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Old 05-08-2012, 01:21 AM   #111
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more pics and videos on my blog: Serena Williams Rises, Venus Williams Falls At 2012 Mutua Madrid Open; Samantha Stosur Turns It On Late To Advance | Fairways and Forehands

Serena Williams


Serena Williams opened her quest for the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open with a convincing win over Elena Vesnina, 6-3 6-1. The 13-time Major winner (singles) was just too much for Vesnina, ripping 14 aces. Meanwhile, Venus Williams, playing her second round match, fell to Angelique Kerber, 6-4 6-1. To those who only know the Williams sisters and don’t follow the WTA closely, that seems like an upset. It isn’t. Venus is on the downside of her career while Kerber has been a rising star this year. Angelique has 2 WTA titles this year, in Paris and Copenhagen. She also has beaten Caroline Wozniacki twice as well as posting victories over Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic and Marion Bartoli.

Samantha Stosur


Samantha Stosur came back from a set down to oust young American Christina McHale. It was a real missed opportunity for McHale. But give Samantha credit. After being down 2-6 4-4, she won the last 8 matches of the match to win, 2-6 6-4 6-0. It’s really a tough way for McHale to lose. She should feel good that she pushed Samantha, but it’s difficult not to focus on the final round bagel Stosur hung on her.



Singles – Second Round
(5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Christina McHale (USA) 26 64 60
(8) Li Na (CHN) d. (WC) Sílvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 63 61
(12) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. (WC) Venus Williams (USA) 64 61
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. (Q) Lourdes Domínguez Lino (ESP) 64 75

Singles – First Round
(3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 62 63
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 63 61
(WC) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d. (15) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 46 76(5) 64
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. Kaia Kanepi (EST) 64 64
Sara Errani (ITA) d. Chanelle Scheepers (RSA) 46 62 63
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 62 76(3)
(Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. Peng Shuai (CHN) 64 57 64
(Q) Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) d. (Q) Anastasia Rodionova (AUS) 61 64

Angelique Kerber


Petra Kvitova


Elena Vesnina
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:31 PM   #112
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Serena steamrolled over her R2 opponent today, she will be tough to stop.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:55 AM   #113
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more pics and video on my blog: Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic Advance In Second Round Of 2012 Mutua Madrid Open; Caroline Wozniacki Sets Up Showdown With Serena Williams | Fairways and Forehands

Victoria Azarenka


While I like an upset at times in tennis, the great thing about the big guns advancing is setting up mouth-watering match-ups. With Ana Ivanovic and Victoria Azarenka advancing through the second round, we will see an intriguing showdown between the current #1 Vika and former #1 Ana. Normally, I would say Vika at the moment should win. But this blue clay has proven to be rather slippery and Vika’s biggest physical edge over Ana is her movement. If Azarenka can’t move as she normally does and Ana has the big serve and forehand going…anything can happen.



Caroline Wozniacki


But the match that fans really want to see is Caroline Wozniacki against Serena Williams. Both advanced in straight sets, with Serena looking especially strong in dispatching Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. However, keep in mind that Caroline beat Serena at Miami this year, her first win over one of the big 3 that had stymied her: Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters. Caroline has a bit of an injured ankle, but there are no excuses. She can win against Serena. If she doesn’t, it will be because Serena plays better, not a hobbled ankle.

Singles – Second Round
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (Q) Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 63 76(2)
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Klara Zakopalova (CZE) 64 63
(6) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Mona Barthel (GER) 64 76(2)
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 62 61
(13) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. Nadia Petrova (RUS) 75 61
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (WC) Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) 63 64
Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) d. Sorana Cirstea (ROU) 61 36 75
(Q) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Shahar Peer (ISR) 76(2) 64

Maria Sharapova


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Old 05-09-2012, 09:13 PM   #114
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Serena looks like the one to beat but hope Maria prove me wrong.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:59 PM   #115
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more pics and video on my blog: Victoria Azarenka, Li Na Advance At 2012 Mutua Madrid Open, Set Up Quarterfinal Showdown | Fairways and Forehands

Victoria Azarenka


World #1 Victoria Azarenka absorbed a strong early attack from former world #1 Ana Ivanovic before coming back to post a 6-4 6-4 win in the third round of the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open. I expected Ana to play well, and she did at the outset. Ivanovic had Azarenka reeling as Ana started the match with a 4-1 lead. But Vika fought back to rip off the next 7 straight games to turn 1-4 down into 6-4 2-0 up. I thought Ana had a real chance to win this match. She just has to get a little bit mentally tougher when the momentum shifts against her.

“I had so many opportunities but I lost that game and then got down on myself. It was frustrating, because I just let it slip. I would feel a little bit better if at least she had earned it, but I kind of let it slip with a few unforced errors. I think that’s where the match probably turned around.” – Ana Ivanovic

Li Na


Awaiting Vika in the quarterfinals will be 2011 Roland Garros champion Li Na. Li posted an impressive victory over the surging Angelique Kerber, 7-5 6-4. Although Li is ranked higher, I would have made Kerber the favorite going in. It’s a very good win for Li. However, she goes from the frying pan into the fire with Vika up next. But it’s also a great test for Azarenka, too. She has not looked unbeatable lately like she did earlier this season. The thing I worry about with Li against Vika is Li Na’s high risk-high reward style is prone to a lot of unforced errors. She can’t give Azarenka free points. If Li can keep the errors to a minimum, it could be a good match.



Singles – Third Round
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (13) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 64 64
(5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Petra Cetkovska (CZE) 63 62
(8) Li Na (CHN) d. (12) Angelique Kerber (GER) 75 64

Singles – Second Round
(Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. (3) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 64 63
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Sara Errani (ITA) 60 61
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (16) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 64 64
Roberta Vinci (ITA) d. Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) 61 62

Ana Ivanovic


Agnieszka Radwanska
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:28 PM   #116
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Na Li is due for a good tournament, will be a fun match with Azarenka tomorrow.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:01 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by 18majors View Post
Na Li is due for a good tournament, will be a fun match with Azarenka tomorrow.
Go Li Na!

more pics and video on my blog: Serena Williams Roars Back Against Caroline Wozniacki At 2012 Mutua Madrid Open, Will Meet Maria Sharapova In Quarters; Agnieszka Radwanska Quietly Moving Through Draw | Fairways and Forehands

Serena Williams


For a while, it looked like Caroline Wozniacki was going to follow her victory over Serena Williams at Miami 2012 with another triumph in the third round of the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open. It’s difficult enough to break Serena’s serve one time in a set. Wozniacki came out and broke Serena three times en route to a 6-1 first set win. I thought Caroline had a chance to beat Serena, but not blow her out. But then, Williams regrouped, especially on serve where she didn’t lose another service game, roaring back to dismiss Caroline, 1-6 6-3 6-2. Up next is Maria Sharapova, who won on a walkover as Lucie Safarova was unable to play due to illness. Any time arguably the two biggest stars on the WTA play, it’s good for the game. However, despite Masha’s career defining win being her 2004 Wimbledon final victory at 17 years old over Serena, she has not fared well in her career against Williams, trailing the head to head 2-7. Serena claims Masha is the favorite because she comes in off a title in Stuttgart. That’s a bit of gamesmanship. Serena also won her last event, the Family Circle Cup, where she looked much more dominant. Add in the 7-2 advantage for Serena against Masha, and clearly Serena is the favorite. If Masha wins, and she does have a chance if she serves well, it would be huge for her confidence. It would also make me think Sharapova could regain the #1 ranking.



Agnieszka Radwanska


With all eyes on Serena, Masha, Caroline and Victoria Azarenka, possibly the 2nd best player in 2012, Agnieszka Radwanska, has quietly moved through the draw. But make no mistake, she is a real threat to anybody she faces here. Just ask Masha, who lost to Aga in the final at Miami 2012. Radwanska might not have the marquee name like Serena or Sharapova, but she sure has the game.

Singles – Third Round
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Lucie Safarova (CZE) w/o (GI illness)
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 76(1) 64
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. (6) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 16 63 62
(Q) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 61 67(3) 63
(Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 62 76(5)

Serena Williams


Caroline Wozniacki
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:49 PM   #118
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more pics and video on my blog: Victoria Azarenka Edges Li Na, Serena Williams Routs Maria Sharapova In Quarterfinals Of 2012 Mutua Madrid Open | Fairways and Forehands

Victoria Azarenka


The quarterfinal match-up between Victoria Azarenka and Li Na at the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open promised to be a tight contest, and it lived up to prior billing. Li Na came out strong, breaking Vika to go up 4-2 on an Azarenka double fault on double break point. However, Vika rebounded from eventually dropping the first set to surge back and take the final two sets, winning 3-6 6-3 6-3. Only 3 total points separated the two players in this match. Up next for Vika is Agnieszka Radwanska, whom she has beaten 5 times already this year. The air is a bit chilly between these two lately. We’ll see if Aga can turn up the heat on Azarenka or go down for a sixth time.

Serena Williams


Not living up to the hype was the match between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. Serena actually didn’t get a great percentage of first serves in, only 52%. But when she needed it, she was able to crank up a powerful ace, scorching 11 in total. In the end, Serena had too much for Masha, winning 6-1 6-3. Obviously, the players still around in the semifinals need to concentrate on their own games. Still, I have to wonder if Vika didn’t take a peek at Serena’s dismantling of Masha and wonder what she can do should they meet in the final. But first, both Vika and Serena have semifinal opponents to worry about. Anything can happen in sports. That said, the final most want to see is Vika vs Serena to see who the real #1 is right now.



Singles – Quarterfinals
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (8) Li Na (CHN) 36 63 63
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. (2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) 61 63
(4) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (Q) Varvara Lepchenko (USA) 64 64
(Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE) d. (5) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 76(8) 76(6)

Agnieszka Radwanska


Li Na


Maria Sharapova
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:30 AM   #119
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more pics and video on my blog: Smoked By Serena: Where Do Victoria Azarenka And Maria Sharapova Go After Blowout Losses To Williams In Madrid? | Fairways and Forehands

Serena Williams


When Serena Williams won Family Circle Cup 2012, she did so in emphatic fashion. She wasn’t simply good. She looked like a professional toying with amateurs. However, despite lopsided wins over Samantha Stosur and Lucie Safarova, I wanted to see how she would do on clay against a stronger field. Well, after the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open, and her blowout victories over the current #1 and #2 players in the world, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, the questions now turn to what Vika and Masha can do to bounce back. Before I get to that, let me say one thing. As good as she looked, Serena is not unbeatable. Remember that she has been back since before Wimbledon 2011 and hasn’t won a Major since her return. She looked unbeatable last summer all the way through to the US Open final, where she lost to Stosur. She was at Australia and Miami this year, looking good…but not winning the tournament. So while she has looked good her last two tournaments, she is still human and doesn’t win everything.

Victoria Azarenka


Basically, Vika and Masha have the same problem. One is #1, Vika, and one has her eyes on regaining #1, Masha. Azarenka is 1-7 against Serena. Despite her career win coming against Serena at Wimbledon 2004, Masha isn’t much better at 2-8. What’s more, Masha hasn’t beaten Serena since the 2004 Tour Championship. 2004! Vika’s lone win was in Miami 2009. Those numbers have to improve or it hurts the legitimacy of their rankings. They don’t have to have winning records against Serena. It’s probably too late in Serena’s career for them to have time to do that even if they somehow start playing Serena better. But they have to be competitive. Kim Clijsters also has a bad record against Serena at 2-7. However, 4 of those losses were tough 3-setters. Justine Henin had a 6-8 record against Serena, but beat her at 3 straight Majors in 2007 (Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open). And 1 of Justine’s losses was during her comeback when she wasn’t the player she was before. The point is, win or lose, Kim and Justine were out there fighting. Vika and Masha looked lost in Madrid. They looked beaten physically and mentally. What’s more, unlike Kim and Justine, they were not even making Serena play shots.



Serena was great against Vika, nailing 14 aces and 26 winners. But Serena would have won even at 80% of her best. Vika wasn’t even making her play. Azarenka had no aces against 6 double faults. She was even more dreadful with 6 winners against 19 unforced errors. I understand you can’t just get the ball in against Serena…but you can’t spray the ball all over the place either. Serena hit 26 winners? Make her hit 46 winners. You just can’t have a minus-13 winners to unforced error difference. I also understand that the pressure was really on Vika in this match. A loss, especially a bad loss, could in the minds of some, particularly those that don’t follow the WTA closely, wipe out some of what she’s accomplished as being done without having to go through Serena. I don’t agree with that. As I stated, Serena was at Australia. And didn’t win it. Vika did. That said, when Serena steamrolls #1 and #2 in the same tournament, the chorus of “Serena is #1 when she wants to be” is hard to argue against. Vika and Maria at least have to make Serena hit winner after winner after winner. Giving up free points against Serena is not an option. Serena might still win. But in matches that Serena loses, I’ve seen her hit a few errant shots and get out of rhythm. That will only happen if you take Serena deep into rallies. Also, it will test her fitness. I don’t think Serena is in top shape. But it’s not a liability if points are short and matches end quickly. It’s easier said than done, for sure. But we just had a #1, Caroline Wozniacki, who was ranked #1 but seen by some as not the best when compared to the injured and/or part time playing Serena and Clijsters. I would hate for women’s tennis to have another reigning #1 surrounded by the buzz that she is simply a seat warmer for the real best player in the world.

Singles – Final
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. (1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 61 63

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Old 05-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #120
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more pics and video on my blog: Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova Advance In Second Round Of Rome 2012 | Fairways and Forehands

Maria Sharapova


It wasn’t easy for Maria Sharapova or Petra Kvitova, but each managed straight set wins to advance at the 2012 Internazionali BNL d’Italia. That’s the last time I am going to type that until the final, opting instead to just call it Rome 2012. But back to Masha and Petra. Sharapova found herself down 1-4 in the first set against one of my favorite up and coming players, American Christina McHale. Masha was also down in the second set. However, the #2 ranked player in the world managed to tough out a 7-5 7-5 victory. Speaking of Masha, there is a Head ATP Ball promotion to get a chance to meet Masha and men’s world #1 Novak Djokovic. Unfortunately, I heard this contest might not be available to U.S. or Canadian residents.



Petra Kvitova


Petra Kvitova had her own struggles with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, fighting back from down a break in both sets to squeeze by, 7-5 6-4. Pavlyuchenkova always plays Petra tough. This was the first match they’ve played that didn’t go 3 sets. I hope both Petra and Masha pick up their games going forward. They will need to. A certain #9 seed advanced easily in her first round match and will only pick up speed as the tournament goes on.



Jelena Jankovic


Ana Ivanovic


Singles – Second Round
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. Christina McHale (USA) 75 75
(4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 75 64

Singles – First Round
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) 62 63
Marina Erakovic (NZL) d. (11) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 76(4) 46 63
(14) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. (Q) Mirjana Lucic (CRO) 61 62
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. (15) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 63 46 76(4)
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) d. (16) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 61 76(2)
Sara Errani (ITA) d. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 60 30 ret. (left abdominal injury)
Petra Cetkovska (CZE) d. (Q) Olga Govortsova (BLR) 75 64
Nadia Petrova (RUS) d. (Q) Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) 63 63
(Q) Sílvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) d. (WC) Alberta Brianti (ITA) 62 61
(Q) Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (Q) Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) 62 26 64
(WC) Venus Williams (USA) d. Simona Halep (ROU) 63 64
(WC) Karin Knapp (ITA) d. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 64 26 62
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