Tsonga, Wozniacki Bid For Sunday Titles; Robson Falls Just Short In China
by Staff | September 22nd, 2012, 2:55 pm
  • 20 Comments

Gael Monfils’ comeback bid from a knee injury was cut short by Italian Andreas Seppi who upset the home favorite 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals at Metz, France earlier today. Seppi will seek a third career title Sunday against another Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The top-seed and defending champion Tsonga dropped his first set of the tournament but otherwise cruised past Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko 6-0, 3-6, 6-4.

“I am happy about being in the final again here. I am rather positive about my game,” said Tsonga. “I think I have been playing better and better each match. Today I served really well throughout the match. I only had one gap that cost me the second set. It’s a satisfaction to finally have defeated Nikolay, my list of players I never beat is getting smaller.

“It’s always been tough against Andreas. It will be a difficult match. I believe I also lost against him. He is very solid and playing very well lately so I will prepare myself for a big fight.”

Seppi is not the only Italian in an ATP final this weekend. The flamboyant Fabio Fognini is in the St. Petersburg title match after trouncing Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver 6-3, 6-4.

Fognini will meet surprise finalist Martin Klizan who stunned top seed and former champion Mikhail Youzhny 6-7(11), 6-4, 7-6(3) in 3 hours, 49 minutes. Neither player has ever won an ATP title.

On the WTA circuit, breakout teen Laura Robson’s run in China ended at the hands of Su-Wei Hsieh who toppled the Brit 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to win the GRC Bank Guangzhou International. The 18-year-old Robson was trying to become the first Briton to win a WTA title since Sara Gomer at 1988 Aptos.

“She’s a really good player,” Robson said of Hsieh. “She’s very difficult to play. She changes everything so much – sometimes I couldn’t tell what she was going to do with the ball. It’s very difficult to get any rhythm against her.

“After I won the second set and led 3-0 in the third, she started playing well again and made the rallies longer, while I totally ran out of energy. I kept fighting but just wasn’t able to hit my shots as well as I had earlier in the match.

“But the more matches you play the more experience you get, and to play in a really tough final like this one in Guangzhou is a big experience for me.”

The 18-year-old Robson was still the first British women to play in a WTA final match since 1990.

And in the Seoul final, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki seeks her first WTA title in over a year against Kaia Kanepi Sunday. Kanepi is playing her first event in three months after suffering from an Achilles injury.

“My season has definitely had its ups and downs because of my injuries, but last year was the same, and my whole career has been a little bit up and down as well,” Kanepi said after beating American Varvara Lepchenko in the semifinals. “It’s nothing new and I’m used to it.”

At the French Open this year, the Estonian Kanepi led Wozniacki 6-1, 5-1 before having to hold on to win in three.


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20 Comments for Tsonga, Wozniacki Bid For Sunday Titles; Robson Falls Just Short In China

grendel Says:

Good to see Laura take the positives from another gruelling match (the 2nd 3 hours or so match in a week – very unusual, surely, for a woman; and in stinging heat, too). “the more matches you play the more experience you get, and to play in a really tough final like this one in Guangzhou is a big experience for me.” Absolutely. This is a kid who is ready to learn and, given her weapons, that’s an exciting prospect.

Meanwhile, after complimenting Laura and discussing her own unusual style of play, Hsieh(who is 26 b.t.w.) said:”I’m very happy to play so well in singles this season,but even though I’ve done well in singles, I’m going to keep playing doubles too, even more actually – my sister, who is 19 years old, is young and needs my help, so I’m bringing her to WTA tournaments with me. She’s improving fast.”

Two Hsiehs, eh? The elder sounds a fascinating player, and if the younger is in the same mould but perhaps a little stronger, we may be in for a treat.


Lloyd Walters Says:

Grendel,

I read somewhere earlier today that Su-Wei Hsieh has five siblings.

Regarding your comments on another thread about Taiwan, I suspect that the ITF, WTA and ATP have done a deal with Communist China to call Taiwan whatever the mainlanders wanted, that being the price for their participation in the sport.

Of course, they were given the 2008 Olympics on the understanding that they would mend their ways on the human rights front…


grendel Says:

“I suspect that the ITF, WTA and ATP have done a deal with Communist China to call Taiwan whatever the mainlanders wanted, that being the price for their participation in the sport.”

Lloyd Waters, I am sure you are right. I vaguely remember reading something along those lines. If these organizations had stood firm, would the Chinese Government have refused to participate in world tennis? It is by no means clear that they would – since the Chinese rulers stand to gain a lot from participation, in terms of favourable publicity. But due to the timorousness of the tennis governing bodies, we’ll never know.

Kowtowing has taken on a different meaning. The wheel turns…..


RZ Says:

Too bad that Laura couldn’t pull it off, but hopefully we’ll see her in more finals. I’d love a chance to see Hseih play sometime.

Good luck to Caro tomorrow. She needs a title!


Lloyd Walters Says:

Hsieh had a good run playing doubles in a one-off pairing with Medina Garrigues in the US Open. They beat the top seeds, Huber and Raymond, in the third round before eventually losing to the third seeds, Hlavackova and Hradecka, in the semi final. I watched that match, and Hsieh’s often amazing work at the net kept everybody guessing. If Medina Garrigues had some clues regarding how her partner’s mind worked, and what she was capable of doing, the team could possibly have done even better in the tournament.

In yesterday’s match against Robson, Hsieh’s shot making and often unusual choice of stroke kept Laura running. At least viewers got to see that Laura now has much improved mobility. However there is still room for some further improvement, but more importantly to my mind, she needs to bring some variability into her game. She almost always does the obvious, so much so that I don’t think it would be right to give credit to Hsieh’s powers of anticipation for being in the right place to send the ball back again and again. So coupled with her ability to absorb Robson’s power, Hsieh eventually prevailed.


grendel Says:

Lloyd Walters

(sorry for spelling your name wrong before). I’m sure you’re right about the lack of variety in Laura’s game, but you could argue the conditions did for her on this occasion(http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/sep/22/laura-robson-tennis-wta-final?newsfeed=true).

Meanwhile, how important is this deficiency in the context of her overall game? For as Annabelle Croft says:“It’s really exciting. Laura has a great future ahead of her. She’s not like the identikit ball-bashers we are used to seeing from the back of the court. She has improved her movement enormously and, when she connects with her shots, the ball comes off the racket with so much pace it’s almost unplayable. You can’t teach the sort of natural timing she brings to the court.”

It is the timing which marks her out. Now take, for instance, her contemporary compatriot Heather Watson – who does have variety. But she absolutely lacks this exquisite timing which is the source of Laura’s power. Watson will never be able acquire this, and it is unlikely that Robson will ever match Watson in variety. Whose weapons would you prefer if you were a tennis player?

Of course, to have a hope against the Azarenkas of this world, Laura will have to develop a more all round game. Even so, I suspect it will, at heart, always be a game of explosive simplicity.


Colin Says:

I have often wondered if Nigel Sears, Kim’s father, had any influence on the choice of Laura Robson to partner Andy in the Hopman Cup.

Sears was until fairly recently heavily involved in UK women’s tennis, and he might have thought Robson would benefit from the experience. He has made it clear he wouldn’t dream of advising Andy on his own tennis – not that Andy would listen! – but Murray would very likely have listened in this connection.


RZ Says:

Colin, I don’t know about that, but Andy and Laura first partnered up at Hopman Cup the year after she won the Wimbledon Juniors, so she was probably on Andy’s radar as someone who could play that tournament.

Interesting Hopman Cup and future success tidbit: This year, Caroline Wozniacki played Hopman Cup with Freddie Neilsen, who won the Wimbledon doubles as a wildcard with Jonathan Marray.


Wog boy Says:

grendel,

No offence, but if UK can claim Folkland Island which are more than 12000km away from UK why China wouldn’t be able to claim Taiwan which is 180km away from China and was part of China for hundreds of years until 20th century, Taiwanese language is spoken on mainland side across Taiwan strait so they are all Chinese, Mandarin is not native to Taiwan, it was introduced by force by dictator Chiang Kai Shek who fled China with another two milon Chinese from mainland and committed atrocites on native Taiwanese people, needlees to say that he had full support of the west.
Is that something called double standard?


sienna Says:

Grendel are you crazy!


sienna Says:

Sorry grendel
meant to say wogboy are you crazy!


grendel Says:

Wogboy, so far as I know, the UK doesn’t claim the Falkland Islands – although the entire population (very tiny, around 2000 I think) wants to be British. The Uk Gov’s stand is that so long as this is the case, it has a moral duty to protect them. Is this really true, though? I don’t know – maybe there is some oil or something lurking in the background. At any rate, it is a very diffficult situation, imo, to determine what to do. Perhaps the British Government should offer all the Falkland islanders a place to live in Britain with guaranteed jobs, houses and compensation for the uprooting. I don’t know. What we can’t have is another war there, that would be truly silly and cruel. The Argentine Government is making a fuss in an attempt to distract the people from its own deep rooted problems – a standard technique of governments in trouble. But even so, the situation is, in the long run, untenable. That is unfortunate for the Falkland islanders, but I see no satisfactory solution. It’s a mess.

Wogboy, the native Taiwanese language has nothing to do with Chinese. Taiwan was a colony of China. It is true that Chinese of all political complexions claim Taiwan – just as they do Tibet. The native Taiwanese wish sanctuary in the jaw of the communist tiger about as much as do the Tibetans. The present Government in Taiwan is a descendant, as you say, of Chiang Kai Shek’s fleeing Kuomintang. The imposition of Kumintang rule on Taiwan was an atrocity supported, as you say, by the West, a lot of which was at that time still in the grip of imperial delusion. That said, Kumintang atrocities were at all times small scale stuff compared to the depredations of the Mao regime, perhaps the vilest in history, responsible for the death of over 100 million people. Plenty of naive leftists in the West supported Mao, too.

But times change. The Taiwanese now live in a democracy. The different groupings in Taiwan are united, at least, in one thing – don’t hand them over to the communist regime. Should China ever be liberated, then will be the time to talk of unification – or not, as the case may be.


Colin Says:

Regarding the Chiang Kai Shek situation, it wouldn’t have been imperialist Western countries only that backed him, I reckon. The United States (de facto imperialist!)would surely have taken the part of anyone whose enemy was – shock horror! – socialist.
As for Mao, vileness can’t be measured by numbers. A child murderer who kills six kids is no more evil than one who kills a single child. The most whole-heartedly ruthless state ruler of the twentieth century must have been Pol Pot, though his victims were fewer than those of Hitler, Stalin or Mao.


grendel Says:

Yes, in terms of the ratio of victims to population, the Pol Pot regime was the worst, although I suppose there was Rwanda.

I agree, it shouldn’t be just a numbers game. But Mao was singularly evil even as a very young man. He was a psychopath who subjected the vast Chinese population to unimaginable suffering in insane mass campaigns which were entirely unnecessary in terms of maintenance of power. They were really personal vendettas. Untold millions die for that. Can you imagine. This differentiates him from Hitler and even Stalin.


Wog boy Says:

grendel,

Thanks for coming back to me. Like most Europeans I didn’t know much about Taiwan, apart from what you learn at school, until I came to Australia. I work in the tourism industry and through the 90′s I worked extensively with Taiwanese tour operators (I work only with groups not individuals). I was spending days with them on extended tours (overland) and got to know them pretty well. Taiwanese we are talking about and Taiwanese language are not native native, they moved to Taiwan from mainland (same language exists in China) through the centuries when certain dinastys ruled and Taiwan was part of China. There are very very few real natives left and they look different. For some groups from Taiwan I had to provide two local guides. Taiwanese can speak usualy both, Mandarin and Taiwanese, one that came in 1945 can speak only Mandarin but then again I had older people who can speak only Hakka language and never learned either of the other two, they settled in Taiwan from mainland. What I want to say is that all those people are Chinese from the mainland who settled in Taiwan through centuries for different reasons, as I said, real natives are almost extinct and they don’t look like Chinese people.
Funniest thing is that actually there is no question between rullers of PRC and ROC that it is one country, the question is who is legitimate goverment. ROC, which is official name of Taiwan (Republic Of China), consider themselves as legitimate government of Taiwan, China and even Mongolia, but yet they control only ROC (Taiwan). On the other hand, PRC consider themselves legitimate goverment of China (including Taiwan) but yet they cannot govern in Taiwan.
Your son will find out that Taiwanese are extremely kind, nice and hospitable people. I was blessed that I had the chance to get to know them well, and I mean it.

Colin,

Agree about Pol Pot.


sienna Says:

wogboy you would be a person giving kudos for Hitler. This is just crazy what your saying. And then suggesting that the falkland war was in any way resembling how the chinese governemnt is taking care of bussiness.
Where do your roots lay? You live in england I believe, but you support Novak are you with Serbian blood?


grendel Says:

Wogboy, you sound as if you have a fun job. The ethnic make up of Taiwan is certainly complex – but, you know, I don’t think any of that matters now, from a pragmatic point of view. The main thing is, the Taiwanese people have a democracy now and they are entitled to keep it. They are under no immediate threat from Beijing. But conquest can start with small steps, which can go almost unnoticed. It is important that we notice and keep noticing. The rulers in Beijing are not indifferent to public scrutiny, oddly perhaps.

Yes, you are right, and my son has already experienced the hospitality and kindness of the Taiwanese. I’ll tell you a strange story, he did go to Taiwan for about a week following his year on the mainland (couple of years ago). At the airport in Taipei, he got talking to some fellow passenger who asked him where he was staying. He replied nowhere yet, he was going to look. Oh, come and stay with us, said the Taiwanese chap, a complete stranger mind. Well, he did, and had a great time!


Wog boy Says:

grendel,

I love my job, though I don’t do overland trips anymore, when you are younger it is more fun:) I am now sticking with Sydney and NSW. I missed a lot of my kids growing up because of my work so I am trying to make it up now :(
The problem is that I am deep down a Nomad and I like travelling, I am addicted to the white line on the road, I cannot live without that white line, it always takes you somewhere :)
But best part of every trip is returning home…
“Country road take me home……”


Margot Says:

Wog boy:
have you read Bruce Chetwyn? He believed we are all nomads at heart and being stuck in one place makes human beings profoundly unhappy.
Most evil? My vote would be for Stalin btw.


Wog boy Says:

Margot,

I will agree with Bruce withiut reading, but I will try to find his books and read.
I was lucky enough that I moved myself around much more than average people do, but it is never enough. I have in plan big trip aroun Australia in motorhome on my terms. It shoyld last coyple of months, but for that one there is few things that have to fall in place, it want be anytime soon but it will happen:)
When it comes to evil people infortunately we have good choice, don’t we:(

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