Category Archives: Choke!

Saturday thus far…

Bad Gastein

Singles - Semifinals
(2) Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) d. Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) 16 64 63

Doubles - Semifinals
(4) Bacsinszky/Garbin (SUI/ITA) d. (1) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova (CZE/CZE) 75 26 108

Timea Bacsinszky achieved the double as she not only won through to the singles final of the Bad Gastein International WTA event in Austria, but she was also able to pick up the doubles title with partner Tathiana Garbin as they defeated the top seeds Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova 7-5 2-6 10-0. Bacsinszky, 21, was extremely lucky to get home today with both singles semi-final and doubles final matches completed just before the heavens opened up and rain flooded the clay courts of Bad Gastein. The other semi-finalists, Julia Goerges, 21, of Germany and Alizé Cornet, 20, of France were not as fortunate as Bacsinszky as their following semi-final match was completely rained off and has since been rescheduled for tomorrow. Their match will, assuming that there is no more rain, take place at 10am with the winner having to shake off the fatigue from that match to play in the final against Bacsinszky four and a half hours later at 2:30pm  – Advantage Bacsinszky.

The match between Bacsinszky and Meusburger was far from pretty as Bacsinszky began incredibly slowly as she struggled to even get the ball over the net. As the errors flowed from Bacsiszky, Meusburger, 26, continued to play her typical defensive game as she hit the majority of her shots to the weak Bacsinszky forehand and waited patiently for the inevitable Bacsinszky error to come, and it did as eventually Meusburger wrapped the set up 6-1. The second and third sets saw a complete change of plan from Bacsinszky as she began to mix up her game in order to throw Meusburger off - playing a mixture of drop shots and high-balls with random bursts of power from her backhand side. Eventually this was enough to see her through to the final as, after gaining an early break in both sets, she closed out the next two sets 6-4 6-3 in just over an hour. It has been quite a up-and-down year for Bacsinszky so she will be hoping that this tournament result will give her the confidence to start pushing forward and moving upwards.

What is interesting is that though Bacsinszky plays so many clay International events, the red dirt isn’t actually a very good surface for her by any stretch. She has a very good serve and so its effectiveness is reduced dramatically on the clay, she can’t hit through opponents with her outstanding backhand on this surface and it is much easier for players to exploit her forehand side and come away with the win.

German Open

Singles - Semi-finals
[3] J Melzer (AUT) d A Seppi (ITA) 64 62
A Golubev (KAZ) d F Mayer (GER) 76(6) 64

Doubles - Semi-finals
J Chardy (FRA) / P Mathieu (FRA) d [WC] A Beck (GER) / C Kas (GER) 46 64 10-8

Jurgen Melzer continues to cruise towards the German Open title,  however the other semifinal saw quite a shock as Golubev dispatched of Mayer out in straight sets. This week is actually the first time this year Golubev has even won two matches in a row at tour level, so Melzer will be the favourite going into their final match tomorrow definitely be able to take the title comfortably tomorrow. Many thought the Austrian’s French Open semifinal run was just a flash in the pan, but with a Wimbledon fourth round finish, his first grand slam title and now in the finals of a ATP 500 event - things are really looking up for Jurgen Melzer.

Slovenia Open

Singles - Semifinals

Johanna Larsson (SWE) d. Ksenia Pervak 6-2 1-0 ret.

Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) d. (7) Polona Hercog (SLO) 06 62 62

Johanna Larsson of Sweden has won through to the finals of the Portoroz WTA International event in Slovenia, after youngster Ksenia Pervak was forced to retire while trailing 2-6 0-1.

Neither player had ever been beyond the quarter-finals of a Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event, but both had booked their places in the semi-finals impressively. Larsson has been in red-hot form all week, arriving at the semi-final stage without dropping a set. En-route she defeated countrywoman and eighth seed Sofia Arvidsson 7-6 6-2 in the opening round before annihilating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the world’s highest ranked teenager, with the loss of just five games. Pervak similarly dominated a top seed, crushing fifth seed and former French Open semi-finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-1 6-3. Pervak did suffer a scare in her quarterfinal match, losing the second set to qualifier Anastasia Yakimova, but she recovered quickly to cruise through to the final set and reach her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour semi-final.

There were no sign of nerves as both players comfortably held their first service games and settled into the match. The third game provided the first break point opportunity on Pervak’s serve after two erratic backhands from the young Russian, and Larsson wasted no time in taking her first chance by connecting with a sweet forehand down-the-line winner to take the break and lead 2-1.

The first break proved to be the turning point in the match as Larsson went from strength to strength, playing freely and using her momentum to reel off the next three games to lead Pervak 5-1.  Larsson’s forehand was clearly the difference between the two players as she continued to punish every short ball from Pervak, creating mischievous angles and pounding forehand winners at will. Pervak fought hard and dug deep, saving two set points on her serve to bring the score to 2-5. But it was all in vain as Larsson calmly served out the first set, clinching it on her fourth set point with a trademark crosscourt forehand winner.

It all seemed to be too much for the 19 year old Russian as she visibly struggled with her wrist during the latter part of the second set. She tried to fight on but eventually she decided to throw in the towel after getting broken in the first game of the second set.

Anna Chakvetadze fought back from a set down to defeat Polona Hercog in three sets at the Portoroz International Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event in Slovenia.

Hercog’s route to her first hardcourt Sony Ericsson WTA Tour semi-final was a tough one, as she was forced to dig deep in a gritty second round match against fellow Slovene and former top twenty player Katerina Srebotnik 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. Hercog then faced yet more adversity in the quarter-finals, recovering from a 1-4 first set deficit to impressively defeat fellow youngster Stefanie Voegele 7-5, 7-5 and book her place in the semi-final. Chakvetadze faced even more problems en route to the semi-finals as the former world number five was forced to fight back from two match points down to beat fellow Russian and sixth seed Vera Dushevina 2-6 6-3 7-5.

The match between Hercog and Chakvetadze was without a doubt the feature match of the day as the two players produced some scintillating winners and quality tennis. It was the 19 year old Hercog who raced to a lead at the beginning as she took the first set without the loss of a game while playing with her trademark mixture of colossal forehands, delicate volleys and deft dropshots. The variety of shots from Hercog was so much that Chakvetadze was unable to find any kind of rhythm and on the first set point she mistimed a backhand which flew wide to hand Hercog the first set.

The second set saw Chakvetadze slowly coming to terms with Hercog’s game as she settled into the mach. She began to cut out the errors which crippled her in the first set, hit with more depth and began to patiently construct points. Hercog seemed to do the exact opposite as her game plan visibly fell apart and she retreated far behind the baseline, content to simply get the ball back in play and wait for the errors which never came. After a handful of mistakes from Hercog at 6-0 1-0* 15-40, Chakvetadze took her chance to hold serve and then never looked back as she romped to a 6-2 6-2 victory in the remaining sets.

For Chakvetadze, who was a top five player and US Open semi-finalist in 2007, this marks a long-awaited return to form and her first final since 2008.

“I haven’t expected such a success,” Chakvetadze said, “but the final is a nice reward for my efforts to get back among the best players of the world.”

Up next for Chakvetadze will be Sweden’s Johanna Larsson in what promises to be an exciting and intriguing match.

Posted in Anna Chakvetadze, Choke!, Polona Hercog, Rambling, Tennis, Timea Bacsinszky | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment