2014/11/01

Jankovic Comeback Suffers Setback

“Latisha” Yung-Jan Chan

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – After her previous match, Jelena Jankovic said she hoped to start her comeback. With two match points in her favor during her quarterfinal at The Mercury Insurance Open, it looked like she was on her way to a winning streak at the least. That’s when qualifier Yung-Jan Chan turned everything around and notched a come-from-behind upset, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5. Jankovic, ranked No. 19, and Chan, ranked No. 161, battled back-and-forth for over three hours in a match that may have lacked in consistent quality but compensated with suspense and drama.

Jelena Jankovic

During the three hours and 13 minutes played under the heat of the midday Southern California sun, there were 15 breaks of serve, two calls for coaches and one medical timeout and a broken string on the final point. At the end of each set, the question loomed. Could the server hold? In the final game of the final set, Chan answered the question with a “Yes” and secured her place in the semifinal.

While Jankovic hit some brilliant backhand winners, her forehand was a liability, especially matched up against Chan’s forehand, which was used to put Jankovic on the run.

Having won the first set and up 3-1 in the second, Jankovic looked to be firmly in control of the match. Chan seemed fatigued at that point and called for the trainer. Jankovic admits her concentration wandered at that point. “After that I had three bad games. I lost my focus, and that kind of brought her back into the match.”

“I fought back,” she continued, “I was in there and had match points in that tiebreaker. When I lost the second set, it was so tough mentally, and of course physically, because we were playing in the heat. The forehand was letting me down. I shanked so many balls when I shouldn’t have.”

Asked if it was unlucky that she broke a string on the final point she said “In sports you need luck, you need skill… you need a lot of things. I couldn’t hit the ball because my racquet was broken. I’m not saying I would have won the match if that didn’t happen, but at least I didn’t want to lose in that way.”

She also gave credit to her opponent for never going away and staying tough. “She was fighting. She was hanging in there. So at the end she deserved to win.”

The win ranks high in Chan’s memory of her career. “I think it could be one of the best matches in my career. It feels very special for me because she was a former number one. Also, I had surgery at the end of last year, and this is my best result since the surgery.”

Last December, Chan had an emergency surgery to remove a 7cm cyst from her stomach. She was off the tour for 3 months and recovery has been slow. Illness and injury have taken dents out of her time on tour over the last few years.

Despite doubles success in the past, she would like to focus more now on her singles career. “Now this time I feel like I will be 23 soon and I don’t have time to waste. So I guess I need to focus on one thing first a little bit more and we’ll see how it goes. This tournament really shows me that I still can play.”

Asked how she got her “American” name, Latisha, she explained, “All Taiwanese who speak English will try to get an English name. I was searching by internet and once asked a tennis player— he’s in Taiwan and lives in United States for a long time, so I ask him for any good names that would fit my personality.”

“He gave me three. Then he told me what it means, and finally I choose Latisha. He says it means a black girl who really loves sports. I said, Yeah, I’m going to take that.” She laughed and recalled how Serena asked her about last week in Stanford during the doubles final, “She said, is that your name Latisha? I was like, Yeah. She was like, do you know that it’s a black name? I said, Yeah, and she said, Oh that’s cool. It was really fun.”

In the semifinals, Latisha will play the winner between Marion Bartoli and Christina McHale.

Earlier in the day, Dominka Cibulkova played a streaky match but did just enough to defeat Urszula Radwanska 6-4, 6-4 in the first quarterfinal. Cibulkova will play Nadia Petrova in the other semifinal.

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Jankovic Survives Test From Czink

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – Jelena Jankovic battled through a slow start and a determined Melinda Czink to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the Mercury Insurance Open. Jankovic came into the match with a 2-0 record against Czink, but has had patchy results this year. This was the Serbian’s first hard court win of the summer, but it didn’t come easily.

Czink looked and played totally relaxed, hitting with great depth throughout the match. Her forehand matched up especially well against the forehand of Jankovic, who said she felt “a little bit slow.”

Asked if there was anything causing her limited movement Jankovic waved off any concerns. She explained, “I was reacting a little bit slow and I wasn’t setting up on the balls as well as I would’ve liked to, but that’s tennis. You’re not always going to feel so light and fast, but those are the days when you have to work a little bit harder and get through.”

One thing that did work well for Jankovic was her serve. Through the second and third sets, she was able to produce clutch serves when facing break points. As she started landing more forehands in, she was eventually able to disrupt Czink’s rhythm. On the opportunities she was able to step into her backhand, she was able to regain control of points and ultimately the match.

This is Jankovic’s sixth appearance in Carlsbad and hard court is admittedly her favorite surface. “I love playing on the hard courts. I love playing in this kind of conditions. I’m excited to be here especially. This is a place where I’m going to be spending time and I would like to do well. I would like to somehow start my comeback and just play good tennis and enjoy it out there. There were times I was played well and times I didn’t play well, but I enjoyed the battle. I was out there having fun and I think that’s important.”

Jankovic will be spending considerably more time in the area, as the home she is building nearby in Rancho Santa Fe is complete. “Just the furniture is not there,” she smiled, “I was there yesterday. When I was entering there, I was saying ‘I’m the owner” and they were looking like ‘You’re not the owner you’re only like 27 years old.” She laughed and said the security guard didn’t recognize her because she was in a cap and sunglasses. “But it was nice to see the improvement. It looks great so far.”

There’s even a court there for her to play on but nothing to sleep on yet. “But you know,” she said, laughing again, “It’s not too bad here at La Costa. I’m having a good time here playing golf and the weather.” She hopes to move in during the off-season in December.

As for staging her comeback, this draw poses a great opportunity. She next faces qualifier Yung-Jan Chan in the quarterfinals. While she’s on the same side of the bracket as top-seed Marion Bartoli and fifth-seed Christina McHale, they both also struggled through 3-set matches today. A good result here for Jankovic could give her the confidence that has been missing from her game.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open for Tennis Panorama News as media. Follow his updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

 

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MERCURY INSURANCE OPEN
Carlsbad, CA, USA
July 16-22, 2012
$740,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Thursday, July 19, 2012
Singles – Second Round
(2) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 62 64
(3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Melinda Czink (HUN) 26 64 64

(5) Christina McHale (USA) d. Misaki Doi (JPN) 46 64 64
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (LL) Melanie Oudin (USA) 62 61

Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) d. Chan/Chan (TPE/TPE) 62 76(3)
Chang/Lertcheewakarn (TPE/THA) d. Husarova/Watson (SVK/GBR) 64 26 108 (Match TB)

Doubles – First Round
(2) King/Petrova (USA/RUS) d. Glatch/Oudin (USA/USA) 75 62

Order Of Play – Friday, July 20, 2012
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Urszula Radwanska vs. Dominika Cibulkova
2. Jelena Jankovic vs. Chan Yung-Jan (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Varvara Lepchenko vs. Nadia Petrova (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Cibulkova/Hantuchova vs. King/Petrova (after suitable rest)

5. Marion Bartoli vs. Christina McHale (NB 20.00hrs)
6. Kops-Jones/Spears vs. Lee-Waters/Moulton-Levy

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Injured Radwanska Beats Ailing Petkovic at Carlsbad

Agnieszka Radwanska

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – If Rock beats Paper, then Wounded beat Woozy in the first semifinal of the Mercury Insurance Open. Agnieszka Radwanska endured an injured shoulder to beat Andrea Petkovic, who was battling gastrointestinal issues in a three-set thriller 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.

The match was filled with variety, depth, and drama. Petkovic hit aggressively into the corners during the first set while Radwanska played terrific defense. Petkovic found some sharp angles and big returns to take the first set with a break.

When they players started the second set, Petkovic looked less relaxed than someone in the lead should. She contested calls, burning through her challenges before the conclusion of the third game.  At 0-3, she had the trainer visit her briefly. “I told the umpire that I wanted to go to the bathroom because I needed to throw up.,” Petkovic explained. “She told me it’s going to be on my time because it’s right before Aga is serving.” She believes something she ate at lunch was the cause of her stomach trouble.

Andrea Petkovic

Serving at 0-4 and 0-40, Petkovic suddenly sprinted off the court. “I was like, okay, what is more embarrassing, running off the court like a maniac or throwing up on the court and being on SportsCenter for the next 25 years?” Afterwards she felt better but let her intensity drop for a while.

Down 4-0 in the third set, Petkovic found her intensity again. She won three games in a row to put some very real pressure back on Radwanska who said “she was starting to play so much better, like no mistakes, going for it. Every game was very close. But you know it was a good game on my side with it was 4-3. I had a couple good shots. It was pretty close in the end.”

Radwanska will play in the final for the second year in a row. She awaits the winner of the match between Vera Zvonareva and Ana Ivanovic. Asked about the other semifinal, Radwanska said “for sure I’m going to watch today how they’re playing. It’s going to be a very interesting match. Really hard to say who is going to win.”

 

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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Ivanovic Downs Peng, Reaches Semis at Mercury Insurance Open

 

Ana Ivanovic

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – Playing some of her sharpest tennis of the year, Ana Ivanovic swept past Shuai Peng in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 to reach just her second semifinal of 2011. But it wasn’t all smiles and “Adjes” from Ivanovic who trailed 1-4 in the first set, before seizing control of the match.

Ivanovic said in the beginning “I was a little bit pushing, a little bit trying not to make a mistake.” Things changed after she called her coach to the court. “Nigel said, ‘Stay calm, keep hitting the ball, work the ball.’ I started doing that a little better and it made a difference.”

Peng Shuai

Ivanovic got back into the match playing aggressive, attacking ground strokes. After Peng squandered the lead and lost the first set, she was visited by the trainer to receive treatment on her lower back. Despite the injury, Peng never lost any zip on her powerful ground strokes. In fact she began shortening the points when possible, hitting aggressive returns for winners. But with her movement not at top form, Peng was unable to keep the ball in play during the longer rallies. And while Peng’s shots began to spray, Ivanovic hit with more and more confidence to close the second set out quickly.

Ana Ivanovic

Ivanovic will play the top seed, Vera Zvonareva in the second semifinal tomorrow. When asked if she was looking forward to the matchup she replied, “Yeah, I’m very excited about that challenge because she’s a top player. It’s going to be a good test for me to see where my game is at.”

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

 

MERCURY INSURANCE OPEN
Carlsbad, CA, USA
August 1-7, 2011
$721,000/Premier
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Friday, August 5, 2011
Singles – Quarterfinals

(1) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (12) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 36 64
(2) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (WC) Sloane Stephens (USA) 62 61
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (8) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 06 64 64
(5) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (4) Peng Shuai (CHN) 64 62

Doubles – Quarterfinals
Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. (2) Dulko/Pennetta (ARG/ITA) 75 26 1210 (Match TB)

Order of Play – Saturday, August 6, 2011
Stadium Court (from 11.30hrs)

1. Peschke/Srebotnik vs. Errani/Vinci
2. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Andrea Petkovic (NB 14.00hrs)
3. Vera Zvonareva vs. Ana Ivanovic (NB 19.00hrs)
4. Dushevina/Hradecka vs. Kops-Jones/Spears

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Zvonareva Fends off Liscki

Vera Zvonareva

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – It took five match points and three racquets, but Vera Zvonareva finally clinched a spot in the semifinals of the Mercury Insurance Open by beating Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. For two hours and 13 minutes, the two exchanged brutal ground strokes. Both players balanced defense and offense well in a battle of will power. Lisicki fought valiantly to the very end, but couldn’t put enough first serves in to keep the upper hand.

Sabine Lisicki

While Lisicki has a bigger serve, Zvonareva returned remarkably well and placed her own serves even better. Once the point was in play, it was a heated chess match. Zvonareva seemed to have the edge on backhand to backhand exchanges while Lisicki was able to notch points in the forehand rallies. Ultimately, it came down to a few mental lapses by Lisicki in the middle of the third set that gave her opponent the lead.

The match marked Zvonareva’s 40th win in 2011 and advanced her to a 7th semifinal this season. It also extends her winning streak to eight, having won at Baku.

Vera Zvonareva

“I don’t know,” she laughed when asked what would cap off her already outstanding season. “I’m enjoying the moment and I just want to do well every single match. I want to give 100% in every single match. As long as I do it, I will be happy with my season.”

Zvonareva will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Ana Ivanovic and Peng Shuai.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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Radwanska Comes Back From a First Set Bagel to Win in Carlsbad

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – Starting the match with her right shoulder lightly taped and finishing with it heavily strapped, Agnieszka Radwanska came from behind to beat Daniela Hantuchova 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the Mercury Insurance Open. The match started with the doubles partners hitting tentatively at each other, but it was Hantuchova of the Slovak Republic who began to swing freely as she ran away with the first set. The final two sets were more competitive as Poland’s Radwanska played better defense to draw errors out of her opponent and complete the comeback.

Without showing signs of pain, or any real emotion, Radwanska gave little clue that her shoulder was hurting her, other than double faulting twice facing break points in the first set blitz. The first time she was noticeably rubbing her shoulder was after the first set when she called for the trainer.

Radwanska said her shoulder injury is a recent development, since Stanford, but is no stranger to injuries. She struggled with an injury at the end of the 2010 season and said, “I have a little experience with the pain of injuries. I took a lot of painkillers before the match.”

Asked whether losing the first set so badly brought the competitive spirit back out of her, Radwanska replied “I was playing too good in this tournament to lose so quickly and I think this just pushed me to keep fighting.”

Hantuchova seemed to start mixing in high balls at the start of the second set. Whether it was a tactic to test Radwanska’s shoulder or not, the change in rhythm worked against Hantuchova. The longer Radwanska could keep in points, the more errors began creeping into Hantuchova’s game. Radwanska went up a break to lead 3-1 in the second set. The players each held serve one more time before exchanging four consecutive breaks to give Radwanska the second set 6-4.

Despite passive serving from both players, the third set stayed on serve until Hantuchova attacked and broke at 4-3. Radwanska maintained her composure and patience finishing the match without dropping another game.

Asked if she’ll be able to continue in the tournament, or if the injury will keep her from playing, Radwanska said, “You know, it’s two more matches. Now I think all the top players are there. I have nothing to lose. It’s 50/50 I think. It’s hard to say if I can do it or not, but for sure I’ll try. “

Because Radwanska played the first match on Friday morning, she has a little more time to recover before facing German Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals. Petkovic eased past American Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-1 in the second quarterfinal of the day.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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Zvonareva Leads Top Seeds Through in Carlsbad

Top seed Vera Zvonareva dispatched fellow Russian Vera Dushevina 6-3, 6-0 at the Mercury Insurance Open.

Number two seed Germany’s Andrea Petkovic advanced the quarterfinals when her opponent France’s Virginie Razzano retired with a right shoulder injury.

 

Poland’s Agnieska Radwanska demolished US teen Christina McHale 6-1, 6-0 while fifth seed Ana Ivanovic cruised past Italy’s Alberta Brianti 6-1, 6-2.

Daniela Hantuchova of the Slovak Republic stopped China’s Zheng Jie 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Shuai Peng rallied from a 1-3 third set deficit  to defeat No. 16 seed Sara Errani of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7). Hard serving Sabine Lisicki held back Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 6-3.

American Sloane Stephens advanced to her first WTA tournament quarterfinal when her Austrian opponent Tamira Paszek was forced to retire with a left abdominal injury trailing 5-3.

 

RESULTS – AUGUST 04, 2011
Women’s
Singles – Third Round

[1] V Zvonareva (RUS) d V Dushevina (RUS) 63 60
[2] A Petkovic (GER) d V Razzano (FRA) 62 30 Retired
[3] A Radwanska (POL) d C Mchale (USA) 61 60
[4] S Peng (CHN) d [15] S Errani (ITA) 46 62 76(7)
[5] A Ivanovic (SRB) d A Brianti (ITA) 61 62
[8] D Hantuchova (SVK) d J Zheng (CHN) 62 46 64
[12] S Lisicki (GER) d C Vandeweghe (USA) 64 63
[WC] S Stephens (USA) d T Paszek (AUT) 53 Retired

Women’s
Doubles – Quarterfinals

[1] K Peschke (CZE) / K Srebotnik (SLO) d K Date-Krumm (JPN) / S Zhang (CHN) 64 62
S Errani (ITA) / R Vinci (ITA) d A Rodionova (AUS) / O Savchuk (UKR) 75 64
V Dushevina (RUS) / L Hradecka (CZE) d E Bovina (RUS) / J Zheng (CHN) 63 63

ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 05, 2011
STADIUM COURT start 11:30 am
[8] D Hantuchova (SVK) vs [3] A Radwanska (POL)

Not Before 2:00 PM
[WC] S Stephens (USA) vs [2] A Petkovic (GER)

Not Before 4:15 PM
[1] V Zvonareva (RUS) vs [12] S Lisicki (GER)

Not Before 8:00 PM
[4] S Peng (CHN) vs [5] A Ivanovic (SRB)

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“Meet the Press” WTA Style at All-Access Hour at the Mercury Insurance Open

Top Seeds Meet the Media

By Curt Janka

CARLSBAD, California – The top seeds for the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open sat down, answered questions and laughed with the media at the Lacosta Resort  just north of San Diego. The high seeds enjoy a later start at the event so the players were all very relaxed and candid with their answers. In addition to what their goals are for the summer, Tennis Panorama News asked each player if they were planning on entering mixed doubles at the 2012 Olympics.

 

Agnieska Radwanska
The 2010 finalist is back with hopes to go one step further than she did last year. When asked how important the tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open are in preparing for the slam, she said, “I want to win every match. It’s not just to warm up for the Open. There are a lot of points to win between now and then.”

Radwanska says she’s really looking forward to the Olympics and would love to play singles, doubles and mixed if possible, but hasn’t lined up a mixed partner yet. Of course, she’d love to play doubles with her sister, Ursula “if their rankings allow for it at the time.”

She had fun playing golf here last year but noted that because part of the course was under construction, she might not get the chance to swing a club this year.

Ana Ivanovic
Seeded fifth this week, Ivanovic is waiting to play the winner of the match between Jelena Dokic and Ayumi Morita. Morita beat Ivanovic in straight sets last week in Stanford. Asked whether she’d prefer to play Dokic or get another crack at Morita, Ivanovic said emphatically, “Definitely Morita, to get some revenge. That was a hard loss last week.” However, losing early in Stanford did give Ivanovic the opportunity to come down to San Diego early and start training which she thinks will help her at this event. “The conditions down here are very different. It’s hotter and very humid.”

She doesn’t have specific goals in mind for the summer, just to keep trying to execute the things she is working on in practice. “If I do that, the results will come.”

Ivanovic revealed she has also been trying to eliminate gluten from her diet, like compatriot Novak Djokovic. “I try to eat rice before matches and avoid pasta and bread.”

She is excited to be playing with Nenad Zimonjic in mixed doubles at the next Olympics. She’d love to play all three tennis events at the Olympics, but doesn’t know yet whether she’ll play women’s doubles. She will, however, be playing doubles with her friend, Andrea Petkovic, next week.

 

Vera Zvonareva
The top seed says she feels “at home” here in San Diego. She’s played this tournament many times and has some great memories. Asked about the marathon match she played here against Anastasia Myskina in 2004, she said “it seems like yesterday.”

Zvonareva said that because she feels so comfortable here and because of the way the site is set up, she feels like she gets to watch more matches here than at other events. She couldn’t say who she’d like to see play this week, but she’d just “see how the week goes.”

While the Olympics is something Zvonareva is looking forward to, she couldn’t say who she would play mixed doubles with or if she’d even get to play mixed. “That’s up to the captain to decide.” She said she’ll do her best to prepare for singles and hopes to be selected to play doubles or mixed doubles when the time comes.

 

Andrea Petkovic
The second seed is enjoying a great year. Asked what she thinks about Serena Williams coming back from injury to win last week in Stanford, she said “There are two kinds of confidence. Serena was born with it. In my case, I had to work to get the confidence.”

She hasn’t come to San Diego with any new dances. She said she “has to wait for inspiration to hit her. It hasn’t hit yet but it usually does just in time.”

Fellow German, Julia Goerges is a potential quarterfinal opponent and friend. Petkovic says that, along with Sabina Lisicki, the three have a “healthy competitiveness” between them. When one does well, it inspires one of the others to do well. She says it’s always a little awkward to play friends in tournaments, but that is part of being a professional.

Asked who she would like to play mixed doubles with at the Olympics, she smiled and said, “I don’t know yet. I’d have to see all the photos and decide which one is cuter.”

Martina Hingis
Playing in a nearby ProAm event, Martina Hingis stopped by. She was quickly hounded by questions about the reports that she would play mixed doubles with Roger Federer at the Olympics. “No decisions have been made yet” she said. “It’s more up to Roger, but there are a lot of ifs.” She wouldn’t rule it out, but insisted that it most likely wouldn’t happen.

She said while she was encouraged by how well she played against Serena Williams recently in World Team Tennis, but was not making any comeback plans for singles. “Doubles is more on my mind,” she said only when pressed.

Hingis is currently touring the U.S. and Canada promoting clothing by Tonic. She said she approached them after wearing the clothes for yoga and fitness. She has been meeting with the designer at Tonic to provide input on a Martina Hingis branded line of tennis clothes by the company to launch in the Spring of 2012.

Asked if she could give any advice to Caroline Wozniacki, Hingis said “she has to be more in charge” adding that the women’s tour is so deep now that you need a weapon to win the quarters, semis and a final at a Slam.

Curt Janka is covering the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad this week. Follow his updates on twitter at @GVTennisNews. Follow his personal twitter @CurtJanka.

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Kuznetsova Loses Then Finds Her Nerve to Win Mercury Insurance Open Title by Erik Gudris

Kuznetsova Loses Then Finds Her Nerve to Win Mercury Insurance Open Title
by Erik Gudris

Not too many people at the start of this week’s
Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad,
California expected much from
Svetlana Kuznetsova who came in as an unseeded player. But as she navigated her
way past several top 20 players on her way to the finals, the feeling was the
title was Kuznetsova’s to win so long as she held her nerve and kept finding
the range on her fearsome forehand. Today in the finals against Agnieszka
Radwanska, it indeed was all up to the Russian as she dictated play for most of
the match. But as expected, when it came down to closing out the match,
Kuznetsova had to battle her nerves just when it seemed victory was inevitable.

In the first set, Kuznetsova continued her hard-hitting form and found
opportunities early into the Radwanska service games as the Russian broke twice
to go up 4-1 early. Kuznetsova served for the set at 5-2 but had a letdown and
gave her service game away at love to let Radwanska back into the set before
Kuznetsova finally closed out the set 6-4 by hitting a forehand winner behind
Radwanska. Kuznetsova continued her steady play in the second set and despite Radwanska’s
best efforts to stay in the rallies, Kuznetsova used her power game at will
while Radwanska’s forays into net were often met with a quick passing shot from
the Russian. Kuznetsova broke again and served for the match at 5-4.

And then that’s when the nerves set in. Kuznetsova’s shots started finding the
net and she soon gave the break back to level things at 5-5. Both players then
held to enter the tiebreak and it was there that Kuznetsova jumped out to 4-0
lead and seemed poised to close it out. Eventually she had 6-3, but Kuznetsova
double faulted then hit two more shaky groundstrokes to give Radwanska a second
chance at 6-6. Radwanska had her own nervy serves as well but finally managed
to put one in that led to Radwanska hitting a short forehand that Kuznetsova
couldn’t chase down giving Radwanska the set.

With many in the crowd rooting for Radwanska and yelling out their support in
Polish, it seemed like the momentum was with the 21-year-old from Krakow. After she went up an early break at 2-1 in the
third set, all seemed lost for Kuznetsova. But it was the Russian who looked calmer
and focused on court as she started stepping in to attack Radwanska’s second
serve and firing off winners at will. Kuznetsova broke back and from there it
was like the second set never happened. Up 5-3, Kuznetsova stepped up to the
line again to serve it out and this time did so with ease as she hit a forehand
winner in the deuce court to take the match 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3.

Ecstatic with winning her first final of the year, the always candid Kuznetsova
admitted she choked away the second set. “I don’t know why it happened but
here I couldn’t make the ball. I’m happy today that I could play that bad at
the end of the second set and I could start all over in the third set.”
She then added with a laugh, “It’s funny for me now after I win the match
but if I lost that third set I would be like, “Oh my God. Should I finish
playing tennis? It was a disaster. But I will do everything now so it will not
happen again.”

Radwanska herself said Kuznetsova was the better player today but that she had
her own chances to take the match but didn’t. “She (Kuznetsova) played
better and was more consistent and still fighting to the end. I had break
points but I didn’t use them.”

Erik Gudris is the editor of Adjusting the Net and was covering the Mercury Insurance Open for Global Village Tennis News as media. Follow him on twitter @AdjustingTheNet .

Double the twitter pleasure later on this week as we’ll have reporters from both the Western &
Southern Financial Group
Women’s Open in Cincinnati and the Rogers Cup In Toronto.

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Radwanska and Vandeweghe Try To Jump Out As “First Name” Players in San Diego – by Erik Gudris

Radwanska and Vandeweghe Try To Jump Out As “First Name” Players in San Diego
by Erik Gudris

This week, thanks to Global Village Tennis News, I was able to cover thefinal rounds of the Mercury Insurance Open down in Carlsbad, CA. Asidefrom it being a WTA Tour event, it’s been a little different covering atournament from the middle to end instead of starting at day one.Although we are in the final stages where, supposedly, the best actiontakes place, sometimes it feels like I’ve missed out on some the biggerstories earlier this week, like Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic stillbeing unable to get a string of wins together in their comebackattempts. But I think yesterday’s action for me proved to be the realstories this week, if nothing else in that it showcased a newcomer and,if you can believe it, a veteran of sorts, who could both findthemselves in the elite tier, not of the top five, but a small group ofplayers that everybody knows on first name basis.

Take for example the impressive run of 18-year-old CoCo Vandeweghe whowent from the qualifying rounds to the quarterfinals, taking outWimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva before losing yesterday to SvetlanaKuznetsova, Vandeweghe, who lives in the San Diego area, received atremendous amount of local support and looks to be a potential new staron the WTA Tour. Vandeweghe, despite her loss, was already lookingforward to her next tournament in Cincinnati after receiving a wildcardentry there for her efforts this week. If she can climb the ranks asquickly as Melanie Oudin remains to be seen, but her game definitely hasthat potential considering she’s almost a foot taller than Oudin andpossesses a lot of raw power on her forehand and serve. Her last namemight give some fans trouble, but with a first name like “CoCo”, theyoung American definitely has first name star status written all overher.

Meanwhile, with the absence of the Williams sisters or even MariaSharapova, this week’s event has allowed other players to shine thatotherwise tend to get lost in the draw sheets of the major events.Agnieszka Radwanska, long one of the most consistent players on tour, isfinding herself more often in the later rounds of tournaments thisyear. Casual fans that have seen Radwanska play maybe once or twiceprobably expect her to retrieve every ball and not much else. Latelythough, Radwanska continues to show very nice touch and an instinct toclose off points with volley winners at the net. A lot of people likecomparing her to Martina Hingis but when asked herself about thatcomparison, Radwanska, and I think rightly so, doesn’t get it. Radwanskacertainly exhibits Hingis-like qualities but Radwanska’s game is muchmore suited to dealing with the constant bludgeoning many WTA playersgive the ball these days. It’s only Radwanska’s touch that gives her anextra card to play so to speak in tight matches.

Radwanska proved last week in Stanford in her three set loss to MariaSharapova that she can hold her own against the “one-name” players ontour who dominate Grand Slam events and the media’s attention. IfRadwanksa can use her all her talents to find herself in the finalstages of this year’s U.S. Open, she herself could find enter “firstname” status if only for her nickname alone – Aggie.

Erik Gudris is reporting for Global Village Tennis News this weekend at the Mercury Insurance Open. In addition to his articles he'll be tweeting live updates, photos and commentary from our twitter account @GVTennisNews. He is the editor of Adjusting The Net. Find him on twitter @AdjustingTheNet.
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