Thursday, 11 August 2011

Toronto Round 2 - Wozniacki stunned, Serena strolls

I have to admit that so far, the WTA tournament in Toronto has been somewhat of an anticlimax so far. Firstly, Venus Williams pulled out with a viral illness and then we were prevented a potential blockbuster third round encounter between Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters when Kim was forced to retire in her second round match with Zheng Jie. Yesterday also saw the withdrawal of Peng Shuai, which meant that her all-Chinese clash with Li Na was cancelled and Li received a walkover into round three having yet to take to the court!

Kim Clijsters was forced to pull out of Toronto with an abdominal injury; I would be very surprised if she is fit to compete at the US Open

In the 2nd round matches that did manage to take to the court, Caroline Wozniacki was bundled out of the tournament by Roberta Vinci, 6-4 7-5. Wozniacki was up 5-1 in the second set but wasted several set points as she lost 6 games in a row in a surprising loss of momentum for the Dane. Wozniacki has generally proved to be solid in closing out matches but was constantly troubled by Vinci's backhand slice and attacking forehand. Wozniacki is always slow to pick up form following a long break although the manner of the defeat is a cause for concern. I expect her to be much more competitive in Cincinnati; all credit to Vinci though who was positively beeming in her post-match interview after the biggest win of her career!

Wozniacki has a lot of hard work ahead in the next couple of weeks if she is going to have a chance of even being a contender for the US Open title

Vinci will next play Ana Ivanovic, who overcame Iveta Benesova in straight sets, and a disrupting court change after a light smashed on the Grandstand court whilst Ivanovic was serving at 5-3 up. Ivanovic has made a confident start this week and will look to take advantage of her good draw with the defeat of Wozniacki. Sam Stosur set up a third round encounter with Li Na after defeating Aleksandra Wozniak who had demolished Shahar Peer in Round 1 - I managed to get one of betting punts correct :) I expect a tight match between Stosur and Li and to be honest, not an entertaining one! I hope I am proved wrong ;)

Ivanovic has been quietly making her way through the draw with some accomplished performances

Vera Zvonareva did well to come through in a scrappy encounter against the dangerous Nadia Petrova, 6-4 7-5. She will now meet Agnieszka Radwanska in Round 3 in a repeat of the San Diego final from last week. I wonder if Radwanska's injury may play a prominent role this time as she has pulled out of the doubles competition. The Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova also won through against Anabel Medina Garrigues, 7-6 6-3. She will play Andrea Petkovic in the next round who saved 14 break points in a gruelling two setter against Greta Arn, which she won 6-4 7-5.

Radwanska has been in superb form since Wimbledon but a niggling shoulder injury is a cause for concern

In the bottom half, Serena Williams defeated Julia Goerges, 6-1 7-6. The first set was an abysmal affair as Goerges wilted in the windy conditions. To her credit, Goerges improved in the second set and managed to find some rhythm on her serve and was in fact, the better player towards the end of the second set. Serena raced into a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak but struggled to close the match out, eventually converted on her sixth match point. She let out a huge roar at the end of the match, which showed the importance of finishing the match in two sets and the danger that Goerges presented in the second set. Maria Sharapova also won through against a tricky opponent in Bojana Jovanovski, 6-1 7-5. She will now play Galina Voskoboeva who took out Flavia Pennetta in three sets.

Goerges showed both her strengths and weaknesses in a 6-1 7-6 loss to Serena

Victoria Azarenka won her first match since Wimbledon with a thumping, 6-0 6-0 victory over Stephanie Dubois. She will now play Maria Jose Martinez Sanchex who upset Daniela Hanutchova. Azarenka has struggled in the past against Martinez Sanchez and willl need to be at her best to pass this challenge. Francesca Schiavone strolled into the next round as she destroyed Ekaterina Makarova, 6-1 6-3. She will now play Lucie Safarova who defeats Kuznetsova's conqueror, Simona Halep in straight sets.

Schiavone produced a solid performance in her first match since Wimbledon

Cheeky punts of the day - Petkovic to beat Kvitova (13/8 with Stan James)... Martinez Sanchez at 10/3 to beat Azarenka may also be worth a punt!

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