Things went pretty much according to plan on the women’s side Monday at the Australian Open, where No. 3 seed and perennial title favorite Kim Clijsters defeated Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-6(3), 6-2 to move into the quarterfinals in the day’s late match.
The Belgian mom will next face No. 12 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who Monday needed three sets to put away unseeded Peng Shuai of China 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.
Radwanska fought off two match point against the two-handed-off-both-sides Shuai, a frequent adversary.
“I was playing against her almost every Grand Slam: at Wimbledon and US Open,” Radwaska said. “I remember I was always playing against her at least three hours and three sets. I didn’t expect an easy match today so…I’m just happy that I came back and won this match and I’m in the quarterfinal.”
For Shuai — not so happy.
“After match, I was really sad,” said Shuai, who served for the match at 5-4. “I think when the third set I was down 1-3, love-40, I was come back from 5-3. I had two match points. I think at that time I really little bit tight, then also maybe little bit unlucky. I have one shot out, little bit drop on the line. The tennis is like this. Like sometimes you down, you win. Sometimes you up, you lose.”
The 21-year-old Radwanska is in her first tournament back since foot surgery in October, not certain if she could compete in Melbourne after first practicing just before the start of the tournament.
World No. 2 Vera Zvonareva moved into the quarters where she will next face Czech No. 25 seed Petra Kvitova. Zvonareva advanced by defeating unseeded Czech Iveta Benesova 6-4, 6-1, while Kvitova needed three sets to get past No. 22 seed Flavia Pennetta.
After her match, journalists were more interested in the competitiveness, or lack of, on the WTA tour without the William sisters at full strength.
“I always wish for Serena to play all the events because I think she’s great for women’s tennis,” Zvonareva said. “She’s a great player, she’s a great athlete. We all respect her a lot. But I think there is a very tough draw. Women’s side is very strong at the moment. There are so many players that can go very far in the tournaments, and you can never predict it. I think this kind of challenge makes women’s tennis very interesting. You know, even if Serena is not here, I really think there are so many great players out there. It is still a great competition.”
The wide-eyed nervous Kvitova was another story after her match, nervously replying to questions and stroking her hair during her post-match conference, adjusting to the attention of advancing to the quarterfinals of a Slam.
“I was very nervous in the first set,” Kvitova said of her three-set win. “I thought that it will be fighting, and it was, so I just wanted to try for just focus on each point. But all match was very close and very tough…When I played against [Sam] Stosur, I didn’t was nervous or something like that, so I just want to enjoy. But today I was slowly, and I didn’t focus for each point in the first set.”
Tuesday in Melbourne will begin the women’s semifinals with (30) Andrea Petkovic vs. (9) Na Li, and (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. (6) Francesca Schiavone.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
So what new direction does Andy Roddick need to go with in a coach? Get B.G. (Brad Gilbert) back? Because he definitely needs to change things up. The guy who rose to No. 1 on the strength of a ridiculous serve and crunching forehand is now regularly out-aced and struggles to hit winners during matches. Now he plays like Michael Chang? Stan Wawrinka hits 24 aces to Roddick’s nine — Twenty-four winners to Stan’s 67? What’s up with that? Terrible. Time for a change-up…A “safety issue” has caused the WTA to ban an unnamed member of Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai’s family from attending tournaments. “A serious safety matter has been brought to the WTA’s attention, which has resulted in a family member of Aravane Rezai being indefinitely suspended from all future WTA events pending our investigation,” the WTA said in a statement. Rezai is coached by her brother, Anouch, and her entourage includes fitness coach John Cara and mother Nouchine, a physiotherapist who travels with her. “In respect of the privacy of the player involved, the WTA is not in a position to comment further on the details of the matter,” the WTA statement said…Rafael Nadal is an Australian Open title away from holding four Slams in a row for the first time since “Rocket” Rod Laver in 1969…R.I.P. ATP founder Jim McManus…Hey Ekaterina Makarova, you like Steffi Graf…Alexandr Dolgopolov on why he is no longer coached by his father: “We got a bit tired of each other because I always see him.”…China’s Li Na on her father, blogging for The Age: “My father died when I was 14. Some young players nowadays do not appreciate that they are given whatever they want. They don’t even need to work hard and they still get whatever they want. When my father died, mum had to take care of everything, so I couldn’t tell her what I wanted because it was hard for her. So I think I have always believed in hard work.”…Andrea Petkovic on tearing the ACL in her knee at the 2998 Aussie Open: “It was a terrible and a very blessing experience for me at the same time. Back then, I wasn’t so sure if tennis was my priority in life. I was quite good in school, so I was thinking of studying and just taking a career in those terms. After my big injury here, I just felt, OK, this is the thing I want to do. This is what I really love and what I want to spend my next six to seven years with. I was six months in the mountains in rehabilitation center with no Internet, no TV TV, but public TV only. So I really committed myself to coming back.”
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