Friday, July 19, 2013

Bad Gastein Day 2 review

Viktorija Golubic def. (5) Kiki Bertens 6-2 6-2

Heading towards this match, the latest results of the two couldn't be more different as Bertens was living a really difficult moment of her career, with only 2 wins in the past twoelve weeks, while Golubic was on a roll, her results improving week from week and after having failed to qualify for her first WTA main draw in Palermo, she could make it here in Bad Gastein by winning all her matches in the qualies.
Yet no-one would believe the young Swiss could dictate the game and control the match as much as she eventually did. Bertens soon lost confidence and her errors increased as much as Golubic shots became more accurate and deep. Viktorija's one handed backhand was the shot of the match, she could do everything with it from drop-shots to powerful winners and the Dutch had no answer to the variety and consistence of her opponent despite the enormous gap in the ranking (around 200 places between the two).
The match was over really fast and the Swiss never looked as if she could lose it or feel the pressure of the moment. There's a lot of quality in her game and mental attitude, so it won't be surprising if we get to hear more from her in the future.On the following link, you find the post-match interview i took with her.

(WC) Lisa-Maria Moser def (Q) Elena Bogdan 7-6 (6) 2-6 6-4

The Austrian Wild Card, ranked 770 in the world lived her fairytale day, by defeating Romanian qualifier Elena Bogdan in a close and long match, which featured a lot of emotions and quality too. It was clear right after a few games tat the Austrian's ranking wasn't telling much about the real value of her level of tennis, because Moser showed a great fighting spirit and solid shots as well as smart solutions and class. On the other side of the net, the Romanian had much more experience on bigger stages, even though for both of them it was the first appereance on a WTA main draw.
After a really tight first set where the local player had to save a set point in the tie-break, the Romanian took the lead in the second by forcing Moser to hit more and more shots before hitting a winner, or, often, an error. As she said in her post-match interview that you find here, Lisa-Maria lost a bit of focus after the huge effort to win the first set and her level dropped.
In the third set the Romanian took the lead once more, but the Austrian didn't want to let the match go without fighting, she found her first serve back and a few aces made it easier to hold, while elegant and effective drop shots started to expose the Romanian movements to the net and her position really far from the baseline. The momentum suddenly moved to the Austrian side and the crowd supported her way to the win appreciating her brave attitude and shots, which in the end paid off by making her advance to the second round.

(2) Annika Beck def Shahr Peer 7-5 6-3

After the intense and quality-worthy match of the local youngster, this match failed to cope with the expectations given by the names featured. The German young hope played a solid match, which didn't show much more than consistence though, while Peer looked like the shadow of the former self, who few years ago was one win away from the top 10.
The two played a very similar game, based on flat and medium speed shots in the attempt to win for a shorter ball to attack, which rarely happened because of the ability of both to susbtain such rhythm. Nonetheless Peer looked to be the one to try and go for winners the most, but her attempts often ended up in errors, expecially with the forehand, which on the other hand was the shot that gave more points to her opponent.
Both girls struggled to hold serve for the whole match, but the reason of that wasn't due to great returns of serve, but to the instability of their serves: Beck in the case often hit double-faults, whose second serve would barely stay within the base line.
The match wasn't indeed pretty at all, but in the end the German could stay calmer on the important points and let Peer feel the pressure of those, so that she often committed unforced errors in such moments and that in the end gave the edge to Beck to win the match.

Alexandra Cadantu def Maria-Joao Koehler 6-2 6-4

This match was a really interesting one, expecially because it showed a great development in the career of the Romanian, whose game impressed me as much as her great attitude on court. Cadantu is indeed the kind of player that made it to the top 100 by winning match on her consistence, expecially in the ITF circuit, but this year she started to give glimpses of a newer attitude and game in WTA matches too (she routined future Wimbledon Finalist Lisiscki on the indoor clay of Katowice for exemple).
Her shots became a lot heavier and expecially with her forehand she can produce great pace and dictate the rally until she has the chance to close with winners. Her dropshots can be really effective and she rarely abuses of them and her first serve has grown stronger and it's pretty hard to read. Of course she still has flaws in her game, but she looks to be a hard worker and her strenght lies in the winning mentality, which motivates her as much on court as off and this match gave another proof of that. In the second set she was sailing to a straight sets win, when Koehler, with a burst of pride, started to hit heavier shots, painting the lines
from both wings and making the score tight again. Many players at this point would have waited for the storm to pass and hope it would be over before the match is, but Alexandra, after a couple of games of dizziness, got herself back and instead of letting the Portugues assaulting her, she started to change the rhythm of her shots costantly by using back and top spin, so that she could get closer to the base line and finally go for winners. On 4-4 she broke and went on serving for the match closing with a blasting ace.

Petra Martic def (4) Andrea Petkovic 6-7 (5) 7-5 6-3

There is so much to tell about this match between German former top ten and champion here in Bad Gastein a few years ago and the young Croatian hope, because the two played each other twice before and Martic won both of the matches, by recovering from a one sided first set loss. What's more both girls are known for the bad luck they sadly witnessed in the past because of numerous and serious injuries. Nonetheless, the match, which could have easily been the final with another draw, was clearly the most interesting round one match-up.
What really made this match interesting, though, wasn't the quality, because both players played way below their standards and way too many errors were hit from both sides, but the tension and dramatic developing of the match kept the crowd well aware. Under this light, Petkovic surely stood out and not for good.
I want to make it clear immediately, that I am not a fan of hers, so maybe I am biased, but her behaviour was quite rude even from a neutral point of view. She later said to have been ill, but I don't think that's an excuse.
Starting from the first set she look tense and she channelled her rage towards a ball kid as she yelled "are you dumb?" because he had left her towel on Petkovic's bag during the court-change. Then she said other bad things to ball boys because they were slow in giving her balls for serves (which was actually true, but not a reason to insult them).
She then went mad at the umpire, Nouni, because he gave her two warnings for losing time, once on serve and once on return, she started to question every call and was moaning about every line hit by Martic, but on the other hand she was hitting as many or more and never apologized for bad-bounce winners. She did even scream a couple of loud come-on's on Martic errors and double faults.
What's more I think she expected the crowd to be fully behind her, because she's German, a former top player and champion here, but after she insulted the kid, the crowd went tepid and more and more people were cheering for Martic. She looked really bothered by that and more than once made
gestures and faces to mock the crowd.
As for the match, it was much of a rollercoaster and Martic had to blame herself for the first set loss as she wasn't able to serve it out in all two attempts she had. In the second set, she once more failed to convert her advantage and she got broken back and tied at 5 games each, but at this point she could hold her serve and finally break for the second set.
In the third Andrea was quite unfocused and her fights with kids, crowd and umpire took away energies from her running, which was the way through which she could prevent Martic accelerations from becoming winners. What's more her shots started to be shorter and less accurate and by the end Martic could take full control of the set and close it and the match, without too much troubles.

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