Welcome to the top 10 Simona Halep. There was a wonderful display of all court tennis by Simona Halep yesterday, in taking down former World No.1 and Grand Slam finalist, Jelena Jankovic in 3 tough but highly entertaining sets on Hisense Arena. As someone who has been a fan of Halep for a long time, to see this former Junior No. 1 finally make the latter stage of a Major does so much to me and many more of her fans who saw her potential, even though she may not have had the big weapons of those who have been earmarked for greatness.
Making her first Grand Slam quarterfinal and doing it in such style against a veteran opponent speaks highly of Halep’s use of her weapons and her mentality in playing the big points. Her serve, which is by no means a weapon, can aid her in tricky situations, but it is her movement and anticipation and her willingness to go for her shots when the chips are down that marks her as one of the stars of the WTA for the future.
Contrast that match with that of Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka. Billed as the “highly anticipated revenge match”, Azarenka showed why those who have really short memories should really not do tennis commentary. Todd Spiker over at the Backspin gave a comprehensive review of that particular match, and I will not bother to add anything to his analysis. Suffice it to say that Paul Annacone has his work cut out for him. Many of us long time Stephens fans bemoan the laziness of her footwork, her reliance on her athleticism to try and outlast opponents and her attitude on court, which just gives the impression as if she does not care what is happening out there.
One can only hope that as time goes by she will realise that it is one thing to be considered the future of American tennis, it is quite another to be the face of American tennis.
Maria Sharapova went down in 3 sets to Dominika Cibulkova and Garbine Muguruza went out to No. 5 seed, Agnieska Radwanska.
Today’s matches sees the quarterfinals of the top half of the women’s draw and Spin’s Picks are below:-
Surprise quarterfinalist Ana Ivanovic v another surprise quarterfinalist, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard. The head to head is in favour of the Canadian who took out Ivanovic at Wimbledon last year on Centre Court. Bouchard has poise and belief. She believes that she belongs on the bigger stages of tennis and she is not afraid to perform. She has also beaten Ivanovic on the big stage already so she knows what it will take to win. As far Ivanovic, this is her second quarterfinal at a Major since wining the French Open in 2008 and it will be interesting to see whether she adopts the same attittude as in her 2 previous matches. Will she be as aggressive as she was in her match against Serena, or will she sit back and wait for her opponent to crumble having never been in this situation at a Major before. I am picking Bouchard to make her first Grand Slam semifinal.
The battle of the veterans. Who wants it more. Li is a 2 time finalist at this event, while Pennetta is making the quarterfinal for the first time in her singles career. The head to head is tied at 2-2 piece with the last meeting taking place in Sydney, Australia in 2010. Both ladies made the semifinals of the last hard court major, the 2013 US Open. I think this will either be a battle or a blow out by Li. She is the more experienced opponent at this stage of Major events and while Pennetta battled her way past Kerber, I don’t think she will be able to do that here. Li in 3 sets.
THIS AND THAT
Stacey Allaster needs to do something about the questions that are asked of players at press conferences. This is the transcript of Simona Halep’s interview right after she won her 4th round match against Jelena Jankovic. How disrespectful can it possibly be for a young woman, in the early stages of her career to be asked about the breast reduction surgery that she had in an effort to alleviate the chronic back pain that she used to suffer? Is there no one from the WTA standing in the media room who can possibly say that this type of questioning is not appropriate? How is it relevant to her game and what she has accomplished that you should be asking her about the surgery that she did so many years ago?
While many media types are harping on the women screaming, grunting, shouting and hurling curses, perhaps the media should start reigning in the unprofessional journalists within their midst and stop them from asking questions such as these of our female athletes.