Venus, Clijsters Make Winning Returns In Miami; Serena, Sharapova, Harrison, Nadal Today
by Staff | March 22nd, 2012, 9:41 am
  • 16 Comments

Three-time tournament champion Venus Williams showed very little rust in destroying Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-0, 6-3 Wednesday in the first round of Miami.

Venus was playing her first pro tennis match since making the announcement she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome during the 2011 US Open seven months ago.

The 31-year-old, though, had little trouble with the tricky veteran.

“It was great to be back out there,” Venus said. “It was definitely nerve wracking, especially playing an opponent that I know how talented she is and first match back. But I was able to get a great start and settle in and play well against a really difficult opponent.

“I mean, just to be in this tournament is a huge win for me; just to be here is a win,” she said. “That’s what I told myself going in, that this is a win. I have nothing to lose. Just, you know, to gain. Just to get back at this level is a win for me.”

Because of her low ranking, the unseeded Williams now faces Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round Friday.

“I think in some ways we play a very similar game,” said Venus. “Obviously she’s been playing very well in the last 12 months or so. It’s just totally a credit to her. For me I have had a lot of experience with playing well. I played all right today. I’m going into this just focused on executing my game and just trying my absolute best, and, you know, execute my game more than anything, which is the same thing she’ll be trying to do.”

Fellow former No. 1 Kim Clijsters was also victorious. Playing in her first match since an ankle injury hurt her chances at the Australian Open, Clijsters overcame a first set loss to turn away Jarmilla Gajdasova 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Today, a quartet of No. 1s are in action including Venus’ sister, Serena, Maria Sharapova, Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki who headlines the night session. Clijsters will play Julia Goerges.

For the men, rising teen Ryan Harrison tackles Potito Starache with a Saturday date with Roger Federer on the line. Harrison’s American countrymen Sam Querrey, Donald Young and Jesse Levine are also featured.

Rafael Nadal will appear in doubles this afternoon. Nadal, who teamed with Marc Lopez to win Indian Wells, joins Marcel Granollers today against Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic.

STADIUM start 11:00 am
[WC] R Harrison (USA) vs P Starace (ITA) – ATP
[WC] S Zhang (CHN) vs [10] S Williams (USA) – WTA
S Peer (ISR) vs [2] M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
M Cilic (CRO) / I Karlovic (CRO) vs M Granollers (ESP) / R Nadal (ESP) – ATP

Starting at 7:30 PM
B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) vs [4] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA
S Querrey (USA) vs M Ebden (AUS) – ATP

GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
[13] J Jankovic (SRB) vs M Barthel (GER) – WTA
[14] J Goerges (GER) vs K Clijsters (BEL) – WTA
L Mayer (ARG) vs M Baghdatis (CYP) – ATP
[6] S Stosur (AUS) vs [Q] V Savinykh (RUS) – WTA

Not Before 5:00 PM
[Q] D Goffin (BEL) vs D Young (USA) – ATP


Also Check Out:
Henin, Clijsters in Same Quarter; Williams Sisters Semifinal Looming?
Venus Bagels Kvitova; Federer v Harrison, Djokovic, Roddick, Serena Today In Miami
Serena, Sharapova Renew Rivalry Tonight at Stanford; Del Potro, Fish Highlight LA QFs
Sharapova Shrieked-Down by Azarenka in Miami Final
It’s Venus Williams v. Kim Clijsters in the Miami Final

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16 Comments for Venus, Clijsters Make Winning Returns In Miami; Serena, Sharapova, Harrison, Nadal Today

rick Says:

Building on the previous article about Federer taking over the 2012 points lead, if you track the points from after the US Open through Indian Wells, Federer has a large lead over Djokovic.

Federer 5820
Djokovic 3100
Nadal 2390


the_mind_reels Says:

@rick:

It’s true that Federer’s performance since the US Open has been far and away better than anyone else’s, and the points show this. The lead, however, doesn’t mean anything if he can’t close the gap in major upcoming tournaments (i.e., the French and Wimbledon). In other words, yes, his great performance has brought him closer to Nadal and Djokovic, but the only way he’ll pass those guys is by (most likely) beating them in tournaments where he failed to do so last year. I see less hope that he’ll improve on the French this year than at Wimbledon, where he tumbled out in the quarters. His recent form bodes well, but the clay swing should be a good indicator of where the top 3 stand going into RG.


Angel Says:

I think Federer has a really good chance to be number 2 before Roland Garros, and he doesn’t have to win Miami, Madrid and Rome to achieve this, well it also depends of how many points Rafa can defend that are a lot. I would say that if Federer makes Semifinals in the next 3 events he’d be number 2 for the French Open. It’s pretty unlikely that Nadal improves what he did last year especially playing like he is doing right now. All this could present a really interesting stage at the Frech that it would be a hipothetical semifinal between Novak and Rafa that it could really give Federer an oportunity to win it if he keeps his recent level of play. Of course all these are speculations and anything can happen. I guess we’re just gonna have to wait and see.


Humble Rafa Says:

Your Humble Highness sincerely feels that this “AOAT (Arrogant One of All Time) is back” is a bit premature. Almost of the AO’s wins were in 3 set matches. He can’t win 5 set matches.

His BP conversion, especially in 5 set matches are what legends of made of.


the_mind_reels Says:

True that Federer struggled at times with his BP percentage during the majors last year (~ 30% at both the AO and the French), but what is a bigger problem for him, it seems, is simply creating BP chances in the first place. 30%, while low, is fine if you’re seeing 30 break points per match (and certainly better than 100% if you’re seeing only 1 or 2 points per match).

Recent form looks as if he’s playing out more on his chances and converting more of them, so it’s just a matter of creating chances in the first place.

In Nadal’s GS losses last year, his conversion rate was in the 25-50% range — better than Federer’s, but not exactly ideal if you’re giving up 27 break-point chances to Djokovic at the US Open.

Both guys will have to up their conversion rate to be more successful in the majors going forward this year.


Sienna Says:

The ungoing drive and winning performance of Fed clearly shows that his loss to Rafa at AO was an anomaly. It was caused because of his lack of practise and his injury sustained in Doha. Withoutit he probably would have schooled Rafa just like their last meeting and the one at WTF.

It has been proven that a fit and healthy Fed doesnt lose against Rafa the former warrior.


jane Says:

True, the_mind_reels: last year Fed was 29th in bp conversion whereas Nole was second (after Malisse), Rafa was third and Murray was sixth. So all those guys were making more of their chances in 2011.

This year, in 2012, it’s a little too early to tell from the stats, but Nole is highest of the big four, at 9th, then Fed at 22nd, Rafa at 23rd (that’s low for him I think), then Murray at 30th (also low for him).

This year so far, Nole is first for return games won, Murray is fourth, Nadal is 11th and Fed is 22nd.

Last year Nole, Murray and Rafa were first, second and third in that order. Fed was 11th.

Fed makes up for that in the service categories though as his serve is more of a consistent weapon that Murray’s Nole’s or Rafa’s.

It’s just a matter of which edges out which when they meet perhaps.


Sienna Says:

Fed’s next match will be against the imporved Harrison last year he played and beat him in Wells. We will see how the match turns out. I personally think Fed will steamroleler him and prove once again that Fed is in a prime shape atm.


Dan Martin Says:

I like Fed over Harrison too – Glad Venus won – I will have Sony Ericsson picks up everyday (ATP only in the early rounds due to not knowing enough of the WTA field). Also, I have a highlight tribute to Gonzo up. http://tennisabides.com


Kimmi Says:

hoping venus vs petra is a good match. I love petra too much but its good to see venus play again.

go petra.


El Flaco Says:

Dan Martin Says:
I like Fed over Harrison too
————————————
Thanks for the tip


Humble Rafa Says:

It has been proven that a fit and healthy Fed doesnt lose against Rafa the former warrior.

I would like a pint of whatever you are drinking.


contemperory Says:

From the recent results (39/41) I guess some of us are already concluding that Fed is in top form and that he will be No.2 by ___, he will beat Nadal, he will regain No.1 etc. Fed’s success predominantly has been on indoor courts and faster courts. He may have an improved ground game right now which will form the base for the upcoming “slow court” season. But how good his game is, too early to say conclusively.

Granted that he is the top player since last US open, but that is not giving ANY indication as to how things are going to be in the future starting from Miami.

Clay season normally should belong to Rafa, and Wimbledon has not been Fed’s hunting ground for the past two years. Courts have become slower but so has Fed too.

Djoko and Rafa can hit form anytime. The same argument of Fed winning in future is applicable to Djoko, Rafa and Murray as well.

I am not saying that Fed will not be able to achieve anything this year – it is just that its too early to say anything.


skeezerweezer Says:

contemperory,

“I am not saying that Fed will not be able to achieve anything this year – it is just that its too early to say anything:

I basically agree. “Your only as good as your last match. the next match you have to prove it all over again.”

By nature, I am always conservatively optimistic. Hope for the best, be prepared for the worse. Fed is on a great track, but is he gonna continue to have the track Nole went on last year? I’m hoping…but yet have to appreciate what he has already done at 30 and if it all falls apart he has still had an awesome 6 months!!! Keep bringing it Fed!

Gotta believe that Nole and Rafa have yet to bring there good stuff, and the Clay season I think we will all get a clearer picture of what is goin on….


skeezerweezer Says:

HR,

“I would like a pint of whatever you are drinking.”

It’s called “Magic Potion”, you can pick it up from your local Doctor…you know…hehehehe


rogerafa Says:

@contemperory

Absolutely brilliant post! You have summed up the situation very well. It seems even some of the more reasonable Roger fans are getting carried away. The fact is that he has not won a major in his last eight attempts and reached just one final. It is highly unlikely he will win the French Open. He has failed to advance beyond the quarter final at Wimbledon the last two times. I also think his best USO days are behind him. Unless he does really well at the majors, he has little chance of getting back the top rank. Novak and Rafa remain the biggest forces in the game and Murray seems poised to join them. This stretch, at least up to Canada, is likely to be dominated by Novak and Rafa again.

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6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
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