Truly depressing match to watch. I thought Niculescu may have to retire at 5-4 in the first set as she seemed to be having some weird breathing problems/chest pains and had an injury timeout. But she just continued to slice and float balls down the middle and wait for Tsvetana to hit the ball out.
I played a match like this at the local club last year -- opponent just kept getting the ball back using slices and lobs -- I couldn't get it past him. Then I tried to play his game. Same result as Tsveti, very frustrating.
I fully agree with you. That was the most frustrating and embarrasing match I have ever seen - and I don't mean only from Tsveti and her supporters' perspective. Monica Niculescu should really be ashamed of what she demonstrated on court - serves of 98 km/hour and lob after lob ad nauseum, until all the spectators wanted to throw up. Unless it is a form of psychological torture of the opponent that she has invented - very successfully, I may add - to drive her opponents to distraction until they'd rather shoot themselves rather than play another point against her.
It is not that Tsveti didn't try to build up some pace and play properly, but there was almost 0 pace on that ball, coming from Nicolescu, I saw Tsveti try and the stupid thing would not bounce up! Or, with the picking unpredictable wind, she would try too hard and the ball would shoot out. A couple of questionable linesmen calls did not help her frustration at all. At one point Nicolescu's ball was out by so much that the audience couldn't help silent and joined in, but that didn't help either.
I am not saying that with proper examining of Niculescu's "style" (or, shall I say "unique style of torture") and good coaching she wouldn't be beaten. I am just trying to point out to all those who were not present at the court just HOW frustrating the whole thing was. We were close to tears or to taking up in arms against Monica. I have never really been against a player in my life before, but I am prepared to make just this exception for her. She is a disgrace for the beautiful game of tennis.
Today Schiavone took the first set easily against Niculescu, but the minute she took her foot off the pedal and allowed the latter to play her game, she was down 5:2 in no time and had to go to a tiebreak to win. This girl is an unexpected menace, I am telling you, her tactics are just too frustrating.
Of course, I have to agree that Tsveti will benefit from a coach that is not related to her and is a specialist in tennis first and foremost. That is where she can get some good advice how to overcome confusing rivals like Niculescu, she obviously cannot figure that all by herself.
For those who do not know in what condition she played her first round match, I have to say that Tsveti was a true hero. She came out very sick and with injured muscles in both legs, her serve was obviously hugely affected and she could barely get the first one in, but she battled none the less and managed to win. One of the bandages was off for the match with Niculescu, but her condition was not that largely improved.
Even though she played well in her doubles match and won a couple of games all by herself (literally - she just served and returned well and Paszek didn't touch the ball at all). However, she needed a better partner in a match against Cara Black and Rodionova - they noticed that Paszek is the weak link and attacked her, so she lost a lot of points. The final result does not reflect the battle that was going on, Tsveti and Tamira were actually pressing them a lot and fighting hard in a lot of the games. But they lost vital points. Tsveti overshot 2-3 times and Tamira did... a lot more. But they are not used to playing together either, so that takes time.
Anyway, sad for Tsveti, I am sure we all have expected and wanted a different result. She would have done a lot better against Schiavone.
Tsveti will not hang around Melbourne, but head back to Bulgaria and prepare for Fed Cup. Better luck in Israel, Tsveti!!!