Saturday, 23rd April 2011
3h30 delay before the matches started due to rain
and another rain delay after 30mins of play for an hour was certainly an awful start for this year's Estoril Open. After rain, cold and very windy stayed for the rest of the day.
Heather Watson def. Karolina Sprem 16 63 30 ret.
"Great win" - quoting some british fans who were there. It's really a "great win" when you are so talented to make your opponent retire during a match.
First of all, congratulations to Miss Heather Watson! The first player I've ever saw to win a 3 set match (2 sets and a half rather) with only ONE winner all match! British tennis is saved!! So as WTA!!
I've never saw Heather play, except a couple of games against Oprandi last year at Wimbledon, and I wish I could stay the same. This girl has absolutelly nothing new or impressive to the game. Before the rain appeared again (until 16 02) she was being blasted and murdered on court by Karolina's power and precise shots, being Heather's FH a huge target point of the croation attacks, since Heather's FH is even more useless than some pretty blonde girl who flies on Turkish Airlines. I'm sure Heather and the pretty blonde girl share the same airplane company, because after the match was resumed, Heather played just like her, she took a few steps back, allowed more time to retrieve Karolina's shots and started mooballing a couple of times. From this point on, Heather was able to retrieve most of Sprem's shots and wait for errors until the match is over. Oh, and the ONLY amazing winner whe hit, was at 16 33, she makes a short defensive slice FH, Karolina makes the approach shot that clips the net, allowing Heather to have all the time in the world to make a CC BH lob. Amazing, isn't it?
I hope Miss Heather Watson can play better than this, because as british girl, she can't be just a defender (aka pusher).
Cheering for Karolina's wrist to heal very soon.
Katarzyna Piter def. Stefanie Voegele 64 26 61
I got there at 64 25* and Voegele finished the set easily. Expecting Voegele would win this in 3, giving each player's career, turned out to be Katarzyna who played better. Very few UE, defensive skills' good enough to read and return Voegele's attacks, and time to time punish Voegele's weak 2nd serve with BH return winners DTL were enough for a set with no major troubles for the polish, who has a weird FH technique, but then again, looking at her opponent's FH (which is very harmless), I'm sure she almost felt proud of it. Despite this win, I'm sure won't go very far in the rankings, unless something changes dramatically in her game. With a smart schedule (aka playing 25k and 50k, mixing with some weak WTA - Tashkent or Baku, hint hint), she should make the top100 someday (I have no idea what's her raking right now).
Arina Rodionova def. Petra Martic 61 61
Not much to say about this. sArina is much better than the last time I saw her play (2008 Estoril Open): decent serve, flat strokes with pace, her defensive/moonball skills are the same she had back in 2008 and her attitude is opposite of her sister - she tried to calm down herself when she made some stupid error. Martic defense is non-existence, her shot selection was atrocious (losing the match with a drop shot to the bottom of the net) and her serve was inconsistent. You can see the power and strokes are there, she's more powerfull and precise than Arina, but her attitude and brains aren't/weren't not today. I'm sure this is not a sign for the rest of the year, because she's likeable to watch.
Valeria Savinykh def. Rita Vilaça 60 61
Arrived there at *50 for Valeria, and again not much to say about this. I actually surprised with Rita Vilaça, I thought she would be worse. She seems a lesser version of other portuguese players: her serve and FH reminds Frederica Piedade and her BH Maria João Koehler (which is not a compliment, since MJK BH is very shaky, unlike her FH).
It's difficult to evaluate Valeria's level, since she did just enough to win it easily. I can say she seems to struggle with high loopy balls to her FH (a netted FH of this kind gave Vilaça's that game), but then again, who doesn't nowadays?
Let's wait for tougher opposition to evaluate her game better, which should happen tomorrow.
Sloane Stephens def. Ana Clara Duarte 63 62
Ana Clara Duarte hits top spinned ball, with no power at all, but she can be consistent from the baseline, which is what it matters on clay anyway. Her BH slice troubled Sloane for a set and a half, until Sloane figured out how to attack it (I guess the windy conditions troubled her too). Sloane has a big FH and nice serve, but she got nervous after Ana Clara won her 1st game at 5-0; the brazilian broke Sloane's serve and the american got doubts in her head. A very nervous play from her that Ana Clara didn't take advantage, despite having a 15-30 at 3-5*, eventually won her the set, since Ana Clara couldn't trouble Sloane much from the baseline. 2nd set was much better play from both, with the brazilian girl having a BP at 1-0*, couldn't convert and Sloane raced to a 3 game streak with some agressive play from her FH mainly (a nice CC BH gave her the BP tough). She controled the match from that point, even if Ana Clara fought off 3 BPs at *2-4 with 2 CC FH winners on the corner and a CC BH on the line.
After the match, we talked to Sloane a little bit, she appreciated our support and asked us from where we were from. She lives in LA now. Very nice girl!!
Sunday, 24th April 2011
Shengan Sun def. Patricia Martins 63 62
A lots of BPs wasted by the portuguese WC who troubled Sun a lot with her loopy/moonballed shots for the first games. After Sun figured it out what to do, she took a few steps closer to the baseline and tried to get those on the rise (which wasn't that hard sometimes, since Patricia shots landed in the service line several times), with relative success. Sun's game is totally not suitable for clay at all. Everything is flat and she doesn't know how to deal with spin behind the baseline. In the 2nd set, she had some flashy FH winners tough, some from weak 2nd serves. BTW, she's a lefy, I had no idea.
Patricia is actually a decent mover, reasonable 1st serve, if she can develop any kind of counterpunching skills she can become a decent ITF player. She had 7 winners in the match, a famous one was a moonball FH winner, which Sun thought it went OUT and argued with the chair umpire.
After watching this, I knew Sun would be an easy 2nd round for whoever would be her opponent next.
Tamira Paszek def. Laura Siegemund 75 64
I watched the 1st set, and got surprised how well Laura was playing until 5-2. She was reading Tamira's game like a book, getting everything back with depth, spin and sometimes power (even on the FH side) and mixed with some FH drop shots from time to time. Then again, Tamira's shots were only 3/4 of the court, allowing Laura to handled them well. Tamira got Larri Passos on court for coaching at 1-4 and she improved. Her shots started to have more depth, many were near the lines and surprisingly, she was attacking Laura's BH. When serving for the set at *5-3, Laura tried to be agressive, beating Tamira on her own game, which was a big mistake, because Tamira likes pace, rythim, not boring spin shots, so she took control of the set and eventually won it. I was expecting a much easier 2nd set tough, I wonder what Laura did to win 4 games.
Eleni Daniilidou vs Alexandra Panova 75 67 75
I saw the 3rd set from 2-2. High quality for a qualifying match. They were both very tired, but hitting a lot of winners. I wasn't paying many attention since I was talking to other people, but every point was a hard battle. If Panova had any decent net game, she could have won a couple of important points and maybe the match. She just couldn't finish off points when she had the chance. Eleni was very nice at the end of the match.
Okay, this is former poster LudwigDvorak posting about details of this match. I watched almost all of the last two sets and the end of the first. Almost the entire time I kept questioning Eleni's fitness and ability to actually take control of this match, mainly due to her inability of reaching all of Panova's shots and of course her own age and fitness level. It was especially true in the second match she played today, but she had to pick and choose which points she wanted to fight for, because if she had fought for everything or done more running she would have lost. I felt for nearly the entire match it was in Panova's hands, but she isn't of an excellent fitness level either, and she seemed to be cramping and having fitness issues at the very end. In truth, neither could really ever go on a streak because they were both tired and doing so much running in the last set.
Most of the match was very well played and well fought, lots of winners well built points. Daniilidou, I thought, I was playing dumbly by hitting too much to Panova's backhand which is stronger, but she was able to hit through it and behind Panova often enough. I think she would have won easier had she targeted more to the Panova FH, but it worked in the end. Both players gave it their all, fighting, and I remember a huge scream from Daniilidou near the end of the third as she approached winning. I was extremely impressed by her pinache, and everyone says she is this junkballing slice machine joke, but I saw her hit through lots of FHs, and yes, though she slices, she does stuff with her slice. It's not like she just lobs and junkballs and does nothing. Actually,had she hit more moonballs she could have offset Panova even more, because she really struggled with the few moonballs Daniilidoudid hit.It is a shame she can't move a bit better on this surface, and probably against a Govortsova she would get blown off the court, but she was perfect in her execution. By the way, she has an incredible drop shot and her finesse is by far the best I have seen in Estoril so far. This was the best match of the tournament so far, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was in the entire week.
Sesil Karatantcheva def. Elena Bogdan 63 76(1)
Got there at 63 32. Elena Bogdan is an agressive lefty player with a decent serve. She bossed around most of the rallies on her serve, with relative success, not missing much and making the occasional 2 handed BH drop shot winner. Her return sucks tough, but somehow she was serving for the set at *6-5. HUGE meltdown LIVE on court 4. UEs from everywhere until the final error, gave Sesil the win, just being consistent. Her BH is so well timed, she has such great control on it. We talked to her at the end, she's so friendly and when asked about playing against Rus, she answers "That's going to be a pain in the butt"
Sloane Stephens def. Madison Brengle 62 63
Of course, the supporting duo was there to cheer for Sloane!!!
After she got the break at the first game with a netted BH from Madison, we clapped and Madison looked at us very pissed
That girl was so upset all match, mostly with herself. WIth no wind today, Sloane's game was much more clean and likeable to watch. Her BH was better,she is very consistent oh that shot, rarely missed any BH, even on defensive position. She built a quick 4-0 lead, winning the set pretty easily, with an upset error prone Brengle. That was the way it started, with a gifted game from Brengle, to give Sloane a 62 *10 lead. WIth nothing to lose, Brengle finally released all that bad attitude and the next 2 games (which she won) were amazing hitting from both with winners coming every point. Brengle decided to start atacking Sloane's FH, and in the game she broke Sloane to 62 11, she hit 4 winners on the right corner - 3 BH and 1 FH - 2 of them on return of serve. Sloane herself was getting some FH angled shots, getting the short ball to finish off with a smash or a massive FH near the net. Brengle's BH seems pretty flat and powerfull, but she was so inconsistent today. After Sloane got broken again to 62 13* (with 4 UEs
), Brengle was kind enough to do the same and gift the break back. When Madison had nothing to lose, she played very well; once she got on a winning position, her game fell apart, and the errors came back. Was basically Sloane's hard consistent shots and Brengle's brain dead shots who gave the last games to Sloane and an apparently easy 62 63 win, that could have been tighter, had Brengle any kind of good attitude on court.
Some Madison comments during the match:
"What? Really?! Really?! That's really really shocking!! - ater missing a BH on the 2nd game of the match
"I can't make 2 in a row" - another BH error
"Sweet Jesus" - another error
"I'm so uncoordenated, it's scary!" - after she got broken in the first game of the 2nd set
"It's not worth it, really" - BH DTL UE in the middle of the 2nd set
Eleni Daniilidou def. Shegnan Sun 64 62
Arrived there at 3-2 for Sun and from that game on Daniilidou just dominated the rest of the match. Even if clay is not her best surface due to her poor defensive skills, her game totally suits the surface: spinned FH, okay serve, BH slices or drop shots, good net skills. Basically, during the match, Eleni did everything she wanted with the ball: she toyed with Sun's 2nd serve, making BH drop shots winners on returns; agressive FH from every point of the court, since on clay she can run around her BH pretty easily, despite being a slow mover; deep slices mixed with some short ones, always letting Sun in doubt of where exactly the ball would land on court; time to time, some net rush to finish with a drop shot or a deep slice, when Sun tried to call her to the net with some drop shot attempt. Pretty solid performance from Eleni Daniilidou, who is one of the few players who can actually do everything on a tennis court.
Sesil Karatantcheva def. Arantxa Rus 57 64 62
"Rus Horror Picture Show"
I've never seen such a comical set in tennis like that 3rd set. Not even in exhos you get such a laughable play.
Got there when Sesil was serving at *5-6, and a bunch of UEs gifted the set to Rus. At the beginning of the 2nd set it seemed Arantxa would get a straight sets wins when she got the BP at 7-5 1-0* ad Sesil wasn't being able to pass Rus on the baseline. She somehow held and found a way to bother the dutch on the baseline rallies: the FH DTL. Sesil tried to do it time to time, even with not much pace, with high success, because Rus was always expecting CC and she's not a fast mover. She broke Rus' serve at 2-2, helding easily until she serve for the set. Rus' saved 2 SPs (FH DTL winner, her best shot, and BH CC winner), but missed the return on the 3rd SP. 2nd set was entertaining, Sesil tried to move Rus when she could, with some angled CC BH, CC FH and then apply that mentioned FH DTL. Rus, sometimes late to the ball, she tried to blast her FH DTL with relative success during the set.
3rd set: as bad as it gets. IIRC, Rus held serve to love, Sesil held too and after that the comic play begins. Somehow, Rus was getting late to the ball, which is pretty hard since Sesil wasn't hitting with any kind of pace. Most of Sesil's BH were to middle or CC angled inside the service square, but in almost slow motion. I guess she figured it out her opponent was getting tired and she was just consistent. From this point on, Arantxa started to lose the patient after each game and as deeper the match got, more blasting FHs she tried, this time with very few success. Her first serve was being missed by miles too. At 7-5 4-6 *2-4, it was the low point of this. Sesil made 2 BH winners (she only had 3 in the 3rd set, the other was an ace) to get to 0-40, but a "I don't give a shit about this anymore" Rus saved those 3 BPs: good 1st serve, blasting FH inside out winner; awful footwork form Rus, she made FH slice followed by a FH frame dinky shot that Sesil couldn't get it back; missed return from Sesil. Rus had a GP, that wasted with an UE and on deuce, Sesil makes a short BH on the service square to the middle of the court, but Rus didn't move her feet and her FH almost went to the middle of the net. In that tight game, she had 2/3 shots that almost were to the bottom of the net. It was pretty awful. Of course, Sesil hold serve after it and won the match. She thanked our support from the crowd waving her hand (the only ones who were supporting her; there was 4teenagers who were cheering for Rus that the umpire told them to shut up during the points