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Old 01-09-2012, 11:43 AM   #1
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2012 Apia International Sydney

more pics and video on my blog: Li Na Advances In First Round Of Apia International Sydney; Samantha Stosur Falls Fairways and Forehands

Li Na


I was watching a recording of the 2011 Roland Garros Women’s Singles final over the weekend when a few things struck me. It was such an potentially important win for the WTA, sparking a rise in tennis in China with Li Na’s triumph. But also, I can’t help but reflect on how she just fell off the cliff the rest of the year. By the end of the season, she was openly admitting she had lost confidence in her game. Well, now 2012 is here. Maybe the off-season was just what Li Na needed to recharge her batteries. I certainly hope so. She has a game perfectly suited for hard courts. A finalist at the 2011 Australian Open, where she had Kim Clijsters on the ropes before “Aussie Kim” roared back, Li Na has the game to win her 2nd Major at the 2012 Australian Open. She started her year off well, with a win over the streaky, but dangerous, Ekaterina Makarova, 6-0 6-3, at the 2012 Apia International Sydney. A nice start, but this field is packed with talent so bigger challenges await. We will soon see where Li Na’s game is.



Samantha Stosur


I also wonder where Samantha Stosur’s game is right now. Granted, she lost in the first round here to Francesca Schiavone, the same woman who beat her in the Roland Garros final in 2010. That’s a really tough first round opponent for Samantha. Honestly, I think the event should have seeded more than 8 players. By Schiavone not being seeded (she’s ranked #11 currently and would have been seeded 10th with #4 Maria Sharapova not in the field), there was a chance she would get a matched with another star in the first round. However, I don’t think you want Schiavone or Stosur out in the first round while lower ranked players get easier draws. That said, Stosur was ousted in the 2nd round of Brisbane by Iveta Benesova and now the 1st round of Sydney by Schiavone. There is so much pressure on her to win the Australian Open, especially after winning the 2011 US Open. I just don’t see it happening unless she really lifts her level of play.



Singles - First Round
(3) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (Q) Stefanie Voegele (SUI) 62 61
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (Q) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 60 63
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 62 64
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) d. (6) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 61 62
(7) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Urszula Radwanska (POL) 61 61
(8) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (LL) Polona Hercog (SLO) 63 63
Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 62 63
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 61 31 ret. (viral illness)
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 62 46 64
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 75 62
(Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) d. (Q) Melinda Czink (HUN) 64 62
(LL) Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) d. (Q) Sofia Arvidsson (SWE) 61 61

Li Na


Andrea Petkovic


Caroline Wozniacki


Victoria Azarenka
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Last edited by bangkokbobby; 01-09-2012 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:37 AM   #2
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more pics and video on my blog: Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and Li Na Survive Second Round Scares At 2012 Apia International Sydney Fairways and Forehands

Caroline Wozniacki


Early season upsets littered the 2012 Brisbane International. As the tour shifts to Sydney, top seed Caroline Wozniacki looked like she might fall victim to the upset bug. Instead, the world #1 came back from down 0-4 in the third set to defeat Dominika Cibulkova, 7-5 2-6 6-4.



Li Na


Li Na and Petra Kvitova also advanced after harder than expected second round matchups. I admit, after Li Na lost the first set to qualifier Chanelle Scheepers, I thought oh no, here we go again with Li Na, another inexplicable loss. But she pulled her game together to dismiss Scheepers, 2-6 6-4 6-1. Potential future #1 Petra Kvitova also had to go the distance to oust Alexandra Dulgheru, 7-5 3-6 6-4. Luckily, the tournament didn’t lose the name recognition of Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na and 2011 WTA Player of the Year Petra Kvitova on the same day and in the second round.



Singles - Second Round
(1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 75 26 64
(2) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. (LL) Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU) 75 36 64
(3) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 64 62
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (Q) Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 26 64 61
(7) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 75 64
(8) Marion Bartoli (FRA) d. (WC) Jelena Dokic (AUS) 60 63
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 75 61
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 61 20 ret. (heat illness)



Caroline Wozniacki


Victoria Azarenka


Andrea Petkovic
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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more pics and video on my blog: Caroline Wozniacki Upset In QF Of 2012 Apia International Sydney; Li Na Advances To Semifinals Fairways and Forehands

Caroline Wozniacki


There is a feeling among most who follow the WTA that Petra Kvitova, not Caroline Wozniacki, is the true world #1 at the moment. With Caroline falling 3-6 7-5 6-2 to Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Apia International Sydney, 2011 Wimbledon and Tour Championship winner (not to mention WTA Player of the Year) Kvitova has a chance to formally knock Caroline out of the top spot if Petra can go on to win the Sydney tournament. I am beginning to think that since the late part of last year until now, we are beginning to see top players figure Caroline out. I thought she had a good chance to win the 2012 Australian Open with Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams as injury question marks, and the rest of field, Kvitova included, not really locks in my mind yet. Now I don’t know. If Kvitova beats Li Na in the semis and the winner of Radwanska-Victoria Azarenka in the final, to go along with finishing 2011 with the Tour Championship, maybe there really is a new sheriff in town…and her name is Petra Kvitova.



Li Na


But before we crown Petra the queen in Sydney or coming up in Melbourne, let’s not forget that she still has a semifinal date with Li Na. If this is a revitalized Li Na at the beginning of 2012, and I sure hope it is, then she can threaten anybody on hardcourts. I can’t wait to see what happens in the Kvitova-Li match. It should tell us a lot about where Li is and just how dominant Kvitova really is at this time.





Singles - Quarterfinals
(7) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 36 75 62
(2) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 60 64
(3) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (8) Marion Bartoli (FRA) 75 64
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) 62 76(3)

Petra Kvitova




Victoria Azarenka


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Old 01-12-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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more pics and video on my blog: Li Na Derails Petra Kvitova’s #1 Quest At 2012 Apia International Sydney, Will Face Victoria Azarenka In Final Fairways and Forehands

Li Na


Petra Kvitova needed two more wins at the 2012 Apia International Sydney to ascend to the world #1 ranking in women’s tennis. For a set and a half against Li Na, the defending Sydney champion, it looked like she would get the first of those requisite pair of wins, leading 6-1 3-1 and thoroughly outplaying Li. But Li Na won this title last year with a monumental comeback from down 0-5 to Kim Clijsters in the first set to win the final in straight sets. Once again, with the help of 21 unforced errors in the second set from Kvitova, Li fought back to overcome a big deficit, defeating Kvitova 1-6 7-5 6-2. The win wasn’t only about unforced errors. Li changed her tactics to lure Kvitova into errors. The 2011 Roland Garros winner started hitting more down the center of the court, not going for lines so much and giving herself more room. The 2011 Wimbledon winner seemed to be taken out of her game by the lack of angles Li was giving her. And let’s face it, Kvitova still has a reputation for rollercoaster results. She can be brilliant (Wimbledon, Tour Championship) and awful (US Open). With Kim Clijsters and Serena Williams still question marks, I think Kvitova is the best player when she’s on her game. The only flaw she has is inconsistency at times (well, that and she doesn’t have the athleticism of Clijsters or Serena, she doesn’t move as well). If she can find a way to maintain the play that had her up 6-1 3-1 to start the match, there might not be anybody on tour who can match her. For Li, she has the chance to give China winners in back to back weeks on the WTA, with Zheng Jie winning the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand last week. I didn’t cover that on this blog, but all tennis fans that follow the tour know there are almost always multiple events happening each week, even challenger and circuit type events.



Victoria Azarenka


It doesn’t get any easier for Li Na in the final, as Victoria Azarenka, a player with future Major winner written all over her, awaits. Like Li, Azarenka also came back from a 1-6 drubbing in the first set to dismiss Agnieszka Radwanska 1-6 6-3 6-2. Victoria just looked like she was pushing too much in the first set. She had her chances to make the set more even but didn’t capitalize on them. Once she started to roll in the second set, that talent that has people speaking of her as the potential rival of Kvitova over the next several years came to the fore. It should be a very interesting final. Li’s win over Kvitova was absolutely huge for her confidence, but Azarenka is an extremely tough final opponent.



Singles - Semifinals
(4) Li Na (CHN) d. (2) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 16 75 62
(3) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (7) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 16 63 62

Li Na


Victoria Azarenka


Petra Kvitova


Agnieszka Radwanska
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Last edited by bangkokbobby; 01-12-2012 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:23 AM   #5
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more pics and video on my blog: Victoria Azarenka Wins 2012 Apia International Sydney Fairways and Forehands

Victoria Azarenka


She has “future Major winner” written all over her, and now Victoria Azarenka goes into the Australian Open riding the high of a title win at the 2012 Apia International Sydney, defeating Li Na in a see-saw battle, 6-2 1-6 6-3. Vika was able to thwart Li Na’s attempt to attack her up the middle of the court, similar to how the Chinese star unhinged Petra Kvitova’s game in the semifinals. It didn’t work this time as Vika spinted out to a 6-2 first set win. Li Na switched tactics, going for more angles and attacking Vika’s backhand wide to storm back and take the second set 6-1. But Azarenka would not be denied on this day, taking the final set 6-3 to deny Li back to back titles in Sydney.



What does this mean about Vika’s chances in Melbourne at the year’s first Major? Well, I think nothing changes, really. She has been a threat to win her first Slam for some time now and remains one of the top contenders. However, two weeks is a long time in tennis terms and all of the top players, save for the injured Andrea Petkovic, will be at the Australian Open. So Vika is one of the favorites, but I can’t say she is THE favorite. With so many question marks about the health of Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters, I’m not certain there is one clear favorite. I am certain about one thing, however. I would not be surprised if Vika is holding the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at the end of play in Melbourne.

Singles - Final
(3) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (4) Li Na (CHN) 62 16 63





Victoria Azarenka




Li Na


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Old 01-13-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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Hey Bobby, maybe I missed it somewhere in your stories, BUT, how tall is that Petra Kvitrova?

Viva/ Kim C
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Buzzer View Post
Hey Bobby, maybe I missed it somewhere in your stories, BUT, how tall is that Petra Kvitrova?

Viva/ Kim C
Petra is listed at 6 feet tall...she's so leggy I think she looks taller...but standing next to Maria Sharapova, who is listed as 6'2", she looks shorter...but I'm still going with 6'1" for Petra...especially since I believe Masha is closer to 6'3"...





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Old 01-14-2012, 03:58 AM   #8
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It looks like Sharapova is gaining some meat! Look at those drumsticks.

She stopped growing vertically, now she is growing horizontally. Everything is getting larger except for her boobs which still look like those of an undeveloped 13-year old's.
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