First of all, a big thank you to our loyal friend Miss Rain, for sticking by and doing what she does best for another afternoon. Without her help things might've ended very differently indeed. Jokes aside, rain really did play a big part in this match, but that doesn't take away much from Donna's effort and she definately needs to be congratulated on one of the best wins of her short career.
Donna overall played a very good match, but I have a sense Rybarikova will be bitterly disappointed not to have won anyway. In the first set Donna may not have played her best tennis, and she said that in an on-court interview after the win, but she was wonderfully focused and determined to match her opponent. She wasn't really agressive enough and she was rarely going for some serious angles, but it turned out to be enough anyway. It was a good set of tennis from Donna.
Another set, another story, some tricky line calls, some close misses at tight points, some close encounters with possible injuries (that near slip) and a great, focused play from the opponent were enough to diverge Donna's thought pattern and send her concentration into another realm. As suggested before, the scoreline looked much more brutal than the match actually looked on court, but since it's the important points that you have to win to do great things, soon enough Donna was in serious trouble. I had a sense she not only lost concentration, but also eased off on her shots compared to the previous set, which allowed Rybarikova to dicatate the game and force quite a lot of errors. Donna's serve falling apart certainly didn't help.
One rain delay later and we're in another match completely. Donna obviously made the most of this break and managed to calm her mind and setup her game again. Serve came back in a big way, and soon it was obvious Rybarikova won't be able to do much under the circumstances. That last set was really great to observe how much of a difference a focused player can bring to the court.
I think we can all be more than happy with this week, cause Donna not only got a lot of points (just today the same amount as for winning a 50k challenger), but I'd say it's safe to assume she learned a lot, not just about the game (first time competing on grass), but also about herself. She coped exceptionally well with numerous rain delays and kept her focus in tough conditions. Today we at least saw what it takes to shatter that focus, and it's not an easy thing to do, which is encouraging. Tomorrow will be super exciting. I have a feeling we have a right to hope for a sensation, call it a hunch or a gut feeling if you want. I wonder if we'll find out the opponent today or not. Hantuchova definately sounds intimidating at this point, with everything she's done on grass, but I hope, whoever it is, Donna just goes out there and gives it her all. She deserves to win and a title is just what her confidence needs when it comes to appearances in the finals. Hope Lady Luck doesn't let us down now