Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Top seed Vaidisova out of Charleston; Serena Williams retires with injury

In an exciting match that included some excellent serving from both players and multiple breaks of serve, wild card Michaella Krajicek fought and clawed her way to a three-set win over Family Circle Cup top seed Nicole Vaidisova this morning. One of the most impressive things about Krajicek was her amazing second serve, which got her out of hole after hole; losing her first serve was not really an issue. She also repeatedly hit crosscourt forehand winners into the far corner of the deuce court, thrilling the crowd.

Before going to that match, we saw Katarina Srebotnik beat wild card Julia Vakulenko in what was often a tight match, with Vakulenko running away with the first set. Srebotnik prevailed, but it was good to see Vakulenko playing solidly. I seemed to be the only one there cheering for her, and--after a while--when she served at my end of the court, she would look at me first for support. A couple of times, when she missed a ball, she would look at me with a kind of "oops!" expression, and when she hit a winner, she would give me a tentative smile. She seemed pretty disappointed after the match.

Tatiana Golovin beat Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets, but the more I see of Cibulkova, the more I think she is something special. She is a solid hitter, appears to have good court sense, and--so far--is the only player who can hit consistently successful drop shots.

Venus Williams made short work of Sam Stosur, and I got to see the last few games of the match between Anabel Medina Garrigues and Martina Muller. Medina Garrigues took the first set, and was down 3-5 in the second when I showed up, but managed to win the match in a tiebreak. I also got to see Rennae Stubbs play for a few moments. She and Vania King won their match against Yuliana Fedak and Tatiana Perebiynis; we saw some really good net play from Fedak, however.

Serena Williams, suffering with a hamstring injury, had to retire in the first set of her match with Chan Yung-Jan. There appears to be a jinx on this tournament: First, the five superstar top seeds retire; the remaining huge star, Williams, is injured before she can complete a set, and the new top seed goes out in her first match.

But the tournament goes on. And while the Vaidisova-Krajicek match was the best match I saw today, the Li-Pratt match was the most entertaining. Li ran away with the first set, but Pratt found her way into the second one by realizing she could not possibly win a baseline slugout with Li. Pratt started changing the pace on Li, and also did a nice job with her first serve. She also did a nice job of chewing out the chair umpire when she didn't like a call he confirmed. The argument lasted a long time, while Li stood quietly at her end of the court with her back to the net.

Finally, Pratt calmed down, and then developed a sense of humor about the whole incident. She won the crowd over from the beginning, because of her underdog status, but also because of her total opennness and antics.

Late in the afternooon, I was walking across the main lawn and realized that Sybille Bammer was about to sign autographs. I decided to wait a moment and take her photo, but she was late. To appease people, tournament officials put Jelena Kostanic Tosic in an autograph both nearby; unfortunbately, not many people knew who she was. I got some good photos of her; she is quite lovely.

Tennis outfit of the day: Though Serena Williams looked good in cotton candy-pink, I have to give this to Vaidisova. We've seen the gold and white dress with the back cross-straps many times before, but it remains a beautiful creation.


Is Michaelia Krajicek related to Richard Krajicek who beat Sampras at Wimbledon in the mid-90's? I'm thinking she might be a daughter, but it may be a mere coincidence of name.

By Blogger Bubba, at 5:32 PM  

She is his sister.

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