TR: Nicole nixed: Clijsters schools Vaidisova & will meet Schynder
Nicole nixed: Clijsters schools Vaidisova & will meet Schynder
Kim: 'As you get older and play bigger matches and tournament, you learn to have more control over your nerves'
By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters. net
FROM THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC AT STANFORD – So much for Nicole Vaidisova being a primetime U.S. Open contender.
In a clear indication that defending champion Kim Clijsters is prepared to defend her 2005 summer hard court dominance and that the 17-year-old Czech has to take some substantial strides before she can seriously threaten the fleet Belgian, Clijsters ground down Vaidisova 7-5, 6-2 to reach the final on Saturday.
Vaidisova was ambitious and secure in her prospects early on, but once Clijsters found her stride late in the first set, she was clearly the better player in medium and long rallies. She out hit her foe from the baseline, out thought her and held her nerve, while Vaidisova imploded after she lost the rhythm on her serve.
"When you play younger players, they go out and have nothing to lose but once it gets close, that's when experience can play a role and they can get frustrated,” said Clijsters, who finished the match with only 19 unforced errors to 44 from her foe. "She's really good, but if you hang in there against the younger players, it's easier to break through because you get more chances."
Clijsters looked uncomfortable early on, because she's still not serving well and was fighting the sun. Vaidisova was able to pick on her second serves and twice went up a break in the set, but rarely was winning any rally being six balls,
Against Clijsters, that's a deathwatch.
Clijsters struggled all the way until late in the ninth game. Serving at 4-5, she fought off a set point with 93-mph second serve ace down the tee. It looked like she was simply frustrated and just got lucky, but Clijsters said it wasn't the case. Instinctually, she knew she could kiss the line.
"It's just one of those things that you decide you are going to try in a fraction of second," Clijsters said. "I could try another 10 times and it wouldn't work."
Vaidisova then began to melt down. She was broken to 6-5 when she erred on a forehand and looked at her stepfather and coach, Alex Kodat, who was sitting courtside. The shy Kodat looked down and Vaidisova smacked a ball in his direction.
"I don't feel my temper had an effect on how I played but emotions are part of the game and I'll always be that way," said Vaidisova, who doubled faulted 10 times during the match. "I just had no rhythm on my serve."
In the second set, Vaidisova also didn't do much from the backcourt, with her return or at the net. She didn't not compete well and part of that is because she wasn't sure how she would beat Clijsters if she couldn't play first strike tennis.
Clijsters won 14 straight points early on in the second set, broke her opponent twice and won going away.
"On the tough points, she came up with great shots and you could tell that she's been there before," Vaidisova said.
The Czech will have a chance next week at the Acura Classic in San Diego to step up again. Clijsters is the top seed, but the likes of Maria Sharapova, Nadia Petrova, and Martina Hingis are in the field, as well as defending champ Mary Pierce.
Vaidisova needs to keep pulling herself up the ladder mentally and learn to play much smarter. She's a terrific hitter, but most of the elite players can stay with her early and she needs to learn to re-compose herself when she sputtering.
"As you get older and play bigger matches and tournament, you learn to have more control over your nerves," Clijsters said. "Being in a 5-5 situation, that's something you get used to."
Regardless of whom she plays, Tatiana Golovin or Patty Schnyder, Clijsters will be substantial favorite to win her fourth BOW crown. She's gotten better in each victory, but if she doesn't find a way to unleash her serve by US Open time, she'll be out of NY before the trophy is raised once again.
She won't be able to just spin them in with good placement there. Remember, Justine Henin-Hardenne is scheduled to play the Open.
"When you get to Grand Slams and play seven matches in a row, physically, you have to be ready to play and recover and your strokes have to be complete," Clijsters said. "Last year, I was seeing the ball well, moving well and physically I recovered well after the Sharapova and Venus matches. The package has to be complete. My serve was better today, but it can get a lot better."
Clijsters will face second seed Patty Schnyder, who showed more varierty than the ambitious Tatiana Golovin in 7-6 6-1 victory.
The Swiss admitted to being nervous, but in the tiebreaker, won seven out of the last eight points of the tiebreak, including smoking six winners.
“I felt the nerves coming and she started to play a lot better,” said the Schnyder, who hasn’t won a title in more than year....But it will be hard to play Kim/ She defends so well you have to hit like two winners in a row to win the point. I'm the clear underdog, but If I can taake my chanes I have a chance."
Notes and Scoops from All Over
Dean Goldfine (late of Andy Roddick and a Davis up coach) is now coaching Tatiana Golovin. …He's quite excited. She's already playing smarter under his watch. James Blake has signed a new deal with Evian, worth somewhere in the six figures every year. … Maria Sharapova went to her friend Roddick's match in LA the other night. Props to Ms. Sharapova for being the only women's athlete to make SI's Top 20 international earners list. Earning a cool $25. 4 million she came in at No. 4, just behind Rolandinho and ahead of David Beckham. Wow.
Check this out from Jerry Magee in the SD Union-Tribune on the fallout from the Williams sisters pullout from SD:
"Next year, promised Raquel Giscafre, an officer of the firm that offers the event at the La Costa Resort and Spa, if the sisters indicate a desire to compete in the Acura, their names will not be included on lists of entries.
Giscafre clearly was miffed that the sisters acted as they did. Giscafre said lodgings had been set aside for the members of Team Williams and that Serena's interests had been advised that she would be playing in the feature match on Tuesday evening.
"Players these days are unreliable, particularly the Williams sisters," said Giscafre. "It's just remarkable that they both pulled out, but the public is used to it. People probably never believed they were coming."
Serena deserves that for taking the wild card and then backing out, but that's a pretty tough indictment of Venus, who was practicing last week in LA and did legitimately re-injure her left wrist.
But the sisters' lack of direct communication to the tournament directors is appalling.
© TennisReporters. net 2006
When you believe, somehow you will. You will, when you believe.
Your mind will take you far. The rest is just pure heart. You’ll find your fate is all your own creation.
There’s so much strength in all of us, every woman, child, and man.
It’s the moment that you think you can’t - you’ll discover that you CAN.