Friday, 4 November 2011

WTA matches of 2011 - 10 to 6

10. Sam Stosur d. Nadia Petrova 7-6 6-7 7-5 (US Open)
Stosur and Petrova fought out a truly epic third round encounter at the US Open, which was the longest ever women's match at the US Open in the tiebreak era at three hours and 21 minutes. If I had actually watched this match live, I think it would have ranked much higher in my list. Stosur could have wrapped this up more easily if she had taken the match points in the second set, but Petrova stayed in the match and even went up a break in the third set as the two players took part in a classic all-court encounter of the highest quality. Stosur once again showed her mental toughness in the match as she recovered the break against Petrova and overcame some tight and tough games to prevail in the end. A truly great match, but as I was tucked up in bed it was only the 10th most memorable ;)


9. Agnieszka Radwanska d. Andrea Petkovic 7-5 0-6 6-4 (Beijing)
After a dire tournament in China, which was blighted by numerous withdrawals and low attendances, the final was a fabulous match between two players who had a lot at stake left in the season. Both players had realistic chances to qualify for the YEC, which added to the drama off the match. The first set took 84 minutes and was an excellent advertisement for the women's game,with Radwanska and Petkovic running miles in some incredible extended rallies, with Radwanska showing her finest form. The match looked like it may come to a premature end when Petkovic jarred her knee midway through the first set; thankfully she was able to continue, but after a second set bagel she wasted some key opportunities in the third set to hand the title to Radwanska. There was a lovely touch at the end as both players did the Petko dance in the trophy ceremony!


8. Julia Goerges d. Sabine Lisicki 6-4 6-4 (Stuttgart)
This is my most obscure choice, but for me was a very memorable match in my most enjoyable tournament to watch other than the Grand Slams in Stuttgart. I chose the match because it was one of the very few where two big hitters have come face-to-face both playing excellent tennis and producing more winners than errors. The serving on show was also impressive and the stats were favourable for both players - Goerges hit 26 winners to 21 unforced errors and Lisicki made 24 winners to 18 unforced errors. It was a shame that the match did not go to 3 sets because it was very even, but Goerges played the big points much better. Lisicki wasted many break points and was unfortunate to be a loser in this match, which thrilled both the German crowd and I! Goerges, followed up her win over Lisicki with victories over Stosur and Wozniacki to claim the title in a fairytale week in Stuttgart.


7. Francesca Schiavone d. Nastia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6 7-5 7-5 (French Open)
This was my favourite match to watch at this year's French Open in particular for the excitement of the third set. Pavlyuchenkova looked set to reach her first ever Grand Slam semi-final and have a great chance of claiming her first ever major leading at 6-1 4-1. Schiavone was extremely flat in the dull conditions, but as Pav started to get tight Schiavone started to raise her level and managed to win the second set. Pav's game, which was free flowing and destroying Schiavone at one point had collapsed and she found herself down 5-1 in the third set. Pavlyuchenkova did not give up as she dug deep and started to play much better, cutting down the errors and producing some magnificent winners to win four straight games. The final two games were tense beyond belief with some lengthy rallies but it was Schiavone who managed to finally claim the win in a dramatic match.

6. Serena Williams d. Victoria Azarenka 6-1 7-6 (US Open)
Serena Williams was lurking in the draw for the one of the top eight seeds in the third round and the unlucky player to draw her was Azarenka. The first set was a bit of a damp squid as Serena put on a tremendous display with the major difference being Serena's excellent serve against Azarenka's rather ordinary serve. The second set was much closer and Azarenka did extremely well to stay in the match and save several break points early on. As the set progressed, the quality continued to improve and Azarenka managed to break Serena's serve when she was serving for the match. Azarenka forced the second set into a tiebreak, which was the highlight of the match. There were winners aplenty from both players but Serena just managed to get across the finish line. The tennis at the end of the match was probably the best I had seen all year, but unfortunately we only saw it for a little bit at the end so I couldn't place this match any higher in my list.



Coming soon - I hope to finish my final blog on my top 20 matches of the season by the end of this week :)

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