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Old 01-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #11
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more pics and video on my blog: Kim Clijsters Powers Through To Semifinals Of 2012 Brisbane International Fairways and Forehands



Iveta Benesova was able to outplay and outfox Samantha Stosur in the 2nd round of the 2012 Brisbane International. In the quarterfinals, former world #1 Kim Clijsters would have none of it. Kim displayed a game that looks primed for the upcoming Australian Open, where she is the defending champion, in ousting Benesova, 6-3 6-2. And watching the match, the score could have been worse if not for a few loose shots by Kimmie. She won this tournament in 2010 in a thrilling 3-set final over countrywoman Justine Henin where Clijsters had to fight off 2 match points and a horrible overrule by the chair umpire on a match point. She now stands two victories away from another title, but Daniela Hantuchova will have a lot to say about that. Even should Kim get past Daniela in the semis, the winner of Francesca Schiavone and Kaia Kanepi would await in the final.



With all due respect to Hantuchova, you can be sure the tournament officials are hoping for Kim to at least make the final, even if she doesn’t ultimately take the title. Losing Samantha Stosur, Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Andrea Petkovic has taken out a lot of the fan favorites. Having “Aussie Kim” in the final is probably the best scenario for the local fans other than actual Australian Stosur. But it’s sports. You never know what is going to happen. Daniela will not roll over and just let Kimmie through to the final, nor should she. Also, due to Serena pulling out with an injury following her second round match, Daniela received a walkover victory in the quarterfinals, so she will have an extra day of rest to prepare for Clijsters. Plus, I remember what Daniela did to Caroline Wozniacki at Roland Garros in 2011 (granted, a much different surface against a player who does not attack like Kimmie). Hantuchova can be brilliant at times and mediocre at times. If the brilliant Daniela shows up, Kim better bring her A game.



Singles - Quarterfinals
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (2) Andrea Petkovic (GER) 61 76(7)
(3) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) d. (6) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 57 76(2) 63
(5) Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 63 62

Kim Clijsters


Jelena Jankovic


Kaia Kanepi
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Last edited by bangkokbobby; 01-06-2012 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:51 PM   #12
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from my blog: Should Kim Clijsters Fans Be Worried After Injury Retirement From 2012 Brisbane International? Fairways and Forehands



Kim Clijsters started her 2011 season with a flourish, winning the Australian Open, her 4th Major, and soon after regaining the #1 ranking. It was a lost season from that point on, as she just couldnít stay healthy. So snake-bitten with injuries was she that she even hurt her ankle dancing at a wedding. To recap, she retired with a shoulder injury after winning the first set against Marion Bartoli at Indian Wells. Then the wedding dance injury to her ankle. Then another ankle injury at the UNICEF Open. She had to retire from a match with Zheng Jie at the Rogers Cup, again after winning the first set, with an abdominal injury. She had no clay court matches to prep going into Roland Garros and looked like it, getting bumped out in the 2nd round. She missed Wimbledon. She missed the US Open, losing an opportunity to defend her title. She missed the rest of the 2011 season since the Rogers Cup in August, and didnít play much before that. Now, fast forward to the beginning of the 2012 season and once again, just a day after her game looked sharp enough to defend her 2011 Australian Open title, she won the first set against Daniela Hantuchova before being forced to retire with a hip injury.



While it seems she will be ready for Melbourne, which is why she shut it down in Brisbane once she didnít feel right, as a fan of hersÖsheís my favorite tennis player, my favorite athlete in the world at the momentÖI feel like I have seen this movie before. She hasnít been able to physically finish a tournament without an injury since early 2011. Honestly, I wonder if she can get through the 2 week grind of trying to win a Major without having to pull out with an injury. I certainly hope she can. But as a fan, I wonder how long she will go on battling injury after injury after injury before she decides it isnít worth it at this point in her life. She already was hinting that 2012 might be her last year, that she was holding out for the opportunity to play in the London Summer Olympics. If I were a fan of Kimís, and I am, if she gets injured again in Melbourne and has to retire from another match, Iím afraid we might not see much more of Kim on the WTA Tour.



Singles Ė Semifinals
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. (3) Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 63 60
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) d. (5) Kim Clijsters (BEL) 67(4) 31 ret. (left hip injury)

Kim Clijsters
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Old 01-07-2012, 06:01 PM   #13
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more pics and video on my blog: Kaia Kanepi Wins 2nd WTA Title At 2012 Brisbane International Fairways and Forehands

Kaia Kanepi


Congratulations to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia on her 2nd career WTA title at the 2012 Brisbane International. It is her first Premier-level title. At the beginning of this tournament, Kaia would not have been anybody’s pick to emerge as champion with players like Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Samantha Stosur, Ana Ivanovic, Andrea Petkovic and Francesca Schiavone in the draw. But that’s why they play the game. Injuries to Clijsters and Williams, along with upsets, decimated the field. However, do not be fooled into thinking Kanepi didn’t earn this victory. She certainly did, and in emphatic fashion. After a tough 3-setter in the first round against Alexandra Panova, Kanepi blew out 7th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0 6-3, 2nd seed Petkovic 6-1 7-6 (7), 3rd seed Schiavone 6-3 6-0 and Daniela Hantuchova 6-2 6-1. That’s very impressive.



That said, it’s hard to tell what this means beyond the fact that Kaia was brilliant in this tournament. It’s early in the year and just one event. We’ll see if she can build on this at the Australian Open. The 26-year old Kanepi is a tour veteran but has never been past the 3rd round in Melbourne. She’s a big hitter and has reached the quarterfinals of the 3 other Majors in her career, but generally speaking, she has been an early round casualty in most Majors. For example, last year (2011) she lost in the 1st round of Wimbledon, the 2nd round of the Australian Open and US Open, and finally the 3rd round of Roland Garros. Still, she has a big game. Might she be a late bloomer a la Li Na and Francesca Schiavone? We will see. She definitely has the talent to be a top player.



Singles – Final
Kaia Kanepi (EST) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 62 61



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Last edited by bangkokbobby; 01-07-2012 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #14
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more pics and video on my blog: Is Ivan Lendl The Key To Lifting Andy Murray To Grand Slam Glory? Fairways and Forehands

Ivan Lendl, Andy Murray


Make it 1 for 1 on the Andy Murray-Ivan Lendl partnership. Andy was very impressive in winning the 2012 Brisbane International menís singles title, defeating Alexandr Dolgopolov in the final, 6-1 6-3. But the harder questions get asked in the next few weeks as Andy and new coach Lendl try to get the talented British star to the ultimate goal, a Major championship title. I think there are couple of reasons to believe Lendl can push Murray to new heights (and no, 1986 Lendl materializing from the past and playing for Andy isnít one of them).



The first reason is obvious. Heís Ivan freakiní Lendl, for crying out loud! Now, I get that great players donít always make great coaches, but itís more than Ivanís record as a player. However, since I mentioned it, hereís a little snapshot of the record of one of the most underrated champions in tennis history in my opinion. 8 Major titles. 11 Major runner-ups. 19 Major finals (a menís record until broken by Roger Federer). 144 titles. 1071 match victories. Reached at least 1 Major final for 11 consecutive years (a menís record shared with Pete Sampras). Ranked #1 for 270 weeks (a menís record until broken by Pete Sampras and Roger Federer). Thereís more, but Iíll leave it there.



Still, as I said, itís not Lendlís record that helps Andy. He doesnít get any bonus points in matches for having an all-time great as a coach. What might make a difference is the stat of 19 Majors and 8 titles. As great as Lendl was, there was a time when he was known more for his inability to win a Major than for his consistently high play. In fact, the word choke was frequently thrown around by his critics. Even when he finally shook the bridesmaid tag, coming back from 2 sets to love down in the 1984 Roland Garros (French Open) final and went on to dominate the mid to late 80s, his critics still focus on his failures rather than his accomplishments. Sure, he won 3 straight US OpensÖBUTÖthey sayÖhe reached 8 straight US Open finals, so that means he sandwiched 5 losses around those 3 straight victories.



If there is any player who can speak to Andy as a kindred soul, itís Lendl. Andy, too, is a prodigiously blessed player with shelves full of trophies, except for the ones that matter most. I donít think Ivan can really teach Andy much about the technical aspects of his strokes. Thatís not Andyís problem. He needs that voice. He needs that person who can help him handle the moments of doubt. In Lendl, he has a coach who has not only championship pedigree, but had to climb the mountain to overcome his own shortcomings.



And the second reason I think Lendl can help Murray, or be dismissed quickly, is Murrayís reputation for being very difficult with coaches. Ivan will not put up with any nonsense from Andy. If Murray gives too much attitude to Lendl, you can bet the 8-time Grand Slam champion will walk. What I think is more likely is that Murray knows who Ivan is and will know when to draw the line. Andy needs a personality strong enough to get in his face and tell him to stop sulking and getting down on himself. Ivan is just what the doctor ordered.



Andy Murray






Alexandr Dolgopolov




Ivan Lendl
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