She was described as “unflappable” by ESPN.com after dismantling American neophyte Beatrice Capra 6-0, 6-0 in her previous match, but up against No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki on Labor Day Monday, former champ Maria Sharapova flapped her awkward, chicken-wing service motion in a slew of double faults, bowing out 6-3, 6-4.
Both of the breaks on Sharapova’s service games in the first and second set were due to nervous double faults — three in a row to concede serve in the first set, then again on a game point in the second set.
“I certainly could have been more aggressive,” said Sharapova, who didn’t expand on her serving issues. “I did quite well when I was moving forward and being aggressive. But I don’t think I did that enough. And that really allowed her to stand, you know, far back behind the baseline and keep retrieving balls. And that’s just what she does best. When she had the opportunity to step in, she took it and went for her shots.”
Wozniacki thought that rather than Sharapova handing over the match with double faults and 36 unforced errors, the Russian’s sloppy play could be attributed to the Woz forcing her level of play.
“I felt like I was playing good tennis,” Wozniacki said. “I made her do those errors, and I’m really happy to be through and that I won this match.”
Former US Open champ and No. 11 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova was an upset victim Monday, losing a tightly-contested 7-5, 7-6(4) encounter with Slovak Dominika Cibulkova.
“I just I didn’t feel good today. I was very flat,” Kuznetsova said. “I don’t know. It was very hard for me to play one night second night match, and then in one day to play at 11:00, you know. I mean, I still have to play and win today, doesn’t matter what, because I feel that my level is so much better. But I was just fighting with myself and was not doing all the time the things I was supposed to do.”
No. 7-seeded Russian Vera “The Crying Game” Zvonareva kept her emotions in check during a 6-1, 6-2 romp over unseeded German Andrea Petkovic, and No. 31 Kaia Kanepi also advanced into the quarterfinals after coming back from a bagel, defeating No. 15 Yanina Wickmayer 0-6, 7-6(2), 6-1.
“She was hitting very hard and near the lines. So everything just worked for her. I didn’t think I hit so bad,” said Kanepi on getting bageled in the first set, but in the third set she says she loosened up, winning 6-1. “I think I was like in the zone or something. I was just fighting every point. I tried to relax, also not think about the win.”
On court Tuesday at Flushing Meadows will be (3) Venus Williams vs. French Open champ (6) Francesca Schiavone, and (5) Sam Stosur vs. (2) Kim Clijsters.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS Patrick McEnroe has resigned as U.S. Davis Cup captain immediately following the Davis Cup World Group Playoff against Colombia in Bogota on Sept. 17-19 to concentrate on his other duties and family. “It is with a heavy heart that I am resigning as Davis Cup captain, but it is a decision I felt was best for the team and myself right now,” McEnroe said. “Davis Cup is a significant time commitment and this decision will allow me to focus more energy on my family and to the USTA Player Development program.” After 10 years at the U.S. helm, McEnroe is the longest-tenured captain in U.S. Davis Cup history, leading the U.S. to its record 32nd Davis Cup title in 2007, its first title since 1995. His send-off could be a downer on the clay in Bogota in September as it looks like Andy Roddick and the Bryan brothers will be making themselves unavailable, leaving it up to Sam Querrey and John Isner most likely. Now speculation is running rampant as to who the next U.S. Davis Cup captain will be. Players expressing interest in the position in the past include Todd Martin, Brad Gilbert, MaliVai Washington, and possibly Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras throwing their hats in the ring for consideration. Hey, maybe John McEnroe!
The SportsBusiness Journal says the ATP World Tour plans to announce a global sponsorship with FedEx Corp. this week, with a multi-year deal valued in the low seven figures annually…How about that micro-skirt of Caroline Wozniacki’s? She knows what boys like…The French have a man in the US Open quarterfinals in Gael Monfils for the first time since 2000…Beatrice Capra withdrew from the US Open junior event after her double bagel beatdown from Maria Sharapova…Sorry, that Venus black sequin dress with the too-short hem and open back is heinous, as is the red thing — don’t want to see your crotch, and constantly needing to pull down the dress…Paul Annacone has stepped down as head men’s tennis coach of the Brit Lawn Tennis Association…ESPN tennis viewers are idiots, as evidenced by their online voting of Brad Gilbert as the man who would be the best replacement for Patrick McEnroe as U.S. Davis Cup captain…Who is the dude in the ESPN outside studio who tells the crowd of onlookers when to clap as they go to commercial?…See if you can match this quote to the magazine blogger writing for NBC Sports prior to the Beatrice Capra-Maria Sharapova match: “I’m in a minority here, but I believe Capra can play with Sharapova.”…Caroline Wozniacki on her short dress: “I think it’s nice. I definitely am sure I’ll get a lot of male fans now.”
MCENROE QUITS AS U.S. DAVIS CUP CAPTAIN —
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