"Revived Myskina continues rebuild"
Revived Myskina continues rebuild
From Richard Eaton in Dubai
February 21, 2006
FORMER French Open champion Anastasia Myskinacontinued her rehabilitation as a major contender by reaching the second round of the Dubai Open this morning (AEDT).
The No.6 seed, who suffered from exhaustion, shoulder injury and personal problems last year, raised hopes of her third decent run in a row with a 6-3 6-7 6-1 win over Zheng Jie.
Myskina reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and the semi-final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, and now overwhelmed the highest ranking Chinese player with her forceful service returns, and ability to swing her ground stroke attacks about.
"Everything is getting better - everything - my life, my shoulder. I'm more happy right now," the Russian said.
"I want to play now. I want to do my best. Last year I didn't want to play any more. I was stepping on the court thinking when am I going to get off. Now it's different."
Despite that, it looked for a while as though things might go wrong. Myskina had three break points to go 2-0 up in the second set and was unable to convert them in a game that went to nine deuces.
"I did get a little bit upset when I lost that game," she admitted.
She soon found herself 5-3 down, as her ratio of unforced errors crept up.
But two controversial incidents helped her to get back into the second set. The first happened as Zheng was serving for the second set at 5-4 and a line judge called a Myskina drive in, when Zheng and the majority of the crowd appeared to think it was out.
The Chinese player dropped her racquet, walked up to the umpire, and leant on the net arguing. The interval lasted three minutes, with the crowd whistling and when Zheng resumed at love-30 she dropped her service game.
There was a sequel on the first point of the tie-breaker when Zheng failed to address the ball properly and ballooned it wide, again thinking Myskina's shot was out.
Again it was called in, but this time after expostulating a loud "what" she recovered.
Myskina saved two set points at 4-6 and was within two points of the match at 7-7, but Zheng was tenacious, patient and ran a lot of balls down and squeezed out the set when Myskina slewed a forehand wide.
But in the third it was all so different, as Myskina punished Zheng's second serve a lot more and raced to a 5-0 lead.
"It was a little bit difficult to close the match today," she admitted.
"I have been playing indoors and it was different here, and I was a little bit nervous as well. But I'll settle down."
She may need to. Her next opponent could well be the resurgent Martina Hingis, provided the former world No.1 overcomes Indian heroine Sania Mirza today.
First round results (number denotes seeding)
8-Daniela Hantuchova (Svk) bt Li Na (Chn) 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4)
Vera Douchevina (Rus) bt Marion Bartoli (Fra) 6-3 6-1
6-Anastasia Myskina (Rus) bt Zheng Jie (Chn) 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-1
Elena Likhovtseva (Rus) bt Jelena Jankovic (Sem) 7-5 7-5
Lucie Safarova (Cze) bt Ai Sugiyama (Jpn) 6-2 6-3.