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RenaSlam.
Jan 25th, 2011, 03:35 PM
MELBOURNE, Australia -- We have a female equivalent of Rafael Nadal on the tennis circuit. Her name is Francesca Schiavone.

Schiavone, who played a draining 4 hours, 44 minutes Sunday, still managed to push Caroline Wozniacki to three sets at the Australian Open. Despite the sluggish performance, Wozniacki gets to keep her No. 1 ranking.

Earlier, Li Na continued to coast, downing Andrea Petkovic.

Here are five things we learned after Tuesday's opening two women's quarterfinals.

The crowd continues to puzzle

Did no one at Rod Laver Arena know what Schiavone did against Svetlana Kuznetsova?

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When Schiavone led Wozniacki by a set and 3-1, you could understand the crowd pulling for the Dane. They wanted more tennis. It happens at tournaments everywhere.

But when Wozniacki forced a decider, she was still their favorite.

Why?

Besides the superhuman effort she delivered in the fourth round, Schiavone's proactive game is much more pleasurable to watch than Wozniacki's retrieving style. Further, she's in the latter stages of her career at 30. Maybe Wozniacki's hustle wins them over.

This shouldn't necessarily surprise anyone. The crowd wasn't on seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams' side in the second round against Sandra Zahlavova, even though she was hurting and trailed by a set.

Wozniacki won't win the tournament

Here was a chance for Wozniacki to impose her game on a tired opponent and make a statement.

Yes, Wozniacki did pick it up a little midway into the second set, stepping in more and dictating a few rallies. Plain and simple, though, the sixth seed hit the proverbial wall.

Wozniacki took an injury timeout for a leg problem -- call that ironic after her faux kangaroo tale. If anyone was permitted a visit by the trainer, it should have been the marathon woman Schiavone.

Wozniacki's forehand is not very potent. Rarely can she hit through the ball with force.

In the first set, Wozniacki didn't hit a single winner. She ended with 13 -- and a few of those were off poor Schiavone drop shots. Schiavone hit 41 winners, though she committed even more unforced errors.

"I just want to know who won the match," Wozniacki said. "I think I did that, so I think there is no question. I'm playing to win. If the opponent makes 100 winners, it's too good. But if I still win the match, that's the most important thing in the end."

She won Tuesday because her opponent was fatigued.

Li is one of the favorites

Kim Clijsters was the consensus favorite heading into the tournament. Into the second week, that hasn't changed.

Right behind her, however, must be China's Li Na, not Wozniacki.

Li improved to 9-0 in 2011 with a highly convincing 6-2, 6-4 win over Petkovic. She hasn't lost a set through four rounds.

Li's return game particularly excelled. Petkovic won only 49 percent of points on the first serve and 40 on the second.

Petkovic actually thinks Li is the one to watch.

"I think she's going to win the tournament," said the German, who reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. "Sometimes you get the feeling during the match that somebody is really strong and just has that confidence going on, that aura maybe."

Up next for Li is Wozniacki.

Although Li won't throw Wozniacki off balance like Schiavone, she can hit her off the court.

Li split with coach Thomas Hogstedt late last year; Hogstedt joined Maria Sharapova. Cutting ties appears to be paying off.

"Right now feeling more happy on court," Li said. "More enjoy because more communication with team. Right now [I'm] happy around the team."

Li's hubby wears the pants

Li's on-court interviews with host broadcaster Channel 7 have been hilarious. The longer she goes in the tournament, the more she probably gets to spend on a credit card she shares with husband Jiang Shan, who's now her coach.

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She was asked if Jiang was getting worried, given her foray to the final four.

"He's totally [in]control," Li said, smiling. "China bank, if you use credit card, they will send text message, like where are you, when and how much you're using. If I use he will for sure know. He will call. 'Where are you?'"

If she wins a first Grand Slam title, perhaps she'll get carte blanche.

Schiavone is a threat on hard courts

Schiavone proved last year's appearance in the U.S. Open quarterfinals was no fluke. By reaching the quarters here, she has now made the final eight in all four majors.

"I think the players feel the pressure because I keep going to change everything on the court, speed and angle," Schiavone said. "So they feel I can do very well, and the people now start to know that I can play really good on hard court."

Oh, Schiavone does have some fans in Australia, it appears.

"Last night I was walking and they say, 'Francesca, you give me a lot of [emotions]. Thank you. I hope you win tomorrow.' I think it's something fantastic."

Ravi Ubha is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com.

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/aus11/columns/story?columnist=ubha_ravi&id=6056565

cellophane
Jan 25th, 2011, 03:40 PM
She won Tuesday because her opponent was fatigued.

Well said :worship:

Destroy her Li.

JackFrost
Jan 25th, 2011, 03:56 PM
Maybe they should stop to tell people, to which player they have to cheer and which player not.
If the author wants to support Francesca and Venus...great. If the crowd wants to support other players, let them.

mauresmofan
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:01 PM
No way was Woz the favourite they wanted Schiavone to win you could hear the eruption of applause everytime she played a great point. They weren't disrespectful towards Woz or anything but the way I heard it Schiavone was certainly the fav. And since when is an ace not considered a winner because Woz hit one in the opening set.

Vincey!
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:08 PM
I think that article is quite rubbish, who are they to complain about who supports who. I mean, maybe the crowd thinks Caro is more likable :shrug: It's not because Schiavone showed great spirits and did an amazing thing with her marathon match, that everyone should forget who their fav is and cheer for her. Also, I don't think a journalist (if it's one) should critic and bash a player game, even less when it's the #1 cuz clearly she does something right if she's where she is right now. I wouldn't cound her out against Li etheir :shrug: Li is playing fantastic tennis right now, but she has not played a pusher and surely not one that is playing it as well as Caro :shrug: I think it's the kind of player she will struggle to. Clearly that guy is in love with Schiavone lol, I mean he can have admiration to Schiavone for what she did, but it doesn't mean everybody should hand her the title. I think what Caro said about how it's not important who hit the most winners is true, for her, the important thing is to do everything SHE can to win a match. If she succeed it's as legit as anyone else's win.

L'Enfant Sauvage
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:20 PM
I think that article is quite rubbish, who are they to complain about who supports who. I mean, maybe the crowd thinks Caro is more likable :shrug: It's not because Schiavone showed great spirits and did an amazing thing with her marathon match, that everyone should forget who their fav is and cheer for her. Also, I don't think a journalist (if it's one) should critic and bash a player game, even less when it's the #1 cuz clearly she does something right if she's where she is right now. I wouldn't cound her out against Li etheir :shrug: Li is playing fantastic tennis right now, but she has not played a pusher and surely not one that is playing it as well as Caro :shrug: I think it's the kind of player she will struggle to. Clearly that guy is in love with Schiavone lol, I mean he can have admiration to Schiavone for what she did, but it doesn't mean everybody should hand her the title. I think what Caro said about how it's not important who hit the most winners is true, for her, the important thing is to do everything SHE can to win a match. If she succeed it's as legit as anyone else's win.

Journalists aren't hired to kiss up to players like the site is a fanclub. They are supposed to give their honest analysis on the game/match/topic at hand.

miffedmax
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:29 PM
Seriously, I understand that some people don't like Woz. But I don't understand why so many of them seem to be genuinely offended by the fact some of us do.

FORZA SARITA
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:42 PM
Schiavone, who played a draining 4 hours, 44 minutes Sunday, still managed to push Caroline Wozniacki to ...

:haha:

Vincey!
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:45 PM
Journalists aren't hired to kiss up to players like the site is a fanclub. They are supposed to give their honest analysis on the game/match/topic at hand.

They are there to comment a match, to analyse it, but they should not give their personal opinion on someone's game since there,s many ways to play tennis. I just don't like how the article is all against Wozniacki, not a single time he has said a good thing about her, and when he said something positive he made it sound like if it was not her fault, or not important. Just classless.

Sund7101
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:46 PM
I guess I'm not the only one who wanted to stab their eyes out watching the match last night between the two. I am not really a Schiavone fan, but I was cheering for her last night. She was setting up points and playing smart tennis and unfortunately was too fatigued to be able to win the match. Wozniacki did not do anything to win and I think she will be hit off of the court by Na.

On a side note, did anyone hear MJ compare Wozniacki to Hingis? What is she thinking? Hingis and Wozniacki play nothing alike. Hingis tried to play on top of the baseline, taking the ball early and mixing up the play. She was a great volleyer and tried to come into the net and finish off points. Or change up the pace by throwing in a drop shot. She also ran around her backhand to hit a forehand to open up the court. Hingis tried to play offensive where as Wozniacki is just reacting to her opponents shots.

Vincey!
Jan 25th, 2011, 04:58 PM
I guess I'm not the only one who wanted to stab their eyes out watching the match last night between the two. I am not really a Schiavone fan, but I was cheering for her last night. She was setting up points and playing smart tennis and unfortunately was too fatigued to be able to win the match. Wozniacki did not do anything to win and I think she will be hit off of the court by Na.

On a side note, did anyone hear MJ compare Wozniacki to Hingis? What is she thinking? Hingis and Wozniacki play nothing alike. Hingis tried to play on top of the baseline, taking the ball early and mixing up the play. She was a great volleyer and tried to come into the net and finish off points. Or change up the pace by throwing in a drop shot. She also ran around her backhand to hit a forehand to open up the court. Hingis tried to play offensive where as Wozniacki is just reacting to her opponents shots.

yeah I heard that too :tape: I used to think Caro was going to be a Hingis-like player, but she's not going in that direction now. MJ probably meant that they both have the chucky smile on court.

Break My Rapture
Jan 25th, 2011, 05:02 PM
Woz didn't hit a single winner in the first set? Seriously?

RenaSlam.
Jan 25th, 2011, 05:14 PM
Woz didn't hit a single winner in the first set? Seriously?

One ace. That's it.

it-girl
Jan 25th, 2011, 05:19 PM
That match was very telling at this stage of the game. There were so many opportunities for Wozniacki to put a ball away but she just kept keeping the ball in play. It wasn't until the 3rd set that she realized that she had to start doing something more to the ball because Schiavone was setting up points left and right and Caro's style of play gave her every opportunity to do so early on. I really like Caro, I just don't want the future of women's tennis to be based soley on her style of play.

Temperenka
Jan 25th, 2011, 05:37 PM
That's a crap article. It really has almost no flow or direction and is overall just very poorly written, so it's hard to take seriously.

I don't get it though. What do people want? Every player to play the same style of tennis?

Caroline's game revolves around getting one more shot back. Forcing her opponents to make errors. It's a legitimate strategy. Legitimate enough to get her to number one in the rankings. It's winning her matches... a lot of matches.

If Caroline tried to play like Li Na, Petra Kvitova, or Ana Ivanovic... she probably wouldn't stay in the top 50 for very long. She is playing the best tennis that she can within the constraints of her abilities.

Plus, it's nice to see variety in womens tennis. I would much rather watch a match like Wozniacki vs Schiavone or Wozniacki vs. Venus Williams than I would Rezai vs. Sprem. Different strategies and playing styles is what makes tennis exciting to watch.

People need to understand that Caroline isn't about to change a winning strategy because you want to see breathtaking, reckless winners being hit 3 or 4 times a game. I quite like Caroline's attitude while dealing with the criticism because she realizes exactly what I've said: don't fix what isn't broken.

She may not, and probably won't win this major, but she's here to stay at the top of the game. Therefore her critics are either going to have to stop watching her matches to avoid being so frequently annoyed or try to respect a different game strategy for what it is.

bandabou
Jan 25th, 2011, 05:53 PM
Would've been fun to watch Hingis teach Wozniacki how it's actually done. :lol:

GAGAlady
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:10 PM
They are there to comment a match, to analyse it, but they should not give their personal opinion on someone's game since there,s many ways to play tennis. I just don't like how the article is all against Wozniacki, not a single time he has said a good thing about her, and when he said something positive he made it sound like if it was not her fault, or not important. Just classless.

How is his article classless?

hes giving his personal opinion on the matter which he is entitled to.

He doesnt work for the WTA tour and he is clearly knowledgable enough to write on the story. Its a free country...so no i think your comment was the classless one. Get over it. Not everyone thinks Caralonines Game is so special...shes fit she can hit lots of balls back, but please, lets see her do something special with her talent instead of just being a ball machine.:worship:

I personally love a player who can mix aggression and defence, the best players in history always knew how to attack, Caroline lacks this ability. just my opinion

GAGAlady
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:12 PM
Would've been fun to watch Hingis teach Wozniacki how it's actually done. :lol:

Hingis has 5 Grand Slam tiles remember...lets wait for Caroline to win her first.;)

CloudAtlas
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:56 PM
Whatever, failed journalist. Another hack who can't accept that people possibly have opinions different from theirs.

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 25th, 2011, 07:34 PM
Seriously, I understand that some people don't like Woz. But I don't understand why so many of them seem to be genuinely offended by the fact some of us do.


this is the issue

JN
Jan 25th, 2011, 07:52 PM
Maybe they should stop to tell people, to which player they have to cheer and which player not.
If the author wants to support Francesca and Venus...great. If the crowd wants to support other players, let them.

The writer was only bringing attention to that "they always cheer for the underdog" bullshit.

Vincey!
Jan 25th, 2011, 09:32 PM
How is his article classless?

hes giving his personal opinion on the matter which he is entitled to.

He doesnt work for the WTA tour and he is clearly knowledgable enough to write on the story. Its a free country...so no i think your comment was the classless one. Get over it. Not everyone thinks Caralonines Game is so special...shes fit she can hit lots of balls back, but please, lets see her do something special with her talent instead of just being a ball machine.:worship:

I personally love a player who can mix aggression and defence, the best players in history always knew how to attack, Caroline lacks this ability. just my opinion

I'm far from thinking that her game is special, I respect the way she plays because that is how she's put up her ranking to the top spots. I think it is classless to say only negative things about the "best player" (at least acording to the ranking) of a sport. He clearly dislikes the way Caroline is playing, but that's how she plays and wins, if he's a real journalist he should know that there're different ways to win matches and as long as it's working he should recognize her efforts. He points out only the bad side of Caro's game and never praises her for what she does well, I mean she won, she must have done something good,right? If he's there to comment on a match, he needs to tell both sides of the medal and not only his personal taste. Unless this was meant as a kind of blogue, that article is to me just irrelevant. It's also pretty messy and quite amateur-ish. He sounds like a pissed off schiavone fan to me. Bashing the crowd and the player who beat her :shrug:

Pops Maellard
Jan 25th, 2011, 09:36 PM
:shrug: At least the article didn't say Caro was the WTA equivalent of Nadal. That would've just been too much. :tears: