Linz, October 11th, 2012
Irina-Camelia Begu def Kiki Bertens 6-4 7-6 (7)
We arrived in the hall that the match had already started, but it was still all tight up. 3-2 for Begu with no breaks and for a couple of games more none of the two girls dropped the serve. The quality in all honesty wasn't the one you would expect, mostly the dutch lady didn't come up with my expectations, showing nothing special in her game.
Begu somehow broke and took the first set being slightly more consistent than her opponent, still playing very far from her best days.
The second set was quite a mess, Camelia broke early and seemed quite in control, while Bertens started to misshit a lot of easy balls. Still the romanian couldn't really take advantage of that being very negative on court, arguing with her coach and the umpire - who was one of the worst I've ever seen, she couldn't call the right score twice in a row-.
Bertens changed her game around half of the second set taking advantege of the really uninspired FH of Begu, the dutch would indeed use her slice more and added topspit to her CC forehand. On those short slices Irina always rushed to the net, but her FH wasn't deep and fast enough, so Bertens could easily pass her. That new strategy and famous Irina's mental strengh let Kiki come back when the romanina served for the match on 5-4, but couldn't keep up her moment being forced to the tie-break.
In one of the opening points of the tiebreak Bertens hit an ace, the umpire called the score, but then called a net touch and made replay the point. Kiki went mad and her on court talking grew as much as her game let her down.
On the other side of the net Begu showed all her fears for tiebreaks and wasted 3 MPs (one of them by not closing a very easy FH from middle court) and was forced to save a SP from the dutch, funny enough saved with a stunning FH down the line that painted the line, Bertens tried to argue, but it was clearly on the line, the next point was messy but somehow Begu made it, Bertens after several attempts contained smashed her racket and this mess was over.
PS: Begu's mum was probably the best fact of the match
she would move left and right with her whole body during every shot in the tiebreak joining her hands as if praying on every ball hit by her daughter. When Begu saved the set point from with that FH DTL she stared at bertens and shaked her hand with a meaningful "NO-NO-No" that cracked me up
a true boss
Begu's about to serve for the match.
begu's mum during the tie
Victoria Azarenka def Simona Halep 6-1 6-1
what to say about that match? Nothing, but a training session for Azarenka. Halep plays exactly the same game as Victoria, maybe she moves better, but her ball is far too light for the world number one, who would just move the game around and close with winners. Halep looked a little too thin, to be honest, but being back on the topic, she really fought with all herself and made some great points by counterpunching, using Victoria's power to hit winners, even though she often made errors out of that. Point of the match: in the first games of the second set Azarenka hit a great FH cross court and rushed to the net, Simona very far from the court hit a terrific sliced CC with forehand passing the world n°1.
Petra Martic def. Patricia Mayr 6-2 3-6 6-0
easily the best quality match of the day, really funny to watch with great rallies and all the crowd being behind Patricia without ever being rude to Petra. Great for the sport, really.
But to be back on facts, Patricia looked very nervouse out there and didn't hit a single serve in on the advantage side during the practice. I wasn't really surprised that she got broken to love in the very first set and was fast down 30-0 in the second. Martic didn't do much until that moment, so she got quite surprised by the comeback of Patricia who broke back, but again failed to hold. This time Martic didn't let the austrian getting back and secured her break, Patricia started to figure out her opponent and to find a better depth with her Backhand - that is far from being a bad shot, she has a great confidence on it and hits with a terrific anticipation, that makes it very tricky even when it is not that fast.
Martic closed the set, but everything suggested that Mayr wouldn't give up and so it was. The second set was really amazing to watch, Mayr played a really smart tennis, being aggressive when needed and fast went 5-1, some tension and a few bad mistakes costed her the game, but could close the set on the second attempt to serve out.
Probably the effort to take the set and maybe her shape far from her best days took their toll and she looked very tired in the 3rd. Martic hold easily in the first game and Patricia started to give up her hopes when she served badly in her first service game of the 3rd. From that moment on Martic sailed to her win by 6-0.
Mayr has always been hardly criticized over this bord, but from what I saw on court, she's a very nice game and with a better phisical preparation she would be again a very solid top 100 player. As for Martic, I know that she's coming from an injury, but her BH is not a shot worth of her ranking and if she cannot fix it she won't go far as her slice isn't anything but avarage.