Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who was awarded not one two but two wild cards to Charleston’s 2012 Family Circle Cup, lost to Nadia Petrova in singles yesterday. Pavs was all over the grounds this week, seemingly on a practice court at all hours.
She also hosted the main draw party. Due to an error whereby too many chips were added to the bucket, the draw had to be re-done after it had been posted on the board. The do-over led her right to Petrova, the 2006 Champion, in the draw. The extra shift picking the draw chips must have exhausted her.
In the video below, she discusses injury, motivation and the important stuff, like whether she reapplies polish after every match.
Cardiac Kid Christina McHale Barely Fails to Repeat as Quarter Finalist at Indian Wells; Hampton Retires #bnppo12
What a day of ups and downs for the USA WTA contingent. The sole surviving American interests in the women’s part of the BNP Paribas Open faced significant drama and yes, ’swings’ of all kinds.
First, Jamie Hampton, the New South’s new tennis darling (after ignominious hard times for Melanie Oudin), had placed #5 Agnieszka Radwanska in a difficult spot. After giving away the first set, Hampton rallied to win the second in the breaker and clearly had the momentum. Then, Hampton gave way and retired in the third set, yet another victim of the Infamous Indian Well Water Bug.
But the toughest news of today is that Christina McHale, our Mid-Atlantic sister, lost in dramatic style against 2011 US Open Semi-finalist Angelique Kerber of Germany. It was another topsy-turvy match for McHale, who won a comeback three-setter on Sunday against 2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova. Today’s final score of 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(4) was even a tighter loss than the tight win McHale notched against Kvitova. McHale and her Navy failed to sail forward to face the winner of Kirilenko/Petrova, who play later tonight. Kerber will face that winner. But tonight, it was McHale who showed an aura of grit and determination about her that suggests that she will do much greater things in her career than simply getting back to a second straight Quarterfinal in Indian Wells.
Tennis Maryland spoke to fans who were not present inside the media tent for Shahar Peer’s final CitiOpen press conference after losing to Nadia Petrova. They observed the calmness of her demeanor as she spoke with old friends and colleagues as she walked the grounds of the Tennis Center at College Park. It was as if she had not played a match at all that day, let alone lost a final.
Inside the tent, she was positive and upbeat. Having won four straight matches at College Park this week was her reason to celebrate. And celebrate she will in the Washington Nationals Owner’s Suite. Peer has developed a friendship with Annette and Ted Lerner and will her attend her second-ever MLB game tonight. She expressed no interest in attending the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington this week, indicating that she’d had “enough tennis for a few days”.
Nadia Petrova played an outstanding match against Shahar Peer, winning the CitiOpen singles 7-5, 6-2 today. She took home the Tipperary Crystal vase and a check for $37,000.00. After the match, she talked about the nearly three-year hiatus between championships, her crystal trophy collection, her pet poodle Lulu (acquired after Wimbledon), and her aversion to serve-and-volley. It was a lengthy press conference, and it’s being painstakingly loaded on the ol’ Youtubes at this very moment.
Shahar Peer was so positive in her post-match press conference, noting how wonderful it felt to win four matches in a row. She discussed her respect for the torrid Maryland summer conditions and her ability to perform therein. She also discussed her plans to attend a Washington Nationals game tomorrow night, her aversion to serve and volley, and her new necklace, a birthday gift from her parents.
Exclusive video coverage of both press conferences will be up shortly. Tomorrow, we’ll have video of the trophy presentation.
By 4:30 pm today, the first professional tennis tournament in Maryland history will have a champion. We root for underdogs all the time, so today’s #1 vs. #2 final is not what we’d hoped but everything for which we could have asked.
Throwing all of that away, we are backing Shahar Peer today for all the money ($37,000 to be exact). Her inspired play and passionate fans make her an exciting player to watch.
The video above shows her final game and match point in yesterday’s win over Paszek in the semis.
The doubles final will immediately follow, and it’s #1 vs. #2 again. Sonia Mirza and Yaroslava Shvedova face #2 Olga Govortsova and Alla Kudryavtseva.
LEGG MASON UPDATE:
Today is Denis Kudla day on Stadium Court. The Arlington-native and College Park-trained player is a cross-town DC rising star, and expect the crowd to root for him in the first main draw match of the tournament.
Also, don’t forget: Verdasco and Fish play today. Just not in DC. Fernando Verdasco has reached the final at Gstaad, and Mardy Fish goes for the championship in Los Angeles. Both will be headed to Dulles as soon as the day is over.
Matthew Ebden will be glad he didn’t draw another UVA player today. Maybe he can keep the crowd out of it. UVA rising freshman Mitchell Frank may have lost his match to Ebden at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, DC yesterday, but he won the crowd. Nearly a thousand Cavalier faithful easily made this match the most raucous at Legg Mason Qualifying in years. Our video is near the end of the match as Frank is facing defeat. We wished we could have shown you the second set, won by Frank, where the Chair Umpire couldn’t even count how many times he had to settle the crowd.
ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2011
STADIUM start 11:00 am
Qualifying – T Smyczek (USA) vs A Kuznetsov (USA)
Not Before 1:00 PM
Qualifying – M Matosevic (AUS) vs A Delic (BIH)
Not Before 3:00 PM
[WC] D Kudla (USA) vs T Kamke (GER)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
Qualifying – C Guccione (AUS) vs J Witten (USA)
Qualifying – W Odesnik (USA) vs R Ram (USA)
COURT 1 start 10:00 am
Qualifying – M Ebden (AUS) vs P Simmonds (USA)
Qualifying – [WC] N Massu (CHI) vs A Sitak (NZL)
In a TennisMaryland.com video exclusive, top Austrian Tamira Paszek, in her first loss since the Quarterfinals at Wimbledon, reflects on her CitiOpen semifinals loss against Shahar Peer in College Park. A controversial chair call in the 2nd set tie-break proved to be a swing point of the match, and TennisMaryland.com got to ask the ‘broken ball’ question.
SEMI-FINAL #2: Nadia Petrova vs. Irina Falconi
Falconi, like a bird of prey, ripped our heart out and ate it, losing in 3 after winning the first set 6-1 against Nadia Petrova. She is a skilled young player who will gain some ‘wisdom points’ from the kind of matches like the one she endured today against a vastly more experienced competitor. We’re more bullish than ever on ‘The Bird’. (Patent Pending).
There were no upsets today at the Legg Mason Qualifying Tournament. Kid’s Day was better than ever, and a later post will cover it in more detail. Later post translates to ‘as soon as we’re not covering live tennis for a night’.
The semi-final match-ups are exactly where the tournament organizers need them to be for an exciting finish and an impressive attendance for the CitiOpen Women’s Tennis Championships in College Park this weekend.
At 2:30 p.m. today, #1 seed Shahar Peer will meet #3 seed Tamira Paszek, while #2 seed Nadia Petrova faces American Cinderella Irina Falconi immediately following.
We covered and embedded video of Falconi’s post-match press conference in the previous post. She is now the one to watch.
While the mercury topped 102 degrees on Center Court at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, the DC tennis world was heating up even more. This weekend, all eyes are on the DC area as the WTA CitiOpen wraps up in College Park and the Legg Mason Tennis Classic kicks off in upper Northwest. CitiOpen hosts quarterfinal matches today, semis tomorrow and the Sunday finals. Legg Mason Tennis Classic begins with qualifying action on Saturday, which is also Kid’s Day.
In College Park, today’s first quarter went to Shahar Peer, 6-1, 6-2 over Italy’s Alberta Brianti in a quick one. She will now face the winner of the Tamira Paszek/Stephanie Dubois match in a semifinal tomorrow.
Just concluded at CitiOpen Center Court at this moment is Irina Falconi’s big victory over Virginie Razzano, 6-4, 6-2. She took a fall in the 2nd set, but shook it off, like the mighty mite that she has proven herself to be. Later action includes Paszek/Dubois and the nightcap will be Petrova/Jovanovski, where the winner will face Falconi.
Today’s Legg Mason draw ceremony was a lavish affair with a catered lunch for DC schoolkids treated by the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation. DC Mayor Vince Gray, and former Washington Senators announcer Charlie Brotman, the real Dean of the District, assisted with the picks. Victor Troicki and Radek Stepanek dined, drew and dashed off to practice. Troicki, who is the spitting image of Emmy winner Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), was in a hustle to practice with Manchester United superstars Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Bidic. He was joined by Fernando Gonzalez and James Blake in the hit. The big news at the draw was the announcement that Arlington’s own Dennis Kudla and Ragin’ Cajun Ryan Harrison were granted the two remaining wild cards at Legg Mason, meaning that they will not have sweat it out tomorrow as they were scheduled to play as qualifiers.
CitiOpen has been a fun ride so far, but now it’s on to the business half of the tournament in the torrid humid weather that would put Houston or New Orleans to shame.
Nadia Petrova, who hasn’t broken a sweat or lost a set, has a draw that must make the World #32 Russian feel like Lou Ferrigno. She faces Bonita Jovanovski tomorrow and would face Irina Falconi or Virginie Razzano in the Saturday Semis.
Top seed Shahar Peer’s half of the draw includes her quarter-final match with Alberta Brianti and she would face either Stephanie Dubois or Tamira Paszek in her semi.
Take it to the bank: Petrova will beat Peer on Sunday, if they both make it to the last day of the carnival. To get there, Peer’s biggest obstacle would be Tamira Paszek (#42), while Peppermint Patti Nads Petrova’s would be…? Falconi is ranked #102, Razzano is #81, and Jovanovski is at #56.
On July 14, 2011, we showed our rookie colors by predicting the following winners: Peer, Chakvetadze, Dokic, Hercog and long shots Razzano and Oudin. In our high-powered legal defense, Hercog and Chakvetadze were scheduled but no-shows. We don’t even believe Petrova was on the College Park public’s Wild Card radar at that time. Dokic took ill (unforeseen), Oudin got bested by Paszek, and Razzano remains in contention.
For the sake of continuity, Peer and Razzano stay on the list. But, we must now begrudgingly respect the prediction of ThisWeekInTennis.com of Tamira Paszek, and add the one and only Petrova to our list to win the whole darn thing. The very likeable Dubois has played brilliantly, but Tamira Paszek may prove to be the reason to pack her bags and head to Vancouver.
Semis: Peer v. Paszek, Petrova v. Razzano
Final: Peer v. Petrova (Patti in 3)
We can hardly wait to eat these words and wash them down with a fine Austrian beer and a bottle of Bordeaux.