After two days I think Im all 'qualied out'
OK, arrived a little late today (about 20 mins) and Lina was already a set up! So thats where I'll begin....
Lina Krasnoroutskaya v Alyona Bondarenko
The entrance to qualifying is on the eastern side (near Vodafone Arena) so I had a chance to check out some of the matches on this side of Melbourne Park before heading over 'west'. Lina's was one of them. Saw some of this and nothing much to say except it was extremely one sided and Lina looked great! She's hitting the ball so well and just seems to be growing in confidence. Alyona seems like a handy little player, but was outclassed today big time.
Mara Santangelo v Roberta Vinci
Also got to see a bit of this as it was nearby...poor Roby just doesnt look very motivated. It is very clear she has loads of talent (her one handed backhand is superb) but when she actually realises that remains to be seen. Mara has quite an attractive game. Goes for her shots and hits quite hard. Disappoited in Roby, I hope she can have a better time of it this year (ever since Sandrine retired she's been struggling loads)
Melinda Czink v Celine Beigbeder
...that just about sums it up. Yesterday Celine was lucky to run into an inexperienced Aussie junior, but today came crashing down to earth as expected. Czink is a talented lefty and ran Celine ragged. After watching Celine yesterday I knew she'd be back on a plane to Paris today.
Klara Koukalova v Christina Wheeler
Along with Lina, Klara was the most impressive today. Everything she hit was just a winner pretty much. Christina is a fiesty little player with lots of talent, but lack of match play leading up to this event and the fact Klara is just in hot form made this a very one sided match. Klara belts the ball and looks like she is finally ready to crack the top 100 after being 'almost but not quite' there in 2 years. Christina had her chances and when she attacked she did well, but Klara rarely gave her the opportunities to do so.
Julia Vakulenko v Barbora Strycova
A lot of power hitting here. Barbora is my fave junior player, and really smacks the ball, but her inexperience cost her dearly. Julia has an unorthodox service motion, but aside from that she is a very impressive player. Top 50 potential easy. Julia had this match by the throat and never let go, but kudos to the young Czech for giving as good as she got in a lot of the rallies. Give Babsi another year and she'll be all the more better in these matches. I think Julia's ready for a good 2003.
Barbara Schwartz v Natalie Grandin
High quality match (well what I saw of it). Natalie is a very talented lefty, but I think she could really benefit from shedding some weight as she's a fairly big girl. This was a battle of the lefty's and there was a lot of entertaining tennis played here. Barbara gutsed out the winner and was very relieved. At one point during the final game, Grandin hit the net cord and it bounced over, to which Schwartz responded with one of the most evil death stares Ive ever seen. I thought she was going to go over and punch Grandin...maybe Natalie did too, cos she was quick to say sorry
Barbara will roll over Vanc tomorrow.
Andreea Vanc v Lauren Breadmore
Only 2 words to describe this. LONG and UGLY
Full credit to both girls for hanging in there for almost 4 hours
but good tennis this wasn't. A lot of heart and emotion, particularly from Breadmore, but she just choked when serving for it for 7-6 5-4. She really should have put the ordinary Vanc away in straight sets, but tightened up and was content to just play Vanc's game, which was to just hit the ball back over the other side, waiting for error. Vanc is left handed and is a smart player, but she has little to no power and is basically a clay courter through and through. A lot of her shots wouldve been eaten up by a bigger hitter than Lauren, but Lauren just didnt have the power as she is a fairly small girl. Vanc can thank her lucky stars she has drawn 2 inexperienced Aussie wildcards in the first two rounds, cos if she hadnt, then Im sure she would not be playing for a place in the main draw. Not an impressive player at all, and I think Schwartz is going to throttle her tomorrow. Lauren got lots of bad calls, but really she should have won this and she knew it. She was visibly upset afterwards, and in a bizarre climax her mother took a photo of the scoreboard after the match...probably just to say 'this is how close you were, this shows you belong out there with these girls'. Good luck to Lauren for 2003, she is a gutsy young player. Lots of interested Aussie spectators at various points throughout the day (yes Im referring to this match as 'day')...including Trudi Musgrave, Sarah Stone, Monique Adamczak, Mireille Dittmann, Gaby Baker, Sophie Ferguson and Olivia Lukaszewicz. Tony Roche was watching most of the match also.
Elena Tatarkova v Amanda Grahame
A non event. I dont know where Amanda's head was today, but wasnt on court 7 or wherever it was they were playing. She handed this match to Elena on a silver platter. In typical Grahame fashion she didnt show any emotions, just came and went. Very disappointing as I expected a lot more in this match. Elena is a good player but they have similar lefty games, but Elena was the one who brought hers with her today.
Marie-Eve Pelletier v Yulia Beygelzimer
Marie-Eve gets the award for 'most annoying support group' of the day, but aside from that she was the better player today and deserved to win. Good player, but not overly impressive. Just solid of both wings and moves well. Anyway, I like her attitude and I hope she can qualify finally!
Sunitha Rao v Ashley Harkleroad
One of the days better matches. Very competitive, I imagine both girls know eachother very well, being the same age or thereabouts. Sunitha was hitting harder than Ashley today and controlled a lot of the points, but seemed to lose it mentally at crucial stages. Ashley did well to hang in set 2, and often looked at her support group/coach for motivation and assurance. Anyway, got to hand it Rao, she deserved the win and really impressed me with her game. She has a bright future ahead of her, just needs to work on some things and then Im sure she'll be fine.
Maria Emilia Salerni v Kristina Brandi
Didnt watch too much, but very happy Pitu ran out the winner. Kristina was lucky to win the first set against young Daniela Dominikovic yesterday, and after watching Kristina and her lacklustre game yesterday I knew she'd go down today. She's a consistent hitter, but thats about it. Pitu is looking good, hopefully she is ready to fulfil her potential.
Maria Sharapova v Maria Goloviznina
Watched most of the first set before leaving for the day. Maria S was too good for Maria G today, in all departments. 'Sharky' just thumps the ball, and has such good placement, and hits with extroardinary confidence. Maria G also is a big hitter, but totally outplayed. Sharky's grunt (or shriek) was again in fine form and along with Lina K and Klara K, stood out as the best player/s of the day. She shouldnt have many problems with Vaskova, but I hope she doesnt get too complacent. She should clearly beat Vaskova in two sets, but should be cautious at the same time. Big crowd for her match, and quite a few photographers too
I saw some other matches too, but not too much of them as Melbourne Park is a big complex and I really wasnt in the mood for walking all day. If you have any questions about any player/s I missed just ask, I could have something to tell.