Friday, 2 October 2009

Tokyo: Thunderous Masha to meet Rock-Solid Jelena

“If I can win my third title of the year, that would be pretty good,” Jankovic said. “It’s been a difficult year so it would be nice to finish strong.”

Jankovic, the highest seeded player left in the tournament, said she was looking forward to facing Sharapova.

“It will be a difficult match,” Jankovic said. “She is a strong hitter. I haven’t played her in a while and don’t know how she is playing so it will be an interesting match.”

(Yahoo! Sports)

A surprisingly muted assessment of one of her best weeks this year.

It certainly
will be an interesting match against Pova. If Jelena can somehow manage to weather the thunder which Pova will unleash for large portions of the match, she's quite capable of winning this thing.

I've loved what I've seen from Pova this week, but there's still an uncertainty underpinning all her wins.

To be fair to her, A-Rad played what I'm pretty sure is her best tennis since 2007; a development I have to say I'm truly chuffed about.

There's not a lot of players that move as well as her, and that can play that kind of a shot under pressure. Her win over Pova back in Flushing 07 was certainly no fluke, even though it coincided with the onset of Shaza's ongoing shoulder problems.

Shaza did what she does best to eventually bag the win here: pull out the stops in one of those unnerving displays of brute-
belief-force. Unequivocally her greatest asset.

But as intimidating as that last set must have proved for A-Rad, she had Maria's number for surprisingly large parts of the match; lulls that Jelena seems better gifted to take advantage of.

Specially when you consider the way she's been playing this week.

I've unfortunately learnt to put
none of my free-range eggs in the Li Na basket. A player I unreservedly proclaim as having the best technique on tour. On both wings she produces groundies that honestly do make the women's game look very pretty indeed.

(Photo; AFP/Getty Images)

Not only is her movement an asset - her muscular build ensures a putaway in situations where other players might seize up and settle for more inane, medium paced disfunction. An athlete in every sense of the word with a very becoming layer of feistiness in tow.

But it's perhaps been that somewhat overindulgent shotmaking that's behind the kind of error-strewn performances we've seen from her time and time again.

Jelena didn't have to be at her best to get the better of Li today; but she wasn't far from it - she's been rock solid since the beginning of the event, a quality that should see her past Shaza to her third title of the year.

Now I'll be running along to prepare more of those egg whites for my face tomorrow.

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