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Paszekfan

2009 Sony Ericsson Open Friday March 27

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Day 3 report--Friday March 27

This was a pretty busy day, and it started off with a spit or two of rain and overcast. I watched Suarez Navarro warming up on court 6 for a few moments before parking in court 2 to see Paszek's warm up for her match with Kuznetsova. She was to be 2nd match on 2 after Dent and Almagro. The stands packed up for that men's match but as it turned out, hardly anyone stayed for the ladies.

Went to court 1 to see Safin finish warming up and then Markiri and Flavia for their 2nd rounder. Pennetta broke early and held her edge through the latter part of set 1 and won 6-4. Pennetta was keeping the ball in play with fewer UEs, but there wasn't much to separate these two at all.

I wanted to get a seat for Paszek/Kuznetsova at that point so I went to see the third set of Dent/Almagro, which was exciting, with the crowd very pro-Taylor. Both wasted a number of opportunities to pull away. Inevitably, it went to a 3rd set tiebreak, 9 points to 7.

Paszek v Kuznetsova: Well, I read a lot of the comments on this match from those who "watched" it on the live score, and most of the comments were dead wrong, which goes to show you how misleading the livescore can be. People have a tendency to think that the only possible explanation can be that it was their player playing poorly, but Sveta fans, know this please: Tamira was controlling this match, pushing Sveta back off the baseline with deep, penetrating groundstrokes, and holding her serve with ease. That's how the score came to be 6-2, 3-0, and no amount of spin or revisionist history can change that. I was so proud of Tamira--she was playing a perfect match. Sveta was very fortunate not to be wiped out 2 and 1, the way it was going. She was saved, I felt, by two things.

First, Sveta served a ton of aces from the midpoint of set two to the end of the match. That alone would not have been enough to change the complexion of this match, though, since Tamira was holding serve without much of a problem at all, serving up a couple of aces of her own as well as numerous deep first and second serves which kept Kuznetsova from attacking. The bigger issue was that Tamira basically hit a wall and ran out of energy. It isn't surprising, given that it was her 4th match in 5 days, while Sveta had played a total of one doubles with Mauresmo. If Mimi hadn't had to play qualies here, I think she would have won in two sets.

I was sitting in the front row on the east side for this match, and clapping and cheering at every opportunity, pumping my fist to show support. I think most everyone else was pulling for Sveta. Perhaps fittingly, I caught the ball that Paszek shanked into the stands. In the late third set, Tamira had little resistance, as she looked exhausted--and frustrated. She exclaimed "Mama Mia! How can this happen?!", which I thought was just a bit funny since she was born in Austria, has ethnic roots from everywhere around the globe, and speaks German as her first language. Curiously, I took no pictures or videos of this match, as I was too engrossed in watching her dissect Sveta.

But kudos to Kuznetsova. She is a tough cookie, and hung in there when she was getting her brains bashed. Having later seen Kuznetsova push around Vaidisova, I came away from this match very impressed with the state of Tamira's game, because she did not let Kuznetsova move her around much in this this match, at least until she hit that wall. Rather, it was Tamira being the more aggressive. I think it was a brief glimpse of the kind of player Paszek has the potential to be--and will be--in a few years.


Next it was over to see some of the women's doubles match between Mirza/Chuang and Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova. I was able to get some video of Sania here, as well as a couple of really beautiful photos of her. I don't watch much doubles, so I really can't comment on how this match was going. I was also able to snap a few photos of Agnes Szavai in her 2nd round match.

Next up was Bartoli and Yakimova on court 3. Szavai had just finished up on this court, and as I walked in, I saw Marion walking toward me from the stands--she had been watching the prior match from the bleachers instead of waiting in the locker room! You don't see that much in Miami...As she was patiently navigating toward the court entrance, I said "Hello, Marion! Good luck!" as we were face to face. She said "thank you" but looked a little subdued. I really think she wasn't feeling well. By the end of warm up, she was sweating quite a bit. Her legs, especially, were covered in sweat. She was broken early, and while she broke back and leveled at 2-2, that was the high point of the day for her. She was making tons of UEs, but credit Yakimova for making her work harder out there than she obviously was able to. Near the end of the 1st set she called her Dad out for coaching, but he didn't have much to say, as I think they were both resigned to the fact that it just wasn't her day. Walter was sitting a row down and a couple of seats over from me in this match, and I really didn't see him change expressions the whole time.

Marion took an extended toilet break after set 1, and while she fought on in set 2, she just never got in a position where she was ahead, and I think that in and of itself probably weighed her down mentally and contributed to her defeat. Yakimova is short, and petite, and I think she just handled the heat better than Marion did. I made a few videos of Marion in this match, including one of her footwork on the serve, which is among the oddest and most mechanical you'll ever see.

Marion looked over to the stands a lot, and I let her know I was supporting her by demonstratively clapping (so did some others) but I think she was looking for answers more than anything.

I saw the end of the second set and all of the third set of Wozniacki v Dokic. I don't think either was playing well, as it was more of a game of who could hit the fewest errors. Dokic seemed to hit a few more winners, but Wozniacki was more consistent, and that ultimately let her win. Caro called the trainer in set 3, but I couldn't see what they were working on. Dokic was having problems with her serve in this one.

I then stayed to see Azarenka and Pavlyuchenkova, which was a "hot mess" for awhile in the first set, before Vika settled down and pulled away for an easy victory. Both have power, both are solid, but I didn't see anything in this match that would suggest that either is a future No. 1, either. Another choppy match filled with short points that ended on errors. I think neither one had a particularly good day.

I cut out of the Vika/Nastya match so I could go see Ana Ivanovic in the stadium against Koryttseva. Ana was not seriously challeneged here, breezing to a bagel in set 1 before Koryttseva got into the match. Even then, Ana cruised to the easy 6-0, 6-3 win. Serve looked pretty good, forehand was strong, but it's hard to tell in a match like this where there isn't much resistance.

End day 3.

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  1. GVGirl's Avatar
    You were busy!