The Kim Clijsters-Ana Ivanovic 3rd round match at the 2012 London Olympics illustrated one of the things that separates Kim from Ana, her mental focus to lift her game in the big moments. It’s why Kim has never lost to Ana. Ana filled up the stat sheet against Kim. She had 6 aces and no double faults to 3 aces and 4 double faults for Kim. Ana had more winners (23 to 13) and fewer errors (9 to 10). Yet somehow, the match was never in doubt for Kim. Kim raised her game in the big moments. For example, when she broke Ana early in the 2nd set, she didn’t sit at the baseline waiting for Ana to make a mistake. Instead Kim charged the net, hitting 3 volleys, the second a backhand volley that spun her around, that reminded us that she was once the #1 doubles player in the world. The point is, when there were big points, Kim sensed and seized the moment, taking it to Ana and turning up the pressure.
Up next for Kim is a player who loves pressure as well, Maria Sharapova. Masha has had a few shaky rounds, but to be fair in her 3rd round match she had the dangerous Sabine Lisicki to deal with, who knocked Masha out of Wimbledon a few weeks ago. What worries me about Masha these days is the same thing that always worries me. She’s hitting tons of winners…and tons of errors. It’s high risk, high reward. She survived against Sabine, but if she wants to come away from the London Games with a singles gold medal, she will have to tightened things up a bit.
Singles - Third Round
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. (16) Nadia Petrova (RUS) 76(6) 64
(3) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (15) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 67(8) 64 63
(4) Serena Williams (USA) d. (13) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) 61 60
(6) Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) 63 60
(7) Angelique Kerber (GER) d. Venus Williams (USA) 76(5) 76(5)
(8) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 64 62
Kim Clijsters (BEL) d. (11) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 63 64
(14) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. Julia Goerges (GER) 76(5) 63
NOTE: All pics can be clicked for a larger version