (she’s lost eight of her last matches, including six straight) at the top, the section looks perfect for an up-and-comer to make a move. Agnieszka Radwanska (no. 12), although she’s battling some injury, might do well. Jankovic can also squeak through the bracket as she has before. One never knows with the former world number one.

Ones-to-Watch: Personal favorite Patty Schnyder could meet Ivanovic in the second round. Greta Arn, the surprise winner of Auckland, also appears in this section, facing the 26th-seed, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, in the first round.

Bottom Line: Jankovic looks like a big question mark, while Clijsters should sail through to the second week.

Vera Zvonareva’s Section:

One of the strongest sections of the 2011 Australian Open on the WTA tour, this bracket is home to the second-seeded Zvonareva and home-favorite Sam Stosur (no. 5). These two names stand above the rest, although there are some, such as Petra Kvitova (no. 25), Shahar Peer (no. 10), and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (no. 16), who serve as fierce competition.

In a potential fourth round match, Kvitova, who won Brisbane — but lost in a walkover at Sydney — would face Stosur. The Australian hasn’t been quite up to form as she lost to Kuznetsova in Sydney’s second round.  Israel’s Peer would probably face the victor. Zvonareva lost to Flavia Pennetta — also of this bracket — early in Sydney. Zvonareva should, however, shake off the loss to make a run to the quarterfinals.

Ones-to-Watch: American Melanie Oudin might make a move in her section of the draw, where she’d face Zvonareva in a potential third round match. There’s also Maria Kirilenko (no. 22) and Anna Chakvetadze.

Bottom Line: It looks like Zvonareva and Stosur get through to the quarterfinals, but not without some strong tests from a number of good competition.

In the Quarterfinals: With the above predictions, the quarterfinals will showcase Wozniacki against Henin; Venus against Li; (potentially) Jankovic against Clijsters; and Stosur versus Zvonareva.

In the Semifinals: Watch for Henin to face Venus and Clijsters against Zvonareva in the final four.

US Open Predictions – WTA Tour

The action at the US Open has begun. Without Serena Williams and Justine Henin, the year’s final major looks open for the taking. Here are my thoughts on the tournament.

Caroline Wozniacki’s Quarter:

Wozniacki looks sharp as the number one seed. She’s won three US Open Series titles in a row, capturing the Pilot Pen Tournament just a few days ago. She won the Series and could very well dominate the competition on her way to a major title. But before we look that far ahead, Maria Sharapova looms in her future as a potential fourth round match.

In that set-up, I take Wozniacki’s consistency over Sharapova’s experience, drive, and power. Plus, Sharapova needed three sets in her first round win to advance. I say Wozniacki wins in three sets.

Other notables: Aravane Rezai, the 18th seed, is one to watch, possibly meeting Sharapova in the third round.

Na Li’s Quarter:

The highest seed in this section of the draw got knocked out early on. Therefore, the stage is set for Svetlana Kuznetsova to get to the quarterfinals. Maria Kirilenko, however, recently got the the semifinals at the Pilot Pen Tournament. Can she make another big move at a major, like this year’s Australian Open?

Other notables: Kateryna Bondarenko beat Li. Will her form continue against a tough Dominika Cibulkova in the next round? If so, a fourth round result might just be in the cards for her.

Jelena Jankovic’s Quarter:

Jankovic isn’t a threat for the title in my opinion. She’s coming off of injury and needed three sets to get to the second round. If the seeding stays true to form, she could very well lose to Yanina Wickmayer, the 15th seed, in the fourth round.

Other notables: Kaia Kanepi, the Wimbledon quarterfinalist, might make some noise against Jankovic in a possible third round match. Personal favorite and veteran Patty Schnyder gets a shout-out for her dominating 6-1, 6-3 win over Kirsten Flipkins in the first round.

Vera Zvonareva’s Quarter:

This is a tough section with Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska heading the field. Zvonareva, this year’s Wimbledon finalist, should get to the fourth round without a problem. I see her playing against Radwanska to decide the quarterfinal spot.

Radwanska wins that match in three, using finesse, tactics, and superb counter-punching consistency to get inside Zvonareva’s head.

Other notables: Nadia Petrova, the Pilot Pen Tennis finalist, already lost to Andrea Petkovic, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands should find strong support at her home major.

Francesca Schiavone’s Quarter:

In what I view as the hardest section of the field, the French Open winner won’t live up to expectations. Instead, I’m rooting for Melanie Oudin, last year’s fairytale story, to get to the fourth round. Against her could be either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sania Mirza, or Victoria Azarenka. The seeding says Azarenka, but I’ve been seeing great things from Pavlyuchenkova lately. Then again, Mirza’s back in action, and looked sharp in her qualifying matches and especially against Michelle Larcher de Brito in the first round.

Other notables: Can Alona Bondarenko find some surprise honeymoon success?

Venus Williams’ Section:

Okay, so the draw doesn’t get much easier in this section. Shahar Peer, Flavia Pennetta, Tsvetana Pironkova, and Venus are all contenders. I’ll take Venus to exact revenge over Pironkova, who beat her in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in straight sets during potential third round action.

The winner of that match could face Pennetta, although I’m a fan of Peer’s game.

Other notables: Can Pironkova bring the same amount of trickery against Venis this time around? Probably not.

Sam Stosur’s Quarter:

Elena Dementieva immediately comes to mind as the winner for this part of the draw. Stosur did well to get to the French Open final, but her form has suffered since then. Dementieva lost in a close match against Wozniacki and will bring that same drive and intensity in search of her first major title. She wants it badly. I’ll predict she advances in straight sets to the quarterfinals.

Other notables: I’m curious to see if Vania King can beat Daniela Hantuchova, who defeated an ailing Dinara Safina, in the second round. I hope King gets a lot of love from the New York City crowd.

Kim Clijsters’ Quarter:

Clijsters is likely to dominate this field. While Petra Kvitova plays a big, athletic game that got her all the way to the Wimbledon semifinals, she doesn’t have the experience to beat last year’s champion. Clijsters’ opponent for a spot in the quarters, however, is by no means locked. Ana Ivanovic, Marion Bartoli, and Jie Zheng are all big threats. Regardless, I’m not overly worried.

Other notables: Ivanovic versus Zheng should be an interesting match. Is the Serb ready for the top tier once more? I hope so. She looked promising in Cincinnati before withdrawing from injury against Clijsters in the semifinals.

The Quarters and Semis:

In the top half, Wozniacki beats Kuznetsova in two sets to make the semis. She’ll face the winner of Radwanska and Wickmayer. I like the chances of Wozniacki versus Radwanska. who takes out Zvonareva, in this semifinal section.

In the other matches, Azarenka loses to Venus, while Clijsters and Dementieva battle it out. Clijsters prevails in three sets.

The final four: Wozniacki against Radwanska, and Venus versus Clijsters.

Almagro, Kanepi, and Szavay Succeed on Clay

In a stunning upset, Nicholas Almagro beat Robin Soderling on his home turf at the Swedish Open. For the women, Kaia Kanepi and Agnes Szavay posted wins, improving upon their current streaks on tour.

Soderling, the French Open finalist for the past two years, was a heavy favorite to win the event. To fall to Almagro, a strong clay-court player, is even more surprising given the home-court advantage. Regardless, I’m not seeing it as indicative of a lapse in the Swedes’ play. He’s done well making it to the finals at Roland Garros, followed by his quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon. Soderling lost to Almagro in a close 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 match. I strongly believe that Soderling will end the season with continued impressive play at the US Open and at the year-end event. There’s no evidence to say otherwise.

About the WTA, it’s pleasing that Kanepi and Szavay took home titles. Kanepi, the qualifier that made her way to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, deserved the win against Flavia Pennetta. She beat the Italian to win the Palermo event with an easy 6-3, 6-2 match. Kanepi’s on a roll, and there’s no sign of her stopping any time soon. I’m guessing she’ll be a threat on the hard courts of the US Open series, too.

Finally, Szavay,  who beat Patty Schnyder in Budapest, beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 to win the Prague Open. I see Szavay also continuing this form into the US Open series.

It’s great seeing these hard-working athletes garnering the benefits of their dedication. Hopefully, their success takes them far into the last major. They’re ones on which to keep a close eye.

Pironkova, Kanepi Prevail After Wimbledon Runs

Tsvetana Pironkova and Kaia Kanepi, who made it to the semifinals and quarterfinals of Wimbledon, respectively, continue to succeed by enjoying first round wins at the Palermo Open. Writes an Associated Press article, “Bulgaria’s Pironkova beat Anna Floris of Italy 6-4, 7-6 at the claycourt tournament at the Country Time Club Viale dell’Olimpo stadium, while Estonia’s Kanepi beat Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay 7-5, 6-4.”

This is an excellent effort for the two players, and it’ll be interesting to see how their improved form and confidence inspire their games once the US Open series starts in the next couple weeks. I’m guessing that Pironkova’s finesse, slice forehand, and strong serve take her to new heights.

At the same time, Kanepi’s game might be more prone to falter. I don’t see her outhitting the top guns. With less variety than Pironkova, I wouldn’t give her the same chance to reach the upper echelon of WTA players as the Bulgarian.

What Pironkova has going for her is the surprise factor. Players these days — except for a few notable players, such as Patty Schnyder — go for overwhelming power. When an opponent has the ability to absorb that power, like Pironkova, and then turn that power into offense through pace-changing play and getting every ball back, chaos ensues. Pironkova has that ability; Kanepi doesn’t.

Plus, if Pironkova can keep up the serving throughout the hard court season, her chances to win a title on the WTA tour — can you believe it’d be her first title? — would be high. One would think a game like hers doesn’t translate well to the hard courts, but if it worked on grass — who really knows?

Clijsters Claims Win Over Serena with Biggest Crowd Ever

When Justine Henin withdrew from the “Battle of the Belgians,” Serena Williams took her place to meet Kim Clijsters. That decision didn’t work out quite so well for the American, who lost to Clijsters 6-3, 6-2 in Brussels on Thursday.

At the same time, the exhibition was successful. In fact, it’ll be known as the most successful match since the famed “Battle of the Sexes” epic between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs decades ago. While not the longest match in history by about 10 hours, it was the most attended.

According to an Associated Press article, “The crowd of 35,681 at King Baudouin Stadium on Thursday surpassed the previous record of 30,472 set in 1973 at the Houston Astrodome in the Battle of the Sexes match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.” The match was chaired by Martina Navratilova.

The implications of such a historic match are astounding. The parallels between this match and the John Isner and Nicholas Mahut marathon, especially occurring so close to one another, many things for tennis — yet to be seen. The longest match, and the most attended — both in one month’s time? Then, to have a tennis player — Serena Williams — on the cover of the one of the most, if not the, most widely read sports magazine, Sports Illustrated, sends a clear message: tennis is set for a popularity boom.

I’m going out on a limb here. I’m not using statistics. Sure, people widely consider those the definitive statistics necessary to calculate whether or not tennis is being played more frequently, and thus boasts future popularity gains. But I’m going on a more basic, emotional level. The game is getting good. It’s getting really good, very quickly.

There’s drama now: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal aren’t the only ones doing major damage at the Grand Slams. Okay, so Federer won the Australian Open and Nadal took the other two. Fine. But they’re being tested, and that’s a great thing for the sport.

On the women’s side, variety is creeping back into the game. Caroline Wozniacki, a player that can get hit off the court (think about her lopsided loss to Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon) is holding her own. She’s ranked three in the world. There’s also Jelena Jankovic, Agnieszka Radwanska, and a slew of other players poised to keep power at bay and put spin, sharp angles, and sound tactics ahead of brute force. Francesca Schiavone won the French Open at 30 — an amazing feat. We’re seeing great confidence surging throughout the lesser-tiered players — Kaia Kanepi and Tsvetana Pironkova played their hearts out to win the big matches despite being ranked outside the top 50. Tomas Berdych on the men’s side is back in a big way.

There’s a changing of the guard in the game of tennis, and it’s an exciting one to witness. I’m saying it does wonders for popularity, too. And if not, who cares? The current fans couldn’t be happier. Well, this fan couldn’t be happier.

WTA Post-Wimbledon Roundup

We’ve taken a look at the ATP tour, now it’s time to examine the WTA ranking moves. Who benefited from the two weeks on grass, and who suffered? Here’s a breakdown of the WTA tour position switch-ups.

  • Serena Williams took home the Wimbledon trophy for the second year in a row to break away definitively from the pack. Serena deserves the top sport for a long time. Should she win the US Open crown, too, she’ll be unstoppable.
  • While Serena is the strongest world number one in a while, the number two and three players are shaky. Both Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki ascended to the spots, respectively. Do they deserve the positions? Certainly due to the fact that both play matches and win. Furthermore, both are Grand Slam finalists. But there’s no feeling that they really own those spots, or are likely to keep them for any significant amount of time. No one else really does.
  • Venus Williams, meanwhile, the world number two before the tournament dropped as a result At number four, things are looking glum for the five-time Wimbledon champion. Let’s hope she picks up her Grand Slam game at the US Open.
  • Finalist Vera Zvonareva battled herself and her opponents to make her way to the match against Serena. She’s also now back inside the top ten at the number nine spot. Let’s see if she can get her head back in the game and continue to surprise us with the poise that brought her to the finals, not the self doubt that she showed afterward.
  • Victoria Azarenka and Nadia Petrova both got bumped a few spots. The two former top ten players now find themselves at number 18 and 19, respectively. Look familiar? Well, that’s the same as John Isner and Sam Querrey on the men’s side. The Americans’ stories, however, are ones of which to be proud.
  • Petra Kvitova and Tsvetana Pironkova both had fairytale runs to the semifinals. With their success, they now enjoy career high rankings. I foresee both within the top twenty by the year’s end. They have the games to do it, albeit drastically different ones.
  • Dinara Safina continues to sink. She dropped eleven spots to fall to number 33 in the world. Things aren’t going her way these days and probably won’t for quite some time. I don’t see an end-of-the-year turnaround for the Russian.
  • The Italian qualifier Kaia Kanepi boosted her ranking 42 positions to number 38, while Klara Zakpalova, who made it to the fourth round, shot to 43.
  • Melanie Oudin, Ana Ivanovic, and Sorana Cirstea all dropped, but yet look so promising to make good showings at the US Open. Ivanovic, of course, has the biggest potential to make it back to the final rounds if only she could find her game again. Oudin, on the other hand, proved she could do it last year when she made it to the quarterfinals. Cirstea has the game. Is the belief there? She did, after all, make it to the quarterfinals of the 2009 French Open. Thus, she knows what’s it takes to go far.

Women’s Quarterfinals Produce Big Upsets; Serena Stays on Course

Quarterfinal action at Wimbledon yesterday produced striking upsets to leave a highly unlikely final four. The only easily recognizable name: Serena Williams. Here’s a breakdown of the drama:

1. Serena versus Na Li:

In a rematch of the Australian Open semifinals, Serena stormed through her match against Li with strong serving and big powerful shots. While a close first set showed signs of life for Li, the second simply got away from her as Serena honed in on the semifinals. With only six unforced errors, Serena won 7-5, 6-3. Serena’s side of the draw should be kind to her, which bring us to the second match.

2. Petra Kvitova versus Kaia Kanepi:

No one would ever have picked these two players to make it all the way to the quarterfinals, especially the qualifier Kanepi. Regardless, their match proved to be one of the most dramatic by score. After losing three match points in the tiebreaker in the second set, Kanepi was up 4-0 in the third set. That’s when all of the tennis from the past few weeks, she’s 12-1 on grass, got to her. At the same time, Kvitova, who hits a huge ball with flatness that cuts deftly through the court, turned her game up another level, embodying the game that won her matches against two top players: Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. Kvitova saved five match points in all to win, 4-6, 7-6 (8), 8-6. I say her chances are slim against Serena, although I’ve become a Kvitova fan these past two weeks. Serena’s experience will prove to much, and she’ll win easily in two sets.

A word about Kanepi: she has had an amazing grass court season and should no doubt be applauded for her run. It’s great seeing a player find her game once again. Kanepi was ranked as high as 19th in the world, and if she keeps up her form will surely be back in the top 20.

3. Vera Zvonareva versus Kim Clijsters:

In a highly unlikely upset, Zvonareva took out Clijsters in three sets after the Belgian’s forehand faltered in the second and third sets. Clijsters looked sharp to beat compatriot Justine Henin in the fourth round. Her game, however, took a turn for the worse just as Zvonareva played the biggest match of her life. She controlled her emotions, known to get the best of her in the past, and advanced 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

4. Venus Williams versus Tsvetana Pironkova:

With beautiful execution, the finest finesse I’ve seen on court in awhile, tricky forehand slices, and tactics rarely seen in women’s tennis, Pironkova of Bulgaria stunned Venus in their quarterfinal match. Reminiscent of her first round win over Venus years ago, Pironkova played her counter-punching baseline game, which is packed with variety, to keep the number two player in the world off balance and without a rhythm.  Currently ranked 82 and without a WTA tour title to her name, Pironkova played the match of her life, winning easily: 6-2, 6-3. At the same time, Venus never looked comfortable from the beginning, making too many unforced errors and not producing enough winners to ever be a threat. This marks her worst exit at Wimbledon since 2006 when she lost in the third round.

Pironkova next plays Zvonareva, who she leads the head-to-head against 1-0. I see another upset in her future if she can continue her fine form and mix up the spins and pace. If she plays like she did against Venus, Pironkova will get under Zvonareva’s skin, forcing the Russian to let her emotions take hold for the worse. The Bulgarian, the first to make it to the semifinals of a major since Manuela Maleeva at the 1993 US Open, will win in three sets.

5. End Note

And so, it’s been decided: Serena will play Kvitova and Zvonareva will try to fend off Pironkova. What a compelling Wimbledon in every sense of the word. I see Serena easily advancing, while Pironkova overcomes Zvonareva mentally to reach the finals.

There’s it’s Serena’s match to win. Can she fight through the pressure? Yes.

Monday Mayhem on the Women’s Tour

Action on the women’s tour was at it’s finest yesterday with a slew of major upsets. Here’s a look at the wins and losses.

  • Serena Williams ousted Maria Sharapova in a rematch of the 2004 Wimbledon final. With superb serving, the younger Williams sister didn’t let Sharapova into the match after coming back from behind in the first set tiebreak. She won in two tight sets to make it to the quarterfinals. Sharapova didn’t play badly by any means, despite the two set loss. Serena simply played better as she does in the second week of major. Next up for Serena is Na Li of China, a player who Serena beat in another close match in the Australian Open semifinals. Li took out Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, which is nothing like playing Serena. I see Serena taking Li out yet again in two sets.
  • In another highlight match of the day, the third seed Caroline Wozniacki succumbed to the unranked Petra Kvitova in a lopsided match. Wozniacki lost in just 46 minutes to the 20-year old, 6-0, 6-2. Now, I knew Kvitova was someone to look out for from the beginning. Did I think she’d excel quite this much? No way. Am I happy to see her in the quarterfinals? Definitely. Her powerful baseline game is a thing of beauty to watch, and she was simply too much for Wozniacki, who plays a defensive, counter-punching style. Kvitova has a very winnable match in the quarterfinals against the qualifier Kaia Kanepi. Kanepi beat Klara Zakopalova.
  • On the opposite side of the draw, the much awaited battle of the Belgians took place. In the 25th meeting of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, Clijsters edged Henin to win in three sets. Henin, however, did fall in the second set, badly hurting her elbow. While this can’t be used as an excuse for the surprising defeat, I’m counting it as a factor.
  • Clijsters’ next opponent is Vera Zvonareva, who won when Jelena Jankovic of Serbia retired after trailing in the second set due to a back injury. Yet again, Jankovic continues to disappoint at major events. Yes, it’s due to injury this time, but what will the next reason be? It’s sad to say that her chance to win a major shrinks with each new problem. Once number one, I don’t see her regaining that spot, especially with the Williams sisters in full force. As for Zvonareva, she’ll have a tough time against Clijsters. The Belgian leads their head-to-head 5-0. Look for the sixth win to occur in straight sets.
  • In the bottom section of the draw, Venus Williams, the five-time champion at Wimbledon, won over Australia’s Jarmila Groth in two difficult sets. She won 7-6, 6-4.  Her next opponent is Tsvetana Pironkova of Austria, a player noted for beating Venus in the 2006 Australian Open. The counter-puncher shocked all when she pulled out that win in a 2-6, 6-0, 9-7 match. I don’t see anything of the sort in the quarterfinals, despite her exceptional play against the Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli in the last round. This is, after all, Wimbledon. And everyone knows that Wimbledon belongs to Venus. It’s a great result for Pironkova, who hasn’t won a title on the WTA tour. Her serve, apparently, is working wonders. She’ll get stopped in two sets.

Day Three Results Rundown

Day three proved to be filled with upsets and sharp play from the top tier of the current tennis all-stars. Here’s a brief summary of noteworthy results.

The WTA:

  • Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and Maria Sharapova all record easy victories in their first round matches.
  • Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka advance with their 6-3, 6-3 wins. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova only needs one more again to beat Iveta Benesova.
  • French Open finalist Sam Stosur joins Francesca Schiavone in defeat after straight sets loss to Kaia Kanepi.
  • Na Li and Jie Zheng make it to round two in straight sets.
  • Petra Kvitova, a player I have my eye on, takes out Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2.
  • American Vania King set to play decisive match against Daniela Hantuchova tomorrow.
  • Serena and Venus Williams team up to continue their doubles major title string up success. They’re shooting for five in a row.

The ATP:

  • Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Sam Querrey, and Robin Soderling advance in three sets.
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga comes back strong in first match after retiring at the French Open.
  • Seeds Nicholas Almagro, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Marcos Baghdatis fall, while unseeded American James Blake continues to struggle. Fabio Fognini upset Fernando Verdasco, too.
  • John Isner’s match is held at two sets apiece against Nicholas Mahut.
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