Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Henin Wins Slam Seven in Style

Wolrd no.1 Justin Henin clinches her second US Open Women’s Singles in the most impressive fashion without dropping a set in the entire tournament (only Serena Williams had a set point against Henin in the quarterfinals). In the final Henin completely outplayed an erratic Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 22 minutes. Henin closed the match with a delicate lob poised at the net.

At the US Open, Henin could not have had a tougher draw where she had to face the current Australian Open champion Serena Williams in the quarters and Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams in the semifinals. Henin became the first player since Martina Hingis to beat both the Williams sisters in the same grand slam tournament. Hingis had accomplished the feat in the 2001 Australian Open where she beat Serena in the quarters and Venus in the semis, before losing to Jennifer Capriati in the finals.

By winning the title, Henin replicated her success in 2003, when she won the French Open and the US Open (beating now-retired Kim Clijsters in both the finals). She is now a very clear favorite to clinch the year-end number one ranking as she has a lead of more than 1400 points over the no.2 ranked Kuznetsova (her career-best ranking). The tournament has also been rewarding for the new Russian star, Anna Chakvetadze who reached her first semifinals at a slam at New York before losing to Kuznetsova. This semifinal appearance along with her successful run in the US Open series where she won two titles has helped Chakvetadze reached her highest world ranking of five, making her the third Russian in the top 5.

The tournament also saw strong performances from teens Agnieszka Radwanska (beats 2006 US Open Champion Maria Sharapova in the third round) and promising Hungarian Agnes Szavay who reached the quarterfinals before losing to Kuznetsova.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nadal Does it Again….

Nadal wins this third consecutive Monte Carlo Masters Title –his eighth Masters Series Title – by beating World No.1 Roger Federer in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 in just over an hour (67 minutes). The match was no patch on last year’s final between the same players, which was also won by Nadal. Coming into the finals, Federer seemed really confident with comfortable wins over the 12th seeded Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarter finals (6-4,6-0) and the 16th seeded 2003 French Open Champion Jaun Carlos Ferrero in the semi finals (6-3, 6-4). Federer was playing smooth tennis till he reached the finals and his ploy of coming to the net and finishing off points on important occasions paid well till he played Nadal in the final. The final started with Federer having a break-point on Nadal’s serve in the first game itself. Nadal managed to stave off that and hold his serve. The players matched each other, Federer showing his supreme shot-making ability and Nadal displaying his tenacious game tailor-made for clay. Leading 4-3, Federer had a chance to break his Nadal’s serve and go up 5-3. Nadal managed to save both those break points and held his serve. In the next game he broke his opponent’s serve and then held his own serve comfortably to close out the set. Nadal’s game plan was simple and effective- he kept attacking Federer’s backhand whenever he could and to add to Federer’s woes his forehand was quite erratic, especially in the second set. Nadal also showcased his new-found confidence in playing an attacking brand of tennis at crucial points, as he made successful forays to the net. With the first set safely in his pocket, all Nadal needed was a break in the third game of the second set to take complete command of the match. Federer’s volleys that would have been clear winners against his earlier round opponents were retrieved by Nadal and in many cases Nadal managed to hit accurate passing shots that Federer could not lay hands on.

As Nadal next moves to Barcelona to defend his Seat Godo Open title, – he had beaten Tommy Robredo in the finals last year – Federer takes the week off to prepare himself for the Rome Masters.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Red Alert – Serena is Back and How!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maria Sharapova always likes her on-court showdowns with Serena Williams. Both are extremely competitive players and have records to vouch for that. Prior to the 2007 Australian Open Women’s Singles Final, they played against each other on four occasions. All of these matches –except the 2004 Wimbledon Final – were well fought and got the best out of these two great sportswomen. This time though Serena wanted the script modified. Serena had enough of tough matches in her path to the finals. She was just a couple of points from defeat against Nadia Petrova in the 3rd round and Shahar Peer in the Round of 8. Her match against Peer can arguably be called the Women’s Singles match of the tournament. So by the time Serena faced Sharapova in the finals, she had enough match practice but still had abundant fuel in her tank.

Sharapova too after overcoming a spirited challenge from Camille Pin in the first round (Sharapova won the third set 9-7!), was able to assert herself against her opponents on the way to her first Australian Open final. While her win against Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals might have been expected, even the most ardent Masha fans would not have thought that she would have won that match in straight sets. But on 27th January, Sharapova would have given anything to not see Serena on the other side of the court. Serena asserted herself at the start of the match with a strong service game and broke Maria’s serve in the next game without much fuss. From then on it was an uphill task for Maria. Serena was holding her serve pretty comfortably, while Maria was struggling with hers. Down 0-5 in the first set, Maria was able to hold her serve and saved herself the embarrassment of losing the set 0-6. Things exactly didn’t brighten up for Maria in the second set with Williams refusing to take her foot off the pedal. For Sharapova the agony was over in just 63 minutes and for Serena the party has just began!

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Long time overdue....

this has been pending from quite some time. got into the habit of reading other's blogs and the comments that come along....lets hope i continue posting something interesting in the days to come....