Wednesday Tourny Report!
Not getting enough action yesterday, I decided to make the journey over to the Estoril Open again today. The day started out a bit cloudy and cold, but eventually got to the point where it was just as sunny and clear as yesterday (although there was a slight gusty wind all day). Hehehe...I'm sunburnt after being out in the stands for two days straight! Arrived about 30 minutes after play started, watched a little bit of lots of the matches today...saw at least a few games of all the women's matches.
Just as a side note - I watched the 3rd set of the men's WC Mota vs. Sluiter (don't look at his picture on atptennis.com, but I thought Sluiter was HOT HOT HOT...I noticed him the day before when watching the Grande match and wondered who he was...)...anyway, the match was on center court and was pretty crazy! It was nearly full and there were heaps of portegese kids chanting MOTA throughout the match...I think it got to Sluiter as he made a few "huh?" unforced errors at key times...congrats to Mota though on winning the match (although I don't see him winning the next match...he plays with so little pace on many of his shots!)
But anyway, the women's matches:
Katarina Srebotnik (1) def. Arantxa Parra, 6-4, 6-4 : I was really excited about this one because I am a semi-fan of Srebotnik (have't really seen her play enough to be a full fan). Unfortunately, I didn't see much from other of these two to get excited about. It was obvious that Srebotnik was the better player, but she was spraying too many shots to win by a more convincing scoreline. She did make her way to net a suprising number of times (with mixed success) considering the surface...and showcased a tendancy to hit big inside out forehands. I ended up leaving this one at the end of the first set as it wasn't compelling...
Julia Schruff def. Maria Emilia Salerni, 7-5, 6-1 : Was also disappointed a bit in this one...I was hoping to see Salerni show me why she was the top junior player, but instead she showed me why she is a sub-par WTA player. Never heard of Schruff before...she's a pretty small blonde girl who can generate a decent amount of power. Started watching this at the end of the first set...the points typically went like this - Salerni would be dictating the point, hitting harder and flatter than Schruff, but (in my opinion) going for it too soon and making lots of UE. Salerni's coach was near by and kind of yelling at her to keep going for it...and she did, but was missing way too much. Looking into the next round, I would look for Schruff to go down to Srebotnik, who will hopefully get more on her game (but wouldn't need to get too much better than today to still get a win).
Virginie Razzano (3) def. Anabel Medina Garrigues, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 : I know there are some Razzano fans on this board, so I wanted to make sure I saw some of this...ended up watching the first and third set. Razzano was looking good, pretty fit. She hits hard, mostly flat and was dictating the points for the most part...but she, like Salerni, ended up hitting an UE once in charge of the point for most of the first set. When I joined in the 3rd set, she was really on for a few games and went up 3-0, then hit heaps of UE and it evened up...went kind of even for a bit, but Razzano pulled it out. She is such a streaky player! There were times when she was hitting the lines a few shots in a row and then other times she couldn't get a ball in...definitely something she needs to work on. Also, I noticed her backhand was breaking down when she got balls out of her strike zone. Medina Garrigues had quite a bit of tape on her right knee and seemed to be complaining about her knee in the third set, but put up a good fight throughout the match.
Ludmila Cervanova def. Iveta Benasova (8), 6-3, 6-2 : Only watched three or four games of this...Benesova was going for it more than Cervanova, who was keeping the ball deep...Benesova racked up the unforced errors and Cervanova never really had to do too much offensively.
Emmanuelle Gagliardi def. Jelena Kostanic, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) - Saw the last half of the first set and first half of the second set of this one. Basically the two were pretty evenly matched, except Gagliardi was extremely quick about the court and retrieving more of Kostanic's shots than vice versa. When either player tried to take the offense, more often than not they ended up making UEs...so it was kind of an ugly match, but I was glad that both were still going for it rather than play defensive topspin heavy tennis. Saw Gagliardi (with a cute tall blond guy) watching a bit of Neffa-de los Rios and Talaja match.
Sivija Talaja def. Rossana Neffa-de los Rios, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 - In my opinion the best match on the women's side I saw all day. I joined the match after the first set. Both players were really going for their shots and making quite a lot of them, so it was intertaining tennis. Neffa mostly just hit hard flat drives and, as a consequence, was less consistent than Talaja, who mixed things up more...Talaja hit hard drives when on the offensive, but when on the defensive wasn't afraid to throw some more topspin (even a few moonballs) on her shots...Neffa also went for a quite a lot of drop shots, even though they rarely worked. She was very frustrated with herself throughout the last two sets! I think the biggest difference in the match was the player's serves...Neffa rarely could hold serve as she missed heaps of first serves and Talaja was cranking her returns...but, after being broken once early in the second set Talaja was able to hold the rest of the match. They had some really great hard hitting rallies though. After Rossana held to make it 1-4 in the third, they had a really long game filled with 10-12 hit rallies that usually ended in on the line winners...Talaja took it though and Neffa gave her the final game with a string of UE. After the match I said good match to Talaja, she said thanks and I wished her luck in the next round.
As far as the rest of the tournament, I am predicting the following -
Srebotnik will def. Schruff and then def. Cervanova
Talaja will def. Gagliardi
Nagyova will def. Razzano (unless Razzano stays on for all of the match, then it will be close)
And I have no idea who to predict for the last quarter as I have never seen Cohen Aloro play, nor have a guess who will win between Mandula and Serna...if I was forced to guess, I'd go with Serna as she has done well here before and looked good when I saw her yesterday.
I'd like to see a Talaja vs. Nagyova final I think, as those are the two players who impressed me both in their play and attitude during my two days! Hope you enjoy this report!