Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Dubai: Ladies Round Up.

Williams d. Azarenka 6-3 7-5

After witnessing probably the worst match contested by a couple of top seeds (Venus v Li Na in the QFs of Oz if you’re still wondering) in the second week of a Slam, I’d more or less consigned Venus to the ‘If you haven’t anything good to say…’ basket.

I’m not sure we’ll ever crack the nut of why performances like this continue to be a feature of Wimbledon and no where else – what I do know is that it’s wholly appropriate for a die hard fan like myself to continue to ask why.

It’s no secret I actually prefer her game over her sister’s – she may not reach top gear that often these days, but heaven help her opponents when she does: performances I believe might actually surpass Serena.

One has to feel something for Vika even it isn’t sorrow, and even if like me, you find it difficult to cosy up to her. Not that I’d ever even dare attempt it.

Her performances have mostly been consistent and she’s truly earnt her top ten position.

Every time in the last 12 months she’s come within clinching distance of what by any other reckoning would qualify as a breakthrough performance (not that different to what Caz-Woz achieved in Flushing), she’s run into Serena playing one of the very many “matches of her life”.

What was scary last week however (most things with Vika usually are), was how frequently she came to the net and how dedicated to the process she appears to be.

Stubborn sorts like Vika take a most unique form of affrontery at being told they can’t do, or aren’t suited to something.

A closer inspection of the facts reveal that coming to the net more is indeed part of the agenda for 2010. She even revealed how hitting with no less an artisan than Stefan Edberg recently in Hong Kong had helped her grow in that sphere.

Whatever. I don’t suddenly expect her to morph into Amelie Mauresmo. At the moment she’s anything but – with nine out of every ten net approaches ending in a drive volley.

Don’t cringe. The drive volley’s here to stay, whatever you might think about it.

It’s also as much a part of tennis as anything seen during Chris Evert’s day.

I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite so elegant as Venus Williams taking on the stroke in full flight.


Fed’s absence in Dubai has once again turned it into a two, three or four horse race depending on how far your loyalties extend.

Djoko and Muzzard through comfortably today. Davy and Tsonga with some convincing to do.

Tsonga might have wished for a better opener. Llodra’s fresh from his win in Marseille and Benneteau (the runner up there) was the guy that took Jo out.

I might be wrong but I’d guess he's not that into French Connections right now.

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