Re: Eleni Daniilidou 2013 Cheering Thread
Eleni Daniilidou’s first round match was set to be a tough encounter against up an comer Czech Karolina Pliskova. The match scheduled for the newly named court 19, formerly court 18, where Eleni had unfortunately suffered past defeats to Tathiana Garbin in 2008 and Patty Schnyder in 2006. Today she was not to suffer the same fate.
Conditions were tough, there was much glare from the high beating sun as well as a steady breeze that could develop into a gust without warning.
The Greek looked fit in the warm up, she had clearly worked hard in the off season to get her game up to the high standards needed for Grand Slam play. Pliskova won the toss and elected to recieve.
Eleni started strong, with two good serves followed swiftly with an forehand winner to win the first point and a difficult smash to win the second. From then the consistency of her young opponent started to shine and Eleni, although playing well, found herself down 0-3. With support from the crowd Eleni fought and managed to secure one break back in a marathon 4th game of the set. Pliskova was still up a break and held on to it until 5-4 where she served for the first set. In another marathon game of six deuces Eleni managed to secure the break back using her devastating low bouncing slice to more her opponent around the court which proved tough in the hot Melbourne sun.
Eleni continued with her good serving and then was able to break Pliskova to take the first set 7-5.
The second set began the same as the first, Eleni going down an early break and trailing 1-3. A lose game from Pliskova gave Eleni the break back, then Eleni turned up a gear and raced through her next service game with 3 consecutive forehand winners and an un-returnable serve. The next 4 games were very competitive. Both were drilling forehands from the back of the court, Eleni was drawing her young opponent into the net and then maneuvering the ball past her with amazing backhand drives.
At 5-5 all in the second set Pliskova made her move and managed to break Eleni. She then went on the serve for the second set. Eleni saved two match points, throwing up lobs into the windy and bright sky which Pliskova mistimed and sent long. In the end however Pliskova took the second set 7-5.
The momentum appeared to have swung in favor of the Czech in the third set as she quickly broke Eleni to love and then held her own serve. Eleni kept up her good serving and continued to move Pliskova around the court with deep slices and cross court forehands until she saw an opportunity for a winner. Pliskova played consistently and held onto her break until 3-2 where Eleni managed to break back when the Czech dumped a volley into the bottom of the net. From there Eleni took the next two games and served for the match. Her first match point was a long fought rally ending in a courageous cross court forehand by Pliskova. A high forehand volley saved the Czech the second match oint and from there she went on the break the Greek to get the match back on serve.
Pliskova came out to serve and level the match at 5 all, and that looked likely as she went up 40-15, however Eleni continued her clever consistent play to get herself to match point for the 3rd time. This was once again quashed by a wide serve by Pliskova. Another long rally ensued which Eleni won with a precise off forehand winner bringing up her 4th match point. Pliskova served and barraged Eleni with deep top spin shots, Eleni used her slice to slow down the point and keep hersel;f in it until the young Czech finally pushed a forehand long, giving Eleni a deserved 7-5 5-7 64- win in 2 hours 48 minutes. The talented Greek let out an excited cry and went on to thank the crowd and her team for their support.
The match was of the highest quality. Not many errors by either girl meant that each point had to be won. Eleni’s serve was firing well, deep in the service box, unpredictable direction changes and most importantly very consistent. Her slice backhand was the weapon it has always been. Keeping Eleni in points and making sure her opponent is pinned to the baseline with its superior depth. The stars of the day where Eleni’s top spin backhand which produced some superb passing shots and her forehand which fired winners close to the lines and never looked like it was going to miss.
Next up Eleni has world number one Victoria Azarenka and if she produces the same level of tennis as today she may give the Belorussian a run for her money. All Melbourne Greeks and fans of great tennis should try and secure a seat for this blockbuster on Thursday.
Check out the interview to hear Eleni’s thoughts on the match and her thoughts on playing Azarenka
Good luck Eleni!! You can do it!
Daniilidou, Azarenka, Lisicki, Stosur, Na, Date-Krumm, Cirstea, Cornet, Henin, Mauresmo