Re: Alize season 2013
Making the fourth round in Miami is a good accomplishment, but the match with Vinci was very winnable. Alize played a great first set, serving very well and dictating the pace. It was the best set of tennis I have personally seen her play in Miami in years.
In the first game in the second set, it seemed like her lower back started to bother her. She was holding it, and stretching it between points. All her momentum disappeared quickly and her mood completely changed. Her serve lost a lot of effectiveness, and Vinci was in complete control of set 2.
Alize never stopped fighting and opened up a 3-0, 2 break lead in the third set. But her serving betrayed her yet again and Vinci quickly reeled off 4 straight games. Vinci started attacking the net on anything short, which was a good strategy and well executed with lethal net play. Alize finally held serve and got to 4-4 in a very tense eighth game where she held off many break points and hit some incredible winners. Alize had her chances with Vinci serving at 4-4. she had a few break points, but Vinci played tough and made some big shots to go up 5-4.
I had a strong sense that Alize had to break at 4-4 or the match was over. Her serve was a big weapon in the first set, but it was a real liability in the third. Vinci was all over Alize's serve in the final game and quickly went up 0-40 and finished off the match. If Alize could have just held serve a couple of times in the third, she would have won this match. Still, the level of play from both players was quite high and Vinci did go out and grab the victory, Alize did not just hand it to her.
If she was feeling the effects of yesterday's match, she didn't show it. I watched her practice in the morning and she looked just fine. She played late in the day, and the temperature was much cooler with very little wind.
All in all Miami was a success for her this year. She will pick up a nice bunch of points that will boost her ranking. But honestly she got a huge break when Azarenka pulled out, otherwise she would have likely walked away with only one win here. But that's how it goes, sometimes the breaks are in your favor and sometimes they aren't.
It was good to see her take advantage of the good fortune, a loss to Davis in the third round would have felt like a real missed opportunity. I don't know if she could have beaten Jankovic in the quarters, but I would have liked to see her get that chance.