please ignore my spelling mistakes guys. Otherwise Enjoy!
Na Li def. Laura Granville
Na Li smacks everything, even when on the run, she attempts to put maximum pace on the ball. Laura was VERY pumped today and super impressive; this was EASILY the best match of the day. Laura more then packs a punch herself, her groundies are super strong and her movement around the court was really tested today. During the first set Na Li pumped winenr after winner to the delight of the Chinese crowd (she was 3-0 up with 7 winners!), these are not any type of winners either.. they have Davenport-like pace on them... so often Granville could not even get her racket on the ball despite being close to it. Na Li really has her opponent 'buckled' under the pace of her shots, Laura was behind the baseline scampering and barely coping with the pace in the first set; particularly Na Li's backhand is very powerful and she applies so much pace to the ball even when on a defensive position.
Na Li has a flaw.... her serve is only 'good' not awesome.... also she makes many errors because she tries to pump everything. but otherwise she is the Asian Lindsay.
The second set saw Granville play some of the most steady and consistent tennis i have seen.... she hit hard deep and rather flawless... Na Li started to spray the ball.... but Granville was defending brilliantly and grunting intensly throughout, throwing up some loopy balls to put Na Li off--- it was cat and mouse and the crowd loved it.
Na Li is very intense and very powerfull unlike other passive asian players.... Granville kept her low error game up untill she led 2-0 in the second set. Slowly but surely Na Li pumped a few more ridiculous winners to gain control of the 3rd set.... the quality of tennis was amazing the whole time.... long and very hard hitting rallies. Laura did express some frustration with the Chinese crowd who were very vocal in their support for Na Li, Granville sarcasticly clapped them with her racket after a long point in which Na Li won. Oerall a great match... Granville would have beaten ANYONE outside the top 30 today but not Na Li.
I was very impressed with BOTH girls because Laura Granville really stuck it to her today.
Marta Domachowska def. Ting Li
Ting is a decent player but she had no weapons to hurt Marta today, the only reason this went to 3 sets is because Marta appeared to lose concentration in the 2nd set. Its kind of strange Ting got a set off Marta because once Marta unloaded on a groundstroke it never really looked like Ting was going to win, but she just sucked anough errors out of Marta and moved the ball around nicely enough to take a set... Marta never really looked concerned, seemed like she just raised the tempo a little to take the 3rd easily.
Ting has rather flat shots and a good serve but overall she is not spectacular or anything. Marta Domachowska hits very hard and times the ball beautifully... i can see her ranking really hiking to the top 40 this year because she really is a good all round player (aka. Jankovic). Marta had this one in the bag and the 3rd set score makes that evident. Ting was a good solid player to warm Marta up into the tournament.
Dinara Safina def. Jie Zheng
Well... Dinara wanted this match BAD, and so did Jie... that makes for a very feiry contest. First of all... Dinara is very bitter and not a good sportsperson. The rallies during this match followed the same pattern throughout. Jie Zheng blasting the ball at the lines and scampering about energeticly; and Dinara applying much more topspin to the ball and defending stubbornly. This match looked a little strange because the only thing Dinara did stronger then Jie Zheng was serve! Otherwise Zheng was hitting significantly flatter and going for more. Dinara cunningly calls for an injury time out when Zheng is leading 5-4 in the 1st set.... after receiving treatment to her leg... Dinara comes back onto the court retreiving as good as i have ever seen (Ala. Coetzer) ... it looked like a complete fabrication to me. Anyway... by the 3rd set Zheng's unforced errors were racking up and there were some very intense rallies.
Zheng puts a serve in which appears to be an ace... Jie walks have way to the net as if to question it... but suddenly Dinara cuts in before Zheng can talk "CAN'T YOU SEE IT?!" "ITS OUT!" "RIGHT THERE!" ......The passive Chinese girl looks a little stunned and takes a few steps back without saying anything, she just looked a little shocked. Dinara had an evil glare on her face.
Dinara had the break in the second set and held on to win... but even then Dinara was not finished.... Dinara turned around after Zheng held her serve late in the 3rd set and threw a ball into the chinese crowd. Some members of the crowd replied "Come and find the ball Dinara!!"
A good match overall... it would have been better if Dinara grew up though.
Shinbou Asagoe def. Anca Barna
Some very long rallies early in the peice, Barna was mixing it up throwing in slices and topspin lefty forehands... dropshots as well. Asagoe had much more pace of shot though and she would Barna into defence veru early and take control of many points. Even though the rallies were long, it was Barna who was covering the length of the court. Very entertaining match but Asagoe too good - definently a level above her opponent. I think Barna knew this.
Martina Sucha def. Ai Sugiyama
Well, Ai had the early lead but i felt Martina just needed to pick up her consistency to win. Sucha hit the ball harder with more topspin, Sugiyama played some nice points... but Sucha would tee-off on some backhands and hit very nice winners. For all of Sugiyama's wins in the last few years...she came across as a little bit weaponless today.... Sucha had all the answers and played more solid tennis today. If Sucha works on her serve more she will have a great year 2005 because she has the groundies to go with the best.
Anna-Lena Groenfeld def. Severine Beltrame
Groenfeld... immensly powerfull, big serve, big groundies.... excelent volleys.
Severine had NO answers... slicing the ball passivly into the net, never got her shots going. Groenfeld kneels to the ground, bends her tall frame downwards, twists her arms back and absolutely wallops a backhand winner down the line, so heavy, a lot of topspin... Severine looks right out of her league. Groenfeld really impressed me at Hopman cup... at first i thought she tries to put too much topspin on the ball, but she was just warming up.... she really is a pleasure to watch. Groenfeld also ventured to the net a few times against Beltrame... she was very very confident against Severine and will probably win her next round.
Sania Mirza def. Cindy Watson
Cindy was never really in this, even at 6-3 3-2 up. Sania had much more definitive shots, more power, more accuracy, and much more depth in the court. Watching this match its easy to see the difference between a good all round 'national' player such as Watson, and a true international rising WTA payer such as Mirza. For the first set Watson played her trademark solid, unimpressive, basic tennis... Mirza hitting more errors then anything.
All of a sudden in the 2nd set Mirza lifted a few gears and Watson was not in contention for the match. Sania begun to move Watson easily about the court and paint the lines with well timed winners and powerful groundies.
(Once again, it was the girl with more power off the groundies that won the match!)
Watson is solid, but not Laura Granville Solid, Granville consistently hit the ball hard a few inches of the baseline. Cindy Watson is solid but hits the ball unconvincingly a few inches from the service line with far less pace.
Once Mirza found her range this match was a no contest.
Thats it guys!